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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Strong Foochow Men

These gunny sacks or jute sacks were once common sights in Sibu. Strong wharf labourers could just lift them easily on their backs and walk on the planks up to the ship for loading or from the ship to the waiting trolley for unloading. Because wharf labourers at that time did not have a strong union, their wages were often questionable and topics of hot arguments.

This picture is an example of gunny sacks for keeping corn in the shop. Corn was an important commodity for rearing of domestic animals. Today, corn fed chickens are still highly valued. Wharf labourers carried sacks of corn and rice from ships to the waiting trolleys or lorries and then hopped on to them. When they reached the grocery shops, they carried the sacks full of corn and rice to the shops. They never seemed to be tired. I really admired their forebearance and stoical attitude towards life.

This is a very old photo from a pictorial book by the Chinese Cultural Association of Sibu. It reminds me of the many Foochow men in Sibu who were extremely strong . The Sibu wharf labourers for example did not have machines to help them. They used their brute strength to lift gunny sacks of rice, to carry bales of smoked rubber from the shops to the lorries, or 100 pikuls of charcoal from the trolley to the motor launch. when moving houses, a group of men would be called and they literally carried all the cupboards and tables and beds. Many men were employed just to carry the bakau for piling in the construction company.

A livelihood for a man for example in the picture depended on his strength and no resume was needed from him to get his job. By word of mouth, he would have been employed easily because he was strong and trustworthy.

I can never erase the sad moment when my third uncle, Pang Sing, had to carry my grandmother from the motor launch to the waiting car parked near the Sibu jetty,which was quite a distance, for her last journey to the Lau King Howe Hospital. My uncle was in tears as he lifted her to his back and carried her up the steps of the jetty. In his hurry and distress, he even forgot to wear his shoes!

As far as I am concerned in those days,there has never been greater love between mother and son than this pair - my grandmother and her third son, Pang Sing. The whole Rejang Basin was in the know, as we used to say. Though uneducated because of the Japanese war interruption, poor in terms of a good income, my uncle managed to bring up a good family and look after my grandmother in her old days extremely well. It was an extremely happy old age for her. That we all remember. He made sure that she was short of nothing, especially when she became more and more weak in her eyesight. Finally in the last four years of her life, she was totally blind.

Gone are the days now for men who could earn a living through their strength.

Foochow Desserts

One of my favourite Foochow desserts is Peanut Soup. It can be eaten warm or cold. In the 50's there were not many shops offering this dessert as a cold dessert. It was sold mainly by women like Ni Mui to the construction workers or other labourers from their bicycles or tri-cycles.

Then in the 60's and 70's peanut soup was sold in some coffee shops or some special shopes which specialised in it and other cold desserts like green bean soup, chendol and ice kacang. Today in the Food Court on the first floor of the Central Market in Sibu a huge bowl of peanut soup with some sago pearls can be your dessert of the day, especially on a hot hazy day.

Peanut soup is actually very simple to make.

First, carefully selected peanuts are dipped in boiling water for deshelling.

Then they are stewed with mild flame until they totally soften. Last add sugar and some washed sago pearls and continue stewing the soup for half an hour.

Older folks usually prefer this peanut soup hot as they find it nutritional and more "yang" for their constitution.

What are the benefits of taking peanut soup? It is commonly known that this soup is good for general health. It can take away one's cough if one is suffering from a heaty cough. Besides peanuts is full of protein. A large number of people also believe that peanut soup helps to improve one's appetite and can help someone who is weak to become strong again. It is good also for detoxing every now and then.

Sarongs for the Foochow Women

This is a treasure from the past. 1950's Methodist Secondary School Chinese Department girl students swimming in Sg. Maaw, Sibu, near Chung Cheng School. Photo from Reunion Booklet of Class of 1958 MSS,Sibu. Did they wear swimming suits? Were they sarong-clad? Only they can tell us now.

I think this painting by Liew Choong Ching ( an will remind many of us how we were brought up in Sibu and how we were kept quiet and asleep in a sarong, how we were carried around by our busy mothers and later how we kept our own children quiet and howe ourselves have carried our own babies around.
The photo of a mother carrying a baby in a sarong sling is actually an advertisement from e-bay. I am wondering if our next generation will do the same , using a sarong this way. Many westerners have found the sarong sling an amazing useful gadget. (

The group photo of women enjoying a good bath wearing sarongs may be a thing of the past. But sweet memories for me. I thank Kevin Song of Sibu for this picture. This is from his book, The Impending Storm. Thanks Kevin and Phyllis.

The scanned photo from Kevin Song's book again is so full of rich memories for me. It is a very poignant photo and valuable as a historic photo. A sarong clad mother having a morning bath with her son. Peaceful,harmonious with nature and blessed by the Almighty God.

The Sarong is a great invention indeed!!
Here I will recount the many uses of the ubiquitous,perennially fashionable, relevant garment of indomitable spirit. What a wonderful belonging. We must own more than one in fact.

Firstly, I remember my mother using the baby sling. It was a very important part of her role as a mother and homemaker. How much she had put on her shoulders to bring us all up.
The advertisement describes a baby sling in this way:
They are worn the same way as rebozo baby slings, tied over one shoulder, except that many people move the knot around to the back, as in the picture above. Also like the rebozo, the selendang can be worn without baby, as a skirt, dress, or several other ways (not to mention all the household uses - they are so beautiful!).

These particular selendang baby slings are printed on 100% cotton, with a traditional batik look. The colors are vivid and just gorgeous. They are very soft and light-weight. 40" X 90"

In the olden days, Foochow women wore sarongs when we went swimming in the Rejang River. So they were used as our bathing suits. Sorry no photo of that era, and all of us, my cousins and I would scream with joy, jumping into the river, without fear of drowning. And yes, then the water was clean.

The sarong would be used for keeping the babies quiet, or napping in the hot afternoons. We call this spring and sarong, "neaw" or "nyut". A mother or baby sitter would hang a rope and a spring from the ceiling. A sarong would then be hooked onto the spring. The baby would sleep for hours in the sarong. What an intelligent contraption. Today, Toys 'r' Us has also "invented" a very expensive baby comforting swing "bed" at a huge price tage of RM399.00. for many, a rope, a spring and a sarong will do the trick. Go to any longhouse, or any Foochow or Malay home, one can find this very traditional use of the sarong.

The sarong can be used as a bed cover,pillow cover/case, food cover, table cloth, temporary makeshift curtain,headwear, sunshade,body cover, and at night, as a cover from mosquitoes,and of course for wrapping up your beloved baby when you travel.It is a thing of beauty and a joy forever. It is the best wear for sleeping in a hot Sarawak night!

One can find so many hundreds of uses for the humble sarong.

Never leave home without a sarong.

Dato Ling Beng Siong vs Dato James Wong in Council Negri

A very interesting anecdote happened about forty years ago when Dato James Wong (SNAP)was the Limbang member of the Council Negri and Dato Ling Beng Siong, Bawang Assan Member was the Minister of Social Welfare.

If my friend's recollection was accurate (he was there as legal observer), they were having a debate on the expenditure of the Nazaruddin WAlk in the Museum grounds, Kuching. The Honorable Member Dato James Wong asked whether the Minister of the concerned Ministry was aware of how much money had been spent on the Nazaruddin Walk and if the money spent had been deliberated carefully, without causing much distress on the budget of the state.

The Speaker of the Council Negri was Dr. Sockalingam and Sidi Munan was a translator of Iban to English in case some one could not understand Iban.

The following exchange took place in the Iban language. Dato Ling Beng Siong did not speak much English but was fluent in Iban, and Dato James Wong could speak English, Malay and Iban. The two were extremely fluent in Iban as they were timber merchants. This explained the very unusual debate in the Council Negri which conducted its affairs in English, Bahasa Malaysia and Iban. This language policy still remains to this day.

Dato James Wong to the following effect in Iban : Kati nya udah sukat? (Have you measured the area?)

Dato Ling Beng Siong fluently answered in Iban : Udah. Nuan uleh meda kediri kian.(You can go there and see for yourself.)

The exchange which took place in Iban could be understood by most of the members of the Council Negri and created a great deal of laughter. Only Dr. Sockalingam could not understand Iban and he was very much in the dark. He asked for a translation. But Sidi Munan replied, "Mr. Speaker, Sir, the two Honorable Members of the Council Negri could understand each other perfectly, so there is no necessity for any translation."

That brought the August House down.

This can only happen in Sarawak, our beloved state. I have no intention to defame any one. But it remains an interesting fact that our honorable members of the Council Negri then were very humourous and were carrying out their work cordially.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Angie Everhart Hot Babes Wallpapers

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Orange County Plastic Surgeon: Padma Lakshmi's Arm Scar “Really Ripe for Improvement”

After the ever-tasteful TMZ did a feature on "Celeb Scars" that included our gal Padma, there was one man ready to jump into the fray to tell us what's what.

Possums, meet Dr. John Di Saia, a plastic surgeon whom we imagine to be the "real housewife"-maker of Orange County (since, on one of his blogs, he provides advice on "Cosmetic genital surgey -- labia minora reduction"). On his other blog, "Truth in Cosmetic Surgery," Dr. Di Saia seems to reach out to Padma Lakshmi, saying, "That arm scar is really ripe for improvement."

From what we've read of Padma's account of things, Padma is actually quite proud of her scar, thanks in large part to Helmut Newton, but just in case....

Amuse-Biatch Is Shocked—Shocked!—to Discover That Bravo’s Editors Are Pervs

Examine this shot-by-shot sequence, possums, of the winning team at Judges’ Table and draw your own conclusions. We don’t know about you, but we would also have liked slow pans up Richard’s and Antonia’s chests as well.

Yeah, hi, Bravo editors, my eyes are up here.

A Hole In My Hoot

Meg McNeil

Red Hoot

Matt Shamah

Hoot Wave

Another Steve Byrne owlverload!

Lanvin Flats

When the Lanvin flats became a hit back a year or so back, with people like Nicole Richie, wearing it everywhere in different colors, I did not see the attraction. They honestly did not look any different from standard flats and I did not see where the $500USD price tag came from. They don't even have heels!
Out of curiosity though, I tried on a pair of red patent Lanvin flats (similar to the one above) the other day at Barneys- and I think I'm finally understanding where the price tag comes from. Even though it is about as thin as any other flats, they are REALLY comfortable. Like amazingly so. Seriously. I noticed the difference right after I tried it on. The sole was cushiony- like sneakers! I don't know how they do it. Even in patent leather, the scrunchy thing is super soft. Now I know what all the rave was about.

Still though, the price is a bit steep for flats. Maybe if they were $300.

Image Source: Barneys

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Amuse-Biatch Is Shocked—Shocked!—as Spike Mendelsohn Confesses to Being a Pothead

Amuse-Biatch Photoessay: “Maybe If I Hide Back Here, They Won’t Notice and I’ll Get to the Finale!”

The Faithful Dogs in My Life

This is an advertisement picture of a yellow Labrador. I was glad we spent some money to buy one which lived with us for 14 years and I called him Sultan. He was my children's and my faithful friend, our companion and our joy.
At one time we had two dogs - Sultan and Sheba. She looked like dog in this advertisement . She was an exceptional dog who was brave and at the same time kind. We had a lot of fun with her. We made a lot of friends because people would come and chat with us whenever we brought her out.

We also had Cocker Spaniels in Sibu. We called them Toby and Alpha. We had to give Toby away and someone stole our beloved Alpha. Alpha was just so beautiful that you could cry when you saw her running towards you. She was just so loveable.

For a while we could not look at an expensive dog in the eye because some one stole Alpha. We kept mongrels instead. But we derived a lot of joy from them too. Here is a picture of Miro when she was young.

I have a personal memory of one of the best teachers in Sarawak who wrote this on the blackboard one day, "Dogs are more faithful than men. Therefore I love dogs . Discuss."

What's your response?

Over the years I have taken photos of my dogs. I wished I had taken more and the digital camera was already around when I was younger.

Amuse-Biatch Photoessay: “Hey, Tom, I Got Your Two Eggs Over Hard Right Here”

Yo Antonia!

Talde So: Buddascotch Buddakan’t

In a surprise move, Dale Talde, a sous-chef at Buddakan and our would-be Butterscotch Stallion, revealed himself a Butterscotch Pony, got Buddascotched and rode off into the sunset crying butterscotch tears.

Have A Hoot

Danielle DiStefano

Apam Balik/Ban Chang Kuih

Ban Chang Kuih from

This morning I am feeling nostalgic for street food from kindly urban old men who spoke in welcoming gentle tones to get respectable old ladies who came from the villages to buy a few pieces of their breakfast cakes. They did not have to pull their customers' arms like in Petaling Street, KL. They would just sit there,fanning themselves with a small palm leaf fan in their rough cotton shirts and loose pants.

I cry out for the fragrant smell of old time soy bean milk. It was the type that was really thick, undiluted, unadulterated soy bean milk, rich with all the second class protein only a simple soy bean could produce. And I long for a whiff of the peanut-y , sugary and roasted aroma of a special Chinese peanut and soy bean spread sandwiched between two nice slices of thick ," dunlop pillow texture" of an one inch apam balik.

Ah, my vivid memories of forty years ago Sibu breakfast, either sitting on a low stool next to a low table,al fresco style, or a bundled breakfast spread brought back by a loving grandmother, just arrived from Sg. Maaw after travelling two hours by a slow motor launch from six in the morning when the eerie mist was still heavy on the Rejang River.

Do you still remember the man who had a small box stall along the alley behind Mr. Louis Wong's shop (Chop Yu Chiong, No 10 Island Road) at the end of Market Street, and just opposite the block was Hock Soon whose proprietor never had any other hair cut except a crew cut? The breakfast man operated in a space which was less than five by three. An almost impossible outlet but he was there for many years, throughout my childhood and even my early twenties. After I moved away from Sibu, I did not see him any more. He must have passed on but at a very old age.

This man had only one table beside his box stall and he sold soy bean milk, two types of cakes - apam balik, thick, full of nuts and sugar and nine layer cake, beautifully pink and white, fragrant, soft and in very accurate clear layers. He served his bean milk in the famous green floral Chinese ceramic cups. And he had no stove with him. If we went early, the soy bean milk would be hot,and of course freshly made. Later in the early afternoon the milk would be just luke warm. The box stall was made up of a glass box with a lid which opened from the top, for his cakes at the top. This moveable glass portion sat on top of the waist high wooden box, if I remember, which was green in colour. Inside the wooden box he kept his many bottles of soy been milk.

Each day he might be making only about twenty to thirty dollars but that seemed to be enough for him. It could have been his past time, it could have been his only livelihood. I often wondered about his welfare. In today's world, full of MBAs, this man might have created a franchise and spread to San Francisco or Melbourne. But alas, in those days, simple folks were only thinking of what they could earn in a day.

My grandmother liked his apam balik and she would always buy a dollar's worth which fetched six pieces in those days. For good measure my grandmother would also buy another dollar of the nine layer cake (six pieces also) and a bottle of soy bean . The bottle was recycled soy bean sauce bottle or beer bottle. The top was the cheap cork which one could buy by the dozens in those days for a few cents.

It was unbelieveable that a man could spend his whole life earning a little from just selling kuih and soy bean out of a box stall.

This box stall probably was kept in Mr. Louis Wong's shop when he went back in the mid afternoon as I did not notice that he had a tri-cycle or a trolley to pull his stall away. He would start his stall as early as five in the morning and then finish or what we call, "fold up the shop" by noon. He was another memorable "breakfast" person of Sibu.

I must say that he should be recognized as one of the earliest micro-credit ,health food hawkers of Sibu. He was a nice person with a kind word for old ladies and children. He never shoo-ed me away whenever I was a bother, asking lots of questions.

Here is a recipe for modern Apam Balik:

200g Plain Flour
60g Rice Flour
110g Brown Sugar
1 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1/2 Tsp Salt
240ml Milk with 1 Tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
80ml Carbonated Water

4 tablespoons dry roasted peanuts and crushed roughly
more brown sugar
some roasted soy bean and rushed too

10-inch non-stick Crepe Pan
peanut Oil or margarine

This is a very traditional breakfast kuih and I am sure it is not Foochow in origin. So I continue to wonder how this hawker /Apek became an apam balik man of our childhood.

(NOte : The coffee cups are still available. If you are lucky, they can be found in the nice little supermarket run by the Wong family quite near Hock Peng's Hotel and Apam Balik is available in most of the pasar malam stalls in Sibu. But the apam balik of today is a very thin version. It will not have the thickness and the texture of the old days...I think there is a secret in its making. Or else why would we go back again and again to chomp on a slice or two, perhaps every day!!! Good memories often come with a slice of warm good heartedness heartedness. Cheers.)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Graduation Dresses I

Four years ago, I never thought 2008 would ever come, let alone June 2008 (my graduation!). I'm not ready for the real world yet (I may never be)! But now that it is fast looming ahead, I figured I should just try to concentrate on one thing for now- convocation! This four hour event (and the piece of paper I will receive at the end) is the culmination of four years of hard (most of the time anyway) work. This is the liminal event that will mark my entry into the real world! For such an important event, I think the PERFECT graduation dress is called for. I know, for most of the time it will be covered by the gown (that is what my mom said anyway), but come on, the gown is NOT exactly very flattering. These days, I've noticed that a lot of people like to take a few pictures with AND without their gowns on during graduation. The thought process began when the SS08 collections started filtering into the stores. I wasn't sure what I was looking for, but I figured that I'd just KNOW once I see it (kind of the same theory I have for men :P). The "moment" came back in March when a friend, HG and I decided to check out the new Marc by Marc Jacobs collection in the store. We ooh-ed and ahh-ed (very discretely of course) over the new collection and then I saw this dress and said, "Ooh, this dress is cute! Hey, maybe I can wear it for graduation!" It was just an offhanded comment, but the idea took root and when I went home, I thought more about it. I certainly didn't want to wear black to graduation- I'd be black enough in my completely black gown and black cap, with my black hair. Purple is not very conventional, but it IS my favourite color and this will definitely stand out from the crowd. Its youthful and it compliments my skin tone perfectly. The style is a bit of retro. I thought I wanted to look classic for my graduation (so my pictures would look timeless), but then my friend said that the whole point of pictures is to remember the event, and therefore I should also remember the fashion during the time of the event too. She had a point. And so, HG and I went back the store and tried it on. It looks great on me! After mulling over this for another month, I finally got it. The only thing is that the chest area (again!) needs a bit of altering. Since the dress is in HK right now and I'm in Chicago though and there's barely any time in between..........that is going to be a problem. I'll figure something out.
At the back of my mind though, I keep wondering if I should stick with something more conventionally graduation like after all. Read: something with a more classic design with a more pastel like, floral or white pattern. Naturally I thought of BCBG. They are currently having excellent sales too! Unfortunately though, the pickings this season are thin- especially in the store! I thought about this dress (left) that so resembles dresses from Marc by MJ and Juicy Couture from seasons past. A friend of mine wore the Marc by MJ version for her graduation and looked cute. And I did absolutely LOVED the Juicy Couture version. Unfortunately though, I thought this one was a bit too short and not very appropriate for the occasion. And so, I turned to this elegant, black and white floral print dress. I actually really like it. It is very proper, classic, feminine and not too black. Unfortunately, it ran out of my sizes online (its on sale!) and it isn't even available in stores anymore.
Then I stopped by the dress floor at Bloomies and tried on a bunch of dresses. I am in LOVE with these two dresses. The strapless one (left: from BCBG, though not available in store or online!),is actually absolutely PERFECT as a graduation dress. It is very simple, elegant and just super pretty. The little bubbly bottom, is just so and adds a bit of the "now" in. It fits perfectly on me too, even though I'm flat. I was hesitant at first though because it doesn't look quite day time and can look a bit prom-like. But today, when I went to "visit" it at Bloomies again, it was GONE. It was such a good sell, that it is SOLD OUT after 2 weeks on the rack and not even on sale (at $300)!!!! Of course, now that it is sold out, it only looks more and more perfect to me!!!! I cannot stop staring at the picture now and mentally hitting myself for not just getting it when I saw it!

The other dress (right) is from Plenty and it is THE most perfectly fitted dress. It is the epitomes of elegance and style. It is feminine and pretty, without exposing too much skin. It looks absolutely GORGEOUS on too. My ONLY problem with it, is the high neck. Nothing against high necks in general- just that it would poke out from under the V neck of my graduation gown, which would not be pretty. This would be THE perfect dress if I had a wedding to go to. Anyone want to invite me to a wedding some time soon?

Image Source: Net a Porter and BCBG

Playing Favorites

When my brother Troy suggested to me that we blog about our 25 favorite albums and movies, it got me thinking about the difference between 'favorite' and 'best'. I have kind of touched on this a little with this post about my taste in movies, and how that taste evolves over time. I also just explained in my post about Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade that that film holds a particularly special place in my film-going heart. It is the first film where I started to notice other aspects of filmmaking besides the action on the screen. What is the difference between 'favorite' and 'best' anyway? Is there a difference? To me it's the difference between something like The Virgin Spring and Aliens. Yes, those two films have nothing to do with each other, except for the fact that I hold the former in high regard. I would even place it on my list of the 25 greatest films ever made. Aliens? Probably not. But there are fewer films I can think of that I find more entertaining than James Cameron's hyper-kinetic action/sci-fi masterpiece. Which brings about another debate: are films by Bergman, Ozu, Fellini, etc. not entertaining? Can only big budget movies or genre pictures be called entertaining? And if so, is this a way that more serious film-goers simply explain the difference between the two in order to save their credibility? Is there a distinction between film and movies?

I have always explained to people that film, unlike few artistic mediums, has the ability to change perspectives and make profound statements about life. It's the most interesting of art forms (to me) and I love nothing more than absorbing the philosophies and images of a Bergman or Fellini. But would I just pop in Cries and Whispers while I'm working on a crossword puzzle or cleaning the apartment? Probably not. It's a film that requires your utmost attention to its finely crafted details; simply it cannot be half-watched. A film like Aliens however can, and I would argue it can still be enjoyed the same as if you were giving the film your full attention.

Of course I am speaking primarily of my favorites; films I have seen time and time again, that for some reason keep me coming back for more. Some of these are just great films that I grew up with; others are more serious films that I have studied over the years. But I keep coming back to the debate that I faced a lot when I worked at a video store: can a 'heavy' film (like Bergman) be entertaining? I think it can, and I think most of his films are exhilarating experiences. Sure, not in the Steven Spielberg/George Lucas sense, but they unique and life altering experiences with film. They also consist of moments where the pieces seem to fit from other films. As you watch these classics and masters at work, one can see how other films have been influenced by, and utilized the skills that the Bergman's and the Fellini's used years before them. Understanding the referential aspect of film is only obtainable by watching movies that are often timed deemed 'too serious'.

That term bothers me, because there are plenty of bad movies made recently that people claim to love, but I would qualify them as 'too serious'. This can mean a number of things, but I mostly attribute this to the filmmakers thinking that their film is a lot more important than any other film released that year because they are making an important societal message. Films like Babel, Children of Men, Crash have garnered both a lot of praise and a lot of hate. I didn't necessarily find the first two films entertaining or important (although I could appreciate the craft that went into them), but I enjoyed Crash (I'm not ashamed, I don't care how much street cred I lose because of it) and found it extremely over-the-top operatic and entertaining. This is an example of a popular film that many average Joe movie-goers found to be both serious and entertaining. I would say the same about a film like 8 1/2, probably the best film I have ever seen, and coincidentally one of my favorite movies, too. It's a film experience unlike any other and I can safely say that I would enjoy watching the film (for as emotionally draining as it can be) at any time on any day. It's also a foreign film, and at times, quite serious. But I defy anyone who sees that movie to claim that it's not entertaining.

Now, the difference between 'favorite' and 'best' is a different argument. There a re a lot of movies that I want my friends, family, and girlfriend to see that they haven't. Some of my favorite movie moments don't come from the uber serious films I love and admire (and would gladly claim to be 'the best'); rather they come from films like Raising Arizona, The Weatherman, Casino, The Godfather, etc. These are the films that shaped me and helped me evolve into a serious film-watcher. These films ushered me through my apprenticeship with the medium and were the catalyst for me discovering the classics and the more challenging films from filmmakers like Bergman. If it weren't for these 'favorites' of mine, then I don't know if I would have ever watched anything by the aforementioned directors, or even directors like: Mallick, Ford, Lang, Murnau, Herzog, Eisenstein, Tarkovsky, and the list could go on.

I want to end with this: I touched on it briefly in my post on my taste in movies, that if it wasn't for John Woo's action pictures, or pieces of crap like The Last Boyscout, then who knows if I would be the admirer of film that I am today. I can think of countless films that I used to love when I was younger, simply because I thought they were cool, or had neat action sequences. These are the attributes I appreciate today as part of the referential aspect of film (like I mention in my review of Nightmare City) that can be seen in any film by Robert Rodriguez or Quentin Tarantino. I am glad I used to love a weird trashy Noir film called Romeo is Bleeding starring Gary Oldman. Seriously, I used to watch that thing all the time on HBO. Now I see the film for what it is, and it doesn't quite make the list, but it's still one of my favorites.

So why not just be a man and not worry about being some pretentious film connoisseur who dismisses these films as being nothing more than 'mere entertainment that doesn't have the capability to challenge me'? Well...I really don't care about that, and I would gladly (and do) consider a film like Raising Arizona as one of the 25 best films ever made. I make no apologies for loving everything about a film like Raising Arizona and placing it (albeit arbitrarily) ahead of films by Kubrick (who I don't like, save Barry Lyndon and 2001) or any other 'esteemed' filmmaker. But things get hazy after the few selections I consider to occupy both my top 25 'favorite' films and top 25 'best films'.

Do I appreciate the technique and influence of say a film by Eric Von Stroheim (I love The Wedding March)? Absolutely. But I much rather watch Peter Weller stab the dude from "That 70's Show" in the eye with a giant knife.

So I purpose the question to you: is there a difference between your favorites and what you consider 'the best'? Can serious film be considered entertaining? Would you rather sit through Spielberg or Bergman? Burton or Murnau? Is there a difference?

*I will explain more of these differences and better articulate some of these thoughts when I roll out my 25 favorite movies in the next couple of weeks. Also, look on Troy's blog for the same thing. My top 25 favorite albums will follow after that. Enjoy, and feel free to add your own list on your blog.

Self-Avowed Metrosexual Ryan Scott Accepts a Mission-ary Position

Yes, possums, the moratorium is over, and to celebrate, we've news that Ryan Scott finally has a job. After leaving his previous position, at San Francisco's Myth Café, Ryan told our pals at YumSugar:

I've been able to get my business license together, and I'm working actively with my business partners. We've been together 18 months and we put two offers yesterday on two different restaurants. It just doesn't happen that easily. Any restauranteur knows you can't just do that. We want longevity. I want the next move to be a really good move and we'll hold out until we can be the next Nopa or Zuni Cafe. I want to be open forever, the kind of restaurant where you can come back to all the time.

So what is he doing?

Well, possums, he is going to another café:

Ryan Scott…will officially take over as top chef-partner at the Mission Beach Cafe in San Francisco's Mission District on June 23….Until now, the restaurant's savory selection was a collaborative effort by the staff. But Scott says he plans to completely overhaul the menu and "put my stamp on it."
"I want the food to be simple and clean," says Scott, who wants to keep entree prices under $21.
"I'm not trying to break culinary boundaries," continued the chef, who is playing with menu ideas like veal cheeks, sweetbreads, pastas and "really clean soups and salads."

Well, so much for holding out until he could be the next Nopa or Zuni Café. Still, we're relieved to hear about the really clean soups and salads. If there's anything we and the Health Department hate, it's dirt in our soup.

Yummy BLITZ Kiss Sale


BLITZ Kiss, creator of all things colorful and acrylic, is shaking things up here at TOKYOMADE. In the lead up to the next TOKYOMADE event, Fragment at WEDGE in Shimotkitazawa, BLITZ Kiss has put many of her original accessories and funky tanks on SALE.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hoots Club Band

Bryan Reynolds
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