Showing posts from May, 2004

Is there an age when people lose the need to listen to the urgent?

From one New Yorker rock critic to another: Sasha Frere-Jones fisks Nick Hornby . One: I adore Nick Hornby's books, and have autographed versions of High Fidelity and How to be Good . Two: having said that, his New York Times article (not available online anymore, but you get the text from SFJ's deconstruction) was the epitome of wetness. Somehow the ironic remove of High Fidelity - 30-something man who does nothing but listen to music writes about 30-something man who does nothing but listen to music, and both author and narrator can afford to be wry about their situation, and the author knows that at some level the situation is somewhat pathetic - got lost along the way, and Hornby became a non-ironic champion of that wistful faux-nostalgic musical point of view. Three: Hornby still retains the ability to write about how pop can make one feel - I love Christgau , but sometimes you need a refuge from the obscurantist - the problem is in the pop he chooses to get moved by...

Sticklers of the World Unite

The thing about the ubiquity of photo-taking devices is that you don't feel guilty just pointing and snapping. So I've also been playing the language police, collecting evidence of crimes against grammar. Here's a sign at the Subway in Raffles City that reads "Satisfy your crave". Ugh.

Be Creative. NOW.

These posters aren't part of a government campaign, incidentally. If you recognise the typeface, it's a Volkswagen-sponsored thingamajig. Add: If imagination is more important than knowledge, why are these posters quoting people instead of coming up with original ways to phrase the idea?

Everybody must not conform

Singapore's inundated with lots of talk on the need for "creative thinking". Strange where motivational messages will pop up. This is the underground carpark at the Esplanade.

Name that car

Since I'm no car junkie, could those who can identify the models please place them in the comments section? (Okay, I know what a Mini Cooper is, but help me fill out the rest).

The Singapore Job

More rally pics. I've finally found some word on what was going on in these photos: 'twas the inaugural Singapore International Racing Festival . Somehow vintage cars and giant inflatable dogs are related to the promotion of horse-racing.

Vintage Car Rally

Some shots of the vintage car rally a fortnight ago... love how the variety of obsessions people have!

Invasion of the Giant Hounds


Slices of Singaporean Life

Ah, Singapore life. Last night I was woken up by fireworks coming from the Singapore River, beautiful. Lord knows what the occasion was, but lately it seems like there've been lots of fireworks shows. Nice. Meanwhile I'm trying to add some photos to this site, photos taken on the spur of the moment with either my Palm Zire 71 , my Canon Powershot S45 , or my Lomo , depending on what I have with me.

Andy Kaufman Returns

Andy did you hear about this one ?

The Third Wave Experiment

A description of a fascinating experiment , based I think on Milgram at Yale. Scary that it's possible to unlock an innate fascism in people...

Let's Go: Britain

I've visited the counties in yellow. Which counties have you visited? made by marnanel map reproduced from Ordnance Survey map data by permission of the Ordnance Survey. © Crown copyright 2001.

Page 23

My contribution to the Page 23 Sentence 5 meme 1. Grab the nearest book. 2. Open the book to page 23. 3. Find the fifth sentence. 4. Post the text of the sentence along with these instructions. "I done it I said I thrust myself forward" - Peter Carey, True History of the Kelly Gang

Banged Up

Spent last night in the hospital observation ward no thanks to my klutziness - while playing with Rerun (the dog) at obedience school I got up and banged my head on a low-lying shelf, and so got treated for concussion. Great. I'm at home now, but postings may be a bit less frequent. Meanwhile, my former city kicks off gay marriage in America. All the best to the happy couples. 50th anniversary of Brown vs Board of Education too.

Random music thoughts

The night before I had a dream that I was walking down a street and Paperboy's "Ditty" was playing in the background and people were dancing along. Mmm. Very MTV-esque. Naff songs that I somehow like, part I: Paper Lace "The Night Chicago Died"

Blogger Update - Issues

Astute readers of this blog (are there any other kind?) will note that it has adopted some new Blogger features, most noticeably the new Blogger comments system rather than blogkomm. Beyond my initial excitement , here's my comments on the changes: I hate going "Back to Dashboard" to switch between the blogs I'm editing, when previously there was that neat little drop-down menu in the top right. As noted before, you can't comment on my old posts because there doesn't seem to be a way to enable comments on old posts other than going through them one by one. I'm finicky, but I changed the comments number to read "comment(s)" in case there's just one comment. The Blogger site's Known Issues notes that they have the problem of hitting the back button and seeing the same post after successfully posting. I hope if they fix this they don't go back to what old Blogger used to do to me, that is, if I hit "publish" but my pu

Reviled did I live, said I, as evil I did deliver

The atrocities in Abu Ghraib are shocking beyond belief. A Lord of the Flies -like atmosphere seems to have pervaded the jail, although whether this was caused by systemic failure (and if so, what aspect - the use of contractors? the breakdown of command?) remains an issue in flux. I've been looking through Michael Walzer's Just and Unjust Wars , on jus in bello , the conduct acceptable in war. One of the points of that great book is on how "following orders" cannot be a defence of inhumanity: it may mitigate a person's punishment, but it cannot set aside the fact that the person was a perpetrator of evil. Andrew Sullivan writes a quite despondent piece on the tortures. Meanwhile, David Halberstam's The Best and the Brightest , on how the so-called best and brightest could lead America into Vietnam, remains a useful warning tome.

Coming Soon

Oooh, Blogger has tons of new tricks - comments, post page archiving, and so on. Will take this chance to overhaul the site. :) Meanwhile, on the life-in-Singapore front, I had the pleasure of chancing upon a vintage car rally over the weekend, as well as the HiFly carnival (whatever that is!). Photos will be up shortly. Update: I added commenting from Blogger onto this site, but the powers that be don't seem to have put in a way of enabling comments on all old posts. I can figure out how to enable them individually, but that's bloody tedious. Fingers crossed that this gets fixed soon.

I read too much Salon

Cheap thrill moments: I had one of my flying anecdotes mentioned in's Ask the Pilot - I didn't express it very well, but it's the story of the Brit pilot and French flight attendant. (Incidentally, I always think Ask the Pilot is supposed to be in the Life section, not Technology and Business.) That, and I corrected King Kaufman's math in this column of his.

She said goodbye

Keep hearing Maroon 5's "This Love" on the radio these days. Does anyone else think the song sounds like White Town's "Your Woman"? Songs buskers sing alert: two guys, who should give away singing duties ASAP, doing "I Don't Want to Talk About It" at the Clarke Quay underpass.

What's the Frequency Kenneth?

Supreme Court Justice David Souter (a Lowell House man... his face popped up in my copy of the house facebook every year) was attacked on a jog today. Which led me to learn one interesting thing: they let Supreme Court Justices jog alone??

Spammers' names

That weird spammers technique of creating a bunch of fake names to fool the Bayesian filters leads to some strange name combinations in my inbox... today I got an e-mail from the funniest name I've seen yet, "Comeliness A. Tampon". Heh. Amazing how the human mind immediately recognises that no one in their right mind would ever say "Hi, I'm Comely Tampon", but it takes computers forever to understand that. Here's a screen cap of my inbox... There're a few other amusing names: Experiencing A. Pit (Are you Experiencing A Pit? Maybe you need anti-depressants!) and Warner B. Revitaliz (Don't you Warner B. Revitalized?). Good for a laugh.

Movie Review - Twentynine Palms

The last road movie I watched at a film festival was Y Tu Mama Tambien , a joyous celebration of life, vigour, and sexual vitality amidst the spectre of death. This could be the anti- Mama , with the lead couple, David and Katia driving through Joshua Tree National Park, a landscape where life has been baked out. David and Katia are embarking on a trip ostensibly to look for scouting locations, but ultimately they're cruising down a lost highway, plunging further downward into the loss of language and ultimately the loss of sanity 1 . When does language collapse? At some point - sex, extreme violence - instincts take over, Bruno Dumont seems to be saying, and we are reduced to animalistic grunting. The only intelligible speech is blurred into the background, and in any case are the rants of police officers on petty quarrels and talk show guests. Conversations between David, who's American, and Katia, his French girlfriend, are necessarily tangential, the former primarily spe