thefauxartist

There's rosemary – that's for remembrance


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INTJ

These thoughts
They teem
They swirl
They brew a tempestuous sea.
Rolling in spirit,
they breathe.

Reveling in their exuberance,
They long to crash onto shore;
Dipping the golden grains of earth
To mark their presence for all.

Pen reached out for paper,
a mighty splash ensued;
The waves gone forever,
Nothing left imbued.

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A 140-characters Mindset

This is a response to the dailypost Writing Challenge.

I would imagine procrastination to be a bit like being on drugs; your mind consciously tells you to stay away, but your limbs just fail to cooperate. The day draws to a close, then you realise how much time you’ve wasted and douse yourself with predictable remorse. You resolve to kick the habit, but alas, some things just die hard (look at Bruce Willis!). For me, this empty indulgence came in the form of social media. The little blue logo on my mobile screen became my go-to for all occasions. It prodded me awake in the morning, kept me occupied in awkward social settings, allowed me to retreat into my introversion, kept me awake when my eyelids fluttered threateningly… Whatever the occasion, my thumb would instantly conjure up the familiar news feed. It was my daily stupor.

For my Lenten resolution, I decided that it was high time I got rid of my pointless excursions. Spending hours of each day finding out what celebrities were up to and knowing what everyone did was highly dissatisfying. There were so many other things I could have been doing, and that I have been longing to do. Where was the girl who learnt to play the guitar on her own? Back then, she could even code HTML and write fiction commendably.

As expected, the first few days of my fast were not the most pleasant experience. I surprised myself to discover how dependent I was upon social media. My jittery hands would naturally reach out for my mobile phone or iPad. I would sit staring into space, feeling the void of my addiction. The absence grew more pronounced when I realised that I have been thinking in terms of status updates and 140-character sentences. In my mind, all my experiences were constricted into truncated statuses, engineered to seek the maximum level of attention of my followers. Even with this line of consciousness, I know that the worst is not over; there is every possibility that I might just lapse into old ways and be consumed by even stronger waves of procrastination.

And that’s how this started. In shedding the excesses of my habits, I wanted an outlet to weave words meaningfully. I want my words to undulate in sync with my thoughts and emotions. I want to carefully unpack my life’s journey and not document it in a series of rants. So, I write because I miss the old me. This is my rejuvenated writing journey.


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Little Venice

If the name beckons to you the bright rays of sunlight and the salty air of the Mediterranean variety, you’re in for a surprise. Tucked away at the edge of central London, Little Venice is Britain’s take on a canal and houseboats lining the decks on each side. Even after just a few minutes of sauntering around on the platforms, one can’t help but notice that Little Venice should more aptly be known as Little Holland. Now, I’ll admit that I’ve not set foot within the borders of Italy, but with the British skies stretched above in a bright blue hue, there’s no mistaking the charming waters for a miniature Venetia. Couple that with the bitterly cold English winds, Little Vence is more reminiscent of Amsterdam’s canals.

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By all means, the trip to Maida Vale was not a complete waste of a journey; the setting certainly had its own picturesque appeal. Sadly, there really is nothing much else to do but snap shots after shots of the scenery that Little Venice has to offer. There are some restaurant houseboats manned along the canal, but I hardly took a peek at their menus. A walk around the surrounding areas revealed that the neighbourhood was not quite student-budget-friendly.

 

Verdict: If you’ve got time on your hands and feel the need to get away from central’s buzz, head over to Warwick Avenue for this tranquil outdoors.

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What post would be complete without a photoshopped image?

 

Trivia: Bride and Prejudice was filmed here.

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(Almost) Salmon Teriyaki

A few weeks ago, I volunteered to cook for the guest dinner at my hall. My friend and I wanted to showcase what a typical Malaysian-Chinese dinner was like, as well as cook some of our favourite dishes we have missed (because the kitchen is off-limits on other days). The original plan was to cook steamed cod fish, but lo and behold: with a budget of GBP40 to cover 3 dishes for 10 pax, cod fillets were prohibitively expensive. I decided to improvise with salmon, which seems to be available in abundance cheaply in the UK (an odd concept, for someone from Asia like me).

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I’ll admit – I have never cooked with salmon before. I took the risk anyway and experimented. Much to my delight (and that of my guests) my recipe worked!

Ingredients:
Oyster sauce
Dark soy sauce
Light soy sauce
Sesame oil
Salmon fillet (duh)

I stirred in the sauces with a ratio of 2:2:1 (oyster:light:dark) and added a dash of sesame oil to the mix. Dark soy sauce can be rather strong and overwhelming, so I thought it better to use less of it. Then, slather the salmon fillet generously with the sauce mix and put to grill on a pan with diced garlic. To know when to stop cooking, poke the fish around and see if the flesh still looks raw. I realise that I’m a terrible recipe writer, because I never take notice of the exact timing and measurement of ingredients. I very nearly forgot to take photos of the cooked product too.

The end product could pass off as teriyaki, if:
a) you’re not Japanese
b) you’re not completely familiar with Japanese food

The flavour was one that was so familiar to me, it’s almost hard to describe. It’s mildly sweet and salty, with a charred taste to it. Not quite rocket culinary science, but worth trying out again in the home.


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Review: Austenland

Needless to say, when I first watched the trailer for Austenland as recommended to me by a friend of mine, I erupted into fits of excited giggles. The concept was such an accurate satire of a fangirl’s life. Enter Jane, your stereotypical Jane Austen fangirl who dreams of meeting Mr. Darcy to whisk her off into a happily ever after (frankly, I don’t quite understand this infatuation with the stoic Mr. Darcy). She goes off to spend all her savings on a regency-themed vacation, hoping to experience for herself, the ardent affections of a certain Mr. Darcy. Now, although I’m not much too keen on Austen’s works, I personally would love to stay in such a place too. When asked about why she is still single, Jane (rightly) proclaims: the reason why I’m single is because all the good men are fictional.

You can now certainly see the appeal of this movie to me. Nuff’ said.

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So, what of it, then?
Only much disappointment, I’m afraid. The trailer promised many hilarious yet witty parallels with the true life of a fangirl; however, the movie’s true offerings fell short. Cringe-worthy acting and slapstick comedy aside, the characters are nothing to shout about. Jane’s character development is messy; she starts out as an idealist, but is quickly disillusioned by the pretense of the Wattlesbrook estate. Mrs. Wattlesbrook is a discriminating dictator who has no qualms about customer service as she attempts to banish Jane away from the estate. This is all based upon finding a mobile phone in Jane’s chambers. Yet, she hires an inappropriate porn star-ish ruffian to play the part of a West Indies captain. Perhaps I’m over-analysing this point – it could be the writer’s intention to parody the eeriness of Victorian landladies.

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Talk about traumatising.

Also, Martin (the Wickham of Austenland) is amazingly douchey. I have no other words to describe how thin and unconvincing his character is in wooing Jane. He alleges that Jane is not like the other girls who were drawn to the perfect fantasy and flips out when Jane plays along with the regency actors. Honestly, I’d think if you were looking for a realist partner, you would not look for her in Austenland, the fangirl haven. [SPOILER] Although it was later revealed that  Martin is one of the Wattlesbrook actors all along, you can’t help but think how shallow Jane must have been to believe all that tosh.

 

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Too close, too soon, Mr. Obvious.  

However, there is one bit of the movie that demands praise in the form of: Henry Nobbly. With features so strikingly similar to Hollywood’s newest heartthrob, Tom Hiddleston, Nobbly is a surefire swoon fest. The aloof-turned-Byronic character was in my opinion, the only believable character in this movie. When he appears to Jane near the resolution of the movie with an explanation, it was actually a valid one, even in today’s modern context. It doesn’t hurt that the coat and collar of his outfit fits perfectly with his appearance.

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I told you so.

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Oh hang on, he looks dashing in modern day outfit too.

Hmm, it seems as though I might veer off into the dangerous marshes of Mr. Darcy Swooning at this rate.
Verdict: 4.7/10 (.7 because it feels just right)