Showing posts from June, 2005

Last night's gig

Well, all went well at the gig last night - there's us two co-DJs at the end of the night. Thanks to Jon for co-DJing and thanks to all who came. Here's a set list .

Morality quiz

Apparently I'm a strict moralist a la Peter Singer , at least according to The Philosophers' Magazine morality quiz , and at least insofar as I apparently personally don't hold much truck with the idea that when it comes to moral principles, there is a deeper moral obligation towards your family and fellow citizens than towards people in general: Your Moral Parsimony Score is 92% What does this mean? Moral frameworks can be more or less parsimonious. That is to say, they can employ a wide range of principles, which vary in their application according to circumstances (less parsimonious) or they can employ a small range of principles which apply across a wide range of circumstances without modification (more parsimonious). An example might make this clear. Let's assume that we are committed to the principle that it is a good to reduce suffering. The test of moral parsimony is to see whether this principle is applied simply and without modification or qualification in a n

DJing tonight

Yup, pimping myself again: Tonight, 8.30 onwards, I'm DJing (as "Slapdash") with Jon Fong ("Mocopops") at Hideout, 31B Circular Road (it's up the stairs behind Boat Quay). Gimme indie rock!! Oh, and do come up and say hi... if I'm busy trying to cue up the next song I apologise... I predict a riot . Okay, no I don't, but that damned Kaiser Chiefs song is in my head.

Must Love Dogs

Okay, I'm a sucker for cheesy romantic comedies anyway, but man - Must Love Dogs sounds like it was calculated to make me fork out good money to see it... John Cusack? Check. The smoking hot Diane Lane? Check. (And plus points for a romantic comedy where the female lead is older than the male one.) And dogs being the centre of the plot . Sounds good. Only worry is that the film has pesky little preschool kids in them. Kids in movies = too many cheeseball "lookhowcutetheyarearen'ttheyaren'tthey" moments. Anyway, it's opening 29 July in the US, so I hope it reaches our shores sometime around then. Yeah, that's the weak hole in my film reviewing credibility, a willingness to accept cheesy rom-coms. Actually, I feel like most film critics have that specific weak spot: Peter Travers at Rolling Stone will give 4 stars to anything that seems to be trying to be artsy, for instance... Anyway, if I ever had to write a personal, I guess that "must love dogs&qu

Pillow of salt

The strangeness of some items sold in Japan never fails to get to me. Such as this Sharanpowan thingy - a pillow? - based on Maria Sharapova's chest area . Or - stranger yet - the one based on her legs .

Singapore Arts Festival reviews

Yup, I actually carved out some time to go see some performances at the Singapore Arts Festival , so here are my reviews of Mirando Al Cielo , the Gogmagogs , and Impenjarament , all of which were very entertaining.

And so it goes

Another Sunday night, and the weekend slips away, like a lover on a secret assignation, hardly stopping to linger, hardly allowing a moment to savour it. Where does the time go? I was thinking back on the two Sundays I spent in Germany. Everything is closed on Sundays in Bonn, so on both days I took strolls around the silent town, all shops shuttered, their locks a bulwark against the creeping in of relentless capitalism. The Mango store in the town centre was closed - a sharp contrast to the hordes I passed by at Raffles City yesterday queueing for yet another sale. I've always thought of myself as an urban person, and yet I felt recharged by the whole experience. I can't say I've had a particularly busy weekend, but for some reason in Singapore I tend to feel the need to scurry around every weekend doing things, being productive . I guess I need to disengage, to flee from the must-dos.

Soya makes it hard to get pregnant

Hmm... so couples trying to get pregnant shouldn't drink tau huey zhui and other such soy products ? Ah. Suddenly there's a whole new way of looking at the birth rates in Singapore...

The clear:both bug

What is perhaps most annoying about the Blogger issue with adding the div{clear:both} tags is that it's been more than 24 hours since many bloggers first blogged about it and Blogger hasn't even admitted that there's a problem. The last post on Blogger Status remains firmly stuck on 17 June 2005, even though there's a post on the Blogger home page dated 24 June 2005 12:07pm jauntily telling people about the launch of Blogger images. Yeah, fine and dandy that you can now upload images via Blogger (even though they won't let you upload onto your own server, apparently) but how useful is that when the look and feel of various Blogger - based blogs is being affected by these new insertions? Blogger Forum - workarounds for the bug

Impenjarament (Imprisonment)

I caught Impenjarament , a Teater Ekamatra production, at the Esplanade Theatre Studio last night. I've always felt the quality of Singaporean theatre is particularly high, and the show didn't let me down - there was solid acting from the all-male cast, excellent use of space, and a vivid script that director Aidli 'Alin' Mosbit exploits well. As the title implies, Impenjarament is a play about imprisonment in Singapore; specifically, it depicts the stories of eight inmates as they struggle to deal with life in prison. The prisoners - all acted excellently by the all-male cast - at various times tell the stories behind their imprisonment: the South Asian overstayer who unwittingly had an illegal visa, the old Malay man who committed a crime of passion, the Javanese man who wants desperately to leave the country, the Chinese man who fights, the failed bank robber. The litany of stories is heartbreaking, particularly when, as the inmates themselves show, the moment that

Phan Van Khai visiting Harvard

So Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai was in Boston yesterday and took in the chance to stroll around Harvard, leading to that photo of him rubbing the John Harvard statue above. Um - does he not realise that drunk college students like to pee around the statue? Hope he brought hand sanitiser. Of course, they tell tourists that students rub the shoe for good luck before exams...

Once more, into the breach

Yep, it's been confirmed. This Wed, 29 June 2005, I'm going to be DJing again at Hideout , 31B Circular Road near Boat Quay, along with fellow DJ Jon Fong . Indie rock and classic stuff from my side, indie rock and old school pop from his. Be there, or be not there. General madness promised. Edit: for clarity - I'll be DJing from 8.30pm to 9.30pm and from 10.30-11.30pm.

Blogger and div tags

This is weird, Blogger just started adding these random div tags before and after my posts: <div style="clear: both;"></div> <div style="clear:both; padding-bottom: 0.25em;"></div> Which is annoying, because that adds a whole little bit of white space that was totally not meant to be there. Will investigate. Technorati Tags: blogger , tags

Coconut turns one

So Coconut, world's cutest dog , turns one today. That's him, 7 weeks old or so, when he first came into our lives. He was so small then... not even 3 pounds. Now he's a big boy. And his dad loves him lots, and wishes him the happiest of birthdays. Technorati Tags: westie , dog , birthday

Hotel DJs

Daniel Altman, an old friend and former TF (and part time DJ, if I recall right), comes up with an article in the New York Times about hotel DJs : Once it would have been unheard of to see a D.J. anywhere except in a dance club, a radio studio or behind a folding table at a wedding or bar mitzvah. In the last several years, though, D.J.'s have been popping up all over the place - music shops, department stores, bars and now, with apparent success, in hotels. One of the trailblazers is Stéphane Pompougnac. He began his career in the clubs of Paris, then, in 1997, the two-year-old Hôtel Costes approached him to play in its restaurant. Soon, after trading his dance-floor sound for a loungier style, he was attracting more attention than he had in the clubs. Ignoring the annoying Times house style of using the apostrophe for the plurals of acronym ("DJs" looks so much cleaner than "D.J.'s" to me), I thought it was a pretty interesting article - funny how Pom

Hot diggedy dog

I've never really been in favour of putting clothes on a dog for reasons other than warmth, so I can't decide if this is a cute or cruel way of dressing up a dachshund: From , via puptastic!

Smoke on the water

So I see there was a fire at Plaza Singapura yesterday , which inspired me to drag this old picture out... On 23 Feb, I went down to Plaza Singapura to pick some stuff up from the optician, and then suddenly, all these grey panels dropped down, blocking the escalator. Fire! At first I thought it was just a fire drill, but peeking in between the panels there was definitely the acrid smell of smoke in the air. Since they didn't ask us to evacuate, but the escalators and lifts were shut off, I stayed on the 4th floor. And two floors below people were merrily eating at Secret Recipe, oblivious to the commotion. Quite funny, really.

Olympics 2012

Signs that Singapore is where the IOC is going to make its decision on where to host the 2012 Games are slowly creeping up around town. Last week, I passed by 2 billboards at the City Hall busstop extolling the virtues of Madrid as a potential host city. Then Straits Times had a long pullout section on Moscow. And I also picked up a couple of free "London 2012" postcards, featuring a marathon runner running by Tower Bridge. The postcard had the full number of pubs in London featured at the back. Apparently a criterion of a good Olympics host city is the ability to get quality ale. You know, because Guinness gives you strength or something. As for the sports stars and celebs coming into town, the Brits are bringing in David Beckham (despite the fact that he supposedly first met an alleged lover here in Singapore - does Posh Spice have something to say about that?), and a quick search reveals that New York just announced that Muhammad Ali is coming . AWESOME.

Coldplay and class warfare

Brendan O'Neill's scathing criticism of Coldplay and bland Brit bands in Salon, all replete with class-warfare overtones, rightfully got slammed by readers - clearly statements such as the one below conflate class issues and the glamour myth of the sexdrugsdrink rockstar with the quality - and the kind - of music generated: It isn't just Coldplay: British music is awash with bland bands made up of upper-middle-class kids who mean well, don't drink or do drugs or even smoke, and who would make perfect company at a soiree in Downing Street. I will say that that there are quite a few bands in the UK that are mawkish and the twee. Heck, even Coldplay themselves veer close to that edge. But to immediately say that the general civility of the bands is the cause of the blandness of their music is a leap: What would he have made of something like the Rolling Stones' big free gig in Hyde Park in 1969: all that drug consumption, those empty beer cans tossed onto the greene

Linksfest: That familiar orange ringtone

Speaking of synthesis, Kottke has a funny post on synaesthesia and cellphone ringtones . And Cameron Marlow thinks McDonald's America has a secret menu . A solar-powered handphone charger . I really, really want this.

Putting Descartes before the whores

ipod therefore i am Originally uploaded by maximolly . Randomly surfing through Flickr, I found this photo of an "i-Buy i-Pod therefore i-Am" graffito in the Lower Haight that I thought nicely captured a troubling aspect of consumer society: that one's self-definition is often all too tied up with the products one owns. Technorati Tags: ipod , graffiti , descartes

'Gay Vague'

On Friday, moseying on down to a bar and dancing, I was asked the immortal question "are you straight?" I presume that was either a compliment of my dancing skills or a comment on my tight shiny pants. Or both. (The answer, incidentally, is "yes".) So it amused me that the New York Times , having spread "metrosexual" into the world's vocabulary a few years back, now writes basically the same article, this time calling it 'gay vague' (" Gay or Straight? Hard to Tell "). The article struggles almightily to say just how this 'phenomenon' is different from 'metrosexuality': The result is a new gray area that is rendering gaydar - that totally unscientific sixth sense that many people rely on to tell if a man is gay or straight - as outmoded as Windows 2000. It's not that straight men look more stereotypically gay per se, or that out-of-the-closet gay men look straight. What's happening is that many men have mig

Connecting the dots - Steve Jobs' commencement speech

Cross-disciplinary influences always intrigue me: for instance, I love that Murray Gell-Mann named the Eightfold Way in particle physics after the Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism. And in that regard I felt Steve Jobs' commencement speech at Stanford this year was very inspiring. Particularly this part, where he talked about the influence of auditing a calligraphy course at Reed College: Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinat

Linksfest: Juneteenth

Because of the publicity over his inadvertent fake Parents magazine cover hoax , I've discovered Andrew Hearst's website, which is really filled with interesting takes on design - I really like his mockup of Us magazine as Harper 's . Anyone read Educating Eve , the anti-nativist response to Stephen Pinker's The Language Instinct ? Inquiring linguists want to know. Lynn Barber visits the Venice Biennale . Funny quote about Tracey Emin making peace with Gilbert and George: "She accused them of always calling her the Slag, but they assured her that they only ever called her the Super Slag and she was appeased." Homemade airconditioning . Making wine, prison style . Except without the 'going to prison' bit. Technorati Tags: design , linguistics , art , innovation

Deep Throat vs Deep Throat

How funny is the idea that W. Mark Felt aka Deep Throat was assigned to lead investigations into Deep Throat ? (My thanks to old friend Neil for the link.) The plot twists keep coming in - this one almost has a sort of Infernal Affairs feel to it.

Site admin stuff

Some site admin: I gave in and installed Feedburner , although this site, being a Blogger blog, already has an Atom feed. So if you're using My Yahoo! or Bloglines or some RSS reader and want to subscribe to this site, here is my Feedburner feed . (The old Atom feed still works, of course.) I also took away the Bloglet subscription box because my habit of copyediting my own text on the fly (as it were) wouldn't reflect in the e-mails Bloglet sends out. If that was too technical - well, you can always visit my blog the good ol' web browser way.

Belated Bloomsday

Oh man. Oh man. I got so caught up the new job I totally forgot Bloomsday had passed. (Last year on 16 June I did a series of Bloomsday - related posts , which were a lot of fun.) Here's's tribute to the day : the first chapter of Ulysses all Technorati-tagged. Here's to Joyce, belatedly.

Alien Nation

Look, y'all pervs. If you type "singapore blog girl" into Google, the first hit is probably the one you're looking for. Not my baseball or my arts review blogs, even if they're among the first few hits you get... Actually, I don't have any Singaporean readers. Okay, that's not true. But a good majority (75%) of my readers hail from out of this here country, at least judging by the geographical locations of readers of this site, although of course it could just be friends of mine scattered from across the world. So I'm always intrigued by blogs that are written in Singapore, but often only tangentially about Singapore, such as John & Belle Have a Blog or Snog Blog . I guess some people use the Internet to connect with immediate neighbours, while others use it to connect outside borders, and who's to say what's better? I suppose I'm part of the latter group, with the "connecting outside Singapore" part being also true of the

Bloggers.SG - Singapore's first blogger convention

Ah, it's finally confirmed. Bloggers.SG , Singapore's first ever blog convention will happen. It will be held on 16 July 2005, in the afternoon. It's all very new to those of us involved in the planning, and the scale of this thing has exploded, so just one favour: tell us if you'll be there . It's just a poll - no need to say who you are, your IC number, or any of that sort of thing.

Lauren Lauren

So, besides Paris Hilton getting engaged to Paris Latsis , Lauren Bush (daughter of Jeb Neil) is apparently dating David Lauren (son of Ralph). (I know, I know, I'm behind on the celebrity news.) Which means there's a chance that if they get married and she takes his last name (you know, coming from a traditional family and all that) she could become Lauren Lauren. Weird. The only predecessor I can think of is Sirhan Sirhan , and that's hardly an association you want with a political family. Of course, they could always use Ralph Lauren's original surname, Lipschitz , but you're not really going to buy a Polo Ralph Lipschitz T-shirt are you?


I'm a bit fussy about getting lyrics right, but I'll admit that I once thought the lines "I give in to sin / Because you have to make this life liveable" in Depeche Mode's "Strangelove" were "I give in to sin / Because you have to make this like Liverpool". Hey, Liverpool didn't have that great a rep back in the day... Meanwhile, I noticed that Slate 's "most inappropriate use of a song in an ad" article was being discussed over at John & Belle . I agree with the use of "Lust for Life" to sell cruises as the worst, and I didn't know this bit about "How Soon is Now" being used to sell the Nissan Maxima: The most outrageous misrepresentation of a song must be the Nissan Maxima commercial featuring the Smiths' 'How Soon Is Now?' A college radio favorite from the late '80s, it has to be one of the most depressing tunes ever used to sell anything. Sample lyrics: ' There's a club

Changeable copy

The Boston Globe writes up an article on changeable copy signs . Finally I know what those signs are called. Love them.


The BBC is going to do a programme on the origins of words (maybe they'll have a bit on the Malay origins of "ketchup" and "compound" ), and they're looking for the earliest dated "sightings" of a few nifty words and phrases , since the OED is equally stumped. Among the list are "back to square one", "handbags at dawn", " on the pull ", and "nutmeg" (in the football/soccer sense) And my favourite one, since I have it emblazoned in big letters on a T-shirt: " phwoar ".

The Guide to Blogging Etiquette

Since there's been much talk about blogging properly, here's my easy guide for n00bies on blogging etiquette: Always bow before you blog. When you blog, do remember that the knife goes in the right hand, and the fork in the left. Always end your posts with "thank you, it's been wonderful talking to all of you. Godspeed." Polite bloggers NEVER use the words "asshat" or "aardvark". Whether "sexy motherf***er" can be said in polite company remains a matter of much contention. Particularly on the question of how to pronounce asterisks. The proper way to end a first blog is with a little kiss. No tongue. And, especially, no tongue down there . Remember, if you forget which keys to use, a simple little memory trick is that you should start from the outside and work your way inside. Hence, posts like "poiuy!" are the height of decorum. When someone visits your blog, be sure to offer drinks. If you ar

A shyness that is criminally vulgar

I know they use the Smiths' "How Soon Is Now" as the theme song for "Charmed" mostly because it has that "I am human and I need to be loved" line running through the chorus, but wow, what a spectacularly miserable song - in the best of ways, of course. I was once at a party where this woman just kept quoting me lyrics from the Smiths. Actually, if I'm recalling it right, she just kept quoting me the lyrics of "Ask" . It's quite odd to have a song about shyness being brashly quoted repeatedly.

Scattered thoughts on music

Quick thought since "Take Me Out" and "The Dark of the Matinee" popped onto my Winamp playlist: Franz Ferdinand do tempo shifts really well. I love their fast/slow song constructions - reminds me of the way the Pixies and Nirvana used to play with dynamics and use soft/loud oppositions... Anyway, I moved a whole bunch of music files onto the new external HDD - and promptly realised iTunes now had 2 copies of every song. Ugh. I can't figure out why there's a way to find duplicate songs via Edit/Show Duplicate Songs, but not the logical follow-up of removing the duplicates from the playlist. Will try out idleTunes to see if that works. The fun part of all this is I forgot I had a recording of " Oor Hamlet " on my computer, which is Hamlet set to a ballad: When Laertes heard his dad's killed in the bedroom in the arras, He came running back to Elsinore tout-suite hot-foot from Paris. When Ophelia heard her dad's killed by the man she was t

Because it is there

Oh, I really should have mentioned this earlier: congratulations to my friend Lindley and the team from NUS on reaching the top of Everest ! NUS Everest Team blog

Keeping it all in

I spent a good part of yesterday cleaning up the room, and so it's clear to me that I'm a pack rat - but this is on a scale far, far beyond anything I've ever done.

Youth is wasted on the young

This post on (little side project for some Singaporean bloggers) made me think, one of my pet peeves is when people talk about "young people these days" and then launch into a tirade about a decline of moral values, as though it were a self-evident thing. I frankly don't think young people are any more or less immoral than in any past - at least, not at the levels that suggest moral cataclysm. Oh well, people seem to like harkening back to some prelapsarian past when all young people did was sit around and make quilts, or something equally staid. So I went searching for an old Socrates quote where good ol' Soc (yeah, we're on a nickname basis, we're good like that) was moaning about the state of youth. Turns out Google Answers had a good collection of quotes bemoaning the state of youth throughout history: Here's the quote I was thinking of: Socrates, on things that have been neglected "I mean such things as these: — when the young are t

Fruit executions

Two nights ago, I had the most surreal dream. I was being forced by jackbooted thugs to watch executions. Of fruit. First came the tomato. Guillotined. Then the banana. Similarly guillotined, lengthwise. And I remember feeling horrified in the dream. And that's about all I remember. I'm not even going to try to psychoanalyse any of that. I'm just going to blame random residual guilt from throwing away a banana that may or may not have been too ripe to eat. Sorry, Mr or Ms Banana. Technorati Tags: dreams , fruit

Preview - Get Behind Me Satan

New album from the White Stripes! Get Behind Me Satan . Previewed (via Real Player) " Take, Take, Take ", one of the songs. Hmmm. Mildly catchy, but it sounds pretty much like a lot of their tunes from De Stijl . Is that a good or bad thing? I love De Stijl . Anyway, here's the Rolling Stone review , which predictably loves the album. (Read the review's first para, and it was clearly a Rob Sheffield piece.) I really have to check it out. Turns out "Take, Take, Take" is about Rita Hayworth. That adds to the compendium of pop culture bits that refer to Hayworth, along with Stephen King's "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" (yeah, I can see why for cinematic purposes they had to shorten the name for the film) and Madonna's "Vogue". I do like it when singers sing about random figures of obsession, such as REM speaking to Andy Kaufman in "Man on the Moon" or Nirvana in " Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on

Indie records

Thanks to stumbling upon fleng's blog , I've discovered Straits Records , an indie record store in Singapore. Yeah, I've been so swamped in the new job that I've been a bit out of the loop - did I really miss this? Anyway, the list of LPs newly in the store is definitely intriguing enough - the Arcade Fire's Funeral , Gregory Isaac's Night Nurse (nice reggae selection) - that it looks to be on the list for a weekend excursion... Damnit, just when I thought I'd left my crate-digging addiction, they pull me back in.

The Mouseapult

Ah, good ol' alumni news brought this little tidbit: Liu's off-the-job tinkering has revived his childhood interest not only in model airplanes, but also in LEGOs. By combining the plastic bricks with a heat sensor from a burglar alarm, Liu recently cobbled together a device that launches toy mice at his two Birman cats. Dubbed a "mouseapult" (as opposed to a catapult) by Liu and his wife Julie, the device sits on the floor in the middle of a room, rotating around in search of a warm body. When it spots a moving heat source, the mouseapult hurls a fur mouse toy from its magazine in the direction of the heat source. ( Link ) Much as I have no love for cats, that's one heck of a cool toy.

God bless you please, Mrs Robinson

Sadly, I didn't have time to blog about this after a madcap work day yesterday, but RIP, Anne Bancroft . Here's to you Mrs Robinson; Jesus loves you more than you will know. The Graduate is always one of those films that I vacillate between when I'm asked to name my favourite film. It's got to be The Graduate - incidentally, also the first film I ever saw with a commentary track, back in the days of laserdisc - or Annie Hall or Manhattan . And a large part of my love for The Graduate was Bancroft's awesome performance. The last Bancroft film I saw was Keeping the Faith , a decidedly sweeter comedy.

Pretty vacant

I love this project - putting up art in vacant storefronts in Downtown Crossing, in Boston . I'm pretty sure I saw something similar to that recently - was it here in Singapore or over in Bonn? Dagnabit, can't remember. Anyway, no one loses here - place looks more upmarket, artists get publicity. One thing I've always thought is that those large grey concrete pillars of the MRT line should become canvases for Singaporean artists. Anyhoo, "Big Smile", the lime-green smiley face that stops smiling when someone walks by, seems like a pure fun piece of art. Technorati Tags: art

Reprise: -ize and -ise

Since I'm a big language usage buff, I'll make a comment inspired by this letter to the Straits Times this morning that my friend sent on to me: The Certificate of Marriage issued by the Registry of Marriages spells 'solemnise' as 'solemnize'. I believe this is American English and is not the form used here. To verify this, I checked the Internet. Only American websites use 'solemnize'. The Government should take the lead in ensuring correct English usage. Putting aside the implication that American English is somehow not "correct", I'll note the following: while -ise for suffixes is the more standard UK English usage, the Oxford English Dictionary - about as authoritative a British source as it gets - uses -ize , as it's etymologically closer to the suffix's roots (Greek -izo ). The argument for -ise is it makes for pleasing standardisation with other words that are always spelt "-ise": surprise, reprise, concise, prec

Phone calls you don't want to get when you're single, #1

I was in the taxi, when my handphone rang. Some random phone number. Oh well, picked it up. Was promptly greeted by a little boy's voice, asking "Daddy, when are you coming home?" Eep! Time to go all "Billie Jean" - high Jackson screech and all - "The kid is not my son!" I hate wrong numbers.

A very random thought

You know, they always say "you're more likely to be murdered by someone you know than by a stranger". Which got me to thinking: would people also be more likely to be hit by a car by someone they know than pure random chance would have it? Since people tend to congregate in certain areas - near work, near their house - and the people they know probably tend to cluster in similar geographic areas, the probability - however minute - of people knowing the *#@! who hit them is probably increased.

Kids and cola

I don't drink coffee, but I stumbled on the Blog of a Coffee Addict , which seems to have branched out nicely into caffeinated-soda coverage - and one thing that almost everyone learns about me quickly is that I drink way more Coke and Pepsi than is good for me. (I did say I was fidgety...) Via the blog, I learnt that first graders have behavioural problems due to caffeinated sodas : "The study shows why it is so important to completely evaluate young children who are having behavioral and emotional problems, and to review the child's dietary habits, including caffeinated beverages, as part of the evaluation," Dr. Fassler said. Although questions about caffeine consumption are typically part of the screen for anxiety disorders, pediatric insomnia, and ADHD, the findings are a reminder not to neglect this part of the evaluation. That would suck, for a kid to be wrong misdiagnosed with an anxiety disorder when all he did was have too much Coke.

Didja see it?

Also, I saw a man play what looked like a didgeridoo in the underpass between Lido and Wheelock Place. A didgeridoo! Boy, these buskers are branching out.

Hitchhiker's Guide

So I finally found some breathing room and watched the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy today. As an avowed Douglas Adams afficionado, there's a lot I could quibble with - my main gripe would be that Eddie never tried to make tea - but on the whole it was a pleasant enough amalgam of the first and bits from the other books. (If there really is a sequel, I'm dying to see the talking cow and the Total Perspective Vortex.) Not much to complain about the acting. Martin Freeman is perfect as Arthur Dent - a sort of reprise of his Tim role from "The Office", always somewhat bemused and bewildered - while Mos Def is a cool Ford Prefect not given enough to do. (They ironed out Ford's occasional prickliness.) Marvin was bigger than I'd imagined him - in my mind, Marvin's about the size of R2D2 - but he was great. Big gripe about Zaphod Beeblebrox - I really wanted his two heads to be side-by-side, which would've been cooler anyway. And I always saw the Bab

Mirando Al Cielo

Yesterday night, I watched Mirando Al Cielo , a really cool interpretive dance show from Producciones Imperdibles, outside Raffles City. I totally chanced upon the show - was walking to the MRT from Funan, my spankin'-new 160 GB hard drive in hand. Mirando al Cieno means "looking to the sky", and indeed, that's what us audience members did: the stage was transparent pyrex, and we were seated under the stage in these deckchair-like seats and watched the dances unfold against the night sky and the Raffles City backdrop. Since we weren't allowed to take photos, the pic below, taken from a set of photos of the Cultural Festival of Albacete back in April 2004, shows kind of what it's like. Pure visual pleasure. Interpretive dance always intrigues me. I'm really fidgety and I tend to backtrack and wander a lot, so to watch these dancers with their extreme control of their bodies is a study in contrasts. Every step they take is planned, every move they make is

The toilet restaurant

I know people say things like "our bathroom is so clean you could eat off it", but this is most bizarre: Marton, a restaurant in Taiwan with toilet-themed decor, and worse, toilet-theme food (the name's a clear pun on ma tong i.e. toilet). For anyone missing the point, diners are encouraged to stir up mushy, earth-colored offerings like curry chicken rice and chocolate ice cream to conjure up -- well, the real thing. ( Link ) I suppose if you're a coprophile there's some joy to this, but how in the world is this a hit? Apparently it's so popular that there's a new branch. I can imagine the scenes in the restaurant now: Customer: "Your food tastes like shit." Waiter: "Why, thank you sir." And how would you even know where the real bathroom is? What if you end up ruining the furniture?

Linksfest: Grab bag

Ah, the rigours of adapting to a new job have made the possibilities of random websurfing somewhat sporadic... but here goes: Buffydavamp wonders what will become of the Holland Village dog now that the market is being renovated. Shagster - for people who've been more than friends. The Guardian talks about the Turner Prize nominees .

Bob and Mark

I think the interesting part about Bob Woodward's article on his relationship with W. Mark Felt (aka Deep Throat - article reprinted in the Guardian ) was the revelation that they'd known each other for a long time, even back in Woodward's Navy days: During the year I spent on the Sentinel , I kept in touch with Felt through phone calls to his office and home. We were becoming friends of a sort. He was the mentor, keeping me from toilet-paper investigations, and I kept asking for advice. One weekend I drove out to his home in Virginia and met his wife, Audrey. I guess I've only been a casual observer of the whole situation, but I don't recall people looking into the idea that Deep Throat knew Woodward in all the discussions about who Deep Throat was. Meanwhile, these guys at UIUC have issued their mea culpa for guessing at the wrong guy.

ID this picture

Okay, I know I was surfing the web one day, and saved this picture because it was incredibly bizarre, but I have no attribution for it. Where is it from? Who are these people? Looks like a Japanese gameshow to me... Which reminds me of the Japan episode of the "Simpsons" : Wink: Now, our game shows are a little different from yours. Your shows reward knowledge; we punish ignorance. Homer: Ignor-what? [flames come out of his microphone and toast him] [audience laughs] If you know where the pic is from, just leave it in the comments section.

Gnomic pronouncements

More on gnome liberation... this time, about Barga, Italy, the European Gnome Sanctuary .