Wednesday, October 22

mad hatter

On a trip to Ikea a couple of days ago, ostensibly to buy a photo frame but actually to eat the best chicken wings in the world, we found these felt hats, $9.90 each, in the kids' department.

The flower one was suitably potty, while the fruit one was clearly a basket case. But my favourite was the birthday cake with the candles and strawberries. I felt so happy my head could fit into it. What does this say about my mental age, though?

Tuesday, October 21

camera gear porn

There is actually a (mostly sad) story behind this standard photo of camera gear porn which you see so often on Flickr.

My dad's friend so generously gave me his entire old skool collection -- because he has stage IV cancer. I'm very very touched by his gesture.

Even though it hasn't been cheap, I have sent the Minolta and the 58mm lens for servicing (at the Camera Hospital -- yes, that's the shop name, and the "doctor" is a very helpful man), so I can shoot something nice to give to him.

Guess I'll be shooting film from now on (even though I've never owned a SLR, digital or otherwise, in my life and only have a vague idea which lens is good).

P.S. The Cosina Hi-Lite in the middle is actually my own, a cheap thrift-store find while in Vienna. It actually works!

Day 143 of Project 365

Wednesday, October 15

what i look at when pretending to work

People who are so dedicated to their Project 365 put me to shame. Tiagoribeiro popped a hell lot of popcorn, got two friends to get nekkid and then took his photo of the day.

I'm so in awe of the creativity of the photographer behind Type The Sky. I never saw the negative spaces between buildings as letters before this. Brilliant!

There's a whole bunch of people doing this transparent screen thing, which makes me think, "So clever!", followed by "How difficult can it be? I also can do!" Watch me eat my words.


My sis the Hello Kitty fan very kindly loaned me her handphone charm -- currently not in use -- after my beloved squishy Doraemon one broke.

When you press the "chimney", a cuckoo bird pops out from the clock. I was instructed not to press it more than once a day, "wait it spoil".

During lunch today, I was idly playing with it when I realised it was stuck. No action whatsoever no matter how hard I depressed the little chimney. Die lah, I make spoil.

In a panic -- my sis was gonna eviscerate me -- I blurted out: "My cuckoo won't come out anymore!"

Luckily, I'm not a guy. But that didn't stop my lunch kakis from laughing for a good five minutes.

Monday, October 13

just an illusion

"I could go back and google how the trick was done. But I won't. Let it remain as magic"
-- R in the car at the end of the night

Saturday night. It was K's 47th birthday dinner-cum-drinks. (Has it been one year already?)

We stuffed ourselves silly at Beng Hiang Restaurant. I secretly thought that two suckling pigs were a tad excessive (for 12 carnivores, 1 vegetarian and 1 baby). I was wrong. We crunched every last piece of crispy skin and fat. To my horror, I later realised the suckling pig cost $180. Each.

After six raucous rounds of bilingual Happy Birthday songs -- the restaurant is popular for such celebratory events -- we adjourned to Bar 84 for drinks.

It was exactly how I imagined a jazz bar from one of Haruki Murakami's novels would be like -- tucked away from those not in the know with misleading signage to add to the confusion, understated lighting and decor, nothing too plush, unobtrusive music and waitresses, meticulously prepared mojitos which took 20 minutes to arrive and were topped with mint leaves sprinkled with icing sugar to look like freshly fallen snow. The fact that it was owned by a Japanese man who also performed magic tricks might have had something to do with it.

There were the run-of-the-mill sleight-of-hand tricks, which felt slightly old-fashioned compared to the likes of David Blaine and Criss Angel, but I liked them precisely because they were classics. Coins mysteriously appearing and disappearing. Rubber bands that stretched alarmingly then passed right through each other. And many many "pick a card, any card" type of tricks.

For the grand finale, three of us -- J, K and I -- each picked a card. We were instructed, in charmingly broken and slyly flirtatious English, to write various personal details on the card, mine being my name, the date and my (incomplete) address.

J's card disappeared from the deck and reappeared in a wooden box, folded into a little rectangle. Mine was found in the magician's wallet in a sealed Japanese red packet.

But the most amazing one was K's. He was instructed to pick one lemon out of three from the bar fridge, then cut it open with a knife. No prizes for guessing what was found, rolled up and marinated in lemon juice, inside.

It was one of the oldest tricks in the book, but to me, it was pure magic.

"The magician teaches us that romance lies in an unstable contest of minds that leaves us knowing it’s a trick but not which one it is, and being impressed by the other person’s ability to let the trickery go on."
-- The Real Work, by Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

Monday, October 6

free books

This is art? More like a tasteless prank to me.

Free Books by Eric Doeringer (obviously not a book lover) is part of Art In Odd Places, an art project in New York.

From its website:

A box of books labeled "Free Books" is deposited at various 14th Street locations. A seeming act of generosity, the artist has removed the last few pages from each book. The alteration will only become apparent to the reader after he or she has nearly finished the book, converting the cast-off into a statement of art.

In other news, I've been back from my little Austria trip for weeks but am too lazy/busy to write or post anything here.