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Friday, 28 October 2005

Calorific


His Royal Orangeness Karl Willem throws the first party of the term..

Ashley's departure from Middle Earth means there is one less chef in my social network so last Tuesday, it was Clinton's cooking audition as well as the first party at my place for the term. Dinner consisted of chicken (which I scored fresh from the covered market) in white wine sauce, green pesto pasta, greek salad (Lila), and the mandatory tapas. I blackmailed Edna to bring some Italian pecorino cheese (or else, Cousin Salvatore will pay her a "visit"). As expected, Lourdes promoted her country's new world wine (South Africa) and Paulo brought Spanish Cerveza (actually San Miguel which was brewed in Barcelona...). Everyone agreed that Clinton passed his cooking test as the chicken was excellent.

Wednesday, I invited fellow adventurer Henry Winstanley and his lovely wife for dinner and port at Brasenose. We sat at high table because Henry does not sit at the normal tables with the "unwashed" masses. ("Unwashed" is of course a term of affection that refers to undergraduates). As an interesting side note, I was sat next to a girl named "Felicity". Hmm, no crystal ball could have predicted that.


HRO Karl Willem looks dapper as we prepare to host dinner for some close friends

HRO Karl Willem presides over High Table Dinner at Brasenose.

Friday morning and I got a particularly vitriolic email. Apparently I missed Catherine's birthday last Monday. I nearly joined Tom's Church of Scientology when me and my dyslexia put down Catherine's birthday on my diary as "turning 24 on the 26th" when it should have been "turning 26 on the 24th". D'uh! I then realized that hey, I actually chopped two years off her age! She should be thanking me for that! Using my far evolved reasoning skills, she forgave me and so Friday night I joined her and other friends for sinful ice cream at Middle Earth's best ice cream shop....

HRO Karl Willem and the Moo-nalisa at G & D's

Hmmm, it's kinda late for that when one is seated on the throne isn't it?

Tuesday, 25 October 2005

Stay Away From the Light


Mmmmmmmm.......Trance heaven...

I have not visited Middle Earth's Modern Art Museum for some time (A lot of modern art is actually rubbish) but when I finally did I was lucky that Angela Bulloch's installation was quite mesmerising. Orbs and 'pixel' cubes which changed in intensity and colour and was set to trance music. If you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, stay away from this exhibit. I was sober when I came in but I was quickly stoned.

Depending on one's psychological make-up these orbs can quickly conjure up many images in the head.

Imagine how many "The Ring"-like long-haired women can come out from this installation...

After the visual feast, came aural stimulation. These drums could be heard from a mile away. I suddenly was hungry....don't cannibals normally play the drums when they are about to throw the hapless hero/heroine into a boiling pot?......It's just strange how the neurons in my brain are firing....Drums = Hungry...

A quick walk home and I noticed how autumn has arrived...(Still hearing that Drum sound....still hungry.....)

What magic can I quickly make in the kitchen to silence the grumbling stomach......

In 15 minutes, I managed to cook Spaghetti with garlic and oil topped with Parmesan cheese....hmmm...Buono! Buono! Bon Apetito!

Saturday, 22 October 2005

Cinema Hounds


His Royal Orangeness Karl Willem and Gromit all dressed up for the premiere of "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit". Gromit joined Team Karl Willem two years ago....

Went to see some claymation goodness from Aardman Studios which took them 5 years in the making. "Wallace and Gromit" is groundbreaking because rather than depicting canines as dumb (relative to cats), it's Gromit, the dog, who actually keeps the ship afloat. I liked the many classic movie references as well as the dry wit and sarcasm. It reminded me so much of my childhood. It's also a nice touch that they left the finger prints on the clay models.

An actual set from the movie which I was fortunate enough to view in London weeks before I saw the movie..

I went to London for the weekend to take a stroll, watch an exhibit at the Science Museum, and to attend a Flipinoy dinner party hosted by Bobi (who is a fashion director at Harrod's. Bobi once sent me out of a room as one of his pretty models was about to try on a corsette. I reasoned that I'm used to female nudity and I didn't mind but he wouldn't hear any of it. It turned out to be for my good as some models have unimaginable B.O. I certainly would have minded!....There, the backstage secrets of the catwalk exposed....). Anywho, abs-frigging-cbn was taking footage of the party and I did my best to stay away from camera range.

I would like to meet these dogs. Could they be in robocop-like gear? Woof! Woof!

I'm such a geek. I love the Science Museum. In fact, I love that blue Saab car, I might need to reconvene the Nashman's Eleven for another heist......

Again, I'm such a geek. (Ok, a normal geek. I do NOT speak Klingon). I came specifically to see the Spitfire exhibit. Perhaps it's an overlooked fact that during WWII, women actually assembled these fine specimens of engineering. (Again, I am NOT hawkish, I like planes for the science that goes into designing them, NOT the bombs they carry...)

I had lunch at the Deep Blue Cafe. Nice concept, but the backlit tables can actually make you woozy.

Greenfield's Cafe

Before going to the Flipinoy party, I actually found time to visit South Kensington for afternoon coffee and ensconced myself in a cozy nook at Greenfield's Cafe. Another recipient of HRO Karl Willem's "Best Places to Have Real Coffee". It would have been a great coffee experience except for this girl who sat next to me and kept using the word "like" more than twice in one sentence. (You know, it's like, a surreal experience, like, me enjoying my coffee then, like this girl comes, and like, speaks, like, every sentence, like, ends, like a question?) The cafe noir was good but I can't stand someone, no matter how pretty they are, who can use "like" as an adjective, noun, verb, preposition, interjection, and curse all in one sentence. I might as well have my coffee at the Ateneo or Assumption cafeteria if I wanted to hear such drivel.

Thursday, 13 October 2005

Wizard School Resumes

The Brasenose Scarf - so much better than Lincoln (ie. Slytherin) College's
I should stop with the Harry Potter references, after all, my beloved college is in the greatest square in Middle Earth which inspired some of the imagery for Tolkien's world. The new students have arrived, I am very pleased and compliment the Principal for admitting only pretty students (as in Elven Liv Tyler Pretty). I can only say the opposite for Lincoln College as going there feels like being in a big Uruk-Hai convention.
New talents line up for the traditional matriculation photo..(The dome of the Radcliffe Camera is Sauron's Temple to Morgoth). Photo courtesy of JR. For more beautiful Brasenose imagery visit http://mordor.bnc.ox.ac.uk
Say Cheese. I have developed a crush on one of the undergraduates. Maybe that's one reason I'm getting a few pimples..... Photo courtesy of JR at Mordor

On the domestic front, Jo has been bunking in my room for two weeks since she got kicked out of the savannah that is St. Hilda's College. It's amazing how much stuff she has, my room looked like a FedEx/UPS sorting station. Fortunately, she's off to Copenhagen soon. (Now, get this, she's flying to Denmark using a Brazilian Airline!?! Typical of a Hildabeast to choose a flight so that she could boy-watch. I warn her that not all Brazilian men are models. In fact I prayed that she'd be in a flight full of fat, balding, and intoxicated old men). Helping her pack, I realized that I also had so much stuff (how on earth did I end up with 30 ties? and in what century was I able to wear waistline 28 pants???) so I did some room cleaning and purged a lot of non-essential items. I want a semi-minimalist room. I think I'm getting there.

I spend a whooping 40% of my life here....(ok, occasionally I sleep on the floor)

This painting was a going away present from Stella. We don't know who did it but I hope it's by someone famous so I can sell it on ebay.....

Tuesday, 11 October 2005

Henpit

I only realised that the Demi Lune Cafe was a date place when I sat down and found that all tables were set for two and the couples that occupied them were in amorous states of pda. At this moment, the world around me moved in slow motion and I entered the so-called "bad-dream sequence" where the faces of the people around me morphed into a kaleidoscope, each facet containing one person in mock laughter. Oh well, maybe I could win a friend by sharing a seat should a single girl dare come in...but today I was unlucky, no such girl in shining armour came to rescue me from blessed-singleness.

For the afternoon I went to see Geneve's Egyptian collection at the museum, among other things. They had Amun-Re's Book of the Dead and for the first time in my life, I set off the alarms as I leaned to get a closer "look". I totally missed the motion sensors! Now, I know a thing or two about motion sensors having built one myself but this was the works (that, or I was getting sloppy). Thankfully, I was not Stateside, and no special forces came to shoot me down. I apologised to the pretty curator who briefly peeked from the doorway, but saw no need to come in, and returned my smile. (BTW - they were so kind to let me view the collection privately. After all, I was with HRO Karl Willem and we always get the royal treatment). They had one mummy of an archer from the Nile which was well presented. After viewing the rest of the collection (Rodin's "The Thinker", Swiss painters...etc) I sat in a music class. Nevermind that the rest of the students were 6-year olds. It was quite fun being a kid again.

I still had lots of time to kill so off I went to the Parc des Bastions to have cafe noir near the life-sized chessboards. There were lots of pretty girls in the hip cafe, but the chess action was so much more amusing. For every chessplayer, there were at least two 'backseat' drivers. You know, the people who give unsolicited advice and criticise your every move. It makes the game much more interesting....

My late afternoon flight to Gatwick was kinda cool. The pilot was a girl while all the cabin crew were males so I did not pay attention to the pre-flight safety demo (I never do anyway). I heard a lady next to me exclaim that she's been on a couple of flights with this captain and the flight was always smooth. Now what should we call the cockpit then?......

Catching the sun rise behind the French Alps. I shared this view with a jazz musician and we talked about music and photography. Now I know where the good gigs are....

I can't leave Geneve without doing some groceries. The advantage of not having a girlfriend is that I have the chocolates all to myself. I went to Patek Philippe and Jaeger LeCoultre to see the latest lines. With my current status as a student, it would take me 10 years to buy a tourbillon watch....but then again I can probably deal drugs or become a gigolo and maybe I can cut it down to two years......

Antique bookshops carry many nice surprises.... including 19th century porn..

HRO Karl Willem outside Les Musees d'art et d'histoire (Art & History Museum).

Watching the endgame. That green building is the trendy Cafe du Parc des Bastions which gets an HRO Karl Willem "Best Places to Have Real Coffee" Award. The last time I played chess was when I was 10 so I was a bit slow in giving 'backseat driver' advice. In fact, it probably cost my new friend the game....I nearly forgot I had a plane to catch, but such is my trust in Swiss Time that I left the city center 4:50pm, walked casually to the train station and easily caught my 5:30 boarding. When I got to the airport, it was a 'self-service' check-in via a touch-screen lcd....quite boring as you can't tell check-in jokes to a machine ("No, I do not have my own luggage but I met this bearded man and he told me to bring this bag to London...")

As the sun set, I waved goodbye for now.....it was a short but sweet vacation..

HRO Karl Willem, pasalubong bags in tow, gets his own seat on the plane back to middle earth......the female pilot was too good - no turbulence, and a very soft landing. I like having a view of the airplane wings because morbid as it may sound, I like watching the wings buckling and rattling during turbulence. In fact, I quite enjoy flying under turbulence because I could get good sleep.

Monday, 10 October 2005

Raisins

I spent the whole morning in the Old Town - visiting the parks, antique bookshops, touristy spots, and cafe-hopping. It seems odd, but I had another craving for middle eastern food and found myself at a cozy hole in the wall where all the locals seemed to twist their necks toward me in unison as I entered. Just my kind of place! In sign language and pidgin french I ordered lamb (or what I think I said was lamb). Halfway through my lunch, the owner set the other half of my table for two girls who just came in. Really strange, as there were other free tables (I am not making this up). Well, maybe its a Swiss-French "Share a seat, win a friend" sort of thing. It was a surreal lunch as I was updated with the latest 'gossip' on total strangers by people I just met.

I did more walking, cafe-hopping, photography, and people watching in the early afternoon when I realized that the glorious sunshine was too good to waste and off I went to the Bains des Paquis (Public "Turkish" Baths) for a tan-slash-siesta. I ordered a cold drink at the bar and sauntered to the boardwalk and I nearly choked on my drink as I bumped into two crinkly lobster-coloured pensioners. Surely when one is 70, a suntan is unecessary? But then again, maybe like raisins, they wanted to be preserved for eternity. But then I tell myself I'm being rude as we are all going to be old eventually and pensioners have as much right to sunbathe naked in public as anyone. For a monday, the baths and boardwalk were packed. "You lazy gits" I mutter as I looked for a half-shaded spot (how pinoy!). I did not bring sunblock lotion so I dared not expose my birthday suit (I have heard horror stories on how the pleasurable parts can easily get sunburned even with the highest rated sunblock). I played Ruben Gonzalez in my head, did the casual banter with my fellow bathers, complimented the girl next to me on her immaculate tan ("You're very pretty, but with a deeper tan, people will be worshipping the ground you walk on" - I say this in English as any attempt at french will probably end up in disaster), and fell asleep. I woke up refreshed satisfied that I was a darker shade of brown on both sides.

I was going to spend the night at Licel's new flat so off I went to meet her at the market to get mini-party food. Her new place is located right smack on the red light district. Fortunately it's on the fifth floor with a view of the lake. I must admit it was interesting to get a bird's eye-view of the women of pleasure (mostly blonde) as they plied their trade on the street below. We noticed one who was standing for more than one hour and we prayed that she'd get some business soon as it was getting late and cold. Despite being the oldest profession it is, I imagine, very difficult work with high overhead costs. A sigh of relief came as we saw see a car pull up and she got in.

After the hearty dinner, I was amused to find Jerry Springer on tv. A truly trashy talkshow programme which had a hypnotic effect on me....and as I watched, I had this new huge craving for raisins......

Another early walk. His Royal Orangeness Karl Willem at the Jardin Anglais.

HRO Karl Willem at the Jet d'Eau. A biiiiiiiig fountain ejecting 7 tons of water 140m into the air. As a landmark it's very hard to miss.

HRO Karl Willem takes time to smell the flowers at La Roseraie.

HRO Karl Willem enjoying the sun at the Parc de la Grange.

HRO Karl Willem having coffee al fresco at Creperie St. Pierre. Another recipient of "Best Places to Have Real Coffee". It was a great spot to people and dog watch.

The colourful Chapelle des Machabees. I spent an hour admiring the little details.....

The Cathedral St. Pierre . 400 years in the making means it is a Frankenstein of architecture with neoclassical, gothic, and romanesque features.

Looking for a sunbathing spot. Real estate was a premium. I had to tell that guy in a black(!) t-shirt and jeans to take a hike. Seriously, what's his point in lying there all dressed up?
Lazy sunny afternoon. The water was just right for dipping. I am gloriously brown again....

It was nice talking to whatshernameiforgot while the sun's rays bore down on me. I was asleep most of the time and thank God for dark sunglasses that she couldn't tell. Sadly, after a nice siesta in the sun, it was time to go to the market to see what the hunters brought back.

HRO Karl Willem throws a dinner party at Licel's flat. Did a heart attack-inducing lechon kawali. Thankfully, we found some excellent jamon serrano, chorizo de bilbao, and manchego for afterdinner nibbles. It's the good cholesterol party.

Sunday, 9 October 2005

Dog's Day Out

The plumbing system at 4 Rue de Moleson is very un-Swiss. I heard people flushing their nitrogenous waste products all night long. I woke up to a loud rattling noise which could only be described as if a beaver was being shoved inside a rather narrow pipe. Bowel movements aside, it was a cold crisp morning and HRO Karl Willem and I took a walk to the Vielle-Ville (Old Town). It was after all a lazy sunday morning. We explored the old town and joined some medics in selling pastries for their fundraising. We got invited for tea (and an evening concert) by a Swede (HRO Karl Willem is half-Swedish and our newfound Swede friend couldn't hide her surprise in meeting royalty) and just as I was about to say oui, I remembered a lunch date with Licel. I rushed to Quai du Mont Blanc (aptly named because it affords a view of Europe's ceiling - Mont Blanc) where an African-themed party was already in full beat. Licel, me, and HRO Karl Willem had a picnic (8000 calories) then took a short lake cruise, taking in the sights and sounds of Lake Geneva (the Yacht club, comrade Lenin's chalet, Villa Diodati where Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, the Rotschilds' port, etc). We then joined a 5km walk for charity which we tackled in 4 hours, stopping every so often to indulge in the many delicacies being sold by different charitable organizations. True, we had a calorie surplus, eating more than we could burn, but then it was all for charity...

HRO Karl Willem wakes up very early for a morning walk while Geneva was still blanketed by white mist.....ahh, the fog can truly awaken your senses....

HRO Karl Willem humoring the muses of the Grand Theatre

HRO Karl Willem and I had the Old Town all to ourselves.

Jardin de Eden gets listed as one of HRO Karl Willem's "Best Places to Have Real Coffee". We took a loooong breakfast before heading off to Jean-Jacques Rousseau's house, Christie's auction house, Cathedrale St. Pierre, and the Les canons.

HRO Karl Willem paid a courtesy visit to the Consul General

HRO Karl Willem at Hotel de Ville. This is where the Geneva Convention was signed. HRO Karl Willem received a grand welcome from the diplomatic community.

HRO Karl Willem at Place du Bourg-de-four

HRO Karl Willem supports the fundraising activities of the School of Medicine. When HRO Karl Willem appeared, the sales of apple strudel, chocolate cake, and cafe noir more than doubled.

HRO Karl Willem at the lakeside enjoying a slice of cake for his second charity event for the day. A 5km walkathon in support of Terre des Homme.

The Cafe stall Esperanza along the Quai du Mont Blanc provides HRO Karl Willem his caffeine kick.

HRO Karl Willem took a cruise on Lake Geneva, visiting the houses of his Royal friends. We were surprised to learn that on windy days, the waves could reach 7 feet.

It was a chill out day for HRO Karl Willem, me, and Licel. The day was capped with a late coffee at Chateau de Penthes...