Friday, April 30, 2010

Concert - Sichuan Conservatory of Music Orchestra.

This was a real treat. Ning Feng is the first student ever to be given a perfect score (100%) for his final recital as part of his final exam, in the 200 year history of the Royal Academy of Music. His passion for the music was palpable. Video clip is from a concert given in New Zealand.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Working Artist.

New work being prepared for the Fill Your Walls competition.

Every artist's studio has one. A messy area.

Book - The Irregulars.

Putting Eleanor Roosevelt and Roald Dahl in the same space and time seems very unlikely but here it is.  Along with other writers of his day, including Ian flemming,  Roald worked the Washington circuit for British intelligence during the Second World War.  This account of his activeties amongst the American elite reads like a piece of fiction masquerading as non fiction. The claim is also made that the Brits had a hand in setting up what is now know as the CIA.  Imagine!!!!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Film - Mao's last Dancer.

Good story. A real tear maker.   2.5

Concert - Huuun-Hun-Tu

These guys were in town, so we had to go.  They got a standing ovation.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Two years since we left Mongolia by train, crossing Gobi  Desert  to Beijing.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Book - Alpha Beta

By John the Man. Traces the ancestory of the alphabet. All very interesting. But for me the most striking idea from the book are the parallels he draws between the Chinese/Mongolian and the Egyptian/Israelite historical relationships. China and Egypt were settled cultures with writing systems based originally on pictures - Mongolians and the Israelites were a collection of 'barbaric' nomadic tribes to the north, constantly raiding their rich neighbours to the south. Even more striking is that both the Mongolians and the Israelites considered they had a mandate from heaven and both adapted other culture's alphabet writing systems to make tribal unity work. And still after all this accommodation.

I R Nearing Completion.

View from the Esplanade. Looks like a tanker stranded on the YY. Taxi drivers have nick named this destination the YY Hotel. YY in Mandarin means 'not straight, bendy'. There are 5 stories of UNDERGROUND car parks (or should that be underwater car parks!) and the MRT train station will be 10 stories under water!!!!!! That is scary.

The poor Merlion looks smaller and smaller as the buildings get taller and taller.

B & W and Peranakan House progress.

Not quite ready for tea on the terrace but getting there.  If you are wondering,  the plants are strategically positioned to prevent Gek cracking her head on the eaves of the house. 

The front windows are nearing completion.  The milling machine is coming into its own here.  144 2mm diameter holes to drill at 6 mm spacing for the louvres.  Each one will twist open and close.  Magic.  Gek has designs for the below window panels.  Another work of art.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Charlotte and Bridge over Troubled Water


For Charlotte and Domingo follow this link.  Extraordinary.  (Cannot get the code to embed)

Paul Simon - Graceland

I had forgotten this.  Love it.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Book - Leadership Secrets of Genghis Khan.

Book by John, John Man that is. John's starting point is that Genghis is a very rare exception to the Peter Principle: 'in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence'. (Checkout for enlightenment!!) He takes Daniel Goleman's notion of Emotional Intelligence (EI) to measure Genghis leadership qualities to explain why. Not that you need to. I mean, he brought home the bacon, did he not?

So: effective leaders tick 4 positive E.I. indicator boxes out of 18, highly effective leaders 6 +. John considers Genghis ticks a full 15 out of 18. Surrender now!!!

Not only could Genghis out shoot everybody else, he out lead/managed everybody else too.

The Conservatory Orchestra.

This is the home of The Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music student orchestra. Beautiful concert hall on the University campus.   And damn good they are too.  Take a listen at

This week has been unusual in that we have been to three concerts.  But so cheap Lah.  $16 SG for a VIP Box at the Esplanade to hear,

The Conservatory Orchestra
Takuo Yuasa, guest conductor,
Zhang Manchin, viola

Leonore Overture No. 3, Op. 72
Viola Concerto BB. 128
Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Op. 70

Cannot beat it!!!!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Black and White

 This is the design chosen from the book.

Progress.  I still have the front porch and veranda to make.  Nearly had a disaster.  The original design called for the porch and veranda to be a permanent part of the house's main structure.  If I had done that,  the house would never have left the living would have been to big in any direction to go through the door!!  Opps.
Gek has already had delivered lamps and doors.  Grass....grow and all that.

Friday, April 02, 2010

New House - Black and White.

The creative process. Nicked a design from a very nice book on Black and White houses.  From this, 40 + component drawings have been produced.  Not skilled in CAD,  so had to be done with the old fashioned pencil on paper!!!  This house is going to use a lot more bought items in it's construction.  HouseWorks doors for one.

Got the wood cut by a very nice young man in a local cabinet makers workshop.   Picked the wood up Monday,  took this picture Thursday.  Don't mess about,  you know!!!

This house is for Gek.  We can no way afford a real B & W let along afford to live in one.  So this is the nearest we will get to Gek's dream home.  You have to play, isn't it!!!!