Friday, May 27, 2005

Memo: I'll Be Back

mes amis:

it is official: i am booked on a one-way flight home for the 26th of June, on good ol' United. (fingers crossed.) was going to take the LAX-SIN non-stop on SIA, but alas, it was (a) really expensive and (b) booked solid. ahhh! business travellers. i hate them all. -grin-

but yes. so everyone who is home/will be home and whom i haven't seen in forever (you know who i am talking about -grin-), clear a space for me in your busy social calendars! (and help me get over being homesick for chicago that much sooner. odd, i know. but it'll happen.)

a short post, just to post the date of my return (in case i forget, you know, to tell someone). minding the water boiling in the kitchen now...

Monday, May 23, 2005

i am in love

nicole miller

-dreamy sigh-

Saturday, May 21, 2005

penance, or The Music Meme

adrian, my friend, in penance for having not talked to you in weeks (i'm sorry!) and not staying up to date with what's up with you, i'm going to spend the next half an hour wrestling with these questions (they're harder than they look!). just for you. -grin-

Total volume of music files on my computer:
4.73 GB or 4.8 days or 350 songs on Portia's hard drive
8 GB or 1732 songs on the iPod (it strikes me i shd name it...)

The last CD I bought was:
Glassworks by Philip Glass

Song playing right now:
Fallen by Sarah McLachlan

Five songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me:

1. Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own from U2's How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb
2. Breathe (2 AM) by Anna Nalick, because i can't get it out of my mind after i've heard it
3. Disappear by Hoobastank
4. Sand In My Shoes by Dido
5. ?? (An Jing) by Jay Chou

Five people to whom I’m passing the baton:

Alex, because i can :p
S. the Languishing Cat, because i have no idea what's on her iPod!
Evan -whenever it is you get back home -grin-
Bob, because it's always fascinating to hear from bob. :p

in other news, i cut my hair yesterday for the first time since August. i think about five to six inches must have come off. it's now the shortest it's been in -years, i think. just brushing my collarbones, with plenty of flyaway layers and curly messiness. i like it. =)

Friday, May 20, 2005

i'm not sure if i love or hate Quentin Tarantino


for those who haven't heard my incessant shrieking over the last week - tonight was the season finale for CSI Season 5, and it was directed by none other than Quentin Tarantino himself -a big CSI fan. (like me, only i am not as cool, nor do i make as much money.) it was a rocking good episode, made me very happy -because it made me very excited, and worried, and angry, and claustrophobic, and really really grabbed me and yanked me into a storyline and made me care about what happened next. (partly because it was NICKY and not some random person in danger.) i swear, if my hands had been ard QT's neck around 8.15 tonight i am not sure he would have survived my squeezing it really hard. and oh, the hint at the end - "I want my guys back" - we want you to get them back too, griss! no more shift split, pleaase, TPTB!

all i can say is -- do i REALLY have to wait til SEPTEMBER for the next season?!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

the end of the saga

have only just returned from Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. am exhausted, seeing as it is three thirty am - we went to the 12:01am screening at AMC River East, because we are crazy that way. (not, however, as crazy as the people who were lined up outside when we emerged - they were in line for the 3 am screening.)

the movie was not as bad as i expected, but not as good as it could be, unsurprisingly. plenty of cringe-worthy moments, particularly in the Anakin-Padme (Hayden-Natalie) interactions. but as always, R2D2 saved the day (we all know who the REAL hero of the entire series is, now don't we?) and there was plenty of yoda, enough to keep anyone happy.

and having seen the rest, really, i just had to see this one. it wouldn't be right otherwise.

but now i am off to seek my pillow, and not wake up in time for my thursday am class. ahhhh...

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

another bout of nostalgia

was going to write last night, but -failed. emily and i went back to BJ for a Mathewsnik get-together hosted by our old RA, one Aaron Foss in his new RA-room in Dodd-Mead (yes. -wrinkles nose- never mind. he's still OUR ra.) and we invaded our old turf at Mathews (to round up the missing Andrew and Brian) and for a moment i remembered what it was like to run up and down the windy staircase -the rooms on the second-and-a-half floor- hanging off a stair rail and chatting with people and getting in the way of people bearing laundry- and the big fourth floor double where Bob now lives (he used to live in my old room!) -the odd, cold floor and the doors that slam shut in the stairwell. and i was reminded that (a) i don't spend nearly enough time with the mathewsniks from my year -Mariangela, Andrew, Brian, Joanna, Carolyn, Will, Liza, Sam and Lili, and of course -Aaaron- and (b) i am really really going to miss them when the quarter is done. i'm really glad i met them, first year; that we lived together for two years, running into one another on the stairs and in the laundry rooms and eating together in the dining hall (suffering the same bad food and bad coffee and eating tons of ice cream between us) and watching tv for hours sacked out on the crappy old lounge couches (which have since been replaced). and study breaks in aaron's room and in Paul and Kathy's apartment, and playing with Bix the Cat. there are a lot of good memories associated with those two years, and these people (and the ones who have already moved away), for which i am both thankful and saddened that there are to be so few new ones after this.

there is at least one more round of merry-making to look forward to, for which i am thankful. but i am reminded that there is also one more giant bundle of people and places to miss when i leave.

Monday, May 16, 2005

placeholder post

i know -- i promised to update and then long silence. but i've been --not so much busy as avoiding real life for a bit as it sinks in more and more than graduation draws near and there is much left undone.

evan's visit was great fun - other than the awesome U2 concert we went to monday night, at which we shouted and sang along and pretty much went deaf, we went to a Cubs game, where the Cubs beat the Mets quite handily (they should pay us to come watch them; i've never seen the Cubs lose when i've been at the ballpark!) and i got a cap to pledge my allegiance to my baseball team (you can see said cap in my Flickr gallery, click to the right); and we also went to the Art Institute and Shedd Aquarium, my first visit in a long time. the Art Institute was, as always, wonderful -i got to stand (or sit, rather) and stare at my favourite piece in the whole museum - a very lovely Monet- and wander through the East Asian gallery, which is my second favourite part of the museum. also got to take some pictures of the very graceful Arabesque, and make fun of modern art with Evan. and the Shedd! Pacific white-sided dolphins, and beluga whales, not to mention the sweetest frogs i have ever seen. they are tiny -the length of the first knuckle on my thumb- and so clever at camoflauge i totally did not see them for the first three minutes of staring into their habitat. if one of them hadn't moved i would never have seen them. but it did move, and suddenly -- there were frogs EVERYWHERE. it was amazing. i went back to that habitat three times, just to watch them. if it weren't for Bono, the froggies would definitely be the highlight of the week.

but Bono there was. no pictures or recordings, my darlings, because (a) i abided by the rules printed on the tickets and (b) the purse i carried was too tiny to fit my monster digicam anyway. (i need to get me a little flat cool sony baby that fits in pockets, etc. or a camera phone, infinitely preferable though not with quite the same resolution.) but despite a rocky start -a frog in his throat, he said- the concert was a blast. lots of old favourites -Pride (In The Name Of Love), and Where The Streets Have No Name, for example, though no With Or Without You- interspersed with a generous leavening of songs from the latest album, like the lovely City Of Blinding Lights, and of course Vertigo, beautifully done. and Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own, one of my favourites from the album - and a gorgeous showcase of Bono's voice. i hadn't realised how much it's changed over time -but going back and listening to his older stuff, i have to say - that voice has only gotten better with age. and Miracle Drug -such a luminous entry, and oddly enough, i really like the lyrics. sure, there are concert gimmicks, and sometimes his politics and his social ideals kind of get in the way of the music -but i certainly don't object, if i means i can be in the same room as Bono -even if the room is, you know, United Center.

in any case - it was a good week, and a good weekend. lots of doing nothing, and hanging out with Alex at his place (food network, and other cable channels including TBS which showed Entrapment today! mmm catherine zeta-jones and sean connery) though now i have to actually do some work. but i did drag the old computer out from its hiding place, dusted it off, and uploaded some old pictures from last year and the year before onto Portia. (and some onto Flickr, as well.) so now all my pictures are (putatively) in one place. =) i am pleased.

more updates from me as the week progresses and i find new and creative ways to avoid writing this paper on the CTA for Barker and Tolley, and try to find something to memorialise for Alitto's History of the Qing class. suggestions etc are greatly welcome, particularly with respect to "things the Emperor should give a shit about" (or not, come to think of it) during the late Qing dynasty -something to do with confrontation with the West, but not about Opium?

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

U2 rocks!

this man:


is officially the hottest man to ever shake a tambourine. mmmm.

more from me tomorrow about the U2 concert, among other things-i-did-today, when i have regained (a) my voice, (b) my hearing, and (c) my sanity.

Saturday, May 07, 2005


i was sitting in my living room watching tv earlier this evening when it struck me: in just a little over a month, this living room -this bedroom, this kitchen, this apartment- won't be mine anymore. in just another month my undergraduate career will be over, and i will be moving back home.

it's a very unsettling thought.

i guess i am mostly ready to be done with college, and probably getting less ambivalent about moving back to my old room in my home in Singapore. after all, i really do like my room at home. (i liked it more before the mango tree that shielded my window had to come down.) but the closer i get to leaving, the more i worry about adjusting back to life in Singapore: a place where i don't know where to buy groceries, where there are no farmers' markets to get maple syrup and jams and breads on the spur of the moment, where i don't know how to cook the food (believe me, i really do need to learn how to cook something other than italian food and 'asian' food out of packets). where i don't know where i will wind up working, and how i will get there, and what i want to do. i worry about going back to school, and i worry about not going back to school. it's a long list of worries. i try not to think about them too much, but sometimes, when i'm sitting here in the apartment just doing what i've done for the last almost-two years, it hits me.

soon, i'll be done, and i'll be out of here - out of this apartment i love, and this city i've learned to love, and away from this college that has been my second home for four years. and -oddly enough, this really saddens me- i'll be back in a land with no seasons -with no winters, and no falls, and no springs.

Friday, May 06, 2005


i have just watched Hotel Rwanda for the first time (thank you sheryl and netflix) and it leaves me with the (almost-) uncontrollable urge to bang my head repeatedly against the wall. it was a very good movie. don't get me wrong. it was an amazing movie. but its very amazingness makes me want to cry. only -- the things that people do to one another - the depressing, heartsickening, wrenching things that people can do to one another in the name of small -miniscule, really- differences, real and/or imagined -- these things have ceased to make me cry, and instead make me angry. and sad -but not in a weep-tears-and-get-over-it way; in a what-is-there-to-do kind of way. and more cynical. (really? i hear you ask. can she be more cynical than she already is? well, perhaps. i can certainly stay cynical, can i not?)

it's hard, to watch stories of people slaughtering one another in revenge, in a mass explosion of rage and insanity and unconstrained brutishness. it's even worse to think well - why don't the other countries -the countries with the money, the manpower, the medical resources, the stockpiled food- come and stop the killing, feed the refugees, make sure the children get their medical needs attended to? and know the answer: because we just don't care enough. because there's nothing in it for us. because the rwandas and the somalias -they produce nothing we really need; they don't have hidden treasures, only years and years of humanitarian intervention, and risking the lives of our sons and daughters for people we don't know, and a country we feel no patriotic fervour for (if we feel any at all). and really, perhaps asking people to sacrifice their children for the sake of keeping two raging mobs of angry people from killing one another somewhere in a country far away is a little too much to ask.

what's the solution? i don't have an answer, really. (well, i do, but it involves a big red button and the end of all my hopes for the nobel peace prize.) i don't think anyone does. but i guess marcus has it right when -after the movie- he said "it sort of puts all our problems into perspective, doesn't it?"

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

like shining from shook foil --

i remember this from Evans's classes --

God's Grandeur

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs --
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Gerald Manley Hopkins

Monday, May 02, 2005

back from NYC

am back from visiting ying and janice over a crazy weekend (it was the Columbia Varsity Show weekend). got to see Jan's tiny new place, and see Charles and Lynn for a bit, and even managed to get Ying to fit us into her crazy schedule. yummy burgers from the Corner Bistro, delicious pho from our hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Chinatown (that we discovered over winter break, with my brother and Cheryl and Derek), and handmade udon and yuzu (japanese lime) ice cream in the east village. and oh! new york bagels, with scallion/garlic-and-herb cream cheese. isn't it funny how my new york trips revolve around two things: shopping and food.

not much shopping this time, however, so it was mostly food. the most productive shopping i did was between Avenue Q and the Varsity Show on saturday afternoon, when we emerged from the Union Sq subway to see the remnants of the regular farmers's market, and i bought a pint of maple syrup. it's delicious -i made maple-syrup sugar cookies pretty much the moment i got home, and licking the syrup off my fingers was a heavenly experience- and oh so fresh! (had to restrain myself from buying a huge loaf of fresh bread, and jam/chutneys too!) and once i managed to tear myself away from the market (there were people selling little tiny potted herbs! i could have fresh mint, and basil growing in my living room...) we hit up the Strand. 18 miles of books to which i wanted to pledge my allegiance by buying a tote bag. which i did -i have the cream canvas tote bag with the bright red Strand logo on it- as well as getting one for shum (red Strand logo on black) and one for amanda (orange on brown) too!

also, on this trip we finally got to see a performance of Avenue Q. it was totally awesome -mindblowingly good- i had such a great time! it is so much better watching it staged -even though the listening to the soundtrack was already pretty awesome. the guy who was the puppeteer/voice of Rod/Princeton in this production -not the guy in the original cast- is an even better singer, and he is a GREAT actor. he emotes what the puppet is supposed to be feeling -it is a seamless performance, man and puppet. i was very impressed. (it probably doesn't hurt that he's cute. and had a great pair of jeans. i really wish i knew where they are from.) they had great chemistry -the cast, i mean- and were clearly enjoying themselves to the hilt. the woman who does Christmas Eve has an even more incredible voice in reality than on the CD, and the one who plays Gary Coleman is a riot. the spoken lines are sometimes better than the sung ones, and the sung ones are wonderful enough. i'm so happy we got to see it! :)

what's a trip to new york without a trip to the museums, right? this time we did make it to the MOMA, on friday night when it's free (and therefore a complete ZOO). my beloved Starry Night is there, as are a bunch of really cool Picassos, like Violin and Grapes (i think that's right). i stared at it for a long time. oh! and there was a tres cool chess set in the Architecture and Design section, but unfortunately there wasn't a replica in the store, or i would totally have gotten it. i did get a cool hologram picture of MOMA though. but the Whitney Museum of American Art really stole the show, as far as i'm concerned. we went earlier on friday afternoon to see the Tim Hawkinson show at the Whitney and it was a blast! Tim Hawkinson is clearly some guy who (a) loves to work with power tools, (b) has too much free time and (c) is a geek through and through. it was incredibly fun, and i loved the entire exhibit. if you are in New York at some point in the next couple of months, you should see the show before it goes. totally worth it.

no photos, i'm afraid - i brought the camera but didn't take a single shot! and now, it's back to the regular grind of trying to pass my chinese history midterm on tuesday. :(