Saturday, December 22, 2007

The mist clouding the hill appeals me...

...but I fail to capture the photo rightly. Just trying to see how it looks like if I were to take the image diagonally. Nah. Stll doesn't look nice.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Warlords - where's the Spoiler Alert?!


Visited the official website of the movie, The Warlords and got engrossed with the "STORY". Wrong move. It basically narrates the movie plot--till the very end!

As much as I'm angry with how silly the official website can be (and this is despite the cool trailer, I tell you), I'm disappointed that I should resort in checking any official websites at all prior to deciding whether to watch a particular movie or not.

Won't do the same mistake with "I Am Legend" or "Inkheart". See, no links to their official websites, are there? Heh.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

"Ling86 (artist of the Larkin Step) has been HACKED!!"

So I have been wondering the rate of success Ling86 has enjoyed since this previous post, "Larkin...who? Ling86...who?" on 18/12/07.

I visited the link & found that it had almost 1.1 million views. Very impressive, I must say. But what surprised me is the clip's now titled as "MY AIM SCREEN NAME IS "DSDF" - Larkin Step (Original)". That...that is one lousy title! (Especially the first part of MY AIM..."DSDF". Wtf is AIM, anyway? Oh wait, it stands for "AOL Instant Messenger".)


And to think that I'm bad at naming my articles. Well, I still am. That's why the title of this post is lazily taken from a video clip, "Ling86 (artist of the Larkin Step) has been HACKED!!" uploaded by one YouTube member, kungfucolin.


Yes. Ling86's YouTube account had been hacked. The inevitable price of instant fame? Still...any publicity is a good one, I guess. Just key in "Larkin Step" in the YouTube search bar and you'll find the song started to be performed by others (Yes, not only by kaliazzura) as good as TheRustyAcoustic--his version: "Song: "Larkin Step" (Ling86)"--and as "bad" as CarlomarPhoto's "Re: Larkin Step (Original)". Without doubt, another sign of success, isn't it?

I wish I can say sorry that her account is hacked. However I can't. Surely Ling86 can register for another YouTube account with different nick & re-upload all her 9 videos.

The incident is a blessing in disguise for many will sympathize & get to know about her. And that is a good thing.

PS. The above two images were snapped from YouTube. Touch-up: brightness, contrast.

"I have a dream"

I have a dream, but nothing’s historic about it.

I have a dream that today (Selamat Hari Raya Haji, if you celebrate!) I decide not to go to work.

I have a dream that I go to one mosque (Can only recall that in my dream, it’s such a great building with a great numbers of worshippers.) & take photos of the animals being slaughtered (No, it doesn’t feel wrong in my dream doing so although it’s surely inappropriate in the Waking World.)

I remember the animals, mostly lambs, do not cry out in pain.

I remember how I wonder about it and it leads me thinking about “The Silence of the Lambs”.

I remember how I berate myself for entertaining such a trivial thought in a place of worship.

I know it is a dream even before I wake up.

I know because I don’t feel any guilt at all for not going to work.

I know I’d rather to be at churches, mosques or temples—any place but workplace—anytime: in the Waking World or in the Dream Land.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Larkin...who? Ling86...who?

Okay, I must plead ignorance. I never heard about this Larkin person before. Not till I came across this article in Tomorrow.sg. Philip Larkin, however, was influential enough to inspire ling86 to compose a song, "Larkin Step (Original)"--currently has almost 880,000 hits in YouTube & the figure continues rising.

As I googled the name "Larkin", I visited the Wikipedia & noticed that ling86 & the song are also mentioned in the Wikipedia entry on Philip Larkin.

Checking out "Larkin Step (Original)", I saw the song was presented as well by another YouTube member, kaliazzura. Though both have been members for about 1 year--ling86 joined on 25/04/06 whereas kaliazzura on 30/08/06--the latter has been prolific in uploading her videos (total: 51 nos as per today). Compare that with 9 videos from ling86.

Yes, yes...it's Quality, not Quantity that matters.

My point is by having kaliazzura singing ling86's song (and fairly attributed the song to her--just see the title, "Larkin Step (Ling86) Kali Azzura"), it's surely a good way to further expand the audience base to ling86.

That's it! I won't be tempted to make comparisons about who sing better. Let's just say I always prefer the originals (with the exception of KFC, gimme Crispy anytime) because they are original.

But the lyric, man...you just have to see the song lyric. Just like Larkin using "death and fatalism" as his "recurring themes and subjects of his poetry" (Take a look at his poems here), ling86 had aptly adopted the similar style. And her lyric (I'd love to say it as her poem, instead) did turn out to be beautifully dark.

God he turned and walked away
I couldn't think of what to say
when plane engines fall through your roof
and I broke my knee while walking down the street that I live in
While no one was passing by

Chorus:
Life moves along and it trickles down the cheeks of every beautiful boy
Time comes along and it breaks every bone in your spine

Into the flight of night
Insomnia strikes and hopes alight
We set ourselves up to fall
So we stargaze and we write down all the things that we'll do
Fall into the river our pockets full of stones
Full of stones..

Chorus, etc.

Copyright, 2007
ling86

I love best her part of song: "Fall into river (with) our pockets full of stones" & the preceding line "So we stargaze and we write down all the things that we'll do". That's I guess her way of saying no matter how we plan, or how we hope, eventually it will just end up as failures.

An irony, as this song of her, is definitely a great success. Congratz!

PS. Esplanade will feature her this Thursday, 20/12/07, 7.30 pm. Venue: Stage @ Powerhouse. More details: here.

PPS. Update on 20/12/07: "Ling86 (artist of the Larkin Step) has been HACKED!!"

Monday, December 17, 2007

Cool Polar Bears ("Golden Compass" & "LOST")

Images from here & here. Touch up: brightness, contrast.

Can't resist making the comparison between Iorek Byrnison--the armoured polar bear from the recently screened movie, "Golden Compass"--with the polar bear from the recently-also-hit-by-writers'-strike-for-its-season-4 TV series, "LOST".

The former was majestic (except for the part when he gulped down whiskey from a pile) whereas the latter was simply fierce.

Prior to watching the show, I didn't read the book, "Golden Compass" (which is part of Philip Pullman's trilogy "His Dark Materials"), so I couldn't compare how the movie fares & thus, I just enjoyed the film as it is. Which is good, because there's definitely a sequel to the film & I won't be able to guess what it's going to happen.

But I found myself wondering what if in the sequel, the heroes visited the parallel earth of our version & some of the armoured polar bears were stranded in the Island. If you're lost, I'm referring to the Island in "LOST".

Nah, that will be ridiculous. I don't think any writers dare to do such a cross-over. Pity.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Singapore Slingers vs. Brisbane Bullets (3/12/07)

Singapore Slingers defeated Brisbane Bullets: 119 - 101. The game was okay, I guess. It's quite fast-moving & the supporters--at least for the former--were generous in demonstrating their support, albeit in rather annoying manners (Imagine children sitting behind you repeatedly yelling "Defence!" right into your ears everytime the Bullets rushed to the Slinger's half. It was so loud that at first I mistook that shout as "Brisbane!" Yup. That bad.)

I used the opportunity in practising my camera shot. Without flash resulted mostly disastrously (kinda blurry) whereas those with flash, I used to freeze the excitement--hopefully right before the ball passed through the ring.

The following 2 photos were taken without flash:




These ones with flash:



More about the teams: Singapore Slingers Brisbane Bullets

Monday, December 10, 2007

Heart To Heart Service

The banner from Paddy Tan's blog.
Touch-up: brightness, contrast, shade of red


I received an email from Paddy Tan, the CEO of BLOG2u.sg. In short it's encouraging us to spread the word about Heart To Heart Service--a non-profit, non-government aided welfare set-up initiated by Ms. Teresa Hsu.

Personally, I have some misgiving about "charity". In any donation drive, you can expect me to ask how many percentage would go to the needy & how many to the administration cost.

Thus I am pleased to learn that the organization also accepts non-monetary donation. Quoted from the website:
For food donations, the following items are needed monthly.

1) Instant Noodles
2) "Super" Coffee-mix 3-in-1.
3) Milo 3-in-1
4) Sugar (1 kg bag)
5) Cooking Oil (1 litre)
6) Rice (5 kg bag)
7) VitaSoy Soya Bean Drink (24x250ml)
8) Milk Powder (700g bag)
9) Bath soap (24 pieces)
10) Washing powder (1kg bag)
11) Toothpaste & toothbrushes
12) Eggs
13) Peanut Butter (170gm) & Others (e.g. old clothing in wearable condition, books, etc, please check with Heart-to-Heart Service)

You can even choose to contribute your time during the food distribution, or offer transportation. The next distribution would be on Sunday, 30/12/07, 10.00 a.m.

For more information, you can contact the organization:
Heart to Heart Service
130 Hougang Avenue 1
Singapore 538900

Tel: +65-6289 0924
Email: enquiry@hearttoheartservice.org

Contact person: Teresa Hsu & Sharana Rao

Saturday, December 08, 2007

This Cat's not In The Cradle.

The left image was taken without the flash whereas the right one with the flash on. For this case--thanks to the very cooperative & sleepy cat--it's very easy to compare the difference of the results. Well, I did the same for the game between Singapore Slingers vs. Brisbane Bullets at Singapore Stadium last Sunday, but rather dissatisfied with the photos.

Anyway, the lack of knack in finding the titles led me to think about this song, "Cat's In The Cradle" by Harry Chapin.

An old song it may be, but the content is surely relevant for many of us. (More about the song: here.)

Too busy for your son? Be warned. Your so may one day grow up to be too busy for you. Substitute 'son' & with 'loved one(s)' & the message is still applicable.

Yeah. Just thinking out loud.

I was this close to purchasing the mug. ;)


Then I realized not many would appreciate a good joke when they saw one. Especially not work-related humour.

"Reincarnation sucks! I had this job last time." Heh.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Kurt Busiek @Singapore Writers Festival (02/12/07)

I was browsing the Saturday newspaper on Sunday morning (better late then never, isn't it?) & I was thrilled when I came across the ad about the event, Singapore Writers Festival, especially the Sunday event featuring the comic book writer, Kurt Busiek at the Play Den, Arts House from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

He's scheduled to give a talk titled "To be continued..." which didn't really give me an idea at first what it'd be all about.

Yeah, right. As if that mattered. Heh.

I rushed to the venue but I was still a tad late. No thanks to some marathon event that had the road cramping with the crowds.

Eventually got a seat at the front. Not really the best seat as the Man was partially blocked by the mic stand. No problem. I came to listen & I had a great time listening to him telling about the continuity issue in the realm of comics.

The relaxed Kurt Busiek

He gave an example about DC introducing a "Crisis on Infinite Earths" to make tidy the history of their superheroes characters.

Another issue that he emphasized was the importance to make characters to stay true to their "spirit" when they're reinvented. He quoted an example of Peter Parker, a nerd in the past & how a nerd looked at that time & how it differed with how a nerd looked presently. Thus, a nerdy Peter Parker, despite the changed of appearance, must still retain his "nerdiness". (The name doesn't ring a bell? Okay, how about Spider-Man?)

All in all, it's a great talk. The Q&A went fairly smooth with questions rapidly raised & the autograph session after the talk was well managed (Maybe that's because I was the first one in the queue. Haha.)

The autographed Astro City =)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Kaulah Segalanya / You're everything (for me)

A follow-up from this post, a translation of the Indonesian song, "Kaulah Segalanya".

Perhaps only God
Who does knows all;
Knows what I do want
at this moment.

(1):
You won’t believe it
But you’re always in my heart.
Must I cry
To tell you the truth?

(2):
You’re everything for me.
You’re my aspiration.
No way will I forget you
No one else who I want
But you and you alone

*** Repeat (1), (2), (2).

Singer:
Ruth Sahanaya

Friday, November 30, 2007

I heart my library

Yeah, the messages are cute, aren't they?





So Long, and Thanks for All the Books

Decided to pay a visit yesterday to library@orchard before it's closed down. Taking some photos because I know I shall miss this library. A LOT!!

1. The book drop located near the 3 lifts.

2. Library@orchard exterior wall, near the book drop.

3. Inside, near the borrowing counters. More of the hearts: here.

4. Also near the borrowing counters.

5. The cabinets for novels.

6. The borrowing counters.

7. Exterior wall, near the escalator.

8. The entrance.

9. Part of the entrance.

10. A little stage inside the library, near Cafe Galilee.

11. Cafe Galilee, also inside the library.

12. Quite comprehensive collections of travel guides.

13. Comics@orchard.

14. One of many cozy seats.

15. The help counters.

16. A poster outside the library. Wish to be able to attend. But I have other commitments...

17. Cafe Galilee from another angle. There's another entrance to the library through the cafe.

18. Just another shot of the stage.

19. Another shot of the exterior wall.

20. Ditto.

21. So I wasn't the only one who thought to take photos of the library. =)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

"So You Think You Can Write A Novel?"-- Book sharing session at Kinokuniya (24/11/07)

The above is from one of Singapore MLs: sarahcoldheart. (She meant it to be 24/11/07)


A screenshot from Kinokuniya's November 2007 Event.


Another screenshot about the book sharing session on "So You Think You Can Write A Novel?".

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Not really a confidence man, is it?

Got this email & decided to put up the content (to share a laugh).


Leo Chung & Associates,
21 Campshill Road ,
Se13 6qu Lewisham,
London England.
Hello,
I am really very sorry to barge into your privacy in this form.
However i seek your pardon for that, this is because i have know other
alternative than this.
However, I am Barrister Leo Chung from Japan, the Personal
Attorney to one deceased immigrant from your country, who based in
London, Also referred to as my client. On the 12th of July 2003, my
client, his wife and their only Child died in the train bomb blast
along Edgware road UK. Some of his properties, which he put out for sale.
which I monitored the payment as his attorney, has been bought and paid for.
Now the money paid was deposited into his Local account here in London. I
have contacted you to assist in repatriating the money and properties left
behind by my client before they get confiscated or declared unserviceable by his bank
particularly, this is because all effort I made since three years ago to get any of his relation who will stand as a next
of kin was not successful, however in my process of thinking of what to do
in other to make sure his account worth 10 Million Dollars does not get
confiscated or declared unserviceable by his bank, I decided to search
the internet, i then found that their is exact similarity between his
LAST NAME and your surname name, I then concluded to contact you
through email to stand as the next of KIN to my late client, though I doubt if
you are related to him but for the similarities of names this proposal
can be carried out successfully with your kind assistance.
My late client has an account valued at 10 Million Dollars. Since I have been unsuccessful
in locating the relatives for 3years now and the bank has
issued me a notice through a telegram message i received from them
yesterday evening informing me that they want to Audit their accounts by the end
of this month, precisely 29th of November dew to recent development in their
banking policy and if I do not provide the next of kin before this date, they
will confiscated or declare unserviceable the money and property left by my
late client during the process of the Auditing. I now seek your consent to
present you as the next of kin to my late client, so that the proceeds of this
account valued at 10 Million Dollars can be paid to you and then you and I can
share the money. 50% to me and 40% for you and 10% for miscellaneous
expenses that might arise towards this transaction. I have all necessary information/
documents that can be used to back up the claim.
All I require is your honest co-operation to enable us seeing this deal
through. I guarantee that this deal will be executed under a legitimate
arrangement that will Protect you from any breach of the law. Trust me,
as his attorney, this is a Risk free business relationship.
If my humble request is granted, please send the following
information:
{1}. YOUR CONTACT ADDRESS
{2}. YOUR FULL NAME
{3}. YOUR AGE AND YOUR OCCUPATION.
{4}. YOUR IDENTIFICATION
{5}.YOUR PRIVATE TELEPHONE NUMBER.
{6} YOUR PRIVATE EMAIL ADDRESS.
To my Email: leoandthelaw@hotmail.com, and treat this as
a confidential matter.
Best Regards.
Barrister Leo Chung


In short, the above is:
1. A badly written e-mail started with a mere "Hello," eventhough the sender is supposed to know my surname.
2. A badly written e-mail inconsiderately referring to a non-existent train bomb. (At least I fail to google the story about it).
3. A badly written e-mail whose sender seems to confuse the UK currency as Dollars.
4. A badly written e-mail whose sender's email address is hardly professional. (Which Law company uses a web-based free email account?)

PS. And unless he's a Chinese migrating to Japan & became a Japanese citizen, "Leo Chung" is surely not a Japanese name.

Monday, November 19, 2007

NaNoWriMo 2007 - Week 3 Pep Talk by Neil Gaiman (!!!)

The Pep Talks during NaNoWriMo so far had never failed to give me a boost. Let alone this one by Neil Gaiman. ;)



Dear NaNoWriMo Author,

By now you're probably ready to give up. You're past that first fine furious rapture when every character and idea is new and entertaining. You're not yet at the momentous downhill slide to the end, when words and images tumble out of your head sometimes faster than you can get them down on paper. You're in the middle, a little past the half-way point. The glamour has faded, the magic has gone, your back hurts from all the typing, your family, friends and random email acquaintances have gone from being encouraging or at least accepting to now complaining that they never see you any more---and that even when they do you're preoccupied and no fun. You don't know why you started your novel, you no longer remember why you imagined that anyone would want to read it, and you're pretty sure that even if you finish it it won't have been worth the time or energy and every time you stop long enough to compare it to the thing that you had in your head when you began---a glittering, brilliant, wonderful novel, in which every word spits fire and burns, a book as good or better than the best book you ever read---it falls so painfully short that you're pretty sure that it would be a mercy simply to delete the whole thing.

Welcome to the club.

That's how novels get written.

You write. That's the hard bit that nobody sees. You write on the good days and you write on the lousy days. Like a shark, you have to keep moving forward or you die. Writing may or may not be your salvation; it might or might not be your destiny. But that does not matter. What matters right now are the words, one after another. Find the next word. Write it down. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

A dry-stone wall is a lovely thing when you see it bordering a field in the middle of nowhere but becomes more impressive when you realise that it was built without mortar, that the builder needed to choose each interloc king stone and fit it in. Writing is like building a wall. It's a continual search for the word that will fit in the text, in your mind, on the page. Plot and character and metaphor and style, all these become secondary to the words. The wall-builder erects her wall one rock at a time until she reaches the far end of the field. If she doesn't build it it won't be there. So she looks down at her pile of rocks, picks the one that looks like it will best suit her purpose, and puts it in.

The search for the word gets no easier but nobody else is going to write your novel for you.

The last novel I wrote (it was ANANSI BOYS, in case you were wondering) when I got three-quarters of the way through I called my agent. I told her how stupid I felt writing something no-one would ever want to read, how thin the characters were, how pointless the plot. I strongly suggested that I was ready to abandon this book and write something else instead, or perhaps I cou ld abandon the book and take up a new life as a landscape gardener, bank-robber, short-order cook or marine biologist. And instead of sympathising or agreeing with me, or blasting me forward with a wave of enthusiasm---or even arguing with me---she simply said, suspiciously cheerfully, "Oh, you're at that part of the book, are you?"

I was shocked. "You mean I've done this before?"

"You don't remember?"

"Not really."

"Oh yes," she said. "You do this every time you write a novel. But so do all my other clients."

I didn't even get to feel unique in my despair.

So I put down the phone and drove down to the coffee house in which I was writing the book, filled my pen and carried on writing.

One word after another.

That's the only way that novels get written and, short of elves coming in the night and turning your jumbled notes in to Chapter Nine, it's the only way to do it.

So keep on keeping on. Write another word and then another.

Pretty soon you'll be on the downward slide, and it's not impossible that soon you'll be at the end. Good luck...

Neil Gaiman

--

Neil Gaiman is the author of the New York Times bestselling children's book Coraline and of the picture books The Wolves in the Walls and The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish. He is also the author of award-winning novels and short stories for adults, as well as the Sandman series of graphic novels. His most recent novels include InterWorld and Anansi Boys. For more info on Neil, visit www.neilgaiman.com

Peace Concert for Burma

Decided to attend this event, "Peace Concert for Burma" after reading the 17/11/07 Todayonline.com article (Full story: here) which quoted Lee Weng Choy, the Substation artistic co-director saying:

"Such demonstrations of concern by people outside are a vital form of moral support to those in Myanmar. It tells them that the world is watching, that their struggles have registered deeply in our hearts and minds."

That intrigued me. Very much. I really wondered how the level of 'concern' Singaporeans showed about the situation in Myanmar. I would have expected a large turnout. After all it's free, isn't it? You may snigger.

But it's disappointing. The crowds could be counted with fingers. Perhaps less than 20. (No, I didn't count. Me taking the photos already seemed to spook some of the audiences. Heh. But we all sat on the floor & it's not a big theatre.)

Anyway here are some of the photos taken:

1. The slide show at the background.

2. Gene Sha Rudyn, in the center, singing (I like the use of Al-Qur'an verses prior to the song)

3. Just one shot of such songs.

4. Yes, I was not the only one taking the photos.

5. From Indonesia: Laras (A Migrant Voices Band) getting ready to sing and/or dance.

6. Another singer from Laras.

7. Some of the audiences (who didn't move when I took the photo--but it's still blurry. =( Haiz.)

8. Another singer from Laras performing an ever-popular Indonesian song, "Kaulah Segalanya" or "You're everything (for me)". (Note to self: got to translate the song to English. Translation: here.)

9. And I noticed how people (that included me, of course) seemed to take more photos than to enjoy the songs.

10. Laras with the funny, entertaining song "Kuda Lumping".

11. A Burmese student thanked the audience. Impromptu.

12. Dew M. Chaiyanara reciting her poems. I especially like her "Wake Up & Die".

13. The cool & soulful Kevin Mathews.

14. The organizer, whose name I couldn't catch.

15. My shirt with "Free Burma Now" text painted by Zai Kuning.

The concert ended earlier about 4 p.m. & the Burmese student (photo 11) made the name card available (that is, she didn't distribute. You needed to ask before she gave you one. So I guess that had nothing political in it). The name card had the website address of "Overseas Burmese Patriots".

Although the event was not well attended, I believe it has somehow achieved its objective. That is, to raise the awareness. No matter the level is, it's the beginning. And even a humble beginning might one day lead to something big.