..:: Kellog ::..

kellykellysingapussy

Friday, August 29, 2003

It Fills Up Fast

I was filling up my academic planner yesterday...when homeworks are due, midterms, finals, when I will be making trips where, when I will have friends making trips here, weekend clubbing, concerts, plays, fairs, parties to go to...before I know it, my calendar is marked with splotches of events. I am already afraid of the semester zipping by me before I have time to behold it. And it will. As in the past 6 semesters. As in the past 3 years. And I need an oxymoron other than bittersweet to convey that juxtaposition of glee (that time will fly because I will have fun studying and partying--that is a blessed feeling. I am lucky.) and agony (that it will end faster because I will be having fun).

16 weeks, baby...and 1 has already pretty much gone by. Tick tock! Boo!
kellykelly, 8/29/2003 03:00:00 am | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Call me Kelly

Ergh, I find myself veering again. Somehow, those political-economy-geography-cultural analysis social science courses always spark me off. I loved my economic development (Econ C171), political economy (PEIS 101) and economic geography of industrial societies (Geography 110) (can they sound any more similar?? Geez...) classes today.

Thought I wanted to do something different, hence my attendence for the English class--The American Novel. Moby Dick, Great Gatsby, Age of Innocence, etc. Which will be fun to read, I'm sure. But spending half the lecture analysing what the first 3 words "Call me Ishmael" signalled to the reader is a little too much. I love reading. I would say that I am passionate about it, ie my life would be less without my books. But I kinda like to just enjoy it and internalize what the words mean to me. I don't think I like to academize that.
kellykelly, 8/27/2003 08:51:00 am | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

First Day

The token 'first day of school' blog entry.

(a) I cannot believe this is my final year in college. Boo!

(b) This will be a 4 day weekend semester. Yay!

(c) I'm sick of classes with readings by Fukuyama (The End of History), Edward Said (Orientalism), Samuel Huntington (Clash of Civilizations). I love that whole genre of academia--developmental studies, postcolonialism, West vs Rest, historical trajectories, capitalism (arguments for/against), yadda yadda yadda. But I think I have done enough courses pertaining to those because I seem to be learning the same things over and over. Especially how all these social science courses keep rehashing its "applications to issues today" (i.e. American imperialism)...in that Berkeley-Liberal voice. Interesting topics, all. But I am hearing it all the time, in all my classes, at all social events...It's time for something different. Film studies on Chinese cinema and Lit classes on the American/English novel would be a breath of fresh air.

(d) I cannot believe this is my final year in college. Boo!
kellykelly, 8/26/2003 09:13:00 am | link | 0 comments |
Sorry we're straight...

"What's up with this guys with girls thing?"

--Man to his boyfriend as Patrick and I stroll into Cala Foods hand in hand in the Castro.

Guess some gays are kinda protective about their territory.
kellykelly, 8/26/2003 08:58:00 am | link | 0 comments |

Friday, August 22, 2003

Another sign of the end...

A new low.
kellykelly, 8/22/2003 12:14:00 am | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

First sign of The End...

"As you will be graduating in 2004, I would like to know when will you plan
to come back to S'pore."
--email from person handling my scholarship stuff.

Noooooooooooooo! Do I have to start thinking about It already?
kellykelly, 8/19/2003 01:20:00 am | link | 0 comments |
Bonjour Montreal

It`s like a whole other country. All the signs are in French. You mostly hear French being spoken in the streets. The architecture is definitely more traditional and more colourful. The cultural air just seems different somehow. Definitely feels like it has more `soul` than Toronto. No wonder there is a strong separatist movement in Quebec.

Went to what they call the `Tam Tam Jam` at Parc Mont Royal. Imagine a Sunset Party crowd (dreadlocks, hippie clothes, weed smoke everywhere), minus the DJ booth, plus many many drums. 100s of people congregate here every Sunday and play drums. It is not a random headache-inducing fest. Instead, you somehow have a lead that brings a rhythm to the noise. You get people selling hippie stuff in the streets. Like any other tradition that seemingly pops up from nowhere, without the help of professional organizers/government, the frequent locals here are proud as hell of their Tam Tam fest. I loved it too, even though I represented what would spoil the authenticity of this spontaneous gathering--I read about it on Lonely Planet.
kellykelly, 8/19/2003 12:51:00 am | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Blackout

Well, I'll be damned. Less than an hour after I posted my last post, less than 10 minutes after I walked out of the University of Toronto library where I was surfing, North America experienced one of its worst blackouts.

I was walking along Bloor (a main street in Toronto) when I realized that the junction I was about to cross had no traffic lights. I thought it was just that intersection. Walked on and another light was out, and another...what was going on? Went to Chapters (their Barnes and Nobles/Borders) but they were closed "due to power failure". I immediately assumed that it was a localized thing. Chilled out at a cafe and read and started to hear that even the subways were out. It's weird how everything shuts down, and the little things you take for granted start becoming obvious. Cell phones were down, so were the public phones. Cars were lined up in parking garages cos the ticket thing that raises the barrier for you to pay and get out weren't working. The streets were jammed with cars, until you had civilians going to the middle to direct traffic themselves. I could not be gladder to be (a) not in the subway/an elevator (b) within walking distance of where I lived. 'Twas a pretty cool night with my own candle-lit dinner, candle-lit shower and candle-lit reading hour.

While massive disruptions have been massively costly, it's good for the City to be kicked out of its routine for a bit. I got a different sense of community when I walked in the streets the next afternoon. The Toronto that I/everyone else complained about seemed just that bit nicer.

The lights came on late afternoon. Hurrah. As I was walking down the street returning my Blockbuster videos, I got a hint of a feeling that I'd miss Toronto...or the time that I have spent here. It has certainly been a revitalizing time alone and I'm afraid I'm going to miss that solitude.
kellykelly, 8/17/2003 12:59:00 am | link | 0 comments |

Friday, August 15, 2003

Conversations

I've gotta say that my time in Toronto is picking up big time. Not only because I have re-discovered a genuine joy of solitude, but, on the flip side, I've met awesome people whom I've had great conversations with.

Igor, my Serbian friend, took me on a tour round Yorkville. It's kinda like the Union area in SF, up-scale, swanky, full of ridiculously overpriced shops and overdressed people to gawk and amuse yourself with. I learnt a cursory history of the ex-Yugoslavia in the meantime, which made me adament about knowing my accurate Singapore history for the time I have to recount it for someone else. It is a wonderful privelege to have a conversation with another who...the best way I can put it...works in the same frequency as you do. Then it feels like there is never enough time to talk. There will always be an infinite resource of topics to talk about, just by having a similar pool of perspectives. It is interesting that possessing a similar frequency does not require having similar backgrounds. I look forward to visiting Belgrade one day.

Went to watch Les Nubians and Zap Mama at night, therefore meeting an entirely different crowd of people. More hippies, more gay/lesbian couples, francophone blacks. I spent the night with these 2 sassy black ladies originally from Montreal that I met in the line outside. They confirmed my prior observation that there is a marked difference between the American, or what they call the Anglophone blacks and the Francophone blacks. They are 2nd generation Canadians whose parents were from Haiti. That difference comes from the way they carry themselves, the way they speak and the way they interact with people. It might be politically incorrect (but it's my blog and like, whatever), but as a generalization, American/Anglophone blacks appear (to me) to be louder, more aggressive or defensive about themselves (refer to Chris Rock, Bringing Down the House and the joke currently known as P.Diddy and all the hip-hop videos you see on MTV) and less willing to be open to other races and culture. Eureka (one of the ladies) told me that Francophone blacks tend to be more open to having friends with/dating other races and are seen by the Anglophone blacks as being snobby. I am sure there is a wealth of literature, or university courses, out there on this topic.

There is apparently a party going on to tonight that I have been invited to, and perhaps perhaps a chance to check out Dimitri from Paris on Friday night. Then it's off to Montreal on Saturday afternoon and *sob* au revoir kick-ass free apartment, bonjour dumpy hostel bed. The up-side is that sharing a hostel room with many other travellers increases the access points for more conversation.

Oh and while I'm enjoying my stay in Toronto, the city itself still kinda sucks. That is re-confirmed again by the 2 ladies I met at the Les Nubians concert. They both displayed the same screwed up 'it-sucks' face I saw in every other local I have spoken to here to my question "So how do you like living in Toronto?"
kellykelly, 8/15/2003 03:09:00 am | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

The Sole Labor of Choice

I am incapable of making up my mind, and traveling alone simply manifests that inability.

I have been deliberating between staying put in Toronto and going to see Dimitri from Paris on Friday/Paul Oakenfold on Saturday, or going to Montreal earlier. And you have no idea how many times an hour I change my mind.

I'm dying to see Montreal, because it must be better than Toronto.

On the other hand, I'm beginning to warm up to Toronto. It comes from being familiar with the city, knowing where everything is and how to get around and interacting with people. The inertia also comes from having an amazing book (Robert's History of the World) to captivate me, many many many bookstores and cafes here to read at, making use of the 6 rentals for a week deal at Blockbuster for CAD$10.99 to rent People vs Larry Flynt, A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (Interesting, very Woody Harrelson/Entertaining, very Woody Allen/So-so, very Kevin Smith...respectively, of course), Ang Lee(?)'s Sense and Sensibility (to be watched...I have run out of Ang Lee flicks to watch), and Out of Africa (to be watched, the token Meryl Steep/Oscar winning love story/drama), and having the coolest centrally located apartment to stay in for free.

All of the above points to the fact that I am thoroughly enjoying spending time by myself (narcissism! narcissism! narcissism!) far more than I remembered/expected. It is a (somewhat disturbingly great) relief (more psycho-analysis about obsession for complete control of self-happiness to be dealt with later) to discover that I can still enjoy solitude, after circumstantially not being able to possess it for a long time (natural circumstance of having having best friend visit/having boyfriend).

I will, however, still intensely enjoy rubbing my face into his in 8 days.
kellykelly, 8/13/2003 07:53:00 am | link | 0 comments |
My iPod Review

After being an iPod user for (I think it was) almost 3 months, I can justly put forth an accurate review: I love it, I love it, I love it.

This will sound like a commercial, but it has entirely changed the way I listen to music. I'd have a 2 or 3 albums I'd be obsessed with because (a) I like the albums and (b) they become the only 2 or 3 CDs I get used to carrying around with me. Especially since I have travelled so extensively this summer, it is such a glorious treat to have 50 albums at my finger-tips, literally. To top that off, I have live sets/radio mixes (some more than 2 hours long) from DJs I love to entertain me. I now have 8-10 favorites I can repeat obsessively. And, and, I can walk around all day with it without any skips. *Insert cheesy quote about the beauty of music here* (...oh wait, I have one: "Certain strains of music affect me so strangely; I can never hear them without their changing my whole attitude of mind for a time, and if the effect would last, I might be capable of heroisms.” (The Mill on the Floss, George Eliot) )...but dammit, having constant music sure as hell enriches my everyday life (makes me very happy).

It's a marvelous li'll gadget. I'm now its biggest fan...until the next-best-gadget comes along.
kellykelly, 8/13/2003 07:28:00 am | link | 0 comments |
Niagara Falls

The Falls were awe-inspiring, the surrounding area was a joke. It cannot be helped, I guess. Blame the tourism bureau who keep having to come up with income-generating attractions. You have tacky casinos, amusement park rides, Guiness/Ripley's Believe-It-Or-Not museums (a.k.a. freak shows), and the like. They are an eye-sore. Call me a cheap and lazy spoil-sport, but paying good money to stand in line, get herded around and take cheesy rides would have been far far less enjoyable. This might sound even cheesier: I spent the day at a cafe reading with a perfect view of the Falls next to me. But that made my day trip perfectly wonderful.
kellykelly, 8/13/2003 07:19:00 am | link | 0 comments |

Monday, August 11, 2003

Toronto

Maybe it's because this city suffers 8 months of bitter weather in a year, but there's something lacking in this city. I have not felt such a lack of character in a city before.

It's the vibe about the place. I walk around the streets and nothing seems to stand out, nothing seems particularly interesting. The Art Gallery of Ontario is pretty darn impressive, mind you. I love the way they explained each gallery in terms of its significance to the discipline of art. But the city itself doesn't seem to have much to offer. I'd be more hesitant about criticizing a city after being here for less than a week if my suspicions about it had not been confirmed by people living here. Went out with a group of friends of a friend of an acquaintance (ah, connexions, networks) I met in SF who lives in Toronto on Friday night. A group of Serbian/Macedonians (such a nice and geez, hella attractive race of people, lucky bastards) who moved here more than a decade ago. It's astounding how much you learn in a couple of hours speaking to people who have had such a different life. I even garnered an invite to Macedonia next summer, which will be put under serious consideration. But one thing that struck me was that my suspicions about Toronto was confirmed. Seems that people who live here don't like living here as well, at least according to them. Maybe it's just them. But coming from a place (San Francisco/Bay Area) where in general people love where they live, it seems odd to me to hear all these negative comments about one's home.

Like Miami, I'm glad to be merely visiting Toronto, because everything here is still a novelty of experience. I think my next stop Montreal would be a better deal. Hey, it's all about traveling and knowing places. If I hadn't been here, I'd never know. In the meantime, I always have my books to entertain me.
kellykelly, 8/11/2003 04:50:00 am | link | 0 comments |
World History

Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond is a book I've been hearing about and thus have wanted to read. I bought it, read the first part and found myself struggling to continue. Mind you, I'm far from finishing the book and therefore cannot make a fair judgement on the book. But it's just so...boring. The writer's writing made me feel like I was reading something for school (and I'm sure I'd be made to read it someday for some class).

Then I pick up J.M. Robert's History of the World lying around the apartment I'm staying while in Toronto, which arguably traces the same topic. By the first chapter, I'm hooked. It's hard to describe precisely what I hated about Diamond's writing and what I love about Robert's style. Perhaps you can read extracts from Diamond and Robert to know what I'm talking about.
kellykelly, 8/11/2003 04:37:00 am | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, August 10, 2003

Words and Places

Susan Orlean's 'The Orchid Thief' gave me the same feeling as did Michael Cunningham's 'The Hours' or Zadie Smith's 'White Teeth'--a sense of wonder at their seemingly effortless prose, their ability to let a story tell itself. At the same time, they give me a sense of 'oh-I-wish-I-could' frustration, just because their contemporary words seem just so possible. See, reading Shakespeare, or George Eliot or Tolstoy is a little different: to me, they are untouchable deities of literature of another time and space. But contemporary writers write in the style of language I, we, use everyday today. So how do they rise above the mediocre average to compose something so seamlessly poetic?

That is just a li'll angsty thought to this post. I'm currently in Toronto, after having spent almost a week (August 1-6th) in Florida. More about Toronto later. What I loved about 'The Orchid Thief' is that it was a serendipitous pick at the bookstore while in Toronto. I watched the movie 'Adaptation' previously, love the hell out of it, came across 'The Orchid Thief', read the first chapter and was hooked. I didn't know it was based so much on Florida and that was my bonus. Reading good literature about a place you just visited just made the memory of my travels that much richer. It makes you just want to thank the writer.

The state of Florida does incite people. It gives them big ideas. They don’t exactly drift here: They come on purpose—maybe to start a new life, because Florida seems like a fresh start, or to reward themselves for having had a hardworking life, because Florida seems plush and bountiful, or because they have some new notions and plans, and Florida seems like the kind of place where you can try anything, the kind of place that for centuries has made entrepreneurs’ mouths water. It is moldable, reinventable. It has been added to, subtracted from, drained, ditched, paved, dredged, irrigated, cultivated, wrested from the wild, restored to the wild, flooded, platted, set on fire. Things are always being taking out of Florida or smuggled in. The flow in and out is so constant that exactly what the state consists of is different from day to day. It is a collision of things you would never expect to find together in one place—condominiums and panthers and raw woods and hypermarkets and Monkey Jungles and strip malls and superhighways and groves of carnivorous plants and theme parks and royal palms and hibiscus trees and those hot swamps with acres and acres that no one has ever even seen—all toasting together under the same sunny vault of Florida sky…Sometimes I think I’ve figured out some order in the universe, but then I find myself in Florida, swamped by incongruity and paradox, and I have to start all over again.

My week in Florida was an eye-opener to American life. Landing in Miami on Monday morning, we were whisked to Patrick's grandmother's country club for a luncheon in Palm Beach. Touring Palm Beach was an surreal--the lifestyles of the rich and famous appearing before my very eyes. Manicured lawns and blue blue blue ocean was in the scenery still in the more upper-middle class West Palm Beach where Patrick grew up. It was like Riverdale in the Archie comics I grew up reading. Houses were huge (by Singapore's standards), condominiums peppering this rich county. His uncle's place had their own oasis-like swimming pool and hot-tubs. We had a good ol' American BBQ by the pool. The next couple of days were spent in Disneyworld in Orlando, which was surprisingly fun. Maybe it was Patrick, or his delightful (I hardly say that of 11, 13 year olds, so that's saying something) cousins, or that we had VIP access to every ride, skipping the ardous crowds, because his mom who took us there was wheelchair bound after a leg operation. Of course, that her misfortune benefitted us was explicitly joked about (therefore absolving us from guilty thoughts about other's misfortunes benefiting you).

Miami Beach covered our weekend. I swam in the bluest clearest ocean ever. The sand was finer than normal (read: Singapore's beaches) sand. South Beach Miami was an experience. I have never seen so many gorgeous people by percentage in my life. Clubbing at the Opium Garden was another experience which made me glad to visit Miami as a tourist but never ever to live there. It was one of the crowds where you had to deal with bullshit like knowing people to get in. Manufactured self-importance. The club itself was one of the fanciest I have ever seen however, and raving under the stars and not freezing your ass off like you would in SF is such the novelty.

I had a great time in Florida. Spending time with my boyfriend's extended family was just as much as an eye-opener. His paternal side is Italian, hence I saw for myself the bustling, noisy, big-haired, many children-ed, tons and tons of food family events where no less than 5 conversations go on at any one point. It was a great pre-cursor to a delicious 2 weeks of alone-time in Canada by myself.

Of course I miss my boyfriend who's dunking himself in the English Channel from record breaking temperatures (so I've heard) in London. Of course I miss my family and friends in Singapore, who are missed all the more after spending time with someone else's family and friends. But travelling alone is such a blast only because it settles the heart to no end knowing that there are people out there thinking of you at the same time and that you will see them soon. That makes solitude delicious and never lonely because you are assured that it will not be permanent. Therefore, I am very lucky.
kellykelly, 8/10/2003 03:23:00 am | link | 0 comments |