Archive for January, 2007


Sunday, January 14th, 2007

Busy week, kinda, as I got a personal project finished, nice, finally. I also started my Japanese lessons on Friday the 12th. The lesson started at 19:15 and went to 20:00 or so. The teacher has this machine-gun comedian delivery which I find bewildering, but it should help me to actually learn a bit of Japanese so that I can pass my Japanese Language Proficiency Test level 2 (level 1 is the highest) this December. Yay!

Yesterday I ordered some CDs from Amazon, can’t wait for them to get in:

Sunn0))) and Boris – “Altar”
Isis – Oceanic
Boredoms – “Seadrum/House of Sun”
Godflesh – “Messiah”
Jesu – “Jesu”
Led Zeppelin – DVD collection

Last night my friend Robert and I headed out to Wala Wala in Holland Village to check out the band there, great stuff. Once again they played “War Pigs,” great stuff. They also played “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and “the Immigrant Song” and a bunch of other fun songs.

Naoko and Zen are still in Japan, but they will be coming back to Singapore soon. Can’t wait – they’ve been gone nearly three weeks.

In Singapore, the word “cum” is used often in the way a slash would. “We went to the parking lot cum rollerblading area,” where someone else would write “we went to the parking lot/rollerblading area.” This leads to some embarassing signs and emails.

cum drop 1

cum drop 2

By the way, check out this old Flock Of Seagulls video to see one of the worst haircuts in the history of the planet.

I know it’s not hip to like the band, but I think that Flock of Seagulls really did have decent songs. And bad hair.

some links

Sunday, January 7th, 2007


It was a fun weekend – I went out with Brad and Mick and Robert to the Prince of Wales backpacker hostel in Little India and saw a bunch of bands, great great great fun.

Here are some trippy Youtube videos I’ve found recently:

The Black Sabbath animated show

Sonic Youth’s “Schizophrenia” sun by an earnest choir of elderly people who are young at heart (or who have a seriously demented musical director)

Enter Soundman…

Monday, January 1st, 2007


It’s been a while since I’ve done review. I have finished these books and movies ages ago so I barely remember anything about most of them, but I’ll give it a try anyway…

Kafka on the Shore

Kafka on the Shore, Murakami Haruki – Murakami Haruki seems to be very famous in the US, and he publishes rubbish short stories like A Shinagawa Monkey in the New Yorker as a result, but when he puts out books like Kafka on the Shore I get a bit frustrated. He has great books like Norwegian Wood and Hardcore Wonderland And The End Of The World, but this book just takes his more experimental pieces like Dance Dance Dance and goes through the motions for a couple hundred pages. Very silly, irrelevant stuff. A truck driver in the movie picks up a hitchhiker and drives him to Shikoku where things seem to be happening. He gains an appreciation of classical music, he picks up a heavy rock, he has fantastic sex with a callgirl (but a philosophy major in college by day) pimped to him by Colonel Sanders. He’s a minor character in the story, but it doesn’t matter – the tale says nothing about nothing. At least it’s technically well written and I’ve been able to remember this much about its annoying details several months after finishing the book, but that’s probably no big compliment…


Voltaire – Well, there’s Candide and a bunch of interesting short stories of his that I read. Great, great stuff, especially the one about the giants of Venus and Polaris coming down here and noticing us tiny bacteria-like creatures. Jonathan Swift for la francophonie…

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Truman Capote – Holly Golightly, immortalised by the gazelle-like Audrey Hepburn, was actually created by Capote, the guy most people probably now identify with Phillip Seymour Hoffman (if they even know who he is…). The book is good, and a lot more frank about how she makes her money, but the girl is just as flighty as Hepburn portrays her. Wonder who inspired the story and what became of her…

Supersize me

Supersize Me – Manipulative documentary in the vein of the Michael Moore pieces. Sure it has a noble mission, but beyond offering factoids about nutrition and the guy’s 30-day weight gain exercise and the type of crap corporate America offering people to eat (nobody HAS to eat fries from the caf every day, but how many people really take bagged lunches to work?) it doesn’t offer too much. Vegetarian girlfriend gives advice on how wrong it is to eat junk food – check. Throwing up after eating a huge fast food meal – check. Waiting it out until a corporate spokesman says something embarassing, then capitalising on the soundbite – check. Of course he deals briefly with the stupidity of people who are overweight and eat regularly at these kinds of places, but it would have been more interesting to me if the whole movie had focussed on this. Now THAT would have been a funny “documentary.”

Don's Plum

Don’s Plum – An art film that stars Leonardo Dicaprio and Toby Maguire as unsympathetic guys hanging out with their friends in some California dive eating, drinking, smoking all night, talking crap. Leo’s dad committed suicide, one of the girls there has a junkie mom, so everything’s all right…

Batman Begins?

Batman Begins – People said that this movie was better, darker than the other Batman films. Well, it did things differently, but since they wasted Morgan Freeman, and allowed Liam Neeson to indulge his silly “I will be your mentor” typecasting exercise, I honestly can’t say that this film is any better than Batman 3. That’s the one that had Jim Kerry in it. And would someone please tell me why Watanabe Ken had to be in this film but to prove that the producers had millions to blow on a name cast?


Sopranos seasons 5 and 6 – I hate to say it, but the Sopranos is getting a little bit boring. I’m waiting for some resolution to the Steve Buscemi-directed episode from season 3 that has Pauly and Christopher stumbling around in the forests of New Jersey. Good moments throughout featuring characters we truly love and hate at the same time (“love to hate” is really not the right term), but not really standout stuff any more somehow.

The Proposition

The Proposition – A screenplay by Nick Cave, directed by John Hillcoat (whom Cave had teamed with in Ghoss…Of The Civil Dead in 1988), starring a gritty Guy Peirce… but still deriivative of Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven and Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. Good, gritty spaghetti-western-set-in-Australia stuff happening, but ultimately we begin to wonder why Guy Pierce, if he’s such a tough guy, doesn’t do anything until the last few minutes of the film.


The Hilarious House of Frightenstein – Igor, read me the letters!! Truly bizarre comedy stuff, and good clean fun. I liked this sort of thing when I was growing up in the suburbs of Toronto, mainly because it was the only thing playing on Sundays when I woke up at 6:30. Very strange Canadian Addams Family-like horror comedy skits that are truly bizarre. They came up with a formula the first week they started the show and didn’t deviate for 13 full-hour episodes. Strange, freaky, but also quite boring.

The Prisoner The Arrival

The Prisoner – I’ve been wanting to watch it for quite a long time, and now I finally get a chance now that the local library stocks it. Yay! The “first” episode, the Arrival, is fascinating, especially if you wonder how it’s possible that they could get a big white bouncing balloon to seem so terrifying! 2007 and 2008 are the 40th anniversary years of the seminal series. The star, Patrick MGooghan is almost 80 years old now!

our man in Havana

Our Man In Havana – Almost as funny as the Graham Greene novel, the film shows Alec Guinness in the title role as the vacuum cleaner salesman who takes the MI5 by the balls at the same time as he makes himself human bait for ferreting out the political assassins of the Caribbean. Good stuff.

cialis how many mg should i take

Monday, January 1st, 2007

A former dictator was executed the other day. I wonder if dictators around the world – if they do indeed realise that is what they are – trembled on that day. If they didn’t, they should have. The junior Bush, current president of the United States, made it clear that this was a new era that would not tolerate selfish and irresponsible leadership when his family finally brought down the Hussein family, with Saddam Hussein as its head. Barely any of us knew the man – we saw soundbites of him and we heard all of the stories that the media delivered. Even the Economist said that he needed to go! But now that he’s gone, our eyes turn inevitably to all of the other dictators that the world could do well without.

And if his death heralds a new era, it should be the one of good government through absolute accountability. Even Augusto Pinochet, who ruled Chile for many years with an iron fist, was made accountable for misdeeds in office, although it seems he died a natural death before the legal system he was subject to could arrive at an appropriate sentence.

But we hope that, with this swift and brutal execution, other dictators will be eyeing their futures with more apprehension. They will know, through the actions of Mr. Bush Jr., that leaders will not be able to commit crimes without facing ultimate accountability. And if Mr. Bush Jr.’s predecessor can be punished for his inappropriate use of a cigar, a time will surely come soon when any prime minister, president, chancellor or premier can be punished for serious crimes committed during their time in power. And while these tyrants may be “untouchable” during their time in power, the wheel of history turns for them just as anybody else and there comes a time for all of them when they come under the influence of another. Either they are toppled by invaders, they are forced out of power by a coup, they come to the end of their legal time limits for power, or they are forced out of office when someone else is elected to their office. No one, after all, can withstand the march of time.

There was another death at the end of 2006 to go along with Hussein’s and Pinochet’s – Gerald Ford. President Ford was famous for giving a pardon to Richard Nixon, his president when he was vice-president and whose office he inherited when Nixon resigned. Probably these guys were close. But now with President Bush Jr. raising the bar on government governance, I wonder if future leaders will be able to grant political pardons they way they once used to?