Showing posts from November, 2005

Rest in peace

I hear from Mr Brown that La Idler , fellow blogger and a collaborator on Tomorrow and the Bloggercon, has passed away. Incredibly sad news - it's quite gut-wrenching to read her posts on moving overseas and her future plans. Rest in peace, Sondra.


Thursday having been Thanksgiving in America, I should at least make one post in the midst of my work and recreation to give some thanks... An interlude: some of my favourite songs involving thanking - William DeVaughn, "Be Thankful For What You Got" Sly and the Family Stone, "Thank You Falentime Be Mice Elf Again" Dido, "Thank You" Not very fond of Alanis Morrisette's "Thank You", in case that occurred to anyone. But yes, it's a nice troika of different reasons for gratitude: thanking for what one has; thanking for the rediscovery of self; and thanking because - well, because in the midst of a crazy day when the world is against you someone is an oasis of comfort. "Just to be with you is having the best day of my life." Thus on to the main point, which is to say - thank you: God only knows what I'd be without you.

If on a Winter's Night a Traveller

Right. I leave for London in a couple of days, and then I'm off to Montreal, and after that I have army reservist commitments. So - what with work and spending time with the Girlfriend - this blog is likely to be on winter break till about a month's time. But you can leave suggestions on what to do in Montreal in the comments (yes, all comments get e-mailed to me). Meanwhile, here's some entertainment to keep y'all occupied: Irwin Shaw's short story " The Girls in Their Summer Dresses " Shkspr as txt msg Philip Pullman's point about the rise of a moral quality attributed to being rather than doing in this set of essays is good stuff. Esquire magazine's " Things a Man Should Know ". Oh, and I was in the library today picking up a guide to Montreal, and I read the children's book Olive the Other Reindeer , about a dog named Olive who hears "Olive the other reindeer" in the Christmas song and becomes convinced sh

Linksfest: Stray thoughts over the week

Whenever you click publish in Blogger these days, it goes through - what's up with that? I guess I'm not the only one who's noticed. I'm annoyed that I bought the Pet Shop Boys' Behaviour album in America, and thus own a copy of Behavior . Golden retriever gives birth to green retriever . Hey, I learnt a new word: ' kinkajou '. Here's a nice kinkajou page . Does J.T. LeRoy exist ? And why is that a topic for WWD ?

Being Boring

Since I used a quote from the Pet Shop Boys' "Being Boring" in my previous post, here's a still from Bruce Weber's video for the song, ripe with a sexuality that nicely contrasts with the bittersweet tone of the song, recalling the halycon days of pre-AIDS hedonism. And, as an aide memoire to myself, the exact quote that inspired the song is this Zelda Fitzgerald one, from "Eulogy on the Flapper": "She flirted because it was fun to flirt and wore a one-piece bathing suit because she had a good figure, she covered her face with powder and paint because she didn't need it and she refused to be bored chiefly because she wasn't boring. She was conscious that the things she did were the things she had always wanted to do" ( link ) My image of Zelda Fitzgerald is somehow strongly shaped by "Clothes for a Summer Hotel" , Tennessee Williams' last play, even if it was a critical failure . And random fact I've just learnt: The


"In my nineteen nineties I never dreamt that I would get to be The creature that I always meant to be" - The Pet Shop Boys, "Being Boring" Sometimes songs become seared in one's consciousness - yesterday my MP3 player brought up the one-two punch of Sister Hazel's "All For You" and the Wallflowers' "One Headlight" , both of which are decent MOR songs admittedly but are embedded in my mind mostly for the fall of '97, specifically a driving trip up to Kittery, Maine from Boston, off to get my first-ever set of winter gear. All throughout, while we moved in and out of the range of various radio stations' transmitters, those two songs were unavoidable earworms, occupying every channel, burrowing insidiously into my mind. And even now listening to them calls up, in the manner of Proustian madeleines, the deep reds of autumn foliage, dipping my toes into the cold Atlantic Ocean, and the dim knowledge that all this preparation for t

Luck be a lady

A bag of books (what US students will know as the M-bag) that I had sent from the US 4 years ago when I was leaving arrived in Singapore recently. What a long, strange trip it must have been. And that - as well as something I read - reminded me of the concept of luck , and specifically of the Luck Project , led by Richard Wiseman over in the UK. What's interesting about the project for me at least is that his findings square with my feelings on the subject, which is to say that a lot of whether one perceives oneself as 'lucky' depends not on what actually happens to you, but on how you perceive and receive the thousands of events that occur daily to you, and how you tell the narrative of your life (which links to Martin Seligman's work on learned optimism , perhaps). I think about Lou Gehrig, and his famous words as he gave the speech confronting his ALS, or the disease that now bears his name: "I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth." W

Books galore

The National Library here in Singapore is allowing people to borrow 8 books instead of the usual 4 for the holiday season - so I'm knee deep in reading. Currently going through New Yorker critic Anthony Lane's collection of film and other essays Nobody's Perfect , which has some interesting thoughts on Buster Keaton as the all-American vs what he sees as Chaplin's English obsession with class... I don't know, though, I don't think I would ever prefer Keaton to Chaplin, but maybe that's just me.

Goats help boy with ADHD

There's something of sheer joy in this photo of a boy trampolining with a goat .

Writing - The Fiction Blog

It's NaNoWriMo , which signed up for last year in an abortive attempt to get some writing off the ground... I'm not really going to be able to discipline myself to write a novel in a month, or even a short story, particularly given that I'm going to be travelling for almost 3 weeks near the end of November. So I thought I'd just put up occasional snippets and paragraphs that I've written, and maybe one day I'll sit down and develop them into something fuller. So... here's the naked emperor bestrides the void deck , my fiction blog.

Fifty Things to Eat Before You Die

Was sent the BBC's list of 50 things to eat before you die - seems like not that new a list, but anyway it was fun to look through it (even some choices were really boring - I love pizza and burgers, but they seem so ubiquitous that to put them on a "things to eat before you die" list seems odd)... so, italicising what I haven't had, it looks like 46 down, 4 to go... 1 Fresh fish 2 Lobster 3 Steak 4 Thai food 5 Chinese food 6 Ice cream 7 Pizza 8 Crab 9 Curry 10 Prawns 11 Moreton Bay Bugs 12 Clam chowder 13 Barbecues 14 Pancakes 15 Pasta 16 Mussels 17 Cheesecake 18 Lamb 19 Cream tea 20 Alligator 21 Oysters 22 Kangaroo 23 Chocolate 24 Sandwiches 25 Greek food 26 Burgers 27 Mexican food 28 Squid 29 American diner breakfast - one of my great favourites 30 Salmon 31 Venison 32 Guinea pig 33 Shark - unfortunately - I won't touch it again, ever 34 Sushi 35 Paella

Set List for Sunday's Gig

Well - it's tough to do a set list through the haze of memory, but digging through my records I can roughly recall what I did or didn't play at Sunday's gig . So here's the setlist .

The life as Photoshopped

I remember being intrigued by the Wired story about Friends Beyond the Wall , the company that Photoshops pictures so that prison inmates can look like they have spent time with their loved ones. Which I can see - it must make it easier for their loved ones to have a photo they can display on their office desk, for instance. But then in doing a Google Image Search, I found Famous Friends , which basically lets you pretend you've hung out with celebrities, which I thought was a bit ridiculous: Just imagine that look on your father's face on Fathers Day when he see himself in the England 1966 world cup team photograph next to his heroes. This is just one example of a gift money shouldn't be able to buy. Actually, I could see a dad going, "#$@%, I hung out with Hurst and Stiles and I can't even remember it? Good Lord, I'm going senile!"

Ages of Love

So, two items about celebrities made me think about love and aging: first, there's an extensive "Woody Allen at 70" interview in the upcoming Vanity Fair , parts of which are discussed in this BBC News article . "All the crap they tell you about... getting joy and having a kind of wisdom in your golden years - it's all tripe," said Allen, who turns 70 on 1 December. "I've gained no insight, no mellowing. I would make the same mistakes again." Actually, Woody has always seemed prematurely old to me, so why would he do anything differently, right? But it's a good line. Anyway, Woody does talk about his relationship with Soon-Yi, which creeped me out at the time (well, about as much as news about celebs who one has zero personal connection with can skeeze anyone out) - even beyond the whole dating-the-stepdaughter-of-your-partner thing, 35 years is a huge age difference. I mean, if I were to date someone 35 years younger than me, I would have