Sunday, September 30, 2012

Episode 1469: A Pond Farewell

Even though it's been no secret that the Ponds are exiting Doctor Who, it was still bittersweet to see how their characters' arc as companions came to an end this week. I did think the storyline was a little rushed, but this didn't necessarily detract from the emotional punch the episode delivered. Was interesting to see the Weeping Angels return, and they're definitely among the creepiest creatures that the show has featured. I'll miss Amy and Rory, but I like how final their exit was, and I really hope the show lets it stick, rather than inserting a plot device to bring them back for a cameo at some later date, which is what has happened with other companions in the past. Have also finally started reading another book that I need to review, although I've yet to write the review of Joy. Planning to do that tomorrow. Have been reading somoe comics as well, using the Madefire app for the iPad. These comics have been designed expressly for the iPad, and it's quite an interestingly immersive reading experience, especially with the sound effects and atmospheric music. The currently available titles are all free, but I have no idea if that's just because they're mostly first issues, intended as tasters. I really hope not, though I suppose I wouldn't be averse to paying for subsequent issues if the prices were within reason.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Episode 1468: Huffington Is A Beautiful But Still Somewhat Vapid Magazine

Am finally completely caught up with my TV shows! Love the direction that Season 2 of Person Of Interest seems to be headed in, and how the show's continuing to humanise Jim Caviezel's character. I hope the dog he adopted sticks around. The final season of Fringe is also off to a great start. The best science fiction shows have heart, and this one has it in, uh, spades. Anyway, to talk about something other than the ridiculous amount of TV that I've been watching, recently I've started reading Huffington, which is the magazine released for the iPad by The Huffington Post as part of a bid to get readers to join the 'slow news movement'. It's a fairly new magazine, having only launched in the middle of this year. I was briefly a fan of The Huffington Post, until I noticed that more and more of its 'content' was just aggregated stuff from somewhere else. Huffington, on the other hand, seems to be curated in a manner reminiscent of The Economist. There's no denying that it looks beautiful on the iPad (although that's arguably as much a function of the iPad as the magazine itself), but there are a surprising and disappointing number of typographical mistakes in the articles themselves. Still, it's available for free and worth checking out if you want to make yourself feel a little smarter for a couple of minutes. Once you're done, go and read an actual book, preferably something that isn't on this week's bestseller lists.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Episode 1467: A 'Senior Moment'

Had a 'senior moment' on my way home from cell, when I boarded the MRT in the 'wrong' direction. Had intended to make use of the Circle Line to shave a quarter of an hour of my travel time, but instead, I got on the train going in the opposite direction from Buona Vista Interchange. Can't even use the excuse that this was my first time taking the MRT home from church since the Circle Line fully opened, since I just did that less than a week ago. Sigh. Anyway, I watched another three pilots today, Vegas, Elementary and Last Resort. Is it heretical to say that I actually really liked Elementary and think that comparing it with BBC's Sherlock is rather comparing apples with oranges? Every episode of Steven Moffat's show is a hyperkinetic mini-movie, updating a canonical Sherlock Holmes story for the age of Facebook and Twitter, whereas what the CBS show looks to be aiming for is a weekly crime procedural with a twist, i.e. what a lot of the dramas on that network are. I did enjoy the chemistry between Jonny Lee Miller's Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu's Joan Watson, which I think stayed squarely on the side of bromance, rather than romance. I'm hoping it stays that way. As for Vegas, I hadn't realised it was going to be a procedural as well, but I liked it because it was kind of like CSI: Retro. Think I'll be keeping it on my weekly viewing schedule after all. Last Resort was interesting, but I don't see how its initial premise can sustain a season's worth of storytelling, not in the way that something like NBC's Revolution could, which I only bring up because both shows have been touted as the next Lost. Why people even bother doing that is lost on me though, given that so far, everything that's been labelled that has disappointed. (FlashForward? The Event?)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Episode 1466: Catching Up...

Have cleared all my TV shows, except for the Vegas pilot. Not really sure if I'm going to follow it regularly, so I'm going by the pilot to make my decision. Animal Practice and Guys With Kids have both aired new episodes, and both shows continue to be critically savaged. Of the two, I'm actually enjoying the latter more, which is like a more grown-up version of ABC Family's Baby Daddy. I just don't get what kind of comedy Animal Practice wants to be, since its premise seems fairly unremarkable. It should really just commit to being 'that monkey show', since that's the only bit that really makes sense so far for me, although it's going to be quite tedious to have a whole season of jokes in that vein. In short though, I think NBC's freshman comedies are all going to tank, which hopefully means a stay of execution for critical darling Community, especially given that The Office is finally ending its run. Unless the network executives actually think that The New Normal could become a lasting player in their schedule, in spite of Ryan Murphy's consistent attempts to sabotage it. I've also started catching up on fiction submissions for The Cadaverine, which I've procrastinated over for a week or so now. Needlessly, as it turns out, since all the stories I've read so far have been straightforward rejections. Now I just need to catch up with my reviewing and I'll basically be back on track!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Episode 1465: More TV Ramblings...

Spent a couple of hours yesterday reviewing all the stuff that's been published by Eunoia Review from July 2011 to June 2012, in order to pick pieces to nominate for the annual Best Of The Net anthology by Sundress Publications. Am a bit behind on my TV shows because of the time spent on that, but I've started catching up today. I was initially quite lukewarm towards New Girl in its freshman season, partly because Zooey Deschanel's kookiness was somewhat grating, but by the end, the writers had toned her character down a little and I'd actually begun enjoying the comedy. Glad that the show seems to have settled into itself in its second season, if the premiere is anything to go by. I also enjoyed The Mindy Project, which I wasn't planning to watch, until Vaish recommended it to me last week. This might be the year that my regular TV viewing skews towards half-hour comedies instead of one-hour dramas, as I'm still prepared to follow NBC's Animal Practice, Guys With Kids and The New Normal. Incidentally, the latest episode of The New Normal proves that Ryan Murphy basically has zero subtlety when it comes to making a point, even when it's a valid one. Did he not get the memo that comedies are actually supposed to be consistently funny, instead of the occasional snarky one-liner that interrupts a political diatribe, however topical it might be? Was kind of disappointed, since it actually seemed like this was finally going to be the episode when the show settled into its premise and started to develop beyond one-note caricatures and stereotypes. (Side note: Revolution is definitely watchable for its fight scenes, but the writing for Tracy Spiridakos's character needs to improve immediately, as she just comes across as whiny at the moment.)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Episode 1464: Partners (Or How CBS Simultaneously Tries Too Little And Too Much)

So Tuesdays are back to being my busiest TV day of the week, although the only new show I've added to my viewing schedule is Partners from CBS. I've slagged CBS off in the past for being content to produce middle-of-the-road fare that gets the network solid ratings, without actually being solid television, e.g. Two And A Half Men, or that is just inferior to something else on the air, e.g. The Big Bang Theory (which laughs at geeks) versus Community (which laughs with geeks). Partners sort of suffers from this problem. It's got all of the ingredients for decent comedy, but it's oppressed by a laugh track that shows a complete lack of trust in the audience's sense of humour. This isn't a huge problem on other CBS comedies like 2 Broke Girls, which is so shamelessly crass that the laugh track just seems like part of the package, or How I Met Your Mother, where Neil Patrick Harris's comedic timing and delivery that have made him the breakout star of that series also buy it a lot of my goodwill. The problem is that because the core cast of Partners all arguably still exist somewhat in the shadow of their previous work (David Krumholtz for Numbers, Sophia Bush for One Tree Hill, Michael Urie for Ugly Betty, and Brandon Routh for Superman Returns), the comedy ends up feeling like it's trying too hard to prove these people can play new characters, hence the overbearing laugh track to make sure anyone watching gets just how funny they are. It's unnecessary, and although Partners has been critically savaged, I personally think it could actually develop into something that will plug the gap left when the oldest CBS comedies go off the air.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Episode 1463: TV Premiere Season Is Officially Upon Us!

So premiere season is upon all of us who follow American television. There've already been a couple of early entries, mostly NBC desperately trying to get a leg up on the competition, and Fox's The Mob Doctor, whose ratings were ironically dead on arrival. The season premiere that's surprised me most so far though has been the Season 3 premiere of Syfy's Haven. Now among all of the Syfy shows that I follow, Haven has always been a ho-hum affair for me. I like the show mythology, I like the characters, but it's not something I would describe to other TV addicts as must-watch. On Syfy alone, I would put Sanctuary and Warehouse 13 above it, possibly Alphas and the American remake of Being Human too. With this newest episode though, Haven might just have leapfrogged a few places in my ranking order. It's like the show has been subtly refreshed in the year it's been away, and the character dynamics are finally starting to advance. Even the opening credits look better. We'll see if the show sustains its momentum next week, but I have a good feeling about it.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Episode 1462: BTPC Visit

Visited Shirley's church today to listen to Christopher Ash preach. I really enjoyed his sermon, which was concise, direct and structured, proving that Biblical exposition is a skill that can be developed like any other. Originally intended to go to BooksActually after lunch, but the weather was just too hot to do anything, so I went home instead and bought myself a Starbucks frappucino in an attempt to cool off. Hasn't really worked though, as this is shaping up to be one of those unbearably muggy days that you can only get in a tropical climate. Would like nothing better right now than to just switch on the air-conditioning and go right to bed, that's how awful the weather is. It genuinely is the one thing about Singapore that I could absolutely do without, if I'm being totally frank. Of course, this also means it's too hot to concentrate on reading a book, as I've been sapped of all my energy, which is frustrating because of how close I am to finishing Joy. It's also going to be a dreary slog writing reviews if the weather stays like this, so here's hoping we get a good tropical thunderstorm tomorrow.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Episode 1461: Wedding Bells

On my way home from Nick and Hui Juan's wedding dinner at Da Paolo Bistro Bar, and feeling very grateful for the Circle Line because it means my journey is just that little bit shorter and I'm very sleepy right now. Most chilled out wedding dinner I've ever been to, which was one of the great things about it. Usually these sorts of dinners feel like quite starchy affairs, so this was a really refreshing change, and the whole Rochester Park area has a relaxed vibe anyway, whilst still being really accessible by public transport (unlike Dempsey). I thought doing the dinner buffet-style was a great idea too, and I did like that having it at Da Paolo meant we weren't going to be eating your usual Chinese wedding dinner type of food. The personalised cards for all the dinner guests were a nice touch as well. Also liked how before anything else got under way, they did worship right at the start of the church ceremony in the morning. (Reminded me of how Matt and Emma did their wedding in Westwood.) All in all, I'm glad I made it back from the UK in time for their wedding. So all the best to the happy couple and God bless!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Episode 1460: Mapocalypse?

So I've updated my iPhone 3GS to iOS 6, and yes, it is true. The new Maps app is awful. The Apple apologists are saying that it's just teething pains, and Apple itself has pretty much said that it's relying on user feedback and corrections to improve the app's accuracy. Trouble is, when you already have an app that works, replacing it with something substandard just so that you don't have to rely on a competitor's know-how makes for terrible PR. Much as I want Google to release their own standalone Maps app for the Apple ecosystem (much like they've done with YouTube, another app that's been sacrificed by Apple's latest update), I also want them to let Apple stew in the bad press for a while longer. I'm not going to go all this-would-never-have-happened-under-Steve-Jobs, but it's hard to see this as anything other than a massive gaffe, borne out of spiteful competition on Apple's part. By all means, make your own Maps app, but don't rush out something half-baked and expect people to love it just because, oh, it lets you render stuff in 3D. (Especially not when it generates an approximation of a DalĂ­ painting! Melting bridges, anyone?) That said, I'm still updating my iPad to iOS 6, mostly because I want to see how hilarious Siri can be.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Episode 1459: Code Of Law

Almost done with Joy, which is just as well, as I've got a couple of reviews coming up that have fixed deadlines, so I need to start reading those books. You know, just in time for when the 2012/13 TV season swings into full premiere mode next week. (Also, I've only just watched the second episode of The L.A. Complex that was aired this week, and boy, I still cannot believe how unsubtle they're being with their digs at Scientology and getting away with it.) Speaking of new shows, Mediacorp have made a spinoff of The Pupil called Code Of Law. I like to refer to the former as 'that show where practically everyone spoke unrealistically good English'. (Not that I disapproved of this, mind you.) The spinoff centres on Keagan Kang's criminal lawyer character, who left the firm at the end of Season 2 of The Pupil (which I really want them to make a third season of), with the addition of Joanne Peh (because the pool of local actors who don't sound really uncomfortable when speaking English is kind of limited) as a senior associate at his new firm. First episode was kind of ho-hum, mainly because I couldn't see how the police and lawyer sides of the show meshed, so it was like watching two halves of different shows squished into the same hour. I'll stick with it for a couple of weeks more, I guess, but I really hope it gets a lot better very soon.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Episode 1458: Poor Show, Parcelforce

You know what the great thing about having dinner in the middle of the week with friends is at my age? Everyone needs to go to work the next day, so everyone's basically back home by midnight. Haha! It was great though, seeing Claudia, Dan, Derrick and Vaish again, and I've always loved the food at Shahi Maharani. (Also, I can't really eat Indian with my family.) In less happy news, the box of books I posted to myself arrived with such severe water damage that the portion of the lid with my address had been torn off, put in a plastic bag, and taped back to the damaged box. Most of the stuff was relatively unscathed, although three paperbacks and one chapbook from The Red Ceilings Press were badly damaged enough to require replacing. I have, of course, filed for compensation, and if I get the amount that I believe I'm covered for, I have more than enough to order the books again and have plenty left over for more. Still, I am most definitely not impressed with this experience of Parcelforce. I don't see how they could dispute that it's their fault, given that the tracking system shows that the parcel was already damaged upon arrival in Singapore (it even still felt damp), and the condition of both box and books is pretty damning in my pictures, but I'm sure they'll try anyway. Well, I'm not backing down until I get some money back, especially considering that I paid more to ship the box than what the stuff inside was worth!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Episode 1457: Let's Try This Again (Or, Weight Loss Redux)

I feel like I've disappointed the people who entered 'weight loss' into Google and stumbled upon my blog post a couple of entries back. So if somehow those folks see this post as well, courtesy of Google's search engine, I apologise that I have no magic solution for you. I just ate less and stressed about my work a little more than usual. Should have worked out more, but didn't. I don't exactly recommend the whole eating less and stressing more thing, but let's be honest, I'm not complaining about losing a couple of pounds either. Anyway, I bought a new external hard drive this afternoon, a 2 TB one from Western Digital. Although I've bought their 3 TB model in the past, I didn't spot it on the shelves at Challenger today. Now in the middle of the slow process of transferring shows from my oldest external hard drives onto this new one. Apparently, it's going to take all night. Sigh. On a brighter note, am finally halfway through Joy, and have also started reading Adventures In Form: A Compendium Of Poetic Forms, Rules & Constraints, edited by Tom Chivers and available from Penned in the Margins. (Also, I can't believe that The L.A. Complex is getting away with calling its in-show cult Scienetics, but maybe it's because no one actually watches the show.)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Episode 1456: Jet Lag Not As Bad This Time...

Read Sam Riviere's 81 Austerities today, which I thought was okay. It's nice to read poetry that isn't confined to the lyric mode, although I find it odd that he's published by Faber & Faber, precisely because of that. My cynical side thinks Faber is just trying to cash in on a segment of the poetry-reading market that isn't enamoured of Faber's usual list, but maybe it's also a sign that that list is starting to broaden its outlook. Right? (Yeah, I'm having a hard time persuading myself of that, even though I do love a couple of Faber poets like Thom Gunn and Philip Larkin.) I think Andrea said he was going to review the collection for Sidekick Books, so it'll be interesting to see what he has to say. I'm making slow but steady progress through Jonathan Lee's Joy, which I'm definitely enjoying. Angle for the review hasn't quite emerged yet, but I'm not even halfway through the novel, so I'm not worrying yet. I figure my reading speed will pick up anyway, as I get over my jet lag. So far, I haven't done my usual thing of sleeping till the afternoon, and have instead just stayed up once I've woken up, whatever time that is in the morning.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Episode 1455: Weight Loss

So I weighed myself this morning out of curiosity, and I've lost about 6 kg in the three months since I was last back. Part of this is because I did eat less crap like crisps/nachos and ice-cream, at least until the last couple of weeks. I did think my jeans were feeling looser lately, but hadn't thought that I'd lost quite that much weight! Anyway, we'll see if I succeed in keeping the weight off. Have also just managed to empty my NatWest account, right down to the last penny. Spent it on the iPad version of Cipher Prime's Splice, which I love. All the players whining about how difficult it is to work the game and that it needs a better tutorial really ought to grow up and get a grip. Spent the rest of my pounds acquiring the HD versions of the Angry Birds franchise for the iPad. Had held off until this point out of principle, since I think Rovio are being greedy by not making the games universal for iPhone and iPad, but since getting the games would coincidentally empty my account, I figured I could live with myself. With that, I've also finally switched my Apple ID over to the Singapore store. Probably time to start thinking of a new blog name, or maybe an entirely new blog address even, in time for 2013?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Episode 1454: Back, Safe And Sound!

Have finally seen The Hunger Games, and I was not impressed. Couldn't find the love triangle between Katniss, Gale and Peeta remotely believable. I did enjoy how ridiculously, deliciously decadent the Capitol and its inhabitants were, although in film form, all the novel's symbolism seemed a bit heavy-handed. This isn't to say that there weren't bits I enjoyed, e.g. I really liked the interaction between Katniss and Rue, which I actually think was the strongest bit of the film. To be honest, it just didn't feel to me like the stakes for the Tributes were high enough. I suppose the next two films in the trilogy will ratchet things up? Maybe I'll actually get around to reading the books, now that I'm back in Singapore. You know, after getting through all my reviews and pending submissions for The Cadaverine. Also watched Wrath Of The Titans, which took plenty of liberties with Greek mythology, but was actually kind of fun because it didn't take itself seriously. Plenty of dialogue that was basically winking at the audience. I find it interesting that despite his star turn in Avatar, Sam Worthington hasn't exactly vaulted onto the Hollywood A-list. Don't get me wrong though, I actually like him more as an actor for that, and I'm sure his star will rise further when James Cameron finally makes the Avatar sequels.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Episode 1453: Lucky Break At Heathrow

Posted the box of books to myself, which cost over £100, but still a fraction of what excess baggage would have cost me at the airport. Weirdly though, even though my carry-on bag was weighed, the lady at the counter just told me to transfer some stuff into my check-in suitcase, which was definitely already over the limit. Lucky break for me, I guess? Also had no issues with toting an additional plastic bag of books. What I did have an issue with was doing my laundry one last time before leaving Heronbank. An inconsiderate woman took up three of the five washing machines in the laundrette. She didn't even have the decency to hurry up, leisurely loading each one, even though I was standing there, right behind her. I mean, surely she could have offered one machine to me, since she hadn't even started any of the laundry cycles yet? There wasn't enough time to wait for her extended cycles to be done, so I ended up just stuffing my dirty clothes into my suitcases. Anyway, I'm now stuck beside this woman who is carrying on a really annoying conversation, in which she every so often mentions the word 'bomb' and proceeds to titter at having done so. Seriously? I feel like pretending to understand very little English, going up to a security guard, and pretending to be concerned that the woman beside me keeps mentioning bombs, just to embarrass her and get her to shut up.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Episode 1452: Last-minute Packing Isn't Fun

Met up this afternoon for one last drink with Daniel, Maria and Takoiya, but we stayed chatting in the Arts Centre until it was night. Was glad I could meet up with people here and there in my final week in the UK! Am now packing for my flight, and beginning to wish that I'd done it earlier, i.e. before the shipping boxes were collected on Wednesday, as I definitely have more stuff than can fit into my luggage. Packing one more large box for shipping would certainly have prevented my current predicament. I think if I fill a box with books and go to the post office tomorrow to mail it back to Singapore, I can just about get everything else to fit. Might have to throw some stuff away, like my memory foam pillow, or a pair of shoes, but everything else will fit! I'll have to rely on my carry-on bag not getting weighed though, which is a risky strategy. What I'm really annoyed about, however, is that there are no more aisle seats available on my flight, even though I tried to check in 36 hours before the flight. Was hoping that some seats would have been freed up by now, but that was clearly wishful thinking on my part. I'm going to put off printing my boarding pass until tomorrow, but I'm not holding out much hope. Sigh...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Episode 1451: Shipping Done!

So I woke up early, and the van picking up my boxes came within the designated hour. Wasn't the only one waiting in Heronbank North either! Guess Seven Seas has marketed itself quite well (especially to the Chinese students). Just glad all the boxes have been collected! Now to hope that what's left in my room doesn't exceed the airline weight limits. Was having a nap in the evening because of how early I had to get up, and woke up to a funny Facebook notification. Apparently, Meg Tuite, one of the writers I've published on Eunoia Review, had been trying to find me on Facebook, with little success, until Sam Snoek-Brown, another of my writers, tagged me in a comment. I thought it was quite nice that she was looking for me to thank me, and I really ought to put my name on the WordPress site, I suppose, to make it easier for writers to connect with me. I'm starting to get used to this whole connecting online thing, when it comes to writers. It's pretty much how it has to be for me anyway, for the next few years or so. Was good to connect with another writer though, I do enjoy being in touch with the writers I publish.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Episode 1450: Andy Murray, What A Legend!

So Murray actually did it, and he's definitely British now. First British player since 1977, and first British man since 1936, to win a Grand Slam singles tournament. I have to say, I wasn't sure if it was going to happen, when he lost the third and fourth sets to Djokovic. Then in the fifth set, it was like something clicked for Murray and he went on to make history. I like watching Murray play, the way he battles for the points (there were some pretty cool rallies in this match), and looks so, well, stoic. In more mundane news, I'm almost done with packing. It looks like my earlier claim that I had less stuff to ship back this year was completely unfounded, as I've just assembled an eight box to fill. It's mostly because I've finally admitted to myself that realistically, there's still some way to go before I am no longer at risk of ridiculously overweight luggage on Friday. The driver is apparently coming to pick the boxes up at any time from 7.30-8.30 am, which I am not amused by. Currently contemplating if there's even any point going to bed, if I'm not going to be able to have a lie-in...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Episode 1449: Can Andy Murray Make History?

Met up with Lucy for lunch, and we ran into Alice and Takoiya on our way to Costa, so I invited them to join us. Not going to be seeing them for a long while either, after all! Thought I wasn't going to make it to the Post Room because it started raining, but it was just a passing shower, so I've picked up all the KFS chapbooks I ordered. Am thinking that I might review one or two for Sidekick Books. Anyway, instead of going to bed, I'm now watching Andy Murray play Novak Djokovic in the final of the US Open Men's Singles. Hadn't realised Murray was playing until I saw people posting about it on Facebook, but this is his third match that I've watched now, after Wimbledon and the Olympics. I might not be British, but I think it would be great if Murray did get his first Grand Slam title tonight. The sports commentators on whatever channel this stream is of are delivering up some really banal stuff though. Makes me wish there were a mute button, just for them! Am only sticking with this stream because it's the only one I could find that's displaying in the correct aspect ratio.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Episode 1448: The Wedding Video

Went to Westwood Church for the last time in a long while this morning. Had to struggle just a little to wake up this morning, as my coach was caught in a jam on the motorway that meant we arrived at Cannon Park an hour late. I promise I'll try my best to visit though, probably June in two years' time, when I've started teaching. (Obviously not coming over in December!) Had lunch with Phil, who'd come up from Stratford for my last appearance, so thanks very much for that. We caught a film in the Arts Centre after that, Nigel Cole's The Wedding Video, which was hilarious, cheesily heartwarming ending and all. Not sure if the framing device of the footage being a documentary of the wedding was entirely necessary though. Came home after that and haven't done much since, aside from catching up on TV. Doctor Who was entertaining, but felt a bit lightweight compared to last week. I think the need to set up the Ponds' exit as companions is also making for some clunky exposition. I've started to warm to Parade's End again though, three episodes in. I loved the first one, but then the second started to annoy me a little because of all the forward jumps in the plot, which is the complete opposite of how TV shows, especially American ones, normally contrive to drag everything out. Still would like to read the novels the miniseries is based on.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Episode 1447: Poetry Book Fair & Holophin Launch

If yesterday was about catching up with people I met at university, today was about meeting up with my writer friends, old and new. As Kirsten joked when we met properly in person for the first time at the launch, I haven't been captured by the 'scene' yet. I've hovered on the periphery though, mostly because of friends I've made through my reviewing gigs. The Poetry Book Fair was good fun, although Andrea was late, so I almost made it to Waterloo to join Annie and Melissa, before I doubled back to the event and stayed until the end. Only picked up stuff from Like This Press, a pamphlet (the handbound version of Ian Seed's Threadbare Fables, to match the other handbound ones I already have) and a book-in-a-box (David Berridge's Turf). Didn't really have enough cash on me to get much else! It was great to meet and chat for a bit with Nikolai Duffy though. Also finally met JT Welsch, who was doing one of the readings, and we chatted in the pub afterwards. Would've slunk off to the Starbucks across the road to read Joy after the event was over, but I ran into Emily on my way out, so I joined up with a whole group of people who were heading to the launch.

Ironically though, we didn't all make it to the launch at the same time. I turned up in a taxi with Claire, Roddy Lumsden and Tim Wells, and I think we were the latest from our group of people. The launch was a double bill, with Ross Sutherland reading from his new collection Emergency Window and Luke Kennard reading from Holophin. I really enjoy Sutherland's work, and I'm definitely going to be ordering his other full collection from Penned in the Margins when I get back to Singapore. Had heard Luke read from Holophin earlier in the day, but I reckon it's a sign of the work's strength that I still grinned at all the jokes the second time around. Had a bit of time before and after the readings to chat with people, and it was a shame that I couldn't stay longer. (Almost missed my coach back to Coventry, in fact.) It'll be odd, only being able to keep in touch with all my writer friends via Facebook/Twitter. I'm actually gutted that I probably can't be in the UK for when Claire's collection comes out from Penned in the Margins next year, or when Lindsey's comes out from The Knives Forks and Spoons Press soon. As it is, I'm already missing a chance by a couple of months to meet Ashley Stokes, when the new Unthology launches in November.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Episode 1446: Moving Out Party!

Not mine, obviously. (I'm not even planning to have one, actually.) Nina, Sophie and Joe are moving out of their flat and having a party, so since I wanted to be in London tomorrow for the Poetry Book Fair and the launch of Luke Kennard's Holophin, everything worked out perfectly for me. Was great being able to see people one last time at a house party. Kind of like a last hurrah for the university days. Well, for my university days, since pretty much everyone here is already either working or a graduate (i.e. unemployed). Had a couple of good chats with people I was meeting for the first time, which was great. One of Nina's friends pointed me in the direction of the Londonist, suggesting I should get into writing reviews for them too. Would be cool to get that level of exposure, but I'm not sure if it'll even be possible to get involved, with the whole moving back to Singapore thing. Oh well. It's not worth worrying about that now. I've still got a bunch of reviews to write anyway, so I might be physically gone from the UK, but I'll live on in the ether!

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Episode 1445: Reading, Packing, Etc.

Of course, I had to decide it was a good idea to stay up till past 4 am, working on a spur of the moment poem. I don't know if it's any good, but it's a slight departure from my usual style, and at least I've started writing again. Anyway, I've loaded another box, and I suppose if I can pick it up by its cardboard flaps alone, it probably weighs less than 30kg, right? This fifth (though I'm labelling it as the fourth on the paperwork) box is the heaviest so far, and I got so paranoid about the weight, I actually unpacked the books in it and weighed them. According to my portable scales, the total weight of the books should still be below 30 kg, but I still worry. Although let's be realistic here, it's probably very difficult to overload something made to a size specifically designed for packing books, if all you're putting in it is books, right? I've been culling more books from the bring-with-me pile by reading voraciously. Finished a bunch of local poetry from Landmark Books last night, and I've just gone through the flap series of flipped eye publishing. Haven't decided what I'll move on to next...

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Episode 1444: I Really Should Start Writing Poetry Again

So I took a break from packing today and did some reading instead. Picked up the Hippocrates Prize anthologies from the Bookshop a couple of weeks ago, so that's what I've been reading, partly out of sheer interest, partly so that I can box up a few more books. Lots of solid work in these anthologies, kind of makes me want to get back to writing poetry. Any sort of creative writing, really. That's been completely on hold while I've been writing the dissertation and the elegy essay, though I've noticed that I now have a tendency to opt for alliterative phrasing in my sentences. I doubt my markers will actually notice, but I still do it anyway. Also, I finally watched that 'Gangnam Style' video that's become an Internet phenomenon. It was okay, although somehow I find the fact that it's turned into such a global hit vaguely disturbing. On the other hand, what do I know, since right after that, I watched the video for Taylor Swift's 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together' and actually found it rather enjoyable. Not a Swift fan in general, but that song definitely has my seal of approval.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Episode 1443: Started Packing...

I always forget how stressful packing is, until I actually start doing it. Have packed and sealed three boxes of books now, with a fourth loaded with some books and miscellany, but my shelves are still half-full! Some of my books are coming with me on the flight, obviously, but there's no way everything still on the shelves could possibly fit in my check-in and carry-on, not even if I bring none of my clothes back in my luggage, which is obviously not an option. I've been trying to sort the books according to what I definitely will and won't feel like I absolutely have to read within the next two months, which is how long the shipping will take. You might argue that given how many unread books I already have back in Singapore, I should just box up everything here and be done with it, and you would be absolutely right. If only my behaviour were that rational! I think I'll be able to work something out eventually. I've planned to have a week to do the packing, which is loads, to be honest. Overall, I've definitely got less stuff now than I did last year, since I brought things like coats and jackets back to Singapore when I went back at Christmas and for my birthday.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Episode 1442: Just Chilling/Tanning...

Ended up spending most of the day outside, which wasn't what I'd planned on doing after handing in my work. It was really sunny though, so I think I've managed to get a bit of a tan out of it, and it was fun to just hang out with people, without the stress of looming deadlines. Weren't any TV shows today that I'm following weekly, so I've ended up playing Granado Espada for a couple of hours now. Will stop in a moment, so that I can read more of Joy! Had a couple of weird submissions again for Eunoia Review, which I'm staring to get used to. What I can't stand is how WordPress keeps screwing up my scheduled posts. It'll go crazy for a few days, and then work perfectly normally, before going back to being nuts. There must be some simple explanation/solution, but it seems like WordPress can't be arsed to provide it. I suppose the company expects me to be grateful just for the fact that I'm getting a free blogging service. Ah well. I think the unpredictability of new posts going up is starting to cost the site readers, but at least once I'm back in Singapore, it'll be easier to manually publish posts closer to when they're meant to go up, i.e. midnight and noon according to Singapore time.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Episode 1441: Finishing Line!

Finished with about a quarter of an hour to spare, which I spent printing off the essay. Would've taken less time, but four of the fancy new printers were out of commission. Normally, I could probably have put the one with a paper jam back in commission, but the new machines have locks on them, so no luck. Glad that I'm finally done with my degree though! Now to crack on with this pile of reviews that's been building up, starting with Jonathan Lee's Joy (long, long overdue for The Cadaverine!), as well as start packing away this year into boxes for shipping back to Singapore. (Yes, I managed to get the Seven Seas website to work on my laptop after all, although then there was some hassle with trying to pay the deposit, so I ended up using one of my mum's credits. I know OTP authentication is supposed to be an added security feature, but it can be frustrating sometimes!) Need to make decisions about what goes into the boxes and what comes with me on the flight, although to be honest, I guess it doesn't actually matter, since I have more books at home than I could finish reading in the two months spent waiting for the shipped boxes to reach Singapore anyway.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Episode 1440: Approaching The End...

Left the Library tonight with an hour to go till closing time, but my elegy essay is just over two-thirds completed, so I figured I'd earned the early night. Have made a last-minute decision to switch the third Monette poem that I'll be analysing, as I think it's pointless to avoid using a poem that's a better thematic match for the third Gunn poem, just because it's very, very long. A lot of the poem's narrative anyway, so I can just focus on the specific bits that matter. Can't wait till it's all done! Of course, I pretty much have to jump right back into my reviewing work, but that's something I enjoy, whereas as much as I loved the module, this essay is just a reminder of how sometimes, even I can make choices that are clearly not the best in retrospect! Now the question before me is whether or not I should stay up another hour to watch the Doctor Who premiere, after I'm done with this week's episode of Royal Pains. To be honest, I'd actually completely forgotten Doctor Who was starting again, until a day or two ago.