28 June 2006

1st post from my new Macbook

This is going to be short since it is way past the bedtime of a flu victim, but talljoanne is now the proud owner of a Macbook!

This being my 1st post from a Macbook, of course I took advantage of a Dashboard widget which allows me to blog straight from an F12 key - with no browser required. This could turn out to be a very important function when I do get to Shanghai (fingers crossed very hard - by next month) because I have just found out that China bans blogspot websites. Although I read that they do not ban blogger.com per se, it still means I can't preview my site to iron out template problems. I guess if Beethoven can compose without hearing, then I'll just have to blog without previewing.

Coming back to my Macbook, so far so good - I am still feeling my way around, esp. the keyboard and its shortcuts. But I love the aesthetics and the clean architecture of the OS. Can you imagine - there is no such thing as uninstall of programs in Mac? Just drag it to trash or a simple command-delete! But I must admit that I am also sorely feeling the loss of Picasa and an office suite (OpenOffice which I just installed had a glitch but it's too late to troubleshoot). Maybe Mac lover Mr T will come to my rescue when he comes back from his work trip.

Incidentally, I must commend the Safari browser for rendering Chinese fonts so beautifully. And the idea of a progress meter in the address bar is very neat indeed. Unfortunately, Firefox's tabs is the single largest killer app for me, so until Safari has tabs, I will be sticking to Firefox...

Time for both woman and the machine to rest. Zzz.

21 June 2006



我一向对韩国有所抗拒,从没想过有一天会这么追看韩剧。但大长今的确是一部令人感慨万千的故事。剧中有两大幕是让我难忘的:第一幕便是之前一幅篇章所记录的»cut losses 感想 -- 即长今被遗弃在封锁的村庄,而闵政浩奋不顾身、义无反顾(女人所要的,不也就是这样么?)地闯进疫区救她。被遗弃的凄凉,被救回的感动…感情可以说是这样磨练出来的吧。虽然说欢笑难得,但一段养尊处优的感情和一段历尽沧桑的相比,坚固程度应该是不一样的吧。Perhaps delayed gratification does make for sweeter victory and more outstanding outcomes.


让我铭心的第二幕,便是皇上对长今的爱慕。长今闵政浩对彼此的肯定固然可嘉(尤其是射箭比赛那幕,闵政浩有骨气,皇上输了他竟不想让 ---- 也对,感情怎么可以想让呢?),但皇上对长今的爱慕也很凄美。普通的君主想必都会希望自己心爱的人陪自己到临终,但这个在万人之上的皇上卧在病榻上还想到成全长今和闵政浩让他们脱险,也算是慷慨大方,有情有意了。他当初留长今在自己身边的那段话,凄美得让我顿时愣住:


后来在病榻的他又含泪感叹:“刚刚才见过长今,可是现在不知怎么的,又想见她…”长今这时捧着药又进了殿伺候皇上。皇上眼中闪着感激爱慕的泪光,凝望着长今认真的眼神、清秀的脸蛋、白皙的耳坠、樱桃似的小嘴… 这么可爱的女人,怎不让男人败在她裙下?

我常在想:长今对闵政浩的感情虽依然不变,但日积月累,她心中的某一角是否也渐渐地爱慕了皇上?更笼统地说, 一个人的心是否能够同时容纳超过一个人?




* 用“空虚”来形容听起来似乎夸张,但5月13日的晚上看完《大长今》DVD集的时候 (我连它的制作花絮和综艺节目都看了),真的有这样的感觉。可能一样东西追逐久了,总会沉溺…

19 June 2006

Chouinard's bODY_rEMIX

I meant to write this entry before Ms T came back from Hong Kong, but my temperamental computer (what the hell am I supposed to do about "IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL"?), late-night retro champagne and their after-effects got the better of me this weekend. Sorry Ms T.

Courtesy of her Artsfest ticket, I spent this past Friday night at a surprisingly full-house Victoria Theatre featuring Marie Chouinard's bODY_rEMIX / gOLDBERG_vARIATIONS.

Chouinard's Body Remix

After I got comfortable in my seat, I realized that it was probably the first time I was watching a ballet. Whoa, almost 26 years old and first time watching a ballet. What happened over the years man?

Body Remix is one of those difficult-to-read books that you must read nonetheless. You may never read it again because it takes a lot of work to read it, but you must read it at least once. I found myself leaning forward and furrowing my brow at various points, but the sense of eureka that followed made it worthwhile. I have one major complaint though - what is with glossy nipple stickers?? If they are meant to conceal, then I'm sorry - they only serve to ACCENTUATE instead. All I see under the spotlights are shiny nipples. Please please please make them matt next time and save us some crossing and uncrossing of legs... As if concentrating on the dance wasn't hard enough.

Now, on a more serious note...

In bODY_rEMIX, Chouinard underook a recombination of the dancers' bodies through the use of various supports - crutches, canes, points, harness etc. Because of the frank and matter-of-fact way in which the dancers resembled paralegics and spastics, the first 10 minutes were rather discomforting - I couldn't figure whether it was supposed to be a tribute or a parody of the less abled. But as the dance progressed, you realize that it is neither. It is merely depiction of a reality, with no intention to glorify or horrify. As for the discomfort, you never fully it shake off, but you gain the nerves and interest to watch on.

I should say something about the music too, since it seems to constitute Ms T's greatest regret about not being able to attend. I must say that I didn't take to the music very much at all. Glenn Gloud's voice sounded terribly ghostly and the remix of Goldberg variations didn't sound Bach at all. Modern, atonal? I don't quite know how to describe it. Ms T might have liked it though - erm, some parts were quite soporific ;)

The dance portion of it I liked much better. I particularly enjoyed the different discourses the dance engaged through the use of crutches and harnesses as support: Does a cane support or restrain? Can the grace of ballet and the awkwardness of paralegics co-exist at the same instant? How does Eros live among the disabled?

(On this last point, I couldn't help but feel that Eros had cloned herself in a million pieces and was floating all around the Victoria Theatre, mostly surrounding me. All these rods that were stuck to the men's head, chest and hips look terribly phallic. And those ballerina pointe shoes that the dancers were wearing on each of their right hand (yes, they affixed one to their hand as well), they should look like cranes being strutted around the stage, but again they looked very phallic to me.* I swear it is the shiny nipple stickers that is causing all this.)

Puppets pairing, angels flying, Siamese twins... I never realized that harnesses and points could be so versatile. The harness there - is it a sinister noose or a freedom swing? One instant, it is a noose holding a lifeless body of a woman, being held at the hand by her husband, and walked as if she were alive in a park. It is the most tragic scene I have seen. At the next, it transforms into a swing. As the swing swings from side to side, the couple presses close at the pelvis, backs arched back in pleasure. Sex on the swing - oooo, the most liberating feeling in the world.

I thought the curtains should have fallen here, on a high note. But it ends a while later, on a note of installation art instead.

A slight lament there, but overall, a memorable first time.

*But ahh, I have just found out a few minutes ago while writing this that it is entirely natural to think of the ballerina shoe as phallic - cf historian Susan Foster's "The ballerina's phallic pointe". Pat pat on my back.

13 June 2006

Dalai Lama's foot

I saw this wonderful painting in a NYT article yesterday:

Dalai Lama's footA foot in a blue flip-flop on a mandala, with a hint of the floating burgundy robe. This was one artist's potrait of the Dalai Lama, among 88 who were asked to consider the Dalai Lama for an exhibition in L.A. The artist, Losang Gyatso said, "His Holiness is very casual and is often seen wearing sandals and flip-flops." Once when standing in line for an audience with His Holiness in Dharamsala, India, he realized that because most Tibetans in similar circumstances bend their heads in reverence, they see only his foot.

What a wonderful perspective for a portrait!

09 June 2006

No room for sentimentality: Part 2

(Part 1 is here.)
8 June 2006 - Saw an interesting NYT article today, articulating why people accumulate clutter:

Closet organization certainly seems to offer relief to all those — and there are millions — who are beset by the tendency to accumulate clutter, and who are the most obvious market for the (closet) industry. Cindy Glovinsky, a psychotherapist and personal organizer in Ann Arbor, Mich., and the author of "Making Peace With the Things in Your Life" and "One Thing at a Time: 100 Simple Ways to Live Clutter-Free Every Day," said that these people may be substituting things for relationships. There are many reasons for such attachments, she said, noting, for example, that some female clients in their 30's and 40's who complain of difficulties in organizing lost their mothers prematurely and often say they felt neglected by their mothers.
Mr. Lupo and Jesse Garza, the founders of Visual Therapy, are familiar with that sort of timidity (associated with organizing one's closets), and have little sympathy for it. Most people need permission to let go of their things, they argue, and they grant that permission with a form of tough love that they practice in their consultations.
Putting aside sentimentality (they allow that a few sentimental objects may be kept, as long as they are out of sight), they ask clients some practical questions about every single item when evaluating what to keep and what to toss. (Do I love it? Is it flattering? Does it represent me, and is this the image I want to portray?) They also advise against keeping any possession simply because it was a gift or cost a lot.
--> Yup yup yup.

To be fair and balance out the viewpoint, I am looking out for articles psycho-analyzing people with an obsession to to eliminate clutter.

P.S. Of course I am a sucker for fancy closet organization solutions. How could you have wondered otherwise?

04 June 2006

Macarony weekend

I finally got round to trying the macarons at Canelé. I have known for a while that Canelé makes macarons, but having been spoilt by the heavenly ones at Ladurée in Paris, I have always maintained a certain prissiness about macarons.

That prissiness gave way on Friday night when Ms T and I passed by Robertson Walk on our way to dinner. We were talking about our French trip last September and of course, it is impossible to reminisce about France without a nostalgia for Laudurée’s macarons:
Laduree macarons“Ohh, actually there is a café just right here which makes macarons. Let me show you so that you can come the next time to try if you want.”

It was almost 10 pm and much to our surprise, Canelé was still open. Even more surprisingly, there were still macarons. Not many left, but among them, the irresistible sea salt caramel ones.

Ms T and I got one each.

You know, a macaron is really just two shells of puff with filling in between. But what delightful puffs they are.

Delicately airy and quintessentially French, the first nibble of a macaron always elicits three full seconds of closed eyes and a contented “Hmmmm…” More nibbles often have the effect of producing a sustained euphoric satisfaction with life.

(To both Ms T’s and my absolute horror, a few people gobbled up in one single mouthful - like swallowing a bitter pill - the Ladurée macarons that we painstakingly brought back to S’pore the other time. Help.)

Ms T and I have both empirically proven today that the satisfaction lasts for approximately 36 hours. By this afternoon, I was at Canelé’s door again after cello class, ordering a pistachio macaron. As I settled down to partake in my tea and second macaron treat of the weekend, Ms T started messaging me about how she needed macaron therapy to get over the loss of her current favourite earrings… (I believe she eventually got her macaron two hours later – I hope, Ms T?)

My final verdict - the Canelé macarons are pretty good, but they are not as airy and delicate as Ladurée’s. Apparently one should also try those at Pierre Hermés and Hévin (in Paris) too.

Till I get my third trip to Paris, Canelé will have to do. Unless anyone knows another macaron place in S’pore?

Le BaiserAside: Le Baiser from Ladurée is not a macaron, but it is too pretty not mention. Just like a geisha!