Archive for July, 2004

Songs for July

July 31, 2004  |  Tags:   |  

Part of* my iPod playlist at the end of every month.

(Yes, I edit these and backdate them, I really can’t remember to update this exactly at the end of every month. Do I look like I have nothing to do nowadays? Uh, don’t answer.)

– Away from the Sun, 3 Doors Down
– Caring is Creepy, The Shins
– Don’t Panic, Coldplay
– Ersatz, Fischerspooner
– Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime, Beck
– First Week, Graham Colton Band
– In the Waiting Line, Zero Seven
– Lebanese Blonde, Thievery Corporation
– Let Go, Frou Frou
– Light and Day, Polyphonic Spree
– Love will Come Through, Travis
– Memory, Sugarcult
– Mr Blue Sky, ELO
– New Slang, The Shins
– Only One, Yellowcard
– Orange Sky, Alexi Murdoch
– Ordinary, Train
– Run, Snow Patrol
– Such Great Heights, Iron Wine
– Such Great Heights, The Postal Service
– Vindicated, Dashboard Confessional
– Worn Me Down, Rachael Yamagata
– You’ve Got Maelstrom, Blockhead

* Blah blah yadda yadda.

the eisners

July 26, 2004  |  Tags:   |  

Just a year ago, I was in San Diego with Yidong and Logan (tee hee) at Comic-Con International, soaking in the distinctly fanboyish excitement of my very first major comics convention (Oakland a couple of years prior was comparatively minuscule).

Browsing through this year’s Eisner Award nominees, I came across some interesting stuff. But first, a crappy photo I took from last year’s Eisner Awards…

Best Short Story: I love Gaiman’s work and all, but I haven’t read anything quite as amazing as Derek Kirk Kim’s Same Difference. Maybe it’s the drawings of the Bay Area or that the story starts out in a pho restaurant bringing back the deluge of college-year memories. Read the Time review of the book, or see for yourself at

Best Serialised Story: I wish I’d read Greg Rucka’s work (or, for that matter, the only thing not written by Brian Michael Bendis nor Rucka). But I thought both stories were well-deserving of the nomination (the final Alias arc, and the Daredevil one where he beats the living shit out of everyone who pissed him off).

Best Continuing Series: I like 100 Bullets and all, but any story that makes me re-read every single collection up to the latest story each time I buy a new graphic novel has some serious overplotting issues. Though that’s really not a bad thing.

Best Limited Series: Very surprisingly impressed by Arrowsmith (Kurt Busiek, Carlos Pacheco) and Superman: Red Son (Mark Millar, Dave Johnson/Andrew Robinson) this year.

Best Graphic Album – New: Oooh Blankets. And Persepolis. And others I’ve yet to be able to afford. Yay.

Best Graphic Album – Reprint: To the bastard(s) who bought Palomar before I could get it on discount at Kino — you bastards!!

Best Penciller/Inker or Team: Holy shit, Tan Eng Huat? The dude’s from Malaysia, so major representation props for Southeast Asian comics. Love his style, though really not as much as, say, John Cassaday’s.

Enough comics geekness for today, I think. Goodnight.

don’t try to be funny

July 25, 2004  |  Tags:   |  

So at NDP, I usually sit above the grandstand at the 55ft area with the dinky little vidcam (wetting its pants in fear at being beaten up by the huge-ass Mediacorp vidcam twenty times its size), peacefully recording/reading/being bored. Sometimes I watch the performance rehearsals I’ve seen maybe ten times before, occasionally I deafen myself with the full volume on my iPod so as to avoid listening to the choreographers yell “Everyone needs to be put in their part, ok? That boy over there! Run faster!” and generally give themselves very high blood pressure.

One time, though, during the Boon Lay sequence Wings to Soar (yes, again with the complainies about that piece), the choreographer’s about to pop a significant number of blood vessels trying to get the kids not to “swing their arms” while walking, and of course some kid decides to be all cool and contemptuous (bravo, little dude) and swings his arms like an epileptic runner.

To which the choreographer yells into the microphone “THAT BOY OVER THERE! DON’T TRY TO BE FUNNY!”

At that point, I began to realise exactly how much that statement pisses me off. I also had to fight the urge to throw something really heavy — say, the aforementioned twenty-ton Mediacorp camera — at the choreographer standing below. “Don’t try to be funny?” Kids all over Singapore have been told exactly that for years and years — NSFs too, but nevermind that for now — and what does it accomplish? Exactly what it was meant to: mindless subservience at the cost of creativity and individuality.

I’m certain I’m not the only person who’s noticed how humourless Singaporeans tend to be. Maybe I’m generalising, no matter. But I think that years and years of “don’t try to be funny” (not just the sentence, the inherent attitude behind it manifested in other forms) have made an incredibly boring people, whose most celebrated technology firm calls itself “Creative” and then proceeds to sell the most blatant iPod ripoff one can produce without being sued.

Is this what our country really is? Who are these adults that try to quash any creative expression that doesn’t suit their needs, and at the same time demands creativity and innovation and entrepreneurship from its young? And the part that scares me the most: as a teacher/civil servant in general, am I doomed to eventually become one of these humourless adult singaporeans?

Maybe I just really, really don’t like that segment of the show, eh.

NE Show

July 17, 2004  |  Tags:   |  

I have a particular colleague whose blog, amusing grammatical nonsensicality aside, consists of a lot of “sianzz i hate NDP sigh hehe sianzz… lol i hate SIS… Y mi sianZ.” Which gets pretty annoying to read (though he doesn’t do that whole alternate upper- and lower-case letter tHiNgIe, that pisses me off ultimately), but I bear with it for the hilarious grammar.

Uh, anyway, today got NDP NE Show. sigh sianzz i hate ndp, etc.

Actually it was great. As horrendously cynical as I can be about NDP and the nationalist propaganda they feed us during the show (the oh-so-dramatic-sounding “peace has been our bosom friend for too long” (see note 1) Wings To Soar (note 2) bit takes the cake), but today there was a stadium full of happy 11-year old kids obviously having a great time watching the show. And there’s really not much cynicism you can generate out of hearing laughing excited kids enjoying themselves.

Anyway, the Garden State trailer gives and gives. The latest album/artiste I’ve tried because I watched the movie’s internet trailer is Give Up, by The Postal Service. The song from the soundtrack is “Such Great Heights” which I can’t get enough of. The rest of the album’s looking good too, yay — it’s a very listenable electronic pop beat, like a lighter Fischerspooner but with hauntingly poetic lyrics.

Meef, so tired though.

Note 1: I was thinking I could do a better voice-over, until I remembered that line and realised I’d degenerate into giggling fits whenever I said it, so I guess not.

Note 2: Am I not supposed to talk about this before the actual day? Well, ha!

in the (local) news

July 15, 2004  |  Tags:   |  

Again with the links:

MediaCorp to restrict use of hostage footage in news coverage []

Great. Singaporean media subversion. I’m not a fan of watching beheadings or anything, but… doing this because they do not “want to help extremists further their cause?” I mean, sure, the Philippines giving in to the terrorists’ hostage demands sets a nasty example for other potential kidnappers, but it did also (presumably) save the life of one man through popular pressure.

Then again, that’s two separate issues, the second of which is much less clear-cut. The censorship, however, reeks of political agenda… but what doesn’t here?

On duty today. Highlight of the day was reading two years’ worth of Hitman, that ultraviolent DC series by Garth Ennis and John McCrea. The military references actually make a bit more sense now then before, no surprises there. Still some of the best stuff I’ve read in ages. Also no surprise there. Where the hell are my other issues?!

in the news

July 14, 2004  |  Tags:   |  

Thank you, Senator McCain, for making sense of all this partisan nonsense.

McCain: Same-sex Marriage Ban is Un-Republican []

Everytime I read an article relating to the issue, I get riled by Bush’s defence of the amendment (of the Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriages): that “it is necessary to defend the institution of marriage from ‘activist judges.'” How about defending the institution of innocent lives from praetorian oil-mongers?

before returning to werk

July 13, 2004  |  Tags:   |  

There goes a rather blissful week-long break (last Tuesday to today, discounting Saturday spent at the National Stadium).

What have I accomplished in this time?
– Eaten a lot of chocolate. Oops.
– Met up with some of those skolah-types I’d lost touch with for a couple of months. From what they say, the civil service sounds nasty as all hell. Can’t wait. Also drank again for the first time in… a year? When did I become so dry?
– Rediscovered my distaste for driving in Singapore. What happened to wanting to get in my car for a peaceful drive around the area to work off some stress? Nowadays the thought of driving is enough to stress me out to want to, umm, go for a peaceful drive to work off some stress. Quandary alert.
– Sent Powerbook for repair, again. Thank goodness for 3-year AppleCare Protection Plan and the damned cool-looking hard drive enclosure now with all my data backed up in a 160GB drive (nevermind goodness, thanks Steve for that).

Albums I’m listening to:

Details, Frou Frou:
Can’t get enough of that song, “Let Go,” from the Garden State soundtrack. Which is probably my next most anticipated movie of the year after Spider-Man 2 (and maybe right before Harold & Kumar, but man, they’ll never release a stoner flick here).
The Hour of Bewilderbeast, Badly Drawn Boy
From the dude who did the oh-so-pretty About A Boy soundtrack. Maybe it’s just the feelings and the company at the time, but I’d never enjoyed a soundtrack to a Hugh Grant movie more.
Seed, Afro Celts
On Mal’s recommendation. Apparently mixes “Irish music, dance floor grooves, West African percussion, and the kora” ( defines kora as “Water cock. A large gallinule (Gallicrex cristatus) native of Australia, India, and the East Indies. In the breeding season the male is black and has a fleshy red caruncle, or horn, on the top of its head.” I guess whether music comes from chickens isn’t important when the stuff is so listenable.

While editing this my dad’s Compaq laptop decided to do the exact same crashy-mash thing as the PowerBook I’d just sent in, except with the more familiar blue screen of death instead of “You need to reboot your computer” in four languages. Maybe it’s me.

the quarterly update, continued

July 12, 2004  |  Tags:   |  

Hmm. Quite the unexpected blast from the past, that (see previous entry about having just found my old blog).

That, and the recent interview by a psychologist (the term “psychological interview” is just too cute, except it comes from PSC), have made me realise various things about myself, most of which are really rather trivial. I present them in no particular order.

a) My web personality’s much more subdued nowadays. I blame age. Where are my random made-up words? The ridiculous rants? The alliterated articles (of speech)? Ok I forced that one a bit too much, ouch.

b) I apparently haven’t thought much about what drives me and/or who I am, fun shit like that. I tried explaining to Dr Robers that it’s not a problem I mull over much because, well, it’s not a problem. It’s not a problem in any code I need to debug, it’s not some math problem I need to solve, it’s not some conjured-up army “crisis” my boss panics over and delegates everything to me to handle. Am I really missing out on something by being content with who I am and calling it quits on the introspection?

c) Not a self-observation, but it was amusing to hear Dr Robers ask “you STILL haven’t passed your IPPT?”.

d) I do seem a lot happier with my life nowadays. Despite the recent spate of events convincing me of the inadequacy of still being single (as in nothing’s changed since JC within those terms), I don’t fall into that whole rut of feeling like crap when things don’t work out and then further extrapolating it all into the general suckiness of my life and how I haven’t found a girlfriend or anything what’s wrong with me etc etc etc. It’s a pleasantly surprising turn, especially since I was still more than slightly miserable over Jess about a year and a bit ago. Maybe it’s because that part of life’s been rather uncomplicated since I got back, maybe I’ve forced it into uncomplication (ref the unfortunate attempt at being set up). Hmm. In any case, seem less bitter. Interesting.

e) More self-conscious in presenting myself, definitely so on the web and perhaps more so with the psychologist than I would have been in the past. Then again, I did type and retype things to my complete liking before I posted them before, but my old posts seemed just much less… inhibited. Or something.

Maybe I should post the old blog somewhere to actually demonstrate this difference. Or not. Too embarrassing.

Ah well, the rest of the update:

Picture from class reunion at RJC reunion at Mt Sinai campus a couple of months back. So old, we all (except The Tick! SPOOOON!!!! Sorry). Apparently my CO was there too.

What else? Spider-Man 2 rocked. Couple of friends got engaged (separate incidents, I mean). Congratulations!! Work situation’s still stupid, boss needs to learn to calm down and do some things himself to ensure some quality control. But whatever. People at work still as ridiculous as ever. Am I consigned to such boring company forever? I don’t see the civil service being much of an improvement (though presumably general maturity levels will be higher). Spider-Man 2 rocked big freakin time. Ummm.

Currently Reading:
– The Art of Doing Science and Engineering, Richard Hamming (yes, that guy)
– A Wild Sheep Chase, Haruki Murakami
– Timequake, Kurt Vonnegut

That’s all for this time.

the quarterly update

July 11, 2004  |  Tags:   |  

Holy shit, I found my old “rants” archive. This ought to be interesting. Be back after I’m done entertaining myself (and Mal and Kee, apparently).