Grave of the Fireflies candy

Remember that Studio Ghibli-produced anime movie that you cried like an idiot at? You know, the one set during World War II, with the two freshly-orphaned Japanese kids with no survival skills. They lived in a cave, in their blissfully naive fantasy world, eating “fruit drop” candies out of a metal tin until the candy ran out. And when they filled the tin with water, and drank the fruit flavored water, you totally lost it. Yeah I know you did. You knew that the end of the candy signified the coming end of their pathetic struggle against starvation. For the record, I laughed with the glee of a disenfranchised mailbomber because I really hated those stupid characters.

Well anyway. Now the candy never has to run out, because you can buy loads of the shit from Play-Asia.com with free shipping for approx SGD$4.80 a tin. I’ve ordered two!

Link

Server trouble (again!) + Local Icon T-shirt

My web hosting company has been having some problems, and I wasn’t able to publish from Saturday up until this morning. They’ve also changed the terms of our contract and reduced the amount of disk space I have, so I’m thinking of starting a whole new thing on a whole new domain and server. I might keep this and all the other text blog sites going on this current server since I’m paid up till the company folds. I’m quite attached to this domain now, after having had it for 4 years.

Anyway, here’s a t-shirt I made today:

It’s USD$14.99, if you can be bothered.
Also available as a Baby Doll tee.

So far so good


Waiting area
Originally uploaded by sangsara.

I noticed today that it has not occurred to me all week to meet up with people for a drink after work. This is in stark contrast to a few weeks ago when I needed a drink at the end of every boring, mind-numbingly stupid day as an Information Architect at a company that didn’t even want to buy its employees a water cooler.

The reason, obviously, is that I’m enjoying myself. The days seem to be over all too quickly, and before I know it, I’m here past 6pm and not minding it. I don’t dread next mornings, next days, and I don’t count down to the weekend. In fact, the coming weekend feels sorta like an obstacle between me and the next work week and its opportunities. Well, I’m curious to see how long it lasts too. I remember feeling this way at my last internship, and it can only be taken as a sign that I’m on the right track for myself. Stevie J told a Stanford class at their commencement to “stay hungry, stay foolish”, and I am. Hungry to get Insanely Great™ things done despite my natural limitations. Hungry to stay employed, really, if we must put first things first.

Anyway a bunch of hot russian-looking models came in today to get test shots done, and a bunch of “sporty” tertiary girls are coming in tomorrow for a briefing session I will probably attend. Kickass.

Job

Hello!

Today was a good day, as first days at new jobs go. I didn’t get asked to clean up the crap left behind by someone else (because I’m not replacing anyone directly), I wasn’t overloaded with a lot of work and made to stay past midnight, I didn’t run into an old secondary school enemy and find that he was now my boss, or anything like that.

One interesting thing: they had a feng shui guy come in to choose my desk position! So if anything goes wrong, I don’t have anyone to blame. That’s about all I can say about my new job. Having signed the usual non-disclosure agreements, and not being in the sights of any publisher for a lucrative exposé on the unnamed industry (I shan’t even say that!), I will do well to keep things to myself and hope that the quality content on this here digital journal will emerge unscathed. Hah.

Oh, and the coffee is excellent. There’s a certain willingness to work one’s ass off that comes with all the Blue Mountain that one can drink. I had the opportunity to visit another office in the building where a friend works, and they had a very nice cafe-looking area set aside for meetings and relaxing. Why damnit, with our coffee and their facilities combined… we could…! Uh… waste a lot of time, one suspects.

Oh, and it is a very very nice thing to go to work and sit down to a Macintosh. No matter how hard things get in the coming months, that startup chime in the morning shall be my strength.

The building we are in has about three (that I saw) hobby stores in the shopping annex. You know, the kind that sells plastic robots and rubber figurines of barely-dressed anime girls. You know, the kind that young men with disposable income buy to furnish their desks at work with. Very cool. One of the stores even has the Final Fantasy Potion drinks! They’re not cheap though; the Premium Boxed edition sells for $19.90 each.

Well, I am quite well taken of, and there is plenty of serviceable food in the area. I’ve been pretty happy and ungrouchy all day, and I just thought you’d like to know.

Love,
Your Internet Friend.

Cinema Resolution

This evening, I saw U-Carmen Ekhayelitsha at The Picturehouse. I have not yet decided if I liked it, but it was not without merit as a film and opera. I never thought I’d live to hear an African click dialect used in European song structures, or a heavyset Carmen, for that matter.

The Picturehouse has been under attack for having terrible seats (albeit expensive ones) that hurt your neck and back. Ditto their policy of not allowing food and drinks into the designated arthouse theatre only (the rest of the cineplex is fair game for spillage). To these complaints I’d like to add that the airconditioning is too cold for my Bizet-loving pet rock. I mean it was really, really cold.

But I have decided to make full use of it. We haven’t had a local and convenient permanent arthouse screen in years, and the thought now of having one good movie playing at any given time, in such close proximity to my new workplace, is very exciting. I will be making it a point to see something at The Picturehouse once every fortnight until they discover the unprofitability of such an enterprise, and close it down all over again.

Leonard Cohen movie

Trailer for I’m Your Man

Out June 21st in the US, and probably not coming out here. For shame!

I could write a post about how much I like him and tell you about how much I hate that REM song ‘Hope’ that was built on top of ‘Suzanne’, but there’s no need to be long-winded about it.

Today is the 3rd day that I’ve been laid up sick at home with a fever and flu that hardly seems to be getting better. I missed my last day of work on Friday, and will have to go back at some point next week to complete timesheets and so on. Bleah.

I start my new job on the 19th, and I guess I’ll be watching some of the world cup matches after all, since I can’t go out. I lost on two matches last night, with Paraguay’s unlucky own goal, and Sweden’s inability to break through Trinidad. I should have known better than to bet against a team making it to the world cup for the first time.

A friend read through my archives recently and observed that things here have taken a turn for the worse since late 2004. I agree but can’t be sure why yet. It’s probably a combination of being too busy to do more than post links, and knowing who comes by here often, and not wanting to say some things in front of some people. Maybe I should start just one more blog.

Great Mac iTunes hack

Discovered this last night when I upgraded my copy of Onyx (Freeware, Mac OSX only). You can change iTunes behaviour so that clicking one of the little arrows next to a song/artist/album/genre name brings you to a filtered browser list containing matches, and not the iTunes Music Store as it does by default. If this option exists in the preferences, I haven’t noticed it.

Example: Clicking an arrow next to “Ryan Adams” in a track listing will display all songs by Ryan Adams. Faster and easier than entering the browser and finding what you want when you’re already looking at it.

Get Thee Behind Me, Zinfandel!

Woot wine is just as hilarious as regular Woot. On today’s Satanic coincidence date of 6/6/6, they’re selling Storybrook Mountain 6-bottle packs.

Tremble, heathens! A totally meaningless but spooky-sounding numerical coincidence is upon us, and the very seas themselves shall churn with boiling demonic wrath! Or not! We speak, of course, of the coming of 6/6/06, the Tuesday of the Beast. If this were, like, the year 1306, we’d round up some kindling, strike a couple of flints together, and have us a good old-fashioned witch-burning. Also, we’d be fleeing in terror from all these glowing, bleeping computers.

But this is the 21st century. We know now that our imperfect, man-made calendar has no real relationship to the birth of the universe, or even the precise birth of Jesus. We understand that the date 6/6/06 has no particular significance except to Scandinavian death-metal dorks and Hollywood marketing departments…

This week, stand up for post-Enlightenment values by fearlessly buying six bottles of 2003 Storybook Mountain Vineyards Napa Estate Zinfandel, Mayacamas Range.

Here’s an article on Adam Block [nytimes.com], the celebrity restaurant manager/opportunist who will be bringing Thomas Keller and a couple of other renowned chefs into Singapore’s new Marina Bay Integrated Resort development, developed by the Las Vegas Sands corporation. Block was also largely responsible for the celebrity chef restaurant explosion in Las Vegas itself.

But are satellite restaurants, where chefs spends a couple of weeks out of a year roaming the kitchen tasting (not creating), any good at all? This corresponding article [nytimes.com] published today declares that the sex is almost always missing. Even Gordon Ramsay has bollocksed it up. But how well can you train sous-chefs and staff to recreate Michelin star work? In Singapore?

Mark Bittman concludes by saying only Joel Robuchon has succeeded in maintaining quality:

[He] achieves this with a team of four people who have been with him for 20 years or more. Most multirestaurant chefs claim they’re operating the same way, with a training “team” and a surplus of talented underlings who are poised to move to Las Vegas, Hong Kong or even Dubai — and who will open their own restaurants if they aren’t promoted. Some of Robuchon’s team will accompany him to New York this summer, when he plans to open another L’Atelier, in the Four Seasons Hotel.Neither my brilliant meals at Robuchon nor my irksome ones at Ducasse, however, are representative; most operations lie somewhere in between.