Σάββατο, Φεβρουαρίου 28

But perhaps my favorite example of character creation involves the artificial westernizing of the third-person pronoun. Like other kinds of Chinese, spoken Mandarin has only one third-person personal pronoun (tā). It was traditionally written 他, a character with a person 人 as the radical on the left side. Apparently under the pressure of Western languages, which distinguish "he," "she," and "it" Chinese in recent decades have created a new character for tā in the sense of "she" which replaces the sexually indeterminate person 人 with a 女 woman: 她, gradually restricting 他 to mean specifically "he." Another character, originally an alterantive writing for 他, has been pressed into service for tā in the sense of "it": 它.

On the model of 他 and 她, other characters have occasionally been proposed for tā when it refers to an animal 牠 or a god 祂. To the best of my knowledge all of these (except 他 itself) are XXth century creations. The fact that they are in computer fonts suggests how common they have become.

Similarly, some sectarians who worship a mother goddess have created an underground glyph made by turning one of the conventional symbols for "mother" 母 on its side to produce . This is used in sectarian tracts and as a decorative motif to refer to the mother goddess. In recent decades it has been possible to get arrested for writing the character 母 this way. (Don't show this page to a late Imperial or modern Communist official! And don't ask how it got into my computer.)

Then there are the obscene characters invented to be scribbled by rude schoolboys on the walls of public johns. An oldish one of these is made by placing the radical "enter" 入 atop element "meat" 肉 to produce an obscene graph referring to sexual intercourse 肏. It is somewhat shocking to discover this in the Unicode Consortium's code list; it was certainly not in the original Chinese national standards. The word is pronounced cào, in case you feel like being a rude schoolboy.

from a page on the Chinese Language.

Back from Peking

Will be writing more musing on Peking and China in a bit, but here're some interesting links, taken from Lew Rockwell's site mostly:

A Subtle Sound - a peek into Chinese music from a pair of two Chinese Night Market musicians in America. Fascinating - I'm almost tempted to take up Cantonese Music seriously.

Italy's Medici murder plot solved - in 1478, there was an attempt on the lives of heirs of the Medici family in Florence, seems the Pope in Rome was in on it too. Last year when I worked in Florence over summer, giving tours to tourists in the Cathedral, I would recount this story to the horrified tourists as we walked over the appropriate spots.

Roman Water Still On Tap - Archaeologists have discovered a 2,000-year-old water main built by the Romans - which is still working. Now THAT is workmanship.

Two more links on Passion: Passion & Prejudice and Did Jesus Get Lost In Translation?

The Little Japanese Girl Who is Far Smarter Than George W. Bush and When In Rome – Who Cares What the Romans Do? - two articles by Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers, who's an American who lives in Tokyo (obviously) and sees the world as the rest of the world sees it, not as Bush and the vast majority of Americans seem to see it. Excellent reading.

Wanna see some really ugly dresses? Look here at www.uglydress.com - and this pair of shoes. Frightening!

Your wings are DRAGON wings. Massive and covered in scales, they shimmer with strength and magic. They are the most obvious display of your power - though it runs equally throughout your heart and mind. You are uncompromising and
grave, with a profound sense of justice. You have firm ideas about what is right and what is wrong and set out to fix what problems you can. You realize that you are more capable of dealing with life and evil than most, and as such you see it as your responsibility to protect those who cannot defend themselves. You have existed since antiquity and as such you are wise far beyond your years in this lifetime. While you strive for fairness and peace, if someone should steal from your cave of treasure (though not all that glitters is gold) or compromise the happiness of you or one who is close to you - they have signed their death warrant. You have a mighty vengeance and will unleash it upon such people immediately and mercilessly. Arguing with you is useless...you rarely back down and are known for holding firm in your beliefs. Sometimes you feel intensely burdened with the troubles of others...acting as a Guardian can get so wearisome. But you never give up...you see it as your life's mission. Often very introverted, you can be so smart...it's scary. Such a combination of intelligence, creativity, power, beauty, and magic is often intimidating to those around you - who are also unlikely to understand you. Arrogant, proud, overserious, and sometimes a bit greedy or obsessed with whatever treasure you choose to pursue...you have enchanted people for centuries, and will continue to do so.
*~*~*Claim Your Wings - Pics and Long Answers*~*~*
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Τετάρτη, Φεβρουαρίου 25

Hello from Peking!

Haven't blogged in a bit. Arrived in Peking early Monday morning, on business with Dad (who got here 2 days ago). Dad very sagely told me to look out, upon arrival, for him - "how can you miss me - I'm chinese!". Yeah. Right. In PEKING airport?

First, I've realised China blocks blogspot.com - I can thus post and edit all I want, but can't read my own posts or or friends' blogs. Slightly annoying. More about it here.

On the plane, I was asked "Noodles or Porridge?" in contrast to western carriers which ask which protein one wishes to have. Curious, because it shows the difference between East and West - in the East, one's starch is considered the primary component of one's meal - the protein bits (when available)being merely accompaniments to it.

At the end of the flight, a tinny voice announced, among other things, "we hope you have enjoyed our in-flight entertainment". I was certainly entertained by the antics of the mainlanders - a whole flight full of country bumpkins returning to the motherland after a holiday.

Bird flu in China? They're not taking any risks. Chicken is entirely unavailable in Peking, and hasn't been for a whole month. One won't find it for sale ANYWHERE. Peking says NO CHICKEN and no chicken is found anywhere. It's one of those things about the Chinese - thousands of years of absolute obedience to the Emperor means when the central government takes reasonable measures, the people obey. It's not some mess like Thailand where sick and dead birds get sold on the cheap secretly.

Amusingly enough, Kentucky Fried Chicken gets sold fine here - they've got strict controls and the Mayor of Peking actually checked their farms and ate at their restaurant to show it was fine. Money talks, I imagine.

How's business? I'm bored to tears, naturally. Sitting and having to listen to long discussions about satellite capability in Mandarin, spending time with old Communist Party cadres.... is not my idea of an enjoyable time at all.

Food's hearty - very oily and very rich, but then that's typical Northern Chinese food. Weather's cold - it's about -7 today.

Alright, I've got a free day today. Time to go shopping for fake and pirated goods, and the company driver's taking our Norwegian guests to the Great Wall, so I have to go along to play host. Pictures will be posted when I get back and figure out how to post pictures on a blog.

Lent began on Monday for us Byzantine Christians - Orthodox and Catholic, so I ask the forgiveness of all I have offended or sinned against in this past year. Please forgive me, in order that our Lord may forgive us all, as we sail on the sea of the Great Fast. I can't fast while travelling on business, I'll start when I return this weekend.

Here's the Lenten Prayer of St Ephraem, which we say several times a day:

O Lord and Master of my life
take from me the spirit of sloth
lust of power
and idle talk.

But give rather the spirit of chastity,
and love to thy servant.

Yea, O Lord and King
grant me to see my own errors
and not to judge my brother;
for Thou art blessed unto the ages of ages.


A sermon is available here.

Παρασκευή, Φεβρουαρίου 20

In case readers from Singapore didn't notice, yesterday's Straits Times indicated that Passion will open here about 1st April or so, shortly before Holy Week and Easter. WHOOPEE!!!!

in other news, Tina Turner to sing in Sanskrit and Latin for a new film she's acting in. She's playing a Hindu goddess, so I can understand the Sanskrit bit, but Latin???

This sounds so familiar. Btw, if you don't know that comic, start reading from the beginning!

I'm not a fan of the Harry Potter series. Not that I dislike it, I merely don't see what the fuss is all about. However, this sounds interesting, an Englishman's translating Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone into Ancient Greek. It may just be the thing I need to persuade me to start reading Rowling's stuff. It'll look great next to my Winne the Pooh in Latin and Asterix comics in Ancient Greek and Latin.

Today's pick from Lew Rockwell

Voltaire: the Adjective Is the Enemy of the Noun
Twain: If you catch one, kill it. Article by Ben Yagoda.

Another Propaganda Tale
Saddam Hussein didn't use industrial shredders on his enemies. Article by Brendan O'Neill.

Τρίτη, Φεβρουαρίου 17

From Serge's site

Links on Passion, Mel Gibson's film about Christ:

A News Anchor's Perspective on "The Passion of the Christ".

Why's the film in Latin and Aramaic? Find out here.

The Passion and the Talmud - Jewish perspectives on the death of Christ, from their own writings.

Teacher plans to milk rabbits - and it's not a joke.

Zoo gorillas to be given TVs
- to make them think, apparently. If it hasn't worked for Americans, why should it work for gorillas?

Δευτέρα, Φεβρουαρίου 16

Viking Kittens - I can't quite explain why I find it funny, but it's bizzare...

Russian family sees aliens!

Σάββατο, Φεβρουαρίου 14

A bit of Chinese wisdom



Under heaven are two difficult things: to ascend the sky is difficult, to beg people even more so.
In the human realm are two bitter things: Huanglian(1) is bitter, poverty even more so.
Under heaven are two dangerous things: Jianghu(2) is dangerous, human hearts even more so.
In the human realm are two thin/fragile/false things: spring ice thin/fragile/false, humanity/humankindness even more so.
Know these difficulties, bear these bitternesses, foresee these dangers and bearing these falsenesses,
Only then can you do great things.

(1) Huanglian is a sort of medicine, particularly bitter.
(2) Jianghu is the world of itinerant martial artists who go about brawling. it's a bit like the underworld.

This came from a piece of calligraphy which hangs at home - it's cynical, but true. The sooner these lessons are learned, the better. I know it's in the crappy simplified characters which i hate, but I'm still learning how to input Chinese into the computer...

Τετάρτη, Φεβρουαρίου 11

Soundtrack: "If" by Bread.

I'm a little busy, but here are a few interesting links.

Sex and Violence begins at 12. A very disturbing article about the state of youth in modern Britain.


So, like, where exactly is London? - I hope this article is a spoof, but I wouldn't be surprised if it weren't.

Actress: Gibson's Movie Not Anti-Semitic - more on Mel Gibson's film Passion. I hope it make it to screens in Singapore.


This is an interesting thread:

Ebor says:

"Many years ago, a friend of mine observed that protests by animal rights persons like PETA against the use of furs and hides (throwing red paint and such) were aimed at smaller women in fur coats, who probably wouldn't fight back much, rather then a 6'2" biker in leathers.

Bullying, I calls it."

I agree, of course. Schultz' reply was:

"It's funny you bring that up, Ebor, because I was witness to how the PETA folk can cower when faced with their own medicine. While walking in downtown Pittsburgh (near Kaufmann's, Bro Max!) a group of PETA folk were picketing a nearby store that sold furs and actually did do the red paint thing on a passing woman who was probably in her 50s or 60s. She started cussing up a storm at the perpetrator, who told her to go ahead and call the police, he wasn't afraid to go to jail for what he did. That prompted a rather large biker-type, who was easily as tall as I am and 50 pounds heavier (so we're talking 6'5" 300#), dressed in full leathers, to come over and say, "If you're so against people wearing fur, then throw that &*%$ on me, you little *&##%$! You may not be afraid to go to jail, but are you afraid I'm going to pound your little #@*( into the ground?"

The demonstration broke up very soon afterwards and the biker made sure the guy who threw the paint went nowhere until the local constabulary arrived to haul him away."

Τρίτη, Φεβρουαρίου 10

I'm Straight?

I'm str8!!
You're Straight!
You're "the norm." You aren't special!! Deal with it!! ... well... I guess you're important in the whole "procreation" thing... which is KINDA important... I guess... Here's a tip, go with bi-curious... even if you aren't... people will actually be interested in your non-specialness.

What is my sexual orientation?
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Yeah, RIGHT. Goes right in line with me getting the bouquet at a lesbian wedding last month...

Κυριακή, Φεβρουαρίου 8

ENFP - "Journalist". Uncanny sense of the motivations of others. Life is an exciting drama. 8.1% of total population.
Take Free Myers-Briggs Word Test

Personality Disorder Test Results
Paranoid |||||||||||| 50%
Schizoid |||||| 26%
Schizotypal |||||||||||||||||||| 90%
Antisocial |||||||||||| 50%
Borderline |||||| 30%
Histrionic |||||||||||||||||| 78%
Narcissistic |||||||||||||||||| 74%
Avoidant |||||||||||| 42%
Dependent |||||||||| 38%
Obsessive-Compulsive |||||||||||||| 58%
Take Free Personality Disorder Test

Extroverted (E) 68.42% Introverted (I) 31.58%
Imaginative (N) 68.42% Realistic (S) 31.58%
Emotional (F) 69.44% Intellectual (T) 30.56%
Easygoing (P) 65.63% Organized (J) 34.38%
Your type is: ENFP
You are an Inspirer, possible professions include - conference planner, speech pathologist, HR development trainer, ombudsman, clergy, journalist, newscaster, career counselor, housing director, character actor, marketing consultant, musician/composer, artist, information-graphics designer, human resource manager, merchandise planner, advertising account manager, dietitian/nutritionist, speech pathologist, massage therapist, editor/art director.
Take Free Career Inventory Personality Test

Cattell's 16 Factor Test Results
Warmth |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 90%
Intellect |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 86%
Emotional Stability |||||||||||||||||||||||| 74%
Aggressiveness |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 86%
Liveliness ||||||||||||||||||||| 70%
Dutifulness ||||||||||||||| 50%
Social Assertiveness |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 90%
Artistic Interests |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 90%
Paranoia ||||||||||||||| 46%
Abstractness |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 86%
Introversion ||||||||| 30%
Anxiety |||||||||||| 38%
Openmindedness |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 82%
Independence ||||||||||||||||||||| 70%
Perfectionism ||||||||||||||||||||| 66%
Tension |||||||||||||||||| 54%
Take Free 16pf based Personality Test

Conscious self
Overall self
Take Free Enneagram Personality Test

Enneagram Test Results
Type 1 Perfectionism |||||||||| 38%
Type 2 Helpfulness |||||||||||||||||| 73%
Type 3 Image Awareness |||||||||||||||||||| 89%
Type 4 Sensitivity |||||||||||| 42%
Type 5 Detachment |||||| 27%
Type 6 Anxiety |||||||||||||||| 70%
Type 7 Adventurousness |||||||||||||||||||| 84%
Type 8 Aggressiveness |||||||||||||||||||| 89%
Type 9 Calmness |||||||||||||| 58%
Your Conscious-Surface type is 8w7
Your Unconscious-Overall type is 8w9
Take Free Enneagram Personality Test


For years many health professionals have been encouraging us to eat margarine and stay away from that unhealthy, fat-containing, cancer-causing, complexion-ruining, home-wrecking, what more can I say? Butter.


o Both have the same amount of calories.

o Butter is slightly higher in saturated fats at 8 grams compared to 5 grams.

o Eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53% over eating the same amount of butter according to a recent Harvard Medical Study.

o Eating butter increases the absorption of many other nutrients in other foods. Butter has many nutritional benefits where margarine has a few only because they are added.

o Butter tastes much better than margarine and it can enhance the flavours of other foods.

o Butter has been around for centuries where margarine has been around for less then 100 years.

Now for Margarine...

o Very high in Trans Fatty Acids. Triple risk of Coronary Heart Disease

o Increases total and LDL ( this is the bad cholesterol). Lowers HDL cholesterol and this is the good one.

o Increases the risk of cancers by up to five fold.

o Lowers quality of breast milk. Decreases immune response. Decreases insulin response.

And here is the most disturbing fact....

Margarine is but ONE MOLECULE from being PLASTIC...!!!!

(This fact alone should have us all avoiding margarine for life and anything else that is hydrogenated. This means Hydrogen is added changing the molecular structure of the food.)

Youcan try this yourself.

Purchase a tub of margarine and leave it in your garage or a shaded area. Within a couple of days you will note a couple of things. No flies, not even those pesky fruit flies will go near it, (that should tell you something) It does not rot, or smell differently...Because it has no nutritional value, nothing will grow on it, even those teeny weeny microorganisms will not find a home to grow...Why? Because it is nearly plastic. Would you melt your Tupperware and spread that on your toast?

Have a look at these articles here and here and then decide.

I've convinced my family to use butter again after years of margarine, and what's the result? We've actually lost 3 kg each (but then we're also following the Hay system of eating which makes us feel better). Butter tastes SO much better than margarine.

Hurrah for butter! Use it often and liberally... and rejoice =)

ENFP mostly, slightly INFP.

Try the Myers-Brigg type tests. I got ENFP for the most part, slightly INFP. More info here and here. Also here and here.

More fun with quizzes

Soroity Slut
You're Soroity Slut Barbie! You're easy and you're really cheesy! Have fun with the entire football team.

If You Were A Barbie, Which Messed Up Version Would You Be?
brought to you by Quizilla

Me, Sorority Slut Barbie? Who'd have thought it?

You are Form 9, Vampire: The Undying.

"And The Vampire was all that remained on the blood drowned creation. She attempted to regrow life from the dead. But as she was about to give the breath of life, she was consumed in the flame of The Phoenix and the cycle began again."

Some examples of the Vampire Form are Hades (Greek) and Isis (Egyptian).
The Vampire is associated with the concept of death, the number 9, and the element of fire.
Her sign is the eclipsed moon.

As a member of Form 9, you are a very realistic individual. You may be a little idealistic, but you are very grounded and down to earth. You realize that not everything lasts, but you savor every minute of the good times. While you may sometimes find yourself lonely, you have strong ties with people that will never be broken. Vampires are the best friends to have because they are sensible.

Which Mythological Form Are You?
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Uhm, thanks.... Vampire? True, I'm nocturnal and I've excellent sense of style....

You are naturally born with a gift, whether it be poetry, writing or song. You love beauty and creativity, and usually are highly intelligent. Others view you as mysterious and dreamy, yet also bold since you hold firm in your beliefs.

What Type of Soul Do You Have ?
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I swear, that girl looks awful wht that nose ring. It screams "MOO".

My inner child is sixteen years old today

My inner child is sixteen years old!

Life's not fair! It's never been fair, but while adults might just accept that, I know something's gotta change. And it's gonna change, just as soon as I become an adult and get some power of my own.

How Old is Your Inner Child?
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Ok now this makes more sense. My inner child is 16. Hmm. They say you're only as old as you feel. Some would say Ed's only as old as the boys he feels...

Soundtrack: "Kayama" by ATB

After acupuncturist session, had a lovely tea buffet of Pekinese dim sum at Lao Beijing. 'tis one of my regular haunts, as they do a buffet of Northern and Shanghai style stuff such as the Siew Long Pau, meat buns and suchlike... every weekend and public holiday. It's great value , and the food's authentic too. Mum proclaims their Sang Tseen Pau the best she's had since leaving Shanghai in '49. If you think I'm doing a plug for them, you're right - they're good. And it's only $12.

Mum's convinced I've inherited her Shanghainese roots... the passion for Shanghainese language and the penchant for Shanghainese food. Shanghainese food has a combination of sour aromatic vinegar and molasses sugar that's addictive. If you're looking for good Shanghainese food in Singapore, I'd recommend two places.

One is Old Shanghai at Smith Street in Chinatown. Here's a review of the place done by someone who obviously doesn't know Shanghainese food and ended up ordering all the wrong dishes. Dishes that are typically Shanghainese there include: Marinated Chekiang Ham Hock, Sugar and Vinegar Pork Ribs, Lion's Head Meatballs, Fried New Year Cake, Wontons in Chilli Oil, anything with Green Beans. The Lion's Head Meatballs are a must-have. If anybody wants to try the place... gimme a call and we'll arrange an outing. It's useful to speak Shanghainese as the boss is Shanghainese and once gave me a table ahead of all the Singaporeans waiting in line... because I spoke to her in Shanghainese (none of the Singaporeans understood) and thus qualified as an "Tse Ga Nying" or "own people".

The other is along Liang Seah Street, and is called Xian De Lai. This place does useful 2-6 person lunch sets in the afternoon. At night they do a roaring business in Northern Chinese steamboat, which differs from the Southern version in that they use an excellent spicy soup.

Popped down to Bras Basah yesterday after Lao Beijing and picked up a calligraphy brush for small characters (the less flexible a brush is and the more finely-pointed the hairs are, the better for small characters). Also picked up a few practice sheets of absorbent paper. These things are blue, and only a wet brush (no ink) is required on them - the wet bits turn dark blue-black. the sheets dry quickly, so they're very useful for when one cannot be bothered to grind ink. True, ink-grinding's meditative and soothing.. but I'm lazy often.

My calligraphy's still crap, but it's getting better! One's calligraphy reflects one's character. Mine's pretty accurate a reflection of my character - messy and erratic and all over the place.

mirabile dictu... non est dolor!

Soundtrack: "Drewie's Accordes" by an anonymous Elizabethan composer, a duet for two lutes, played by Paul O'Dette and Jakob Lindberg.

I've had this chronic pain in my arms every evening for about two weeks, pure fire from the fingertips of the last three fingers of both hands to the elbow. I've an appointment with NUH Neurology this wed, but till then I'm on painkillers that don't seem to work. Sometimes I wake up from the pain and can't sleep. What's really weird is when the arms hurt and the left leg twitches too. One night my parents were worried cos I woke up screaming. Let's not forget those strange raised bumps on my hands and feet that appear in the evenings and disappear by noon... they're like mosquito bites, but sore in addition to itching in a most vexatious fashion. For weeks I thought I had a mosquito problem in my room, but there's no reason they'd concentrate on palms of my hands and soles of my feet and not bother with other softer fleshier bits where the skin's thinner. Mum and I think they're allergic reactions of some sort - the sore bumps are almost symmetrical on right and left limbs. My lower back pain from the hunting injury years ago is also back to bother me.

At this point I'm beginning to feel like Molière's La Malade Imaginaire (The Hypochondriac)... I can just hear Charpentier's overture playing in the background...

So alright, things were getting a tad out of hand (ha ha). Parents and I figured while waiting for NUH neurology, it couldn't hurt getting a Chinese physician's opinion on the matter. So we found one in Chinatown, and he agreed it seemed a matter for the neurologist. Meanwhile, he'd do some Chi-clearing to help smoothen the flow of the Chi and give me some herbs to help soothe the system. Oh, and he'd also do a bit of acupuncture. So there I lay on a table, with 4 needles in my neck and upper back, one in the left forearm and another in my left thigh. No, insertion of the needles didn't hurt at all. The doc twiddles with them and twaddles the ends a bit, then attaches an electric current to the needles. A curious throbbing tickling ensues, and a warm sensation around the needles. I fall asleeep for half an hour and wake up with the pain in my arms and back gone.

The doc gives me some herbal concoction in a bottle, with directions to drink 10ml thrice daily, and to take some herbal pills (with sugar coating). The concoction tastes appallingly bad, and Dad assures me that old Chinese believe good medicine never tastes good, so they intentionally make it smell and taste horrid.

I'm a believer in acupuncture now. It is important to understand that Acupuncture (and Traditional Chinese Medicine in general), is not "folk medicine". It is a highly developed, systematic, recorded, researched, and peer reviewed form of medicine with several disciplines that continues to evolve. It has a massive amount of real-world data to justify the application of techniques based on several thousand years of human trials.

Throughout the world, lay-persons have adopted the techniques far more readily that scientists because they do not have to understand how it works to take advantage of it. From janitors to high-profile quarterbacks, the word is out... it's cheap, it's painless, and most importantly... it works.

What happened after? The raised welts came back at night, but far fewer and far less irritating. There wasn't much pain. When pain goes, I'm not really bothered where it's gone.

Παρασκευή, Φεβρουαρίου 6

A friend tells me he got 3595 on one of them. What do you know, I'm not the only one who needs a life! =)

2702 on this site. Ok, I think i'm officially addicted.

Ok this is getting silly. I got up to 508 on this danish site.

Try this link too - seems the highest score there is 593.5 ...

Πέμπτη, Φεβρουαρίου 5

Soundtrack: "Tell Me Why" by Paul van Dyk.

My Caledonian online acquaintance Angela's passed me this url. It's very very addictive. The highest I've scored is 321.

Soundtrack: "About Us" by Christophe Goze, from his "Show Me The Way" album. Interesting, from that amorphous genre known as "lounge".

Housework is immensely fulfilling - the feeling that I'm actually doing something is therapeutic. What I don't understand is where the dust that accumulates on our floors comes from. We don't open the windows that much, so I can't figure out whence this dirt comes. I'm convinced there's a colony of gnomes living in the house that sets to work every night after we go to bed, gleefully sprinkling dust and dirt out of their little magic bags onto our floors while humming a merry tune. I can just picture them all having a little chuckle and rushing back into their hideouts before we awaken.

Soundtrack: "Two Princes" by Spin Doctors.

I've been trying to figure out why I have a distinct aversion to the genre of music known as "Rhythm and Blues", or "RnB" for short. For a long time I hadn't a clue what it was, thinking it was vaguely similar to Blues, of which I'm quite fond. Then I actually heard some and an instant dislike developed. For a while I thought I didn't like the "blackness" of the sound, then upon further analysis, this didn't work, as I love Jazz and African ethnic music. Was it simply the noise level? Impossible, as I'm fine with Trance. Then it struck me - I hate rap for the same reason. It's the level of black american gangster "feel" in the music. There's a certain barbaric quality about it that I don't like. The glorification of violence, anti-intellectualism and cheapening of the sexual act in that "culture (even to call it "culture" is to be generous)... not to mention the bad manners... go against all that I hold dear and stand for. Perhaps I think too much. I'm certain that in Heaven there will be much Jazz, Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart, Palestrina, Josquin and Dufay... but absolutely no "gangsta rap" or RnB.

I came across this newspaper article from a respectable paper which I felt had to be shared with everyone here... ENJOY!


'Rings' characters discuss Oscar snub
by Molly J. Ringwraith

Jan. 27, 2004
MINAS TIRITH (AP) – The city of Minas Tirith has been abuzz today over the news that 'The Lord of the Rings: the Return of the King,' while receiving 11 nominations including Best Picture and Best Director, did not receive any nominations for acting.

"Eleven nominations?" said Pippin Took, of the Shire. "Well, that's good news."

His friend Meriadoc Brandybuck responded by swatting him over the head with the newspaper and protesting, "But the cast is a part of this movie! Aren't they?"

Their kinsman Frodo Baggins shared Brandybuck's dismay. Upon reading the list of nominations, Baggins commented with an ironic chuckle, "They've left out one of the chief characters: the cast. I want to hear more about them." Waxing solemn and soulful, he added, "The movie wouldn't have got far without the cast."

"You almost don't want to watch the awards ceremony," contributed Baggins' gardener and loyal valet, Samwise Gamgee, "because how can it be happy? How can the awards go right when so much bad has been nominated? Folks in that Academy had lots of chances of voting for these actors, only they didn't."

Legolas Greenleaf, of the Mirkwood realm, commented somewhat cryptically on the Academy's choices, "A red sun rises. Lame decisions have been made this night." When asked to clarify his opinion, he told reporters that he had not the heart, for the grief was still too near, and retired for a walk in the forest.

His companion, Gimli son of Gloin, had sharper remarks to make upon the chosen nominees. "Mystic River? What madness drew them there? You'll find more cheer in a graveyard!"

But wizard Gandalf the White urged a more optimistic approach. "Do not be too eager to deal out Oscars in judgement," he advised. "That is not for us to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the Oscars we are given."

Meanwhile, his colleague Saruman the formerly-White was in favor of retaliation against the Academy: "Too long have those peasants stood against us," Saruman said, referring to the Academy's failure to give any fantasy film the Best Picture Oscar yet. "Leave none alive! To war! There will be no dawn for film critics!"

Treebeard, of the Ents, told reporters after much deliberation and exchanging of long names, that he was in agreement with this proposed course of action. "There is no curse in Elvish, Entish, or the tongues of Men for this treachery," he declared. "My business is with Beverly Hills tonight. With heads made of cotton candy and rock."

"I do not doubt their hearts," Eomer of Rohan conceded. "Only the size of their brains." He then returned to the task of loading up forty of his men and horses with toilet paper and Maps to the Stars' Homes, for a "secret midnight mission" that he regretted he could not give details about.

At least one individual, calling himself Smeagol, claimed to be making plans to steal the Oscar statuettes. "Oscar is sooo pretty, sooo golden," said Smeagol. "We will take the statuesss once the Hollywood snobses are dead! Ye-esss, precious!" He then quickly added, groveling at the feet of reporters, "No! No! We were only joking! Smeagol wouldn't hurt a fly! Nice movie industry." He crawled away before he could be questioned further.

Still others appeared not to care about the snub. Lady Eowyn of Rohan said with a shrug, "The women of this country learned long ago that those without Oscar nominations may still get dates to awards ceremonies. I fear neither critics nor fans." Lord Boromir, a native of Minas Tirith, dismissed the concerns, claiming, "Gondor has no actors. Gondor needs no actors."

But overall the mood was one of mild disgust. As Lord Aragorn put it to reporters, "The day may come when the Academy is able to find their ass with a flashlight. But this is not that day."

Τετάρτη, Φεβρουαρίου 4

Soundtrack: "For an Angel" by Paul van Dyk

Warning, skip the next paragraph if you're not in the mood to wade through a mishmash of Mediaeval Latin, Greek and some Italian.

Οιμοι κακοδαιμον... Ω Ζευ, εισακουσον μου! Quare dabes me multas curas? Est puer (un bellissimo raggazo... natator, naturalmente, μετα καλλιστος πυγος but i digress). Ονομα αυτου Αλβινος... et magna cura est hic puer, quia εταιροι cogitat σε ερωταω, και ενος των εταιρων αυτων σημαινει μοι... λεγων οτι melior me stare verberatis super eum. non totalmente innocens sum, naturalmente, sed non nunc super eum verbero! Fatuus est... cogitare possibile est me conquassare et timere. Est alter puer, sed nunc non dicabo περι αυτου...

ACJC's Rashomon went well-ish, but whoever designed the sets and costumes needs to look a lot closer at Japanese aesthetics before attempting to set something in Japan again. Someone has to tell the set designer that lots of Red is not Japanese, but extremely Chinese. Red and Black. Tres Chinoiserie. The entire thing looked like something out of Hero. Next, not everybody wears identical kimonos in Japan - Samurai and most men in mediaeval Japan wore Hakame, a sort of trousers. This is how they're worn. There were three huge tacky red banners and the central one had the characters for Ra-sho-mon on them. Trust an AC production to also get the Chinese characters (the Japanese call them Kanji or Chinese Characters) wrong - they missed out a stroke, and the whole calligraphy was appallingly bad. This coming from a lover of Chinese calligraphy who tries very hard to get the strokes right but still can't quite wield a brush properly... but at least I can tell when it looks good, and I suspect my own calligraphy would've been better.

Can't say I'm a huge fan of modern styles of theatre, but then I'm classically trained, so what else can one expect?

Watched Last Samurai on Sunday afternoon. Excellent, first time I've cried at a film since...Joy Luck Club, if I recall correctly. It's one of the most beautifully crafted films I've seen in a long time. Most reviewers seem to like it.

Monday was a public holiday, a Mahometan festival. I went over to where Ten Yeen (my harpsichordist and accompanist) lives, far in the East of the island, to go thru some songs by Noël Coward. Ten Yeen lived and worked in Thailand for some years, and she brought back some lovely Burmese and Thai sarongs and fishermen's trousers. she gave me one of those fishermen's trousers - extremely comfortable, in grey cotton. How're they worn? Like so. I took a fancy to a sarong that was of blue-grey material and had black borders top and bottom. She said she'd let me have it if I'd wear it out. So I did. I spent the rest of the afternoon in Holland Village and in town, in a dark blue teeshirt and what was effectively a skirt. Friends I hung out with couldn't get used to it. a few stares, a few raised eyebrows... a surprising number of approving smiles. I suspect if one wears it with confidence... Oh, and it's extremely comfortable.

Curiously, it felt liberating and a very new experience. It didn't feel feminine at all, oddly. Well, maybe because it is so not a question of sexual preference or identity. I don't have any straight friends with balls enough to wear a sarong (yet an ex boyfriend of mine's gone out in one before, and he's more masculine than most straight guys). Besides, it’s unisex, stupid — if all it takes to make you question your sexual identity is a garment, you've got more questions than I can answer, RuPaul.

See, the thing about wearing a sarong is that, as a man, you have to have a certain confidence, a certain arrogance. You must be absolutely secure in your manhood — flat out — or it won't come off well. You'll look like a man in a skirt: clumsy, misplaced and utterly ridiculous. In a wrap, whatever where-with-all you have as a man is up for scrutiny: you've created an artificial vulnerability that requires strength to secure. Plainly speaking, a man in a sarong projects an audacity and demands a respect that khakis don't. Fact is, you might not be man enough to pull it off.

Curious? Have a look at this website that sells skirts for men. Not half bad looking. For more information, visit this site.

Had a haircut yesterday, so I now have short blue hair. Quite an interesting look. Spent the afternoon and early evening with Yen. Marcus Goh came along and joined me for dinner after Yen left... Kenn Chia also had dinner with us and all three of us had a drink at the Hilton's bar afterwards. Caveat - don't order Caipiriñas at Hilton - the bartender doesn't know how to make it properly.

Shark eyes! Ahh! You are quite an aggressive
person, and if you want something you'd be sure
to get it! You're persistent that way! When you
"smell the blood," you make sure you
find where it's coming from. That's what makes
your senses sharp. You can take things a little
too far though. Your aggression can cause you
do to other things. Don't let it do that.
You're cool enough as it is!

What Animal Eyes Do You Have?
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Δευτέρα, Φεβρουαρίου 2

The Dante's Inferno Test has sent you to Purgatory!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very High
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Very Low
Level 2 (Lustful)High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)High
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Moderate
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very Low
Level 7 (Violent)High
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Low

Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test

Whoa, whoa, whoa! You are a psycho! Why would you kill someone? Because you're a psycho, that's why. You find fun in torturing others, although you wouldn't call it torturing. You probably have your own special name for it. You have a strange sense of humor, and people might consider you "different." If you're not an assassin already, you most likely hurt animals or lizards. This is a bad sign. I hope you get mental help before we see your face onAmerica's DEFINITELY Most Wanted.

WHY Would You KILL Someone?
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Justice and Morality: You believe in doing what is right for others and maybe even for yourself. People would consider you one with good morals, and someone who would not let them down.

Which Characteristic From the Samurai Code Matches You Best? (You may find out your best trait)
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That's a funny one. Me, good morals?

Κυριακή, Φεβρουαρίου 1

To find out how stressed you are, try the Dolphin Stress Test. It's quite revealing.

Monks hope to retrieve sacred bells - Stalin stole a set of bells from the Danilov Monastery at the height of the persecution of religion in Russia and sold them to an American businessman who donated them to Harvard. The monks have repopulated the monastery and would like their bells back now... let's hope Harvard gives them back!