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Archive for January 2009

The weather must be suppressing. So much so that I am experiencing a mild tension induced headache.

Either that or I was too enthusiastically chewing on bak kwa* at my POA teacher’s place.

(*bak kwa: think pork jerky.)

Right. This week ended on a rather cheerful note. My tutor for Business Communication treated the entire class to Pizza Hut for lunch. Trust me, I went for lunch thinking otherwise.

What a shock I got.

The lunch happened after an unnerving class presentation. Our first group presentation. Golly. My gosh.

I was trying my hardest not to nibble my lower lip off. Truly, to ad-lib for a presentation was a tall order for me. Considering how I worked better with a fall-back-on plan like a script.

It was a huge leap.
Daring, but rewarding.

After it all, I felt extremely grateful to my cooperative team, who stuck through hours in discussion rooms and endless explorations around campus. You guys, are simply the best.

One more thing. (in typical Steve Jobs style. gosh. i feel evil for ripping the man off.)
The presentation was a beginning. There’s more to come.

Namely, this coming tuesday. Individual. Alone. An hour to concoct the perfect blend of words and everything that’s required in the judging criteria.

Times like that, I wish group presentations happened more frequently…

After all, they did warn us that the Ngee Ann Preparatory Programme (NPP), the programme I am currently studying under, for 8 weeks, is just the start of a mad run to the finish line.

Noted. Shall breathe calmly and deeply while standing, sitting and in a prone position during the March to April break.

For now, headache, be gone.

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If you are ever wondering how I spent my Chinese New Year, it definitely isn’t traditional. Highly unconventional, that’s what.

It all started on last Saturday night.

My mom’s friends came over for dinner and we all had a semi-feast. I considered it a prelude to the new year, minus the food overload. Thankfully. I simply cannot handle huge portions of food these days. Takes the life out of me.

That was when we tossed the yusheng.

You know, I never was a fan of finely shredded raw carrots and radishes being tossed with candied ginger, what-have-you-nots and a dollop of plum sauce. Seemed too funky a taste to be acquired.

However, I strangely took to it that time. Though no credits are given to the raw salmon that my mom topped the dish with. However much I adore salmon.

The following feast came in epic proportions. And I mean EPIC. We sat down for a steamboat styled dinner on Sunday night, the eve of the Lunar New Year.

My parents took all day to prepare the several raw meats and vegetables that were to play accompaniments to the host of a soup. Chicken soup, to be exact. Extremely light and pure, minus the MSG, made-from-simmering-chicken-bones-in-boiling-water soup. Thereafter, we discussed the order of throwing the ingredients in the soup. Pretty a make-or-break decision. The order would always determine the sweetness of the soup after all the intense boiling to come.

The verdict for the dinner? As usual, I ate slower and cooked even slower. That’s why I always tell my family that it’s bo hua* for me to join them for a steamboat dinner. Or with anyone, for that matter.

(*bo hua: Hokkien for not worthwhile.)

At the end of it all, the soup was rather difficult to swallow, considering the solid bits of protein and what-nots were swimming about in it. It was sure “solid!” as my mom had put it.

I suppose my dad was the happiest on that night. He had been looking forward to a steamboat styled meal ever since the multi-purpose cooker, which we had our steamboat in, was bought. Yes, the dinner was pre-planned centuries ago.

Oh dad.

To top off the meal, in my case, I munched on a white nectarine. Though I took a bite out of it and found out the flesh was yellow. I called it, “The Nectarine with an identity crisis”. Never knew fruits were into it as well.

Actually, eating the nectarine after dinner was to my mom’s surprise. “You can still eat that?” Sure. Dinner was all about being seemingly full for me. Maybe after I stopped smelling cooked food, my senses had recovered and my appetite, regained.

Simply put, I am a small eater.

Now comes the interesting bit.

Yesterday, we took a hike to the Henderson Waves through an elevated metal-grill-walk in our ever prominent urban jungle. Or what I would like to term, “Concrete Jungle”.

We hiked up the seemingly precarious and winding paths to Mount Faber and ate our simple picnic fare, with passing traffic as our “piped-in music”. The walk through the metal-grill-walk that was suspended about 20 stories above ground level sure got my senses in high alert.

I have a phobia for heights you see. Plus, for the close-to-the-sky metal-grill-walk, it doesn’t help to have grills with gaps as wide as the thickness of your finger under your every step.

As for the view… Let’s say the only concrete structures to note were the quaint British-colonial-styled residences along Preston Road (you can see them if you are entering through Alexandra Road and walking along the Forest Walk).

To highlight, moderately strong gusts of wind can only be felt when you are perched mid-way in the Marang Trail. Chill and dry. Perfect for a semi-humid afternoon.

After it all, we hiked down to civilisation. The trail to Harbourfront MRT was shrouded with near pin-drop silence. Pretty chilling considering the fact that thoughts about the Blair Witch Project were constantly bombarding my mind.

Made it out safely and thoroughly enriched. Now that was a part of Singapore (the boardwalk and where it led to) I never knew about.

Subsequently, my family and I had idle chit-chat at Pacific Coffee in Vivocity, once again. For the first time, the alfresco area was devoid of customers. Well, mildly devoid of. Go Chinese New Year! What a time to spend at a typically packed mall with my family.

Grins.

So that was how my family and I spent our pre-, eve of and first day of the Lunar New Year. No visitations, mandarin oranges and overload on those candies and sweet sweet New Year goodies.

Now how did I spend my time during the Lunar New Year?

Highly unconventionally; bolded and underlined.

The reunion was more or less lukewarm.
The turnout was fairly low. Still, everyone who was there made plenty of noise.
The Red Camp spirit was slowly but surely dwindling for me.

Currently, I am awaiting for the upcoming Red Camp (6!) to roll around.
Say YAY!

On a last note, Red Camp 5 will live on.
As far as those three days (and an alliance gathering) are concerned.

P.S. Thanks goes to the SLs for making the event happen. 😀 Though truthfully speaking, the mobbing went awry for me.

Recaps, are ever extreme for me. The most extreme, yet.

So as to not lose my writer’s muse, I stayed up till 3am last morning writing my mini review/mostly recap on Supernatural’s Everybody Loves A Clown. My inspiration to recap that episode grew from watching it early Sunday morning, which totally renewed my interest for the Winchester brothers.

Keeping in line with the main purpose of posting this article, here are my honest thoughts about recaps:

First of all, it ain’t easy. I am clearly not a true enough fan, considering how I cheated and had to use the transcript of the episode as a guide to constructing the recap.

Secondly, this computer that I base my blogging on is seriously running at snail speed. Between saving screencaps and uploading them to the post, it probably took me 2 minutes. On top of that, I had to endure staring at the killer Clown screencap when my computer had to take time to process the save (of screencap).

Thirdly, providing visual inserts for recaps can get cumbersome. Now I know why recap-pers get all flustered when readers rush them to produce one immediately after the episode airs on television. One, you have to decided what screencaps to use. Two, then comes inserting them appropriately. Three, there is no three but this point is to simply make this paragraph the longest in this post.

So yeah. However fun it might be to write a review/recap, I think I’ll leave a subsequent one to later. And shorten it as much as possible; without short-changing you guys of course.

Enjoy the recap!
😉

Recaps, are ever extreme for me. The most extreme, yet.

So as to not lose my writer’s muse, I stayed up till 3am last morning writing my mini review/mostly recap on Supernatural’s Everybody Loves A Clown. My inspiration to recap that episode grew from watching it early Sunday morning, which totally renewed my interest for the Winchester brothers.

Keeping in line with the main purpose of posting this article, here are my honest thoughts about recaps:

First of all, it ain’t easy. I am clearly not a true enough fan, considering how I cheated and had to use the transcript of the episode as a guide to constructing the recap.

Secondly, this computer that I base my blogging on is seriously running at snail speed. Between uploading screencaps and posting them, it probably took me 2 minutes. On top of that, I had to endure staring at the killer Clown screencap when my computer had to take time to process the upload (of screencap).

Thirdly, providing visual inserts for recaps can get cumbersome. Now I know why recap-pers get all flustered when readers rush them to produce one immediately after the episode airs on television. One, you have to decided what screencaps to use. Two, then comes inserting them appropriately. Three, there is no three but this point is to simply make this paragraph the longest in this post.

So yeah. However fun it might be to write a review/recap, I think I’ll leave a subsequent one to later. And shorten it as much as possible; without short-changing you guys of course.

Enjoy the recap!
😉

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First of all, I have to admit that there are two reasons as to why sitting through this episode was so darn painful:

  1. Hello! Bruise on Sam’s right eye. (Let’s hope that heals. Nicely.)
  2. Papa Winchester was wiped out from the face of that fictional world. Pain to the boys and more importantly, concern of a possible meltdown. Especially Dean.

Secondly, if you hate clowns, turn away from your computer screen. Pronto.

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So the episode begins with a carnival. It sure looks innocent enough, but the entire scene may be twisted both ways. In Supernatural, it’s pretty obvious which way it is heading for…

A couple and their pre-teen daughter is seen hanging out, looking at typical carnival fares until something amiss stands of in the distance.

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Sure, the kid must love clowns because however apparent that creepy aura about the clown is, she seemed unfazed. Completely.

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The “Hello there! You look friendly and approachable!” look.

I can’t blame her. I have this in-born prejudice towards clowns. If not, deep resent. Don’t that pastel white face and red nose look sinister all at once? Brrr.

Moving on, day turns to night and well, it’s time to head home. To up the already-oozing-with-creepiness factor, the camera pans to a seemingly long drive home… In pitch-black darkness.

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Again, out of the corner of the kid’s eye, the sinister clown stands hidden in the night. And in complete kid’s innocence, she tries to bring the mysterious being to her mother’s attention; but fails.

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Clown watches the tail lights of the car as it zips past and down the winding road…

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Deep into the night, the young girl knowingly wakes up, as if compelled to do so.

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Turns out, the Clown has plans. Hypnotically, the girls rushes down to let the Clown in. Firmly, invitingly.

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SNAP! to the title card.

Season two’s first chapter was a definitely eventful. First, we saw Dean on the brink of death while Papa Winchester survives with a couple of cuts and bruises. Then BAM. Papa Winchester makes a deal with the yellow-eyed demon and before we know it, he’s dead.

That leaves a devastated and remorseful Sam and a “Huh?! Where am I?” Dean. In comatose, he has been (nearly) to hell, and back.

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Nursing wounds (from the accident in Season one’s finale) and now earth-shattering heartbreak, Dean has more to deal with than ever before. Watching his father slowly but surely turning to ashes before his very eyes was nerve-wrecking to watch. You can clearly see it in Dean’s eyes that he’s close to a nervous breakdown, but holds it all together beautifully, heroically, being and also trying the hardest to be the constant in Sam’s life.

Sam is disgruntled through and through. And is not afraid to let it show. Pay close attention to his expression in the following screencaps.


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Fast-track to a week later.

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Dean’s performing repair-work to his wrecked Impala which only goes to show how much he treasures it. To the extent where he distrusts proper car repair services to do the dirty work for him.

Dirty. Works for Dean.
EHEM.

Covered in dirt and grease, he slides right out from under the Impala to a recovering grief-stricken Sam. You know there’s something Sam has to discuss with Dean and it definitely isn’t an everyday issue like busting demons and cracking wild jokes. Sam, hand in pocket, awkward stance… It has got to be something.


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Dad talk. Clearly healing the car of its damages was a distraction for Dean as he tries his very best to avoiding all possible conversations about Papa Winchester. Sam wants Dean to thrash his feelings out, but Dean dives head first into escapism and crassly replies, “You know what? You’re right. Come here. I’m gonna lay my head gently on your shoulder. Maybe we can cry, hug, and maybe even slow dance.”

Dean isn’t going to deal with his father issues. Not now. At least.

However, Sam was quick to whip up another assignment for the boys. Starting with a mysterious phone call made to their dad from a I quote from Dean, “chick”. Ellen surfaces to replace the once anonymous identity of “chick”. Who could she be?

With the Impala still under repairs, the boys found a temporary transport: Bobby’s beat-up van. Hello Roadhouse Saloon. That, my friend, is the answer to questionable Ellen.

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DEAN: “This is humiliating. I feel like a friggin’ soccer mom!”

Dean desperately seeks his rock music. The Impala. Always.


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Walking in, we see a dingy bar and a guy snoozing on a bar. Snoozing guy will be later known as Ash.
The boys strolled right in until they went off to explore in singles.

A gun cocks.


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Next thing we know, a blond girl, Jo, has a rifle to the back of Dean. Calmly, Dean handles the situation with precision… Only to be triumphed by the girl.

He clearly hated that.

Out comes Sam, also held hostage by another lady. This time, we have finally come face-to-face with Ellen. As Dean had called out for Sam’s help and with Sam replying to his difficulty on rescuing Dean, their names had suddenly sunk into Ellen. “Sam? Dean? Winchester?”, Ellen queried.


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Subsequently (upon acknowledging their identities), her stern expression immediately cracks when she lets loose a “Son of a bitch” in typical Dean fashion. She sure must have been telepathically influenced. One way or another.

What a welcome.

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As Dean ices his sore nose, the boys go full on with the questioning. Ellen to Papa Winchester, Papa Winchester to demon, the Winchester boys to demon-hunting. Now, this is when Ash is thrown into the picture.

An unconscious Ash hurriedly sits up from his slumbering state. Moments later, Dean plays the cruel cynic by downplaying the claimed smartness of Ash.


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Thereafter, Ash recites term after term relating to the demon-hunting business, surprising Dean. Getting up to leave, Ash coolly states a 51-hour research period where he will find out what is there to know about that coveted demon.

DEAN: “Hey, man?”
ASH: “Yeah.”
DEAN: “I, uh, I dig the haircut.”
ASH: “All business up front, party in the back.”

One of the best quotes in the episode. Gotta love Ash’s final quirky reply.

Meanwhile, Dean is once again distracted (by Jo. EHEM. EHEM.) while Sam stumbles upon a fresh hunt. First hunt in the season. Let it be good.

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More talk ensues about the hunt. Clowns. Finally. We are getting a headstart in the derailing from Grieve-town. It’s for the best. Mostly for Dean.

DEAN: “Well, I know what you’re thinking, Sam. Why did it have to be clown?”
SAM: “Oh, give me a break.”
DEAN: (laughs) “You didn’t think I’d remember, did you? I mean, come on, you still burst out crying whenever you see Ronald Mcdonald on the television.”
SAM: Well, at least I’m not afraid of flying.”
DEAN: “Planes crash!”
SAM: “And apparently clowns kill!”


Break it off boys.

And they do!

They delve into the case until Sam confesses to taking up this potentially hard-to-handle hunt as it would have been what dad wanted. Dean incredulously spits, “What Dad would have wanted?” Dean isn’t convinced.


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Evil Clown seeks another victim and this time, he does it in a funhouse. A dad is desperately trying to convince his son the funhouse is a scary place to be, but boy humours his dad over his game console. However, out pops the Clown from a reflection on a glass panel, instantly freaking the boy out.

Dad soothes boy’s nerves and says, “Don’t be afraid of clowns. They’re nice, they’re your friends.”

Oh no you didn’t man of son.

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Late into the night, the boy wakes his dad up to a frightening sight: Clown sinisterly smirking at dad. “You were right! He is my friend!” boy exclaims.

SN202_275.jpgOh, I guess I left out the part where the Clown ACTUALLY RIPS PEOPLE TO PIECES. Terror. Yes. Pure terror.


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Hot on the trail for the killer Clown, the duo ends up at a carnival searching for any possible leads. Okay, I know Sam was merely stating a fact, but the way he phrased it was worthy of several brow-raising. No doubt about that.

SAM: (scowling) “More murders?”
DEAN: “Two more last night. Apparently, they were ripped to shreds. And they had a little boy with them.”
SAM: “Who fingered a clown.”

DEAN pauses, giving SAM a weird look.

SAM: “What?”

Good one Sam. Being sexual without even trying at all.

Later, the boys take up jobs at the carnival. This all comes after a harrowing escape from an unfortunate encounter for Dean.


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DEAN: “Excuse me, we’re looking for a Mr. Cooper, have you seen him around?”
BLIND MAN: “What is that, some kind of joke?”

He pulls of his sunglasses; he’s blind.

DEAN: “Oh. God. I’m, I’m sorry.”
BLIND MAN: “You think I wouldn’t give my eyeteeth to see Mr. Cooper? Or a sunset, or anything at all?”
DEAN: (quietly, to SAM) “Wanna give me a little help here?”
SAM: “Not really.”
SHORT MAN: “Hey man, is there a problem?”

DEAN turns, then looks down to see an extremely short man in a red cape.

BLIND MAN: “Yeah, this guy hates blind people.”
DEAN: “No, I don’t, I…”
SHORT MAN: “Hey buddy, what’s your problem?”
DEAN: “Nothing, it’s just a little misunderstanding.”
SHORT MAN: “Little?! You son of a bitch!”
DEAN: “No, no, no, no! I’m just, could somebody tell me where Mr. Cooper is? (SAM laughs) Please?

That scene never fails to crack me up. 😀

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Upon securing the job, Sam goes about with his EMF detector in the funhouse and receives a strong and positive feedback from a plastic skeleton hanging from the neck, by a noose. The search is blazing!


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Sam calls to inform Dean, who rushes over (he was clearing the trash elsewhere in the compound).

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In the midst of his scramble to Sam, the visually impaired man whom Dean had an encounter with appears before Dean, warning him about getting too involved in affairs he shouldn’t. Dean quickly tunnels himself out of the interrogation.


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He meets Sam and coincidentally, the two witness the sighting of a clown, who happens to seen only by children. Very much like the clown they were looking for.

Score one.

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The brothers stake out the family whom had a “meeting” with the Clown. Dean falls asleep at the wheel after a long wait.

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Soon after, there’s movement. The girl (third victim in episode) as if by intuition, figures the phantom Clown is waiting for her to let him in. Of course the girl doesn’t know he’s unreal.


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In a heart-stopping action sequence, the Winchesters save the night and the girl’s parents! However, they were in aghast to the strangers’ intrusion, goes all hysterical, prompting the boys to scram. Pronto.

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After a drive, the boys decidedly ditched the van they were staking the family out in to avoid crossing the paths of the law. After all, the true intentions of the two breaking in the house the previous night were unclear. If there’s anything, the cops should be well on their rear.


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Talking a walk, Sam needles an answer out of Dean about dad. Obviously, Sam hasn’t gotten a decent answer from Dean all that time after the untimely death of their father. He wants one. And he wants one now.

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And oh boy, he gets one.


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More supernatural crime busting, which rounds up scenes later. Apparently, the visually impaired man is the evil doer himself. In a final battle that takes place in the funhouse, Sam stabs the Clown with a brass pipe from a pipe organ.

Evil has vanished. Once and for the entire episode.

Back to Ellen’s drinking joint the boys go. Ash presents them with no more than nothing as the demon, he claims, has yet to show himself. He will, though, keep them in the loop when it does. Show up, that is.


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Did I mention Ash attended M.I.T? Yeah… The boy is not to be undermined.

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Jo bids farewell to Dean. (I see chemistry! And peeps, no science is involved here.) Ellen offers the brothers a bunk-in. Brother Dean refuses.

Car comes first.

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Dean goes on to work on fixing his precious Impala. Sam wavers. Speaks. Bares it all about dad and the deal about him with dad. Leaves Dean to pick up working on ride again.


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Now, this is the part where the episode gets it’s poignant finish.

As I have been endlessly jabbering throughout this recap on how Dean fancies his Impala, what he has to do to his Impala in the following description will both captivate and transfix you in the emotions pouring out of the man (Dean).

He has been protecting himself and his baby brother Sam from the sadness there is all that while. Utterly subdued, he applies all man force on smashing the window of another car within arms’ length, before wrecking the trunk of his Impala.

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After the emotional outburst, he turns to where Sam has left (after confession) and get this: his lip trembles.

I’m reading all that out of a transcript from Wiki. Lip trembling.

We don’t see that often. Especially on Dean.

This episode was a winning formula between hilarity and heartbreak, without the cheesiness. By God, kiss the scriptwriters who made this all possible.

Quick!

It’s official peeps.

The date of release for the GCE ‘O’ Level Results for the graduating batch of 2008 will be announced on the 12 January 2009.

Mark your calendars. It’s time.