Showing posts from June, 2008

The New Yorker Conference - Airports

Have been watching the New Yorker Conference on my iPod, and I thought Paco Underhill on "Deconstructing the Airport" (chaired by Malcolm Gladwell) was very interesting, for anyone who's been stuck in the misery of standing shoeless and beltless near a security checkpoint with all your carry-on items, all the the flotsam and jetsam of modern life, sprawled out on the cold metal stand at the end of the X-ray machine. There are very nice props given near the end to Singapore - Changi Airport's playground is mentioned to encapsulate how an airport can really do things well. It's the little things, I suppose. Just the fact that Changi provides little push-carts for carry-on luggage that allow me to ease my shoulder from the burden of laptop toting is great, compared to previous experiences with the otherwise highly-regarded Narita. (Of course, it does mean I'm much more likely to shop, since I don't have to lug things around, so the airport benefits too.)

Into the Wild

Into the Wild was incredibly affecting in a primal way. Chris McCandless' quest for meaning, his (very American) attempt to find that meaning in one's connection to the land, and his ultimate realisation of the importance of interpersonal relationships and of forgiveness - all that brought to mind the restlessness and angst of my teenage years. That, and Eddie Vedder's distinctive voice, of course, which was perfect for a film set in the early 1990s. Now I keep wanting to listen to songs that suggest to me longing, isolation, and the search for belief: "Angel From Montgomery" (which was sung in the film), "Only Living Boy in New York", "The Boxer", "Chicago"...

Violent and Crazy

The Violent Femmes cover Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" , in quasi-spaghetti Western style.

Word Play

Caught the documentary Word Play the other day, all about the New York Times crossword and the annual crossword competition in Stamford, CT, and it inspired me to try a Times crossword . Much more used to cryptics - used to do the New Yorker one weekly, back in the day when the New Yorker ran crosswords - which I think test a different part of one's mind. But anyway: came in at 15 minutes for a Thursday puzzle... reasonable, I suppose, for a novice, but nowhere near the blistering pace of those featured in the documentary. I suspect I'm hooked, though! Word Play , incidentally, has quite an impressive list of famous people willing to be interviewed about their crossword habit: Bill Clinton, Jon Stewart, Mike Mussina, Ken Burns. I think if you're well-known it's quite nice to be interviewed about something other than what you're well-known for.

New Job

Well, in case anyone was wondering about the long radio silence (crickets), I've been busy moving to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and just came back from a UN conference in Bonn. Have to say that the Bonn trip made me realise how rusty my German is, and has inspired me to revive my language skills. Anyone in Singapore have good suggestions on this? Should I just go to the Goethe Institut?