Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Pluto (and something completely different)

You have to listen to the latest Mr Brown podcast on Pluto's relegated status, recast as a conversation between a Basic Military Training Platoon Sargeant and a less-than-enthusiastic recruit. Even if you know nothing about Pluto, the characterisation of the Sargeant will be instantly recognisable to anyone who's been through the army...

the mr brown show: pluto not a planet anymore

And, for something completely different ... monty python meets halo.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Book Meme

Here's me responding to a meme tag from tym.

"1. One book you have read more than once"
The list of books I have re-read, re-discovered, and read to pieces (literally) is longer than I can list. My single volume edition of Lord of the Rings, read from Secondary 2 onwards, finally lost it's cover this year. My early Asimovs have split along the spine in two.

Oddly enough, of all the books that I have re-read, the first one that comes to mind is Heinlein's Starship Troopers. I sometimes find myself embarassed, Lit grad and all, to admit that one of my favourite re-reads is a piece of pulp Sci Fi from the '50s, but Starship Troopers has everything - to quote the The Princess Bride: "Are you kidding? Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Revenge. Giants. Monsters. Chases. Escapes. True love. Miracles."

Well, maybe not all that - but certainly a healthy dash of space opera swashbuckling mixed in with an unexpected dose of social commentary and political philosophy makes compelling reading. Just try to forget the Verhoeven version.

"2. One book you would want on a desert island"
The Tempest. Oh-so-appropriate, and an easy read. In fact, I'd have to steal a page from tym here and go for the complete works of Shakespeare.

"3. One book that made you laugh"
Holidays in Hell, by P.J. O'Rourke - and almost everything else from him. The opening story about how he got Vanity Fair magazine to send him to Beirut in the middle of the '80s to write a travel article was hilarious, because when I was growing up, Beirut was a bombed out place I saw on the T.V. every night along with news of fighting and violence - proof that some things don't change all that much, sadly.

"4. One book that made you cry"
Oscar Wilde's Fairy Tales.

"5. One book you wish you had written"
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time.

"6. One book you wish had never been written"
In general, a whole set of bad sequels that ruin the first books. Like how Frank Herbert should've stopped at Dune (or at best, Dune Messiah), and David Eddings at the Belgariad (instead of going for the repeat performance that was the Mallorean), and Piers Anthony at somewhere between books 7 to 9 of the neverending Xanth series (here's Book 30), and Orson Scott Card at Ender's Game. All of these were great books whose sequels tag on to them like sad, sad groupies.

"7. One book you are currently reading"
Serendipities by Umberto Eco.

"8. One book you have been meaning to read"
The Kalevala. Keep getting stuck in the first few pages. Also keep getting stuck halfway on the Niebelungenlied.

"9. One book that changed your life"
I'm not going to answer this question because almost every book affects me in some way or another.

10. Now tag five people:
No, thank you: I think my small circle of friends is quite tagged out! = )

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A 20 year appointment

Class Reunion 24 Aug

20 years ago, 3 of my classmates and I made a deal: to meet 20 years later, 12 noon on the same day, at the statue of Raffles by the Singapore River (yes, you've probably guessed which school we were from).

Well, today's the day, and though only two of us turned up, it's still a class reunion. We waited for a while, speculated about where the other 2 were, then adjourned for lunch at Indochine nearby.

A few things about this reunion that I never would've guessed when I was 13 and made the appointment:
- that only 2 of us would make it: I honestly thought all 4 of us would be there
- that, besides the 2 of us and the usual tourists, the only other people there would be a snake charmer and 2 albino pythons. I'm not joking about the pythons.
- that 20 years later I would still be in school ... teaching rather than studying - but I still had to ask permission to leave school early for this = )

We've made a follow-up appointment to meet in another 20 years - so I'm putting August 24th, 2026, right into iCal now.

(cross posted to Metroblogging Singapore)

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Shapes and Forms

Some random shots from my flickr stream - various abstract shapes and forms I photographed while walking around.

ramp
Stairs at a HDB estate.

a study in colour and texture
Paint peeling off a void deck wall.

shadowface
Shadows in a stairwell making a grimacing face.

(happy National Day! = )

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Monday, August 07, 2006

big bird, little bird


big bird little bird, originally uploaded by Wahj.

Botero has a nice sculpture on the Singapore River water front. We locals tend to just call it the Fat Bird, but it's officially called Bird.

I was lucky enough to catch a photo of this pigeon posing in front of his fatter cousin = )