Monday, November 27, 2006

BooksActually celebrates its 1st birthday

As the email says:
Do come for our 1st Anniversary Party on 29th November, Wednesday, from 12 noon till 9 pm for a whole lot of waffles, films, cupcakes, tea, ribboned balloons, Italian notebooks named "Ciak", root beer & ginger beer goodness!

BooksActually is at 125A Telok Ayer Street. Look for the whitewashed horse kiddy-ride machine.

Pocky x Gundam

Further confirming Pocky as the otaku snack of choice (well, outside Japan), Glico teamed up with Bandai to offer... Pocky Gunpla Packs. Yeah, those little plastic things kinda suck but it's the concept man, the concept! Available for a limited time only.

(From Gunota Headlines)

Friday, November 24, 2006

The NYT's 100 Notable Books of the Year

Just in time for Christmas!
100 Notable Books of the Year - The New York Times Book Review - New York Times

My Penguin

Penguin's released a new series of classic works with blank covers. The main selling point of the "My Penguin" series is -- you guessed it -- that you get to design your own cover.

You can send your scrawlings unique cover art in to Penguin, and they'll showcase the best (which is also a good way to drive traffic to your website).

Clever. But will these books be cheaper since there's no cover art? Part of the appeal of buying a book for me lies in the book design -- buying books is a sensual activity for me. I like to observe feel smell books (which is why I hate it when bookshops shrink-wrap) -- I'm not going to pay more for a blank cover if I can get something more aesthetically pleasing for the same price.

The Penguin Blog: YourSpace

Robert Pirsig Interview

The author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Lila grants a rare interview.
'Well,' he says, 'there was fear. All these ideas were coming in to me too fast. There are crackpots with crazy ideas all over the world, and what evidence was I giving that I was not one of them?'

The interview: Robert Pirsig | Review | The Observer

Thursday, November 23, 2006

I love Paprika!

Satoshi Kon excels at mindblowing visual tricks, which makes him an interesting director for animated psycho-thrillers, as shown in his debut Perfect Blue. Paprika seems to belong to the same genre, but has more in common with Millennium Actress (Sennen Jouyu) in its exploration of reality-fantasy blurring and the more fantastic tone. Cast comprising well-known seiyuus led by Megumi Hayashibara. The opening theme is an exuberant earworm, and playful film references abound.

Official site

You can play a game on the homepage where you have to search for the DC Mini. Finding it will allow you access to the site (if you go directly there you'll get a mock error page) which has minigames and quizzes. Playing further will eventually unlock a gallery with 6 wallpapers. Fairly boring stuff though -- just stills from the film.

Be warned -- playing the game on the site gives away the plot entirely. (Then again, it *is* based on a novel...)

Image Gallery from the official blog

Composer Susumu Hirasawa's website with free mp3s

And it hasn't seen a general release in Japan yet!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The things we do for love

The NYT has a brief article about the counterintuitive personal ads that run in the London Review of Books:
But in the strange alternate universe that is the personals column in the London Review of Books, a fetish for even the naughtiest dairy product is considered a perfectly reasonable basis for a relationship. Rejecting the earnest self-promotion of most personal ads, the correspondents in the London Review column tend instead to present themselves as idiosyncratic, even actively repellent.

I thought my personal ad would look more like the Pina Colada Song. Maybe I need something edgier.

The New York Times: Book Lovers Seek Lovers, Buttered or Plain

The Great Singapore Biennale Sale

UPDATE: The sale of collectibles etc ended on 23/11. You can still get badges though.

28 31 down, 67 64 more to go :p

There's a lot of leftover merchandise from the Singapore Biennale, and it's selling at a mad 70% discount. I got a Barbara Kruger t-shirt at just $6 (If you'd gotten it during the Biennale, you'd have shelled out $20).

(Browse the merchandise here)

There're also tonnes of free badges left over from the contest (free badges were available at each Biennale venue, and if you managed to collect all 95 designs you could've won some Pioneer loot).

Just head over to the Biennale office on the 5th floor of The Adelphi, open Mondays to Fridays, 10am to 6pm. Bring cash.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Chris Ware's Thanksgiving covers for the New Yorker

Chris Ware, whose cover for Candide I raved about earlier, has drawn 4 variant covers for the Thanksgiving issue of the New Yorker. 4 sad and beautiful covers, plus an illustrated story (comic sounds a bit too insensitive) about a lost brother. See them all here, and listen to the short audio interview while you're there.

Chris Ware's covers and story for The New Yorker

(via Boing Boing)

Friday, November 17, 2006

Indie Garden, 2 Dec 06

Couldn't believe my eyes. A cool event at the Science Centre?
Roam the Science Centre and Observatory at night, for free! Come party at the Eco-Garden with free gigs by Electrico, Astreal, Great Spy Experiment as well as Guerillaz. Dance till you drop to Poptart's unique blend of Indie Rock and more.

Indie Garden - Explore Singapore! Closing Extravaganza

Milton Friedman's dead

BBC NEWS | Business | Economist Friedman dies aged 94

Monday, November 13, 2006

Judging books by their covers

The Penguin Classics Deluxe imprint looks and feels great. Take its printing of Candide, for instance (shown at left). Chris Ware's fantastic cover complements Voltaire's understated, bleak humour well. You can't see it on the web graphic, but there's mock gold filigree on the cover too, around the "Candide". Very nicely done! The book is a pleasure to touch and look at. (That the contents are worth reading is a given.)

I suspect that the Deluxe imprint is mainly for the US market. Can't find anything about it on the Penguin UK website. The closest to an online catalogue I could find was the US Penguin Classics website. The cover for Siddhartha is wrong though, and the list hasn't been updated with Gravity's Rainbow and Rashomon yet.

Kenny over at BooksActually is thinking of bringing in more of these beautiful paperbacks. Another excuse to go over and browse.

Singapore Film Society blog up again

The folks at Blogger managed to recover all of the Singapore Film Society's blog, after the original URL was hijacked. We're now at a new URL, so please update your bookmarks and feeds with

Now if the committee would just post...

Creativity, meet Work

Never fall in love with an idea. They're whores: if the one you're with isn't doing the job, there's always, always, always another.

-- Chip Kidd, The Cheese Monkeys

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Rough cut out; Blacksad in S'pore

Finally got a rough cut of my short film out. There’s still too much to be done though. The editing is clumsy, the film hasn’t been colour-corrected, and the sound – the sound irritates me the most. I have to, with my Final Cut Pro fumblings, make this film sound a bit better than it's supposed to.

On another note: was pleasantly surprised to find Vol 2 of the excellent noir comic Blacksad at the National Library.

Bought the first volume when I was in Paris a couple of years back. A large, thin hardcover -- why do the French issue their comics in that format? It's inconvenient, but perhaps lends a certain gravitas to the contents. Maybe the French take their graphic art more seriously.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Foiled by our small size

After having tried it for a while, I'm come to the conclusion that BookMooch isn't working for me. The books I want are never available, and sending books overseas is so expensive that I'm effectively paying new book prices for used books of uncertain condition. However, that's the only way to get points since Singapore isn't large enough to support an adequate population of diverse readers.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Book love, paper lust

I do not have the vocabulary to adequately describe how deeply sensual Jeanette Winterson's Written on the Body is. Every page brings to mind a ripe fruit, ready to burst. The love in those pages bleaches the world of its colour. Only in books, they say. Only in books.

In Anne Fadiman's Ex Libris, she talks about the joy of reading aloud with your partner in bed. Maybe the Robert Fagle Iliad (did she get the Penguin Classics Deluxe edition?) is more appropriate for more mature relationships. Can I start with flames, obsession and Written on the Body?

Excerpt from Written on the Body

Animation Nation 2006 tickets now on sale

Go get 'em! This year's roundup is spectacular. Bill Plympton will be in town, but I'm most excited about Satoshi Kon's latest work Paprika. It hasn't even seen general release in Japan yet!

Schedule and synopses here: Animation Nation 2006

Monday, November 06, 2006

Glassy Ocean (Kujira no Chouyaku)

(Originally posted on 5 Sept 2006)

What are the chances of two unrelated individuals mentioning an obscure anime title to me, within a few hours of each other? First, a friend of mine asked if I'd seen Glassy Ocean (Kujira no Chouyaku): a surreal animated short where a whale's leap is frozen in time while a variety of characters stroll on an ocean newly transformed into glass.

I couldn't recall the film at first, but then I struck up a conversation with another friend online who had a pic from Millennium Actress (Sennen Joyu) -- which I love -- as her avatar. Talk turned to Satoshi Kon's debut Perfect Blue, which we both recalled seeing (though we hadn't met in 1998, not at SIFF). "It was a doublebill," she typed, and suddenly the people on the frozen green waves resurfaced in my mind.

Shortly thereafter I was enveloped in a haze of nostalgia, with motes of regret. But everyone has stories about movies, which is a large part of why going to a cinema can be such a moving experience.

Glassy Ocean - Anime News Network entry

Grand Prize - 1998 Japan Media Arts Festival


The S'pore Film Society blog, which I used to contribute heavily to, has been hijacked and turned into a splog. The bastards! There's a special place in Hell for people who do this.

I'm a bit surprised at how angry I am, but you never really realise all the time and effort that goes into crafting each post... No blog is safe, so back up yours soon if you wanna keep it.