Narcissus' Echo

Thoughts, tears, rants, ruminations, hopes, fears, love(s), and prayers of just another being passing through this wracked sphere...

My Photo

A round peg in a world of square holes...

Saturday, July 16, 2005



You make me happy.
You make me glad.
You make me laugh.
You make me smile.
You make me pen doggerel.

Oh, sometimes you make me sad.
Sometimes you even make me jealous.
But never have you made me despair.

Most of all, you make me smile.

Tonight This cool summer morning, I drove home with the targa off--the first time this year--, taking the longest, loneliest and darkest roads, with a smile on my lips, a song in my head, and hope in my heart.

Come what may, we might just ride this... together, somehow.

Thank you for accepting me for all that I am, who I am.


P.S. I still think Chris Evans (Johnny Storm in Fantastic Four) looks like Seann William Scott (Steve Stifler in American Pie). *wink*

Friday, July 15, 2005

selling out... NOT!

Someone please slap me.

I don't know what came over me this afternoon: what made me walk into Banana Republic as I drove past Stanford Mall, in Palo Alto. Two fancy dress shirts, two pairs of pants, some socks and US$367.00 later, I walked out a complete sellout, a mall clone, and a FOB archetype.

A billion "Thank You"s to my housemate for waking me up.

Screw this.
All of these are going to be returned next week.
I will not sell my soul, my identity--me--to blend in with, impress, or gain the respect of, others.
I am more--much more--than that.
I am neither a cheap suit nor an empty one.

Come what may, I will be... me.
*rant off*

As a student of postcolonial literary theory, I can't help but observe ironic parallels between former practices of the British Empire in coercing natives in the tropics to conform to the attire worn in England (shirt, pants, tie, coat, hat), and the almost pathological need to "dress up to the nines" in the FOB and Asian-American population in contemporary America. And then, of course, then there is the inane regulation in NUS mandating full-length pants and covered shoes for male students. All in 86-93 F / 30-34 C heat and 80-95% humidity.

Read V. S. Naipaul's Mimic Men. It will open your eyes to the well-dressed frauds walking around you.

It's not the money. FYI, I spend more on breathing gas (Helium, Nitrox, and 100% Oxygen) on a single technical diving trip. Try shelling out US$400 to fill a pair of twins with Trimix (Helium, Nitrogen, Oxygen)--that will only last one dive--and then come talk to me about being a cheapass. Awww hell, I spent more than that on gas (petrol) driving to Las Vegas and back in my Supra... And then there's always my US$5800 Merlin mountain bike... (I have 4 mountain bikes: 2 in Singapore, 2 in USA. All of their prices in 4 figures, US dollar). Try comparing that with your Armani Exchange rags, bitch.

While you are still playing dress up, I am piloting one-man-portable life-support equipment in physiologically-hostile environments. Go home now, your fancy clothes might get dirty, and mummy's calling...

This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. (William Shakespeare)

choir pics

As badgered requested, more pictures of moi in action at the Sunday 10 PM mass during the academic year.

Where am I?

(Hint 1: the baritone is situated between the tenor and bass).
(Hint 2: I'm 6' 2+" / 187 cm tall).

The third gentleman on my left, Christopher, dressed in beige/white, has a rare gift: his vocal range spans all the octaves of bass, through tenor, to all of alto.

View the interior of the Mission Santa Clara de Asís:

Feel free to pan around and/or zoom

(QuickTime VR Credit: David Familian)

* This view of the Mission Church interior requires QuickTime. If you don't see an image when you click on the link, you may not have QuickTime installed on your system. The QuickTime player can be downloaded from the Apple Web site.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

something different

My throat's rather dry.

As I couldn't make the 12 noon mass today at the campus church, the Mission Santa Clara de Asís, I went for the 5:30 PM evening service at St. Claire's Parish, located just 1/8th of a mile (200m) west, across Lafayette. Showed up at 4:55 PM and found out that this particular service will be held in the Upper Church (the building is divided into Upper and Lower sections). At 5 PM, the lector immediately launched into leading the congregation in an uninterrupted sequence of "Hail Mary," which lasted for a full half hour before the beginning of the mass proper at 5:30 PM. At some point, I actually thought for a moment I was a Buddhist monk in a monastery chanting mantras.

What a trip.

Dirty Laundry

Every wondered what goes on between the ranks in the police department?

Well, if you have the time for some reading, a former cop set up a web forum where cops can post their two cents about topics as diverse as department policies, workplace disputes, the department's unhappiness with Mayor Bloomberg, as well as off-color and/or racist jokes such as, "You know you're in a ghetto when..."

I emphasized "former" because the cop, Edward Polstein, lost his job because of his web forum, NYPD Rant.

I guess this brings back "pre-emptive strike" to the table:

China: We'd nuke U.S. if provoked over Taiwan
Major general says Beijing prepared to use WMDs against American cities

Posted: July 14, 2005
6:05 p.m. Eastern

A Chinese military official says Beijing will use nuclear weapons against the U.S. if the Americans attack the Asian nation in a fight over Taiwan.

© 2005

Diving "Wisdom" and Simpsons Unplugged

Sent to me by an old friend / dive buddy:

Top 10 Signs That Diving with your Dive Buddy is More Dangerous than Diving Alone

10) You have to lend him weight so he can get under.

9) He keeps calling his scuba cylinder an "“oxygen tank”."

8) When he asks you to share air, he uses your snorkel.

7) He fills out a dive log entry for every pool session.

6) He plays victim in your rescue course, but he isn't playing.

5) He says, "“Just yawn to decompress, like on an airplane."

4) He takes out his knife when you give the sign that you are out of air.

3) He suggests doing your last check-out dive right away since your flight
doesn'’t leave for another 2 hours.

2) His new dive computer is a Palm Pilot.

1) You ask him what he thinks about Nitrox and he says, "“Aaah, all that
wrestling crap is fake!"”

This guy is good, and has too much time on his hands (props to zeenie): Simpsons Unplugged.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

lemmings, worms and "Christians"

An essay worth a read: All Good No Bad, by Thomas Frank, editor of The Baffler magazine, and author of The Conquest of Cool and One Market, Under God.

Argh! There goes my appetite for chirashi and sashimi.
Now was that "Knowledge is power" or "Ignorance is bliss"?

Anisakis simplex and related worms
More info

This blog entry really made me laugh.
Talk about the phrase, "captive audience."

NASA calls off shuttle launch because of a faulty fuel tank sensor (Tom Costello of MSNBC).
I can hear it now, "Whaddaya mean I took off without a full tank?"

HOUSTON MISSION CONTROL, "Discovery Shuttle, you took off without a full tank, please prepare for unscheduled re-entry..."


As someone put it, "How would you like to be riding on $100 million worth of rocket parts made by the lowest bidder?"?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

more Cave...

An audio clip can be found by clicking on the album title, scrolling down to Disc 3, Track 1.

Little Empty Boat, by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, from B-Sides & Rarities,

You found me at some party
You thought I'd understand
You barreled over to me
With a drink in each hand
I respect your beliefs, girl,
And I consider you a friend,
But I've already been born once,
I don't wanna to be born again.

Your knowledge is impressive
And your argument is good
But I am the resurrection, babe,
And you're standing on my foot!

But my little boat is empty
It don't go
And my oar is broken
It don't row, row, row
But my little boat is empty
It don't go
And my oar is broken
It don't row, row, row

Your tiny little face
Keeps yapping in the gloom
Seven steps behind me
With your dustpan and broom.
I couldn't help but imagine you
All postured and prone
But there's a little guy on my shoulder
Says I should go home alone.
You keep leaning in on me
And you're looking pretty pissed
That grave you've dug between your legs
Is hard to resist.

But my little boat is empty
It don't go
And my oar is broken
It don't row, row, row
But my little boat is empty
It don't go
And my oar is broken
It don't row, row, row

Give to God what belongs to God
And give the rest to me
Tell our gracious host to fuck himself
It's time for us to leave.

But my little boat is empty
It don't go
And my oar is broken
It don't row, row, row
But my little boat is empty
It don't go
And my oar is broken
It don't row, row, row

Monday, July 11, 2005

Vive valeque!

So mom's on a plane back to Singapore. I always had mixed feelings about the airport: it is at once the happiest and saddest place. The grins of glee on the arrival level contrasting with the streams of tears at the departure gate. The irrepressible anticipation as you drive up to pick up a loved one, with your heart thumping and your chest bursting with suspense, and the inevitable dread, with a pit in your knotted stomach, and a leaden weight on your chest, as you drive him/her back.

A places with such acute differential in emotions. The only other places with such vast differences are probably hospitals (births and deaths) and churches / synagogs (weddings and funerals).

Arrival. Departure. Maybe this spectrum marks the fundamental plot and trajectory of our lives.

Enter. Exit.

Change is inevitable, I suppose. The trick is to learn to embrace it. There is no use in pining for something in the past, or has changed. Human beings tend to be static creatures though. We enjoy stability, a regular pattern, something or someone familiar.

Even mom has changed. She has become older, her physical limitations more obvious and pronounced. In my younger days, she accompanied me on bicycling trips in Malaysia, covering 50+ miles in a day, up hills and down valleys. Before she married, she often rode a motorcycle from Singapore to Malaysia and back--alone. These days, she has trouble hiking more than 5 miles. As a result, I have to be more patient, helpful, forgiving, being granted a glimpse into my own future. By learning from those who go before us, we learn to be better, more insightful and compassionate beings. To paraphrase Isaac Newton, we stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us. Learn, treasure, embrace change.

Mom has long retired from from teaching brats children in schools. Today, she teaches adults Yoga. Though you will grow older, you never stop learning unless you make it so.

I think it will be a while before she forgets Highway 17, the giant trucks, the off-camber turns, and the scrape marks on the walls (legacies of less skilled or fortunate drivers) though. Vuduvida's description is very (IMHO) apt:

Speaking of dangerous curves in the Bay Area... How about northbound on Highway 17, just past the summit? That decreasing radius turn is cambered just so that it throws you into median when taken at speed. I used to live in San Jose and work in Scotts Valley (just above Santa Cruz) so I made that commute every day. I have never seen a more accident-prone stretch of highway. Any rain and you're pretty much guaranteed to have an accident waiting for you at that turn. A friend I worked with completely smashed in the front of his Integra there and another co-worker (whom I didn't know) died in an accident on that road. The concrete median used to look like it was covered in graffiti but it was just paint from all the cars that had hit it over time.

It's too bad I missed the chance to take her on the even scarier Highway 9 from Santa Cruz to Felton. Karen Reardanz's titillating description:

With more dangerous curves than a Victoria's Secret catalog, the six-mile stretch of Highway 9 from Santa Cruz to Felton possesses all the scare tactics of the Giant Dipper with none of the innocent thrills. And those speed demons who insist on taking those turns at hyperspeed? There's a reason the signs read 35 miles an hour.

And there's always Highway 84 and Old La Honda, from Woodside to Highway 1...

Next time. Next time, eh?

Godspeed, mom.

black humor

Wicked cartoon.
Where's Australia and France?

Sunday, July 10, 2005

on a wing and a prayer

The new Ford GT: 550 hp. 205 mph / 328 km/h top speed.
Price: over US$200,000
Displacement: 5.4 liter V8

You can reach 60 mph -- without leaving first gear -- in an amazing 3.4 seconds. Second gear is good for 95 mph, third for 135-plus. That still leaves three more gears.

There's no traction or stability control, though, a real oversight considering the car's scary capabilities.


Man, I love these guys.
Talk about leaping out of an airplane with a bible instead of a parachute...