Archive for November, 2004

a Very Special Wednesday

Friday, November 26th, 2004

Yesterday was a very special Wednesday. Why? Because Wednesday, November 24, 2004, will only come once. Nothing special happened, though. Worked my way through the day, did a BBC interview in the morning (which I taped, but then came home to find it had not recorded properly – oh, darn), then a yucky lunch with the boss (bad food, great company) and three others, then back to work. Tried to leave at 6, left at 7:15 anyway. On my way home, Naoko phoned me and asked me to drop by the hawker center near home to pick up Zen’s school bag, which she had left behind. Oh well. Zen slept late, I had a nice time watching the rest of the Matrix Reloaded (still think that’s a good movie) and then to sleep – late. When will I learn to get to sleep early when I have the opportunity? Thursday I had a meeting in mid-morning, and a meeting in mid-afternoon, so not a lot got done in between, actually. Had a nice lunch of Taiwanese noodles near Raffle’s Hotel. Had an Irish Coffee in mid-afternoon, as we talked about credit bureaux in the bizarrely-lit Post Bar in the Fullerton Hotel. Nice place, though. Off at 6, to Sim Lim Square to buy a hard drive container to plug into my computer so that I can recover all of my old files. Hope it works. Now my computer is updating some security files – at a snail’s pace! – and I am killing time while it gets done. What’s happening? Gonna play guitar, shower, and go to sleep early tonight.

in the walkman: Can, Neu, Loop, I’m Sore, Iggy Pop, the New York Dolls, MC55, Patti Smith, Fernando Rodriguez, Reynols, Tractor Chain, Warser Gate, Green Tea For Aliens, Atomic Crash, Enola Gay, 50 Hole Head, and Mike Landucci.


Wednesday, November 24th, 2004


It’s been pointed out to me that some spammers are putting comments in my blog. What purpose this serves, I cannot tell, except occupying portions of the internet. Terrible people.

What has happened? This morning it was strange – every time I looked at my watch, it was a lot earlier than I had imagined. My brain is feeling mushy theses days – maybe I need more sleep.

What did we do on the weekend? Saturday Naoko had to work. We took the bus downtown at 9, Naoko went to work and Zen and I went off to the MRT line, got on a train and went to the airport. Got there, rode the shuttle between terminal 1 and terminal 2 about three times, then we got some food and snacks. Weird – at the airport there is this fancy shop that sells the same food that a regular hawker center sells, at cheap prices. The ladies working there speak horrible English, and also their Mandarin is not so hot. This is an INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT!! Strange. Took the train to Clementi, did some shopping, then back home for lunch. The whole trip took about 4 hours. I was exhausted. Got Zen his lunch, but then he wouldn’t sleep. I was exhausted, but Zen just wanted to run around, watch TV, whatever. Did some work I needed to do, some drawing, some cleaning, Naoko came back, took Zen beer shopping and doing other errands, then when Zen finally went to sleep at 8 we watched 2 movies – Chungking Express, and the end of Zatoichi. Sunday we slept in, then went off to the mall for grocery shopping. Zen was well-behaved for the most part, although he did cry and wail one part of the shopping trip. Got home, he watched DVDs, then went to sleep nicely at 1:30. I got lots of stuff done while he slept, then when he woke up, we went for a walk, and a bike ride, and then later to play with Nawei upstairs. Made plans with Nawei’s folks to go to see the Incredibles next weekend – Zen’s first film in the movie theater. Zen went to sleep and we watched a bit of the Matrix while we wrapped Christmas presents. Monday was the regular meeeting. Before I went off to work, turned on the BBC and watched my spot – just a few 10 second clipperoos. I give the dire warning that a major bank merger may not even go down at all! Let’s see if that happens or not. Dull-ish day – did lots of little things, hope my stories will come together after all. Gonna haveta see. Mailed Christmas presents off to Ralph and family, airmailled them because it was only a little more cost than surface anyway. I wonder if anybody sends surface mail any more… Got home late, read to Zen, tired, he was up until 10:30. Watched the end of Matrix and drank b, eerrrrrrr… Tuesday, more work, small errands, working, eating, meeting, hanging out, chatting. Got home late, of course, tired, ate and showered, Zen wanted to watch Spiderman 2 until late, had to shut it off, he cried, read 4 stories to him until he went to sleep finally at 10:30. Too late. Watched a bit of Matrix Reloaded. Cool movie.

(not) one week

Saturday, November 20th, 2004

Hey ho, this time I’m not waiting a week to update my blog. Yesterday, Thursday, was a pretty regular day – kind of mellow around the office, except for a busy patch at noon. I did a bit of shopping – bought an alarm clock to replace the one that went screwy, then looked into the local CD shop to see if these guys plan on carrying the new Nirvana box or not. I did a bunch of work, went home in the evening, wrote emails, got around to doing a nice bit of DVD making and video uploading. Let’s see how nicely this one happens and happensss… Friday was a super busy day – got to work, took care of some life-saving errands, wrote an article, went off to hear a talk and meet some risk management people, then back to prepare for a short TV interview (done in the office, for later rebroadcast), then fixing up articles and more errands and lots of lots of lots of. Got burned out – maybe the adrenaline rush of doing the TV interview and all the nervousness associated with that, or the crappy lunch I had at the talk (yucky chicken kebabs, gross stale pigs-in-a-blanket). Went home, blew off the staff bowling excursion, and then back home for dinner. Exhausted.

DVD review – Farhenheit 9/11: “I need a big black marker.” The war president, pen guns. “Even if you do know them, you really can’t trust them.” Tough, tough movie. Hard to tell the point of some of the scenes, but ultimately the message is powerful – people get hurt, and nobody really knows why. A tough, audacious president, a secretive, manipulative leader. What is happening?

DVD review – In The Mood For Love: Great movie, clothes, sets, characters, cuts. We never see spouses. She barely ever eats, watches other family get excited over the rice cooker from Japan. “You notice things if you pay attention.” Rehearsing pickup lines in order to… what? “The Drunken Master just showed up.” Cautious even as spouses aren’t. Ghostly movement. Maggie’s face acting, Tony’s cigarette acting, hip-wiggningly great. Settings: home, office, alley. Whispers sectrets into hole in wall at Angkor Wat. Deleted scenes – skinny, buttoned up people eating. Lulu. 2046 sex scene.

week week week

Thursday, November 18th, 2004

Another bunch of days has gone by. How can I remember what we did on Saturday? I think that, maybe, we hung out in the morning, then went off to West Mall around 11. Did some grocery shopping, hung around in the library, read Harry Maclary and Ralph Steadman (?!?!) children’s books, then rode the bus and train for a bit before heading back home. Getting a bit hacking coughy in the afternoon. Edited a bunch of video stuff. In the evening – what? Watched 2046 for a while. I could only stomach an hour before I had to go to sleep. Okay. Sunday we took the bus downtown to see the Esplanade. Lots of Filipinas and Filipinos hanging out there, picknicking, eating, chatting, strolling around. A real party. The sky was getting dark, so we headed into the Esplanade and underground. Headed off to Raffles Place to eat lunch. Found a nice bakery-type place to eat at, which was fun. Met Zen’s classmates and their parents, which was cool. Went back by train and taxi and flaked out the rest of the afternoon. I went off to meet the guy I did two work projects for. He had paid me to write a transcript, then he commissioned me to create illustrations for that project. Well, he took the work off my hands, made excuses about payment and said that he’d pay me in November. Last November. It is November again so I called him and arranged a meeting. Now everything is different – the pictures had to be reworked by someone else, who charged $280, so instead of paying me $700 like he said he would, he was willing to give me a token payment of $100. It was a stupid situation, so I didn’t take his money and told him that he couldn’t use an illustration that was based on any of my original drawings since he hadn’t paid me a cent. Bummer. Took evening walks, edited video, and went to sleep. Monday, last day of our break, we resolved just to hang out in the house all day. Naoko took Zen off for a short walk, I edited video, we watched a bunch of movies, Zen played with other kids for a while, he stayed awake late late late. Finally at 7:30 he fell asleep in a really unusual position. It was quite funny. We watched Fahrenheit 9/11. What a scary movie. Finished editing my DVD and learning how to burn it, then when I sent it to burn it took a whopping SIX HOURS!!! How odd. I was coughing all night, so on Tuesday morning I decided that it would not really be worth going to work, so I took Zen to school by bicycle and then went off to the clinic to get some medicine. It turned out to be a 2-hour wait, but I got some good medicine, only paid $23 for the whole thing, and went back home to read, watch a bit more of Zatoichi, nap for 3 hours, and have some congee for lunch. Miriam came over at 4 with a new assignment for me, so I spent the next 4 hours doing that – an English document was translated into German and French, I had to go over the translation to confirm that it was good. It was mostly good, but I did find a few mistakes. At around 8:00 we saw Zen freeze up – we knew that meant he was ready to do a poo, so we took him over to the toilet, got him to take off his pants and underwear, and put him on the toilet. After about a minute it came, his first potty on the toilet. We cheered and clapped – victory! Oh well. Got to sleep not-too-late. Wednesday there I was back at work finally, first time in a while, with a sweater to protect myself from the aircon. Had lunch with old colleagues and new colleagues, did some work all afternoon. At 6:00 I was out the door and off to meet Patrick Godin, in town to sell guitars. Excellent – off to Holland VIllage by taxi to see Zen and Naoko and have some yummy Chinese food. Pat told me that he was going to get me a nice left-handed guitar, since his company had just started making leftie electrics. Hooray! I should get it in January. Nice time – eating and drinking with Pat, talking about kids and future plans. Went off to Wala Wala for some beers, but the place was too crowded, so off we went to Harry’s, the new pub (part of a local chain) that had just opened next to it. Ran into Paul, a guitarist who uses Godin guitars to play his show downtown, and his wife Anne for some good time conversation. Went home at 10, Zen was fussy and wanted a shower and insisted on washing his hair. Yaaaaaahhhhhh… Wrote emails, wrote blog, went to sleep…

edge-of-sofa napping Zen

meeting with Pat in Holland Village

pickle heaven

Saturday, November 13th, 2004

I’m pissed off – I just spend 1 hour writing this one-week entry, and then I lost it.

Time to write about these five days all over again. Oh well here goes. I have nothing else important to do tonight…

Monday was just a regular day. I guess I did a few work-thingies, then went home not-late. Got home, played with Zen, read his favorite new book – a birthday present from Ralph and Nicole – and then he went to sleep. Watched a bit of Kll Bill Volume 2, but I got too tired. Tuesday was OK, I had prepared some work to do at home, so I got down to writing an article and making a whole bunch of notes. I didn’t get all of the stuff done that I wanted to, but some progress was made. Finished watching Kill BIll Volume 2 over lunch – plain rice with olives and feta cheese. Too lazy to cook or even go out for food. Nothing too exciting, except the noon-time rainstorm. I guess it’s monsoon season now, so this sort of thing happens from time to time. Well – on a daily basis, that is. Regular evening, then I did a bit more work until 11 ro so. Nice day – barely went out, got something done. Wednesday a relatively busy day in the office, got my last three articles for the Journal done, which feels good. I can start new projects next week then with all of my October stuff finally really wrapped up. Left work early-ish for the results meeting of a local bank, which involved a bunch of us journalists sitting around the executive lounge of the 33rd floor of their building downtown in Singapore, looking out over the Singapore river and Boat Quay, as we have coffee and discuss bank results. Quite nice, quite fun. All the journalists rushed away to file their reports, my colleague and I stayed behind to eat up the yummy dim sum steamed tasties. Cool. I went home after that, and ate a lovely curry dinner with Zen and Naoko. After Zen went to sleep, Naoko and I watched Beat Takeshi’s new version of Zatoichi on DVD. I could only watch half, before I got too sleepy and had to give up. No matter, I’ve already seen it, this was just for Naoko’s sake. The next morning she told me that it was excellent. Thursday and our first day off of five consecutive days – two national holidays (Deepavali and Hari Raya, a weekend, and one requested day off to round iti out. We drag our sleepy asses out of bed and get on a bus. Our mission – to explore upper class Singapore architecture, i.e. see the expensive houses on Swiss Club Road. Some nice houses, especially the one-level house with stone exteriors on the top of the hill, gorgeous shade provided by two huge ancient spreading trees. Classy. Some OK cars too. We walked up the hill, until we were tired, then walked down. Got to Turf City and went to Giant to do some grocery shopping. That was OK. Took a cab home, and Zen went to sleep and I could poot around on the computer. OK. Zen woke up and I tried to get him to go swimming with me, but the cranky kid put up a fuss, so I went on my own. Then after a quick couple of laps, out he comes with Naoko, and I go again, this time with Zen. We go back, change, get ready to go downtown, but it starts raining again. Zen pouts and asks why it’s raining, why we can’t go on the bus. WHY? WHY? He seems to think that we can turn off a rainstorm like a tap at our convenience whenever we want to go places – no delays! Well, it doesn’t work like that, and he’s going to be very disappointed to find that out some day, but until then I guess he’ll hold it against us. Ha ha. So when it stops raining, we go out, and Zen is jumping with glee. We take bus number 66 to Serangoon in Little India to enjoy the Deepavali festivities, the festival of light and Indian new year for our neighbours of South Asian heritage. Zen meets a nice old lady on the bus, and she and Naoko have a conversation in broken Chinese (the old lady’s Hokkien, so her Mandarin is not so hot), and she gives Zen a cake. Nice old lady. In the train we see previews of “the Polar Express.” I wonder if we should take Zen to see it – he loves trains, but something about the creepy computerized kids makes me wonder it it’s such a good idea. In Little India, we walk around, get some food (yummy mango lasshi and samosa and tosai, so-so parattha), and then to the temple to look around at the prayers and festivities, then some pictures under the lights, then some groceries – Indiian pickles, tumeric, and Indian coffee. Take a taxi home, after lots of wandering about, and sleep. Naoko and I drink beer and watch Wong Kar Wai’s “Days of Being Wild.” Friday is another day off, we do chores in the morning, give Zen a cute little haircuut, and get out of the house at 10:30 to go into town to run errands and to let Zen enjoy being on the train and bus again. We just miss a bus by 20 seconds, then wait 10 minutes for a new one. Zen is happy to be on a train again. We get out in Tanjong Pagar, where I work, and I show Naoko and Zen around a bit. We go to the post office to pick up the parcel that had arrived for us from Naoko’s mom, and spend 20 minutes opening it up right there in the post office. Inside is a nice handicraft from Naoko’s mom, three t-shirts for Zen (a little small), some flowery pajamas for Naoko, a magazine, a handbag, and some Japanese pickles (we’re in pickle heaven this week). The sky is looking dark, but we go off for a walk through Duxton Plain Park, a snaking park that is formed of the strip of land between the backyards of two rows of old style Singapore shop houses that runs between Tanjong Pagar and Outram Park, a green, cool, quiet little hideaway from the world. Nice place to chill, watch frolicking kitties, and sometimes get bit by mosquitoes. Took our lunch across the street from the hated Pearl’s Centre, then on the train to go home. It busted out in heavy thundershowers while we were on the train, and so we were on a taxi home again. Got home, Zen went to sleep, and I went off to the Apple Centre to find out more about the products, etc. Seems like the Mac version of MS Office is not too expensive, so I think I’ll be getting that – will need Word and Messenger for work, actually, no way around that if I can’t get the for-free Open Office to work… sigh. Tried to find out about the iPod mini that I’ve been borrowing from my neighbour for the week and why that won’t work, but well I guess not everything works well all of the time. Got home, read a bit, and now it’s evening already. Writing, reading, preparing. Had a nice dinner of hamburgers. Zen was being stubborn and defiant, not eating his yummy hamburger because he sneaked around us and filled up on strawberry snacks. Oh well.

DVD Review – Kill Bill Voume Two: no, absolutely not as good as the first one in any way. Interesting resolution to the story, with barely any great fighting (except the fight with Elle Driver in close quarters, and in the toilet. Not a nice ending to Michael Madsen’s character. Plenty of the typical revenge movie cliches – bad guys think they’ve killed the good guy (i.e. buried her alive), but the good guy escapes death and does them in, yawn. And also the “bad guy comes across as a good guy all of a sudden, but actually is really still a bad guy” kind of stuff. The music is not so great. See Elle Driver drive. See Beatrix Kiddo drive. Nice church scene, and the church shootout is not at all as bloody as I feared it would have been. Split screen effects cool, black mambo cooler, but still not really enough good ideas to go around for the whole films.

DVD Review – Days of being wild: Like any film about a creepy playboy, it’s hard to like the character as we watch him juggle two women. In other words, it’s the Unbearable Lightness of Being, but not as bearable. If anything, it will make some of us take note of who we are with on April 16th at 3:00, but still not a substantial film really. Follows the split-country form of many of Wong’s films, and the introduction of Christopher Doyle’s stunning cinematography is a welcome addition. In fact, it makes you wonder if Wong Kar Wai’s greatness isn’t really… Doyle. I seem to remember his film “Away With Words” being as good as anything Wong has given us, or nearly so were it not for the annoying Brit acting in it. FInally get to see the 3 minutes of primping that Tony Leung’s character does at the end of the film that sets up “In The Mood For Love” and “2046.” And, of course, Maggie Cheung is gorgeous.

The Zen Report: Zen likes to ask for his favorite new book, the Lynley Dodd story book about cats featuring Slinky Malinki (love that name) and Scarface Claw. Nice stuff. He also seems to be a bit off in his concepts – he’s smiling from ear to ear, we ask him “are you happy?” he says “no.” He has taken to kind of singing some simple dum dum dum dum dum kind of stuff. Very cute.

In the walkman: Jello Biafra (spoken word) and Henry Rollins (spoken word)

the Play Doh kid

Deepavali lights

opening a present!

So funn!!

birthday birthday birthday boy

Saturday, November 6th, 2004

Another week has gone by. What did we do from last Sunday until today, the following Saturday… Sunday Yuping was still here and we did some grocery shopping in the morning and then went off for a nice picnic lunch in the botanical garden with Yuping. Apparently it was her first picnic ever! Amazing. We stayed there for a while, then took a bus back home. Zen fell asleep in the bus and we all went home and took naps. In the evening I did some preparation for work. Yuping watched In the Mood for Love, 2046, Spiderman 2, Winnie the Pooh, and Love Actually while she was here – busy girl! Monday I went to work early, feeling the bite of a cold in my lungs, in fact all week I was coughing up funny stuff, although Monday was the only day I felt a bit crummy. Worked hard all morning in a meeting, writing perrspectives, then transcribing a presentation from the summit last week. Met Naoko and Zen and Yuping for lunch, and we ate Malay food near Tanjong Pagar station, which was nice. Good, yummy food. Went back to work and worked like a little bee until 8 or so. Got home, hung out with Yuping, went to sleep. Tuesday was yer typical really busy day at work. I forgot what I did, but I got home really late. Wednesday I worked at home. I spent the first 90 minutes of the day doing laundry and tidying, as is my wont to do when I have a moment to spare, and then got to work on the matters at hand, which mainly involved transcribing interviews. I was on such a roll, that I transcribed 20 pages before the end of the day! Busy guy. Thursday I had another busy day at work, but not all that much accomplished. Frustratiton at the start of the day – I wanted to send some sort of a registered letter to a place in Singapore, but the queue for stamps was in the payments queue, which would surely last forever, so I made the decision to hand-deliver it later that day. So What happened – I did work in the morning, then off to Boat Quay for a lunch with a banker to talk about contributing articles, then off to the ATM to pick up money, then off to hand-deliver my letter, then off to Outram Park and Pearl’s Centre to do a favour for Mitchan, i.e. put a payment on a ticket for her and a friend to fly to Japan. The stupid woman in the shop – fat, ugly, stingy, lazy, old, short, conceited – played mind games with me, and the payment of $600 became a mighty complicated affair. Yuck. Outram Park is a strange area, and the station is poorly designes, as are many stations on the new line – lots of underground walking and walking and walking, easy to get lost, etc. Somerset is like that too, and the Doby Ghaut interchange. Yuck. Walked back to work, which was nice – found a cool park to walk along. Got back to work, did 30 minutes of work, then off to a media conferrence with one of the world’s top bankers!! Wow. Tried to take a taxi, but it was just starting to rain… I decided to run and catch the MRT instead. Raffles Place MRT station is totally torn up, a real mess of barriers and misdirections. Terrible. Got there late, but the big man was late too. Listened to the press briefing as rain came down in buckets, lighting flashed, thunder rumbled across the world… Went back to the office to do more work, but not much more was accomplished. Went home, watched the first 45 minutes of “the Matrix” before going to sleep. Friday was another busy day. I hoped to finish 5 articles, but with meetings and other distractions, only 3 articles were comleted. Oh well. At 8:15, I called it a night and headed out with some co-workers for food, pool, and drinks. The food happened, the drinks didn’t, and then we were in a pub drinking pitchers of beer and singing karaoke. I got carried away and sang 5 Madonnna songs, Devo “Whip It” (!?!?), Black Sabbath “Paranoid” (!!!!!!!), “Wicked Game,” “Lola,” “Benny and the Jets,” “We are the World,” and a whole bunch others. What good fun. Co-workers these days are a lot more fun – I couldn’t see this happening with the bunch we had 6 months ago. Took a cab home and hung out for a while. Saturday, a day of missions. Went off to Zen’s school in the morning for a parent-teacher interview, and learned a bit about what kind of student Zen is. Shy, kind, loving, and sometimes a bit too much in his own zone. OK. Went off to the post office to pick up a package, which unfortunately wasn’t there, while Naoko bought groceries. Had late bus troubles, very strange. Got home, Zen went to sleep around 2, and we took naps, quite exhausted. Deep in sleep, I heard the doorbell ring once, then once again right away. I jumped out of bed and ran to the door, just in time to catch a postal delivery before he went into the elevator, some ratty looking guy who handed off a package to me before stalking away, as if I had done something to offend him. Creepy. It was a birthday package from Ralph and Nicole yay! Tried to get back to sleep, but no good. Zen woke up at 4, we got ready to go downtown to do a bit more shopping. Got there and saw that the fantastic Orchard Road Christmas lights were being set up, concidentally just in time for Deepavali (November 11) and Hari Raya (November 15th). Got out, crawled along the packed solid Orchard Road strip, getting annoyed with all the people. Got into Takashimaya and bought an umbrella for myself, much needed since my Knirps rusted and fell apart last month. So now I have an umbrella again. Went up to Kinokuniya books, and wandered around a bit. Naoko looked after Zen while I went off to the kids books section to find books for Zen. I found Maurice Sendak “In the Night Kitchen,” but unfortunately (or fortunately, as it turned out) they didn’t have the much-sought “Where The Wild Things Are.” Also found a good WInnie-the-Pooh book that has line-drawing practice, perfect for Zen. Went off to buy shoelaces at Mr. Minit, balked at the $6.50 price tag (for pieces of string? I hope they come with a guarantee), a b all for Zen, and some cake-making supplies. Went down Orchard to the old Orchard Plaza where Naoko used to work to eat Turkish food. After sitting down we found out that it’s no longer a Turkish restaurant, hasn’t been one for 4 months, although they still retain the Turkish imagery on the store sign. So we ate fish and chips and pizza. The fish and chips were quite good, but the pizza wasn’t. Went off to Clementi to search for cake base, happily finding one on the third try at Breat Time (not Bread Talk – Bread Time) just before closing, hooray. Got home, watched “Dodgeball,” went to sleep at 2 AM (tired…). Good day – some misses, but not as disasterous as the last attempt to do errands downtown. Sunday, Zen’s birthday. Zen woke up in a pissy mood, more or less, we sang him “happy birthday to you,” and he seems to understand that it is his special day, but then he took 2 hours to eat his one toast for breakfast. We made him wait before we let him change the paper on the calendar (his favorite thing to do mornings) and open the package, even though WE were dying of curiosity to see what had been sent. Little slacker! Eventually, he finished the last of that toast, and we opened the package – 2 t-shirts, and three books in side!! Wonderful – a Lynley Dodd book (“Slinky Malinky and Scarface Claw” stories), another Kapai book, and “Where the Wild Things Are.” Perfect, guys. Took care of some errands,listened to Joni Mitchell and Spitz, tidied, called Ralph and Nicole, John and Mika, prepared decorations (Happy Birthday Zen poster, with trains and buses), and ate a quick lunch. Wow. Three kids came over, Sunwoo Zavier and Nawi, and their parents, and we ate cake, drank coffee, and played games. Zen got a nice set of toy cars from Nawi, a play-dough set from Sunwoo, and a nice “fishing” game from Xavier. Perfect. Zen didn’t nap, so awake he stayed for hours, as he played with the other kids, then watched WInnie the Pooh, and went swimming with daddy (me). A perfect birthday, I think, although he didn’t play with his guests so much. Then dinner, the opening of our presents for him, some drawing in the book, reading “In the Night Kitchen,” and then sleep at 7:40. Whew. Now I can finally get some work done.

DVD Review – Dodgeball: Somewhat overrated sports comedy with Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn, reversing their hero/villain roles from that Starsky and Hutch film. This one is funnier, at least, then Starsky and Hutch, Along Came Polly, and (presumably) the straight-to-video Envy. Best thing about Dodgeball is the dialogue – not only the take-off of stilted sports commentary “Ouch, that’s gotta hurt,” “there’s a souvenir for a lucky fan,” and the use of “horse hockey” (a Colonel Potterism?), good lines like “separate the awkwardly feminine from the possibly Canadian,” and other gems. One of the teams was called “the She Mullets.” Good scene of S&M costumes, not to mention the cool teams they play like the rappers, David Hasselhoff-worshipping Germans, or the lumberjacks. Dodgeball!! Nice cameos from Lance Armstrong, William Shatner, and Chuck Norris.

DVD Review – Coffee and Cigarettes: Some weak skits, like the Benigni/Richard Wright clip, but always sharp dialogue, like the laconic Wright telling the wired Benigni “yeah, I’m wired too.” “I dream faster after I drink coffee.” Recurring themes and lines make it interesting. “Can you hear me?” “What?” You remind me of Heckle and Jeckle. So you must be the evil one. Tom and Iggy. “I can have one now, because I quit.” Reneee sequence really strange. Weird chick. Cheersing with coffee in every skit (why?). “Eveything’s fine. Really. Everything’s fine.” Checkered table. A collection of uncomfortable moments. Some scenes have no coffee, others no cigarettes, like the Cate Blanchett scene, with the uncomfortable cousin (also played by Cate?). “So Jack, are you going to tell me about your Tesla coil?” Lighing makes everybody look good. Alfred Molina, cool when he’s not Doc Ock. “Music and medicine. Bill Murray waiter, caffeine junkie, also “dreams faster.” Twins, cousings. Fanasstic voices, Drunk on coffee “is that all you’re having for lunch?” at night!!

Movie Review – Bambi: Finally got to see Disney’s fantastic movie about talking animals. Bambi born, learning to walk, talk, discovering the world. The motion is fantastic, the voices OK. Noticable absence of those preposterous comic relief/emotional deluge mmusical interludes, although music is used very well thoroughout, particularly in a rain sequence. Music of the firest. first snow, fantastic movement on spindly legs, owl explans love, kids grow up, skunks flirgint (yuck), aggressive females, creepy vampy bunny, Thumper thumps (triple pun?). “Hello, Bambi.” Fighting Bambi, “get up, Bambi!” Celine loves Bambi. Surreal/sexy licking and jumping. Walt’s fave. In the “making of” featurette, get to see the cool multi-pane/plane glass effect, interesting. By “TV is OK Productions.”

Book Review – the Bank Devils: So-so book about slacker expats getting involved in a kidnapping in Japan, then not sticking to their plan. Stupid. Compaisons could be made to the much superior “Gonin” film, but why go there? Some things about the book seem accurate, such as a description of banking operations, but some part of me suspects that the author never really spent much time in Japan. Unfortunately, none of the characters are in any way sympathetic.

In the Walkman: Iggy Pop, the New York Dolls, MC5, Patti Smith

The Zen report: Today we went to Zen’s school in the morning to talk about his progress. We heard all of the things we know about Zen – he is loving, he works hard, he is a little spaced out, he doesn’t quite grasp difficult concepts yet (time, piety), and he is sometimes not interested in doing some activities and tries to ignore the speaker, or that he is a bit of a follower… Seems that when other kids are naughty, he follows them in their naughtiness, and gets burned himself. Silly rabbit! Seems that he is OK with some of his activities, but some things he cannot redo on command – he is trained in an activity, but isn’t able to do it on command. I wonder why… Got some of his work books and reports, and some “homework.”

Zen and Peter, sitting in a tree...

birthday kids...