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Sunday, September 21, 2008
Shows! -vvz

This year hasn't exactly been very exciting so far. That's why I have all these shows lined up for the coming weeks. And that's on top of the Da:ns Festival 2008. Life is good.


19 September 2008
Lullaby Nomad is also the title of Joanna Dong's debut EP, which I bought an autographed copy like everyone else. I finally got to hear what she sounds like in real life instead of from YouTube. Not perfect but it was very nice and made me feel like swinging my way home. The bonus was the video of her singing 高山青 when she was nine years old. Now I am seriously considering catching《天冷就回来》when it returns in 2009.


1 October 2008
The Nutcracker is probably the most well-known ballet in the world, 'nuff said.


17 October 2008
I don't really know what to expect from Seen:Silent, which is one of the reasons why I am watching this. Like one of my friends used to say, one should always try new things.


4 November 2008
What a Wonderful World. No idea what they will be singing but I assume they will include What a Wonderful World. Judging from the title and that pink sunny poster, I hope I will leave this concert feeling all warm and fuzzy, just like after watching this Discovery Channel video.

p.s. check out this The Simpsons version too!


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Friday, September 19, 2008
Action and the Potential for Action -vvw

Potential counts for nothing until it's realized.

Some days ago, I read an article that discussed the idea summarized by the above truism. It talked about how people like to say things such as "I can be very romantic but I never met the right one" and "I could have been a great writer if only I had the time". The article suggested that we should "just do it" because action is everything. In the words of Batman, "It's not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me".

Somehow, it just doesn't feel right. I have difficulty accepting that just because you can do something, you should. It's almost like, you can't be the world's greatest martial artist unless you beat the crap out of everyone. What if I have unraveled the mysteries of the universe but refuse to share the secret because I am aware of the danger that that knowledge can bring, am I then no different from the average clueless guy? If you know you have the capability, then why the need to prove it to anyone else?


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Yiheng made
10:19 PM

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I believe that Talk is Cheap
By Blogger Soqcrates, at 11:29 PM  

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Saturday, September 13, 2008
CERN Rap -vvx

Awesome stuff! If only more people share my excitement over such topics.


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Yiheng made
10:04 AM

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NERDS!
By Blogger Soqcrates, at 11:49 PM  

You know I've been reading comments on youtube about how LHC is going to create a black hole and destroy earth. That's rubbish...or issit possible, I can't how that makes sense.

Your explanation of strangelet particles seems more plausible

By Blogger Soqcrates, at 11:57 PM  

With regards to death by strangelet, Wikipedia says that

A detailed analysis concluded that the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) collisions were comparable to ones which naturally occur as cosmic rays traverse the solar system, so we would already have seen such a disaster if it were possible. RHIC has been operating since 2000 without incident.

Youtube is full of couch scientists so you can just ignore 95% of what you see there. Science has progressed to a point where it is virtually impossible for the layperson to have any idea of what researchers are really doing. Just take a look at this diagram (see url) of a proton, how many people you know can actually understand this?

http://cerncourier.com/cws/article/cern/28833/1/cerndesy1_4-03

By Anonymous yiheng, at 10:39 PM  

that's not so difficult what! i understood quarks as like, particles, gluon as glue, then it's not so bad... though i really don't get angular momentum and spin, though i understand it's something to do with charge?

it's better than the study of humanities, which cannot EVEN be represented in a simplistic visual.

By Blogger bOb™, at 4:18 AM  

It's a little more complicated than that and bOb, you're not exactly the average man in the street either.

(p.s. spin not related to charge)

By Anonymous yiheng, at 4:28 PM  

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Friday, September 12, 2008
Chinese Classics in the Park (歌乐满园林) -vvz

I attended a free concert at the Botanic Gardens that celebrates the 85th anniversary of Lianhe Zaobao last Sunday. It featured a number of familiar tunes played in unfamiliar arrangements. A pity it was so disorganized and SPH arrowed one of its reporters to be emcee instead of hiring one.


First up is Christine Hsu (许景淳) from Taiwan. This was the most interactive performance. She came down from the stage, walked among the audience and gave my mother a high-five. She sang Moon River, 月亮代表我的心, 但愿人长久(somehow only got first stanza) and her signature tune 玫瑰人生 accompanied by guitarist 董运昌.


Next up is Ma Xiaohui's (马晓晖), the famous Erhu player and her friends comprising of pianist Joel Clifft, percussionist 刘金柱 and cellist 蔡菁婧 (I hope I got the names right, they were just introduced as Ma Xiaohui and friends).

They played an Iranian folk song which surprisingly is a tune I had heard in a TV commercial a long time ago. McDonald's perhaps. They also played My Way, which they said was a French song (that's new info for me). "My Way" was played like a bickering couple; the erhu and cello took turns to play each phrase in accusing tones. Interesting.


The last performer to come on stage was 吉喆, the singer with the auspicious name. She has a magnificent voice (the speakers were a little too loud though). The music died midway through a song but she kept on going anyway, good job! I couldn't get a sharp picture because she danced as she sang so here's a link to a brief profile with pictures.

One of the songs she sang was called 爱的月光, which uses the melody from Dance of the Yao Tribe (瑶族舞曲). I liked that one. She also sang 茉莉花 (Jasmine Flower), which also happens to be Turandot's theme in last week's opera.


Ma Xiaohui's group came back again. Joel Clifft performed a popular solo piece by Liszt - La Campanella. The microphones were poorly setup and the stage crew was scrambling to get that fixed. They succeeded ... about 20 seconds before the piece ended.

The show ended with the famous Erhu tune 赛马, arranged here to include piano, cello and drums. The Erhu sounds the most natural here. I also think the cello adds a nice flavor to this traditional tune.


And here's everyone who performed that evening.


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Thursday, September 11, 2008
LHC is online -vwv


If you haven't heard by now, the Large Hardon Hadron Collider is now online. I was hoping the world would end on Wednesday so that I don't have to work any more but that didn't happen. Apparently, Wednesday was just a beam test and they got the proton beams to go in both directions just fine. The actual collision will be a month or two down the road.

I don't really think the LHC is capable of destroying the world but let's hear what these scientists have to say about crossing beams of protons.


Dr. Egon Spengler: There's something very important I forgot to tell you.
Dr. Peter Venkman: What?
Dr. Egon Spengler: Don't cross the streams.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Why?
Dr. Egon Spengler: It would be bad.
Dr. Peter Venkman: I'm a little fuzzy on the whole "good/bad" thing here. What do you mean, "bad"?
Dr. Egon Spengler: Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.
Dr. Ray Stantz: Total protonic reversal!
Dr. Peter Venkman: That's bad. Okay. All right, important safety tip. Thanks, Egon.


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Saturday, September 06, 2008
Turandot -vvz


Len Chow, Shuquan, Jiangzheng and I went to watch Singapore Lyric Opera's production of Puccini's Turandot on 30th August 2008. Since this was the first time I watched a full-length opera (Chinese opera not counted), I can't really make any comparisons. I do, however, felt that it wasn't too bad overall.

The plot is really contrived and the riddles suck. Here's someone's hilarious take on that. The most popular aria, Nessun Dorma, wasn't quite as majestic as I had expected but still, Tao Weilong did a pretty good job as Calaf.

Judging from the applause, I guessed most people liked the supporting role of slave girl Liu more than the princess Turandot. No surprise there. One sacrifices herself for love and the other is a cold-hearted sore loser. It doesn't help that the supposedly beautiful icy princess isn't very, erm, visually convincing.

I found Rachelle Gerodias, who plays Liu, rather familiar looking. I found out later that she was in SLO's production of Figaro some time back. I must have seen her in the papers. The music was another aspect of Turandot I found strangely familiar. It took me a few days before I realized that I heard some of the melodies before from this ice princess (more visually convincing):



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Yiheng made
10:22 AM

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I did some reading up on Turandot after the show. Apparently, Turandot was Puccini's last opera, and he died before completing it. Luckily he died after Nessum Dorma right around the part where Liu kills herself. From then onwards, the end was written by another person.

Some critics have pointed out that the ending was rather rushed and harried and it seemed like quite a big jump in plot for the princess to suddenly melt in the arms of Calaf minutes after Liu's death.

By Blogger Soqcrates, at 12:26 AM  

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