Archive for July, 2004

Tigris Meets Euphrates

Thursday, July 29th, 2004

Hey ho, another few days have passed. Monday was a long, very busy day. Being back in the office again was nice. Had a four hour meeting in the morning, then spent the next 5 hours labouring over my work, in this case all the details that go into putting out a high quality e-newsletter. Okay. Got home, had dinner, fell asleep around 9:30, utterly exhausted. Zen fell asleep after 10, so he kept disturbing me until he finally dropped off. Then I got some real sleep from 10:30 to 6:30. Felt great all of the next day… when I was busy putting out TWO e-newsletters. And trying to catch up on my email, among other things. Tuesday afternoon we had some joy – the new magazine came in. Looks great – nice green colour scheme, and a special section that only comes out once a year. Cool. I have only about eight or nine articles in it, but most of them are right up at the front, which is kind of nice. Got home earlier, like before eight. Zen played with the neighbour kids, and it was a nice evening. Zen went to sleep around 10, and I did some proofreading (two pages) and then watched two episodes of the Sopranos. Genius, sheer genius. Today was mellow-ish. Got to work, lazed around for a while leafing through the pile of magazine articles that my boss had left me, then a mellow meeting, then start getting around to doing my work around 11. Off to lunch at the hotel food court, back in time to put the whole thing together. Found a really juicy quote to attach to the article, then down to some real work – phoning people, emailling, paperwork, fun stuff like that. Left close to 6:00 for a change, picked up a copy of the movie magazine for August because I have just started writing DVD reviews for them – fun. Saw Sean at the train station and rode with him to Clementi. We just missed the bus by a minute, so we ended up taking the taxi back together. Nice. Had a lovely, early dinner, then went for a long walk with Zen. ZEEEEENNN!!! ]

Things that Zen does: Zen is getting better at riding on his bicycle, meaning that not only can he steer wherever he wants to go, he can also pedal. It is more like a half pedal and it is only on the right side (will his right leg be more muscular than his second?) but he can do uphill as well as downhill now, which is nice. Tonight when we went for a walk he seemed to be doing more work then me, which is nice for tiring him out. He is eating better these days, but he’s not getting to sleep any earlier. He still loves buses and trains. I got him a little radio-controlled car in Shanghai, he loves steering it around. Funny enough, he wants to say all of the bus numbers, but he always screws up the 3-digit buses. For example, 173 bus, he say 3-7-1 – backwards. And other 3-digit buses he skips the middle number – 970 bus becomes 9-0 bus. But he seems to be learning how to say it now. He still wants to hear the Spiderman theme all the time, but recently he wants to hear “Starfish and Coffee,” an old Prince song. “Starfish and coffee, maple syrup and jam, butterscotch clouds, a tangerine, a side order of ham. If you set your mind free baby, maybe you’d understand – starfish and coffee, mapyle syrup and jam, oh oh…”


One Week after Shanghai…

Monday, July 26th, 2004

Hey ho, another week has passed. I wrote last on Sunday. After that I got in a cab, went to the airport, caught my flight to Shanghai. Flew all night, had a few hours of sleep and watched a bit of the George Harrison memorial concert (weird ukelele stories), then arrived in Shanghai. Hung out a bit in the rooms, napped a bit, got on the phone, talked to people, went downtown, met Joanna, had some Starbucks coffee at the Bund on the Pudong side, then went off to the big Oracle welcome party in a tent on the Pudong Bund where I was able to chat with a few people, always only just for a minute or two, look at the skyline, then off for more food with Chi and Chi, nice talks, some beer, and then back to the room to sleep.

Tuesday woke up early, then Dorai came in and we breakfasted together. A long day at the conference, watching some keynote speeches by the Oracle big dicks, then a press conference with the big dicks, some motherhood stuff and non-revealing information, then lunch and some hanging out. Heard a bunch of speeches in the afternoon, grabbed an impromptu interview with a bank CEO, then chatted with a bunch of freaky industry guys. Hmmm… Went back to the room, phoned Jeff, got a hold of him, talked about meeting for food and drinks that night, then walked through the tunnel ride over to the Bund. The tunnel ride was very bizarre – a little plexiglass cubicle, flashing lights, strange narration in English about magma and volcanic forces, then we were over on the other side. Walked to the Bund Financial Center and hung out with Jeff and Richard Ireland for a while. Cool guys, got a good company going. Walked on down to a pub, ordered some vodka Red Bulls and got some pizza, then played pool for the next five hours. I moved from being a guy who couldn’t sink a ball to winning games – even 2 in a row once, because I sunk the 9 ball on the break while playing 9 ball. Strange. Steve from Tainan, a.k.a. Tall Texas Steve, came out too and made some racket. Took a cab back late, got home at 2. But that sure was a fun night.

Wednesday, had some conference meetings in the morning, ate lunch, then went downtown with Joanna. Met up again with everyone for drinks and a nice river cruise up and down while an old Shanghai jazz band played live (“Rose, rose, I love you”). Had nice talks with people and hung out, but nothing too meaningful. Dorai and I had some beers in the room before we both fell asleep around midnight. Late nights. Hard to get to sleep early in Shanghai… or even in Singapore!

Thursday, the last day of the conference – a morning meeting, and then three more sessions, and it was all over. Said goodbye to Oracle people, then Dorai and I went off to meet Joanna for a downtown meeting, then dinner with Jeff and Richard at Face, a Thai restaurant in a former summer palace of Mao Zedong, nice old converted house in a hotel grounds that has a huge lovely park. The food was good, Jeff picked up the bill, and we went for some drinks and pool downstairs. I sure play a lot of pool in Shanghai! We played for a while, before a beautiful woman joined our game and racked up. Gorgeous Shanghai women sure do know how to play pool, it seems. We jumped in a cab, went off to Pegasus disco, and there was Tall Texas Steve hanging out and enjoying life. Packed with kids, all enjoying themselves and having drinks, some foreigners, champagne flowed, then came the vodka and Red Bull, and we were flying high. Left very late, took a cab home, got to the hotel and showered and puked. Slept the sleep of the dead, felt great the next morning.

Friday, woke up, had brunch, met Joanna again and went off to do some shopping. Got some underwear, a toy car for Zen, a Spiderman cartoon DVD box set, and some other good stuff, as souvenirs to take back home with. Had McDonalds lunch, then back to the hotel by subway. Got a 2:00 bus to the airport, met the Thai media in the minibus, tickets and customs. Did some duty-free shopping, got some silk undies for Naoko, some chopsticks for Naoko and I, and some other stuff. The flight was OK – I drank lots of beer, I watched “Goodbye Lenin” and “Viva Las Vegas,” and half of “Blazing Saddles.” “Blazing Saddles” I didn’t remember as being terribly funny, but when I watched it again with my full attention I found that it was very funny indeed. I will have to rent it some time and give it more of my full attention. Got to Singapore, bought duty free booze, failed in finding good duty free electronics, then took a cab home to see my darlings, both sleeping. Played guitar and drank gin until 2:30 AM.

Saturday, woke up at 8:30, saw a joyful Zen again, watched those Spiderman DVDs, ate breakfast, hung out resting, went off to the Sixth Avenue post office to pick up a package for Naoko (from Aki – books), then back home for naps. Went off to eat Indian food in the evening, although it was pretty crappy, then off to West Mall to hang out, watch trains and buses, and look at shops without buying anything. Back home, shower and sleep for Zen, gin and guitar for me.

Sunday, woke up at 8, watched Spiderman DVDs and tidied and ate, then off to the supermarket to pick up provisions. Hung out, let Zen play with the kids, then while he napped I prepared for my Monday. The usual. Went for a swim, Sean came over for dinner and drinks (Chinese dumplings and hot and sour soup) as we listened to U2, Kodomo, Spitz. Life is good.

Movie Reviews: Viva Las Vegas – Elvis sings the title song three times throughout the film, as well as a bunch of other crappy numbers. Ann Margaret really lights up this movie, and she practically outshines ole Elvis himself. She is, actually, stunning. Funny – in modern Hollywood she would surely have had implants, but who cares when you have legs like that – mama mia!! The plot of the film is terrible, not any better than any of the other Elvis films, but the ending is good – an exciting race scene that rivals even the stupid pod race in Star Wars Episode 1 – the Phantom Menace. Cool watching Elvis pilot a helicopter and waterski through life…

Movie Reviews: Goodbye Lenin – I had the impression that this film was a comedy. Sure, it has a funny premise, but most of this charming film is actually deadly earnest. The less I say about this film the better, probably, since it is clever, unpredictable, and totally engaging. Small quibbles aside, it is probably one of the best, most surprising films I have seen in a long time. Great, great, great. But if you must know, at least, what it is about, it concerns a struggling East German family in 1989. As the wall comes down, the matriarch of the family suffers a heart attack. As she wakes up from a long coma, doctors advise that she must not suffer any excitement. Of course, this means that she can’t know about the reunification, so her family goes into the routine of pretending that East Germany still existed. Very interesting, touching, and original.

DVD review: Spiderman, the ’67 original TV series – A wild ride into the sixties, a time when animated TV series didn’t need to make sense. Cheap crap that I used to watch on idle Saturday and Sunday mornings before the real cartoons started showing, I loved watching Spiderman for its freaky music, psychadelic backdrops, bizarre dialogue, strange repeats of a dozen webswinging scenes, and general psychadelic mayhem. Now that I am 35 years old, I find the old episodes quite dull and fairly difficult to watch, although certainly good for a laugh. I now have about 20 hours of Spiderman animation on my hands, more than enough to satisfy any one person. Would you like a disc?

Coming up – CD reviews!!

To the yellow Batmobile, Robin!

four guests

Monday, July 19th, 2004

Hey, it was a fun Sunday. Zen slept until 8:30 today, I think it is because the curtains had been drawn and he didn’t get so much early morning light. Have to remember that for next weekend, I sure needed that extra 90 minutes of sleep today… Spent lots of time cleaning up, then went off to buy groceries for the week, the usual Sunday thing – bus, ride on the yellow batmobile, then wander around keeping Zen amused while Naoko has fun comparing prices of sausages, olives, bacon… Got home, Zen stayed wide awake, I thought he would be awake through until the evening, but then while watching the ABC DVD he dropped right off. Did some reading and prep, then Zen woke up happily at 5. We waited for a while, then our friends came over at 6. We drank beer, ate, and talked for hours and hours. Zen went off for a walk with Suzuki-san. We went for a late-night pool dessert session, which was fun, and they went off at 10:30 or so. I need to prepare for my flight to Shanghai, so it is a little rushed around the house here at 11:30 PM. Here is a happy pic of the day – how rare is it to get 6 people all looking at the camera and smiling…

Everybody smile!

Susan in Singapore

Sunday, July 18th, 2004

Hey, a fun Saturday. We woke up at 7, got ready and tidied and cleaned and did laundry and ate and ran around until 10, then went off to the Esplanade to rendezvous with Susan, visiting Singapore on a flight from Dubai with Emirates, where she works as a stewardess. Cool fun, we hung around the Esplanade, watched musicians set up, Zen ate raisins and was shy, then we went walking off to the Raffles hotel, wandered around, took pictures, chatted, then went off to Tienjing restaurant for some yummy food. Looked at books, then headed off to take the 77 bus home. Zen seemed sleepy, and sure enough he fell asleep in my arms before the bus arrived. It sure was fun seeing Susan, now in Singapore of all places, instead of hometown Nishinomiya where we all met. Zen slept in the bus, and then when we finally got home he woke up and cried. Yoiks. We watched a bit of TV, and he played with Xavier and Stephanie, then they went off. Zen and I went off to get some prata from the prata guys, came across Sean, so we had him over to eat prata. Yummy. Listened to some tunes, like Belle and Sebastian, or Jonathan Richman, then went off for a walk, came back for a shower, orange eating, tooth brushing, sleeping. I am pretty tired today. Naoko is still out with her friends, hope she doesn’t come home too late – for her sake. She isn’t happy without all of her sleep.

Bit of a bummer – discovered today that our VCR is on the fritz. This won’t do. Better find out what is wrong with it, or get a new one lickety split.

Name that forgotten heavy metal classic - check out the lyrics, identify the band:

You weave your spell
Your eyes they beckon me
Your lips they speak, lies and misery
I know it’s wrong, but I can’t turn away
The flames draw near, they’re telling me to stay

Your love burns bright, and yet the flames are cold
This time I fear, you won’t be back no more
When will it end, your love consumes my soul
Into the fire, I’m being tempted once more

Take me back whera I came back
Don’t wanna see your face no more
You broke my heart, now it’s not the same
I’m falling, again
I’m falling, again
Into the fire

This song is by:

A) the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
B) the Pixies
C) Dokken
D) the Velvet Underground

It was not a dream - Susan really was in Singapore

Spider Bear

Saturday, July 17th, 2004

Hey ho, what a week. Busy, busy, busy. What kept me so busy this week? Well – the usual e-newsletters, of course, and also helping my boss write a speech – actually, 2 interns did most of the work, but I still did some myself. Then I did lots of emailling and phoning and preparing for the Shanghai trip, meetings, lunches, hanging out, and I watched 3 movies!! Got some meetings in Shanghai set up, even possibly one with Jeff Premer, my old buddy from Shanghai. A bit of poking around on the internet, I found a mention of him in an old Forbes article even. Amazing!

Learned how to play Prince’s “Purple Rain” this week. Hey – it’s easy!

Got a call from Susan in Dubai. She is in Singapore! We can meet up tomorrow!! So cool!!!

I wish I could remember some of the interesting things that happened this week… sob.

Movie Reviews: Very briefly… S21 – The Khymer Rouge Killing Machine. A documentary by a Cambodian director about Tuol Sleng, a prison where the innocent were sent to be interrogated and killed. Barely anybody survived, but this film shows a survivor as he discourses with five of his former prison guards, picking through the debris and detritus of the camp, the notes of the interrogators, trying to make sense of the madness. Concluding that the state had the policy of finding guilt, even when there was none, and expanding guilt to cover the entire country and eradicate all life through a nonsensical spiral of paranoia, he can only shake his head. Former guards, “good people forced by the state to become devils,” joylessly re-enact their joyless routines. The director displays extraordinary skill in the way he builds up his story, where he shows the survivor painting, then he explains the scene of the painting how it really happened – the subject: himself! The camera pans around the painting, and his words carve a deep wound in our minds. In one scene one of the former thugs pounds mindlessly at a broken, old typewriter; in another scene a man goes through a pile of ashes and debris, pulling out a button. Throughout the film, the weather is perfect, the atmosphere serene, soundless save the chirping of birds. Yet the legacy of violence is all in the memories of the participants. Stunning. The Boy Who Plays On The Buddhas Of Bamiyan, a documentary about Afghanistan and the town where the giant 1600 year old Buddha carvings, which were until just recently the highest stone carvings on earth. Following a year in the live of a young 8-year-old boy named Mir, as well as his eccentric, mendicant cave-dwelling family, we see the seasons change, we hear about the 20-year oppression of the Soviets, the Taliban, and the civil warriors, before the recent American peace (if that is what it really is – we hope so, at least). We see UN money drift into town, where the ruins of the Buddha of Bamiyan are boarded up pending restoration, and the lives of the local people improve to the level where they even have restaurants that they can eat cooked dishes in. A beautifully-shot film in a fantastical land, but not really up to snuff as an interesting film. Mir, of course, is a doll, and his family sympathetic, so there is something there at least… Dickie Roberts, Former Child Star, a so-so comedy starring David Spade. Some very funny moments, but this guy hardly has what the best comedians have, despite 20 years of working his butt off. He is as un-funny as all those other un-funny guys. That’s why he’s David Spade. But he is trying to be an actor/writer/producer, so more power to him. The strong point, the genius, of Dickie Roberts is probably in its casting, where it manages to rope in all sorts of former child stars, probably for peanuts, and to give dozens of other actors bit parts. Unfortunately, two thirds of the movie involves the plot, which is where Dickie hangs out with a FAMILY (?!?) so that he can study for a part in a Rob Reiner movie (Rob Reiner – former child star?) which will revive his career (?!?) as a child star. Oh well. Next.

One of these fish is a murderer

Sunday, July 11th, 2004

Hey ho, a Saturday in the city of Singapore. Zen got us up early. We did some launry and swept our filthy floors, then went off to the botanical garden. It was quite nice and cool, overcast, potentially… rainy! Went on the bus and Zen was excited to be there. A little quiet, we thought he might be sleepy. Got to the garden and walked around, left after only a short while because it seemed like it would rain. As we were walking along an asphalt path, a small durian about the size of a toaster dropped onto the path just in front of us. It nearly clobbered a jogger even! Yoiks!! I will never again laugh about those “beware of falling durians” signs. And it wasn’t even a big one! Got on bus 174 and went to eat at Xifu restaurant, a restaurant in a HDB complex that Naoko had read much about and wanted to eat at. It was quite good, then on the bus going back Zen pooed, then fell asleep. I had to carry a smelly sleepy Zen uphill for 10 minutes when we got back home, then got to work on the computer and stuff. Sheesh. Also rearranged the furniture in my office more sensibly, now there is much more space in the room, and I have better desk space. Why didn’t I do this from the start?

Zen slept until 4:30, then we took him swimming. Had a nice bike ride, then a nice dinner. Zen surprised us by asking to try some of the olives we were eating. We were even more surprised when he said he liked it and asked for another!! There are lots of adults who don’t like olives, and I don’t think many kids like them. Bravo, Zen, you are already a gourmand. We had some super creamy Sachertorte-like cake that some friends we passed at the pool gave us. After we ate the cake, Zen said “brush teeth.” What a clever kid, he knows what he needs to do. Then we went off for a long walk, then some guitar practicing while Zen had a bath and finally book reading and bed by 10:00. Late. I tried to play a Husker Du song today, “Never Talking To You Again,” it was super easy, I learned it in a minute. Wow. A minor, E, A minor, E…

Name that forgotten heavy metal tune - check out the lyrics, identify the song:

In the dead of night
She’ll come and take you away
Searing beams of light and thunder
Over blackened plains
She will find her way

Flying high through the night
She will hide your fate
As she takes your soul from under
And the blinding light of the castle fades

There is no escape
It’s the ending of your precious life

Is this song by:

A) Iron Maiden
B) Judas Priest
C) Queensryche
D) Trixter

The story of our fish: after our experience with a cat in Japan (for those who don’t know, Zorro became a wild cat – on our last day in the apartment, he panicked and jumped out the window, aparently to live happily ever after in the fields near our old apartment in Nishinomiya), we didn’t feel good about getting pets again, but when it was Zen’s birthday we thought it would be nice to get him fish. He is always fasincated by the fish in fishtanks he sees anywhere. Having water in the apartment, like a fish tank or a big brimming bowl of water or a fountain, is supposed to be good for the old fengshui. So we got a tank for his birthday, with a bunch of guppies and a bunch of neon tetra. Zen didn’t seem to interested in the fish, but it was nice having them. Slowly the fish died off, one by one, until there was only one left. We went to another fish shop, and a guy sold us 11 goldfish for $1. What a deal!! One of the fish died in the first week, and another one died after being stunned by something that fell in the tank, but the other nine did very very well indeed. Then one day last week I counted the fish and I noticed that… there were only seven left. This means that one, or maybe two, of those fish… is a MURDERER!!!

Which one?

one of these fish is a murderer…

Saturday, July 10th, 2004

Hey ho, a Friday day, took the day off to take care of stuff and to have a long weekend. Stayed at work late the night before, but it was worth it. Got up at 7:30, had breakfast, I took Zen to school by bicycle, came home and showered and fooled around. A massive butterfly flew into our living room before we left. I was thinking that it would be nice if it was still there in the evening so that Zen could see it. Then went out to Cambridge school to have a look at it. It seems like nice school, closer to home than the current one, but I don’t know if we should move Zen there. Then took the bus downtown, had a nice sushi and Korean dumplings lunch next to the fountain in the Takashimaya basement, then went off to see the movie. Spiderman 2. It was quite good. Walked around a bit looking for a hair trimmer, but could only find crappy/expensive ones. Clippers shouldn’t be expensive! Went to the building where Naoko works and bought sunglasses, that was pretty good. Naoko found a cool pair of heavy thick plastic black bug Salvdore Ferragamos (fakes?) and I found some Pilice frames, slim and silvery. Took the bus home and picked up Zen. Walked Zen back home. He peed when we were near home – he was at a bus stop, and some pretty girl was sitting there. He left a puddle near her feet – I said sorry to the girl, but she probably thinks we’re jerks. Went home, the butterfly was still there, so we let Zen focus on it. nice. Had a lovely dinner, drank Barons beer, I took Zen for a walk, then a bath, then some reading, and sleep glorious sleep. We watched 24 and another episode of the Sopranos, then this. Gonna go to sleep soon…

Movie Review – Spiderman 2: A good movie, but it is funny with things like this where you see what the script follows from the comic book version what it truncates. In PP’s relationship with MJ, they jumped about 30 years, which is interesting. This movie picks up where PP is struggling to pay the bills. He is a very human guy, and even though he has super powers, he is like all of us and has to scramble to meet his commitments, he is struggling to stay afloat, and he doesn’t know how he is going to pull through. Doc Ock is well cast, although the decision to say that his robot arms are independent of his brain, they have artificial intelligence, is a bit odd; so is the way that dozens of people see him without his mask (all right – so the Superman and Batman movies never showed this at all); so is the re-use of a burning building; and the unexplained disappearance of his powers. Lots of things were good, of course, among them the goofy humour bits, such as J. Jonah Jameson, the “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” sequence, and others. Bruce Campbell has an excellent cameo as an usher, Sam Raimi himself is self-deprecating as JJJ’s assistant, and the Korean-American GI “Tom Baker” from the second season of “24″ turns up too. Interesting what the film sets up – obviously we are going to see Green Goblin mark 2, although hopefully with better special effects, and maybe the introduction of the Sinister Six with the Lizard, Man-Wolf, the Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus (nobody saw him die), and maybe the Black Cat (or the Black Widow?) springing up from the landlord’s skinny daughter. But let’s see what happens.

I can draw Spiderman!

hi ho he ha

Friday, July 9th, 2004

Hey ho, another Thursay. The difference is that THIS Thursday is the last day before a long weekend, at least for Naoko and me – we took Friday off so that we can go look at a different kindergarten for Zen, and to go see Spiderman 2, plus do some shopping.

’twas a busy day today. Got to work early, but had to wait around for 20 minutes or so before somebod came to open the door. Did some work, then rushed off to Raffles Place for another banking event. Talked to some techie guys about recent fraud methods, including the new one that is just being exposed with Internet Explorer, then went off to lunch with the boss where we got to talk about his recent trip to Japan, other fun stuff. Then some hard work, my computer crashed twice, then some calls, then frustration, then a one hour meeting. It could have been longer, but boss looked like he had to go off somewhere. Then the train home, bus came right away, had dinner, went out to buy a beer, and now writing this.

New Feature – name that forgotten heavy metal tune. Check out the lyrics, identify the song:

We’re a ship without a storm the cold without the warm light inside the darkness that it needs yeah
We’re a laugh without a tear the hope without the fear we are coming home
We’re off to the witch we may never never never come home
But the magic that we’ll feel is worth a lifetime
We’re all born upon the cross the throw before the toss
You can release yourself but the only way is down

Is this song by:

A) Iron Maiden
B) Judas Priest
C) Dokken
D) Teenage Head

the Kangaroo Rider

Wednesday night lyrics

Thursday, July 8th, 2004

Hey ho,it’s a Wednesday night. OK. What happened recently. Tuesday was a normal day – I got to work, worked and worked and worked, then went out to lunch with a colleague and a cool PR person from a local foreign bank. Brazilian food, a whole pan fried fish with yummy other stuff, nice dessert, coffee. Long talks, and a pleasant walk back to the office. Grinding out stories this week, sheesh. Left at 7:20, then went to the Esplanade library to drop off DVDs. Couldn’t take out any new ones, already have too many DVDs to watch already. In the evening, Zen went to sleep soon after I got home, and it was only 9:00 or so. Just as I was singing Zen to sleep (Spiderman theme and Happy Birthday to you), the phone rang. And rang and rang and rang. Naoko wasn’t answering it, so finally I went to answer. I picked it up, just as somebody on the other end was hanging up. I think it could have been a call from Canada. Too bad. Naoko and I watched an episode of the Sopranos season 3, got the DVD set from a former colleague. It is brilliant, of course. At 2:30 in the morning the phone rang. Some telephone operator was talking to me. I was too sleepy to remember what she said, I think it was something like confirming my name or something. I guess mum and dad must be behind this somehow, but why? And what does it mean?

Today, Wednesday, I took the wrong bus, so I went to a different MRT station and had to double back. No worries, it was interesting. Laid out a Chinese e-newsletter, then laid out an article, did a bunch of stuff, very busy. OK. Met an insurance guy, had a late lunch, sent out a second e-newsletter, then met a cool Korea-American PR girl who told my colleague and I about the upcoming Shanghai conference. Amazing. Worked until 6:15 when I found out I could no longer do any work, then headed out for dinner and drinks at Harry’s Bar on Boat Quay, right downtown, where the Foreign Correspondents Association was meeting for drinks and talk. Hung out a bit, networked, met people, exchanged a few cards – I didn’t bring enough – and headed back. I wonder if I should join or not… Got back at 9:45, Zen was still awake, yay. He was asleep 15 minutes later, and now I have time to update my blog, hang out, watch some Sopranos…

Book Review – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Unlike the last huge and heavy book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, in this huge and heavy book we find out what the Order of the Phoenix is almost right away (whereas we have to wait until the end of the other book to find out what the Goblet of Fire is). I likes HP4 a lot, it was much richer and more developped than HP1, HP2, and HP3. HP5 is OK – all the reviews when it came out stressed how very ANGRY Harry is all of the time, and sure enough they weren’t kidding – the anger is a bit overblown, but it is clearly an adolescent thing, an orphan thing, and all that other stuff. The book develops nicely, all of the villains are villainous, the mysteries grow and flourish. The book is incrdibly rich, as the brilliant ideas are fast and furious, the theatrical decorative flourishes interesting (the three friends chatting seriously while they idly manipulate saucers that they have bewitched to grow legs, for example). You can just tell how many “this will look really cool in the movie when it comes out” moments there are. One odd thing about the books is that, even as I am admiring how brilliant Rowling is at unfurling clever plots, I find myself forgetting what has transpired in other books, or even in the same book; it is so of-the-moment, that it is in a sense actually quite forgettable! Oh well. Unfortunately, it seems that after so much laborious development, the ending feels very rushed; villains like the dasdardly Draco Malfoy hardly do anything worthy of the contempt we want to show them, and once again the wizarding world seems like a place where only high school-age kids are able to detect evil threats and put a stop to them – it is wholly Harry’s story. Unfortunately, he seems to not really be developping as a character, barely any further along in this book than he was in the first. Oh well, let’s see what happens in HP6, HP7, and HP8, when they finally come.

New Feature – name that forgotten heavy metal tune. Check out the lyrics, identify the song:

So destiny has bought us
Oh so close together
We were like angels in the night
Living the dream
At last I’ll be with you forever
And all at once it feels so right

Fever. You set my soul on fire
Fever. You fill me with desire
Fever. You always get it right
Fever. All day and all night

Is this a song by:

A) Iron Maiden
B) Dokken
C) Judas Priest
D) Trixter

Say hi to Zen

Hello!  Hi!  Hello!  Hi!

feeling a little blahhh…

Tuesday, July 6th, 2004

Hey ho, another Monday, got a lot done, sort of, but still it was only about half of what I accomplished last Monday, somehow. Oh well. Not much to mention about today, other than I got home at 8 to find Naoko feeling ill, I took care of Zen and let her get to sleep around 8:30. I hope she’s feeling better tomorrow.

Saw Sean Bermingham in the bus today, he gave me some Spiderman cards and the poster from his movie magazine, I gave them to Zen, who is still Spiderman crazy. “Piderman, Piderman,” he yells. He can’t pronounce his “s” so well yet. He always asks me to sing the Spiderman theme song. I play the Ramones cover version of the theme song, he sings along. This is his introduction to the Ramones, cool.

on the couch