Showing posts from January, 2007

The KL skyline

As seen from my hotel room, with Cesar Pelli 's Petronas Towers in the background. The KL sun was searing, nothing like the cool wind blowing around Singapore these days. ( "Cold Wind" is a great Arcade Fire song, incidentally.) Somewhere on the streets below, later that night, a black stretch limo with the tinted windows pulled into a club (Aloha) with a horde of screaming female fans chasing after. Guess Rain was in town. Save it for another day, it's the school exam and the kids have run away.

Back in Singapore

B ack in Singapore I slept an inordinate amount, and watched the Screen Actors Guild awards (quick thoughts: Mirren-Whitaker-Hudson seem like an unbeatable trio; how lovely to hear that rich Julie Andrews voice once more; British actors always seem to give better speeches). On the other end of the film quality spectrum, here's how to sell an awful film in 12 easy steps .

Kay Ell

Off to KL for the weekend. Normal service will resume shortly.

My First YouTube: Rerun with Towel

Well, I finally got around to trying to upload videos onto YouTube. Here's my first one - my Cairn terrier Rerun playing with a towel, back from his puppy days.

More Singapore-based Nostalgia

I noticed this post on the first fast food restaurant in Singapore (A&W on Dunearn Road) and promptly sent it into Tomorrow , whereupon a nice nostalgic discussion broke out. One of my fond memories of childhood was meeting the A&W Root Bear at Big Splash. Shall have to dig the photos out. I kind of wish now I'd taken a picture of the big sign next to the escalator at the old Orchard Cinema - it was the first escalator in Singapore , and they kept the sign that gave instructions on how to use the escalator - don't ride the escalator barefoot, etc.

The history of clubbing in Singapore

I chanced upon this story of Bullwinkle's in Bloomington closing , which led to this one of Velfarre in Tokyo closing . Which was an interesting coincidence since earlier today I was thinking about the clubs in Singapore that have come and gone and wondering if anyone's ever done any sort of history of them. Even just an oral history? I know there was the Zouk coffee-table book but besides that, will people's experiences of places such as Fire, Ridley's, and so on be remembered? (Couldn't seem to find anything on clubbing on , my usual source for Singapore-based nostalgia.) I mean, take something as central to the Singapore clubbing scene as Mambo Jambo - naff as it can be, it's arguably something many clubbers were weaned on. The Wikipedia entry seems to suggest that the "retro" style arose strictly from Zouk days, but Adam Low was spinning long before Zouk existed, and I would imagine his set at Rumours had some of that same music b

Worst Famous Comedian Ever

My impression of Joe Rogan improved tremendously when I chanced upon his dissing of Carlos Mencia . (Hey, we don't get much stand-up here: all I know of Rogan is him watching spiders crawl over others.) Mencia also gets dissed in the Beast's 50 Most Loathsome People in America list . How does Carlos Mencia get his own show when great comedies such as Arrested Development go off the air? Lord knows.

More xkcd fun

More xkcd fun. Although to be persnickety " U Can't Touch This " came out in 1989.

Mark Leung and College Saga

F irst tme I ever saw a Mark Leung video was on Tomorrow ... now I dare say "College Saga" is one of the most watched videos on Youtubemade by a Singaporean.

Le Grand Content - Free, Radicals

W ow - this surreal little short film blew me away. I love random free association and here the filmmakers call it "association chain massacre". Plus, it's poking fun at Powerpoint ("Le Grand Content examines the omnipresent PowerPoint-culture in search for its philosophical potential"), and that's always worth brownie points in my book. (Via Presentation Zen )

Fun With Anagrams


My Life in Music: the Meme

Inspired by brown , here's the soundtrack to my life as a movie... but first, the rules: 1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc) 2. Put it on shuffle. 3. Press play. 4. For every question, type the song that's playing. 5. When you go to a new question, press the next button. 6. Don't lie Opening Credits: "Family Affair (Remix)" by Mary J. Blige feat Jadakiss, Fabolous Ah, an upbeat start to the day. Waking Up: "Cindy Tells Me" by Brian Eno, from Here Come the Warm Jets First Day At School: "Here Comes the Sun" by Nina Simone The opening is the delicate tinkle of the piano - and then Simone wraps her voice around Harrison's great tune. Have to say I prefer the Beatles' original. But so far there's a nice progression to the musical choices... Falling In Love: "Strange Fruit" by Billie Holliday ... which promptly ends here. Good Lord. "Strange Fruit" is a great, great song (hell, I watche

The iPhone isn't a full smartphone yet

TreoCentral has an interesting conversation about the iPhone (or whatever it ends up being called) that leads to the following conclusion: Michael Ducker: You getting an iPhone? Dieter Bohn: Obviously. You? Michael Ducker: Obviously. Keeping your Treo, though? Dieter Bohn: Looks that way, yep. I'm no businessman, but I need productivity on the go. The iPhone isn't going to address the main bugbears of power users - quick data entry, ability to read/edit Office documents, replaceable battery for battery life. Thus far, it looks like a phone maybe for the work culture of Silicon Valley. And that, I suppose, is the crux of the matter at the moment. Steve Jobs may have compared the iPhone to the Blackberry Pearl and the Palm Treo at his keynote speech, but it really seems to be creating its own category of new high-end phones - it's a high-end phone for those who want the high end in mobile multimedia and web browsing, which isn't quite the same as a high-end phone for pow

Last Day at Scotts Picnic - 28 Dec 2006

H appened to be down in the rain to eat at the last day at Scotts Picnic. Okay, we didn't know it was the last day until we got there - but it turns out we witnessed the end of Singapore's first air-conditioned food court . Half the stalls were gone, including my favourite, the North Indian one (where I ate my first-ever naan!). The cleaner even spent some time talking to me, telling me how it was her last day on the job.

Thoughts on the iPhone

The iPhone looks good - how could it not? It looks drool-inducingly good. And as a widescreen iPod it probably sounds magnificent. But David Pogue's writeup on the thing only furthers the question that I have: how fast can you go on something that doesn't have a nice tactile keyboard response? Typing is difficult. The letter keys are just pictures on the glass screen, so of course there’s no tactile feedback. Software helps a lot. You can afford to make a lot of typos as you muddle through a word, because the software analyzes which keys you *might* have meant and figures out the word you wanted. Its best guess appears just under what you’ve typed; if it’s correct, you tap the Space bar to accept it and continue. I typed a couple of e-mail messages with lots of typos but eventually 100 percent accuracy, thanks to this auto-correct feature. (My testing didn’t involve proper names, however.) Bottom line: Heavy BlackBerry addicts may not want to jump ship just yet. At the moment

Linksfest: Academic Considerations

Man, the new version of Blogger (which I can't switch to, apparently, because I have "too many entries") might be up, but old Blogger was down for a while... so here's slightly delayed links. Was the fall of the Tang Dynasty caused in part by changes in climate ? Yang Guifei gets all the blame, but a new study considers the impact of prolonged droughts. John Campbell and Ed Glaeser (my former professor, for full disclosure) did a recruitment video for the Harvard Economics Department that was less than successful. So naturally it spurred parodies . (via Leiter Reports ) You really don't need all that many skin care products . Or so say dermatologists. The secret cities of the Soviet Union . Wesley Autrey's subway rescue has to be one of the coolest stories of 2007, even if the year is only a few days old. My box in a box . In response to Timberlake. The Simpsons as anime characters .

Pirates of the Caribbean III and Singapore

W hen my Jamaican cousins visited last year, they showed me their pics of the Caribbean and of the beautiful scenery of the islands, including where Pirates of the Caribbean I and II were shot. So one wonders where the "Singapore" scenes in Pirates III (with Chow Yun-Fat as Sao Feng, the "Pirate Lord of Singapore" ) were really shot... This will be much more of an Asian influence and taking place in Singapore. Chow Yun-Fat will be an old friend of Johnny Depp. ( Gore Verbinski, on Pirates III - admittedly this entire interview sounds like it was translated somehow, since even "Mousehunt" gets renamed "Mouse Trap") Of course, there's historical inaccuracy in calling a place "Singapore" even before this place got that name (I presume Pirates is set around the 18th century, pre- Raffles ). But hey, it was nice even just hearing the Depp reference to Singapore in the first movie, let alone setting entire scenes in a fictionalised v

The Queen

I remember when I first heard that Princess Diana had died: I was on a flight from Singapore to the US, about to begin college, and sometime during the flight a cryptic piece of news came onto the Singapore Airlines news screen: "Princess Di hurt in car accident in Paris". In those days you couldn't get much more than a little snippet of news, so you only had a sense that something vaguely terrible had happened. Even after landing in San Francisco, there wasn't much more word: as I recall, the headlines of the papers at the newsstand were of the previous day's, before the crash; it was only in landing in transit in Pennsylvania, coming upon a bank of newspaper boxes, that it was clear that what had happened was a major event the whole world over. In Stephen Frears' The Queen , the royal family is similarly removed from the impact of the death of Diana. Helen Mirren as the titular character (and titular head of state) gives a superb, justifiably lauded perform

Song of 2006 - Gnarls in Charge

O h yeah, year-end lists. Too busy to make 'em, so I'll just go - I first heard Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" near the end of 2005 (via Stereogum or some such site?), but it was without a doubt my song of 2006 - both in the original, and in covers (best Nelly Furtado song of the year, past the teasing "Promiscuous" and "Maneater")...

Goodbye Rosie, the Queen of Corona

T wo songs ran through my head today. Got up with KT Tunstall's "Suddenly I See" running through my head - a relic, one expects, from watching the guilty pleasure that is "So You Think You Can Dance" on Monday. (Yes, I know, I could troll the Net for spoilers, but hell, I'll let the show unfold on my own time.) "Everything around her is a silver pool of light" is a lyric that's wormed its way into my unconscious, and in any case I'm pleased with any exposure Tunstall got in 2006, given how good "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" was. And "Suddenly I See" comes on as a song of empowerment, with all its chords building up into epiphany. That was my song about bursting into the future. The other tune in my head was Paul Simon's "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" - the jangle of that opening guitar alone puts a smile to my face. And it evokes a lot of New York memories for me, for some reason: the heat of N

Movies Watched in 2006

To remind myself what I caught - an incomplete listing: In theatres: Brokeback Mountain Syriana The New World Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest Superman Returns The Lake House How Much Do You Love Me? Click An Inconvenient Truth The Break-Up Scoop The Prestige Casino Royale Charlotte's Web On a plane: Casanova The Ice Harvest My Super Ex-Girlfriend John Tucker Must Die You, Me, and Dupree The Devil Wears Prada On video: Eros Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind The Aristocrats The Squid and the Whale Babe: Pig in the City

Where I fit in the blogosphere

T his is an old one, but I was looking at this interactive map of the blogosphere (inspired by discovering an old Harvard Business Review piece on social networks during my spring-cleaning) and I realised why it was so hard to find in the map. I'd been looking among the crowd of Singaporean blogs (Xiaxue, Cowboy Caleb etc.) at the bottom right corner, but it turns out the software lumped me somewhere a bit further afield - I'm a little light-blue dot south-west of the big agglomeration. So I guess that's my place in this nabe.

Happy New Year! Plus Happy Feet, remixed

Happy New Year! Or - in the words of Unk - East side walk it out!