Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!!



Elmo's New Playmate

Elmo 1
Reminisce 0

(Sorry about the lighting - I was, erm, trying to maintain, eh, anonymity of parties involved!)





Buzz Lightheaded

Quick dinner at Marche, followed by a couple of drinks at Balaclava - Long Island Horse Piss Tea and Lychee Martini. (Sorry Aberwyn, another night when WOW is down, ok? Heh.) It was a slow night and we got seats easily, probably because all the party people were home nursing a hangover. There also seemed to be a number of uncles, dressed-down couples, and not-so-attractive-and-not-so-happy people (present company excluded, cough) around, probably because all the attractive party people were home nursing a happy hangover.

And because I was bored (absolutely nothing at all to do with present company, cough), I tried scanning people the way The Goddess used to talk to me about, and I learnt it was not so difficult getting them to look back - especially after they have ascertained that you are not dating present company and present company keeps smiling as he messages his gay lover. Not bad for a night with greasy unwashed hair pulled back into a ponytail and unmade face. Inflate. The problem is getting them to stop looking - after you are done with target practice, and present company agreed that the guy at the next table "really cannot make it". Maybe that was why I had it easy last night. Deflate.

None of that got my heart rate up though. Sniff.

But I did get a very nice buzz. Yummy.


Tis the Season

I desperately need to get my heart rate up.

I was planning to go for yoga class this evening. I am stiff all over, and my brain is mush.

I did not get enough of a workout when I finally made it to the beach on Christmas Eve after a few successful weekends of bad weather; and I found that the wooden walls at Climb Adventure were too 'smooth' for a good climb (cannot smear the walls) on Boxing Day. Yishun Safra decided that their walls would be closed on every public holiday - what the???

Unfortunately, Yogaffinity is closed until the new year.

I would go swimming but my hair is in an extremely fragile state. (No, swimming caps do not help. I know.)

I think I am going to go crazy.


Missing in Action

I have been busy with the new computer - or rather, watching it being put together. Heh. Intel 3.0MHZ, MSI 915P Neo2, 1GB DDR RAM, XFX GeForce 6600GT 128MB RAM, Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi XtremeMusic, 120GB SATA hard disk, less than $1500, several man-hours and very late nights.

And then, there is WOW - play until no need to eat, drink or sleep, and then I ran hot water over my hand (when I decided to see to that nagging thirst) because it took a while for the motor reflexes to react to the "Hot! Hot! HOTTT!!!" signals from my sleep-deprived brain. Heh. Heh.

In the midst of all that, Elmo proved that he can make a new friend and playmate! So maybe I do not have to put him to sleep after all.

And I bid my old CPU (and porn - it was good stuff, okay???) farewell as it made its way to a new home. Wave sadly. Got sentimental value mah.

Christmas this year was, oddly, un-Christmasy. I think it has just died for me, the way Chinese New Year died for me a number of years ago. The festive mood has been completely overrun by commercialisation; people are more interested in the pre and post festive sales. I am more interested in getting a day off to head down to the beach for Blade n' Breakfast (heh heh), or stay home to WOW. This year, I made it through by nursing a hangover (6 people, 11 bottles of wine) on Christmas, and then hung out with two couples on Boxing Day feeling less like a lamppost and more like a dying 6.5W light bulb. I swear, if I had known ...

A friend thinks it is absolutely bad manners to ask someone you have only just met why she was not spending the evening/weekend/holiday with her boyfriend/husband, because assumptions of such nature can put everyone in a spot. Like, because she has NO boyfriend/husband??? (And for your own sanity, you really, really, do not want to ask her why she has no one.)

And I think taxi drivers should not flirt with their female fares, telling them they have pretty and luminous eyes. Most inappropriate. I paid for a ride - not an ego trip.

More later; maybe tonight - because the WOW game servers are down for maintenance. Grin.





In Appreciation

I am meeting up with my diving buddies this Saturday.

We have not met up since the rather disappointing Cut-Me-Own-Throat, I mean $100 culinary experience at Soul Kitchen a few months ago. We had asked for a private dining session, where basically, we would just eat whatever the chef decided to come up with. If the dinner that night had a theme, I think it would be called Chef's Surprise - because a few of us were surprised to find that most of the 5-course dinner consisted of very expensive carbohydrates. Taste was generally flat, and dessert did not even come with coffee.

So, when someone in the group suggested another private dining session at Soul Kitchen, I declined to join them - $100 or otherwise; friends or not.

But truth be told, I never enjoyed the informal wine appreciation sessions everytime the group gathered. I found the appreciation exercises tedious (short attention span), and I was also a little embarrassed that I rarely brought along a bottle since I did not have my own collection - though they continued to invite me to gatherings. While I did enjoy some of the sweet whites and desserts, they mostly drink reds which I am not too fond of - especially when they are not good reds (having had the occasional privilege of partaken in the Masters' choice of poison, I realised that some reds can be quite pleasurable) - but which I still partake of for the sake of social bonding.

I suppose eyebrows will be raised again when I reappear with another new female friend (after CirCe, who will be coming along too), and possibly also regular social appendage at future gatherings, this Saturday. Heh. Maybe The Stapler Maniac can be Uncle's roomie at future diving trips too. Heh. That is, if Uncle has not already found his Auntie.





Oi! Wake Up!


"Brilliant! Good satire! Singaporeans need to WAKE UP!"

I had complimentary tickets to Oi! Sleeping Beauty!! The WAKE UP Musical last week. By the end of the first half, Sleeping Beauty (Pam Oei) was not the only one who woke up. (Alas for me, it was the call of nature - not a kiss from my sex-packed six-pec Prince - that woke me up.)

While I thought the actors, costumes, sets and directing were good, they were let down by a weak story that dragged its feet through most of the first half and was barely held together with cheap laughs. I do not have anything against Singlish and dialect-inspired humour per se, but 20 minutes into the show, my amusement turned to slight annoyance when I realised that the play intended to milk it for all it was worth.

A few of the comic devices also seemed out of place, like Sultan Raja Pisang's (Selena Tan) frequent vocabulary garbles, confusing various words with food, presumably because he loved to eat. However, this was not executed well enough as part of the story and quickly became tiresome, particularly when it was done again by another character who, I suppose, just happened to be dyslexic for our amusement.

Still, and perhaps quite aptly, the stars of the show were the flamboyant fairy folk themselves (Chua Enlai, Gani Abdul Karim and Helmi Fita), who were funny just by being - ha ha - themselves. I was particularly taken with pretty-in-pink Chua Enlai's pouty lips and swinging hips.

After the intermission, things seemed to pick up a little with Sleeping Beauty and her Prince Bin Charming (Hatta Said) in their search for the forgotten fairies (Chua Enlai, Gani Abdul Karim and Helmi Fita), while eluding the bad 'guys': women-in-black-trench-coats Marie-France duo (Selina Tan and Karen Tan). But this fizzled out quickly too.

All glitz and no soul, Sleeping Beauty was ironically, like the not-so-fictitious SingaCorp that the sleeping princess woke up to 100 years later: a Matrix-inspired urbanscape of economic efficiency and prosperity that had no time for dreams, romance and adventure.

Like the uninspired humour, the attempt at social commentary in the second half seemed half-hearted and scratched the surface just enough to - you guessed it - score easy laughs ith the audience, which did not require much effort in any case. (Who says Singaporeans do not know how to laugh at ourselves?) And yes, we know we have no souls; hamsters scampering in a glass gym; no time to smell the roses and orchids; cannot laugh at themselves; yada yada; because everyone says so; because even our own people say so too; and again and again; and ... ???

Is this story about ourselves just that? Are WE just that? Can we ever be more? Do we even want to try? Or are we just content to remain blissful in ignorance, or worse, wallow in self-pity - because it is easier? As one of my evening companions, who left after the intermission because she was also tired from working too many late nights, sighed, "Just get on with it."

I remember a scene where Prince bin Charming was standing before a high-security vault, and wondering what it was that the CEO/Evil Witch (Christina Sergeant) was keeping from the people of SingaCorp. "Maybe it is something EXCITING?!" (Or something to that effect.) I laughed - and heard my voice loud and clear.

Perhaps some of the theatre crowd are still not ready for something more exciting - yet.





Hot Around the Ears

Pressed up against each other's personal space in the packed evening train, I could not help listening to the two girls' conversation about earrings. As one of them enthused about having collected all four of a set - including the star and leaf - I found it all a little strange. The one who spoke mostly, was dressed simply in a nondescript jacket and skirt, and did not seem the vain or extravagant sort. Then she told her friend about "the flaming feather earrings". Ah. International RPG-speak - recognised everywhere by gamers alike. I thought about the WOW game manual that I had hastily returned to my bag before squeezing into the crowded train, and smiled inwardly.





Educating Elmo

Anyone knows a good obedience training school for pets?





Ad Humour

Big budget boys.





Just Reporting

After reading articles like Blogging Down Memory Lane (13 December 2005, ST Digital Life), I wonder if it only takes decent grammar and cut-and-paste skills to be a reporter. Is it just me or did the reporter miss the point of the furore at Tomorrow.sg altogether, and simply went straight for the catchy phrases ('extremely p***ed')? Even so, these seemed strangely out of place without the emotional context of a sudden death that created enough of a buzz in the local online community, but was merely 'reported'.

Still, I suppose the newspapers do have some standards if a columnist can be "dropped by The New Paper on Sunday as a columnist as she didn't meet the editorial standards required of our freelance contributors."


Cheap and Good

I just remembered something else that was said about it not being easy to hire someone who can write 'good English'. (Ah. That explains some things.) Really?

Though I know I can write better than a lot of people, I also know that there are just as many people who can write - creatively and/or for work - much, much better than I do. Certainly, my grammar is nowhere near perfect; my vocabulary shamefully small; and I take liberties with the language (poetic licence). And given that creative writing is not a necessity in my job, anyone with a decent grasp of grammer and intelligence can be quickly trained to draft the standard letters and cut-and-paste reports.

Maybe what they really meant was that it is not easy finding someone who can write good English AND would work here.

Mmm.

I think I shall go bang my head on the wall now.


Sound

Nodding to Will Smith's Lost and Found, which I picked up after a colleague passed me Party Starter the morning I walked in with the new hair.





World of Warcraft

Guess who won't be getting much sleep the next few weeks?






What the ...

A friend called on Saturday afternoon while I was home, shortly after I started greasing my fingers on my packed lunch of decadent cheese fries and crispy chicken.

She rarely calls - especially on weekends. When she does call - or I do - it is usually during office hours, when either of us is having a lull, or just bored. Outside of work, her family and children take up all her personal time; while I would be trying to keep up with my crazy (and younger) friends who do not seem to need sleep and just do not understand why I need more rest than they do (young people nowadays, no respect), and still find enough me-time. And even more rarely, when we can get hold of a common date, we would meet up with another two friends for lunch or dinner.

So, when her name showed up on my phone, I was a little surprised.

She sounded hesitant at first, looking for the words. And then they came. Something - or what I could catch above the background noise on her end - about whether I was at the beach and if I could meet her for lunch. (Eh, sure, I could drop lunch in a while - it sounded important - if she did not mind waiting an hour.) And then something about her being in town because she had gone home to find that her in-laws had kidnapped the children. (What the ... ) I was all ready to drop lunch there and then, and teleport myself to town. As she continued, it was clarified that the children had only been taken out to play, and she did not want to stay in an 'empty' house with the maid. (Okaaay.) When I told her I could be in town in less than an hour, she laughed: something about my 'rubber-time' (What the ... When did this about ME?) and that she did not want to end up waiting two hours (and I was really going to drop lunch there and then because she did not sound quite 'right') because she was hungry and could not wait and she wanted to be home in a couple of hours anyway - when the children (or someone) would be home - and even if I could make it down in less than an hour, it would be pointless for me to make the trip just to stay for half an hour after which she would have to leave for home. I did not mind the trip and offered a few more times to rush down, but she declined since I did not happen to be in the vicinity. (And I would just happen to be in the vicinity because???) I kept the line going for a while, letting her talk to while away the time. And then we returned to our respective lives.

I would like to think that the bizarre behaviour was a result of hunger. Maybe she was just hungry.

But I was miffed for a while - until I finished my lunch. Maybe I was just hungry too.

I shall give her a casual call on Monday, just to see how things are with her and the household - because I have not forgotten the desperation in her voice, though I barely remember what she had said.

But I shall only call after lunch.


Small Surprises

The year has not been great. In some ways, work - human relations - has been much better. In others - performance and deliverables - not so; and embarrasingly so. I was dreading the year-end appraisals, especially after being told an hour in advance that I would be sitting in at the meeting to decide various staff matters.

Well, it was not as bad as I had expected. I also found out that the ends do not always justify the means (and the bonus), and changes are ahead. (I just wish it did not include being followed around.)


Moving Pictures

A History of Violence.

Do you see a pattern here?


Double Happiness



Exquisite oriental-inspired piece from Tangs. And they make me look so feminine (sans the Barbarian Princess I-can-so-kick-your-ass Braids). Heh. I have almost forgotten how much fun it was shopping for my ears.





Kungfu Kat

She (no balls, heh) wandered around the tables by the beach, mewing pitifully. I figured we could not finish our food anyway and I started to slip pieces of char kway teow and satay to the scrawny stray, who also looked just a little pregnant. Some time later, I stopped and leaned back, one hand reaching behind to hold on to the back of the stone bench. Just then, I turned my head to find that Hungry Cat - having regained some energy from the carbohydrates and protein - had turned into Kungfu Kat, and was eyeing my unsuspecting hand ravenously. (Image from World's Coolest Dog & Cat Show.)

Aieeee!!! <-- That would be ME screaming in fright and drawing back my hand in horror.

Maybe putting up visuals like that would be more effective than 'Do Not Feed The Strays' signs. People like me tend to be short-sighted when it comes to the consequences of our actions. Heh.





Moving Pictures

Sleepy Hollow. The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Saw. CSI Season 6. Saw II.

What can I say? 'Tis the season for blood and gore.


Yesterday Today Tomorrow

I thought it was supposed to be about the regrettable passing of a woman, and about remembering her in their own little - and for some, not so little - ways. Unfortunately, everyone seems to have lost the plot along the way - some sooner than others. What matter is the truth, if there is one, when she who has it (if she even has it), is not around to speak it? (And that is all I care to put on record here.)

Anyway.

If I were to die suddenly, and my friends (including those who I did not know I have, even if they "did not really know me that well") were to decide to put in some money or raise funds to publish my blog, they can go right ahead. Just don't post ugly photos of me okay? If not, I become ghost also come back and haunt your ass! And all proceeds, if any, shall go to SPCA. Woof. Wag tail.


Culled

" ... the world does not need another maudlin or melodramatic contemplation by a medical relief worker on how a disaster has etched indelible scars on his psyche and changed the way he looks at the world in his remaining days on this planet. Such expositions should be the sole and unfortunate privilege of the survivors. A medical relief worker should just go, work and return. And maybe, make a record of what he has observed so that future workers may be better prepared."

How true, no? That some people would deign to think that the sufferings of another were for their sake.





Shadows of the Past

"In the warm sunlight of an autumn afternoon in New York, we bade each other farewell. Not with a great big fanfare, the details of which one will scarely remember years later, but with an understated murmur."

Nice.


Pillow Talk

Even doggies want their comfort :-)



And here's another proud mummy.