Sunday, July 29, 2007

A weekend to remember

Sorry for the lack of updates. I have been busy studying for my exams, which in 10 days time.

Last weekend was eventful, when Nyk was down for the weekend. It was partially spoilt by my manager, which I shall not go into details.

On Sunday, we went to a Catholic church. First time for me, as I have never been to church on normal Sundays, only special events like Christmas. Can't say I was taken in by the whole thing, but I just observed and observed some more. A lot of questions popped up while whole ritualistic and symbolic goings on took place.

After that, we went to Chinatown and passed by a shoe shop. Nyk bought a pair of black leather shoes for work.

Then we headed to the movies for an anime called Paprika. It was a marvellous show with very vibrant colours and art and memorable music. The storyline was gripping yet slightly complicated, nevertheless it was thoroughly enjoyable.

Highly recommended. IMDB attests to it, with an average of 7.9 out of 10 stars.

After the movie, we headed to Orchard as SK needed to buy some Aussiebum underwear for her friend in Europe. Apparently, it is much cheaper in Singapore.

So New Urban Male was where we ended up. We spent quite some time there choosing. I even bought something for myself, a pair of CIN-2 underwear.

We grabbed some snacks as we were quite hungry, even though it was nearly dinner time.

We stopped at Metro to just look around, but ended up buying two pairs of Private Structure underwear, one for myself and another for Nyk. Luckily, the sales were still on and there was a 20% discount, so it only cost $14 each.

Dinner was at Dempsey Road. The place is inaccessible by buses or trains, so we had to take a cab. As we turn into the road, I realised what an expensive evening it was going to be. The place was dotted with Korean, Western, Italian etc restaurants, which were formerly army barracks.

We met Nyk's brother at Fabrikka, an Italian outfit. The food was great. Nyk has the photos, so I didn't take any. I can't remember the names of the stuff we had, but they were beef, swordfish and duck. I will let him post comments on the food on his blog.

Overall, I had a really good time with him. It was wonderful to see him again after so long. And we would meet again quite soon, which is next month.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A meme which turned into a post

Got tagged by Queerrant. Think there was another meme earlier, but that seems so long ago.

According to this meme, I am supposed to post eight facts or habits about myself.

I read this book back when I was university, called Personality Plus by Florence Littauer.

Basically, it's about the four major types of personalities. I am recalling them from memory, which shows how much time I have spent on this. When I was in university, I had to deal with all sorts of people in the society that I joined. Hence, understanding the different types of personality is useful.

Each of usually have a lot in common with two out of the four, with a little of the other two. Something like 40%, 40%, 10% and 10%.

The four major types are:

1) Popular Sanguine
These are the people who are full of energy, enthusiastic, the live wire of the party. They can make any stories come alive and tell the same jokes over and over and still make everybody laugh. Well like by everybody. They are spontaneous and crazy.

The not so good characters are that they are usually forgetful and disorganised.

2) Perfect Melancholic
These are the perfectionist. They are analytical, smart and as the name suggest, melancholic. They think they are unique and that no one understands them. Introverted and thus spend a lot of time reading and being introspective. Moody. Thus they are smart and deep people. Usually emphatic as well.

The down side is that they usually depressive. If you can draw a graph, with the y-axis as emotion and values above zero as happy, there would be a lot of deep valleys and few small hills. Taken to the extreme, could be suicidal.

A lot of geniuses are in this category, like Mozart and Beethoven.

3) Powerful Choleric
These are the leaders. Decisive and assertive. Know what he or she wants. Able to make the people around him rally towards a common goal. Inspirational and has charisma. Speaks well in public.

People who are extreme in this category may come across as bossy or unfeeling. They are very results-oriented and thus may neglect the fact that people are humans with feelings too.

4) Peaceful Phlegmatic
These are the people who avoids conflicts and usually are the mediators to arguments. They are easy going people and get along well with everyone. They genuinely care about the people around them and wants everyone to be happy. A good provider and giver and takes care of people well.

If you could draw a graph of their emotions, it would be almost flat. They experience neither extreme happiness or sadness. They avoid conflicts and thus may seem agreeable and pushovers. Hence, they usually go along with whatever decision others make.

They don't like to make decisions as they want others to do so and be happy. They lack initiative.

Err ... think I have digressed too much.

Still, for the first fact about me, wanna hazard a guess which two personalities am I?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Thirteen: Game of Death

Last Friday, we watched this Thai movie called 13, Game of Death. Its synopsis:

13 is a new and very secret competition offering a grand prize of 100 million Baht. The contestants are chosen from those most afflicted with problems involving work, money, family and love. If they can complete 13 tasks, they'll receive riches beyond their wildest dreams. But there's a catch...the challenges will test them in every aspect of their lives from love to religion and even moral values. They may seem undemanding when they start but as they progress they become increasingly more intense until finally, they reach a stage where they are no longer sure if they are human anymore. As with every game there are rules and these rules must be obeyed at all times. If they fail even one of the tasks, they will be dismissed from the game. The rules prohibit them from giving up from telling anyone else that they are playing and from investigating the origin of the game. A man named Phuchit is delighted to be offered the chance to compete, little realizing that it will cost him his friends, his family, his sanity and perhaps his life...What wouldn't you do for money?

It sounds interesting, doesn’t it?

The first task was easy. Swat a fly with a newspaper. Task two: eat that fly. Easy enough to get the participant hooked.

But behind this simple game with, there are thousands of people who pay money to watch this kind of reality show. Phuncit, the participant chosen, is being watched all the time. What he did or didn’t do to finish a task immediately prompts a phone call from the organizer.

As the game progresses, the things he had to do become worse and immoral. He had to make 3 children cry, steal from a beggar and eat shit in a posh restaurant. Yes, you read correctly, he really had to eat shit, served with some brown sauce (chocolate maybe?). That scene was really disgusting.

Another scene which was memorable was how he was tricked into tying a wire across a street, where a group of illegal racers were heading that way. All of them were killed, with brains splattered on the road.

He finally managed to perform the first 12 tasks and reaches the final. Here, there is a twist that elevated the movie to beyond just gore and disbelief. In the end, he made the right choice and regained his humanity, but greed and evil still won.

Overall, I would rate this film a three out of five, for its interesting plot which was adapted from a comic book, even though the direction and pace were not that good.

I am really looking forward to Nyk visiting me in soon. I haven’t seen him for more than two months and how I can’t wait to spend quality time with him *snickers*

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

All in the family

Taken from Oprah Winfrey's website, here and here. I think they were showing some interesting stuff about a few families, called All in the Family.

The eight Huckaby children—Jude, Joan, Jann, Jason, Janie, Jonathan, Jody and John Jr.—grew up in a small southern town. Raised in a close-knit, conservative Catholic home, the Huckabys' life centered on their family and their faith.

"All you had to do was walk in the house to know it. You saw statues of Jesus and Mary and Joseph and a whole bunch of saints," Jody says. "My parents showed all of us what it means to be family every day."

Every day the Huckaby children's father took them to school—and when they came home, their mom had cookies, cupcakes or other treats waiting. "We always felt as though [when] we went to bed at night, we had a good time," Jann says. "We had really lived a good day."

With all 10 family members living in a three bedroom, one bathroom house, space was a little tight. "It's kind of hard not to know what's going on with each other," Jonathan says.

Despite their close upbringing, four of the Huckabys were hiding one important thing—they were gay. "I was first [to come out]," Jason says. "It was about 1985 and I was studying to be a Catholic priest. I'd been in seminary for a number of years, and I came to the point in my life where I realized that I didn't want to live my life alone, that I need today to have a partner in my life." So he wrote a letter to his parents, telling them he was gay.

After receiving the news, the Huckabys' parents told the other seven children about Jason's letter, and Jonathan says they were "not pleased." "Even though it was very scary, I trusted that there was enough of a solid foundation there that it would eventually be a safe thing for me to do, to come out to my family," Jason says.

Jonathan and Jody say as they grew up, they, too, realized they were gay. "If only we had been able to talk about it. There were no parameters. We went to Catholic school, and you certainly didn't talk about that with the nuns," Jody says. Their parents' reaction to Jason's letter made Jody concerned to come out, but eventually, he and Jonathan each admitted their secret. Jody says a fourth brother is also gay.

At first, even their other siblings rejected their lifestyle. Their sister, Jann, says it took her more than a year to fully accept it. "I had prayed about it, and I realized that I did not need to judge. I needed to love," Jann says. When their brother Jude first heard the news, he thought Jason had chosen to be gay. "After the other brothers came out, I said, 'This can't be a choice. This has to be…the way they were born,'" he says.

Jody, who is now the executive director of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), says his organization helped his mother find peace with having four gay children. "For me, it's sort of a full-circle experience, because all these years later, I'm running this national organization, and it's for parents, it's for family members and friends and straight allies to deal with these issues," he says.

I don't know which is more remarkable, the fact that four of eight of them are gay or that the whole conservative Catholic family is alright with it.

Blood is thicker than water.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A day at the swimming pool

I went for a swim in the evening. The weather is freaking hot these days and even the pool's water wasn't cool enough to make me forget about the heat for a while.

Heck, I was actually feeling quite warm in the pool.

As I was on leave today, I went to the pool about 6p.m. Nyk send me a message on Gtalk which said, "Enjoy dear, wish u lotsa eye candy".

Which was quite unlikely, as it was still early and most people would most probably still be in the office.

The pool was more crowded than usual. I blamed it on the weather.

As luck would have it, I was right. There wasn't any cuties. There were passable ones, but not many. Even though my visual disability doesn't help to discern the male faces and bodies, but I am pretty sure there wasn't any.

Anyway, I did notice this guy with yellow and blue trunks swimming while doing my laps. He got out of the pool an hour later. I still wanted to do another half lap, so I did that and I was out of the water about 5 minutes later.

In the bathroom, I saw the guy again. Let's call him Blue Trunks Guy (BTG). BTG was done cleaning up and was drying himself. He was totally naked and of course I looked.

The penis was small. That is only natural after coming out from the pool. His penis wasn't hard, but somehow it pointed about 45 degree from the floor or at about 8 o'clock.

I think he saw me looking. But he didn't seem to mind. He has a nice body, defined.

I went into the shower stall and cleaned myself up. Came out about 5 minutes later. BTG was fully dressed by now and was checking himself in the full length mirror.

I dried myself with a towel and put on my clothes. I noticed that BTG has left the bathroom by now.

However I did take my time, as someone quite hunky came in and I wanted to see him undress. But alas, it was quite disappointing.

As I was putting the last of my stuff in my backpack, I saw BTG in front of the mirror again. There really wasn't much more to adjust or beautify himself, I thought.

We left the changing room, almost together. He was about 20 paces in front of me.

After I exited the building, I noticed that BTG wasn't really sure of where he was headed. He was walking to another direction. I was slightly behind him and I turned a corner.

He followed me.

I was thinking to myself, is he really following me?

I walked slower than my usual pace, as my intention was to let him overtake him.

But he didn't. He was about 5 steps behind me and we walked in that way for 50 meters.

When the pathway widen, I walked towards the side a bit so that he was by my side. I smiled at him, he smiled back and asked in Mandarin "Are you going for dinner?"

I said yes.

"Let's go together then."

What a smooth and appropriate pick up line. Heh.

I now had a better look at him. He has a pleasant look. In fact, he actually resembles someone I know. His body is quite built, but not bulky. Nice muscle bulges in the right places, like those who work out in gyms.

Then the usual beginning of conversations began - where do I stay, occupation, etc.

I did tell him I wasn't proficient in Mandarin, but I did understand mostly what he was saying.

He didn't understand English much, so I had to use my smattering of Mandarin to converse.

Apparently, he is from East Malaysia, has been in Singapore for about 10 years and is currently unemployed.

I had no idea how he knew I was gay. I don't think I act that gay.

I believed this was how he got the confirmation that I am:
BTG: How do you like Singapore?
Me: It's so boring here. Nothing much to do besides shopping.
BTG: Boring? How can it be? Have you visited the gay clubs?
Me: Erm, yeah.

He also asked whether I have a boyfriend. I replied he's in KL. I asked the same question back and he said that he just broke up three days ago.

Hmmm ....

Anyway, right after we finished our meals, he said he had to go. The part that really got me, which showed that he really is a nice guy was when he said this:

"Xie xie ni pei wo chi fan (Thank you for your accompanying me for dinner)"

And he left. He went to a stall selling durians and bought some.

I went to the next stall selling other types of fruits. He came over and said, "The durians are sold cheaply." And he went off.

That was really kind of him to tell me.

And then it dawned on me that he might actually have been interested in me. If I was single, something might have happened. The 3 day breakup thing might just be a sob story and not be true.

I didn't realise it earlier but now everything seem to make sense. He was obviously staying longer than necessary in the bathroom, so that he could catch me leaving. The way he was changed his direction and followed me .....

So yeah, this really made my day. An ego-booster. I was smiling to myself whenever I think about it.

I think I have just been cruised for the very first time ;P

Monday, July 02, 2007

Toki wo kakeru shôjo

I watched an extremely good anime last Tuesday, called the Girl Who Leapt Through Time. It was the number one anime in Japan last year.

I think the title made it obvious what the movie is all about, which was about a girl Makoto who one day discovered she had the ability to leap through time but only to the past. Thus, she was presented with the opportunity to change things which she wasn’t happy about, like retaking an exam which she failed, eating a pudding which was eaten by her sister previously and avoiding the issue when a guy showed romantic interest in her.

The only person who knew about her ability was her aunt, whom she consulted with on what to do and her dilemma of liking her two close friends. Deep down, she preferred Kosuke but she went to match-make him and another girl who has a crush on him.

She has two close friends, whom she plays baseball with everyday, Kousuke and Chiaki.

Someone called Dick Steel has written a review on IMDB which is similar to what I thought:
The movie has light hearted moments, sometimes bordering on the slapstick, no thanks to the bumbling Makoto character. In a sequence, it was reminiscent of Chinese Odyssey starring Stephen Chow, where each time travel moment gets played ad nausem with different comedic effect. Undoing blunders as we see is not exactly Makoto's forte, and while she may be using her powers in a carefree way, with great powers come great responsibilities (sorry, can't resist that one!)

Another review, from THEM Anime:
After one day discovering that she has the special ability to “leap” back in time, a high-school girl named Makoto Konno decides to use her newfound powers for trivial purposes such as getting to school early, eating pudding and singing in a karaoke rental for prolonged hours.

In what arguably sounds like the most humdrum plot ever conceived, it’s almost surprising that Mamoru Hosoda’s first directorial venture with Madhouse turned out to be the real winner that it is; in what seems to be the first of two successful anime film-adaptations of original stories written by Yasutaka Tsutsui this year (2007 in the US), The Girl Who Leapt Through Time demonstrates that creativity can make even the most primordial of storytelling devices (in this case, the quagmire of contradiction and convenience that is time-travel) relevant, intelligible and a whole lot of fun.

What sets this sexy piece of Madhouse meat apart from other shows that may have dabbled in the playground of time and space manipulation is probably director Hosoda’s focus and creativity to make the re-interpretation of even the most menial of everyday tasks unequivocally entertaining. Makoto’s fondness towards her newly-discovered time-leaping abilities is liken to that of an innocent youth who was probably lucky enough to get her hands on a Nintendo Wii, at launch date, minus the endurance of having to line up at Target 5AM in the morning in the blistering cold; Hosoda manages to convey this sublime child-like innocence of delight through many of the movie’s characters in a manner that almost defies any amount of praise that I can humanly give it; there was just something so incredibly genius and pure about Makoto using her powers to go back in time just for the sake of contemplating the glorious satisfaction of getting to a pack of pudding before her little sister was able to partake in the joy of consuming it. Even Makoto’s self-righteous attitude when she’s finally able to experience the pleasure of walking to school early instead of using her bike to come in late (much to the amazing surprise of everyone in the neighborhood) came off as more real than it did pompous.

Indeed, changing the past may have cause undesirable consequences. Saving someone from disaster would cause someone else to be hurt or injured. There is no such thing as escaping from something bad totally, as that something bad will happen to someone else.

Which did happen. Makoto avoided an incident of splashing hot oil and small fire in her domestic skills cooking class but another person took her place. Three students blamed that poor guy for the incident and a cycle of pranks which grew to vengeful proportions escalated between them, which led to someone getting seriously hurt in the end.

Although Makoto liked Chiaki, she was somehow afraid when Chiaki professed his feelings for her till she had to go back in time a couple of times and changed the topic of conversation when the subject came up. She wanted to maintain her carefree days, playing baseball everyday, not willing to face the fact that her friends will grow up and move on to other things.

In a way, I like that. Youthful idealism which has to make way for the realization that things can never be the same in life, especially the things that we enjoy.

The movie also has the message of moving forward, to not dwell on the past but look forward to the future, which has better and brighter things.

It reminds me of myself. A lot of things are and can never be the same anymore, so it is always best to enjoy them while it lasts.

Towards the end, it was found out that Chiaki was from the future and he was in the present to look at a painting. That painting doesn’t exist anymore in the future.

The ending was slightly confusing (time travel stories usually are and they have loopholes) but Chiaki finally went back to the future. He promised to wait for Makoto and see her in the future. The farewell was quite sad, Makoto almost cried her eyes out.

That romantic bit was quite cute. Wished Nyk was there with me, so that I could hold his hand.

Another thing which I liked was the time travelling sequence. The scene is different and unique, quite unlike the usual myriad of fast moving colours.

The Best Animated Film of the recent Awards of the Japanese Academy and I think it fully deserved the award. This sweet and humorous tale is highly recommended.

Oh yeah, and the soundtrack. I really love the songs in the movie. Very soothing and romantic, the music complemented the movie well.

And I think that Chiaki is cute!

Oooh, oooh, guess what? Some kind soul has uploaded the whole movie on youtube, split into 12 parts. I will definitely watch it again. Heck, I want the DVD!

Overall, I would rate an 8 out of 10. IMDB’s rating is 8.4 out of 10.

Here is the first part. Enjoy.