Monday, August 22, 2005

I have learnt one thing over the weekend:

Ballerinas have toenails of steel.

I have no idea how they manage to pirouette on the tips of their toes, and still manage that smile like nothing happened.
I watched Dracula the ballet performed by the Royal New Zealand Ballet, of which the story stuck fairly true to the original Bram Stoker classic. The troupe was moving all over NZ, and now that it was here in Auckland, the music were done by the Auckland Philharmonia.
Unfortunately to a philistine like me, the subtleties of ballet were lost to me. All i saw were people dancing all over the place, all of whom were the epitome of grace. And Dracula? Wo-ho he was a class of his own lol, his dance moves were choreographed completely differently, slow, deliberate and at times odd even (perhaps to suggest inhumanity? such as when he stoops extremely low with both his arms extended back and pointing up), but at no time did he lose his grace, his poise and most importantly his presence. You should have seen the way when the protagonists skipped out to stage at the end of the show for the bow, and Dracula just walks, no, walks is far too crude a word, glide is a better word, yes, he glides slow and purposefully to the centre, all the while to rapturuous applause.
When he reaches his spot he doesn't even turn to look at you, he actually BACK FACES you, then using his right hand to flick his robe around, in one swift motion before his robe even settles he turns around and - watch this- while the rest of the troupe bows the instant he turns around, Dracula? No, he just smiles and nods once and slowly.

Oh but the music. OOH the MUSIC. Because the whole show was dancing and mime, dialogue and emotions had to be conveyed through the music, and by Golly the Auckland Philharmina (to me anyway, oh Rachel too who's also in a symphonic band watched the show the day be4 i did) stole the show. My God the oboe soloist was literally sent from Heaven, the way he single-handedly grips your heart, and contorts it to his whim and fancy - at the flick of his fingers your heart is pulled left to feel fear as the 3 vampires toyed with Jonathan while he was mesmerized by them,at another flick your heart is squeezed to feel anguish for Mina as she waited for the men to bring her good news of her best friend Lucy.

But those are the good parts.My long road to finally watching Dracula on the last night has more twists that an Taiwanese drama.

Dracula had been playing for a few weeks now, but it totally slipped our minds until Tae-Gyu (the guy who brought me to the Korean diner that serves food that MAY beat tantric sex) mentioned it at a Hobson potluck that he was going to watch the show with a girl. Despite his protests and pleads to innocence, we decided we shouldn't watch the show with him to give him that hard-earned privacy. That left the last 2 days of the ballet. Rachel & Tamar decided to watch on Saturday but forgot to tell me that they did so when they bought tickets on Friday night. They told me a few hours after they bought tickets, of which i checked with the ticketing office if there were seats left for the Saturday night show, and the operator said that there were quite a few, but all of them were at the opposite end of the theatre. Unfortunately due to my personality, i could NEVER watch a movie in a cinema or watch theatre alone.
I'm a people person and i just can't bring myself to do it alone, so though i wanted to watch Dracula pretty badly, the fact that i was going to be seated at the far end of the cinema, ALONE, was anti-climatic. I decided i'll take a bit more time to decide if i was going to break my oath for once since this was a show not worth missing.
I was already beginning to think breaking my oath was worth it, and with some prodding in the right direction by my girlfriend, i finally decided i would go for it, even if i had to sit alone. I called the hotline again, only to find out it was closed because it was 5.30. I tried to go to their website to book tickets, but for some inexplicable reason technology only understands the "extremely-chio-and-promiscuous-girl-syndrome" when you really need it. When she picks up the scent of someone badly desiring her, she knows she's wanted, and would therefore cleverly switch positions from prey to predator by playing hard to get and test her prey's tenacity. In this case my internet suddenly decided to go AWOL, and i could not access the ticketing site. After frustratedly fumbling with the modem for a while, i gave up and had to leave it to my German housemate who was an electrical engineer and more well-versed in these stuff, and he too picked up the ECAPG-syndrome (if unsure refer above), and went about announcing loudly hinting at his importance "Now WHAT could possibly go wrong with the modem" and starting voicing out possibilities that mere mortals like me and Lily (my French housemate) could not possibly in this life nor the next EVER have with our severely limited intelligence, possibilities like "Is the phone line still connected to it?" (I dunno man, there's something plugged into the hole that says 'Phone Jack', am looking at the right hole or should there be a Phone Jill as well? Maybe there's a Well button that i can press so that we can all tumble down to hell) and "Is the power still on?" (Erm those lights on the modem, its baterry powered then? No no no i KNOW, its GLOW-IN-THE-DARK!!! WOW THAT'S INGENIOUS, i would've never thought of that..................). And when i told him that i've already checked them, he heaves this HUGE sigh like its an eternal burden on him to fix the modem, and comes out to play gay with me (he does this often, although its a housemate/room-mate thing to play gay (because we all know we're all straight), Aryan calls me honey and i blow him kisses, but Killian's very possibly the only one who tries too hard). He comes out, blocks my way by standing such that my face is 2 millimetres from his shoulders, and does this upward pelvic thrust which i intepreted were aimed for my face; any other day i would've laughed it off and called him a sick bastard both seriously and jokingly, but i was certainly not in the mood when i badly needed the f'ing internet so that i could watch Dracula which was due to start in 1 hr and a half.
Killian fixed it before i could recover from his gay advance, and voila when i visited the ticketing site to buy tickets the site required membership in order to purchase tickets. People who know me well know i'm normally fairly patient, but close friends know i can be on a very short fuse for stuff like that, and this was really pissing me off. I sat there brooding for about 10mins wondering if i should use that anger for motivation to run down to town to see if they had tickets when i reached. I decided it wasn't worth my effort to run a distance that would normally take 40minutes to walk (not flat land like in Singapore but with the damn uphills and downhills of Auckland mind you), and then reach there to find out i was late or there wasn't anything left since it WAS a Saturday night. So i stayed home, brooded and tried in vain to get work done.
As much as not being able to watch Dracula on Saturday messed up my plans cosiderably because i had Sunday planned out, (although i don't think Rachel and Tamar read my blog, i have to mention it to be fair), Rachel sms'ed me to apologize for forgetting to tell me when she bought tickets, i told her not to be sorry because i couldn't be angry with anyone else other than myself. I had the WHOLE damn Saturday to decide, but deliberated over it for so long it cost me a good show. All because i didn't like watching cinema and theatre alone. Because of all that, i made a mental note to myself i HAD to watch that damn show even if i had to lose a finger on
Woke up earlier than Aryan on a weekend for a change (he normally wakes me up thanks to the ingenuity of wooden floors) because he had gone drinking that night and was probably still hungover, got up and immediately started on work. Scrapped plans to go grocery-shopping due to my LONG spring break next week (YAHOOoooOOOOoooo!!), postponed weekly cleaning to later that night, and finished as much work as i could. After leaving the last 2 questions that i was sure i could finish by this week before the due date, i called up Aryan, Elisa, Sudha, Debbie and Terri to see if anyone was interested, but got unfavorable responses from all except Aryan who wasn't at home, so it was up to me again. AGAIN the damn hotline was closed (probably because it was a Sunday, as if there were no shows running on Sunday), the website was out because they needed membership, so sigh, THIS time i ran down to town and bought my tickets for the NZ$25 student price which was still a snatch even by Sg standards. I came home only to realize that Aryan HAD in fact wanted to watch the show as well but didn't want to do it alone and would've gone had i told him earlier. Made me wish i could've finished my work earlier so that i could've told him earlier; he went out because he was too bored at home and left 20 minutes before i knocked on his door to check if he wanted to go.

No regrest about the show as you can tell, but i certainly have lots of reasons to NEVER watch another show alone.
I think its because the show was called Dracula and "co-incidentally" dealt with vampires, the lady sitting beside me must've decided not to take the risk and obviously didn't shower for at least 2 days, and hence reeked of what seemed to me like garlic. Imagine watching a show and not being able to breathe too much or too deep.
I also had the misfortunte to sit behind a very tall person, who in turn sat behind yet another tall person. I believe the person right in front had his eyes screwed on really really tight, such that his eyeballs could not swivel, and he could only look directly in front, so whenever the action moved around the stage he was compelled to move his head to follow the action, resulting in his blocking the view of the tall guy behind him, who in turn had to swivel his head in the opposite direction in order to enjoy the show. That left me, the poor soul sitting behind 2 already very tall people, each blocking one side of my viewing arc, and constantly changing positions too becoz the dancers can't make up their mind and stay in one same part of the stage. So i had to maneuvre myself to find watever little crevice in between those 2 heads so that i could see the show, and because my seat was somewhat to the left of the stage, it often meant i had to lean to my right and sample the brand new fragrance Le Garlicia, by Unclinique. Out in stores now, for a limited time only.

Dr@n|xX at 3:27 PM

Friday, August 19, 2005

I think different people will thank God for many many different things, but one of the most important things i would thank The Creator for is music.

Music is just this ethereal ideal that transcends matter. You can't see, smell nor taste music, yet its something universally appreciated.

I used to think i was really shallow to like Japanese music though i understood not one word they were singing, yet somehow i memorized the words to the dot. But being the person i was who didn't really care what other people thought, i still do, and even though more often than not nowadays english translations were readily available i couldn't be bothered to find out what the song meant as long as it sounded good, either that or the translations don't stay in my head long enough for the words i sing to make sense anyway *beams with pride* The same went for French and Latin Jazz.
It was nice to know therefore that quite a while back when my good friend Louis(e) [i'm sorry Louis(e) i just can't spell your name with the E in there confidently because i'm just too used to knowing Louise with the "E" is a girl's name, but Louis isn't your name either so i'm kinda stuck i guess lol] came back from Thailand with a few Siamese CDs, he understood not one word they were singing either, but it just sounded good so he kept it playing in his car.

Better still, a while back when Aaron, Ryan, Rachel, Tamar (Nithya my housemate reprimands me for being crude when i collectively refer to the 4 of them as the Hobson people just because they live on Hobson street, even though they refer to themselves as that as well) and me threw a surprise birthday party for Atsushi, a Japanese exchange student (i could post the link for Tamar's blog so that you can read exactly what happened during the party (such as the burnt cake), but Tamar posts on her blog much more often than i do so it'd likely be in her archives by now, and knowing you the reader you'd be too lazy to go through her archives to look for that specific post, yet i could have saved myself all the energy of typing all of this and hypothesizing that you wouldn't look for it by just putting up the link anyway).
Atsushi brought along his Korean friend, and we all had pizza, and Aaron, in an attempt to create ambience, brought out his Creative Zen and his portable speakers and played some Japanese and Korean music, only to be disappointed that Atsushi knew close to none of the songs he had in his playlist. Atsushi's Korean friend, Tae-Gyu fared much better though, and was (from his facial expression) very impressed that Aaron had such a sizeable collection of Korean hits (i found out later its probably because Aaron had taken a few modules on Korean Culture and Appreciation back in Singapore), but looked somewhat disappointed when Aaron said he didn't understand what the song was singing about (like me). And Aaron, like me, had by then memorized the song by heart (i hear he even sings some of them to the pitter-patter beat of the shower), but understood next to nothing about the song.

This is not specific to Asian music. I remember seeing a music video in conjunction with some UNICEF event showing the poverty of some parts of the world about almost 15 years ago, and the song in the background stuck in my head. I never found out what the song was because it was in French, only knowing that the chorus was a duet between the French singer and an English-speaking female, therefore i extrapolated the song was called "Seven Seconds Away" since they kept saying that. I finally managed to find the song a few years back (to my relief), and to my dismay my girlfriend who had taken French as a 2nd language told me the song wasn't French because if it were French she would at least understand some of it. I was though relieved to have found the song, crest-fallen to have thought it was French and therefore had probably been looking in the wrong places and took such an absurdly long time to find ONE song. It would turn out the song WAS French, according to a French exchange student in SMU, only the French sung in the song was used mostly in previously French territories in the African region (think African French, like the English we call Singlish). I just shrugged and said, err ok, as long as the song's nice. I still don't understand a word of the song other than the chorus.

And when it comes to music, everyone has their different ways of appreciating it.
Me and Aaron though petrol-heads, have completely different preferences of what songs to play while driving.
Elisa from Flat 6, completely immerses herself into another world when the headphones are put on, a world where there are no other people other than her and the music, as quite a few people who know her realize to their horror when meeting Elisa with headphones on that she absolutely stares right through and walks right past people.
Aryan BLASTS his music so loud so that no one else can hear him when he sings (its probably better for our health that way).
Ryan complains that Tamar hums completely unrecognizable tunes, and has in the few times i've been at Hobson, threatened to record her humming and blackmail her with it.
Me? Lol i love listening to my tunes on headphones where the clarity is orgasmic, and the problem comes when i start feeling lifted by music enough to start singing. I imagine it must be really pissing off coz i'm singing (probably very badly) yet there isn't any music to accompany my singing, nor even the splashing of water in the shower to muffle it. So there i am immersed in a world of perfect sound, ambient noise completely filtered out by my headphones, so though i'm singing i only hear the singer singing. To everyone else i'm the madman chanting occultic hymms to nothing. I'd probably be burnt on the cross in the 1800s for suspicion of witch-craft had i done that back then.

I'm blabbering on about music quite possibly because i just got news i passed my Theory exam (yay), so now i officially have an ATCL level Diploma. I hated to practice whenever my mum told me to, but now that she couldn't care less coz my sister's already more than a handful, i'd do it willingly, just because she isn't telling me to. Sigh, i miss my piano...

Dr@n|xX at 12:00 PM

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Went to Waiheke this afternoon. Won't blabber on about the fun i had there, the magnificent view, the excellent company and the wondeful weather i was treated to, you can read them here at Rachel's and Tamar's (for the linguistically challenged you pronounce that as Tam as in Tammy and just end with an ah, you do NOT pronounce it like the quip you shout when someone changes into your lane without signalling - off on a tangent, for my conversations with Rachel i beg all of you out there not to do it to her, no as in change into her lane without signalling, not mis-pronouncing Tamar's name you moron lol).

What I'M going to talk about is what both Rachel and Tamar have only glossed over, the dinner i had after the trip with the rest of the Hobson chapter of the NUS gang with Atsushi and Tae-Gyu.
Tae-Gyu brought us to a Korean eatery at the top of Queen Street called Tari (no idea what it means just that the picture beside the name is a face mask). The food was

He ordered 3 meats, chicken (spicy), beef and pork(i have no idea how to describe how these 2 are cooked only that to a then very hungry me it tasted as good as what food would taste like if i died and went to heaven and feasted some more heh), squid (spicy), kimchi fried rice, kimchi soup and another soup that tasted very similar to Tom Yam, and MY GOD my mouth is watering now thinking of that food. MMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.... food....
The irony of it is that i'm eating the BEST Korean food i've tasted so far not in Korea, but in (of all places) New Zealand. If food was going to be that good, screw saving up for South Island travelling, i'm gonna splash it on eating places like these everyday.

Rachel mentioned something about roasted duck next week... *tummy growling even though i had a feast only 4hrs ago*
Tamar was telling me about an affordable and delicious Nando's (sounds Indian i wager, but they were telling me its roasted chicken) which i should drag some kakis along to try.
I still have to try the Fish'n'Chips that Kiwis are so proud of that they call it their native dish, its ironic that i've been in NZ for a month and i haven't tried it yet. The meal in school doesn't count coz that was barely edible and to me it was more like Fishies'n'Chippies coz the fillets were the size of a very swollen thumb.

I miss Fish & Co's New York Fish and Chips...... mmmmmmmmmmmm........ i miss Johnson Duck at Ghim Moh........ mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....... i miss Ikan Bakar at Adam Road....... mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm........... i miss Sing Kee's Minced Pork Tofu in Melodies Garden (not Methodist Garden Louise), JB............... mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm............. I miss Nooch's Woon Sen Tom Yam........ mmmmmmmmmmmmmm........................ i miss Nasi Rawon (excacerbated by the fact that beef is freakin cheap here)..................

I quote Rachel "It's so Singaporean not to miss your home or family but to miss your food", well i'm not really Singaporean but...... lol

Dr@n|xX at 7:57 PM

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Been here for a month now, and i've compiled a list of things i love and don't love about wet winters in New Zealand.
This is a very personal list though, so results may vary, please consult your local travel agent for personalized prescriptions.

Top 5 things i love
1. The air always smells fresher when its cold.
2. You can play with the condensation from your breath when its cold. (ooh yeah i love this one :D )
3. You hardly ever feel icky coz you don't sweat when its cold, yet hot baths are orgasmic here when its cold.
4. You get to see rainbows every other day after the rains, especially coz it rains ever so often when its cold.
5. I love the warm inviting aroma of Subway and their toasted breads in the cold.

Top 5 things i DON'T love
1. Waking up when its cold. (actually i hate waking up for that matter yet i'm too young to die)
2. Waking up to go to school and finding that its raining, and its cold.
3. Ugly looking guys everywhere with flashy cars and cute chicks basking in their rides, and i'm freezing outside because its cold.
4. Having to be very thrifty coz everything's so expensive, but its cold.
5. Answering nature's urgent call, coz when you sit on those seats everything either comes straight out or everything goes back in, because its cold.

Did i mention it was cold?

Dr@n|xX at 8:57 PM