terse & at large

GRRRRR. Arrrgh. And sometimes a travel log.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Rested. Refreshed.

And maybe I can think about whether or not I want to join the next trip down to another disaster zone.

Was dreading it when I was asked, before the Japan trip, whether I'd be interested in joining the recce team to head down to Merapi in Java. It's a challenge, to be sure. Going to a place where an earthquake or tsunami struck is one thing - the chances of another one hitting the area are so remote that there's no need to think about it, aftershocks nonwithstanding - those I can handle. Going somewhere where a volcano's rumbling is quite something else altogether; not quite something that travel insurance would cover, I'd imagine.

Now. I don't know.

I'd think about it still.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Photo Sets Are Up

Japan 0506-Batch 5-081 IR
Originally uploaded by Terz.

On Flickr:

Black and Whites


This I Get When I'm Back Here...

You know what? The telephone isn't a brand new invention. It's been around for a while. And because it wasn't something that was created in Singapore, it means that there are certain modes of etiquette one should observe when conversing over long distances. Trust Western civilisation to do something like that. If it were a uniquely Singaporean thing, we'd been hauled to court for phone rage long ago.

The mobile phone isn't new either, just relatively more accessible than it was ten years ago.

So, I don't need you, callers (yes, callers) on 9692 7012 to ring me, and in response to my, "Hello? Hello?" hand the phone over to someone else. You sound old enough to say, "对不起, 打错了," and then hang up. You don't have to let someone else, just as moronic it would appear, pick up the phone and do the same bloody thing.

Fortunately, I'm not gifted with a lot of patience for stupid people and I hung up on them in the middle of their vacillating.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Final Reckoning

Two hours before I leave for the airport, here's the final damage for the trip:

Day 8 (cont'd):

Groceries - 714 yen
Train to Ebisu - 130 yen
Cover charge at Vanilla - 3000 yen
Drink from vending machine - 150 yen
Total for Day 8: 5424 yen

Day 9:

Dinner at the yakiniku place again - 2500 yen
CDs from Jazz performance - 2500 yen
Train to Ebisu - 130 yen
Train to Roppongi - 160 yen
Drink at Grail - 1000 yen
Drinks at Heartland - 1000 yen
Taxi Fare - 940 yen
Total for Day 9: 8230 yen

Day 10 (so far):

Drink from vending machine - 150 yen
Shopping Uniqlo - 2800 yen
Sub-Total for Day 10: 2950 yen

Am just expecting to buy the missus some goodies from the tourist traps at the airport. Shouldn't be more than 1500 yen (I hope!).

After that, it's just the train transfers to the airport (1190 yen estimated) and then the 2000 yen airport tax.

The grand total for this trip (all 10 days): 62,273 yen or $906.07.


Friday, May 26, 2006

Way Too Much Drink

Japan 0506-Batch 5-059
Originally uploaded by Terz.

Which was what happened last night, with beer to start us off, then kiwi fruit shochu, then ending the night with sake bombers.

All in the name of fun. And drunken debauchery.

Day 7:

Train to Shibuya - 150 yen
Marlboro Menthol Lights - 300 yen
Dinner Izakaya style again with the drinking - 3300 yen
Train to Meguro - 150 yen
Drink from vending machine - 120 yen
Total for Day 7: 4020 yen


You know it's been a good night when you wake up with a massive hangover. And then you have most awesome ramen ever, with meat chunks worth about three bowls. Cleared that headache right away.

Japan 0506-Batch 5-001
Originally uploaded by Terz.

Student drivers. Japan-style.

Day 8 - so far:

Train to Harajuku - 150 yen
Ramen at Kyushu Jangara - 980 yen
Train to Meguro - 150 yen
Sub-Total for Day 8: 1280 yen

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Staying in the whole day today... Can't say no to Jack Black on cable TV.

It's surreal to be watching School of Rock in Japanese though.

Will go out later; to meet with Beeker, Eh-bee and assorted others for a night out on the town before the first batch of us start our 7+ hour flights back to Singapore.

Can't believe there's only three days left to this holiday.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Update #3

Originally uploaded by Terz.

In Ebisu today and went to the Yebisu Garden Place where the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography is. Pretty lucky today - caught the shows by Guy Bourdin, Destiny Deacon and Michael Kenna.

In the meantime, expenses for Day 6:

Train to Ebisu - 130 yen
Lunch at Mitsukoshi Food Garden - 472 yen
Drink from vending machine - 150 yen
Entrance to Museum of Photography - 2550 yen
Tea at Museum of Photography - 950 yen
Drinks at Kirin Beer Bar - 1120 yen
Umbrella - 500 yen
Dinner at some standing bar - 2000 yen
Train to Meguro - 130 yen

Still under budget, though I've been spending more.

Anyways, the standing bar place is one of the more awesome places I've been to. The concept's simple: buy drinks and some more of their food and stuff (I highly recommend the stewed tripe) and you can have all the char siew you can eat.

Would put the address down here somewhere, but I only know how to walk there. On the other hand, if you ask people about the char siew place with the toilet that plays birdsong when you tinkle, they'll probably point you in the right direction:

Musical Toilet
Originally uploaded by Terz.


In other news, X went on his own to Shizuoka today to visit the Tamiya factory. Would have gone with him if I wanted to pay for the shinkansen ride to the place (about $90 per trip - $180 for a return trip - 1 hour each way).

Maybe he wanted some alone time.

Xave and Date
Originally uploaded by Terz.


Expenses Update

Day 2: (cont'd)

Train to Meguro - 130 yen
Internet Cafe - 400 yen (to post my first entry)
Toiletries - 656 yen
Yakiniku dinner - 3000 yen
Karaoke - 3000 yen
Total for Day 2: 8914 yen

Originally uploaded by Terz.

Day 2 ended with KK and KG's friends coming over for a couple of DVD movies ('Wedding Crashers' and 'Dickie Roberts' - yeah, that pretty much summed up our states of mind at that point) and a possible NBA match involving the Pistons. We spent some time on the deck where C tells the story of 'Thruster hoshii-desuka?' - ask me about it when I come back.

Anyways, the NBA game was a bust because they decided to show some other game, so we decided to go for dinner and then a karaoke. Yakiniku is amazing - didn't try it the last time I was in Japan, so it was eye-opening. Must have eaten half a cow or something, including something called 'Beef Hormones' which turned out to be the strips of fat you find along the sides of some steaks. Yummy.

Then it was off to karaoke, where it was the first time I sang on a stage with the seats of the place arranged like a lecture theatre. Fortunately there weren't too many people there at the start and I was able to warm up without being too self-conscious. I'm pretty sure X's got some videos of the night, and of me singing 'Never Say Goodbye', 'Total Eclipse of the Heart', 'Somewhere Only We Know', and 'Something Stupid' for the night. Highlight of the night would be KG singing 'Salty Chocolate Balls'.

Day 3:

Pam at Stickapura
Originally uploaded by Terz.

Train to Asakusa - 390 yen
Train to Karajuku - 190 yen
Lunch at Wolfgang Puck - 1600 yen
Train to Shimbashi - 190 yen
Monorail to Tokyo Big Sight - 370 yen
Monorail to Shimbashi - 370 yen
Train to Ueno - 150 yen
Izakaya Dinner - 4200 yen
Train to Meguro - 190 yen
Total for Day 3: 7950 yen

Looking bad... might be over the budget if I keep up with this.

But damn, the dinner was fuckin' awesome.

Chilli Prawns
Originally uploaded by Terz.

Nine courses, free-flow beer, lychee- and grapefruit- shochu.

Post Izakaya
Originally uploaded by Terz.

Gonna have to go back to Harajuku I guess. There weren't too many of the kids dressed in their Goth-iest or the Bo-Peep best. And besides, X and I went to the wrong side of the station and missed them completely.

Day 4:

Train to Akihabara - 190 yen
Coffee - 190 yen
Lunch at Cafe MoCo - 780 yen
Train to Meguro - 190 yen
Lip Balm - 313 yen
Internet Cafe - 400 yen
Marlboro Menthol Lights - 300 yen
Dinner at a roadside ramen place - 1000 yen
Drink from vending machine - 150 yen
Total for Day 3: 3513 yen

Originally uploaded by Terz.

The most interesting ramen place ever... we struggled with Japanese for a while before we find out that the oba-san running the store's actually from Taiwan, and that she's been in Japan for 20 years. Very lively conversation after that. I should be doing this more.


Anyway, will be back to shoot more of her. And the store. Man, can it have any more character?

Day 5:

Train to Ueno - 190 yen
Train to Asakusa - 160 yen
Train to Shibuya - 230 yen
Train to Ebisu - 130 yen

Asakusa In The Drizzle
Originally uploaded by Terz.

Train to Roppongi - 160 yen
Dinner at TGIF - 1850 yen
Locker at Roppongi - 300 yen
Drink from vending machine - 150 yen
Drinks at Motown Town - 1900 yen
Train to Ebisu - 160 yen
Train to Meguro - 130 yen
Total for Day 5: 5360 yen

Sanja Matsuri
Originally uploaded by Terz.

Total So Far: 30 607 yen or $445.33


Saturday, May 20, 2006


Originally uploaded by Terz.

Blogging from an internet cafe in Megumo, where KK has kindly put us up for the duration of this trip. The trip's been interesting so far, excepting that I'm now blogging on computer that's using a Japanese keyboard and spending a lot of time trying to figure out where all the keys are. Which would explain the strangeness of some of the fonts as I type.

Still, it isn't as interesting as walking into a sex shop expecting to find an internet cafe. It was in Akihabara for cryin' out loud. There were pictures of computers on the placard outside and the only word I recognised amidst all the squiggly lines: 'internet'. As it turns out, it's a place where you get a [darkened] booth to yourself,chat on a IRC-esque connection with someone, and then behold! That someone appears in your booth then and fulfills your fantasies...

I haven't taken too many photos so far and they've mostly been limited to street photography. Will upload once I've figured out how to do so on this machine.

As far as expenses go, I'm well within my budget of 1k (or about 6800 yen every day) for the whole trip:

Day 1:
Train to Nippori - 1000 yen - funny story this, will tell it later
Coffee at Starbucks (!) - 270 yen
Sandwich lunch - 220 yen
Train to Otsuka - 150 yen
Train to Shibuya - 160 yen
Locker at Shibuya - 400 yen
Sushi dinner - 940 yen
Train to Ebisu - 130 yen
Beer (very little, very bo-hua) - 1200 yen for 2 very small mugs
Train to Shibuya to get our stuff - 130 yen
Train to Meguro - 150 yen

Total for Day 1: 4750 yen

Day 2:
Train to Ueno - 190 yen
Entrance fee to the Ueno Toshogu Shrine - 200 yen
Lunch - 348 yen
Train to Akihabara - 130 yen
Marlboro Menthol Lights - 300 yen
Lighter - 130 yen
Coffee - 190 yen
Coffee - 240 yen

Total so far for Day 2: 1728 yen

So, yeah. Tokyo on a shoestring budget - highly possible.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Gone Fishin'

... in the words of an underrated ex-colleague.

Off to Japan this morning (can a flight be any more troublesome? Check in at 4 am, boarding call at 5:10 am, and then a flight with suspected very legroom) at 6 am.

See you all in June.


In the meantime, the package that's gone MIA for the last six months (almost as long as Mr. Rand Yang's car has been in the workshop) has finally arrived. Today. No fanfare. Just a tone on the doorbell and me scrambling to pull on a shirt.


I get this:

Originally uploaded by Terz.

to up my geek! quotient which has been flagging lately because of the time spent on movie-making.

And the missus gets Season 3 of BtVS.

All is well and I can't wait to get started on the game...

(Only thing is I don't really remember what else was supposed to come with the package - it had been opened, over and over again for security checks, and it's been to more countries in the last six months than I have - another helpful postal worker decided that Singapore was somewhere in the Philippines; I really don't know what is supposed to come in this package anymore.)


Went to Walas tonight for a sending away present before my flight and true to their name, the band surprised me with an all unplugged night. All of because someone had to answer the call.

But it was all good. And for that, I give them this:

A Rose By Any Other Name
Originally uploaded by Terz.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Phase One. Complete.

Originally uploaded by Terz.

Now to rest a little, seeing that I've become one of those who have fallen ill from lack of sleep, extreme heat and inconsistent meal times.

I'm self-medicating for now. See? It doesn't need me to be retired to feel the pinch of rising health care costs. $50 for the last time I caught the flu?

No thanks.

If only I had that lava lamp at home...

*Rubs Eyes*

Desperate Measures
Originally uploaded by Terz.



Sunday, May 07, 2006

Riddle Me This...

Originally uploaded by Terz.

To ignore a taxi queue where there are already 7 distinct groups of people, to stand in the taxi bay itself, to ignore several of said people calling at you to join the queue, and then to rush for the first cab that comes into the bay, ignoring the first guy in the line, you'd have to be:

a) Blind.

b) Stupid.

Originally uploaded by Terz.

c) Ill-Bred.

d) Inconsiderate.

Originally uploaded by Terz.

Originally uploaded by Terz.

e) All of the above.

At the end of the it, the woman did join the queue. If she'd done so at the beginning she would have been three passengers ahead of me. Instead, she ended up being four or five cabs behind me.

Not endowed with the greatest of smarts, some people.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Self Inflicted

Self Inflicted
Originally uploaded by Terz.

Remind me not to get so drunk that I don't feel anything when I'm hitting stuff, and because I don't anything when I'm hitting stuff, I continue to do so and keep doing so with intensifying force.

Fingers still got mobility, so nothing's broken. Hand's just swollen (near the base of the ring finger), the abrasions are becoming scabs, the blood's mostly washed off and I can still shoot images and type.

Monday, May 01, 2006


"Like the Second Murderer, [I am] one whom the vile blows and buffets of the world have so incens'd that [I am] reckless what [I] do to spite it."

From 'Ishmael', by Daniel Quinn.




Showed up this afternoon and turned in the images of the previous two days, along with a DVD of inspirational material (of what and for what, I don't know since everything has been revamped, rewritten and reworked) and a CD of world music meant to go to someone on the set. Only thing I didn't turn in was an invoice, because it was meant to be a labour of love (note comment from previous post about fathers and favourite children). But seriously, I have not love for something that was ripped away from me without so much as a 'by your leave'.

Watched as my replacement (I hope he stays for the rest of it) worked his way on the set and not feeling the same disgust at the rape as I do. Ignorance is truly bliss. To feel nothing at all is complete and utter bliss. To not have to watch as something comes apart completely, and wondering why the hell I am on the scene for:

Am I to be consultant for the script? I don't think so. Whatever it is that is being filmed, it's got nothing to do with me. Why is my name there on the poster? Beats me. I wish it to be taken down. Far be it for me to say it won't do well - it is always possible that it'll do wonderful on the arthouse circuit. It might. But it's not the story I am telling. It's not the story that needs to be told. It's not doing justice to a story that's written as a nocturne. What I saw was akin to a rock video. Blatant. In your face. A story written for the dumb-ass masses, the hoi polloi brought up on a steady diet of brainless, mindless stories that appeal only to their visceral.

I want my dictionary back as well, after the filming is done.

Am I to show up for rehearsals to help the actors get into the psyche of their roles? No. Everything seems pretty peachy enough as it is. Rehearsals are done on the spot before the actual take, so I'm not needed as well. No need for me to work out what it means to be a middle child or what development stages we should be worried about as we film the growing rebellion of the lead role. It doesn't take somone who knows his Psych shit and could have done more with this shit if he hadn't been forced to come back to this place he does not love only because he had to, to tell you this shit isn't gonna fly. It's going to be one fucking coindence after another. You want this is to be your magnum opus. Not. Going. To. Happen.

So what am I to show for? Production stills? Material for press releases? Fuck you.

That's right. Fuck. You.

Someone gets to play Director. Someone else gets to play Assistant Director. Steps up. Everyone else gets to play Big Shot. I get to be a Photographer. Again. Big. Fuck. If I'm Photographer. I'd rather do it for money. It will never be for love. There is absol-fuckin'-lutely nothing I'd do with this set. For. Love. Leave it to some poly grad wannabe photographer on their holiday break to take your photos.






You create a fucking do-nothing role for me to assuage your guilt. Don't fucking bother. Tell me, and I'll back off. I don't need to be treated like a child. You want me out. I'm out.

Just don't tell me lies. Don't tell me you trust me, so I should trust you. And then tell me lies.

Script's not good enough on the word of supporting cast? Sure. You write it then.

You think it through and you write the whole damned thing. It's yours after all. All yours. I wrote it for fucking six, 5-minute episodes. You tell me to write for a feature. I did. I wrote it with all the fucking continuity and psychological issues you tell me to put in. But it wasn't what I wanted. Did it anyway. And what happens? Someome says, "Script sucks," and everything is changed. And from then, I get left out of the fucking loop.

So, yeah, fuck you and the charity you are showing me.

If I'm not needed. Not wanted. Not useful. Not at all fuckin' involved. Let me know.

Don't expect me on the set and make me, yes, make me WATCH the rape of my baby every fucking day.

Don't make me do that.

You want me to fucking burn my bridges? You know I can do that. You want me to do that with you? I can.

You've been a good friend. Encouraging and shit. I will back off. This is yours completely. Take my name out of the credits. We don't talk for one month and we'll be cool. Savvy? Just don't lie to me, and just don't tell me you trust me. That I should do whatever I want because you believe.


So. 'Becoming'?

How this for kicks?


'... Worried'

'... Indifferent'

'... Disinterested'

'... Jaded'

'Becoming... Bent over and fucked up the ass. By the people I believed in and trusted.'


More Nature

Close But No Cigar
Originally uploaded by Terz.

In the meantime, while I make plans for the next couple of weeks before I leave for Japan, more images from the two days on Ubin.

Originally uploaded by Terz.

Banal because we've seen too many shots like this one. What can I say? Feeling disinpired, listless, out of it. Like a father who discovers too late that his favourite child is an illegitimate one of his wife's lover. I think I need time alone with my thoughts. Away from everything I do on a day-to-day basis. That sabbatical I should have taken all those months ago would have come in useful now.

Originally uploaded by Terz.

A favourite scene of mine. A revisitation of the same shot I took with the 10D when I first got that camera. This one was shot with the white balance set on Tungsten. Kinda like the hues it brought out:

Sunset Redux
Originally uploaded by Terz.

And in the same vein:

Originally uploaded by Terz.

Originally uploaded by Terz.

Very brave cats.

Shedding One's Tools
Originally uploaded by Terz.

Yesterday's filming was at a farm on Ubin where people can rent out a space in the owner's gardens to camp out and have barbecues. Quite an interesting concept. I guess the tourist industry has finally made some headway on the island after all. I hope it doesn't develop too quickly. Ubin has its charms. It has things to offer people who feel a certain way about nature, people who want to get away from the city as much as possible. Turning it into another tourist trap doesn't help the people on the island: you drive away the people who love the island for what it is, you draw the people who don't appreciate that, but who have money to spend. The islanders will change, the island will change.

Faded Fortune 1
Originally uploaded by Terz.

And in that, I'll have one more reason to want to leave this place. For good.

Faded Fortune 2
Originally uploaded by Terz.

Originally uploaded by Terz.

Faded Fortune 3
Originally uploaded by Terz.