Thursday, September 23, 2010

Just Got Dated

The Jay Chou concert was awesome! Painstaking effort was put into every set, timely animations complemented the stage composition and elaborate yet interesting costumes for Jay as well as the dancers really brought home his talent and artistry. The show reverberated seriousness, craft and mastery of performance music.

Jay was confident and comfortable on stage, which really shone through when he conversed with the crowd. He sounded natural, sincere and unscripted, which is rare for almost any non-English concert. Despite his diminutive stature, Jay commanded the stage with charisma and control.

The producers did a great job in putting lyrics up on screen for the audience to follow since Jay is notorious for not-great enunciation on his tracks. This was the first time I paid real attention to his lyrics and was pleasantly impressed by how clever and poetic some of his lyrics were. Jay isn't the best singer, maybe not even a good one, but I have to give him credit for the amount of original work he put into each song's composition and lyrics.

This was definitely the best concert I have ever been to in a long while.

The only gripe I had with the whole performance was how dated I felt afterward. The only songs I knew were his "classics" from 5 or 8 years ago, and I didn't dig his newer songs much. He did sing a lot of his older songs, which was good for us "long-time fans", but it kind of reminded me of concerts that my parents would attend, where only the old songs got the most cheers and response from the audience.

Can't blame Jay for any of these nostalgic sentiments though. He has been in the music business for 10 years now.

Yep, I didn't realize how long he's been around until tonight.

Great show and Happy Mid-Autumn!

Special thanks to Pimp-Mama Chan for the sweet invite.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Where Amazing Happens

The NBA season is fast approaching, and my thirst for basketball will soon be quenched without breaking a sweat.

First up would be NBA 2K11 which comes out on October 3rd. This year's iteration will feature none other than the G.O.A.T.: Greatest Of All Time Michael Jordan on the cover as well as in-game. It's going to be a very exciting installation of this highly realistic and entertaining basketball video game. Fingers crossed they fixed their servers so that we can spend more time actually playing games rather than being booted to the title screen. At least this year we get to see MJ instead of Kobe...

A week and two later, October 10th and 17th, Fantasy basketball lottery drafts for a Head-to-Head league and Roto for beginners. I've won back-to-back championships in the H2H league, so I know I've got eleven reticules trained on my back. But hey, it ain't easy being number one =P

And then October 25th, let the games begin!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Dear David Stern...

My name is Stephen and I am a 27 year-old who lives in Hong Kong.

I intend to come to the United States and road-trip my way across the nation in a red Mustang or yellow Camaro, making stops at all 28 cities that have an NBA team (LA has two, and Torono is in Canada) to catch one home game at each of the cities.

It will be the penultimate American experience.

During my trip, I will blog about the cities that I am in, the games that I attend and the beautiful and magnificent game of basketball. I intend to end my trip in Los Angeles where I will complete a book on this journey across the U.S. of A.

It will be an amazing experience for myself, as well as all the other fans from around the globe who can live vicariously through my blog and book by reading about America, her cities and the National Basketball Association. Basketball is such a universal language of teamwork, sportsmanship and finesse that transcends all racial and ethnic boundaries like no other sport.

I would be deeply appreciative if you could spare just a few minutes of your time to meet with me and allow me the privilege to conduct a short interview with you to include in this project.

My plan is to depart for the United States in the second half of 2011 after I complete my Masters degree in Creative Writing.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Best wishes,


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Moving Out

It's not easy growing up in a well ventilated glasshouse filled with food, water and all the other basic necessities of life, and then some.

Especially when you decide to leave it.

Where should I begin? Do I buy or rent? Can I afford either? Do I forward all my mail? Do I take all my stuff with me? What if it doesn't fit? Shit, I know it's not going to fit in my would-be dingy apartment! Should I set up a home phone number? How do I get electricity into the house? What about water? How do I pay for it? How much does electricity and water cost? What sort of furniture do I need? Do I cook my own food? Can I come home for dinner? Can I even come home?

Sigh... So many questions, yet so little guidance. This is the problem with growing up in a glasshouse.

You get too comfortable. You become immobile and reluctant to move.

But I must.

And I will.

As soon as I figure out how much money I need...

Damn Hong Kong real estate pricing to hell!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Screenplay Analysis: Salt

Ok, I just finished a book called "Screenplay: The Foundation of Screenwriting" by Syd Field, 3rd edition. A fascinating and insightful read assigned to me by my Creative Writing advisor. If any one is interested in writing a screenplay or just intrigued by how films are written, I highly recommend the book.

Anyways, the book states that every movie that we see on the big screens (i.e. scripts or treatments that actually get produced) follows a 3-act paradigm. Beginning, middle and end or setup, conflict and resolution with plot points at the end of acts 1 and 2 that propel the story forward, giving it direction. I believe the edition I had was printed in 1994, so some of the references are quite old. My advisor added a modern additive to the old paradigm called "false resolution" somewhere in the middle of Act 3. Everything else holds.

Moreover, Syd Field highlights the first 10 minutes of a film (or 10 pages of screenplay) as crucial for determining whether we as the viewer (or they as the reader) likes the movie. The first 10 minutes should clearly setup the main character, the premise of the story and the situation of what we will be seeing on screen.

To test out the theory, I bought a ticket to watch "Salt" a few hours ago, and here are my findings.


First 10 minutes
The main character, Salt, a highly trained CIA agent who had seen her share of action in North Korea as an unfortunate captive, is now happily married and looking forward to a normal life if her transfer goes well. That's the premise. The drama heightens when a Russian defector turns himself in at their undercover office.

Act 1: Setup
The defector accuses Salt of being a Russian spy who will kill the President of Russia during the US Vice-presidents funeral. She denies and attempts an elaborate escape from a locked-down CIA office. The plot point is clearly the tagline on the movie poster: "Who is Salt".

Act 2: Conflict
Under the pretense of finding and protecting her husband who is undeniably whirled up in the whole situation, she flees. Then, she appears to kill the Russian president at the US VP's funeral. But then she spares the life of the CIA agent who caught her doing so. But then, when she reunites with the defector who is in fact the one who trained her in Mother Russia, he kills her husband in front of her, which sends her identity i.e. "Who is Salt" spiraling out of orbit. There are many plot points in Act 2 which makes for brilliant conflict, but I believe the key plot point that brings a close to Act 2 is when Salt kills the defector and all the other Russian spies on board for taking her husband's life. Essentially, she defects.

Act 3: Resolution
We know by now Salt is not evil, and she follows through with the dead defector's plan to see how the situation plays out, and possibly stop it from succeeding. I am not sure what the false resolution is. It could be that the Russian president didn't really die (which he didn't); Salt was going to be condemned (but she wasn't) or her former CIA partner who turned out to be another Russian spy would succeed and frame Salt (close, but didn't on both accounts). In the final scene, with the help of the CIA agent she spared in Act 2, Salt's escape is "staged" and let loose on her former brethren.

Thus, the final resolution to the question of "Who is Salt" is this:

a) Salt is indeed a Russian spy
b) But her loyalty lies solely with her husband's safety
c) And since Russia took that away from her, she becomes a weapon against them out of revenge

Alas, the message of the movie is "love conquers all".

Or from the the Russian point of view: Don't send a woman to do a man's job.

Chauvinistic communists bastards!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

My Affair with Assassins

So I have to write a thesis for my Masters in Creative Writing. My advisor recommends that I do a full-length screenplay. But first, I will need an idea. I'm written quite a few stories for the class last year, and most of them featured an assassin of sorts.

In my first story, the one I wrote that got me into the program, featured an assassin of humble and low-key demeanor who took the bus and remarked on every little detail. He had a sexy and exotic Thai accomplice who would tell him his next "hit" in a dark, filthy alley. He was obviously infatuated by her.

In a second story, this time a script of sorts, I imagined an assassin of the most sensuous and seductive kind named Megan (for obvious reasons), who had an altercation with a dorky loser in an elevator, but somehow falling for his shameless charm and persistence. There's already a lot of sexual tension and awkwardness when you are in an elevator with somebody hot, but this was amplified by the fact that Megan was scorching and had a gun. Danger and sex do mix into a potent cocktail.

The latest story I wrote with an assassin in it was Smith, a flash fiction of a meager 100-words. This was your run of the mill professional assassin, perched on a roof and making a hit. It is when the reader reads 2 other flash fiction pieces (Debbie and Dr. Mark) that the story expands to more than just another hit.

So I figure my thesis will bound to have an assassin in it. For some reason, I'm thinking of a homosexual one. And the title would be called Brighellina a made-up word for the camp version of Brighella, who is a character in Commedia dell'arte. The Brighella is the "muscle" and "dangerous" character in a comedy who is often portrayed as a butcher or some other middle-class servant.

Just imagine the possibilities of an assassin who wields a pink sniper and is afraid of blood. Or if he's not afraid of blood, he'll know exactly how to clean out the stains or match it perfectly with a pair of red polka-dotted white Lucky jeans.

OR, Brighellina could be a lesbian, just the way Rihanna likes it with Megan Fox.

Hubba hubba!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Are All Beefcakes Thick?

A simple answer, is no, but the beefcake in this entry is thicker than the Yellow pages. I never thought I would be saying this, but welcome back our old friend Butch!

My loyal readers would recall that the last appearance of Butch amidst these humble pages almost resulted in your beloved authors unsightly demise if it weren't for my superfriends. This time however, yours truly was no where near the heat of the action. And neither was Butch...

But his lack of involvement deteriorated rapidly.

The point-guard on Butch's team, a tiny rat-faced fellow I wish to refer haphazardly as Boykins, was running around the court, elbowing and shoving his way to nowhere against our big center, whom I shall call Bogut, cos' nobody on my team knew him so we probably won't be high-fiving him if he ever got to the free throw line.

Finally, on one play near half-court, rodent-faced Boykins was nudged by what seemed like an inadvertent forearm by Bogut and tiny Tim flailed his arms in sync with an unnecessarily loud grunt.

This guttural sound resonated with Butch's simple synapse mapping, which most resembled cave dwellers. His prehistoric sense of protecting his tribe spurred his muscle bound body to action, huffing and puffing his way to the center of the foray.

"I didn't push him on purpose."

"Of course you didn't push him on purpose!"

"If I did he won't be standing."

"You want to step outside?"

"He's been elbowing me the whole game!"

"Me big! Boykins small! Bogut big! Me protect small Boykins from big Bogut!"


That's what I heard in snippets while I distanced myself from the whole shenanigans. Incidentally, I bumped into Boykins on the way when leaving the scene. I was also smiling and giggling gaily away as I witnessed a mind-bogglingly dumb situation unfold. Interestingly, Butch wasn't the only one riled up. Another muscled knucklehead, whom I will call Marion for his over-athletic prowess, was also getting mad! I have no clue what his deal was. Perhaps the guttural grunt of masculinity unites beefcakes., but I doubt this, for our resident muscle representative, D.Howard, remained unaffected and even appeared bored by what transpired.

So clearly, not all beefcakes are thick. However, even the thickest of beefcakes still manage to show encouraging signs of a limited capacity to learn because at least this time, Butch kept his shirt on.

Well done! You CAN still fight and throw chairs with your shirt on. Here's a banana.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Touch Milk Festival

In a self-regulated village of Yunnan province, there is a peculiar festival that takes place in July affectionately called the "Touch Milk Festival", or 「摸奶節」.

Legend has it that July in the Chinese calendar is when lost spirits return to the mortal plane in search for havoc and mischief. For this village of Yunnan, many men went to war and perished at a young age before they ever had the chance to be with a woman. Thus, locals believe that in July, these lusty spirits return to terrorize untouched, virgin women with the purpose to take them back to hell and marry them. It's like Corpse Bride reversed

The village chief came up with a brilliant solution by sanctioning the "Touch Milk Festival". During the 14th, 15th and 16th of July in the Chinese calendar, single women of the village welcome men, both local and visitors alike, to touch their breasts in order to ward off lusty spirits for they will no longer be "untouched". Mind you though, only one of the women's breasts will be "touchable", for the other is said to be saved for her future husband. The "touchable" breast is easily recognized because it will be purposely exposed for the "Touch Milk Festival".

Now, I have searched high and low on the internet for pictures of this crazy-sounding chauvinistic festival in action, but all I could turn up are two noticeboards that is said to be plastered on the gates of the village:

There will also be celebrations of song and dance during this period to ward off spirits and lost souls, so I gather not all is lost even if "Touch Milk Festival" is merely urban legend or elaborate internet hoax.

Do you believe this to be real?

I'm not so sure myself but really wish it were. Thus, I intend to find out at "Touch Milk Festival" 2011! Who's with me?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Legal Age for Dating

My cousin told me about her new roommate in Macau. She was an 18 year old girl from Guangdong, China and she tells my cousin that her father had told her that the legal age for dating was 24. My cousin finds this mandate preposterous

Honestly, people should start dating as soon as they can. I only started at 23, so I don't have that much experience at it, and therefore I am not very skilled either. And it's not like I didn't want to start dating earlier, and this may come as a surprise, but I was just never successful at it.

So I say abolish the legal age for dating in Guangdong, or at least lower it to 18.

Heck, I didn't get to socialize with members of the opposite sex until I was 15 (kindergarten not withstanding, you sickos!) thanks to an all-boys education. You'd think 3 years to get acclimated with the rulers of men's Universe is enough. It ain't... but you gotta start somewhere, so I believe 18 is a good, legal number. At least (in China) you can participate in drinking and other more exciting activities by then.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

1-bit At a Time

I'm such a nerd... I've been experimenting with pixel art recently for no apparent reason other than because I'm a nerd. Pixel art is basically built by teeny tiny Lego blocks that are 1-bit big... which isn't very big.

Will Smith once said that his father made him and his brother build a wall when they were like 7 years old. He thought the task was impossible, but his father told him never to admit defeat to impossibility. He told a young Will Smith not to think of it as building a wall, but to lay each and every brick perfectly, one by one. Soon, you will have a wall.

That "soon" lasted 2 years.

That's like pixel art, but sooner. Here's my first attempt, check it out:
There're over 20,000 1-bit bricks in this!

Iceberg Shatterers

I was at Happy Hour with some old friends and having a blast until some friends of my old friends showed up, meaning I have to meet these new people and put on a charade of making new friends that I don't really need or want.

For one thing, why do we always have to talk about what we do for a living with people we hardly know?

I'm at Happy Hour to get away from work, not talk about it! Besides, there is nothing interesting about being in IT, working with computers, slaving away at ad agencies or the worse of all, being a God damned banker.

Unless your friend is a professional pole dancer, drug dealer or wrestler, I am not interested about his or profession.

But it's hard to meet these people.

So I have devised 10 questions you can try asking when you are at a social gathering that requires you mingle with new acquaintances. These are not mere icebreakers, but iceberg-shatterers:

Q1. Are you a member of any cults or extremist religious sects?
Q2. Do you do Yoga? Can you teach me the downward dog?
Q3. What's your favorite ice cream flavor? Do you think it'll work for condoms?
Q4. If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
Q5. What's your favorite color, and do you have underwear in that hue?
Q6. What's your take on Inception? Are we all just dreaming?
Q7. Have you ever been in a threesome? Are you open to trying?
Q8. If you had to win at a competition of your choice, what would it be?
Q9. Which is worse? Giving a eulogy or being in the coffin?
Q10. If you had to sleep with somebody in this room, who would it be and why?

Aren't these way more interesting than "what do you do for a living"? Try it sometime and post your results!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Leeb Our E-Noo Ar-Long!

I'm not a huge fan of pets, but I like animals. Mostly... Some of my favorites include the pig, panda, giraffe, turtle (especially the little ones you can get for cheap), cheetah, dolphin, penguin and killer whale. Among others...

So anyways, I was at the supermarket with a friend and I saw a plethora of flavors of food and snacks for dogs. There was pepperoni, chicken liver, pork chops, original... Incidentally, what does original flavored dog food taste like? Unsalted carcass?

The most blasphemous of all is they came out with a new flavor:

Green tea flavor for dogs.

Really? Help me out here dog-owners. Are your dogs on a strict diet of sushi? Do they have chopsticks in their paws slurping up udon, ramen or sukiyaki? Picking at spider and california rolls? Is this why dogs are leaving behind green logs of wasabi on the streets?

Come on people! We've already got green tea in our chewing gum, toothpaste, ice cream, shampoo and Starbucks. How much further are we going to allow this Japanese tomfoolery to infiltrate our lives? Now they're getting at your pets too?

I mean I got'em. Don't know how my friend's dogs liked them.

But I digress. Soon, we'll have 0.03mm condoms in green tea flavor and the Japanese will have completed their domination of our sex lives. Granted, they already have a good head-start with their quality pornography; both real and animated.

So I say we unite against the proliferation of green tea and send them a message loud and strong:


*Leave our "dogs" alone!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Daddyland Extreme

I just read an article by Nathan Hegedus professing his adoration for Sweden's paid paternity leave. A very generous one I might add, for the author was able to stretch his leave to 18 of the past 36 months! He coined his paid time away from work a trip to "Daddyland".

I'd like a trip to Daddyland myself. No, I don't have any children I can call my own and neither a son nor daughter, but I do have a child I feel a need to take care of.

And that child is me.

My daddy's in Heaven and I don't really want mommy hanging around all the time "taking care" of me, so I think I'm the one best fitted for the paternal leave.

It's funny how my generation of post-80's seem to have trouble growing up! Some of us still feel like kids way into our 30's! If we were given this "Daddyland Extreme" leave, what would we do...

We'd go spend a year in Australia working on farms... We'd go back to school... We'd travel the world on a backpack... We'd take classes in things we never dreamed of taking in College like Cinematography... We'd start our own online business... We'd perform on the streets and live off a pittance... We'd sleep with as many women (or men, whichever the predilection) as we possibly can without contracting STD's... We'd pursue our dreams of becoming a pilot or a rap artist... We'd go and "discover" ourselves... And we'd blog about it!

If I had a chance to take a trip to "Daddyland Extreme", I'd sell all my unwanted sneakers, video games and DVD's in $1 online auctions, I'd go to the gym everyday and seriously lose weight, I'd write everyday and work towards my book, I'd travel every opportunity I get, I'd talk to everybody I meet, I'd play basketball everyday, I'd work at McDonald's, I'd smoke pot and I'd become a Rastafari if they'd let me.

Come to think of it, nothing's stopping me to do all that now.

What would you do on a trip to "Daddy/Mommyland Extreme"?