Archive for February, 2007

nice weekend

Sunday, February 11th, 2007

Hey, it seems I haven’t written my blog in… a week. Not too bad.

The week was busy, with Mum and Dad going back to Canada on Monday. Thursday I went to visit Zen’s school to see the teaching materials and chat with the teachers. Found out that they never have guests to talk to the kids, so I’m thinking of going in and demonstrating guitar stuff, even though I can’t really play well. Still, it should impress the four-year-olds. Friday I went to my lesson, very tired – by the end of the class I gave up following the reading, I was too pooped. At the bus stop, the buses were so full the front door didn’t open, just the back to let passengers off. After I missed one bus like that, I hopped in the back door of the next one. Seems like this is the right thing to do – when people don’t move from the front to the back, there’s space in the middle that could fit new boarders. I bet there’s a scale on board for the driver to know how full the bus is (or he can even feel it by how hard the bus is to drive). Anyway, I think I’ll try this from now on. Saturday I took Zen to the mall to buy a birthday present for his school buddy, then in the afternoon went to the friend’s house to hang out. The birthday boy’s dad is Canadian and his mum is Japanese, just like Zen. There were some nice kids and parents there – one Japanese mum with her two boys, and a Korean couple with their son. We went outside later to play in the playground and had a lot of fun. Nice. Sunday we went to MacRitchie Reservoir and rented a 3-person kayak. It was good fun paddling around. And in the evening, off to the Malaysia train.

Kayak Zen

Zen Kayak

Zen banana

Zen jump

Empire of the Senseless

Sunday, February 4th, 2007

Hey, it’s been ages since I’ve written. What has happened since January 14th when I last wrote? Let me check my pictures, that might reveal some clues…

Well, the main thing is that on the 16th, Naoko and Zen came back from Japan, and we had a nice homecoming. Work got really busy, and we had two chilled out weekends. Zen was ill over the first weekend, although we had made out to meet at Pasta Roma for a birthday dinner for Mum and Dad. Naoko bought flowers, I gave mum her Oma Lisa pic (see below), which was fun. Mum and Dad took Zen out on the first Wednesday after he came back for a visit to the Science Centre, which was fun for him. A pile of CDs that I had ordered from Amazon over the New Year holiday arrived, so I put them into the iPod and began a new trip (see reviews below).  The weekend of the 27th and 28th we didn’t do anything too exciting, and on the 28th at midnight I flew off for a few days in Germany – Singapore/Frankfurt/Paderborn/Willingen. Willingen is the town where we stayed for five days and four nights, it is a one-street town that is lined with pubs, restaurants, and the odd ski/hiking shop. Willingen is a tourist town that provides skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer and that’s it. It was not snowy this January/February, so we trudged down the gloomy, rainy streets on our never-ending search for the perfect pretzel. Funnily enough, I had slept 7 hours on our east-to-west flight and lived through a full day with lots of energy (oddly enough, I started experiencing my jet-lag end-week), which I used for beer-drinking. Good fun, and in Willingen we journalists did a fun pub crawl and saw a bunch of places before we had to convene to eat dinner with the bankers. Nice, good stuff. For the next three days we lived, breathed, and ate ATMs and everything about them. Fun fun fun. Tuesday night we went to a big local hall for a huge feast, entertained by alpenhorns (which come from the Alps, not Sauerland where we were) that were very impressive, Wednesday night we went to a party that had a Mediterranean room (with pirates), and a Carribean room (with Carnival dancers). We sat in the first room and drank beer and ate sun-dried tomatoes. Yummy. Thursday night I met my relatives from nearby – Uncle Manfred, cousing Kai and Katja – and we had a grand old time in a church that had been converted into a pub. Named after Don Camillo of Italian film fame – he was a priest who often locked horns with the Marxist mayor of the town, etc.

Don Camillo pub in Willingen
Friday I went to the grocery store and bought a bunch of bread and wurst and cheese for the people in Singapore, then met other cousins who had driven down from the north, and we went again to Don Camillo’s and had lunch. After a bit of food, we drove on to Paderborn to do a bit of shopping. Wow – after a week of eating bread and cheese and sausage, I’ve had enough to last me for quite a long while. They took me to the airport and we got on the flight to Frankfurt, then from Frankfurt to Singapore. I tried not to sleep too much on this fight, and when I got to Singapore after 12 dull hours I was rather pooped. Dad and Zen picked me up at the airport, met my new friends, and we took a cab home. I weighed myself – 82.5 kilos!!! Must have been all that sausages, but could also be the result of the long flight. Ate lovely fresh bread and sausage stuff for dinner. Yummy!! That night I went to sleep at 11:30 and slept until 9:00 the next morning. Weighed myself – 80.8 kilos!!!! Naoko and Zen and I went running – a first for us, but very fun. We will need to do that more often. After the run, I weighed myself again – 80.0 kilos!!!!! Seems like I’d lost 2.5 kilos in less than a day. Insane.

Recent pics:

Oma Lisa

Oma Lisa

Mum and Dad on Mum’s birthday dinner at Casa Roma

Oma Opa

Oma Naoko Zen

Hanging out with the fishes in Singapore…

Underwater World

…and in Paderborn.

Peter Shark

Pirate ship stage rockers.

German band

My buddies!


German train.

German train

My buddies!

Christina Reinhard

CD reviews:

Boris/Sunn0))): Altar – Please see My Big Bad Boris Page for a review of this CD.

Isis: Oceanic – Isis is an incredibly intense band.  They don’t have the heavy sound I was expecting from the reviews that I read that associated them with Godflesh – they are nearly conventional in some senses of their songwriting – but they do have a very buzzy sound and some scary vocals!!!
Isis Oceanic

Jesus: Jesu – This is probably my favorite release of the half-dozen I ordered from Amazon recently (don’t dream that you can get any of these releases at the music stores here!!).  Possibly better even than Godflesh, the band that Justin Broadrick played in for so many years, the songs are heavy and beautiful at the same time, if that can be imagined.  And then again, some songs sound like Pure-era Godflesh.  Great stuff for the old fan, particularly knowing that this band is still touring and putting out albums.
Jesu Justin Broadrick

Godflesh: Messiah – One of the heaviest bands that ever existed, Godflesh were really wonderful.  But they weren’t just heavy, they were also slow and deliberate.  The vocals were spooky and freaky – muttered with screaming in the background, very other-worldly.  This album has four of their songs, then the same four redone as “dub” songs.  Sorry, I don’t know what “dub” means to all you remixers out there, but it sounds like the same songs with a different beat structure, one that would be more at home in a club setting (even if the songs themselves wouldn’t).  A great thing about this guitar-driven band is that the bass sounds are also fantastic.
Godflesh Messiah

Led Zeppelin: DVD set – This puppy is five hours long.  I’ve only taken a few looks so far, but what I’ve seen so far is stunning.  Plant and Page, Jones and Bonham, great great great.  They must have had more cameramen than musicians onstage for most of this stuff, because you can see each fret that Jimmy Page hits in many of his songs.  It all looks so effortless.  Funny documentary spots show people asking questions like “how similar are you to the Beatles?”  Nobody would eve ask Robert Plant a question like that these days.
Led Zeppelin DVD