Showing posts from January, 2006

My Bloggies Nominations, Part the Last

Finally, the last two categories I had a part in the nominations of... Best Group Weblog WorldChanging girlspoke Gothamist Blogcritics Lifehacker All the finalists here ended up being blogging "big names", but girlspoke was one of my favourite discoveries of the whole nominations process. Full disclosure compels me to say I write for Blogcritics sometimes. Not that my vote made a difference here, though. Lifetime Achievement Andrew Sullivan + busblog Karen Cheng Eschaton Wow, no one I nominated made it there. But hell, I took five that I actually have in my bookmarks. Actually, I was just surprised Karen Cheng had enough followers to make it to Lifetime Achievement. Okay, that's a lot of links - now go forth and entertain yourself!

My Bloggies Nominations, Part the Second

Happy Lunar New Year to those of you that celebrate the occasion! More links to keep fresh while I'm otherwise occupied during the holidays. Here's the second part of my Bloggies nominations. Best Tagline Eyeteeth (a journal of incisive ideas) (i make out with geeks) Whedonesque (joss the way we like it) (don't feed or spank the monkey) Billmon's Whiskey Bar (free thinking in a dirty glass) Come on, people - don't feed or spank the monkey is a good line. Best Craft Blog Drawn! thimble Make: Blog Yarn Harlot You Knit What?? Even more confusing than the Latin American blog category - a whole topic on which I know next to nothing. So I went for writing style over actual practicality of the crafts detailed. Drawn is hardly a "craft" blog, admittedly. You Knit What?? is funny stuff, although I suppose as you can tell by the name it's perhaps more accurately an anti-craft blog. Best Topical Weblog Worldchanging

My Bloggies Nominations, Part the First

As I've mentioned before , I was one of the panelists for the 2006 Bloggies, and the finalists are out . So here was what I voted for in the categories I was given - I've italicised those that actually actually became finalists. Consider this the first in a series of mega-linksfests, starting with my votes in four categories: Best Web Application Livejournal Feedburner Bloglines Flickr ecto For this one, I figured Blogger, Wordpress,, etc. would get all the votes - which they did, and if you know me, you know I like an underdog. Livejournal I've grown to really appreciate - sure, the look of the thing is often not great, but no other blog software encourages community like LJ. Even a simple thing like e-mailing commenters when their comments have been responded to is great. Best European Weblog La Coquette We-make-money-not-art Chocolate and Zucchini How to learn Swedish in 1000 difficult lessons Petite Anglaise We-make-money-not


Meanwhile, I watched Eros , a series of three short films that supposedly touch on the titular theme. The Hand , the first film, is a magnificent Wong Kar Wai piece. Wong sets it in the Hong Kong of the 1960s that he mined so well in In the Mood for Love and 2046 , with that same romantic sense of a time long gone and the passing of time. Wong squeezes so much desire out of the small gestures and quivers of the tailor Xiaozhang (Chang Chen) and the prostitute (Gong Li) who he expertly tailors clothes for and who he clearly loves throughout her life. And while this was the one film without nudity, it was the one that carried the strongest of erotic charges. Let's just say the title was quite telling. And let's just say no one expresses the frisson of repressed desire cinematically quite like Wong Kar Wai. Equilibrium , the next film, was a Steven Soderbergh piece, and while it wasn't that compelling, it still had its moments. Robert Downey Jr. as usual turned in a good per

Gmail adds a delete button

Man... Gmail finally gives in and adds a damn delete button to the interface. It's funny how a delete button gets described as a great new feature . The fact that there's a Greasemonkey script dedicated solely to adding a delete button shows how much people were annoyed by this. And it's nice to know they can't shoehorn everyone into their way of working. Now if only they would add a sort function and improve their spam filters.

Linksfest: Everything, everything

Iraqi Invasion: a Text Misadventure . Mmm, text-based adventure games. Memories of geekdom come flooding back. (Via Tym ) Chuck Norris Facts , if you haven't gotten the e-mail yet. "Chuck Norris is 1/8th Cherokee. This has nothing to do with ancestry, the man ate a fucking Indian." Overheard in Singapore . Me and Mr Brown have been talking about doing this for ages, but I'm pleased to be beaten to the punch. A recipe for Guinness ice cream .

The Passing

Yesterday was apparently the most depressing day of the year , according to some random research. The formula looks dubious, but it was the day (Pinchy - for want of a proper name) the lobster died. Dad remarked in the car this morning sadly about how the poor lobster survived goodness knows what to make it to our doorstep but hardly lasted a day. Yes, I come from quite a soft-hearted family. And I love them to bits for it.

Unity of Action

Some minor tweaking of the sidebar has been done over the last few days: have added links to my RSS feed , my MSN address (delete the obvious part to get the real address), to my various profiles on Friendster , Facebook , etc., and to my livejournal (which really mostly just repeats the personal parts of, but feel free to add me to your friends list). So, yes, some unity in my online personae.

More lobster adventures

My poor lobster got featured in a seafood forum . It's not food! Still doing fine. The brother thinks it's a freshwater lobster i.e. a crayfish, something like a blue yabby . Dad gave him a little piece of bread to eat this morning. Yes, I know it is highly unlikely that in its natural environment it would consume flour and yeast products. Anyway, anyone want a crayfish/lobster for his or her aquarium? My colleague said he keeps 'em, but he's got no aquarium space.

More disoriented animals

Okay, not quite on the scale of the poor London whale , but today Rerun (the family Cairn terrier) starts barking outside, so Dad goes out to take a look at the source of the commotion. And what do you know - at our doorstep is what seems to be a tiny little lobster or crawfish of some sort. Which is strange, because we live in Kembangan, which is quite a distance from the shoreline. Any ideas how he got here? Mum's bet is that he was being shipped to the seafood restaurants around here and he made a brave escape and found the house with a marine-conservation enthusiast. (I'm waiting for the brother the diver to come home and explain what exactly we should do with it. If it's seawater, we'll release it back to the sea. No snarky answers about reunion dinner food, thanks.) Here's a picture of the little guy after we put him in a pail. I feel like calling him Pinchy, in honour of the Simpsons' lobster.

Haruki Murakami, After the Quake

"All good people read good books" - Tanita Tikaram, "Twist in My Sobriety" Just read Haruki Murakami's After the Quake , his collection of short stories on the impact of the Kobe quake. (I'm not sure how much this counts in the odd coincidences department, but I finished the book on 17 January, the anniversary of the quake .) After the Quake is another little slice of Murakami's own quirky blend of magic realism - made me think about how Murakami seems to blend magic realism and minimalism. I'm also re-reading, as I do every few years, Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera , so it's interesting to compare the flights of fancy that take place. (Aside: I think Murakami will one day win the Nobel.) This won't be a full proper review, but suffice it to say that this is classic Murakami, with details finely observed in that non-judgemental style of his. The characters in the stories aren't directly affected by the earthquak

Cyclone Daryl

Meanwhile, it's a bit odd to read about Cyclone Daryl , the first time I've heard of a tropical storm sharing my name, mainly because of the sentences that just refer to it as "Daryl" - for example, "Daryl was skirting the WA coast at 25kph, the bureau said." I can't remember the last time I skirted anything at 25kph, but it sure would be a useful skill the next time I take a running test.

Linksfest: Whale of a time

The London whale blog . I think it's funny that it's by a PR firm - good PR, clearly, since the Beeb interviewed them, but on the other hand, it's also a proud announcement of the fact that "hey, we spent our whole day goofing off watching cetaceans". I suppose it gives some porpoise to their life. Design Observer on civilian typography : "In the end, efficiency can only take you so far. Without a cell phone, or in a flood, or barred from public transportation, the thing that separates human beings from the animal kingdom is our ability to communicate verbally. If we can't do that, we do it graphically. When all else fails, the pen isn't just mightier than the sword: it is the sword." My university tries to go sustainable . Laudable. Hmm - does one say "my university"? It has been a while since I graduated, but "my former university" sounds like there's a present university to reference. Speaking of sustainability,

2005 in cities

Singapore Jakarta Bloomington, Ind. Indianapolis, Ind. Chicago Detroit Bonn Cologne London Montreal (Via Megnut .) Not a lot of cities, but a hell of a lot of distance, both physical and emotional. Speaking of urban life, here's the central point of gravity for all Starbucks in Manhattan .

Two photos

Well, Joni once sang that in France they kiss on Main Street . (From Flickr.) A Banksy piece. (Via Bldgblog , via Enjoy Surveillance .)

The 2006 Bloggies

Ah - I've been told that I'm one of the panelists helping to select finalists for the 2006 Bloggies , supposedly the Oscars of the blog world. So, yes, I feel like part of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association or something. (Well, yes, the right parallel to the Oscars would be the Academy, except well, I just like saying "the Hollywood Foreign Press Assocation".) But seriously, it's been really interesting to sift through the nominees - I'm supposed to select the finalists for, among other categories, Best European Blog, Best Crafts Blog, Best Topical Blog, Best Tagline For a Blog, and Lifetime Achievement... time to whittle the choices down. Whittle, whittle... Technorati Tags: bloggies , blog , awards

Universal Truths According to My MP3 Playlist

Everyone Falls in Love Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime Every Little Bit Hurts Everybody Hurts Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime Everything Counts Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me is Gone Everybody's Gotta Live Everybody Plays the Fool Everybody Needs Somebody to Love Every Woman Needs Love Everybody Wants to Rule the World Every Rose Has Its Thorn Everybody Loves the Sunshine Every Little Thing She Does is Magic

It's time to throw down

This is one of the best of Slate 's corrections , at least to a word geek: Seth Mnookin used "acronym" when it should've been "abbreviation" in his article on the James Frey scandal . On the scandal itself - yeah, read the site the moment I got the Smoking Gun e-mail, but I never did get around to talking about it here, and hell, it's all over the web along with the expose that JT LeRoy doesn't exist . (I love the site design of the Smoking Gun's takedown of Frey, incidentally. And I did link to an article on the non-existence of LeRoy back in November.) But A Million Little Pieces was one of those books that always struck me as so much macho bullshit posturing - couldn't get through it. And it's always good to see macho bullshit taken down a notch.

Rainy day music

Given the torrential rainy season lately, I've been tempted to look for a 300 x 50 x 50 boat (all dimensions in cubits, natch) and pairs of animals. But absent an ark, one takes comfort, paradoxically enough, in the charms of the music of anguish. So, my current rainy day playlist. It's set, if one can imagine a fantasy scene, to me sitting in a bay window looking out at the water hit the pane: Otis Redding "I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now)". Those words in brackets are crucial, are't they? I just put it in my MP3 player, and there's something really haunting about hearing Otis through headphones as opposed to through speakers: it really puts forward the intimacy of the song, a pure confessional, a man laying bare his soul. Sufjan Stevens "Casimir Pulaski Day". This is the song that made me a Sufjan convert: wrapped around its delicate memory are those heartstopping lyrics, with their little details of love intermingled with deat

Linksfest: odiosity creeps

Mohd al-Fayed writes to the Guardian , defends the memory of Dodi, and employs phrase "odious creep who has become a disease on the face of the Guardian." A veritable parade of invective. Affirmations Google Should Consider Putting on Its Search Button Other Than "I'm Feeling Lucky." "I Am a Deserving Human Being" (via kathryn yu ) Singer Pink marries her boyfriend Carey Hart . Which makes her Mrs Pink Hart. Which is a Care Bear's name. Since I'm in a pop-culture vein, Hilary Swank and Chad Lowe have split up . That'll teach her to forget his name at the Oscars.

Brokeback Mountain as Productivity Commercial

I love Anonymous Lawyer's take on Brokeback Mountain as a movie extolling the virtues of spending more time in the office: I saw a commercial for "Brokeback Mountain" on television this evening, first time I'd seen it. I think they're doing the movie a disservice by pitching it as a gay cowboy movie. Fairly clear from the trailer that it's a movie about the benefits of a job that consumes most of your day. I think I'll show a clip at next summer's orientation. "Don't worry about how much time you'll spend in the office," I'll tell them. "You might just fall in love with someone you're working with." Looks like a terrific story about the possibility of on-the-job romance, assuming that in the movie they're actually good cowboys. ( Link ) Gives the whole " Ahh wish ahh knoo how to quit yoo " line a different meaning... here's the actual trailer (requires Quicktime). On a related note, why doesn'

The immense sky

He looked at the immense deep black sky, nothing like that purple evening light of Singapore, filtered as it was through dust particles drifting up from Sarawak or Kalimantan or somewhere. He looked at the constellations, every few months a new set. He thought about the shifting constellations and a sunset that changed time and the clocks that needed to be moved back and forth twice a year and how nothing was fixed. Ain’t it funny how time slips away. More fragments of fiction

Wedding Crashers

In honour of the wedding I crashed in JB on Saturday - okay, not crashed, went invited but only at the last moment - here's a link to my review of Wedding Crashers . Had a good time. Did not sing "Hava Nagila". (Which, come to think of it, I last heard playing in the background in Oscar's, at the Conrad Hilton...) Congrats to the happy couple.

The 2nd Rule

I've just become (guest) editor of The 2nd Rule , the 5-year-old e-mail-based "urban creative guerrilla magazine". (I admit to not being a Fight Club fan, despite the magazine's name...) We're about to crank out the Jan/Feb issue, so I'm now looking for submissions of prose, poetry, and also music, art, photography, or any sort of digital media. So if you have something you want to say or show, and want it to reach about 6000-7000 readers/viewers, e-mail it to me at daryl [at] dsng [dot] net or editor [at] the2ndrule [dot] com, preferably by the end of January 2006. We can't pay, but you'll get credit, plus a link to your website if you have one. As for what I'm looking for - there isn't a thematic structure to this particular ish yet, I'm thinking I'll let it emerge from the submissions. So I'll just go with whatever catches my fancy. You can look through the past issues to see what's been published before, but - since I'm

Linksfest: Black, White, and Green

I was taken by the black-and-whites taken by Meme , including this one from the "No more Chernobyl" set. The "Beware of sign" sign - hey, I know where that is! Greenbelt, Manila. Paul Graham discusses good and bad procrastination . What does blogging come under? One wonders.

Sitting tight

Went down to the neurologist yesterday to check out a little problem of facial tic that developed post-tooth extraction. So after a series of tests he said I didn't need an MRI (whew), and that he would just give me some drugs to calm the nerves and I should see whether that worked. So I asked "well, if that doesn't work, what's the normal treatment for this?" To which he happily responded "oh, it's Botox". So there you have it. Either the medication works, or I have to receive clinically-sanctioned cosmetic medicine. (Channeling James Blunt through the warped lens of my ego - "I'm beautiful... I'm beautiful... I'm beautiful... it's true".)

More of the Earth From Above

More photos of the Yann Arthus-Bertrand exhibition are up on my Flickr page, including this one of a chunk of the Antarctic ice shelf that got broken off.

Linkfest: Lie Low, and Stitch

Maria E. Pineres does her art through needlepoint (aka cross-stitching). Lil' Kim! The Beeb lists " 100 things we didn't know this time last year ". Including that 1 in 18 people have a third nipple. Another short story for the new year: Borges' Funes, the Memorious Caroline Butler writes about loving an alcoholic rock star

Broken Flowers

I caught the preview of Jim Jarmusch's Broken Flowers a few days back, and thought what with the end of a year, it was a good movie to watch in the spirit of reflecting back. Anyway, here's my review (taken, as always, from my reviews site ). Oh, and I should point out the soundtrack is excellent. In Broken Flowers , Bill Murray plays aging lothario Don Johnston, who, on the day he's dumped by current live-in girlfriend Sherry (Julie Delpy), also receives a mysterious unsigned letter informing him that he might have fathered a son years ago. This sparks, with the urging of his wannabe-detective neighbour Winston (Jeffrey Wright), a cross-country trip to visit the women in his past. Don may be a "Don Juan" to Winston, with his software fortune and his material wealth from his software entrepreneurship past, but, as Sherry points out, his behaviour can grow old: "I'm like your mistress, except you're not even married". Using an old-footage tint th