Culled

From A Pain in the Neck by Grace Chow:

"Trying to decide what to do at the end of your school career is something I've never been good at ...... A Master of Arts degree in philosophy is not, like, the qualification all head-hunters kill for - which is such a bloody shame, because if these head-hunters were any good, they would know that philosophy is the very thing that trains minds to think, and a thinking mind is a luxury that every business should endeavour to afford. I mean, take someone like George Soros who, according to the former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed, was single-handedly responsible for the collapse of the Malaysian currency in 1997 - he studied philosophy."

"These days he* publishes books on his fanciest thoughts about how to order society, and relishes having the stature of the philosopher-king. Mr Lee is now philosopher. I congratulate him. This should provide enough stumuli for the nation to sign up en masse for Philosophy 101. But then again... perhaps not. I mean, surely the Powers-that-be can't take the risk that the nation might actually pick up some thinking skills?"

(*Mr Lee aka Minister Mentor)

Five minutes into the book, and I was already smiling at her satirical observations of Singapore politics and her dry humour. I can imagine many people would really enjoy her book. Heh. It feels strange to be amused by the thoughts of someone who has just died, but the book was written in such a conversational and easy style that it seems like she is here in person. And in writing the book, she has left behind a part of her that will continue to make its mark on those who read her; and the essence of her being will never go away from this world of the living. "I think. Therefore I am."


Mistress of Pain

There was something different... something new...

Today, I found The One :-)

But maybe I should sleep on it for a while anyhow... until next weekend :-)


Sound...

...of my nails scraping the rock wall. Urgh.

And, people should not wear short shorts for rock-climbing unless they want people down below to go BLIND.

And, I'm as red as a lobster now. Ooops.


Straight up

"So, are YOU straight?" He turned and asked in all seriousness.

"What do you think?" I returned. And left it at that. Deliberately.

It seems that men nowadays are having a harder time on the dating scene. It's not enough to find out if the woman is already seeing someone. Then again, some men (and bitches women... grrr...) don't even care if you are already in a long-term relationship or married. And to be fair, relationships do end for many reasons - and it need not always be due to a third party. But nothing makes a man give up the hunt faster than finding out that the woman shares the same passion as he does - for other women.


I wish...

...the windows in the house were floor-to-ceiling - so I can sit by them to read my books, or sleep, on a nice sunny weekend afternoon like today.


Words

Ok, all you perverts and voyeurs. CirCe has a good one for you: Postmodern Courtesan.




Intimate

"Why didn't you want to stay for coffee? Did you really find him too flamboyant*? I'm just curious, that's all." (*In his own words.)

"Yah... and he's a stranger." He frowned darkly.

"Doesn't everyone start off as strangers? Don't you remember how we met everyone else back in NUS?"

"Yahhh... but..."

It was an impromptu (I suppose?) invitation from the stranger - a stranger of sorts to me as well - for both of us to join him for a drink. The plan was only to pick up the book. But, I would not have minded coffee, even if I had showed up alone. It was a Friday night after all. And I have had to find ways to entertain myself on Fridays since the "BF" spends most of her time entertaining the "bf" now. Sniff. SNIFFFFF.

But "ethics" (to steal a word from a very ethical fellow) dictated that I could not force an extension of the brief encounter on my friend, even though he had known of this more than a day in advance. And, reluctance aside, he did remember his manners and stepped forward to introduce himself, albeit warily. So, there.


Words

I was in town to meet my friend for dinner and to collect a book from a stranger. I ended up bringing three books home. My friend gave me the second and I bought the third, which I was browsing while waiting for him.

Appetites: Why Women Want - Caroline Knapp

A Pain in the Neck - Grace Chow

The Experts' Guide to 100 Things Everyone Should Know How to Do - Samantha Ettus




The others

Sometime past 8 on Tuesday night, the loud noises above started. It sounded like someone(s) was moving around in the space between our 3m high ceiling and the roof of the building - someone(s) big and clumsy. Sometimes, it sounded like someone(s) was stumbling around aimlessly and heavy things were being dropped. I figured the building management had gotten a contractor to look into repairs - but I did think it strange that they should be here so late. So, I did not think to ask my boss, huddled in her room next to my cubicle, what she thought about the loud noises. The sounds went on and off until before 11. My boss left slightly before 10 while I worked past midnight.

The next morning, my boss said she did not hear any noise (but it was so loud!) the night before. And, who works so late at night anyway? Oh. And then, I remembered that I did not hear sounds of tools being used, or voices. Ohhh...

Over lunch, I asked my colleagues if they knew whether roof repairs were being carried out again. They did not think so - the major renovations were completed a few months ago. And, who works so late at night anyway? Oh. As we were walking back to the office, I realised that our office was on the side of the building next to the meat freezer. Ohhh...

But, no worries. You never know with these contractors anyhow. Maybe they are insomniacs who work when they cannot sleep??? So, I talked to the building management. No, they did not call for repairs. And, who works so late at night anyway? Oh. They added that one of the tenants down the hallway had heard sounds in the day too. Ohhh...

No - it could not have been the rats or bats although we have seen them around; and they would have to be the size of obese Jack Russell Terriers to sound like full-grown humans. No - my hearing is not so impaired from all that diving and loud non-classical music (I, Uncultured) that I hear sounds that are not there. No - it could not have been the sounds from the live band downstairs - the newly renovated cafe may have finally moved with the times but Riverdance it is not. No - the sounds were not muffled or distant; they were very distinct.

This has never happened to me in my four years working here. Occasionally, I have felt just a little spooked working late into the night or on weekend afternoons alone - but nothing... strange... except for the usual sounds of the building settling down. And I certainly did not get the chills or hair-standing-on-end feeling on Tuesday night - probably because no amount of chilling would have penetrated the hormonal flux that has been burning up my body the past two weeks, and my hair is too long and heavy to do any standing.

When the others heard about my... experience, they started to share their own... experiences too. Those sitting next to the walls at the back of the office often hear scuttling sounds above and in the walls - most probably the rats and bats; but they were never loud. Those working alone on Saturday afternoons have heard sounds from keyboards in empty cubicles and other... sounds - it could just be the building settling down. One, who has been falling sick very often since joining us, claimed that she had seen children running across the reception area out of the corner of her eye, and heard sounds of sanitary napkins being unwrapped while she was in the toilet - alone. A few times, she had even seen a man in white at another colleague's seat - but the person was gone when she turned to look directly at... it.

Then, I told them I had heard more than sounds in the roof on Tuesday night. I remember that I kept hearing sounds as if someone was moving around, picking up and putting down things behind the partition of the cubicle next to me. My boss was still around during that time, but she was huddled in her room. After she left, I continued to work at my computer. Sometime after 11, I stepped out for a toilet break. As I was walking past the reception area, I glanced at the glass panels of the shelves and saw my own reflection. I also saw the reflection of a... man... walking very quickly across the back of the office, towards my cubicle. That was probably the only moment on Tuesday night when I was closest to the feeling of being spooked. My mind had registered the image - but I did not turn or thought much of it at that moment, probably because my brain was already overheated from the sensory overload of the words and images that I had been working on non-stop for the past four hours or so.

Question: Why me? And why now???




Mind MY language

"Grammar" - not "grammer".

Cough, thanks, cough, Val, cough. Man, this cough is catching, no?


Daughter of Paladine

Class #2 - Basic First Aid.

The instructor summons M to the front of the class to demonstrate the head-to-toe examination.

He shuffles reluctantly to the front of the class. "Harrr... why me?"

KY: "...There'll be some touching of sensitive parts, so a guy is more suitable. Heh. Heh. Heh."

M wriggles uncomfortably as KY moves his hands down his body, and five other pairs of eyes are trained on him. (Good thing the guy is vertically challenged, or his discomfort would have lasted longgger.)

"Yes, try not to giggle when he touches your sensitive parts." Smirk.

A while later, we learn how to tie someone up with the aim of immobolising various injured body parts, using bandages and splints.

"If both legs are injured, you place the splint in between his legs, right?" I still remember the first aid classes from St John's.

"Eh, yes." KY grins evilly at his live dummy, who quickly crosses his legs at the sight of the very long splint.

M continues to fidget and looks uncomfortable. KY, who is also feeling a little awkward, murmurs a few reassuring words to him as he moves on with the demonstration.

The smile on my face grows wider. "Hmmm... KY, you are good at this bondage stuff, aren't you? M is really enjoying himself."

Interesting how some bondage jokes loosened everyone up after that. And, M really warmed up to me. Or was that because we had reduced the freezing air-conditioning earlier? (Friend, stand a bit further please. Your namesake you are not - not by a longgg stretch. Pity that Material Boy is too busy to join the course. Now, I would really like to tie that one up.)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Before class.

M walks up to where I am seated, wrinkling his nose and looking a little distressed.

"What's thattt smellll??? That perfume. Very strong." He scrunches his face in increasing distaste as he continues to stare at me. I frantically pull at my collar to sniff myself. (Maybe I was a tad too generous with the Violetta.)

Oh, this one is a real charmer, he is.

I realise after a while that he was referring to the perfume sample in the Vanity Fair magazine - Giorgio Armani's Mania. Urgh. Agreed - the scent is so commercial (mass marketted) and overpowering. I rip out the offending page. No wonder I keep getting a headache.


Words

"D.B. asked me what I thought about all this stuff I just finished telling you about. I didn't know what the hell to say. If you want to know the truth, I don't know what I think about it. I'm sorry I told so many people about it. About all I know is, I sort of miss everybody I told about. Even old Stradlater and Ackley, for instance. I think I even miss that goddamn Maurice. It's funny. Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody."
~ The Catcher in the Rye. J. D. Salinger

I'm done. Interesting read. And quite funny, in a way. Thanks, MITL :-)




Literally speaking

Screw in man. Oh. Oh... Heh.


Mind your language

"I have been searching for a job that I can really sink my teeth into for the long haul..."

And she was doing so well - until the last paragraph. Guess she thought it would give her resume more bite. Heh.

I continue to be amazed at the resumes that people write. And another thing - don't use big/fancy words and expect that your potential employer will not notice your bad grammer and awkward writing.




Culled

Absolutely hilarious! Spread the word! :-D

Old aunts used to come up to me at weddings, poking me in the ribs and cackling, telling me: "You're next." They stopped after I started doing the same thing to them at funerals.
~ Anonymous


Tastes like chicken

Remember MAD Magazine? I used to love poring over the little cartoons in the margins, turning the magazine this way and that. I cannot remember if they were generally related to the story on the page, but they were always funny, and each page had a little bag of delights waiting to be discovered.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It was a low resolution file and he could not tell what the cartoon in the margin, which I had chosen to accompany his article, depicted.

"It's a chicken getting chopped." I muttered over the telephone.

A second or two later - perhaps he was leaning in for a closer look at his computer screen - he started to snicker. Very. Deliberately. And the sound was extremely gratifying to my ears :-)


Old times

"It was an old comfort that I know well, and am glad has returned in spite of what had happened. I shall be loathe to lose a good friend, again - even though he tried to bite off more than an arm and a leg the last time."


Three Point Zero (continued...)

Phew! He was kidding about declaring war. Got a bit worried there. Heh. (I, Chicken.) Guess he turned out to be more resilient than I thought. Anyway, the peace offering has been made - 1.5ml vial of Artemisia it is then. Grin.




Three Point Zero

Oh dear. What is it with men and their belts anyhow? This is the second time in two days that a guy has told me that I have hit him "below the belt". I thought the Vanity Fair entry was funny. No??? Gee. I think I have just been "three-point-zero'ed". And I certainly did not expect it to come from a non-Singaporean Chinese Male. But hey, maybe all those years of schooling in Singapore have stripped him of humour - below the belt. Heh. Heh. Heh.

Eh, kidding only hor. (If it would make things better, I thought Vanity Fair was a woman's magazine too.) Oh wait... since I am a Singaporean Chinese woman, does that mean that I am incapable of joking? Oh. Oh... No wonder the others did not find the "missing head" comment funny at all. Damn.

But I do think you write well. Seriously :-)

(PS: There, feel all better now? Don't declare war on me hor. I'm just a helpless female! Whimper. Beg for mercy. I'll cry if I have to!)


Cut and paste

Yesterday, I learnt a new way to type. I learnt how to cut and paste the letter 'n' from existing text instead of pressing the 'n' key on the keyboard. A while later, I found myself doing the same for the letters 'i' and 'k'. But the novelty soon wore off.

Yes, you guessed right. My cool keyboard is fried.


Taste

"Beyond being by way of a special evening arranged for a special someone, or a means of getting a lass in the mood for a good shag, I see no point in splurging on fine dining. Food is food, no matter how expensive - the result is all the same, it always ends up the same way in the bloody toilet. Hawker / food court food in Singapore is perfectly decent - save your money for that new iPod or Hugo Boss shirt instead."
~ Jiang Wei

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Fuzzy snapshots and distant soundbites from an afternoon more than a year ago...

The food and red wine at Carlton Hotel's Jeremy were really good - my lunch companions were connoisseurs. Although most of the details from that afternoon escape my feeble brain, I remember it was a moving experience. I also remember that the one who sat opposite me loved his food and wine. You could tell from his considerable girth. And his enthusiasm was the effusive kind that could be felt by people around him. Throughout the meal, I watched transfixed, like a hapless squirrel in the path of an oncoming three-tonner, as our shared table inched its way past the other two adjacent ones... towards me... until the edge was against my abdomen. It was awkward - I could not think of something tactful to say, and I did not think a witty comment from a subordinate would be appreciated, or worse, taken personally. Fortunately, the new alignment of the tables was not missed by the others. His contemporary looked over in bemusement: "How you eat one?" As he pulled the table back, I sighed in relief - a great burden had been lifted off my chest.

Later on, we got a lift back to the office in the contemporary's swanky Beemer. A conversation about good food turned to fine dining, and of course, Les Amis. The two guys thought fine dining was a pointless extravagance, not even for their date/wife or a special occasion: "Food is food. Wine is wine. Why bother with ambience?" I remember they went on for quite a while, with that authoritative swagger - probably smug that the two females at the back had retreated into silence.

"Men..." I muttered under my breath (I did not care if the guys heard or not) to the other female and rolled my eyes.

There was a few seconds of uncomfortable silence and I could almost hear the gears in the guys' brains whirling aloud. After a while, one of them managed a hesitant: "But you see..."

"Ah." I murmured in polite acknowledgement after he was done. (Mmmm. Yeah. Whatever.)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I did not take offence to their opinions, even when they thought that paying for ambience was not worth the effort for their date/wife. What I did not agree with was how they turned down the idea simply because it was "expensive" and a "bother". It was a little strange since these were people who would spent a whole lot more money and effort for wine, and were very well-versed in its sensory pleasures. I do agree that good food can be enjoyed on its own, and there are enough pretentious establishments trying to make up for mediocre food with "ambience" that sometimes, is not even there. While I mostly eat at hawker centres and sometimes cafes/restaurants, and I am hardly a connoisseur of the finer things in life that most of my close friends are, I do enjoy outings to fancier establishments - for the food AND ambience; for the experience.

It is not about the worthiness or shaggability of your dinner companion. (By the way, it is most telling when people simply assume a fancy restaurant is a prelude to sexual favours.)

The dining experience - to me anyhow - need not only be restricted to Taste and Smell. It can be an experience to be savoured by Sight (presentation of food and interior decor), Sound (music), and yes, even Touch (eh, not footsie under the table - more like the texture of the drinking glass and table cloth) too.

For that matter - not just dining - even breakfast can be an experience. I used to visit the MacDonalds by the park next to Commonwealth (I think) MRT Station or just laze in one of the plush armchairs at the Pacific Coffee Company in City Link.

Of course, at the end of the day, to each his own.


Vanity Fair

"Feeding your girly read needs, I see. : )"

I was going to use my Kinokuniya voucher last night but got sidetracked yammering into my friend's ears over dinner at Borders until midnight, and picked up Vanity Fair instead just before the place closed.

And, yes sir, they have very "girly" needs in New York, these NY women. Star Wars is on the four-page foldout cover ("Exclusive! Star Wars Spectacular! The Ultimate Photos! The Inside Story!"), which my friend made me promise not to drool on because he wants it after I am done. This should not be too difficult since the closest allusions to SEX or anything vaguely kinky on the cover are:

- The clever positioning of the word "Spectacular!" next to the otherwise modest manhood under Ewan McGregor's belt.

- For women who have a fetish for wrinkled geriatric green things (which effectively rules me out since W is convinced that I have paedophiliac tendencies), there is Yoda in his nondescript brown robe. You know the saying never to judge a book by its cover? So, what lies beneath? Eh, more wrinkled green thingies?

- Big, black, mysterious strangers and lots of heavy breathing.

- Big, hairy things with bad teeth. (Now, I know how hair really turns some women on but I have enough hair of my own and bad teeth is unacceptable.)

Other "girly" articles in this issue:
- The Rise and Fall of Porn King Bob Guccione
- The Man in the Hood (And New Prisoner-Abuse Horrors in Iraq)
- The Boy Who Planned His Own Murder on the Internet

All I can say is: these NY women are definitely an intimidating bunch.


Ex Etiquette

What would you do if you've just been told by a mutual friend (who heard from another mutual friend) that your ex's father passed away a few days ago? Somehow, keeping quiet doesn't seem right. Neither does a condolence message over something as impersonal as ICQ or SMS. But the only times and things you can and have talked to your ex about in the last two years and more (and then, only occasionally, and over ICQ or SMS) is when the server goes down - because he seems so... distant. Still, you knew so much about his father and family when you were together that you feel... well...

So, what would you do?




Overheard

The sweet young thing rose from her seat at the bus-stop and moved towards a waiting cab. Her boyfriend followed quickly and pulled at her arm, speaking softly to her. She stops and speaks to him in a very sweet young voice:

"Sweeeetie! I know you're trying to tell me I'm right. OF COURSE I'M RIGHT! Fucking hell..."

Fwah!!! Now that is a woman who speaks her fucking mind! I like leh! Laugh. Listen ah, all you Singapolian women, must learn from her, ok? Especially the grammer. See, she angry but still can remember how to speak good English. If not ah, some people will try to be "funny" again and say Singapolian women got no brain.


Moving pictures

Steel and lace. That strange mix of corruption and vulnerability in Jennifer Garner's Elektra was absolutely charming.

Miller (after the obligatory kissing scene): "Sorry."
Elektra: "Yeah. I hated it."

Mmmm :-)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Stick: "Some lessons cannot be taught. They have to be lived."

No matter how much they would hurt this way. But so true, no? That we can only learn by the trial of blood.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Am I the only one who thinks Kirsten Prout, who plays Miller's daughter, bears a striking resemblance to Renee Zellweger?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And everything else about the movie was absolutely forgettable.


Sight


Smell

Penhaligon's Scent Library. Heaven :-)

Scent of the moment: Lavandula. Very tempted to buy, but... must... resist...

Trying to give away the male scents - Blenheim Bouquet, Artemisia Hammam Bouquet, Quercus and English Fern. (Endymion taken.) Anyone?




0057 hours

Waiting for sleep to bring me down under.

Funny how I never feel sleepy the night before a public holiday, but often have to struggle to stay awake when work beckons the next morning. I suppose it is just my body making sure that it gets enough rest to last another work day.

Going into the office later - even though it is a holiday - to clear work that had to be put on hold to rush a project, which took up almost all of my working hours the past couple of weeks. After weaning myself off work-related activities outside office hours (literally - I often leave the office before 7pm nowadays) for the past few months, I have started checking work emails and bringing work home again. While things are picking up really fast at work and on the personal front, and finding time to write seems almost impossible some days (especially since sleep usually takes priority now), it feels good - for now.

Meanwhile, I have been thinking a lot about our local publications and writers. A thinks they are mostly (or all?) crap and wannabes who have no originality of thought (or just too lazy to attempt any semblance of it); think the only way to show you have an opinion is to bitch about someone (hmm... sounds like an ex-intern from Streats whose recent longggggg rant about Fiona Xie's blog surprised me with its ferocity - nevermind that this is how she writes and I too found Xie's writing sanctimonious and pretentious; and the magazines only want to sell sex and gossip (but hey, I think most local readers and writers deserve each other).

You would think that the women's magazines would fare better since the topics are not as intellectually driven. Indeed, I used to look forward to Her World, Female and Cleo for my girly reads. But in the last year or so, it has become a chore (I still pick up copies because of my sisters and mum) and sometimes, I do not even read more than a quarter of the pages. The topics have become repetitive; the writing uninspired; all about sex sex sex - but what really irks me is that oftentimes, there is actually no sex! There would be these really titillating headlines on the cover, but 8 out of 10 times, the cover is the closest you would ever get to the sex. Come onnn... do you think I picked up the magazine because I really wanted to read formulaic cut-and-paste jobs like "Be a Sex Goddess - Tips from a Voice Coach", "Off with His Willy - Stop Him Straying", "Love or Not - Is it a Holiday Fling or the Real Thing?" - especially, and especially since the sex headlines are always a few font sizes bigger? Of course not! I am in it for the salacious sex so just dish it! Heck, they should just sell covers from now on, because that is the closest anyone will ever get to jerking off. Tease. Hmmmpfff.

I should save my money and read the sex blogs. At least they are unique no-holds barred personal accounts. AND, as a bonus, well-written, thoughtful and beautifully inspired.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

While I am as visually driven as any other woman (or man for that matter), if not even more; eye candy alone (good cover and layout design) is not going to keep the real readers. While I do agree that a good magazine has to appeal to both the mind and eye - and it is indeed a very fine balance - it is the words and flow of thoughts that ultimately give the magazine its purpose. If it were otherwise, visuals would far outweigh words, and it would be the former telling the stories, no? But some people just do not get it. Sigh.


Taste

"Your body will begin to crave healthier food on its own."

My colleagues have been watching the recent changes in my diet - from eating just about everything to mostly greens, tomatoes, fruits and generally, just less "flavourful" food - with a mixture of initial bewilderment and then pity. But contrary to what they think, I am enjoying my new diet and find myself tasting so much more in every bite.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I have begun to seek my personal edge through the asanas, pushing myself that much further each lesson, becoming more aware of my body and yet, detached from all the pain and discomfort - finding comfort within discomfort. And knowing that oftentimes, it is about holding on just a few seconds more.

All in the mind.


The Dark Side

On the not-so-rare days when there is a disturbance in the Force, I cannot help thinking that I work for monkeys and nuts. And now another nut wants to join the madhouse. Sigh. But, who am I to deny another his true calling? May the Force be with this one.

I am sooo leaving this place as soon as a reasonable offer comes by.




Daughter of Paladine

KY: "CPR should not be started whenever positive signs of death are obvious to you. So, what are some positive signs of death?"

I: "Missing head."

Heh. Heh. Heh. What? What do you mean it's not funny? Boring, unimaginative Singaporean Chinese men. Mutter. Just like the boring, unimaginative ones in class tonight. (If nothing else, what's a blowjob without head, eh? Duh. Duh!) I miss having Material Boy around; class would have been so much more entertaining.


Culled

"Oh, you hate your job? Why didn't you say so? There's a support group for that. It's called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar."
~ Drew Carey

"Relationships are hard. It's like a full time job, and we should treat it like one. If your boyfriend or girlfriend wants to leave you, they should give you two weeks' notice. There should be severance pay, the day before they leave ou, they should have to find you a temp."
~ Bob Ettinger

"Why does Sea World have a seafood restaurant? I'm halfway through my fish burger and I realise, oh my god.... I could be eating a slow learner."
~ Lynda Montgomery

"Remember in elementary school, you were told that in case of fire you have to line up quietly in a single file line from smallest to tallest. What is the logic in that? What, do tall people burn slower?"
~ Warren Hutcherson

"Bigamy is having one wife/husband too many. Monogamy is the same."
~ Oscar Wilde

"Do you know why they call it 'PMS'? Because 'Mad Cow Disease' was taken."
~ Unknown, presumed deceased

And my personal favourite...

"Advice for the day: If you have a lot of tension and you get a headache, do what it says on the aspirin bottle: 'Take two aspirin' and 'Keep away from children.'"
~ Author unknown




Moving pictures

"We need a witness to our lives. There's a billion people on the planet...I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things...all of it, all of the time, every day. You're saying 'Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness'."
~ Beverly Clark (Susan Sarandon), Shall We Dance

I want to witness the many lives around me. I want to ask so many, many questions. But I barely have enough time to witness my own life as I live it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I would not say it was a good movie. The story did not hold very well. But it had a few good lines worth thinking about. And the handful of us in the almost empty theatre on a Sunday morning had some good laughs at the funny scenes.


The Metal Wars

My blog was visited by someone searching for "singaporean men insensitive". How fascinating.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And then, there is Titanium vs Strongtium AKA "The Singaporean Chinese Man Who Really Likes His Woman To Speak His Her Mind" vs "The Local Chinese Wemmen Who Spoke Her Mind And Kena Powdered By Powder Boy's More Powderful England".

Hilarious. Both of them :-)

"1.8 Inferiority complex
Some Chinese women have been so well brainwashed by their mothers that they feel that they cannot appear richer, cleverer, smarter or more educated than their man in public. Woe betide our hapless hero into thinking he has it good though, once in private Shrinking Violet's true colours show, and poor Forrest Gump is wondering how on earth he's managed to hook up with a sheer and abject schizo just like his mummy when he'd been so careful... Truth is we don't want someone to stand behind us. We want them to stand beside us. Well, at least I do."

Rrright. Probably because some insensitive Singaporean men might not notice the kitchen knife buried up to the hilt in their backs until they have been bled dry. Heh. Heh. Heh.




Something stale

"My feet are trying to tell me something...... So, when A talked to me again about his plans to move to UK (before that, it was Canada) and whether I would consider going together with him and his wife, I found myself considering and looking forward to an alternate reality; and my usual fears about friends/strangers, job, family, love (or lack thereof) and so on, barely mattered...... The truth - my truth - is out there."


Missing

I wonder where Lys has gone off to.


Moving pictures

"Feel free to watch."

Shall we dance - one of those mid-life crisis stories where a married man (Richard Gere - who looked more like he was going through a late-life crisis) discovers the joy of life again, through ballroom dancing, helped in part by a beautiful dance instructress (Jennifer Lopez - I could not decide whether her ass or constant pouty-lipped look throughout the entire movie was more in your face). It was entertaining enough for a late morning though.

I cannot wait to watch the other Jennifer :-)~~~


Something sweet

A few of us gather in one of the cubicles to chat, while waiting for the start of the long night. He comes along but stands apart, looking on from behind the partition. After a while, I switch to listening mode and try to finish my yoghurt dinner. From the corner of my eye, I notice that his head is turned away from the group. I look up. He has rested his chin on the top of the partition, slowly smiling at me; it was a rather sweet smile actually. (Yes, feel free to watch; I do not charge for looking.) I meet his eyes for a while and return a small smile. Then, I return my attention to the group.

Much later into the night, the meeting breaks for a while before the next session. People move from their seats to pick up some food and drinks, or gather in small groups to talk further. Turning away from the laptop, I reach across the table for sustenance and settle back in my chair. He returns to his seat beside me with a drink and makes some small talk about the food.

"What else is there..." I suggest the egg, which is really good. "What are you eating..." He leans in to look at the half-eaten char siew bao in my hand. It almost feels like someone had just looked into my mouth while I was eating. Not that I talk with my mouth full; very rarely anyhow. "Is there anything sweet..." "Yeah, how about me?" Of course I didn't say that lah. Want to die izit? All this is being captured on the transcript tapes. He adds "...like tao sa?" Huh? Tao sa very sweet meh? Not that we got any of those. I offer to get him an apple from my personal store in the fridge. Well, apples are sweet, no? And he looks like he takes his greens and fruits (and sweets, apparently). He just smiles at me. I suggest the ling yong which is quite sweet and he takes one.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"As the veil slipped from around his helpless eyes, he forgot what he was going to say next, while I continued to hold on to his eyes, and face, in increasing bemusement."

Honestly? I rather he just looks, and does the slow smile which I like quite a lot. Not because he should not, nor that I do not want him to, attempt anything more. It is simply less awkward when he does not try to talk to me. Because I might be tempted to help him forget his words if he starts to "lose it" again. Heh. Heh. Heh.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I am struck by the resemblance - except the other one has nicer eyes and longer lashes. It is interesting how people (some, anyway) who look alike react to me the same way.




Human canvas

Victor Modafferi's art is beautiful, especially the butterflies and dragons.

Thinking about these for the back, between the shoulder blades: 1 2 3 4 5. Dunno if Primitive Art can achieve the shading effect though. This dragon art is lovely too, except it would not be meaningful for me.

If anyone knows of any other good sites with butterflies or celtic art, lemme know :-)


Black gold

We were mesmerised by the sleek and incredibly lean and taut body moving up the wall. Every move was a precision of thought, translated into the definition of muscles in arms, legs, and mmm... muscles rippling across his beautiful bare back... and his skin... every inch of his sweating skin glistened like bronze oil in the afternoon sun.

I think we spent more time oogling his body than learning his moves, and wondering aloud whether he had applied suntan oil (could sweat alone shine like that?), in spite of the two rather speechless guys beside us. I turned and asked one of them if the Bronzed One had oiled himself. "Nooo..." followed by an incredulous and somewhat bemused look. Wwwhat? As if he was not already listening in on us. I suppose women are just as bad as men when it comes to oogling the opposite sex. Heh. Heh. Heh.

Progress report: Would have completed the Yellow Submarine if I had not used all my remaining strength to unclip at the 12th panel (three more to the top). And it did not help that I was getting baked on the wall at the same time, and "burnt" my leg on one of the hot stones. Owwwwww.




The Tao of Pok

"So, pardon my middle-aged ignorance, but if it is an all-girl taupok, is it called a tauhuay? And if it is a mixed taupok God forbid is it known as a taunee? What if the guys taupok-ing are of an alternative persuasion? Taugay? And if a Singapore Idol is taupok-ed, would we call it a Taufik?"

This is just way, wayyy tooo funny. ROFL!!!


Caffeine express

Mine! Mine! All mine!!! Thank you to someone's boyfriend :-)

Fed Elmo a handful and he keeps looking at me for more. So I gave him more. Heh. Heh. Heh. Wonder what caffeine does to JRTs.


Retail therapy

Golden Rule to Shopping: You never find any shoes you like when you go looking for them. (Applies to men too. Heh.) Mac AKA Da Vinci AKA Walking Culture seems to have lost its touch, and only had the usual stuff that everyone else wears. Pity.

Anyway, have decided to replace my colour printer. I have a plan. Heh. Any recommendations for a good printer that won't cost me an arm and a leg? (Because I'm saving my limbs for my platonic relationships, silly.)


In the hot seat

Why do people pat recently vacated seats before sitting down? How much heat can someone else's butt cheeks leave behind anyhow? Have you seen anyone leap a metre into the air after settling into a recently vacated seat? Is it revulsion for such intimate contact with a stranger's body heat? But how does one explain the "unprotected" palm feeling the seat? (At least your butt has a layer of underwear and clothing mitigating another person's body heat.) Goodness knows what else was left behind other than butt heat.

Can you just imagine chickens feeling their eggs with their wingtips before they settle down on their feathered behinds? I mean, you never know when another chicken or human might have sneaked in a freshly hard-boiled egg while you were out pecking for chicken feed.

You don't see these enthusiastic seat feelers often on the trains though. A moment's hesitation usually means someone else would have grabbed the vacated seat. Think musical chairs - except I have yet to see people butted off while jostling for seats. (Snicker at SF.)

If I were you, I'll be very careful about shaking hands with strangers from now on.




2350 hours

I swear the White Dragon is trying to drive me to an early grave. Mission: (1) Transcribe 90 minutes of interview with He-who-watched-haplessly-as-the-ball-flew-over-his-head-in-slow-motion-noooOooo (which was a damn funny analogy from the WD heh heh heh heh heh) to be written into a feature article; (2) Sanitise a 3000-word rant (you ain't see no rant yet; and you thought I was bad?) against She-who-threw-the-poison-ball-and-had-better-not-fall-sick-anytime-soon; by Friday noon. And I only just got home. Wah lan eh. I'll probably have to work from home - the most eye-rolling and tedious phone calls seem to inundate me on mornings when I'm rushing deadlines. It's strange, but as A has also observed, sometimes, we can do more work when not at work.


Clickies



It seems that the photos from the diving trips, which I've compiled into a screensaver, have intrigued a few people. One thought SF really looked like someone he knew... Shuz-something. (Wah, someone out there actually looks like her.) And of this, he asked: "Who's that lying down?" "Eh, me lah." "Har?! So... decadent!"

... Decadent???




Lost in transit

"There is something mesmerizing about the dynamics of strangers, alone like me, in the subway... I wonder: How magical, how unlikely, the chances of two persons finding each other? Two strangers... You could have been in that same cabin. Our shoulders grazed, a fleeting glance. You, with whom I will spend the rest of my living hours, could have been the stranger who had sat next to me..." ~ Tetanus

Thank you for the link.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In the veiled mists of watchful destiny
Our sightless fingers have touched
Entwined with each other's shadow
Until destiny thickened her hold
And we were lost to each other
Wandering unknowing paths

The day we met again
It must have been comical
To see us take a step forward
(Almost meeting)
And back
(Unmeeting)
Pulled back by destiny
To our made places

Standing before this delicate web
Of a destiny we cannot question
Intimate paths cross
And uncross
We contemplate the ethereal threads
That bind
And separate us in such strange ways

(c) k. April 2001.


Hypothetically speaking

You know how some people use analogies, or their friend's / friend's friend's predicament, or hypothetical situations, to seek advice about their own situations? (I do this sometimes too. Heh.) Anyway, here's a really funny one from High Fidelity, where Rob (John Cusack) obsesses to Barry (the obnoxious but screamingly funny record store clerk played by Jack Black) about whether his ex, Laura (Patricia Arquette) has slept with her new companion. And the two get increasingly frustrated with each other.

Rob (to self): And what did she mean last night, she hasn't slept with him yet. Yet. What does "yet" mean, anyway? "I haven't seen... Evil Dead II yet." What does that mean? It means you're going to go, doesn't it?"

Rob: Just... come on, what would it mean to you? That sentence? "I haven't seen Evil Dead II yet?"

Barry: To me, it would mean that you're a liar. You saw it twice. Once with Laura - oops - once with me and Dick. We had that conversation about the possibilities of the guy making ammo off-screen in the 14th Century.

Rob: Yeah, yeah, I know. But say I hadn't seen it and I said to you, "I haven't seen Evil Dead II yet," what would you think?

Barry: I'd think you were a cinematic idiot. And I'd feel sorry for you.

Rob: No, but would you think, from that one sentence. That I was going to see it?

Barry: I'm sorry, Rob, but I'm struggling here. I don't understand any part of this conversation. You're asking me what I would think if you told me that you hadn't seen a film that you've seen. What am I supposed to say?

Rob: Just listen to me. If I said to you, "I haven't seen Evil Dead II yet,"...

Barry: Yeah, yeah, I hear you...

Rob: Would you... would you get the impression that I wanted to see it?

Barry: Well... you couldn't have been desperate to see it, otherwise you'd have already gone...

(Rob brightens. Barry finally considers.)

Barry: But the word "yet..." Yeah, you know what, I'd get the impression that you wanted to see it. Otherwise you'd say you didn't really want to.

Rob: But in your opinion, would I definitely go?

Barry: How the fuck am I supposed to know that? You might get sick of people telling you you've really gotta go see the movie.

Rob: Why would they care?

Barry: Because it's a brilliant film. It's funny, violent, and the soundtrack kicks fucking ass.

(Rob and Barry look at each other for a strange moment.)

Barry: I never thought I would say this, but can I go work now?


Till death do us part

"Does living become harder as we grow older? Is it the monotony of doing the same things over and over and over, again and again and again? Is it that as everything and everyone around us change, we begin to feel the tedium of keeping the pace?"




Moving pictures

Before Sunrise. A nice change (from having to follow tiresome plots that all seem to be just variations of one another anyway), and rather charming.


Sound

Cheb Khaled's Acha is simply enchanting. I love music like that.




Brownian thoughts

[1] Looking back on January a year ago... the thing with Enetation was really quite amusing. Heh.

[2] Has it been a year already? Wah.

[3] Finally got the cable link from my mobile to the computer working - the Starhub shop had sold me the wrong cable!!! Had to go all the way to the Samsung Care Service Centre at Centrepoint to be told that. And then, back to my place to insist (why do they always have to play hard-to-get with the customer???) on an exchange. "But you bought this cable so long ago - 8 December." "Well, pal, if I didn't have to surf a million websites, install / uninstall / reinstall the software a thousand times, and run all over Singapore..." And, according to Samsung, the cable should cost only $30 ($30???!!!) less than what I'm paying. Nah beh. Ok, whatever. I just wanted to get the right cable and go home. Then, there were also problems with the installation software that came with the kit. Wahlau. So, I downloaded the version from the website instead. Sheesh. The transferred images were a little disappointing - after all the hassle I had to go through for the $#!!% cable - but nothing that a little Photoshop can't fix :-)

[4] I've been told that I sometimes move and think as if I were in Brownian Motion.


Snog attack

Today, we look at another form of perversion.

"Just because I like my guys to be a little soft does not mean... what does it take for me to prove that I'm totally and absolutely heterosexual?"

I was asked the other night, and quite "seriously", if I would try - or at least consider - kissing a girl.

Sputter. Of course NOT! NOT - even if she were "a good kisser". (Yeah. Well. So am I.) NOT - even at my "most depraved". (Which, is pretty much the default state of my mind anyhow.) NOT - even if I were to consider the possibility that I'm more "repressed" than morally enlightened. (I'm repressed some ways, but not in these things.) Kissing a girl would be so, so, very, very, WRONG. Heck, I can't even hug a girlfriend or do the friendly touch-on-arm thing that a lot of women like to do. (In any case, I'm inclined to think the touching is sometimes more manipulative than a genuine show of affection or familiarity. Heh.) And I don't even like it very much when most women touch me. Not that I don't like physical contact per se. I do - just not from another woman AND as long as it's not unwanted (quite different from "unexpected") or inappropriate. There's just something overly "soft" (and almost... abhorrent) about a woman's touch that every single one of my senses revolts against.

Then, on the way home last night, the conversation found its way into my idle mind, and I had this sudden urge to "snog" another woman - because I just HAD to know what it would actually FEEL like. And there were these images in my head: two girlfriends seated across a small table engrossed in conversation; one of them going on at length about something; the other listening and watching intently - holding still her friend's face in her mind; and then, The Moment - leaning in really quickly and planting a firm one (no tongue) on her friend's lips.

The Moment - when just one of our many, many, many thoughts assumes form and a life of its own among the living - when it arrived, would surprise even the kisser.

When she bear-hugged me this afternoon, I was certainly close enough to sneak one on her. But, it just did not seem the thing to do.

Because, you really need The Moment for things like that. (Even with a man and a woman.) And because, if you made things happen and just went through the motions, it would not feel "right". And because, it would not have had a chance in hell of happening if the other party was warned in advance. I may be more athletic-looking than most of my female friends (and woe unto me, apparently the guys too) but people have been known to discover hidden talents, like the Florence Griffin-Joyner in them, when put under sufficient stress. A once told me this story of how he leaped onto a high piece of furniture to escape a dog - and seeing as to how there was quite a lot going against gravity, that was a really amazing feat. Heh. Heh. Heh.

Anyway, this is not so much my perversion, but his. So, thank you very much for putting that thought in my head. NOT.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I do not suppose I would be attempting this on the unsuspecting CirCe (who only reads me on weekdays) when we meet Sunday evening to shop for a dive computer. I simply do not find her lips particularly kissable. (Of course, she is welcome to prove me wrong. Eh. NOT! I was just kidding. SERIOUS!) And I do not particularly relish the thought of having every single bone in my body rearranged by her boyfriend.

And, I think I ought to ban boyfriends and husbands from reading this blog.

Then again, I am sure this is just a passing madness, as are so many of the thoughts lurking in my head. And, they stay there, under lock and... well, I think the dog ate the key a long time ago, along with the network cable.


Taste

Awww. The Raffles Hotel's Bar and Billiard Room, which used to be my favourite high tea haunt, doesn't serve the buffet anymore - so I discovered today when I wondered why everyone was primly seated at the table. It's just coffee/tea and sandwiches/tarts/muffins now. No wonder the crowd (or lack thereof) was whiter than my dress. Heh. Anyway, only Tiffin Room serves the buffet high tea now. Much as I like the spread, I'll stick to the Billiard for its ambience.




Watchdog

Sleep, that knits up the ravell'd sleave of care,
The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great Nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast;"
~ Macbeth. (Macbeth. Act II, Scene ii, 36-39.)

In my semi-sleep, I knew the dogs had already woken, and I could hear them running about the house and playing on my bed. Some time later, sleeping on my side, I felt a quiet presence, and a moist spot on my nose.

You know the feeling when you can feel eyes on you, and the sheath of air around your body just seems to stop moving for a while - and then, you look up to find someone looking at you, as everything else fades into greys?

I opened my eyes and found Xena seated by my head, her face to mine, doggy nose to human nose, looking at me, intently. (Which, has never happened before, as far as I know. It has always been the jump-all-over-sleeping-human-and-lick-face-to-wake-human routine.)

I wonder if dogs watch humans sleep. And, I wonder if, and what, dogs are thinking when they watch sleeping humans. I know I do - both humans and animals - with an almost perverse pleasure at times.

I am fascinated by the stillness of expression; that moment captured on the living canvas of the face. That, even in this stillness - sans the animated face with its frowning thoughts, raising of bemused eyebrow, welcoming warmth of beautiful brown eyes, flaring nostrils, slow curving of luscious lips, or quizzical tilting of head - the naked face is even more beautiful.

And I am fascinated by the sentience in that expression - almost fragile, and hence, so precious. That, even in sleep - that strange state of existential suspension that grants us reprieve from our conscious thoughts and emotions, motivations and actions; the whole conscious effort of living with all its happiness and sadness, laughter and anger - there is still that quiet and yet overwhelming sense of being, of a living thing. Sleeping. Resting. Healing. Rejuvenating. As a tiny bud curled underground sleeps through the stillness of winter, patiently awaiting its glorious rise through the warmth of spring.

My mobile has a wallpaper of my sleeping dog - he does look so precious; and it is such a flattering angle; even SF agrees, though she thinks he is a monster. *insert annoying smiley emoticon with wink*

And...

I once took close-ups of someone's face while he slept. He knew about it - I showed the photos to him, to his amusement. He does not know of their continued existence, in the hard drive of my computer. And he probably would not expect it, or cared, really. After all, we parted ways more than two years ago. I had gotten rid of everything that had sentimental value and would remind me of the six years that were not meant to be more than that. But, I kept these photos that do not hold any such value - for my hedonistic enjoyment.

(So now the whole damn world knows.)

Yeah, I know - I ought to see a shrink. (Which, I did, not too long ago - except he was the one doing most of the talking in a reversal of roles. Laugh. I did not know these people could talk so much! Maybe it is an occupational hazard, and when you do get a chance to talk about yourself, you just let fly.) But then, I know of people with stranger fancies (lurking at online journals where people detail their fetishes) and more perverse inclinations (lurking at online journals of people they do not approve of, so that... well, the reason escapes me for now). So there. Hmmmpfff.

Sleep. How fascinating.

I wonder if there is a photo collection out there with sleeping animals and humans. If you know of one, let me know, w'ya?




Gratuitous doggy pic


Round and round we go

I've started checking work emails from home again. Sigh. My eyebags are geting to be about the same size and shade as the guy who's been breathing down my neck (for all the wrong reasons). Sob.


Good day to die

"In the Buddhist faith, we believe in karma. Karma is basically explained in the sense where when you do good, you receive good fruits for your deeds. Likewise, when you do bad deeds, you receive punishment. Bad karma can also be due to what people have done in their past lives. However, in this instance, I am not indicating that the people who died had bad karma. Rather, we should look at it as the collective karma of the world. To have a better future, we should all do good together."
~ The Venerable Shi Ming Yi, Abbot of Foo Hai Ch'an Monastery and Chief Executive of Ren Ci Hospital

On the long walk to lunch, I was telling H that I didn't believe in a good or bad way to die - karmically speaking; and in relation to the prophetic calamities. Death comes to all, and in itself, is not something bad, so to speak. If nothing else, there are worse ways to die than instantaneous death from the crushing force of a tsunami - you could die a long and lingering death from a disease that slowly eats away at your body, and then, your mind.

The true measure of a person is in how his life is/was lived. Though death is a significant event, the living (and the dying - for is it not that each new day brings us closer to death?) is so much, much more.

Anyway, here's an interesting one from Platorulez' 30 December 2004 posting.


Three

One down. Two to go.


Intimate

"...I then got a sermon about the quake being one of the signs of Armageddon. And the point of these... signs... that have claimed so many, many, many innocent lives AND children? A chance for the non-believers to repent, and to believe. Since this was followed with a very meaningful and expectant look, and I was an outsider of the faith, I didn't think I had the moral authority to then ask: 'What about those who died? What about those who BELIEVED? What's the point to that? ALL of that.'"




The awakening

0600 hours: Same time, for the past ten days, in another world. I would be waking up to the sound of the sea lapping at the stilts holding up the wooden chalets of the very charming Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Resort; the cooling breeze through the open windows next to my bed; fluffy blue skies; and schools of little fishes skipping across the waters just outside, the morning sun glinting off their silvery bodies.

This morning, I woke to the screeching of the morning trains carrying masses to their defined spaces in concrete buildings. And soon, me too.

Kapalai seems like a dream now. Sniff. (And so, I used to dislike holidays because of the homecoming.)

Swimming with sharks

You know how it is with some "platonic" relationships. Sure, you can have a mutual understanding on how you feel about each other, and the boundaries. (Please stand behind the yellow line - or you might accidentally fall onto the track and get run over by an oncoming train.) But, it can be a delicate balancing act - you might find yourself wondering about the other's increasingly suggestive comments, or even, changes in the way you have been looking at the other of late and thinking about the "what if's".

A thinks these "platonic" relationships are fine as long as one is honest about the nature of the attraction and clear about the lines. Even if there is the occasional "testing of waters", he thinks it could just be curiosity - like sharks bumping against swimmers or taking the occasional nip, not because they are hungry. Okayyy. Yeah, I get the analogy. Sssure, I can spare an arm or leg to satisfy your curiosity. Mmmm. Wonder if I could convince anyone to let me take a bite out of their arm or leg though. Heh.


Taste

[1] Camomile Tea from The 1872 Clipper Tea Co. Always check before you order. I swear it's one of the vilest drinks I've ever had. Ack.

[2] Kopi at an open-air hawker centre in Tawau, Sabah. It had a layer of coffee powder at the bottom which should be stirred up as you drink. Reminds me of chocolate-coated coffee beans. Awesome.

[3] Potong ice-cream - not just any brand, but the Taluwang one which we picked up from Kota Kinabalu Airport. We each got a box of 12 to bring home :-)~~~ I sure hope the Customs Officer at Singapore had a good look at the brand when he made us unwrap the newspaper and styrofoam packing to look at our "ice-cream". Heh.




Thank you

I am fine, and back home. Thank you all for asking :-)

Could only receive SMS while out at sea; signal was too weak for calls and replying to worried messages. Mum (as expected, sigh) totally forgot where I was diving, and freaked out when she couldn't reach me. My sister simply figured there was no signal where I was. She also found out where I had gone, because she, too, went through the blog for information. And so, I learnt over dinner a few hours ago that she has been reading my blog (which is set as the browser homepage), but has never asked me about it. "I read it because it's there." Ah.

A big thank you to Edna, who called up one of the dive centres and MFA, and got back to my mum with reassurances :-)

And, eh, my apologies to those who read my blog entry about Sipadan being in Indonesia - it's Sabah, East Malaysia. (See, told you I'm terrible with directions and geography.)

Meanwhile, a few friends who have finally gotten hold of me have asked to mee. As one of them recently lamented, he doesn't want to miss saying "goodbye", especially since it's happened twice. I guess there's nothing like a close call (actually, I wouldn't call it that, since we were not even close to the epicentre; though CirCe reminded me that she had thought of packing us off to Phuket because she has - or, had? - a friend working there) for people to start being more proactive about keeping in touch, no?

Then again, people like Monsieur Mont Blanc and his lovely Missus don't wait until it's "too late" - we managed to get together for a couple of meals before my holiday. And he gave me my very own "Mont Blanc" for Christmas. Laugh. Anyway, it writes really, really well, so I shalln't mind its bastardised parentage. Grin.

Here's wishing all and loved ones a wonderful year ahead!