Phew for a moment I thought rosietheposie had disappeared from the blogosphere! Time for a revival. But do I actually have the time?..
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Annabel started to say her full name sometime last week, at 29 months. Of course prompting was required initially. It was always difficult to get her to 'act' the part whenever we want to video her. So this video shows her jumping while saying her name. Enjoy!
Annabel Elisha Rajah!
I'm wishin' and hopin' and thinkin' and prayin'.. plannin' and dreamin'..
We can only do so much but God decides.
Whatever happens, we will definitely make the best of it.
Whatever will be, will be, for God knows best!
Monday, August 23, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
As the title says it, this bihun was cooked using the basic ingredients of the chap chye dish. This is my second bihun attempt. The first was a 'disaster' and from there I learnt that hubby likes his with some colour! Since he likes taucheo-based dishes, I surely cannot go wrong with this! His verdict: so much better than the first time.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
One day in 1820 Lord Geoffroy Loveall, the fey, neurotic heir to the richest estate in Britain, traverses the capital on a pointless errand from his mother. At the foot of a putrid, mountainous rubbish tip he spots a dog carrying a ragged bundle in its mouth. On an inexplicable, uncharacteristic whim, he sends his manservant to investigate. Inside the rags they find a human baby. Lord Geoffroy decides to adopt it and bring it up as his own. He will call it Dolores, after his beloved little sister killed some two dozen years earlier in a fall from a tree. Dolores will be his heir, the next Lady Loveall. There is only one difficulty with his plan. The baby is a boy.
Misfortune, Wesley Stace's first novel, is the story of that boy. Renamed Rose, he is brought up by his doting father and Anonyma Wood, the Love Hall librarian, whom he has married for the purpose. Though she connives at her husband's wilful delusion out of consideration for his fragile wits, Anonyma has in any case contracted a metaphysical passion for androgyny from Mary Day, a visionary poetess she studies obsessively. Innocent of the machinations that surround and support him, Rose enjoys a blissful childhood. It's after that that the trouble starts.
Despite its setting, a glorious facsimile dustjacket, and the rich Gothic potential of the material, Misfortune is no kind of 19th-century novel, not even a pastiche. Conversant with the scientific principles of psychology, from unconscious sabotage through "gender roles" all the way to "conflicted feelings", Lord Rose is a creation as anachronistic as he is anomalous.
Structurally, too, the book is flexible and free. The opening chapter - the best, in many ways - is a vigorous, omniscient narrative (by God, as Rose afterwards explains) which takes the viewpoint of Pharaoh, the autistic boy sent out to dump the baby. In the second, God switches viewpoints to Lord Geoffroy's own, to relate his momentous discovery and its immediate effects. After that, we descend into a memoir dictated by Rose himself in old age, though even that will be interrupted, when he collapses in Turkey, by an excerpt from the journal of the archaeologist's daughter who nurses him back to health.
Chapter by chapter, twist after twist, Stace conducts a rationalist, secular study of sexual politics, of the glory and the grief of enforced transvestism. Though many incidents of his life are dismissed with the baldest summary, the successive formative sexual crises of the boyhood of Lord Rose are described in detail that is explicit, not to say excitable. A great deal of straddling takes place. Skirts, his own and others', are teasingly hitched up before being defiantly hoisted. Few novels can have devoted so much attention, or so much sympathy, to the anguish of erection to a young man alienated from his own penis.
Born in Hastings, resident in Brooklyn, Stace is also a professional musician, performing as John Wesley Harding. There is something musical, almost symphonic, about the sweep of his novel, its single-minded pursuit of themes through sections strongly distinct in mood and approach. He clearly knows several albums' worth of ballads about young women dressed as men, and enough associated folktales and classical myths for a thesis in anthropology. In a sense, it's these old tales that are to blame for the book's one catastrophic flaw, which is the thumping great coincidence that you start to foresee somewhere around page 35. "Surely he wouldn't," you think; and then, with a growing sense of dread: "Surely he won't." But he would, and a great meal he makes of it when he finally does.
Coincidence, as a plot device, is absolutely fundamental to the dynamics of ballad and folktale. It's a device that Shakespeare and Dickens were happy to perpetuate. But Misfortune isn't a ballad, or an Elizabethan play, or a popular novel of the 19th century. It's a novel of 2005. It wears its liberal political conscience on its sleeve. It engages boldly, even polemically, with the forces of social oppression and sexual repression. And coincidences like this one make the world seem suddenly very much less various and capacious, not more.
You may not like to admit it, but I'm certain you have them, too: those subjects which when approaching a book - no matter how interesting the novelist, how well-regarded the novel - can't help but make your heart sink, even though you know they shouldn't. I'm not sure I could bear another American civil war novel, especially ones written by white southerners about other white southerners who treated their slaves really well. Ditto tragic coming-of-age stories set during Northern Ireland's Troubles, and I'm afraid middle-class New York post-9/11 tales are also working their way off the menu.
Had I even known there was such a thing as a ventriloquist novel, I might have put it top of the list. Ventriloquists are even creepier than clowns; men who dress their id up as a green duck in a nappy or a Parkinson-biting emu? Surely a novel about them could only be a Hammer-style horror show. Yet lo and behold, here's Wesley Stace's overcrowded but entertaining By George, about ventriloquists and their "boys" (the term they prefer to "dummy"), and it manages to be touching and engrossing rather than just disconcertingly odd.
Evie Fisher, aka Echo Endor, and her "boy" Narcissus are grand stars of the pre-second world war variety stage. Voted Ventriloquist of the Year three times in a row, Evie doesn't quite put the "evil" in vaudeville, but she's still imperious, demanding and entirely controlling of her son Joe. He's working on a different sort of voice-throwing act, but Echo buys him a "boy" called George anyway, more or less forcing him to follow in her footsteps.
In 1973, meanwhile, 11-year-old George Fisher, Joe's grandson and named after his dummy, is bewilderingly packed away to boarding school. His mother Frankie took up the vaudeville life of her family and tours the country in pantos or farces with titles like Exit, Pursued Bare. George is used to travelling with her and grandmother Queenie and is mystified to be sent away, unsure even how the fees are being paid.
He grows lonely, and when his great-grandmother Evie dies, George begins to pore over the books left to him in her bequest, books written by his grandfather Joe that hint at the powers of ventriloquism and reveal family secrets that George starts to wish he'd never learnt. Joe, it seems, fled from his marriage to Queenie and into Ensa, the second world war troop-entertainment organisation, performing his act on the frontlines and dying a hero in Italy, though not before falling in love with someone entirely surprising.
These overlapping stories sound confusing, and they often are, especially because the second world war storyline seems to be narrated by none other than Joe's dummy George. Puppet George even falls in love himself with a beautiful female dummy (a "girl"?) called Belle. But there is more to be revealed, probably too much, as the last section takes a less energetic detour into living, breathing George's own parentage and depressive illness.
Stace is the real name of the folk-singer John Wesley Harding, and this is his second novel since Misfortune, a gender-bending Victorian tale that was longlisted for the Guardian first book award. Stace's grandfather was a real Ensa ventriloquist, and the materials are a rich bouquet that needs more space to breathe. In a country where short works are given primacy, it may seem a peculiar criticism to say that By George could benefit from another 100 pages. Stace, though, is a Victorian novelist at heart and clearly yearns for a bigger canvas. But there's still good fun to be had, smart set-pieces, and ultimately proof that a novel about ventriloquists needn't be at all creepy.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Interior deco pt two.