Wednesday, 21st December '05

Santa v. Mom

(Ma, if you're reading this... don't. Will spoil the surprise.)

Entirely not original, I apologise. But this was so funny I couldn't resist sharing it with everyone. This was from a Carlton Card I sent to my mum from Halifax.


- Works one day a year
- His elves make toys
- Gets Letters from Children
- Known for saying "HO HO HO!"
- Belly shakes when he laughs

- Works 365 days a year
- Her kids break toys
- Gets ulcers from children
- Known for saying "NO NO NO!"
- Let's not go there.

It's not even close, Mom. You're the best!


Sweet, eh?

In other news, the Christmas in NYC trip has arrived. At last. big grin

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 10:51 am
[4 photographs developed.]

Friday, 16th December '05

If You Gots the Poison, I Gots the Remedy

I blog too much during exams. Is all part of the refusal to work. (And this, my dear Kai, is how to link audio files - give people a chance to TURN IT OFF.)

Anyhoo... this is one of my latest favourite songs. It's so delightfully nonsensical and absurd. Don't make any sense at all - which is the whole point of dreams, isn't it. Love the scat, and love the way he spliced "Remedy" into it.

The Singapore-related cheap shots are a bit much though. And someone tell the guy we don't technically have liquor stores.

At least there were no chewing gum jokes. rolls eyes

Dreamlife of Rand MacNally
-- Jason Mraz (Live at Java Joe's)

Let me tell you something.

Who is he? Mr Rand McNally
Who-o-o-o is he?
Well I had a dream that mystery was me, now
Who-o-o else could I be?

'Cause I dreamed I went to England
And met the Spice Girls there for tea
They'd lost one more, they're down from four to my favorite number three
But they're still quite spicy, as the orange flavor
And oh-so-nice to do me the favor and lick my icing under the table now

But I gotta leave town, Mr Nally
Just as Scary Spice was about to go down on me
But don't ask how Mr Nally
Give it the towel, Mr Nally
And run a-ru ru run a-ru ru run run run

I dreamed I went to Singapore, got bored and robbed a liquor store
What for? Nobody knows, I only took a couple of Marlboros
Oh that was all they needed
And the criminal was soon defeated
And now in jail I'm waiting for my punishment of caning

But I gotta think fast, Mr Nally
Watch your ass
Ooooh, say wake up and laugh, Mr Nally
And run a-ru ru run a-ru ru run run run away
A-run a-ru ru run a-ru ru run run run

A better Mr Run, a betta Mr Rand, a betta Mr Mac, Mr Nally
Mr Run, a betta Mr Ran and run and run away, ok
A betta Mr. Run, a betta Mr Rand, a betta Mr Mac, Mr Nally
And run a-ru ru run a-ru ru run, run run

Had a chance to visit the North Pole
But it was way too cold to smoke
My nose was freezin', I sure could use some coughin and wheezin', so
I tried it anyway, and the place went up in flames
How was I supposed to know you could catch fire to the snow?

Oh Lord, way to go Mr Nally, way to go oooh
Now you're meltin the poles, Mr Nally
A run, a-ru ru run, a-ru ru run, run run away
A run, a-ru ru run, a-ru ru run, run run

I jumped ship in NYC, then I headed south to Washington D.C.
Didn't think I'd go there, but played some shows there
Fancy, lucky me
And it is really slow there with our new president on TV
Too many politicians and liberal christians, they're all set out for me

Oh my, cast your vote, Mr Nally
Castrate your vote
Oh, say no you don't, Mr Nally
A-run, a-ru ru run, a-ru ru run, run run away
A-run, a-ru ru run, a-ru ru run, run run

I thumbed a ride across the prairie
I got hitched in Vegas, yep, I got married
To a lady who loved me, she thought it'd be funny to gamble all my money
And I got stranded without my clothes
A little bit fear and loathing, heart attack

I got chased by the Rat Pack
Once in a flashback, singin'
Viva Las Vegas

Singin Viva Las Vegas
Singin *scat* Viva Las Vegas
Oh my, I said, Viva Las Vegas
I, I *scat*

I bet a Mr Run-up, I bet a Mr Ran-up, I bet a Mr Run, said-a said-a Mr You're the Man
I bet a Mr Run-up, I bet a Mr Man-a, I bet a Mr Run
Did I miss? Did I miss? Did I miss? Did I miss? Did I mister man
I said a-miss, did I miss? Did I miss? Did I miss? Did I miss? Did I mister man
I said a mister mister mister mister mister mister mister mister man
I bet a mister mister mister mister mister mister mister mister
A-mister mister mister mister
I said-a mister mister mister man
And a-run, a-ru ru run, a-ru ru run, run run run run, how
A-do run a-ru ru run, a-ru ru run, a-do run run, run run run

*scatting / improv*

A-run, a-ru ru run, a-ru ru run, run run
A-run, a-ru ru run, a-ru ru run, run run
A-run, a-ru ru run, a-ru ru run, run run on down the road
A-run, a-ru ru run, a-ru ru run, run run

Cause I, I saw fireworks from the freeway
And behind closed eyes I cannot make them go away
Cause you were born on the 4th of July, a-freedom ring
Well somethin on the surface well it
Well somethin on the surface
Well it kinda makes me nervous
Who say that you deserve this?
And what kind of God would serve this?
Who will serve this dirty old disease?
I said-a you gots the poison, I gots the remedy

I said, I said the remedy
I got, I gots the poison, poison
I got the remedy, I gots the poison
I got the remedy, Who's this that's got the poison?
I got the remedy, I said-a poison poison

Lookin' for a mellow fellow, like to roll
Gettin paid, lay, so better lay low
Schemin' on hot water in the cold show
Said-a low-co-hoe, should be kinda like an afro
Said whatcha sayin hon'?
She's a winner to you, but i know she's a loser
How do you know?

Me and the crew used to do her

I got the poison! Remedy, remedy
I got the poison
I got the poison, poison, poison
Remedy, remedy, remedy, remedy


I bet-a Mr Run, I bet-a Mr Ran, I bet-a Mr Mac, Mr Nally
Mr Run, I bet-a Mr Ran, I said you got the knack for the rally
A-run, a-ru-ru run, a-ru-ru run, run run away
A-run a-ru-ru run, a-ru-ru run, run run

I settled down in San Diego, and smoked a joint with Java Joe
And with a grin, he took me... I spilled coffee on my chin
And I played my show there, I met my bitches and hoes there
And with my hoily-ho, they kindly let me shake my tail there

But one more thing before we go
There's never been any place quite like this home
For one in a lifetime, maybe, I'd be foolish not to stay

Oh! I gotta get away, Mr Nally
Runnin to play, oh, say, what can i say, Mr Nally?
A-run, a-ru-ru run, a-ru-ru run, run run away
A-run a-ru-ru run, a-ru-ru run, run run

I say-say-ah
Ce Ce Ce laaa la la la vie *scat*
Ce Ce Ce la lalalala vie *scat*
Oh Ce la vie.

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 10:20 am
[1 photograph developed.]

Thursday, 15th December '05

Stupid Fender

I already cannot afford a nice stratocaster. Now they come and send me this:

(If you know me well enough, you'll know which part of the picture I'm finding so infuriating.)

And of course the contest is only for Americans. *grr*

In other less happening and more mugger-toady ("mugger toad" is Singapore slang for "super nerd") news, the 3 100% finals are done. One more 75% International Law one to go. And then NEW YORK, NEW YOOOORRRRKKKK! So that's pretty good. But that also sucks because it means too many goodbyes will have to be said.

And now the question is what I can do tonight to put off studying a little longer. sleepy

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 09:58 pm
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]

Saturday, 10th December '05

*Takes a Huge Breath of Air and Screams*:


OH MY WORD it finally came. FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY!! SNOW. Glorious, beautiful, white, flakey, cold, wet, muddy, slushy, deep, smooshy SNOW. If you think I've gone nuts, you're probably right. Dage, I know you think I'm nuts and that it'll grow old fast. And I also gather you're probably right. But for now...


*bounce bounce* *poof*

Tzo's going to say something about the 2 year old kid, and this time she wouldn't be too far off the mark. But I think since it's the first time in my life I've seen REAL snow - not just the teeny patches of ice in the Grand Canyon but sheets of real snow, all gorgeous 25 cm of it, I think I'm entitled to some slack.

It was another one of those moments where you realize your perception of the world came mostly from the gogglebox and even if I know what snow's supposed to look like, I never really knew for myself what it looked like? I apologise for once again quoting John Mayer, but the line "the TV is your window pane, the view won't let you down" (a line written with sarcastic undertones in the song "Great Outdoors") comes to mind.

I've never known what it's like to scrunch through the snow in boots and roll around in it making snow angels and pick it up for all it's powdery goodness... now I do. And it's another one of those moments I have to share by trying to "fit the world inside a picture frame" (Ibid. at "3x5" - help, I really AM a nerd).

You're not going to get the full high of it all, but for now, it'll do.

The view from my window. Just look past the big ugly rooftop and the uglier generators, and you'll see... the top bit of the Public Gardens!

That's better. The view from the front steps of the YMCA. That's the Public Gardens for real.

Looks like I won't be riding my bicycle for a while.

Check out the snow banks! Now that's a mother-lot of snow. Qiong, we beat Michigan hands down lah.

One of the prettiest things I've seen here. An ice-covered tree we pass as we reach Citadel Hill.

Matt just about to rugby-tackle the unsuspecting Emma.

My footprint in the snow. Just call me Sasquatch. I'm still amazed how much snow came down in one night, and out of the SKY.

Matt takes the first taste of winter. It's awesome how u can just pluck these great big bars of clean snow off the floor and take a bite.

Me and Emma falling and floundering in the snow.

This is actually quite a model-esque picture of Matt. Taken from my fallen position in the snow. Completely candid too. Looks like it could be a magazine cover, eh; the sky and the lighting and all are just so perfect.

Tina and a couple of other folks from Fenwick arrive bearing the sleds and start climbing the Hill.

And down comes Tina.

A teeny Emma starting down the Hill.

And watch this to see how the rest of Emma's first sled ride turned out.

Me starting up the Hill for my first ride.

And the results of that:

I don't have the pictures of me coming down face-first on the plastic mat thingie, but I think I can get them from Emma or Matt eventually. That was exhilarating smile. Standing at the top of the hill I struck up a conversation with two nice ladies who just out of the blue said - would you like to try this one? And true to my "never refuse an invitation" rule I said ok. Excellent stuff. Just that somewhere along the line I lost control and arms and legs and bits of snow went everwhere. And another one bites the [snow], oww! (Yeah, I've totally lost it.)

Thank you God, for giving us snow! hehe

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 08:18 pm
[11 photographs developed.]

Friday, 9th December '05

Pointless Nostalgic

Kaoz. I had the worst WORST study date ever. I used to think studying with clowns like Smub was funny enough - Limin and the power naps, Henghwa and the bouncing basketballs, Bert and his incorrible inability to make any study date on time, Gnet and her continual distraction (sorry the rest of you, but I can only really recall the study sessions with the Smub pioneers)...

But today I discovered the worst study-buddies ever. These two bring bumming to a completely new level:

David Per Johan Leffler and Emma Jane Stapleton, you are not forgiven. But I mean that in a warm and fuzzy way.

Funny thing is, I didn't quite care if I was losing valuable study time. Things get put a little more into perspective when you're on exchange - every time I want to sacrifice something to study a bit more I do this little on-the-spot balancing act and decide if I want to study (something I already think I have tried many times) or try something new / talk to people I might only ever get to talk to face-to-face for a couple more weeks / learn something different... and it's amazing how often the balance comes down in favour of NOT studying.

Essentially, when there is no will (to study), there really is no way. No way whatsoever.

The irony of it all is that I left the room simply to FORCE myself to study. Somehow Dave managed to give me the impression we were going to Dal to get some work done. Perhaps I assumed it from the "I need to return library books" and "Matt's already there studying". And the fact that I wasn't corrected when I said "yeah, I should probably got down with you guys so I can be forced to get some work done".

Wah liao, kena conned. By the time we all met up at Second Cup it was like "study? Who said anything about study? We're going to get coffee."

And so we did get coffee - for the next 3.5 bloody hours. (Except for Matt who managed to tear himself away to get back to the library, amazingly.) After which we decided we were too lazy to cook, and Emma just got suckered into coming with us to Jean's Chinese Restaurant for dinner. There went another hour or so.

(Does anyone know what the hell Singapore Noodles is anyway? I ordered it for the sheer heck of it - and it turned out to be beehoon in curry and prawns and charsiew and taogay. Where in Singapore can we get that?)

So yes, that was the whole of today in a nutshell. Jabbering about anything under the sun and talking about life back home, bitching and planning spring break (Qiong and JnJ, there may be a change of plans since all of you say there ain't much in Michigan) and I have no idea what the hell else. But so worth it, really.

It's also kind of struck me how much closer I am to some of the folks I've met here in 3 months than I am to people I've known for years back home. And how sad it is that most of them are leaving so soon and I don't know if I'll ever see them again. I'm not by nature very soppy, but the this darned sweet and mushy G-Unit Remembrance Page started me thinking. About how even if I haven't hung out with them all that much there's still a sort 依依不舍 about them leaving after they've been the people I've lived with for the past months. About how it's just been half my exchange period but it's been entirely too fast. About all the new people and new scenes and things I've learnt. About... gah. Nevermind. Sebastian says in Europe they have a saying that you always meet people twice, because when you say goodbye you also always say you will meet again. Of course it doesn't happen.

But I guess life always moves on, eh?


en ying snapped a shot of life @ 12:11 am
[7 photographs developed.]

Saturday, 3rd December '05

"Sometimes I Wonder What Goes On in that STUPID LITTLE BRAIN."

Hahahaha... I'm still laughing thinking about that line, Em. I think it will mainly be Emma who this entry will tickle the most, but folks back home should also get a good laugh!

It all began when, against my own better (read: exam-oriented) judgment, I went to the Mexican dudes' house party on friday night. Hey, I had to see what a house party looks like - considering as the house parties here are nothing like our parties back home. For one, ANYONE can just turn up at the house - quite far from being like our typical "by invitation only" gatherings at home. Out of the three people who owned the house, I knew a grand total of... none. It was kinda funny... I was telling this to Qiong before I left and she was like "Well. I hope you at least know the people you're going with!" It's just so conceptually different.

The next difference - B.Y.O. alcohol. House parties back home might have alcohol or they might not. The alcohol (unless you're Jem or Desmond) is usually symbolic and social... doesn't really matter. But after 3 months in Halifax - 3 months of being corrupted and conditioned to the culture - it's actually become rather hard to conceive of anything being fun if it doesn't have a splash of vodka in it. (Kai, Bert, Dage Heng... don't worry, I'm not an IT. I'm still famous for non-drinking. Right, Em? Please help me assauge the fears of the folks at home.) In anycase, I have Emma to thank for the introduction to the Galliano? Guillianno? - OK. Forget it. I'm dyslexic. The FRENCH VANILLA LIQUER. Kai, even YOU will like this, I swear.

But generally that's the house party. Standing around, drinking, dancing a bit, watching people making out in the dark, drinking, standing, talking... did anyone say drinking? I suppose, drinking aside, it wasn't the most fun party. Especially when it got to a point that one of the hosts got so plastered he fell on the floor and then started threatening to beat another one of the hosts up (he couldn't even stand, for goodness sakes), after which 3 guys had to carry him to his room and tuck him into bed. And then Matt was dragged away from the party in an entirely different fashion - not a story I will tell here. So the fun only started, I think, upon the arrival of Halifax's most celebrated "lives-of-the party".

Bring on the G-Unit. sleepy

But before those stories start... the party had 3 parts. Front living room: dark, cleared space for dance floor, people making out in dark cleared-space dance floor. Back living room: Foosball table and punching bag for the more sports-inclined to amuse themselves. Kitchen: where you hang out in a sea of tequila shot glasses (Mexican dudes' party, after all) beer bottles (mostly empty by the time we arrived at the party at midnight - that's another difference... back home we usually clear out of the house at that time!), raid the cupboard for cups in which to mix your drink (I ended up with nursing a sizable beer glass with embarrassingly little liquer in it, eventually prompting random Germans to go "drink more, En Ying, drink more" in tones that hinted they knew it probably wouldn't happen), talk to everyone who will talk to you... and break tables.

Yes, BREAK TABLES. Let's just say that the result of Soenke (the name "Zurik" might also be used interchangably to mean the same person) and his Rudolf antlers very suavely leaning on the corner of the table was probably the most exciting thing that party saw. A table, I might add, that was the only thing holding about 20 beer bottles, 10 cans, a can of salt and parmesan cheese (salt for tequila, cheese for heaven knows what) and about 10 drinking glasses against the pull of gravity. Next thing anyone knew, the leg of the table broke clean off, its three little rusty screws shearing clean off the table top. Naturally this sent the whole kit and caboodle descending down on the kitchen floor, with all that glass sliding across the tilted table, and skiding to my feet. I was about half a metre from that table, max.

Good thing I decided to keep my boots on, or Zurik alone would very nicely have made my insurance policy worth while. I wonder what "feet covered in shrapnel" are worth. Pictures of the ensuing mess coming soon. In the meantime, this is the table after a chair was wedge under it to keep anything untowed from happening to it again.

Poor bugger had to clean the mess himself, under the watchful eyes of the sniggering G-Unit. And when the whole mess was cleaned up, he later proceeds to drop a full can of Keith's (local brew) on the rug, where it bubbled and frothed in enthusiasm and Dave and Em fumbled to get a picture of it, before sinking irretrivably into the rug. Let's just say I think I might have to retract that invitation to Singapore soon.

This was also the point in time that Hermann the German turned up with the antler-in-the-pants. That large, red, 3-pronged, furry abomination spent the rest of the night hanging out of the zipper of his jeans. It also, of course, meant that the "antler" ("dick-substitute" might not be as nice a name for it) was constantly pulled / pinched / stroked by all and sundry. Until it BROKE OFF in someone's hand. You can imagine the uproar.

No matter, really. The antlers were part of some Rudolf headgear the Gs picked up from the party they were at earlier. So there was, of course, the second antler. The trouble with this one is that everytime poor ol' Puma (that's Hermann) sat down, the antler stood to a gravity-defying attention. It's a bit difficult to have a decent conversation with him like that:

And then we just all hung around the kitchen for an indefinite period of time... up till the time the G-Unit decided the party was lame and that they should work their magic and take over the world. They're GERMANS, taking over the world isn't a concept new to them! (Although poor Dave got the finger - I mean seriously - from a hard-assed looking little German Girl for making some joke about her living in the Third Reich.) This quest for world domination began with the dark little dance floor, and me and Emma getting somehow dragged into the fray by a Zurik who decided we were "drunk enough".

Anyway, the pictures will probably tell enough of the story:

Hermann, David and Soenke on the pathetic little dance floor.

This is where the (hopefully drunken) Lukas and Dave being to force their company on a couple of poor girls. Although those girls were asking for it anyway.

Perhaps the most important parts of the male anatomy. (better known as "Never Let Zurik Take Hold of the Camera". Here we have close-up shots of Lukas' family jewels and Sebastian going for David's ass.

Hermann giving Zurik some "affection". These boys are troubling. It's another one of those times I think I've come halfway across the world to find the male species just as unevolved as back home.

Probably the centerpiece of this photospread. This is Dave with Hermann's antler in his mouth.

Err yes, by now everyone should be either pissing yourselves laughing or reeling in horror at the wonderful people I hang out with. But they're all great, really - they just get silly when drunk, but ultimately all good guys, I should think.

Anyhow, that was that for the party. We left and went to Pizza Corner (this junction which has a pizza shop on each corner, and is a frequent hangout for all drunken hungry people). And then we walked home, which is when the most hilarious thing happened. Zurik tried to wraggle cigarettes out of every bum we passed. By bums I mean the hobos begging in the street, not Smub spelt backwards. This is a guy who DOESN'T EVEN SMOKE, so I really don't know what the whole point was or why he started it (drunkeness doesn't really require explanation, I guess). Whatever it is, we were walking by and the bum, of course calls out to ask if we have spare change. And Zurik replies with "No, have you got a cigarette?"

Everyone is silent in minor horror. It's just the most absurd thing to do. And we kept walking on, mumbling things to each other in the vein of "did he just try to palm a cig of a bum?!". And then Sebastian very clearly, deliberately, sincerely and Germanly - you have to have been there to have heard it to imagine the way in which he chose the words so carefully, and enunciated each word such that it dripped with a scathing subtext, and then delivered them to the back of Zurik's head:

"Sometimes I wonder what goes on in that Stupid Little Brain."

Shit. It was as funny as BenKoh and the "Feeesshh Deeeppeerrrs". Em and I are STILL laughing about it almost 24 hours later. hehe

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 11:46 pm
[7 photographs developed.]