Monday, August 15, 2022

Horror, Singapore Style

It's Singapore's birthday month, and we're still in the middle of the lunar Seventh (Ghost) Month. Had a chuckle as I flipped through 'The New Singapore Horror Story Collection' (2019) by S.J. Huang.

The first story titled 'The Office' is a total bore. It opens with a suicide, a fierce competition in the office that resulted one being fired, and the other promoted. There's a guilty person. Predictably, the ghost returned to haunt the guilty and exacted vengeance. Okay lor. 

The second story 'Lights' dealt with disappearing school boys in a school field after dark, with monsters in the form of green lights or using green lights. It isn't better. Ugh. It's up to us readers to imagine what happened and guess where the boys went. Eaten up by a monster or they got swallowed into a void.

I read so much horror that I'm not too bothered about the language, and can forgive loads of grammatical errors, typos and odd phrasing. I look for the ideas behind the stories. The plot and such are what would draw me in. These 13 stories are a bit disappointing. The historical supernatural story was so predictable that I yawned. It could have been beefed up more if the writer delved a little into those historical mysteries, or xianxia things.

The final story in the book is titled 'The Last Exorcism'. Sure, it's about demonic possession and a seemingly successful exorcism done by James the priest. There were apparently two demons, the mention of the priest's dead son, blackmail and such. After that 'exorcism', James decided to quit being a priest. The ending made want to stab myself. Good lawwd. 🙄

A thought struck me at the door.

"What do you mean, you spared the son? You told me before that demons can't stay on the earthly plane for long without a vessel. You didn't leave him in the husband—Damien—did you?"

I turned around to face him, but he was hunched over, and I only saw his mussed-up hair. For some reason, a queasy fear was starting to fill my stomach, and a desperate urgency pressed me. I shook him. "James, dammit, answer me!"

I stared at him for a few more seconds, and was just about to give up when he started to raise his head slowly. 

"James, what did y—"

My voice withered. His eyes, gleaming red, met mine, and a slow smile began spreading across his lips.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Aperol Spritz & Wine

It always feels so much better when there're more than two people to split a bottle of wine. There's less pressure to finish. You know how I'm wary of drinking too much nowadays. This is why I don't bother ordering expensive wines anymore. I can appreciate the quality, but I could only do two glasses and can't justify the price of leaving behind half a bottle of wine.

We gathered at S and P's cosy and lovely space for drinks. It was a night of much needed conversation and companionship. We had the best aperol spritz. I've never tasted such a good one till tonight! S do a balanced ratio of the mix, and it isn't crazy sweet. (Yes, there are really crap versions out there for $18 a glass. Yucks.) This was such a gorgeous aperitif. Her choice of prosecco/champagne is top notch. It makes all the difference. Now she's gone and spoilt it for me. I can't quite have aperol spritz anywhere else! Hahaha. 

We opted to have light bites. Nobody could eat that much nowadays. P cooked, and insisted on prepping the meal hot. Shrimp and chicken ngoh hiang, and pork meatballs were easy nibbles. To the man and I, we really loved the lentils and chorizo, and the lamb couscous. They were unexpectedly delicious! P could really cook! 

It's always deeply appreciated when Choya gets an invite too. Often, I dare not ask, so it came as a surprise to have S and P invite Choya over. Awwwwww. She toddled along and was the goodest girl. Scored herself a decent portion of cheddar. Ooof.  

Thursday, August 11, 2022

'The Sandman' on Netflix

Last weekend, I cleared the schedule and gave myself ample time to binge-savor Neil Gaiman's 'The Sandman' brought to 'life' on Netflix. I have waited an eternity to watch this series. No one could stand between me and this binge. 10 episodes; about an hour each, so 10 hours. Between time taken to walk the dog and feeding her as well as the man and I, I even allocated 8 hours of sleep in between. 

OMG. WHAT A SPLENDID ADAPTATION. I LOVED IT. 🤩 I was hoping for it to be good, but I was blown away. I didn't realize it turned out this good because Neil Gaiman shepherded the production almost entirely. I love the diversity of the cast, fluid gender identities, and varied difficult themes that the production bravely tackled head on, all of which play true to the comics too. The actors brought their characters to life and lend them a voice that realized the vision of the stories. 

The 75 issues ran from January 1989 to March 1996. I was a wee girl, but I polished my brains and my English and world views based on The Sandman and the world Enid Blyton created. My all-time FAVORITE comic series is 'The Sandman'. I don't care about the rest of the DC universe, even if Neil Gaiman wrote for them back then. He didn't create the character of Sandman though; that's done by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon in the 1970s.  

I cannot stop laughing at Tom Sturridge as Dream / Lord Morpheus. He really really is a young and thin version of Robert Smith, as so intended when a young Neil Gaiman wrote him and Charles Vess illustrated him. Also, Tom Sturridge's Dream can definitely pass off as one those vampires in the world of Twilight, or Underworld. LOL

And gosh, I can finally stop yelling 'Brienne of Tarth' each time I see Gwendoline Christie. She is now Lucific, cherubic, evil and arresting. Thanks to the other show 'Lucifer', played by Tom Ellis, we all know Lucifer is going to leave Hell and go to Los Angeles to open a piano bar. Yes, that Lucifer is in the same universe as this Lucifer. We all know Tom Ellis's suave and angsty Lucifer. Let's see how Gwendoline Christie takes cherubic and malevolent Lucifer to the piano bar. 

If you have never read 'The Sandman' as a graphic novel, you could simply watch the show, because it's THAT GOOD. The finer details are left to fans to debate, argue and pick apart. The ending of Season 1 already told us what Season 2 is going to be about. I can't wait to watch Season 2! I don't care whether it's on Netflix or HBO Max. I'll subscribe to whichever streaming service that will give us Season 2 and hopefully all the way to Season 5, maybe 10? Since GoT, I haven't been this excited over a television drama series. Oof!