..:: Kellog ::..


Saturday, November 30, 2002

Vegetarian Delight!

What a lovely Thanksgiving! My first stop was Teddy's sister's place in SF, my first ever American Thanksgiving dinner, and what a great first it was! We were poster-perfect for the globalized world. It was Greek cuisine (tons and tons and tons of awesome food!), with some French visitors, hosted by an American family...and I single-handedly represented the Asian community. (Incidently, your do-you-know factoid of the day: It's "Buy Nothing Day" today (Nov 29th), hype for anti-globalists. I've not read enough information about that whole argument yet to make a judgement about it, but I kinda am tempted to roll my eyes at gratuitous campaigns like this) Great conversation (assisted by white wine) built up appetite for the TURDUCKEN highlight that Teddy had flown up (by courier. The poultry was dead already). My my my...it was a vegetarian's milieu...a Turducken is basically a chicken in a duck in a turkey...sinfully deeelish...there was just too much food to mention them all...most of which I don't even know the names of. After dinner, we sat around, watched tv for a bit, talked, and I just had the loveliest time. Teddy (dude, you know you are reading this;p), a BIG-ASS thank you!

Sitting around in that family atmosphere surrounded by food food and more food, I just missed Chinese New Year soooo much. I've missed the last 2 CNYs back in Singapore...that whole month long build up to CNY, where your mummy starts stocking up on Chinese candies and cakes, the stores start blasting those cheeesy Chinese New Year jingles ("gong xi gong xi gong xi ni-ya!"), the neighbourhoods get painted red with decorations...then you get the Chinese reunion dinner, traditionally held at my aunt's place, with their grrrreat home-cooked food, then the next day when you go visiting family members you see once a year ("Wow! Your children, so big now! Wah, you lost/gain weight hor? Aiyoh! Got boyfriend already?") and collecting those red packets with $$$ in them (but it's the blessings that come with it that count...really), and then my traditional meeting up with my best friend's family at night, and the next couple of days where we have friends and family visit us, where my parents either cook lunch or order pizza hut (!) to feed our guests...and you collect more red packets...I like the Chinese's consolidating way of celebrating: we stretch it across three consecutive days, so it's thanksgiving, christmas and new year's all at one go. Aw! I miss that.

But anyway, back to Thanksgiving last night. After Teddy's sister's (Wendy) place, I headed down to my brother's girlfriend's friend's place in the Haight (what's with all the degrees of seperation?). It was like another world, more casual, recent-college grads just chillin' with each other, no fuss with decors and the like, but every bit as lovely and homely...and I had more more more turkey...yummy. White meat. Drool. I had some kind of protein craving yesterday. Guess I've not eaten meat or a proper home cooked meal for a long time...but I just devoured the meat. Sat around, ate, watched Friends and Will & Grace on tv. Met my dear brother, who I am always eager to meet, who had instructions from Mummy, who is paranoid, to check on my toe (which is still blue and gross but has stopped hurting like a mo'-fucka')...

Post dual-dinners, I met up with Jeff (who stupidly overslept and thus had popcorn for this Thanksgiving dinner!) for a movie at Japantown...8 Mile, which was surprisingly good. It was one of those movies where the director was everything, because there was alot that could have gone wrong with it, but didn't. The pace of the movie was great. I never once checked my watch impatiently (like I did in 'Die Another Day'...groan). I really enjoyed the movie. Which made me go home and download the soundtrack, so I have thumping hip-hop/rap instead of thumping techno blasting from my speakers for once.

Ironically, I got home and received an email from Douglas (who is in his hometown in Newton, Texas, which is SO funny to me cos there's a place in Singapore called Newton, famous for its bustling food centre, which I'm sure is completely and utterly different from the Texan Newton) wishing me Happy Thanksgiving even though "I know that holiday doesn't mean shit to you". Given the lovely Thanksgiving I had, just the simple sharing time with old and new friends and my brother, and having them share time with me, that couldn't be further from the truth. Like you, Douglas, "I think it's a wonderful thing" too.
kellykelly, 11/30/2002 06:29:00 am | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, November 28, 2002

ooooooh...perfect website to surf to complement my bitchy mode: suck.com's take on post-college life. Maybe that makes me feel better about the banking job waiting for me back in good ol' Singapore (and keeping me there for 6 years) at the end of my college stint. (Disclaimer: I've always been grateful and appreciative of my scholarship. It's just the bitchiness complainin')

***5 minutes later***

On the other hand...my lovely landlady Helen just knocked on the door and gave Tony (housemate) and me a beautiful pound cake that she just baked, hot and fresh from the oven. And I just realised the sun is blazing outside. It is a lovely day after all. Bitchiness Begone. Maybe I'll take a drive down to the city today and park myself at The Canvas Gallery with my Tolstoy...
kellykelly, 11/28/2002 06:17:00 am | link | 0 comments |
Gross details that nobody wants to know:

Swear to God, my left toenail (re: first 24 Nov 2002 entry) has turned darker blue, swelled to twice its thickness, and looks like it's trying to migrate itself away from the toe proper. I say just fall off already! It hurts like fuck! Add to the mix a bout of pms topped with bhd (bad hair day)...grrr...do not come near Bitch Kelly today...
kellykelly, 11/28/2002 05:35:00 am | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

These cds have been rotating in my car for the past week or so, each cd great for a particular occasion. Linkin Park's 'Hybrid Theory' is great for going to school...Paul Van Dyk's 'The Politics of Dancing' is fab for a pre-clubbing drive...Everything But the Girl's 'Back to Mine' is perfect for a post-club/going home chill-out drive. And you know how your fav cds each have these 'special moments' that you look forward to, that your ears just prick up excitedly to hear? Here're mine:

When Chestor Bennington (Linkin Park) sings "There's something inside me that pulls beneath the surface/Consuming, confusing/This lack of self control I fear is never ending/Controlling, I can't seem/To find myself again/My walls are closing in" in Crawling, I melt into goo. I am so in love with voice.

When track 6 moves into track 7 (Rapture by iio) via this split second chord change that makes me hit the rewind button over and over just to hear it in Paul Van Dyk's 'The Politics of Dancing' (cd1) What is it about them chord changes, those "certain strains of music (that) affect me so strangely" (George Eliot 'The Mill on the Floss')

When track 10 (Silent Treatment) explodes those funky-ass bass grooves after the melancholic sweet track 9 (To Cry About) in Everything But the Girl's 'Back to Mine' cd

*baby voice* I lurrrrve music.
kellykelly, 11/26/2002 04:31:00 am | link | 0 comments |

Monday, November 25, 2002

"Watch out, There's a Kelly About."

I love random stupid websites. From the Slogan Maker, I typed "Kelly" (and now everyone sees the height of my narcissism) and here are the slogans that cracked me up:

The nasty ones:
"Nothing Acts Faster Than Kelly."
"I'm a Secret Kelly Drinker."
"Unzip a Kelly."
"P-P-P-Pick Up A Kelly."
"Do You Eat The Kelly Last?"
"We do Kelly Right."
"I Bet He Drinks Kelly."
"Make It A Kelly Night."
"Nothing Sucks Like A Kelly."
"Kelly. It's What's For Dinner."
"It Takes A Tough Man To Make A Tender Kelly."

I like this one:
"The Kelly that Smiles Back."

But my ultimate favorite:
"Little. Yellow. Different. Kelly."

hee hee. Try it.
kellykelly, 11/25/2002 11:25:00 am | link | 0 comments |
Deep Dish/Behrouz was incredible. We danced till 7am. The sun had risen when we left the club. My voice was gone, my back hurt like crazy and don't even get me started on my feet. My left toenail has turned completely blue from the dancing. I wonder if it'll fall off...

Every part of my body is aching...but I still wanna do it again again again! Call me crazy! =) Off to bed now with my blissfully aching body...
kellykelly, 11/25/2002 07:58:00 am | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, November 24, 2002

Go Bears!
kellykelly, 11/24/2002 01:50:00 pm | link | 0 comments |

Saturday, November 23, 2002

My College Life

Thursday: Class in morning. Read Tolstoy. Chat with Singaporean friends in library. Sit at cafe. Chat on the phone with Douglas. Read Tolstoy. Get irritated with 4 girls at next table who talk vapidly about nothing for one hour. Read Tolstoy. Chat with person next to me. Go home. Nap. Wake up at 10pm. Go to Bear's Lair Pub for a beer with Jimmie and Savvas. 130am go home. Chat on phone with Jeff. Chat online. 4am sleep.

Friday: Wake up at 1pm. Chat online. Rush to meet people from class for project. 1/2 hour late. They're not there. Sit at cafe. Chat on phone with Jeff. Read Tolstoy. Meet Jimmie and Erik. Go to the Cal Big Game Rally. Have tons of fun watching big bonfire, cheering, yelling, clapping, laughing. Go home. Surf web. Write emails. Come across very interesting site In Passing, which eavesdrops random conversations in Berkeley. Type mindless entry in blog. Get ready to go to Au Coquelet Cafe that gloriously opens till 2am to read Tolstoy.

Plan to: Sleep late to wake up late to stay up all night for Deep Dish tomorrow night at 1015.

I really do love my college life. Esp that nice balance between lovely human interaction and blissful alone-time.
kellykelly, 11/23/2002 03:04:00 pm | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, November 21, 2002

I spent the day sitting at the Free Speach Movement Cafe (isn't that name just so Berkeley?) reading all 257 pages of Maud Casey's 'The Shape of Things To Come'. It was highly disappointing. It is one of those novels that has a great first chapter, great potential, so you continue reading...then you get halfway into the book and it's boring and waning, but you continue reading in hope of encountering those gratifying 'nod-worthy' passages that you read in its opening pages, and you make excuses for it hoping it'll pick up and end spectacularly, but of course, as the chapters pass, you start to lose hope but stick on anyway just to finish it, and by the time I closed the book, it was 4 hours later and I felt ripped off.

So I went down to Barnes & Nobles after that in search for my rebound book to make up for lost time. I was looking for satisfaction guaranteed, and no smarter choice than to fall back on a fail-safe classic. I was walking up and down the aisles, nothing particular in mind, just hoping for a serendipitous find. My yearn to read something from time to time usually pops up from an inner desire to find some answers at a time when I'm searching for them. I'm obsessed with reasons...reasons why people, no let me put it less generally, why I think, feel, act the way I do or did. Just to understand, not justify. Great novels have a way of explaining human nature. Not only finding a novel perspective or explanation, but also, like George Orwell said, "the best books... are those that tell you what you know already"...I always feel a kind of solace in reading something that reinforces my thoughts, or describe exactly what I feel or what I experience, or what I observe already. It's like if you have a pain in some weird part of your body, and you are scared as hell cos you never had that pain before. So you go to the hospital and you realise that there's a whole clinic for that very pain/illness you have and you are like,hey, if so many people have the same problem, it's either not so bad, or cos it's so common, I'm not a freak beyond hope after all. It's a terrible analogy. But it's kinda like that. Something occurs that make you wonder and wonder why. And you find it in a beautifully written passage, and you nod and go "oh yeah!" Maybe that's why I didn't like Casey's book, because I found very little that I could identify myself with. Or maybe it was just a weak book because there have been plenty of great books that dealt with issues I had nothing to do with, but had such great themes and writing.

The book I eventually picked up, I don't know why but it just caught my eye amongst the rows and rows of books, is 'Anna Karenina' (Leo Tolstoy). In 20 minutes, I read the first 3 chapters, and got SO much more out of it than 4 hours with Casey's book. I'm so glad to have found it. I'm excited about reading it.

kellykelly, 11/21/2002 03:49:00 pm | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

I had my first last today.

It was the last class of my 'Simpsons' decal class, where you get 2 units of credit for watching 2 episodes of 'The Simpsons' every week...and oh yeah, discuss about it too. My frivolity does not do it justice. It has in fact been a surprisingly great class, more intelligent than I thought, given the instructors are a couple of frat boys who make us pay a "course fee" of $5 for the 2 cartons of beer they bring into every class ("5 bucks for free beer for the rest of the semester"). Only in Berkeley. How I love it. Plus, how can you not love 'The Simpsons'?

I can't believe the semester's passing me by so quickly. The thing about being a college student is that you begin to time your life according to your semesters. It's a convenient way of categorizing memories. Good example is my 10/4/02 entry when I was summarizing my year. This semester has been awfully exciting. Each semester gives me new stories to tell. I love the novelty. I hate how time is flying by so fast. I find myself constantly trying to capture and cleave each experience and each memory in my mind so it's impossible for them to slip away. Our soul is our memories. Can't believe I'm more than halfway through my 4 years in Berkeley, after which I've to grow up and go back. I don't wanna grow up...I want my Peter Pan.

"I don't know whether you have ever seen a map of a person's mind. Doctors sometimes draw maps of other parts of you, and your own map can become intensely interesting, but catch them trying to draw a map of a child's mind, which is not only confused, but keeps going round all the time. There are zigzag lines on it...and it is all rather confusing, especially as nothing will stand still." (James M. Barrie 'Peter Pan' Chpt 1)

Yep. That's why I don't feel grown up. All them zigzag lines, nothing standing still. That's why I don't wanna grow up too. Don't ever want my mind to start standing still from jadedness, but it's scary what time does to people.

kellykelly, 11/20/2002 05:29:00 pm | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

I hate buying my plane tickets online. You have this bunch of websites to go to, then you get a whole different bunch of possible itineraries, with a bunch of different prices...then you have to make your decisions: I wanna leave 2 days later, but it's 40 bucks more!...oh look! This site offers it for 20 bucks less, but you have a 4hour stopover!...oh wait, I can leave 1 day earlier and get a direct flight, but 30 bucks more...oh damn! That site is offering a special price...but you can't choose the flight you want, and you have to make the decision in the next 23 minutes, expedia, orbitz, travelocity, online agencies, buy directly from the plane company's website, go to your own travel agent? Choices choices choices and you have one time to make one choice.....and you have 10 windows open, and you are alternating between each and you are comparing prices and you are reloading the pages and you are deciding between tickets with a 10 dollar difference, feeling idiotically cheap about wanting to save 10 bucks, but then, the whole procedure is just so fundamental economics (consumer's reservation prices, supply and demand, perfect information) that it turns you into this aggressive Economic Man trying to maximize your utility as much as possible...and I'm just picturing how my indifference curve is trying to touch my budget line so your head goes round and round deciding how much you value the convenience of a direct flight, or how much you value that cheaper flight...until 3 hours later, I finally bought my ticket directly from the United Air website. 30dec02-16jan03, SF to Paris, direct flights both ways, 500USD. That's my "optimal choice" as an informed, rational consumer always seeking to maximize my utility.

But the utility I'm gonna get travelling around France, Spain, Italy or wherever else in Europe Jane and I eventually decide to go to...priceless.
kellykelly, 11/19/2002 11:34:00 am | link | 0 comments |

Monday, November 18, 2002

[Disclaimer: Forgive the rambly piece of stereotypical college student "who am I" shit. It is a product of a screwed up biological time clock. I'm still on my weekend partying time zone, when I'm up all night and sleep all day.]

I was talking to Douglas today about how much of our value system and thoughts are a product of our environment. Ok, so that's an argument that's been talked about to death (stereotypical coffee-shop talk..."social conventions have subsumed us, we are no longer individuals, blah blah blah." You yawn, I know. BUT, it's something that's been bugging me...well, not so much bugging me, more a point of personal interest to me especially ever since I've been up here in Berkeley 2 years ago. Which should be natural for a girl displaced her from her stable, secure and loving (read: very protected) environment of family and old childhood friends at age 19, and placed pretty much alone halfway across the world...her environment is going to affect her to some extent. (if not, I don't think she's living her youth right). And I'm always conscious of how my mindset evolves according to my experiences and environment. And while I'm beginning to be aware of how insiduous and stifling socially decided norms can be, I am also beginning to see how these norms can be a really convenient pre-decided value system. It's far easier to be conventional. And I have to admit that I am a cop-out that way. I hate to stand out in a crowd. I'd much rather blend in the crowd. Be conventional. So if you fuck up, it is (a) less embarrassing and (b) easier to blame your environment than have only yourself to blame. I've never been the rebel. And I've been pretty successful at being conventional. A part of the system, I am.

So I went home and flipped through 'Brave New World' (Aldous Huxley) (which is one of my fav books of all time. Love those sci-fi political commentary shite) cos I knew there was going to be some passage that explains what I feel (don't you just love reading? Why screw my mediocre brain up trying to think of a way to think about something when I can find some classic writer who would tell me. How convenient.). I remember that when I read it, I kinda got scared at how awfully conventional I can be. One of the book's main themes is exactly what Rousseau wrote about, the choice between "the stormiest liberty" and "tranquil subservience". And I found myself rooting for tranquility...even if the costs of it are high. And indeed, I found something. The Director is explaining to the students how "hypnopaedia" worked. It's basically brain-washing, where infants are instilled with the State's moral education. And Huxley writes:

"Not so much like drops of water...rather, drops of liquid sealing-wax, drops that adhere, incrust, incorporate themselves with what they fall on, till finally the rock is all one scarlet blob.

(and the Director says) 'Till at last the child's mind is these suggestions, and the sum of the suggestions is the child's mind. And not the child's mind only. The adult's mind too--all his life long. The mind that judges and desires and decides--made up of these suggestions. But all these suggestions are our suggestions...suggestions from the State..."

So my mind is a sum of the suggestions from my environment. Now, my question is, what's wrong with that? So it's scary when you look at it from the macro perspective, if your "society" influences you...maybe I'm more a product of my conservative Singaporean upbringing than I believe. So your "society" can mean this intangible and undefinable culture of your time (macro), OR the various real-life social interactions you experience (if you take a micro, individual point of view). And if you take the latter perspective, how much can we criticize the influence of suggestions when human interactions are part of our daily lives? I love human interaction. I love having time-tested old friends with whom I've changed and evolved with. I love random conversations with random people I meet. And I love new friends, some of whom I've bonded with soley due to our current time frame (i.e. we happen to click because we are at this particular point in our lives), and some of whom I'd grow old(er) with. I love it that each of my friends are such crazily different people (some of which I wouldn't dare put in the same room with). I love it that I can be crazy, silly and childish with some, and serious, mellow and introverted with others. I love it that I can visit a museum with one and go to a sports bar with another. They each tap into a specific side of me, even the side of me that likes to be alone sometimes. It allows me to say what Ellen in 'The Age of Innocence' (Edith Wharton) said when Archer asked her "You like so much to be alone?" and she replies "Yes, as long as my friends keep me from feeling lonely." So they each are dear to me because of all that.

Now, my issue is that I sometimes can't differentiate between my friends bringing out a side of me that's inherently me (whoever that is), or influencing me just by the way they are. Not that I ever pretend to be who I'm not (because while I don't quite yet know who I am, I know more about who I'm not)...just that different people have different effects on me. And different suggestions, different behaviours, different value systems, different mindsets, different opinions constantly affect me. And aggregate my social interactions and I'm a sum of external suggestions. So, my point ("and I do have one") is that what I am at each point of time in my life is very very much a product of my environment, where I am, who I hang out with, who I talk to, and how else can it be? See, even the fact that I like to leave the thinking to brilliant writers and just read and be influenced by what they write and adds to my above argument that I am a mere sum of suggestions.

BUT, maybe having all these external suggestions slamming at me from all directions and absorbing without having to accept everything is wonderful in itself. Maybe I should care less about how much these outside opinions are affecting me, and appreciate that they are affecting me, and the more I read and listen and absorb, the more able I am to make right decisions on which to accept or reject. Am I merely engaging in pointless coffee-shop banter? I blame my San Francisco cafe culture and environment. Ha.
kellykelly, 11/18/2002 06:08:00 pm | link | 0 comments |
Insult of the day:

This week's 'The Economist' writes about an anti-globalisation activist/journalist Naomi Klein, slamming her slamming of capitalism. The article is titled 'Why Naomi Klein needs to grow up'. In the final paragraph, they write:

"Ms Klein's harshest critics must allow that, for an angry adolescent, she writes rather well. It takes journalistic skill of a high order to write page after page of engaging blather, so totally devoid of substance."

Ouch. How obnoxiously brilliant is that insult? Can I be a jerk and say I loved that?
kellykelly, 11/18/2002 04:56:00 pm | link | 0 comments |

Saturday, November 16, 2002

PAP-smear anyone?*

What will my darling country think of next? I got this from The Economist:

Let's talk about sex
Is the nanny state encouraging sex? About time, too. Singaporean singles will be exhorted to “mate and multiply” in a newly announced government campaign, called “Romancing Singapore”, that will start next Valentine's Day. The motivation, however, seems to be less an endorsement of pleasure than worries about Singapore's falling birth rate.

This is not the government's only concession to salacious activity: teenagers have lately been encouraged to ask doctors about sexual concerns, via the SMS messaging system on their mobile phones. Called “Sex in the air”, the scheme is supported by Action for AIDS and the Singapore Planned Parenthood Association, and ensures the privacy of callers.

Yeah baby...let's get it on then!!...oh but wait till Valentine's Day next year.

(note to non-Singaporean readers: PAP is the People's Action Party, the ruling political party in Singapore).

kellykelly, 11/16/2002 01:28:00 pm | link | 0 comments |
It's almost 8:15am and I'm faint with fatigue.

But tra-la, I'm done with my essay! Guess what the title is? 'Socialist Village, Chinese State'. That's what my thesis is based on. Just cos the authors hate the socialist state and preferred small-scale Rousseau-ian socialist villages instead. Duh.

Lovely lovely bed beckons...
kellykelly, 11/16/2002 12:15:00 am | link | 0 comments |

Friday, November 15, 2002

Douglas Coupland wrote in one of this books (probably 'Generation X'): "trepanation: drilling a hole in the skull to relieve pressure on the brain."

I do need it right now. It's nearly 4am, I'm nowhere near finishing my paper, which is in terrible need of a thesis, a structure, a focus. Now that I scan through 'CV, SS' (refer to previous entries) for the 5th time over, I'm beginning to see how the authors seem to have merely a few basic points which they repeat over and over and over and over to make up a 336 page volume. Or is it just the pressure on the brain? Maybe I'm experiencing one of those symptoms where you stare at a word for so long, it becomes just a weird blob of curves and lines, and no longer holds any meaning as a word.

Can't wait till 3pm tomorrow when I have to turn in the paper and then slip into sweet sweet slumber.
kellykelly, 11/15/2002 07:56:00 pm | link | 0 comments |
I wanted to start writing about a topic that's been in my head recently. About the ol' moral debate on whether man is inherently good (the belief of utopian socialists like Marx, Engels...or is it?) or inherently evil (Thomas Hobbes, William Golding's brilliant illustration in 'Lord of the Flies'). And I'm trying to find the root of why this obscure topic is in my head at this time. It could be because I've a History paper due tomorrow (which I should be working on instead of blah blah blah-ing on this blog), which is essentially a book report on 'Chinese Village, Socialist State', which upon 2nd reading and more scrutiny, reveals more flaws than I originally thought, or maybe because I was induced by lecture notes to believe that there are more flaws than I'd think. And it's all about how the communist party just twisted socialist ideology and did the stupidest and most cruel stuff till it became this big tragic mess. So if Marx thought that people were inherently good and therefore based on that assumption, the mechanics of socialism can lead to perfectionism, utopia, then do China's (and the former Soviet Union's ) failures with socialism prove that people are inherently evil? Even the structure of first world countries is based on checks and balances, so humans require checks because they will inherently corrupt themselves? But, (I know I'll sound like a completely idealistic and naive 21-year old college chick here), my interactions with individuals always make this theory more obscure than it really is. People are nice. And even when they aren't nice, there's always a reason, a sequence of circumstances that make them the way they are, and placing yourself in their shoes, who's to say you wouldn't do the same?

But then my train of thought becomes more obscure than obscure theories, because the arguments just go round and round and become a seemingly moot point.

So I decided to write about something silly and happy instead because my brain cells are being fried by this paper that I'm supposed to be doing right now:

FriskyRadio is such a gem! The DJ Behrouz mix of Yoshitoshi's 'In House we trust' is playing now and it's awesome! Maybe that's why I like techno. I know it sounds dehumanizing to some people...I mean you hear much more artificially created tehno sounds and beats than the human voice. But somehow, the lack of lyrics (in the Bruce Springsteen/Tori Amos/Joni Mitchell sense) strips the music to its rawest form...void of any pretentions, ideas and ideals. Now that is not to say I don't love beautiful lyrics, where the union of words and melodies can produce something absolutely magical (cheeeeesy as that sounds!). I do. I'm not doing a good job of describing why I love techno. But maybe it's got to do with primative beats and rhythms tapping into our natural emotions wayyyy inside us, before it becomes civilized from without.
kellykelly, 11/15/2002 07:42:00 am | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

"Here's the sign! Can you see it? Huh? Huh? Can you?"

He calls it a "silly little site", but I think it's great.

My friend Douglas made this site after he got a parking ticket parking in the city. A note of explanation to my Singaporean friends/family reading this, parking in SF is such a pain in the ass. And if and when you actually get a space, you have to always look out for signs, because there are certain times at which you can't park (e.g. peak hour, street cleaning). So it's supposed to be your responsibility to check out the steet signs before leaving your car. Well, Douglas got a citation, but he believed it wasn't valid. He made a simple page stating his case...and they accepted it and waived the citation. Bravo. I like. Click here to visit the page and you can see why.
kellykelly, 11/12/2002 04:14:00 pm | link | 0 comments |

Monday, November 11, 2002

How do I shake this feeling of utter mediocrity whenever I encounter something absolutely brilliant?

For example, I just finished 'Chinese Village, Socialist State' (E. Friedman, PG Pickowicz, M. Selden) for my history class. It's a result of a decade of research by this group of academics, who went into rural China and painstakingly interviewed people, researched documents, whatever it is they do. And they came up with this outstanding historical account of the events that led to the great famine in China (1959-61). It's probably the best history book I've read in some time. By that I mean it consciously attempts to be unbiased, which is the objective of most history books, only this one succeeds to a large extent. It is highly readable, yet so dense with information and original analysis at the same time.

The book seeks to understand how and why the great famine occurred. It attempts to answer how a billion people could seemingly be so fooled or coerced into obeying completely illogical policies that made no economic nor common sense, resulting in the death of 20-30 million people, "the largest death toll for famine in human history". The biggest tragedy that makes you want to bang your head on the wall is that the cause of the famine was not some uncontrollable force of nature and fate. It was largely the result of cruel and erroneous policies by arrogant policy makers, when simple humane basic reforms would have saved so many. Then they present the argument of "new" history vs. "old" history. "New" being the recent focus of the history discipline on deep structural forces (the importance of culture, traditions, norms, etc in the anonymous masses); and the latter being the concentration on agents at the apex of power (Mao Zedong, the CCP, etc) as the creators of history. It is their ability give such an all-encompassing account that bridges old and new history, while keeping their argument structured and focused that most impressed me. I read it and I'm just astouded by the sheer amount of work that went into creating the book. A great work. The wealth of information, put together so nicely, what a great contribution. You just want to say thank you to the authors for their job well done.

I love brilliance. Outstanding creations of anything, that unique talent that is at once magical yet concretely real, the intense effort to make the creation appear effortless...I love it all. My feeling of mediocrity is far from being a tepid or envious sort. Maybe it takes a mediocre individual to honestly appreciate genius in the simplest and purest of ways.
kellykelly, 11/11/2002 04:50:00 pm | link | 0 comments |
uh oh. I think I made a boo-boo somewhere and now I can't even delete/edit my previous post. I meant to say please let me know if there's problems with the layout or loading the page...*crossing fingers*
kellykelly, 11/11/2002 06:59:00 am | link | 0 comments |
Phew, I think I'm done with fiddling with the template for now. Please let kellykelly, 11/11/2002 06:52:00 am | link | 0 comments |
This is so fun! A new excuse to not study, fiddling around with the template of my blog. It's amazing how much you can do and learn with minimal computer knowledge. I realise that I had to constantly refresh the page to view the new layout and content. The problem went away when I deleted my temporary internet files. So if you don't see a nice, reddish theme, with the archival links on the right together with read reads, movies, etc, relaod the page.
kellykelly, 11/11/2002 05:18:00 am | link | 0 comments |
oooohh...how exciting! I just learn how to change the template of my blog, (click on the Refresh button if you don't see a change) thanks to blogskins! *rubbing hands in glee* Now I'll have to tamper around with it for abit...oooohhh...I'm fascinated.
kellykelly, 11/11/2002 03:40:00 am | link | 0 comments |

Saturday, November 09, 2002

It was my day of indulgence today. Although I've tons of readings to do for my History class, I've this ability to pretend that I don't have work (read: procrastination) and turn stress into "delicious do-nothing days" (George Eliot, 'The Mill on the Floss'). The thing about crummy weather in California is that it seems to occur so rarely (compared to hot/wet/humid/icky Singapore), that staying indoors or the desire to stay indoors becomes a novelty. Due to the lack of alternate activities, I spent the late afternoon at the Berkeley Art Museum with Alex.

And what a lovely way to spend a rainy day it was! Most of the art in "The Sixties Experiment" were bullshit pretention, I thought. But, there was a serendipitous find: a superb exhibit called "The Flying Komarov" by this former Soviet Union artist Ilya Kabakov. I wish the pictures were online, because I doubt I can do a just job of describing it. It is in fact a surreal comic strip. Basically, it's a bizarre little tale of a man looking out of his window and seeing people flying. Then the people fade away and become a flock of birds. Ok, that does not make sense, but it's a marvelous piece of work I thought. I've a very non-intellectual perception of art, because I doubt my own intelligence and taste too much. BUT, I do know what catches my eye, and I do know certain works happen to interest me, sometimes for reasons I'd never know. "The Flying Komarov" is I think, essentially a criticism of his socialist Soviet Union, the supposed utopia that turned into a nightmare (very Orwellian1984...a theme I love). In the end, the artist jumps out of the window to join the flying people, which I interpreted to be suicide. Depressing shit, but so interesting and amazing. I could go on about my interpretations of it, but I shan't cos it's all messy in my head and I'm lazy to set it out in neat sentences. You should see the sketches. They looks so effortlessly sketched, but depict every scene perfectly. Shit, I wish I had some online pictures of that exhibit. Maybe I should go back down and take pictures of it. I don't know why that work intrigues me so much. See, I really don't get most modern art shit, which are sometimes mere eyesores to me. But nice little finds like that make struggling through the painfully pretentious wires, weird shapes and blank canvases worth the search.

The interesting part was that all the captions were written in Russian. And I had Alex (he's originally from Russia) translate all the words for me. How convenient...heh. And being the lovely person that he is, he painstakingly described the exhibition to me, and in fact got quite animated in the middle, where a man is shown soaring into the sky. And we got to the end of the exhibit, we discovered the English translation at the corner of the wall! But y'know, having someone descibe a cartoon strip to you is nice...like a bedtime story my mom used to read me and my brother every night when we were kids (I'm not being cheesy nor cliched here, she really did that for us religiously every night. Ain't she great?) And then we left, had some frozen yoghurt, and went to the used record store Rasputin and looked through all the videos they had on sale. I don't know why I felt happy in that crummy dusty old basement of the store just looking through the old videos on sale for just 4 bucks each. I got myself 'An American President' (gotta love that Annette Benning), 'L.A. Confidential' (gotta love that Russell Crowe), 'Interiors' and 'Celebrity' (my requisite Woody Allen flicks). The activities were fun in itself for sure, but most of it was a mere excuse to spend a simple time with a good friend really.

So I watched 'Interiors' tonight. Brilliant, as always. (Woody Allen, I'm your fan.) In one scene, Joey, the sister who has all the frustrations of an artist but none of the talent (to paraphrase her sister, the talent of the family), cries out that she seems to feel and know so much within her, and is yearning to express all that emotions and thought, but doesn't have the talent as the medium to project all that passion. Sometimes I feel this way. I told Alex in the museum, "God, how I wish I had some kind of talent. To know how to draw, or sing, or something." He just shrugged. Like Philip in 'The Mill on the Floss', "I think of too many things...I'm cursed with susceptibility in every direction, and effective faculty in none...I flutter in all ways, and fly in none." The fortune I have had in my life, especially right now, to be given the astouding opportunities to learn and absorb, makes it all the more frustrating to be so aware of my own limitations, my lack of any form of superb talent and intelligence.

And then, you continue reading that passage in 'The Mill on the Floss' and Maggie says "But surely that is a happiness to have so many tastes--to enjoy so many beautiful things--when they are within your reach." And I get this silly little happy pang in my heart and I just have to nod. 3 years ago, my dear literature teacher Mr Purvis told the class, we'll be surprised how often you find yourself later in life refering back to this book, or any other significant books in your life, as and when circumstances crop up. You are so right Mr P.
kellykelly, 11/09/2002 07:00:00 pm | link | 0 comments |

Friday, November 08, 2002

Dammit. AT&T somehow cut off my illegal access to HBO, which came from 'tipping' the cable guy more than a year ago. Bastards. What's this world coming to, where even underhanded bribing can no longer be trusted?
kellykelly, 11/08/2002 05:33:00 pm | link | 0 comments |

Monday, November 04, 2002

It's all about being weird...one night only.

The weekend started on Thursday, Oct 31st, Halloween. It was a surreal night. We took the BART and the MUNI to someone's pre-party in the city. The trains were packed with freaks...people were partying in the trains already. You see other trains go by with the same amount of freaks. It took us some time to finally get down to Castro...where the REAL party was. Wild wild wild. Call it the SF Mardi Gras. People packed the streets, having their own parade. Wanna-be strippers and/or very drunk show-offs on the rooftops and balconies flashing at the crowd...showing us what the crowd wants to see, and sometimes (euw) what we don't need to see. Most innovative costume of the night: A One-Night Stand: a guy with a 'bed' around his waist, equipped with a bottle of wine, boxer shorts and an empty box of 12-pack (!) condoms, yelling "Step right up! Step right up! One night stand! One night only! Step right up!" There were a few other good ones besides the usual cross-dressing, devil, cat-woman, batman stuff...a couple of completely nude guys (one of which looked like a geek, but was surprisingly hung like a horse), a kissing-booth, a woman with a 10-foot strap-on dildo (she had to have her friend carry it for her at the head. People were having the wildest time taking photos with it), a girl simpley dressed in black with a cardboard sign "Bless You" around her neck ("I'm a blessing in disguise"). Me, being lazy and cheap, did not want to get a costume. So I went as a sex therapist, with my white long coat, a clip board and a name-tag on my chest that states my profession. I dished out no advice that night, although alot of people looked like they desperately needed some (therapy).

By 130am however, Bobby, Andy, Lewis and I were were ready to leave, but hell would freeze over first before you can find an empty cab on Halloween night in Castro. There was no public transport. People were walking the streets, stranded. Cold and miserable, I ended up waiting in a cafe just for warmth while waiting...for a miracle, or for the BART to start again at 4am. The nice cafe owner offered me a seat behind the counter while the dudes sat outside in hope for a cab. It can only be Halloween night where every customer that walked into the cafe was a freak. Really surreal experience. You see people in full ghoulish makeup ordering a cafe au lait like they do it everyday. At 3am, the miracle happened: lovely lovely Soo and Yuko offered to drive from Berkeley to pick us up and send us back home. ANGELS! The only way I can think of showing my appreciation is to do the same for someone else in the same position. Spread the love! But those 2 gals were pure angels for doing that. I felt bonkers from fatigue. But it was an experience alright. Like I've said before, people find any excuse to party...and Halloween is the one night that you can pretend to be something other than what you are without any social hangups. That's why girls love to dress like a skank and guys like to dress like girls dressed as skanks. Let your freaky desires out, be the weirdest ass...one night only. Tons of literature on the psychology of festivals out there, from Shakespeare to Woody Allen. I'll post a good quote here if and when I do find one.

But of course, the main highlight was DJ TIESTO!!! at 1015 on Friday night. He's been my favourite DJ ever since I got into his Live in LA Magik cd, that was on heavy rotation in my cd player for almost a year. He was freaking awesome. We left the club only at about 530am. The thing I liked about him was that he looked like he was really enjoying himself with the crowd, smiling, pointing at the crowd, dancing a little bit. The other DJs tend to look too serious, concentrating on their job instead of enjoying the crowd. I was yelling, jumping up and down the whole night, the throbbing lights, the darkness, the anonymous bodies crammed together in pulsating beat. Un-clubbing people ask why on earth anyone would want to do that weird shit...but when you are allowed to lose yourself in the music and madness...awesome awesome awesome...and guess what, I was 100% sober that night too. Natural adrenaline is really the best. Never fucks me up.

The actual Saturday/Sunday weekend was sane. I took Chew Guat and Khairol (2 of my father's collegues from Singapore) out on a San Francisco crash course run. They only had one day in the city and the best I could think of was driving around the city, showing them the main sights. I felt kinda bad that I didn't really know what to DO. But I love showing people around SF actually...it makes me feel more proud of the city...as if it's mine, as if I had something to do with how wonderful the city is. I sent them to SFO on Sunday morning and decided to spend the day in the city by myself. Sat my ass in The Canvas, a lovely, very San Franciscan cafe in the Sunset district. Read all day, chatted on the phone, met up with a new friend for a bit, left only at 9pm. Came home, had dinner, and watched tv. The Sopranos was on, and my new fav, Curb Your Enthusiasm, an unorthodox sitcom starring Larry David, co-creator of Sienfeld. The scene which made me a professed fan occured in this episode. Larry befriends a rapper, who kept yelling "You mah nigga! Are you mah nigga? You mah nigga!". Later, rapper dude does Larry a favour and he screams "Oh man...you mah Caucasian! Are you mah Caucasian? Yeah, you mah Caucasian!". I don't know what that says about my sense of humour. My excuse is that it's one of those, you had to be there watching it for it to be funny, but that scene clinched it for me.

At the end of the day, as much as I love the liberty and novelty of being a weird freak, sometimes being normal ain't bad at all...
kellykelly, 11/04/2002 04:24:00 pm | link | 0 comments |