I had my dinner at Yishun yesterday. This particular Malay food stall unfortunately did not sell gado-gado. My loss! Sigh. Well, as long as there was this menu called ‘sambal goreng’, I could always enjoy it.
So I ordered a simple meal: white rice, sambal goreng, tempe and paru. Cost me $2. Cheaper than I expected. Perhaps because too many stalls nearby, thus the competition was tight.
But still I was surprised when the old lady told me to enjoy my meal first, to buy a drink and then to pay her as she didn’t have a small change.
It’s after all a big hawker centre and how it is easy for me to eat my meal, to buy a drink and just to leave the old lady with an important lesson of life of not trusting people that easy. Hey, for me it sounded as much as the old lady was naïve despite her old age.
Uhm, the capacity of thinking evil does not mean that I’ll enact it. *heh, a bit defensive here*
So I bought the drink, with a tray of meal on one hand and walked back to the Malay stall and paid the lady her due. She asked me why I didn’t eat first. I just grinned and shrugged.
I guess the yesterday lesson was people have to take a risk to trust others. Or perhaps the old lady was the wise one; she knew that she could trust me. Perhaps experience has taught her to discern who the cheater is and who is not.
Sure the sarcastic me inwardly whispered, “That’s just 2 dollars. Think the old lady will do the same if the stake is, say, 200 dollars? Think you will do the same of paying her first?”
I should say without doubt that I’d do the same. Some principles are just too solid to be shattered.
PS. Upon re-reading this article before posting it online, I realize it conveys rather a pompous message. That’s not the intention. The objective of this article is we all have some principles or values that we might have forgotten that we need others—even strangers—to remind us about them principles.
PPS. Even that PS still sounds pompous. *groan* What I want to say is that it's such a nice feeling when you are trusted by a stranger and nicer the feeling is when you choose not to abuse that trust.
Friday, December 30, 2005
I had my dinner at Yishun yesterday. This particular Malay food stall unfortunately did not sell gado-gado. My loss! Sigh. Well, as long as there was this menu called ‘sambal goreng’, I could always enjoy it.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Remember one of my earlier posting “Entry X. Enter: Anonymous X”?
“Merry” will not be an accompanying adjective for “Christmas” for the lady blogger, Anonymous X. She just lost her Grandma. A few days before Christmas.
I could not say I feel for her. I couldn’t even tell how I felt when I lost my Grandmas. Perhaps that’s because I was just a small kid when that happened.
Anyway, like the rest of people who are unsure what to do or what to say next, I could only send her an email with a sorry and an excerpt of “Auld Lang Syne” with an intentional capitalization of one of the letters. (And no, I’m not hinting to reveal your identity. You did that yourself in your comment in my blog. Way earlier.)
I must say I learn something from this particular article of hers. About how “(they) should be grateful that (the Grandma) lived a good life and that she's no longer in pain”. Be positive. On the other hand, that intention of being positive inflicted self doubt within her. To the extent that she wondered whether "maybe (she's) just a cold, heartless bitch or something". (Which all of her readers will surely contend that she's not cold, not heartless bitch, but she's definitely something but NOT in a negative manner)
But really, just because it’s a custom that people mourn the loss of their loved one, does it make it a right one--a must?
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Darn! It didn't come with a power ring. No chance to gauge how strong my willpower is. *grin*
Yeah, that’s what I got during a Christmas party lucky draw in my company yesterday. No complaint. Partially amused before giving it out to my colleague whose children might have more fun playing with it.
But not before finding out how popular the comic, Green Lantern was.
I asked my younger colleagues what they thought about if the lantern was green and came with a ring.
Answer: Green Lantern.
Not bad, one could even recite the oath (nah, not me…I could use the Internet to hunt for the info, but don’t expect me to recount it out of memory).
"In brightest day, in blackest night,
no evil shall escape my sight!
Let those who worship evil's might,
beware my power.. Green Lantern's light!"
Ended with a cheer and a shout of “bottom’s up!” Hic!
Friday, December 23, 2005
Nah. Hardly impressive as a battle cry.
Anyway, I finally watched the show, The Chronicles of Narnia (TCON): The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe yesterday. I reserved my doubt especially after the traumatic experience of watching The Hitchhiker’s Guide To Galaxy (should have just sticked to reading them books).
Perhaps TCON was enjoyable as I could not completely recall about the plot. My first books that I read in English when I was a kid. Altogether there are 7 books written by C.S. Lewis from the creation of Narnia till the end of it.
And if I may quote an excerpt from the site of the link no.1 below “C.S. Lewis once wrote that the idea for the Narnia books came to him from images: "a faun carrying an umbrella, a queen in a sledge, a magnificent lion.", I'd say that he had a great time weaving tales from those 3 keywords.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Enough anger has been unleashed about the whole NKF thing.
It's rather a shame, isn't it -- since it's Christmas around the corner.
Instead of smiles on our face, most of us are glaring while reading the recent news.
No, I am not advocating to forgive and forget (you see any halo yet on top of my head?). I just say I'm getting tired of it. At least for today.
So, let's focus on the positive stuff, shall we?
One of them is the possibility of Orson Scott Card's novel "Ender's Game" to be made a movie. The link to the article was forwarded by Sonic (Thanks, man).
The movie--if it's ever made--will be a success.
It has the same formula like the movie, The Chronicles of Narnia (TCON): The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
They share the elements of endearing kids saving the world and of wonders that blow your mind (in Ender's Game, that wonder will be the Battle School, in TCON, it is the young world Narnia itself).
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Earlier this morning, I’ve posted a reply in "Quills and Swords" to Randominty formerly known as “x Fledge” from the NaNoWriMo's now defunct forum.
It’s about the Sunday Times special reports about writers in Singapore, the titles of the articles.
No, I don’t mean to ridicule the local publishers of being very much selective in publishing the works written by a local writer. Neither do I despise those who want to publish just for the sake of stroking their ego to see their names on the cover of the book. Tsk, tsk. If I ever con—convince, I mean--a publisher to print out my book, I’ll just have a simple ‘a_x’ on the cover.
Local publishers do make sense. Why take risks of commercializing something that may not have potential gains for them?
Now stay with that logic and my next question will be:
Why nobody proposes to publish the KPMG’s 332-page report on findings of the NKF investigation and sell it to the public? Hey, try to download that pdf file yourself and you will notice how slow the file is downloaded (I gave up after 3 attempts).
I'm sure many will buy it. The publisher could even tout it as part of charity. A portion of the money will go to, say, the new NKF. No, of course not with the laughable arrangement of every-1-dollar-10-cents-go-to-you.
Much intangible benefits to be realized. For the publisher? The company will surely earn the renown as one quick to anticipate the opportunity.
Not really an altruistic act, you may say.
What do you expect? We’re living in the interesting times when a certain individual could proudly lament that he had served 22 years of unpaid volunteer (Duh!) work for the NKF since 1971.
An oxymoron that I must admit is of the higher level, way beyond my comprehension than that last one that I thought was already ludicrous enough (Pls refer to ‘decently-paid intern’ article of Jadeite. Apology pending as I didn't get her permission to put on the link to her site prior to this article.)
Monday, December 19, 2005
For those who think of watching the movie, "Frequency" to learn about parenting--solely about it--be prepared to be disappointed.
Yes, there are a number of touching scenes about the show.
Mostly between the father who is a firefighter and the son, a police.
One of such scenes is when the father in the past asks his little son to speak thru the radio with the same son in the present who is 30 years older. Cute!
What impressed me most is the scene when the son--the present one--advises the father in a rather pushy manner (lives at stake here, people!) what needs to be done to prevent the serial killer from continue killing in the past. And the father, in frustration, just sorta admits that his son knows best (Well, the son is a police and he has the namelist of the victims as well as the details of the murder--place, date & time).
The cinematography is overall just plain. The strength of the show ought to be in its plot. But there is one particular scene that I think is very well orchestrated.
It is on the day when the father is supposed to be killed while rescuing a person trapped in the building caught by fire. He has been warned by his son (of the present) earlier & in the critical moment he chooses to heed the warning.
At the same time, the son (in the present time) is having a drink with his friends.
As soon as the father takes another way out of the building (this time the right one, the one that will allow him not to be posthumously remembered), the son starts experiencing the influx of the new memories. I'd say it must be a shock for him as shown with how he is shaken and drops his glass.
Slow motion on the falling glass.
Meanwhile, in the past, the father throws his helmet out of the building (I am not sure what this gesture means. Something about a firefighter's tradition? If I am killed, remember me while you're staring at this helmet?).
Slow motion on the falling helmet.
Scene keeps changing between the falling glass (slow motion) and the rapid flashes of the new memories for the son. As well as the changing scenes between the falling helmet (also in slow motion) with the sequences of the father (and the rescued person) sliding out alive of the building.
The scenes stop when the glass and the helmet hit the floor.
I am totally digressing. :(
My point being that the show is one of those memorable ones. But don't watch it for a mere reason to learn parenting. True, you may learn something. Equally important: you'll definitely be entertained too.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
I don't suppose that I'm going to make it a habit to post a photo. Just for the sake of learning, what's wrong with the following eerie picture?
It was taken in the evening, using a Night Scene mode.
I suspect that I moved the camera too early while the photo was being taken. But any other reasons?
Friday, December 16, 2005
Why, that’s nice. But perhaps you should not.
I put a booking inquiry for a flight on this site. At first, I was impressed. They offer to deliver the ticket and have the payment collected during the delivery. It is therefore most suitable for those who are not comfortable to settle any online bills using a credit card.
Not bad, eh? By doing it, they do not limit their customers. Even those who do not have credit cards could also buy the tickets online.
Once the booking was made, the response was quite prompt too.
However the content was inducing my bitter laughs.
It was politely stated that they were sorry that the airline that I chose for the dates was not available (Okay, fine. The screw-up in your site was perfectly understandable. Maybe they were not really that good in updating the info. That could happen anywhere. Still it was very kind of them to let me know immediately).
No problem for this part.
The problem, or shall I say the irritating part is that they took the initiative to book me a place in another airline. Without asking me first.
I mean I admire their initiative. About how they attempted to be helpful. Trying to offer the second alternative since my preferred airline was not available. Sure, the fact it was costlier might be just coincidental. * shrug *
But please, shouldn’t this kind of initiative be stated in their Terms & Conditions or even in their FAQ? * with a poker face as I did not really check the former, but I did read the FAQ before booking *
So I wrote to them a brief thanks-but-no-thanks note.
To their credit, they did not push me to buy. You know how it is with the usual sales strategy? The one when the seller keeps pestering you to explain why you do not want to buy their products instead of doing the right thing to promote the products and explain why the products are useful?
Anyway, yeah. They replied--also promptly--and they explained that they were just trying to be helpful. For that & that alone, I'd say that I will surely use their service again in the future. :-)
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Ever dream something weird & remember about it--at least, most of it--when you wake up? Usually I cannot recall whether I dream or not. This morning, I do. And I am rather disturbed by it.
Just need to write this to release it from my mind. Hey if I can make others confused, why won’t I? Let’s not share just the good stuff, shall we?
I dreamt that I was at a big warehouse. It was empty & pitch-dark (so it has firmly established that it is a dream, otherwise how would I know that it was empty if I couldn’t even see anything?)
Anyway, it was empty & pitch-dark. Humor me. At one corner, there were a group of spiders. At another, there were worms of various colors.
Somehow in my dream, I know that they were forming a colony. I took my PDA (yet in real life, I don’t even have one. Ha!) & I chose a button to speed up the colony development.
I witnessed how they grew rapidly in intelligence as demonstrated in the way they built their small cities. They soon started to wage a war as their boundary expanded.
What I then recalled was one army of spiders returning from the battlefield & brought with them prisoners of various species (I deduced so. Not that I saw them chained). Mostly worms. But the disturbing part was there were humans too.
I remembered I felt intrigued about it & peered closer to examine when one of the humans (darn, could only retain the feeling that I was surprised it was him. But when I woke up, I couldn’t remember who the guy was) suddenly grew larger & stapled my forehead. Ouch.
All went blank.
The next sequence was that I found myself waking up in the warehouse. It was afternoon. So I was asleep while working (not that I ever do so in real life, mind you) & I woke up feeling a bit ashamed of myself (sleep while working is a big No). I went to the toilet to wash my face & on my way, I felt a strange sense of recognition about the two empty corners of the warehouse where the colonies of spider & worm were formed.
Suddenly the lunch siren was shrieking and it sounded just like my alarm.
I was wondering about it when I finally woke up.
Monday, December 12, 2005
But I ended up finding this site: "At Last! Writer Beware Blogs!"
The above homepage makes a good reading.
Not easy to be a writer, it seems.
People can aspire to be one. Nothing's wrong with it. But if one does not put any effort into it, one can just dream, right?
That's what prompted me to find out any writing competition where I can submit the novella that I wrote last month. Just to take a crack at it & to see how I can improve further.
Oh yes, it is not boastful when I say that I'm proud of what I wrote. That's how everyone who reached the finish line of composing 50,000-word novel must have felt anyway.
True, that's just the issue of quantity.
Quality-wise? I need that writing competition. Preferably one that allows your writing to be returned by the committee with some commentary. *Cue for those who know of such a competition to share the info* ;)
Friday, December 09, 2005
...especially when it's not a working day.
I was on leave yesterday. The whole day! Just to renew my re-entry permit. The procedure was really hassle-free; checking on the website for necessary requirement did help too.
The whole shebang--from taking the queue no & getting the new permit--took only about 1 hour. So why applied the whole day leave then? Well, I've plenty of them anyway that are going to be wasted. Period. Elaborating further on this point will either mean that I’m too valuable an asset for my company that I very rarely applied a leave (yeah right!) or that I have a poor time management that I couldn’t even plan my leave.
Nah, not really. Planned to go back during Chinese New Year, though.
Anyway, I digressed.
I went to the library@orchard afterwards.
Managed to borrow the Sandman Vol.1 “Preludes & Nocturnes”. Yay!
Found a Sin City graphic novel: “Family Values” too.
I read the latter at the library. Plenty bloods were shed throughout the story. Oh and some nudity (All in the name of arts, I reckon). But hey, we’re all adults here (Kids, shoo shoo, press Alt+F4 now, will ya?).
The plot was admittedly simple & the art was nowhere like the Sandman books. Still the simplicity of the plot & the drawing (sketches in black & white) was a fresh change after indulging in the intricate storyline & the art of the Sandman.
Come to think about it, the black and white drawing may try to convey how even in the corrupt city like Sin City, there were characters with a simple black-and-white notion of justice and revenge. But they were not so. Okay, maybe the style of the art itself was meant as an irony.
Like in “Family Values”, till almost the end, readers were misled to think that the vendetta was due to a dog being brutally shot. But it was ironically indeed the reason as the killing of the dog resulted to...*this part is intentionally left blank*
Anyway, gotta stop before spoiling the story too much (or annoying too many people. I'm not a good reviewer nor do I intend to be one). But what the heck, it’s my blog. And this article should serve as a reminder for me in the future to give other Sin City books a chance.
Yup, that's got to be the reason.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Don't! That's how the main character Stu Shepard at the movie, Phone Booth, might have cursed himself--in retrospect. Imagine you finish making a call at one phone booth and suddenly that phone rings and you just feel compelled to pick it up. And you soon find that you regret it because...(go & watch the show!)
Okay, it's a 2002 show. But it's recommended.
(and no, I won't elaborate further as I don't want to spoil the story)
One of those unique movies. For this one? It's because almost ALL of the time, the setting is at the phone booth.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
That's how I reacted when I watched the last Saturday episode of Legend of Arching Hero (She Diao Ying Xiong Zhuan).
Quite amusing to watch how the protagonist, Guo Jing (GJ) firmly refused to annul his engagement with the Mongolian princess even though the one whom he loved was Huang Rong (HR).
He publicly stated it in front of the two ladies, HR's infuriated father, GJ's Mongolian archery teacher, GJ's Mongolian sworn brother, and GJ's six teachers who would definitely wish to be somewhere else fighting some scumbags than to have to witness such a pathetic drama.
Huang Yao Shi--btw, he's the father of HR--being angry was understandable. Afterall, how could GJ propose her daughter despite he'd already been betrothed to the princess?!
GJ was also superbly adamant with his 'logic':
1. He was taught that it was wrong to break a promise and he had promised to marry the princess.
and (or but?)
2. He only had HR in his heart.
What the ???
I really wondered why the two ladies did not just join hands to kill that indecisive guy. Oh wait, they couldn't. It's not in the script.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
...coz I didn't feel any pain when I finally finished my very first 50,000-word novel. Okay, maybe not yet. :-)
Well, this article is supposed to be published on 01 Dec, but what the heck, I want to celebrate it now! Heh.
*savouring the intoxicating sensation of accomplishment*
Uhm, returning to Earth now, in retrospect with what I wrote in "My Game Plan" article. I've indeed got to be kidding if I aimed to complete the novel by following the plan closely.
Only the first three days of the month were spent for brainstorming as planned. The next few days? Well, some days I did not write. And some days, I typed in a manner that was both fast & furious (but without sexy cars involved) which was not good coz the next day I would find my wrists painful.
The challenge admittedly was not to type fast or to consistently write every day, but to stay in the path of the outlines that I set earlier. Many times, the characters started to deviate from the outlines and boy, it was so tempting to see how the story could evolve thereafter. But more often than not, it led me nowhere and I had to impassively delete the words and retraced back the story as per the original idea.
Still it was lotsa fun.
To the rest of participants: All the best! Don't give up. Be careful with how you type--something that has got to do with ergonomic, but I am not the best person to advise you as I myself must be typing in wrong posture too.
Oh lastly, trust me when I say that you will WANT to see your novel completed. ;)
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
I’ve followed closely the strategy that I spelt out in the "My Game Plan" article. I’ve been unravelling the plot into sub-plots and organizing them into chapters. I’ve called forth (I'm on my knees begging, more like it) the characters & their significance to the story has been clearly defined.
The structure of the novel has been moulded as well.
I’m doing okay—if by okay, I mean that my progress is as per the schedule that I earlier set—as long as I remember that I race against myself and not with others. (Dasugi, pls take note, will ya?) ;)
Now I am tempted to start typing the story. But again, haste makes waste, doesn't it? Of course, the critical me will just snigger & accuse that would it not be due to my laziness that should be the real reason behind it?
Nah, I just want to respect my schedule.
Yeah, that's it. If & when I finish ahead of the target date, I'll just do something fun to reward myself.
To sleep will be a considerable reward.
Or to meet with that certain someone. ;p
Hey, so I'm uncharacteristically honest & (hopefully) annoyingly vague.
So what? *shrug*
PS. And thus ended, my first & last post of the month.
Monday, October 31, 2005
On 01 December, there shall be an article in my blog titled “Aching Hero” which is definitely not a Legend & obviously no condors are harmed in the process of writing. Shortly, it will be about me celebrating the completion of my first novel. Plus the recurrent aches in my wrist. Heh.
Or a post with a caption “I tried my best. I couldn’t make it. Yeah, I’m a failure.” which will have the shortest content ever in my blog that is “Please refer to the tittle.”
The outlook doesn’t augur well for November. I’ll be extremely busy at my workplace. But many are as busy as I am—if not busier—but they still can make it. So I should not wail & use the excuse of my work. Right? Right…
That’s the logic. I’ll just have to ensure it’s firmly glued in my mind.
There are 2 participants that I’ll look up as a role model in term of their passion in writing regardless of their tight schedules. Yup, ladies…so you’d better be the NaNoWriMo winners this year too. ;-)
The links to their websites (Thanks for the permission!) are shown under “NaNoWriMo-tioners:”.
Friday, October 28, 2005
I’m sure as habits dictate it, I’ll look back at this article one day and cuss “You’ve got to be KIDDING me!”
As per today, though, my plan for having my 50,000-word novel completed for NaNoWriMo is as follows:
- the first 3 days for brainstorming the plot & characters.
- 20 days for letting the ideas ooze through the tips of my fingers.
- taking 1-day break & hoping my mind is crystal clear for me to:
- read and check how (good) the completed novel is (about 5 days) and
- the final day for deciding the title.
Failure to accomplish this task will mean an instant humiliation with me being the first to berate myself. Failure is therefore not an option. I’m a nasty scolder. Bah to “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”. This Congreve guy is obviously living in the past (No Duh. He was living in the past. Between the late 17th & early 18th century to be precise & his play of “The Mourning Bride” has popularized that proverb & cast fear among those backboneless men who couldn't reject a woman's love).
Anyway, on a serious note, by the end of next month, I should know whether I will make a good writer. Uhm, or at least a writer. And whether I enjoy writing. That's going to be my main objective.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Did anybody watch the Critic’s Pick: “Arrested Development” at the Arts Central TV last night?
After checking from the Net, I realized that the yesterday episode “Sad Sack” was of Season 2. Even though I had no idea about the series, it was still very much entertaining. There was this part when a character, a 19-year-old Steve, whom both Maeby and her mother Lindsay liked, was introduced.
It was briefly, yet effectively done.
The voice-over stated that Steve was Maeby’s senior in the school, the final year student and had been so for the last 3 years. Then one after another, the 3 year-end students’ books profiling the name, the photo, and the student’s message was shown; the focus was on Steve.
The first photo of the first year-end book featured him making a funny, grinning face with a note: “I’m outta here!”.
Next had him with another pose of unconcealed joy again and the brief message: “So long, suckers!”
The last one was a contrast: Steve looked sad & pouted in the photo with his solemn advice: “Study hard, guys—Trust me on this.”
What a laugh.
Anyway, I’m looking forward for the next week episodes. And who knows, perhaps, one day the Critic’s Pick program of the Arts Central will feature “South Park”. Heh.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
...which is the title of The Sandman graphic novel Vol. 6.
Just put in a reservation this elusive, ehm, art book yesterday.
I was hunting for it last Saturday at the Ang Mo Kio library. Naught.
Couldn’t find the book although the library online system said the book was not on loan.
Nevertheless, the trip was not a complete waste as I managed to get The Sandman Vol. 5 “A Game of You”—featuring Princess Barbara, or Barbie actually—and “The Sandman Companion” that contains thorough analyses about individual novels as well as interviews with the ingenious author, Neil Gaiman.
Monday, October 24, 2005
In one of my earlier articles, I mentioned about the author Orson Scott Card and some of his books that appeal to me.
His fame was actually started with his novel “Ender’s Game” originally written as a short story.
The book deals with how the Earth prepares to face the invasion by ant-like aliens. The Battle School has been built at the outer space and the selected few, highly gifted children are sent there to be educated in terms of strategy, leadership, and especially creativity in combatting the buggers (Yeah, that’s how they call the aliens).
The protagonist is a boy, Andrew Wiggins whose nickname is Ender. And "Ender’s Game" is about how he copes with the pressures in the Battle School and how he—unknowingly--defeats the buggers.
The author smartly span another story that converges to the same denouement with Ender’s Game. The story focuses on Bean, who is the most talented kid of Ender’s Jeesh (Jeesh = the group of Battle School kids under Ender’s leadership during the final conflict with the aliens).
The series then split to what happens to Ender after defeating the buggers. The setting is mostly at the outer space and the books are “Speaker for the Dead”, “Xenocide” and “Children of the Mind”.
While at the same time, the books “Shadow of the Hegemon”, “Shadow Puppets”, and “Shadow of the Giant” are about Bean and Ender’s older brother Peter in their attempt to bring some order to the Earth. After the alien threat is neutralized, the Earth nations revert to their belligerent stance. The complication is later introduced with the Battle School children returning to their own countries and serving their nations in fighting others. Having a common enemy—especially when humanity is at stake--is indeed a unifying factor.
I find it more enjoyable to read Bean’s plot line than Ender’s three subsequent sequels as the former offers plenty of (clever) manipulations and political intrigues that I could easily relate to the Real World. So is it cryptic enough to tempt you to read the books? Heh. Go ahead then. Read them. :-)
But do start with "Ender’s Game".
Friday, October 21, 2005
While I could conjure a story from "A Whiter Shade of Pale" song--even if it's proven to be wrong--I, however, could not do the same for "Hotel California".
Still the song amazes me. The lyric completely stupefies me. Not understanding what the heck some of the verses trying to say might play a part.
- "Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends"
Uhm, right...Tiffany-twisted? Mercedes bends?
- "What a nice surprise, bring your alibis"
What has a nice surprise got to do with alibis?
- "They gathered for the feast / They stab it with their steely knives, / But they just can't kill the beast"
They eat what they kill? Raw? Or I'm just being too damn literal here? *sigh*
- "Last thing I remember, I was / Running for the door / I had to find the passage back / To the place I was before"
- "You can checkout any time you like, / But you can never leave!"
These two parts present the puzzling climax. So what happens to the "I" in the song? Does he or does he not manage to escape from the Hotel?
Thursday, October 20, 2005
With the 5/10 Kingdom article, thus the Yellow Ribbon project for much-maligned Wolf persona is ended.
Previously, I mentioned how I was amused about the 10th Kingdom’s mushrooms which sing “A Whiter Shade of Pale”.
This is because it is one of the songs, which always mystifies me (Oh, another one would be “Hotel California”).
What is “A Whiter Shade of Pale” really about?
The lyric goes like this:
We skipped the light fandango
turned cartwheels 'cross the floor
I was feeling kinda seasick
but the crowd called out for more
The room was humming harder
as the ceiling flew away
When we called out for another drink
the waiter brought a tray
And so it was that later
as the miller told his tale
that her face, at first just ghostly,
turned a whiter shade of pale
She said, 'There is no reason
and the truth is plain to see.'
But I wandered through my playing cards
and would not let her be
one of sixteen vestal virgins
who were leaving for the coast
and although my eyes were open
they might have just as well've been closed
And this is how I interpret the song:
“I” in the song is a wanderer (“feeling kinda seasick”? He travels a lot & knows how "seasick" feels like) who happens to come across a tavern & indulging in a music & dance. With a charming girl whom he just befriends or perhaps flirts a bit (it’s a fandango after all, right?).
The perplexing part is introduced by the second stanza. It may hold some importance as this part is kept repeating throughout the song. To continue from the previous stanza, so the Guy & Girl are out of their breath dancing & now rest while sipping their drink & listening to the miller telling his story. Something about the tale evidently scares the girl (“her face, at first just ghostly, turned a whiter shade of pale”. The colour of fear?)
In the third stanza, our attentive wanderer likely shows his concern by asking her why. Consequently the answer "There is no reason and the truth is plain to see." Which truth is plain to see? Now I imagine the sentence “and would net her be one of sixteen vestal virgins” have to do with the miller’s tale. (And that the wanderer is a bit slow in realizing that the girl is one of the sixteen. If he has known it earlier, there won’t be a need to ask the girl & for the girl to snap "the truth is plain to see".)
Anyway, what does "vestal" mean? According to Wordweb, it “relates to Vesta”, “(Roman mythology) goddess of the hearth and its fire whose flame was tended by vestal virgins; counterpart of Greek Hestia”.
Okay, to think that the miller’s tale frightens the girl who’s apparently going to be one of those vestal virgins, I deduce that the tale must be horrific by nature. Perhaps the job scope of so-called vestal virgins with regard to "tending the Goddess' flame" means the girls are to be burnt alive?
Anyway, I am touched by the last two sentences “and although my eyes were open, they might have just as well've been closed”. I take it as an expression of how frustrated the wanderer must feel as he may have fallen in love with the girl & yet he is powerless to prevent her fate to be the mere fuel to the fire.
So I like the song coz I’m compelled to think about the above possibility to create some meaning out of the song.
Searching the Net, this site offers an alternative & more credible explanation & at the same time proves my intrepretation is utterly wrong. Check it out.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
The Half Kingdom? Nope, it was I trying to find an information about a TV miniseries. The title was actually the 10th Kingdom, but I somehow was so sure that it's the 5th Kingdom.
So I started the hunt with “the 5th Kingdom” as the keyword. The Yahoo search results no.4 revealed the URL that has “10kingdoms” phrase. Ah, so it’s “the 10th Kingdom”.
The 10th Kingdom! This show has the right mixture of fairy tales go twisted—not that dark, mind you--and balanced with beautiful scenery. But what intrigues me most is about one of the characters that eventually & completely reforms. Yup, the Wolf again.
True as a how a fairy tale goes, there is also a regular, modern girl who is transformed into a heroine (not that she has any choice) together with his good-for-nothin’ (oh, he's good at wailing & complaining, though!) dad who is dragged along to the adventure.
You’ve got to watch it! The absurdly funny parts I can recall are:
- The mushrooms which sing “A Whiter Shade of Pale”.
- The shepherdess singing competition, in which, the heroine Virginia adopts the Queen’s “We Will Rock You”.
- The deadly guessing-name game between Virginia’s father & the blind woodsman.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
1. “For that, I can outsource the task to a certain noble (debatable, depending which version you read) Fable character, which is proficient at huffing & puffing.”
I was referring to Bigby Wolf, a reformed Big Bad Wolf character in Vertigo’s Fables graphic novels, which I unfortunately have read only the Volume III: Storybook Love.
In this volume, it was revealed that the wolf in "Three Little Pigs" & "Little Red Riding Hood" tales is the very same character. Ha, I never even think about that possibility.
Interesting to note from the Wikipedia link above is that I was not aware that there is a version of "Three Little Pigs" tale in which the wolf was finally killed & eaten by the third little prick, uhm, pig.
Now I wonder whether there's been any speculative story out there that ever tries to link that resourceful pig with the revolutionary (to some extent) Snowball & Napoleon in George Orwell's Animal Farm.
2. “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
Of course, this refers to what Rhett Butler’s snappy retort to apparently clingy(?) Scarlett in the classic “Gone with the Wind”. Well, I have not read the book yet. So I will restrain not to judge how the story goes just from the quotes.
Monday, October 17, 2005
I was rather irked recently. I was advised to be careful in what/how I write in my blog as I may be judged by certain female readers concerning my level of cynicism (abundant!), intelligence (questionable), openness (wrong blog, lady!) & friendliness (got to look up this word in a dictionary).
I was not disturbed by the person who cautioned me that.
Oh, he meant well & I truly appreciated it.
What I was annoyed is why it should matter. Do I really intend to use my blog to sweep the girls off their feet? For that, I can outsource the task to a certain noble (debatable, depending which version you read) Fable character, which is proficient at huffing & puffing.
This. Is. My. Blog.
And whether people are impressed or not? Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. If people try to judge me based on what I write in my blog, help yourself with a generous serving of horror & repulsion.
Gosh, if you want to play a fair judge, do read my comments in those blogs that I visit.
I never claimed myself as a blogger. I registered a nick so that I could have an accountable identity when I posted a comment here & there (and like a virus, it will spread. Beware! Although till now I don’t get any restraining order, so I guess I’m doing pretty well myself. Heh.)
I write, or blog, because it makes me closer to finding myself.
Friday, October 14, 2005
Hence my participation to NaNoWriMo.
Yeah, just registered yesterday. Ooo...let's see the end of next month--you'll start the race on 1 Nov & to complete the 50,000-word novel by 30 Nov--if I can finish composing that. Or die in trying. :-)
The icon (Not bad, huh? Just below the "I Power Blogger" one) should serve as a self-reminder to do the task.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost.
Encountered this yesterday when I was skimming The Sandman, Book X: The Wake.
(Now who says we can’t learn from comics or graphic novels? Heh)
I had been pondering on this sentence since.
I mean, knowing and understanding are two different matters. I know that in the past, some Roman wise guy might start popularizing this sentence. Hmm…maybe after conquering other kingdoms, when they tried to pacify the crestfallen natives?
Okay, as usual, I’m digressing.
It was not my intention to delve into the origin of the saying.
The point is how to understand. How to grasp the wisdom of the saying? That is if you agree at the first place, that Omnia-Mutantur-Nihil-Interit thing is indeed a gem of truth.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
I'm amused with how people turn to online questionnaires to find out more about themselves. Alright, it doesn't do any harm. It's just for fun. But I'm still amused.
Take this one for example. It's about "What Age Do You Act?"
You'll go through a set of questions & in the end you'll be given an assessment & explanation about your (mental?) age.
The interesting part is all the answers are so rosy. Everyone won't help but feel good about themselves. So, let me present the twisted & sadly, more realistic interpretations of the result.
The black text below are the original heartwearming explanation. The blue text within the blue brackets are mine. :-)
Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe. (But not for long. You can’t be a kid forever. What, think you this is a Neverland? Get ready to flirt with disappointment, kiddo.)
13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world. (Your subversive view will lead you to a place of your own: a prison. You’ll become famous. But at what cost?)
20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences. (That’s your problem. You feel. You don’t think.)
30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more! (Lack of idealism will trip you to reap success illegally & your greed of true love will be the cause of your divorce as you’re seeking it—the true love—from more than one person.)
40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax. (What else can you do? You no longer have optimistic views about life. You no longer look at the world with awe. You finally become a compliant citizen. You are a sharp thinker. Yet you feel like a baby trying to run. You are bankrupt & divorced.)
Monday, October 10, 2005
Last Friday, I finally met the friends whom one of them was deeply upset by my insensitivity (Heh, and some still claim that I’m oversensitive. :-\ ).
Sure, it was just an innocent misunderstanding.
No malice whatsoever, oh nossir.
But the by-product was she getting sad. So for that, I was hit by guilt.
Anyway, it’s o-v-e-r. I could observe throughout the dinner that they were enjoying themselves. So it is possible for such a perfect couple to continue being good friends even after a break-up.
The dinner was originally meant just for the three of us. I was thinking to drink for a while (it’s at Brewerkz & the beer is its speciality), and then left two of them to have a quiet chat to clear out whatever residual problems they had.
That didn’t happen.
They invited their friends to come along. Perhaps it was for the best. We did have great fun together. Although I for one was rather hurt & relieved at the same time seeing my ex gf joining us.
Hurt as she couldn’t be bothered to inform me that her problem was eventually over (and this was despite the fact that she knew how much I worried about her). I deduced that she solved it as she came with her boyfriend (A great guy. She made a right choice!).
Relieved as her bf treated her well. Very, very well. Then wouldn’t it be redundant to shake his hand & told him to take a good care of her? Then again, it might not as I did give an or-else-I-will-hunt-you-down histrionic pause in the end of that sentence.
So, that chapter of my life...I could close it.
About time to move on. Way overdue.
When I contemplated about the night, I realized I was truly forgiven by my friend and his ex. By them making that night a memorable one.
My friend, he invited a magnetic lady teacher whose teacher-like patience was evident whenever she had to answer the FAQ of what she did for living & how long she had been teaching.
I managed to decipher her blog identity immediately (Please, you can’t hide that sparklingly rich smile by just changing your hairstyle). She did know mine after two guesses, though.
The teacher in turn invited her friend who unfortunately came rather late. His antic of ‘she-loves-me, she-loves-me-not’ was hilarious.
My friend’s ex had her friend to join us, who adopted a name "Ice"--coz we can't pronounce his name? Cool & sober & I almost made him pay for the whole bill as he’s the only one who adamantly acted cool & sober after those drinks. *grin*
She also invited along my ex & her bf. Enough said.
A reclusive—-but unarguably nice & decent-—friend of mine also joined us. He initiated the exciting bamboo game. Alas, his blog identity was unmasked as well by the teacher (she is good!).
Uhm...it’s not intended to be a gathering just for bloggers. So I won’t reveal their nicks here. Oh well, maybe next time! ;-)
In hindsight, I may be slightly tipsy myself. As I couldn't recall the girls started sniffing the smell of burning matches. Read more.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Yesterday night, the usual routine of haunting the nearest library, I felt an urge to stop at the rack for books whose authors’ surname started with CAR.
Absent-mindedly, I picked up a book "Seventh Son" by Orson Scott Card. Hmm, I’ve read this one many, many times.
I browsed the list of books by the author. Stopped at "Lost Boys".
Yup, I remember this one too.
I remember the general outline of the story. I wish I could forget about it. The book is rich with sadness--which would only be apparent in the ending part. (How could it be rich with sadness if it is only apparent in the ending part? Go & figure it out yourself by reading it.)
It’s rather unusual of me to read that kind of genre.
I wish I could borrow the book.
I just want to see exactly whether the similar feeling can be evoked.
1. Then why did I choose to read it at the first place? Well, I’m hooked with the author’s works. I read "Seventh Son", "Prentice Alvin", "Alvin Journeyman" & "Heartfire"--book I, III, IV and V of Alvin Maker storyline respectively. I managed to hunt for book II: "Red Prophet" at a second-hand bookstore. And now, I’m eyeing for the latest (final?) instalment: "The Crystal City". 
2. If you manage to borrow it from the library, kindly lend me. Please. :-)
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
And I was one of them.
Noticed an advertisement in the paper telling that a certain credit card issuer treated the card users with a pair of free tickets.
The collection of the tix would start on 3 p.m. that Sunday.
Plenty of time, so I hung around the library looking for a corner to finish savouring "Cat’s Cradle", a book by Kurt Vonnegut. Couldn’t find a place to seat, but managed to borrow "The Sandman: The Dream Hunters", though (narrated by Neil Gaiman—again, yay! —and illustrated by the talented Yoshitaka Amano).
Decided to go to the food court to read. Felt hungry, instead.
On 1 p.m., after having lunch there, I visited the cinema to take a look at what time the show would be.
Surprisingly, the queue had already been formed!
And to think that the counter for the collection for the tickets was still closed?!
Hallo, people? You’ve got 2 hours of your precious Sunday to be wasted like this?
I could spit with disgust at their greediness.
I could admire their persistence.
I could curse the credit card issuer by half-heartedly rewarding the card users (Didn’t the company know that they could just send the tickets to the card users?)
I could praise the credit card issuer coz the company was able to reward AND to create publicity at the same time (The queue made the onlookers wonder what the queue was all about).
Yet I decided to queue as well.
So I did have 2 hours of my precious Sunday to be wasted like this. * sigh *
But I had a book with me (two, in fact) & I could read the books while queuing, couldn’t I? Not that I had other schedules, that is.
In the end, "Cat’s Cradle" was finished (A bit disappointed with how the story was ended). Heh, still I was proud of myself to be able to utilize a book as a time machine to help me pass the 2-hour waiting swiftly.
It would otherwise be a humiliating queue.
Or perhaps it was, but I might be too engrossed with the book to be aware of it.
Saturday, October 01, 2005
Okay, I think I've figured it out why I was spammed apparently more than the rest of the bloggers & why it was only for certain articles.
For those articles that were spam-free, I didn't do any 'editing' once I published them.
So the trick is to revise, revise, and revise the entry--yup, the curse of a perfectionist--before clicking the "Publish Post" button.
Let me test the hypothesis with this article.
Have no spam, I say!
Friday, September 30, 2005
For those critical readers:
- Although she started blogging since June 2003, the choice of my moniker was not inspired by her.
- I came across her redoubtable blog as I happened to be curious whether there were any other Anonymous X-s out there (yeah, I should have done this before—and not after—creating my site). I used Yahoo, I searched for “Anonymous X” and there she was, at Search Result No.6.
- Yup, admittedly I was inconsistent at first. Having a user name Anonymous_X, but showing Anonymous X in my profile. This has since been rectified.
Be observant and halt your jumping to conclusion. Notice the lack of underscore between Anonymous and X?
This article is therefore not about me. It is about a 26-year lady blogger from Canada whose sweet, captivating style of honesty is rather too much for me, although at the same time inexplicably compels me to check out her blog. Regularly.
Might be an alarming trend, huh? A blog-stalker. :-\ Sheesh…We are living in a sick world.
Anyway, here is the link to her blog (Have I told you that I’ve got her permission to let me write about her in this article? So no, courtesy is not yet extinct—even in this sick world. And yes, I’m practising it. I hope.)
Oh incidentally, she quoted in her Bio:
"There's something about my life. It's just automatically true that nothing actually happens."
I'll be really impressed if you know where that quote came from.
It’s from “My So-Called Life”, right? The voiceover of the character, Brian Krakow? So you’re impressed already?
Well, don’t be.
It’s not really that hard to hunt for that piece of information. ;-)
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
It was a night of a clean fight. Literally.
Truly a magical evening when the washing machine adamantly refused to perform its job. Great! -- And here I was trying hard to hold on to that rare early-Sunday-feeling-documented-just-below-this-article.
I called the landlord. Hostility was stifling in the air. Well, understandably I guess if he was mad. It was 10.30 p.m. & he usually went to bed by that time.
He jabbered rapidly in Chinese. I maintained a blank, innocent look (Not difficult, especially when one doesn’t understand the language).
We tried many combinations of the push-buttons at the machine; it was of no avail. He left with anger. I left with the laundry.
A quick situational analysis:
a) to try to repair the washing machine with the risk of making it worse
b) to go & wash the laundry by hand.
To choose a), it’s a high-risk venture. I was tired. I was fed-up. And the only idea that I could think of to repair the machine was to glare at it menacingly with a hammer on my hand.
On the contrary, b) was definitely feasible. You just need two baskets of water. Add adequate detergent to one of the basket. Soak in the clothes. Use another basket for rinsing them.
Simple? Yes…but I totally forgot to assess one final, crucial task: drying the clothes. To wring them ain’t easy. Hey, it was a pile of them laundry, remember?
So I twisted & I squeezed. Cautiously. Didn’t want to injure my already fragile wrists. Long story. Don’t ask. x-(
Losing patience, I started punching the rinsed clothes.
My knuckles soon screamed in protest.
Persevere, man. Got to win this slugfest before you could go to sleep. End the job before the clock struck twelve. You know the ritual. A Maid Charming would be your just reward. After the perfunctory hug & kiss, she would then help you in washing the clothes. And before long, the laundry would be hung happily ever after.
Being sarcastic to your own self did have its use.
Sunday, September 25, 2005
What makes you feel good? And no, I don't mean the after-glow / blissful effect after one makes love with his/her loved one.
A little background is in order. It's been a long day working for me: 19 hours continuously. I should have felt lousy, shouldn't I?
For most of the day, in fact.
Couldn't even graciously accept the award given by Celia. (Lost? Go & click the link at the right side of the screen. There you go.)
However the feeling changed.
I just completed that project! The sense of accomplishment was intoxicating. At first. Soon, it was nothing compared to how I felt during the journey back at the boat.
Standing up proud, I felt so small.
Encircled by the grandness of the sea.
Embracing the passionate wind,
Being soothed by the cool drizzle.
Loving the feel.
Feeling the love.
A moment like this--
--I'm reminded that God does exist.
A moment like this--
--I'm becoming one with Him.
A moment like this--
--I'm truly alive.
It's merely a 30-minute trip.
Yet I wish it's never ended.
 By God, I mean The Loving Highest Power who doesn't set rules & regulations on how we should live our lives. The Being who just wants us to be happy.
 Refer to 1.
Saturday, September 24, 2005
Ah...the pleasure of following-up & the ecstasy of being replied. :)
But really, kudos for NLB for being receptive to my feedback.
Take a look at how courteous the response is & how firm they insist that the copies at the Children section will stay there. (No point to waste our limited manpower to relocate those books, eh? Let's just scar those young minds for life.)
Our cataloguer has agreed that Jack London's The Call of the Wild is an adult book and will classified some editions of the title under Adult.
However, since the publication of the title in 1903, the story of Buck has appeal to children and is a perennial favourite among children. As such, many editions of the book published are specifically targetted at the children readers. The copies found in ____________ Community Library are the Puffin and Apple Classics editions, which are rewritten or packaged to appeal to the younger readers. Therefore, we will not place these copies in the Adult section.
Admittedly I never read The Call of The Wild - the Adult version. Perhaps, it is composed in much grimmer ways. Then again, if movies have a Director's Cut, it shouldn't be a surprise if books do have a Writer's Cut as well.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
This could be a central question of American Gods. How inspiring Nietzche was to our modern authors indeed!
Okay, it may be just another farfetched correlation. I would like to think, though, that's how Neil Gaiman, the author, derived his idea.
By the way, here is the link to the list of gods which were featured in the novel.
Fictitious gods they may be...Me doubting as usual (so no thunderbolt, please?), but it's impressive how people in the past invented them.
What I very much wondered is who first initiated the concept of a God / Gods?
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
In retrospect, the title is more rightly named as “How A Good Intention Goes Bad”.
These 3 keywords ought to remind me, should I face a similar situation in the future. They are: a friend, a quote, and a friend’s ex.
Doesn’t tell much, does it? Feel free to be puzzled...
...but try not to solve it.
Anyway, I’m trying to execute the Recovery Plan by inviting those two for a dinner. No reply yet. Some people could be just too ignorant regardless of me blatantly use of RSVP. *sigh*
Either that or they are into a waiting game (I can’t reply the invitation as I don’t want to be seen overly eager to meet).
Well...as long as they’re not trying to dart me with an it-definitely-is-a-No hint. Boy, aren’t they gonna be petulantly surprised! – as I’ll just choose to send them a weekly follow-up email.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
Since my first three articles have been completed, I’m thinking to take a break for a while. (Hey, I’m more a reader than a writer!)
Rest assured, though, that whatever little things I write about, I'll continue to do it with purpose & conviction. *cross fingers*
For example: those earlier entries are intended as a tribute for the three bloggers whose writing I read regularly. Bet you don't know about it, do you? Bet they don't, either.
And you still wonder why the links “And the nominees are:” are only recently provided?!
Update on 10 March 2006
As the links have been condensed into one & the list of those frequently visited blogs have been expanded, the 3 bloggers I'm referring in this article are--drum rolls, please--Sonic, Shakespeareheroine, and Ole'Wolvie.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
For the sake of trying to borrow this book yesterday, I had to endure the hostile look from some protective mothers.
The book is located at the J section of the library.
I approached one of the library staff for help. She told me that J is for Junior & it is part of the Children’s segment.
What a surprise! The Call of the Wild is for children’s consumption?!
The kids ignored me in their usual friendly manner. Their mothers glared. I just politely grinned (at the mothers), quickly took the book & retreated out of that forbidden place.
Note to self: Feedback to the National Library Board that this Jack London's is not a suitable reading for such a young group of readers. Gotta include the link to the Wikipedia about the book to support the argument. ;)
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
A girl, A was confounded. She was told by a guy, for whom she cared, to stop doing so much for him. Let’s name him: B.
To organize some of the information from that particular post of her:
1. A wondered aloud why B did not tell her earlier.
2. A claimed that B stated that he was not ready to be tied down yet.
3. A frustratingly shouted at Heaven & asked why then B had gone around saying he wanted a girlfriend.
Other clues that were available from her earlier entries & considered relevant for the investigation:
- B is an extremely smart person. This is one of many reasons she fell over him. This is one of his many virtues that she kept mentioning, ad nauseam.
- B is likely one of her readers.
I will have to concede that two clues are not at all dubious. It is logical for one to be impressed by other’s intelligence & a blog is easily accessible by all.
About statement no.1:
He indeed could have told her earlier that he was not interested. True.
So he must have his own reasons not to do so.
Perhaps he wanted the girl to be honest to him and to stop playing this pointless game. Of course, A should have realized the dire consequence—as B could just choose to ignore her—if she were to continue employing this strategy (to shower care & attention to the guy, without telling him how she felt about him & praying that the guy’s heart melted & he eventually died of heart failure?).
How about statement no.2 & 3?
I’ll say that the guy was truly nice to willingly portray himself as stupid. He did so by giving an excuse that he was not ready to be tied down (if A’s claim were to be believed) that is very much contradictory with how he expressively wanted a girlfriend.
He could have clubbed her senseless with his bludgeon of truth & shattered her self-esteem. He could have hurt her more. But he didn’t.
To A: please try to look at the situation that way & may your pain lessen.
P.S. The above analysis is obviously incomplete due to lack of data. Let's blame it on B. Heh.
Monday, September 12, 2005
Thanks to Sonic who recommended “Smoke and Mirrors” by Neil Gaiman, I feel like a 28-year old falling in love all over again. No, really! (Check out my profile. I am 28)
So what is it about the book that deserves a mention in my first blog? After all, it is just a collection of short stories, which I usually dislike.
To be fair, I don’t actually go drooling over all of his short stories. Sure, the author is so original; he mischievously includes one story as part of Introduction (How many of us do read Introductions anyway?) But what I am impressed most are the very first and last of the stories.
The first story is titled “Chivalry”. It’s about an elderly widow who buys the Holy Grail at a second hand store. The hilarious part is when the knight in shining armour, Galaad, comes & tries to persuade the lady to give him the artefact. The puzzling part is at the end, when the lady visits the store again & almost purchases a “tarnished old silver container with a long spout”, identified as a lamp (Doesn't ring a bell), with “writings carved along the side in blocky old Chinese characters” (Ditto), and there was “a small metal ring tied to the handle of the lamp” (Waitaminute, a lamp + a ring = a lantern, a power ring = Green Lantern's? *grin* And to imagine that the old lady were to be one of the GL Corp, reciting the oath. Heh. I may be wrong, though. I fail to see how the Chinese characters relate to that lantern).
“Snow, Glass, Apples” is the last story of the book. It is based on the premise about what if the roles of good and evil of a certain fairy tale are reversed. The idea may be originated from the typical description of Snow White as in “her lips redder than blood; her skin, snow white". Perhaps it is not about beauty that the quoted statement is trying to convey. Perhaps it is about something else...so sinister that forces the Queen to have her huntsmen to cut her step daughter's heart out & leave her to die in the forest.
Now to go home & continue enjoying his other book: American Gods.