They Can’t Take That Away From Me: the Fiction (part 2)

The Invitation: Timm’s story

“The way you smile just beams
the way you sing off-key
the way you haunt my dreams”

The driver politely told me that we were at terminal 3. I told him to drive around first since I had an important email to reply.
I didn’t. I was just surprised to see Jade’s name in my inbox. I hadn’t heard from her in years. Of course I blamed this whole grown-up world where I have to be either on the plane flying somewhere, in a meeting, lobbying some hard-to-meet politicians and have to be home for my girlfriend in weekends.

From: Jade
To: Timm
Subject: just open it will ya

Hallo Timm,
Wie geht’s?2
Gee, I had to open translate Google for that very simple ‘How are you’!  Can you believe it? Well, I’m sure you can believe it.
The last time I met you my German was non-exist, why should it get better now that I live in London. (Yes, I’ve been living in London for a year now, you arrogant bastard who actually live less than three-hour flight from me and never reply my email. Wow it feels so good to actually say that!)

I know that you’re still an important Sales Director for some big name company (I know that you’re still very much handsome) and hence you’re busy. I’m not asking lots of your precious time. Now, you see that little tiny attachment icon in the corner (or is it the bottom?) of this page? You gotta click it, as in now, jetzt.  It’s my wedding invitation. Enjoy reading it.  And don’t forget the RSVP. The bride to be needs to set up the seating arrangement.

Please please please come, Timmo.
Ich vermisse dich so sehr3. (I’ll make sure something Barry White will be playing in the reception)


I knew now how Julia Robert’s character’s felt in My Best Friend’s Wedding when she learned that the guy is marrying Cameron D. I was glad that I was not standing up when I read that email. Even so, I felt disoriented I didn’t know where I was. Only after reading it several times did I realize I was supposed to be at the airport terminal checking in to my flight back to Hamburg. Out of habit I tipped the driver generously, silently praying that he wouldn’t tell anyone in the branch office that Timm Neumann had an awkward moment with him.

My flight from Singapore to Hamburg was a little bit more than 16 hours. How much sleep did I get during this flight? Nil.  Der Flugbegleiter4 was kind enough to never let my drink get empty and let my mind do their wander.

If there was one thing I thought I can be certain of, it was that Jade remain single until she was at least 40. It is so unlike her that she is marrying some guy in her 30s. There’s no picture of him in the wedding invitation but I am sure I’m better in the looks department than him. How do I know? Because Jade wrote that I’m handsome. Oh but Jade is always good with words with the guys.

We met in a remote place in Northern Thailand in our early 20s during an international volunteer camp. Her outgoing personality and her laugh attracted me. The icing on the cake: she was easy on the eyes too. We were inseparable during the camp; it was the best time in my life. She didn’t have time to maintain a serious relationship at her age, she told me when the end of the camp was approaching. She had to be more serious in pursuing her degree in journalism. We promised that we would keep in touch, though.

We did keep that promise. We always met 2-3 times year for 4 years. She even travelled to Germany to visit me twice! Optimist (and good-looking guy if I may add) that I am, I somehow knew that she would eventually follow what her heart would tell her and be with me. For that reason, I always made sure that I was always single at least a month before and after our holiday together.

And Barry White, we love him so much. We could sing every song perfectly from any singer, but for our love to Mr. Barry White, we always sang off-key (except for the obviously sing-able part like “Let the music play”5).  We know Barry White’s lyrics by heart and we applied it in our daily lives (Example: a friend asked me if Bali was THE place to go, I’d reply by singing “satisfaction guaranteed6”. Followed rolled eyes were inevitable). When we were together it was crazier. We were stuck in 1970 disco music in the 2000s. Those were good old days, the post graduate days. I blame my grown up world for losing her.

I’ll make sure something Barry White will be playing in the reception.
Well Jade, I’ll make sure I’ll come to your wedding. I’ll come to dance to Barry White’s song and of course to really see what kind of guy is this William that you’re marrying.

Note :
2. How are you doing?
3. I miss you very much
4. The flight attendant
5. Let the music play. Album : Let the music play. 1976.
6. Come On. Album : The Icon is Love. 1995

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Posted by on December 3, 2011 in Dating & its nitty gritty, Fiction, Music


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They Can’t Take That Away From Me: the Fiction (part 1)

The Facebook Chat: Chris’s story

“the way you wear hat
the way you sip your tea”
“Do you remember Jade?” I asked my wife
“The one who lives overseas and always moves away? The one you often lose track of?”, she replied.
“She’s in London now. We just chatted over FB. She’s getting married in July”
“Good for her”
“She’s inviting us. She knows we’ll be in London in July for my sister’s graduation”
“How does she know?”
“Well, I told her”
“So are we going to her wedding?”
“Yes, of course. Why shouldn’t we?” I replied, “She’ll be sending the actual invitation next month”

My wife then gave me a lecture about the importance of discussing important matter with your spouse.
She’s like that, my wife. She thinks that going to London a week earlier is “something important”.  She must be thinking about the extra expense for the UK trip. I know that she’s been eyeing a new handbag from some designer whose brand is difficult to pronounce (and with a more difficult to digest price tag on it).

The lecture continued into our bedroom right up our bed time. She now thinks that “something important” is related to going all to London to attend a wedding of a woman she hardly knows, a woman who doesn’t mean anything to us.
“She’s not even your best friend right, Sayang1?” she asked me.
I turned off the night lamp above my head and closed my eyes.

The image of Jade is more vivid with my eyes closed. She’s not my best friend alright, but I always wish I were one of hers.
I have adored that gal ever since we went out hiking together my junior year (her freshman year) in university.  She was still the only gal on that 3-day trip and she really amazed me. She didn’t complain despite the trail we picked out was pretty hard for a petite girl like her. She was a great cook – she put other stuffs when cooking the instant noodle so it didn’t only taste like MSG and fake chicken flavor. And she made good tea.

Ha ha ha, the tea thing. She is a tea-lover and made a fuss in making and drinking it.
She snapped at me the first time I drank her tea, “That’s not how you drink MY tea. My tea should be sipped, not gulped down. Can’t you be a classier guy?”
She then showed me how HER tea should be drunk.

Jade had never dated anyone exclusively before that hiking trip (yes, I did some thorough research) and alas, not after the hiking trip either. We went out to movies and concerts a couple of times but nothing happened afterward. I thought she’d fall for me, but no. I was just one of her many “victims”.  She pointed out to me after one late jazz concert that I am one of her go-to guys. A guy she could really count on. Damn. And I thought she with all the charms could be my something special.

Well, after all I guess she’s right. I’m her go-to guy. She could really count on me coming to her wedding despite my wife’s complain.

Note : 1. Sayang : darling

==to be continued to THE WAY YOU WEAR YOU HEART : The fiction (part II)

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Posted by on December 3, 2011 in Dating & its nitty gritty, Fiction, Music


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Casablanca (1942) : As Time Goes By

When you're watching a movie produced by Warner Bros, do you notice the melody plays as Warner Bros logo appears on the screen? Yes, those 13 notes belong to As Time Goes By. The main soundtrack from the film Casablanca.

Casablanca Poster

As time goes by, when I'm asked what's my favorite old movie I always reply -not The Sound of Music given how musical I am -, "Casablanca". It was made in 1942 with great stars like Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart.

Basically it is a normal romantic film. What makes it so extra-ordinary is the ending. It doesn't have a usual happy ending a la current Hollywood films. It makes the film is even more 'real'.

Setting in Casablanca in 1941 with NAZIS, Italian and Vichy French soldiers, we get a war-film impression. But with the bar and the people who are at the bar (may it be the singers, the bartender, Sam the pianist) and the jokes makes the military people less frightening. Come Ilsa Lund as Rick's old lover in Paris onto the screen, and I'm in love with the film. And alas that beautiful woman is married to the Hungarian activist.

The lines in this film, some of them are touching ("I wish I didn't love you so much"), some of them are darn funny ("Ten watch"), but most of them are smart – you have to watch it, really.

Anyways, I am so impressed that a man can fly to a safer place than Casablanca with the woman he was once in love, but then he'd rather stay in Casablanca and let the woman's husband fly with her. The line in this scene is one of my favorite lines ever, "If that plane leaves the ground and you're not with him, you'll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life." I personally think this scene makes this film great.

Note : Just in case you're renting this film, beside popcorn please prepare a box of tissue.

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Posted by on November 29, 2011 in Dailies, Uncategorized


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Quotes from How I Met Your Mother Season 1

Future Ted: Kids, I’m going to tell you an incredible story. The story of how I met your mother
(Pilot, S01e01)

Future Ted: Because that, kids, is the true story, of how I met your Aunt Robin.
Son: Aunt Robin?
Daughter: I thought this was about how you met mom!
Future Ted: Will you relax? I’m getting to it. Like I said it’s a long story
(Pilot, S01e01)

Marshall: Alright, we threw two parties. Everybody had fun. Everybody wanged, everybody chunged. Now the kid has got to get to work, and the kid is not to be disturbed. Repeat after me, “I will not have sex with Marshall”.
Lily & Ted: I will not have sex with Marshall
(Purple Giraffe, S01e02)

Barney: I bet nobody in history has ever licked the Liberty Bell. If someone were to pull that off, I daresay it would be – what’s the word? LEGENDARY
(Sweet Taste of Liberty, S01e03)

Robin: So, I’m not going to jeopardize my promotion by saying “booger” for 50 bucks.
Barney: Of course not. Because now you’re saying “nipple”, and it’s a hundred. [motions with finger] Step into my web.
(Return of the Shirt, S01e04)

Marshall: Dude, what’s Krav Maga ?
Ted: I have no idea. Some kind of yoga ?
(Return of the Shirt, S01e04)

Future Ted: Turns out Krav Maga is not a kind of yoga. It’s a form of gorilla street fighting developed by the Israeli army.
(Return of the Shirt, S01e04)

Robin: Because tonight, I am getting us all into “Okay”.
Barney: “Okay” !? Awesome !!
Ted: What’s going on, did I just have a stroke ?
Barney: “Okay” is the name of a club. Yeah, it’s supposed to be incredibly exclusive. This friend of mine once waited outside for two hours, he couldn’t get in.
Ted: A friend of yours named you ?
Barney: No… a friend of mine named, shut up.
(Okay Awesome, S01e05)

Ted: What ? What happened to that, uh, cutlet you were grinding with ?
Barney: That was my cousin, Leslie.
Ted: (laughs) What ?!
Barney: No, no, no… we are not laughing about this, Ted. This is not going to be some funny story that we’ll be telling in a couple months. It’s not gonna be like, “Hey, remember that time when you were grinding with… NO ! And you know why ? Because, italics, this night did not happen. And you promise me that you will never, ever, ever tell another soul what transpired here tonight. You promise. Promise
(Okay Awesome, S01e05)

Ted: I was at this Halloween party up on the roof of our building. I’m about to call it an early night when out of nowhere appeared this girl in the sexiest pumpkin costume.
Robin: Wait, how can a pumpkin costume be sexy?
Ted: It was carved in strategic places.
Ted: So, uh, we’re at the bar and I see her mix kahlua…
Lily: Kahlua and root beer
Marshall: A cocktail she invented herself.
Ted: And she…
Barney: And she called it the Tootsie Roll.
Lily, Marshall, Barney: Because it tastes like an alcoholic Tootsie Roll.
Ted: Hey, can I please tell this story? So we had this instant connection. She gave me her number, but then something…
Marshall, Lily, Barney: Something went terribly wrong.
Ted: Guys! Something went terribly wrong.
(S01e06 Slutty Pumpkin)

Robin: How do you do this, Ted? How do you sit out here all night on the roof in the cold and still have faith your pumpkin’s gonna show up.
Ted: Well, I’m pretty drunk. Look, I know that odds are the love of my life isn’t going to magically walk through that door in a pumpkin costume at 2:43 in the morning but it seems as nice a spot as any to just, you know, sit and wait.
(S01e06 Slutty Pumpkin)

Robin: So what was it, a cockroach or a mouse?
Lily: It was a cockamouse!
Robin: What?
Lily: It’s some sort of mutant combination of the two. It’s as if a cockroach and a mouse, you know…
Barney: Did the horizontal, ten-legged, interspecies cha-cha?
(S01e07 Matchmaker)

Ellen: You I can work with. You give me three days and I will find the woman you will marry.
Ted: Ah, no thanks. I don’t need an algorithm to meet women. It’s New York City. You know, plenty of fish in the sea.

Ellen: Plenty of fish in the sea. Yes, there’s 9 million people in New York, 4.5 million women. Of course you wanna meet someone roughly your own age, let’s say, plus minus 5 years. So if we take into account the most recent census data, that leaves us with 482,000. But, uh, wait, 48% of those are already in relationships and then you have to eliminate half for intelligence, sense of humor and compatibility and then you have to take out the ex-girlfriends and the relatives and oh, we can’t forget those lesbians and then that leaves us with 8 women.
Ted: That can’t be right. Eight? Really, eight?
Ellen: There are 8 fish in that big, blue ocean, Ted. And if you feel confident that you can reel one into your boat without me, there’s the door.
Ted: Do you take credit cards?
(S01e07 Matchmaker)

Barney: I realized what the world of dating needs. Ready? A lemon law.
Robin: A lemon law, like for cars.
Barney: Exactly. From the moment the date begins you have five minutes to decide whether you’re going to commit to an entire evening. And if you don’t, it’s no hard feelings just good night, thanks for playing, see you never. Huh? Huh? The lemon law, it’s gonna be a thing, possibly starting right now.
(S01e08 The Duel)

Lily: On Monday I’m gonna have to tell my kindergarten class, who I teach not to run with scissors, that my fiance ran me through with a freakin’ broadsword!
Marshall: Well, just to be fair, it didn’t go all the way through.
Lily: I’m sorry, is this a discussion about the degree to which you stabbed me?
(S01e08 The Duel)

Robin: I am Canadian. Remember? We celebrate Thanksgiving in October.
Ted: Oh right I forgot. You guys are weird and you pronounce the word ‘out’, ‘oot’.
Robin: You guys are the world’s leader in hand gun violence; your health care system is bankrupt and your country is deeply divided on almost every important issue.
Ted: [pause] Your cops are called ‘mounties’
(S01e09 Belly full of Turkey)

Barney: No, no, that’s a great idea. That’s the whole point of getting drunk. You do things you would never do in a million years if you were sober.
Lily: Says every girl you’ve ever slept with
(S01e10 Pineapple Incident)

Lily: There’s a girl in there.
Ted: I know.
Marshall: And a pineapple.
Ted: I know.
(S01e10 Pineapple Incident)

Ted: And who’s the girl in my bed?
(Barney looks at Lily and Marshall and Ted, stumbles over to Ted’s room and peeks in, closes door and stumbles back to living room) Barney: There’s a girl in your bed.
Marshall: And a pineapple. Am I the only one who’s curious about the pineapple?
(S01e10 Pineapple Incident)

Ted: Why do they call it karaoke anyhow? Was it invented by a woman named Carrie Okie? These are the kinds of things I think about
(S01e10 Pineapple Incident)

Marshall: Look at us, riding around in a limo, eating hot dogs… It’s like we’re the president.
(S01e11 The Limo)

Barney: You don’t bring a date to a wedding. That’s like bringing a deer carcass on a hunting trip
(S01e12 The Wedding)

Barney: What I don’t get is, why is Claudia marrying Stuart? She’s way hotter than him. How way? Way way.
(S01e12 The Wedding)

Ted: Tell Claudia I’m sorry. Did she seem pissed at me?
Lily: She said if there’s no wedding tomorrow, you owe her father $400,000.
(S01e12 The Wedding)

Lily: Claudia is getting married tomorrow and so help me God, if I catch you even so much as breathing the same air as her, I will take those peanuts you try to pass off as testicles and I will squeeze them so hard your eyes pop out and then I’ll feed them to you like grapes.
Barney: Wait, my eyes or my testicles?
(S01e12 The Wedding)

Lily: OK, let’s not lose hope. We’ll call the hotel, maybe she was staying there. We’ll have them check the registry for anyone named Victoria. Or maybe she goes by Vicky or Tori…
Marshall: Or Ictor. Probably doesn’t go by Ictor.
(S01e13 Drumroll, please)

Ted: I don’t feel so good. t’s like my testicles mixed pop rocks and soda.
(S01e14 Zip, zip, zip)

Barney: The only reason to wait a month for sex is if the girl is 17 years, 11 months old.
(S01e14 Zip, zip, zip)

Victoria: I’ve only had two boyfriends before, Ted.
Robin: Prude alert!
Victoria: Well, two serious ones. I’ve dated others in between.
Robin: Slut alert!
(S01e15 Game Night)

Barney: Um, are you coloring in your butt?
Marshall: I have a big interview coming up, and my suit has holes in it. I can’t sew, I don’t own Navy boxers, so, yeah, I’m coloring in my butt
(S01e16 Cupcake)

Lily: Oh, my gosh, it’s perfect! Oh! This dress is totally going to get me laid on my wedding night.
(S01e16 Cupcake)

Bilson: Ok, Eriksen, let’s get to work. It’s 2am and its raining outside, ding dong what? The Doorbell? Oh, hello, Jessica Alba in a trenchcoat and nothing else, but wait, knock knock, somebody is at the back door.
Marshall: I don’t have a back door.
Bilson: Oh my gosh, Jessica Simpson, what a surprise. Two Jessicas, you gotta pick one, what do you do? Go!
Marshall: Right, well, I’m engaged.
Office Jerk: Fiancee is out of town, what do you do? Go!
Marshall: We’re still engaged.
Bilson: Ok, fiancée is dead, hit by a bus, what do you do, GO!
(S01e17 Life Among the Gorillas)

Future Ted: But here’s the real question: It’s 2:00 a.m. Your friends are still out singing karaoke, but you’re home early ’cause you’re expecting a call from your girlfriend in Germany, who was supposed to call four hours ago. And then the phone rings.
Ted: Hello.
Robin: Hi, Ted. It’s Robin. Um, listen, I know it’s late, but, uh, do you want to come over?
Future Ted: What do you do? Go.
(S01e17 Life Among the Gorillas)

Marshall: Do you remember the huge secret that you told me that you weren’t supposed to but you did? The thing… about Robin?
Barney: Oh, you mean how Robin’s in love with Ted?
Marshall & Lily: What?
Barney: Yeah, she told me already. Go on.
Marshall: Wait. So I’m the only one that she didn’t tell? She told you and not me?
Barney: Well, I guess I’m just better friends with her than you are.
Marshall: Well, I’m better friends with Ted than you are.
Barney: That is a lie!
Marshall: It is not a lie.
Barney: Okay, that’s it! You and me! I’m not afraid of you!
Marshall: I’ll show you things you never seen before! I used to box in the Army!
(S01e18 Nothing Good Happens After 2 A.M.)

Barney : But if you’re not interested, fine, I’m out 500 bucks. Whatever.
Ted: 500 bucks?
Barney: Ted, you’re my cabron. You think I’m gonna stick you with some toothless tranny from the Port Authority?
(S01e19 Mary the Paralegal)

Ted: Mary, I’m not going to have sex with a prostitute.
Mary: No Ted, I’m a paralegal.
Ted: You’re a hooker.
Mary: No, I’m a paralegal.
Ted: No, you’re a hooker.
Mary: No, I’m a paralegal.
Ted: [pause] You’re a paralegal.
(S01e19 Mary the Paralegal)

Marshall: Come on, if you don’t laugh, it just seems mean.
(S01e19 Mary the Paralegal)

Barney : Now, ladies, slut up!
(S01e20 Best Prom Ever)

Lily: Okay, yes, it’s a mistake. I know it’s a mistake. But there are certain things in life where you know it’s a mistake but you don’t really know it’s a mistake because the only way to really know it’s a mistake is to make the mistake, and look back, and say, “Yep. That was a mistake.” So, really, the bigger mistake would be to not make the mistake, because then you go your whole life not really knowing if something is a mistake or not. And, damn it, I’ve made no mistakes! I’ve done all of this– my life, my relationship, my career– mistake-free. Does any of this make sense to you?
Ted: I don’t know. You said “mistake” a lot. Lily, don’t do this.
(S01e21 Milk)

Ted: I don’t want perfect. I want Robin.
Marshall: Oh, God, not this again. Ted, it’s a mistake.
Ted: Maybe. But it’s a mistake I have to make.
(S01e21 Milk)

Ted: Hey, Penelope, have you, uh, have you ever actually seen a rain dance performed?
Penelope: No.
Ted: No?
Penelope: I’ve read extensively on the subject: firsthand accounts, theoretical criticism, the anthropological…
Ted: Have you ever seen a rain dance?
Penelope: I’ve seen a film strip.
Ted: Terrific. Uh, look, I should run. I’m getting brain surgery from some guy who’s seen a couple episodes of E.R. I can’t believe this. We’ve been up here for the past hour making complete asses of ourselves.
Barney: What do you mean “we,” white man?
(S01e22 Come On)

Barney: Well, then why are you doing this?
Ted: Because I love her. I love her! I told her that the first night we went out, and here it is, eight months later, and nothing’s changed. So yes, I know this isn’t gonna work. But it has to work! You hear me, universe? This is Ted Mosby talking! Give me some rain! Come on! Come on! Come on…!
(Rain starts falling down)
Barney: Oh, come on!
(S01e22 Come On)


Posted by on November 22, 2011 in Dailies


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To climb or To run, that is the question

Would I rather climb a mountain or run a marathon?

UTMB 2008 (231)

To answer this question, I need to ask popular opinion if one should stick to do what one does best or one should keep trying on new things?

I’ve climbed mountains throughout my university years (and boy was it a loong years). Some of the classes required us in climbing these mountains, the student union required us in climbing other mountains, and for some others I did it for fun. Mountain climbing was like going to the dentist when I first did it (Hell no. My dentist is very kind and I’m never afraid to be with my dentist, not so good comparison this one) : I didn’t like the preparation, the breath panting, the extreme weather, the pain in my legs.

But then I got used to it. It became a ritual and I got smarter in preparing myself (mentally and physically), storing oxygen, and wiser clothing (No, I could never get over the pain in my legs). Mountain climbing was no longer a challenge, it was just an option for my weekend.

I run of course : Every morning with my dog (every day from reality?? -kidding).  But I never run a marathon. Is it that hard really?  Or is the secret to run a marathon like Barney Stinson of HIMYM once said : “Step one : you start running. There’s no step two” Hahaha.
Seriously, for the sake of my life reputation I should run a marathon. People will surely think I do try everything in life, “What a fun life that gal has”

Now. Se-Ri-Ous-Ly.
To answer that question sincerely. I’d climb a mountain. Why? Because I forgot to tell you how wonderful feeling I had being on the top on any mountain.

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Posted by on November 20, 2011 in Dailies


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My Must-See TV

How I fell for How I Met Your Mother

After FRIENDS and Ally McBeal era have ended, I rarely watch TV. Then in 2009, my friend #3 in Singapore told me that I must watch How I Met Your Mother because “it’s too damn funny to be missed”.

So I watch one by one and it’s sure too damn funny to be missed.

I love the interaction of the gang, the story, the jokes.. they’re all so real and too damn funny

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Posted by on November 20, 2011 in Dailies



My Handwriting – featuring Billie Holiday's lyrics

It looks nice.

A bit unstable for 't', 'w', 'I', 'l' but it still looks nice.

If it were a font it would be called 'skylark' because skylarks don't care if your handwriting looks nice or preppy, as long as you can write and others can read the writing.

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Posted by on October 7, 2011 in Music


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