Showing posts from March, 2006

The Cathay

W ent into the Cathay last night to catch The New World . Yup, "the" Cathay, newly renovated and freshly in possession of a definite article. The building still has the new-building new-coat-of-paint smell to it. Peeked into the Picturehouse after the show ended - boy those seats look great. As for the film itself, its central lesson seems to be something anyone who's read People knows: don't ever fall for Colin Farrell. It'll screw up your life, cause your family village to be burnt to the ground, that sort of thing. ( Or you might get $3 million. ) Good Lord, Q'Orianka Kilcher is only 16 years old ? She certainly looked a lot older.

Strictly No Dumping

A photo of a sign at Robertson Quay, taken from my birthday (yes, it's been a while). Seems like it would be a good place to take your date if your relationship was on the rocks...


Songs I taught myself to play on the guitar over the weekend: "Time After Time" (the Eva Cassidy chords), "Thunder Road" (not doing very well with it, needs some practice), "Come On Eileen".

Outside my neighbourhood supermarket


An update

T hanks to all who wrote to express concern over my mum . Very much appreciated. She's doing well - the doc apparently said the new kidney is at 97% functionality - not sure how they get such precision, but it's good. (These days one gets used to hearing numbers for the levels of assorted chemicals - creatinine, haemoglobin.) We still have to see her behind glass though in the high dependency room, to prevent infection, but apparently we might be let in soon. Meanwhile, she talked to Rerun on the phone today and he got all excited, licking the phone handset. So the whole family's in good spirits.

Linksfest: Tales of the Weird

The story of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" , and how it moved from an African hit to an international one. In the original version, the "wimoweh" of the Americanised versions was actually "mbube" - Zulu for "lion". I've chanced upon a lot of weirdness on the Internet in my life, but the "teens who still breastfeed" Yahoo group (started by an 18-year-old, ostensibly) was still bizarre. The Holland Village dog passes away . Aww. I remember the li'l guy. On the bus from the hospital yesterday, I watched the men's doubles table tennis finals of the Commonwealth Games - boy that Nigerian team (Segun Toriloa/Monday Merotohun) was really exciting to watch.

Signs of Obsessiveness

M y previous post on Thunder Road made me realise I have 5 other versions of the song besides Springsteen's: Badly Drawn Boy, Cowboy Junkies, Kevin Rowland, Mary Lou Lord, Tortoise & Bonnie 'Prince' Billy. I also have the piano-and-harmonica version referenced by the Wily Filipino here . So I thought I'd compile a partial list of songs I have more than 5 different artists' cover versions of. And I realised - gosh, I'm a pack rat. Here's the list: Bill Withers, "Ain't No Sunshine" Cyndi Lauper, "Time After Time" The Drifters, "Save the Last Dance For Me" Eddie Floyd, "Knock on Wood" Eddy Arnold, "You Don't Know Me" Frankie Valli, "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" John Prine, "Angel From Montgomery" Kris Kristofferson, "Me and Bobby McGee" (the Janis Joplin version for me, though, is so iconic that the fact that it was originally about a woman surprised me - here's

Thunder Road

O n my walk from the office to the subway station today, Bruce Springsteen's " Thunder Road " just kept playing in my head. (Okay, by the time it made an encore in my head, I whipped out my MP3 player and let it repeat in my ears.) It's a song I like to dip into from time to time - for one, it's got one of my favourite couplets in pop songs: "Roy Orbison singing for the lonely / Hey that's me and I want you only". For another, it's a song that somehow manages to juxtapose a lot of contrasting emotions: the promise of getting out along with making the most of things right now in spite of the limitations of current options ("Hey what else can we do now? / Except roll down the window / And let the wind blow back your hair"), of faith despite the passing of time ("So you're scared and you're thinking that maybe we ain't that young anymore / Show a little faith, there's magic in the night"). (I like mixed emotions i

Linksfest: Slacking Off

Well, not slacking off, despite the advice of the last link - back from a long day at work, still catching up with things. Entertain yourselves: Jake Shimabukuru does "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" on the ukulele . Pretty cool. What blog post has had the most comments ever ? Speaking of posts with a lot of comments, here's the genius of Snakes on a Plane . I wouldn't get too excited yet - I had a friend who worked on the set of Bats , and I thought that had the potential to be a so-bad-it's-good film, but it just turned out to be so bad, full stop. On the importance of slacking to productivity . I knew I had it right all along. Nice quote from Peter Drucker: "All one can think and do in a short time is to think what one already knows and to do as one has always done".

Outrageous Fortune

Back at work today. Here's a snippet of conversation, post-lunch, in the stairwell of a carpark: Colleague: "Where did we park? Is this the floor?" Me: "This is Deck 2B - is that where we parked?" Colleague: "I'm not sure." Me: "2B or not 2B, that is the question."

Speak, Memory

Watched Chungking Express for the umpteenth time today - the first time in a year, though. Had forgotten that that very brief scene between Tony Leung and Valerie Chow was so sexy. Ah, the swaying blur of memory. Which leads me to my main point. The Jan-Feb issue of the 2nd Rule that I guest-edited is out (here's the permanent link for people who stumble on this post by the time the next issue is out). It's the memory issue: on how we are remembered, and on the trails we leave behind. Oh, and it has a little fragment of fiction from yours truly.

Thoughts on authenticity on St Patrick's Day weekend

T he question of "authenticity" as it applies to nationality and ethnicity, particular as it applies to members of any diaspora, has always struck me as interesting, and a recent Slate article on the creation of "Irishness" was very fascinating in this regard. I knew Diageo, owner of Guinness, had thrown its weight behind the export of Irish pubs, but I hadn't known just how big its reach was. (Here's an NPR interview on IPCo , the Irish Pub Company.) I'm always fascinated by disparities between how members of a diaspora think of their supposed ancestral homeland, and how people actually from the so-called homeland behave. I recall, for instance, reading in Boston magazine about how Irish-Americans in Boston derisively term new immigrants from Ireland as " FBI " (for foreign-born Irish), in part because those new immigrants - all cosmopolitan and working in high-tech industries - don't really fit the stereotype of pastoral Irishness. So a

Meme madness

My version of the iTunes oracle meme (from Playing School, Irreverently , pointed out very nicely by someone who means a lot to me)... Instructions: Go to your music player of choice and put it on shuffle. Say the following questions aloud, and press play. Use the song title as the answer to the question. NO CHEATING. How does the world see me? Idiot Boyfriend (Jimmy Fallon). Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear. At least it wasn't Britney Spears' "Toxic". Then I'd have to admit I've got some Britney on my playlist. Oh wait. Damn. Will I have a happy life? Revolution (Grandaddy - their cover of the Beatles song). Apparently, I will have a happy life. And be Che. Well, you know, we all want to change the world. What do my friends really think of me? Downtown Train (Patty Smyth). Does this mean: they want me to get on a train and away from them? Or the less paranoid explanation (once the meds kick in) - that I'm at heart a downtown person? Do people secretly lus


Rerun continued to look forlorn today - hardly touched his food. Think he misses Mum quite badly.

You've got a place to go

And so it goes: my aunt swapped phones with my mum so that my mum has a phone with Bluetooth. Which means that despite the fact that I can't actually enter the ward, I can send her photos that I took with my phone. (Her card doesn't receive MMSs, so this was a kludge of a solution.) Stood outside the door of her ward this evening sending a photo of dad and Rerun. Saw her beaming when she saw the photo. Ah, technology. I stare through the sliver of glass on the door, making sure she's okay. I catch myself obsessively sanitising my hands, avoiding the slightest chance of spreading an infection. Today, driving home from the hospital, there was an incredibly bright full moon. The radio was on Gold, the "classic hits" station. Juice Newton's "Angel of the Morning" came on, and we both sang along to the chorus. Then Michael Jackson's " Ben " came on (which is weird, the second time I've thought about that song this week), and Dad suddenly

Linksfest: Mind Over Matter

Because sometimes you need all the diversions you can find: How Roma adopted the "Seven Nation Army" bassline as its chant (Francesco Totti's rendition of the tune in the middle of the piece is pretty terribly off-key) More gushing over Sarah Silverman , this time from the Observer . I'm glad I caught Jesus is Magic a few years back. Silverman's hosting of the Independent Spirit Awards was pretty cool too, particularly seeing Matt Dillon's cold response. (Random question: wasn't Matt Dillon in town quite a long time back, and no one recognised him?) A friend alerts me to Pandora , which creates a radio station with songs you would like based on artists you already like. I typed in "The White Stripes", and it returned two songs I didn't know but ended up liking, Damien Jurado's "Inevitable" and Pink Noise Test's "All the Same to Me", as well as the Strokes' "Electricityscape", which I do really

Rerun waits

Rerun's been moping around the house waiting for mum to come home. Poor thing seems so out of sorts. Apparently when my dad took him for a walk this morning he plopped down halfway at a bus stop and refused to move, and had to be carried for a while. (Yes, he really is the baby of the family.)


I am not, as it turns out, in New York. I am preparing to head back down to the hospital. Nine years ago, the week before my flight to America, my mother was diagnosed with kidney failure. Those of you who know me from way back might remember seeing her in a wheelchair when she was seeing me off. She and my dad had been supposed to accompany me in my first week before college; there was no way to do that, obviously, when she was so weak. Last night, 6 hours before another flight to America, I drove home at midnight from a corporate function to an empty house - and a very puzzled, sad family dog. So after playing with Rerun for a bit, I went to call my mother. Turned out the call had come: a transplant was available, and my parents were at the hospital. And then some agonising back and forth while my mother underdid the tests - her blood pressure was really high, and there was some fear that she might not be allowed to have the op. Fortunately, the doctor cleared her. So Saturday mornin

Mmm, instant frozen desserts

I think it's a sign of my brown fizzy sugar water fixation that when I saw this " anti-griddle ", I immediately wondered whether it could be used to chill a Coke quickly. (via BoingBoing )

Back in New York

It comes down to reality And it's fine with me Cos I've let it slide... Don't care if it's Chinatown or Riverside I don't have any reasons, I've left them all behind I'm in a New York state of mind Using up a travel voucher I got last year, I will be in New York from Sat 11 March to Fri 17 March. Those of you in the city that know me, e-mail me (daryl [at] and we can meet up. Otherwise, I'll be at Katz's or the Second Avenue Deli, chomping down on much-missed pastrami. Start spreading the news...

Watching the Oscars

Random snippets of comments from mum watching the Oscars: "George Clooney has really aged well" "Jake Gyllenhaal has dreamy eyes" "George Clooney strikes me as a very intelligent man... I couldn't stand Brad Pitt's comments on Jennifer Aniston - I mean, if you want to date Angelina, that's fine" "Dolly Parton has an impossible waist" During the "films about social issues" montage, when they were showing a bit from Network : "Who was his costar?" (and when I forget, to my shame, she confidently goes "Faye Dunaway"). "I wanted Felicity Huffman to win" Other random pop-culture trivia questions that arose during the course of viewing, although this time out of genuine curiosity: "who's Catherine Keener's husband? I know he's an actor"; "what film was that from?" ( Inherit the Wind , I think, was the answer); "what else has Philip Seymour Hoffman been in?"; &

Of typos

Look what I got offered in the mail! Yup, it said "sexist gadgets": Ah... I can see the thought process that they want to inspire now - "hmm, should I take up this offer? Well, I have always wanted a handphone that denigrated women". Yet another case where you can't just use spell-checking as your only source of proofreading, methinks.

The Simpsons, in real life

More fun videos: the Simpsons intro, recreated in real life. ( Source - also, any CSS/HTML wizzes know how to get a border around an embedded video, the same way I have borders around my pics? Putting in a style="border: 1px solid #586;" in the object tag only leads to a weird effect where I get half a border)

Linksfest: Silence

A performance of John Cage's 4'33" at the Barbican - (If you're viewing somewhere where Flash is disabled, just stare at the space for 4 minutes 33 seconds. Oh, add time for appropriate pauses between movements.) File under things I find ridiculously cool in a geeky way: a company that installs hidden passageways - sliding bookcases, rotating fireplaces, the works. The dangers of over-relying on spell-checking : lawyer finds the Latin phrase sua sponte got changed into "sea sponge". Flatulence deodoriser . The 50 most-linked blogs in the world and how they relate . An interview with an unlikely pair of interviewees: Nellie McKay and Eartha Kitt . Kitt: "People like [Stephen] Sondheim, the Gershwins and Cole Porter always wrote songs that gave a feeling that the writer has lived. These songs are very difficult to find." (Incidentally, McKay's "There You Are In Me", from the unreleased Pretty Little Head , is stuck in my mind.)

Seal clubbing

The Guardian summarises the Canadian responses to Paul and Heather McCartney's campaign against seal clubbing , replete with a funny pic of H-Mac getting nipped by a harp seal . A worthy cause, in my book - I can see why people get annoyed by the celeb intrusion but I tend to think that the "there are better causes to support" argument that some of the people quoted used is sometimes fatuous: no one can support everything in one lifetime, after all, and why shouldn't celebrities promote their own pet causes? (The point about overfishing of cod not getting enough attention, though, is a good one...) Actually, the pic is just screaming to be captioned. Paul looks like he's going all Henny Youngman : "take my wife - please!" Tangentially, here's a photo of one of my favourite T-shirts, combining an ostensible animal conservation message with a clubbing reference:

Trans-Atlantic Chart Toppers

Six years ago, I wrote something in an e-mail to my friend Raj about the increasing divergence of the British and American music scenes , but the fact that no British artist had topped the American singles chart in 9 years (until James Blunt came in with "You're Beautiful" ) was still pretty surprising to me.

Through a Different Lens

Me and Mr Brown and Mr Miyagi (yes, us Tomorrow editors sometimes are just one small clique) once talked about the idea of capturing the stories of migrant workers in Singapore, recording interviews with Filipino maids and Bangladeshi workers and so on as a podcast. Young men, young women, each with their lives and dreams and flaws and desires... what must they think of this city? Someday, that might materialise. But Karen over at Snog Blog highlights an impressive project: InsideOut , in which foreign workers in Singapore take a camera to record their lives. There's a whole exhibition of these photos going on at Objectifs (full disclosure: I know one of the people who set up Objectifs, as well as a few of the photographers who lecture there). When I was working and living in the City Hall area, I would head to Peninsula Plaza, to the top floor with the small cafes where the Myanmar workers hang out - with menus completely in Burmese, you point randomly and take your chances.