Archive for the Out and About Category

At twenty

Posted in Out and About on December 13, 2010 by Eugene

“At twenty we travel to discover ourselves, at thirty for love, at forty out of greed and curiosity, at fifty for a revelation” –Cyril Connolly

Just had to stop the car and take a picture of the landscape I would like to live in for a while…for something

These crustaceans

Posted in Out and About on June 8, 2008 by Eugene

Have you ever seen such an enormous mouth-watering crab? I’m not the sort to take pictures of food, but this certainly took the cake! Thankfully I was with small eaters Jason and Jong Yann, and I could relish a large proportion of this crab all to myself. The place: Mellben Crab at Blk 232, Ang Mo Ko Ave 3.

Hail to the crab, which like the lobster, doesn’t bark and knows the secret of the sea…

Anyhow, while eating this (since Jason was concentrating on his plate), I was also thinking of Eliot’s phrase from “Love Song of Alfred J Prufock”, where there is a famous mention of a sea creature: “I should have been a pair of ragged claws / Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.”  But do these claws refer to a crab or lobster? or neither? The academic brouhaha about the image is a real hoot. Just read the following:

Claude Rawson, professor of English at Yale University: “I think it’s almost certain that Eliot was thinking of a crab. After all, the poem invokes Prince Hamlet, who once spun a crab metaphor of his own: ‘For you yourself, sir, should be as old as I am–if, like a crab, you could go backward.’

Richard Poirier, eminent literary critic, insists lobster: “crabs are endowed only with rudimentary claws, when they have them at all,” and concluded that “these are most likely the claws specifically of a Maine lobster.

Louis Menand, professor of English at the CUNY Graduate Center: Definitely lobster. Crab claws are too prehensile anyway for the sexual misery ‘Prufrock’ means to evoke and not nearly funny enough. (I could never have guessed, Prof) Lobster claws are a witty variation on Tennyson’s super-eroticized hands in In Memoriam: swollen with longing but clumsy and vaguely mutant, desiring but undesired.

Positively hilarious, all this much ado about a crab!

Boots made for walking

Posted in Out and About on April 1, 2008 by Eugene

Here’s a bare-bones lesson in simplicity and direction:

Don’t ask for the true story

Why do you need it?

 Its not what I set out with

or what I carry

What I’m sailing with,

A knife, blue fire, 

luck, a few good words

that still work,

and the tide. 

 –Margaret Atwood

And did I mention that I also need my costly new pair of Aldo shoes to get me there too? 😉

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Just a lil’ reminiscing…

Posted in Out and About on January 13, 2008 by Eugene

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Man, I miss Leeds and the UK. We were given special treatment at Elland Road because evidently, the club organizers were surprised to see “asians” still supporting the once high-flying club. You’re very welcome, LUFC! Though I had to wear a Leeds scarf to blanket my true Liverpool loyalties.

Everything was perfect in Leeds. Close to home ie. York, Good Hotel and bathtubs, good shopping, (nice lingerie along the window aisles), good Chinese food, great company except for the snoring etc. Now if only I owned a concord to take me back every weekend… Sigh.

The Rock and Sole Plaice

Posted in Out and About on January 1, 2008 by Eugene

Winston Churchill called Fish and Chips “the good companions”. With good reason. London’s oldest and best F & C eatery is named the Rock and Sole Plaice, a true bastion for all chippies and hungry travelers.

It’s run by Cyprean Fishermen and the haddocks and cods are wonderfully battered to perfection. Haddock is slightly larger than a cod and its meat is more delicate. More sweet. The key to perfection here, or so I read, is the proportion of batter to fish. So overpuffed batter which makes the fish look larger are nasty ploys by nasty restaurants (so now you know, but nothing of that sort here).

They’re all cooked in peanut oil, which makes them marginally healthier than the standard Fish and Chips. But for the skeptic, take a look at this picture and decide if it’s worth a trek to 47 Endell Street near Covent Gardens.

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Pork scandals

Posted in Out and About on January 1, 2008 by Eugene

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Though the English have mastered the art of pre-packaged microwaveable food (Any Marks and Spencers food package is a treat), their country still brims with meat: Steak and ale pies, goose fats, matured beef, pork pasties with mint and vinegar. Here, in Leeds market, I’m dazzled by the range of well-hung meat sold by these well-hung butchers. The Chinese would be envious…Here’s a poem I was reminded of when I was at this particular butchery:

The butcher carves veal for two.
The cloudy, frail slices fall over his knife.
His face is hurt by the parting sinews
and he looks up with relief, laying it on the scales.
He is a rosy young man with white eyelashes
Like a bullock. He always serves me now.
I think he knows about my life. How we
prefer to eat in when it’s cold. How someone
with a foreign accent can only cook veal.
He writes the price on the grease-proof jacket
and hands it to me courteously. His smile
is the official seal on my marriage.

–Hugo Williams

England, oh England…

Posted in Out and About on December 12, 2007 by Eugene

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There are many versions of England; a land of watercolours rather than oils, miniatures rather than monuments. Take George Santayana’s vision for example,

England is pre-eminently a land of atmosphere…charming, clement and eminently inhabitable, it is almost too domestic, as if only home passions and caged souls could live there. But lift the eyes for a moment above the line of roofs or treetops, and there the grandeur you miss on the earth is spread gloriously before you

The vision partially coincides with mine, but these are the things I remember best about England from 4 years back…

In England, I’ve felt happiest reading Titus Andronicus in my cold, cosy room in Wentworth College, while the drizzle peters down my window pane, and I’d just come back from a Chinese New Year dinner at Netherpoppleton.

I loved my walks around York’s Roman walls after my day trip to Scarborough, a town I’ve held a special fondness for…By a squint of memory, I also remember my walks to town, to Halifax College and James, Alcuin, Derwent College, savouring the cold. There’s also something about the wind that gets to you too. It’s so quiet in England, there are no vehicle noises at night especially and the desolation makes it easy to exaggerate the person you are. The devout pray, the literary-minded get more literary, the lonely get lonelier, sometimes fatally. Though the telephone rings sometimes to remind me that I’m no island.

And though my affair with her is as torrid as a short-lived tryst, I’ve never felt happier before than when I was in England. How different would things be if I stayed on?