While the chicken's cooking, I can catch up on my journal-writing. It's been a busy several-days, so I'm going to be nice and do this chronologically.


First thing in the morning (i.e. 10ish), I went to try collecting that free lipstick I was talking about the last time. I am happy to report that I arrived at Metro Marina just before 11:30 am and the salesgirl on duty was quite happy to give me a freelipstick in exchange for my coupon --- she didn't even check that the latter was duly filled out with my name and contact information. Damn, I should've pretended to be Madonna or something. I'm not sure if the dry look she gave me was for the fact that I was there to get the lipstick before lunchtime, which is when I figure they get most of their business.

I was only going to get lipstick at Metro, but then a red dress on a mannequin caught my attention --- I have a weakness for red dresses --- and in my search to find the dress among the clothing racks, I came across so many other cute things I wanted. Who knew that Metro (which is like the equivalent of Sears or J.C. Penney's in the US) was actually stocking pretty hip stuff these days? Even their shoe section tempted me. But I forebore --- mostly because the red dress in question turned out to be $169 and I wouldn't pay that for a dress unless I was gonna be someone's bridesmaid or something --- and I left the store with only my free lipstick.

I can't really detail what I was doing over the next few hours, just in case Terz reads this. Suffice to say, it had to do with research for his imminent birthday.

Anyway, I eventually hauled myself down to school just after lunchtime and rewarded myself with another Bundaberg ginger beer from 7-Eleven along the way. That makes three Bundabergs in as many days, though alas, I didn't continue the trend through the weekend.

At school, I wrote my last two college recommendations, cleared some minor paperwork I'd been avoiding for the past month, finished up around 4 pm as the rain was tapering to a halt, and zipped down to Borders.

I've been to Borders a bazillion times since it opened (in '98? '99?) and it's become sorta ho-hum now. But some kind of consumer guardian spirit must have been guiding me through my visit on Friday evening before I found so much neat stuff. They finally have copies of Jonathan Frantzen's The Corrections --- which I've wanted since Salon reviewed it and that was way before Oprah dissed it and then it won the National Book Award --- and they even have it in paperback. They had loads of Harry Potter stuff, of course, but they also had up to Book the Eighth of A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. These books can't quite be described, but suffice to say they're wickedly funny in their own way and a delightful anecdote to all the feelgood stuff that's floating around --- for kids and adults --- these days. There's some other neat stuff which again I can't name till after Terence's birthday this weekend, but best of all, I snagged a gift for my colleague. It's a new book by an author he enjoys and even though I'm the one leaving the school, not him, he's old enough to be my father and I learned so much from working with him these past two years, that I feel I should get him something --- and now I have.

Thankfully, with the assistance of the Borders vouchers I was given by the English department as a farewell gift, the damage to my wallet for the abovementioned purchases (and then some) wasn't too hazardous.

After Borders, I grabbed a quick bite from McDonald's, then went over to Action for Aids. They're a small local group that I've been meaning to volunteer with since last year, but although I've been on their e-mail list the entire year, something always came up to keep me from going down. But their latest e-mail caught me post-exams and everything, so I determined that I would go down, even if it's just to help pack magazines. Which is what I did for three hours. We had to assemble flyers with a magazine and slip it into a plastic "printed matter" envelope, then affix (I love that word) address labels and stamps to them all. There were five of us working and we did about a thousand that night. It was neat. I like doing menial tasks like that. Miffy and I frequently say that our calling is to be receptionists and secretaries, not teachers or civil servants, and it honestly is true. There's something very therapeutic about efficiently packing and labelling magazines --- or any other office work --- that keeps me quite happy.

I think not being responsible for a teenager's examination grades and wondering if you've taught them anything of value also helps.


The AFA work took me till nine-thirty, then I headed home to meet Terence and we went down to Zouk winebar to meet X and some people. What a mistake that was --- mostly because hanging around the winebar for about two hours made us feel really, really old. We weren't quite the oldest people in the place, but the average age of men and women has really gone down since I first went there. It didn't help that the people we were with were celebrating someone's twenty-fifth birthday. Twenty-five. I remember that age because I thought to myself: wow, I've seen a quarter of a century. Now when people ask me my age, I have to stop and think about it and calculate backwards to 1974. (I just did it again. I'm twenty-seven and then some.) And most people there that night were under twenty-five, I swear. And most of them, as is the case at many Singapore nightspots, were single --- which means as a married person, it's kinda fun and low-stress and you can bitch about the horrible things some people wear, but it's also not as fun as if you were single. Not that I would've said more than two words to most of the guys there that night. They seemed to range between the type in their early twenties wearing surfer clothes (when will that trend go away?) to too-smooth and too-old successful executives trying to pick up women in their early twenties (yuck).

But the birthday girl was happy and X was wearing a bright red shirt with some blue that made him look exactly like a Caltex gas station attendant, so the night had its moments.


I went down to AFA again to help finish up the magazines. There were about 2,500 that had to go out in the mail on Monday, and we finished them all over the afternoon. There was a young man there who was a first-time volunteer as well, so I didn't feel too weird about it. He was hung over, though. I'm not sure I'd want to help pack 1,500 magazines when I'm hungover.

I tried to drive into town and find parking to go shopping for birthday-related things mid-afternoon, but what a mistake that was. Parking was impossible to find --- though I didn't try very hard because I sensed the futility of things after I hit a bleak traffic jam just after exiting the CTE at Cairnhill Place --- and people were, as usual, driving poorly as well. I wound up driving home, finding Terz conveniently taking a nap, leaving him a note and heading to town on the MRT. That worked much better. I roamed around for several hours, wandering into different malls, and bought us some sushi for dinner. Downtown was crazy-full of people, but maybe it didn't seem so bad because I wasn't driving anymore.

I got home, we had sushi and some Chinese herbal chicken soup my mom had made for us, and watched Survivor. Clarence got voted off, finally. I feel sorry for the guy. He ate one can of beans, hankered after some fried chicken and they never let him forget it. Survivor is a cruel, cruel game.

We didn't go out that night. I was too beat from all the walking around. I did, however, turn on the TV at about midnight and there was this wacky show Blind Date on. Two strangers go out on a blind date, the cameras follow them, and the footage is edited with all these speech balloons and stuff that make would-be wisecracks at the hapless couple. The wisecracks weren't all that funny and the host was boring with an extra helping of bland, but there was something really silly about the whole thing. I guess I have zero sympathy for people who get themselves involved with television programs like that. Which brings me to the subject of Who Dares, Wins.

Who Dares, Wins is a really awesome Australian program. It goes around with cameras, too, and with two kinds of dares: the kind where the host is in a shopping mall and randomly dares people to do goofy things, like deliver a singing telegram in a godawful outfit or dunk your head into a tank of green dye in search of a fifty-dollar bill or eat a whole chunk of garlic whole. All the dares are optional and there's always lots of footage of people saying "No way!" but then there are the few that agree to do it in the hope of making a quick twenty or fifty or hundred bucks. The second kind of dare is the kind where you write in and nominate someone (usually a husband or a brother, once in a while a mother or a wife) and they whisk the unsuspecting person off to do something really scary, like leap off a fifty-meter bridge or pull off some kind of stunt in a demolition derby or whatever.

We know Who Dares, Wins is not American because it doesn't offer you any more than a couple of hundred dollars, even for the scariest dare. It also always gives a person a chance to back out, and in fact, for the latter kind of dare, the host has to do the dare instead and if s/he doesn't, the would-be victim collects the money anyway. (I'd like to see Mark Burnett and Jeff Probst survive forty-whatever days in the Sahara, if they're not voted off at the first tribal council.) And it's all fun. It's nothing like Fear Factor and the hosts are so goofy and earnest (also attractive, in the case of Tania, who was alas wearing a dark-colored T-shirt, though still a tight one, in last night's episode instead of her requisite white one) that you can't help liking them and playing along. They're truly an Australian institution at this point.

The only reason I'm going on about Who Dares, Wins is we watched it while over at a friend's place last night and it's been a while since I saw it and it's so much more fun than current American reality TV without being quite as embarrassing as Candid Camera and its ilk either.

And you know, that's really all I have to say about that. I realize there's a lot of buildup and not much of a point, but in between checking on my chicken (that's not cooking fast enough!) and writing this, my mind's a little scattered.

Okay, Sunday:

We didn't do much. Mucked around online as usual, Terz was playing his football game as usual, we skipped lunch as usual, and I took a nap later. The only reason I got up from the nap was to go over to the abovementioned friend's place for dinner. I made some garlic bread for that because I figured we would need something to tide us over till the pizza arrived. Plus garlic bread is easy peasy to make.

The dinner was supposed to be a party, but it never quite got off the ground at the guest-list stage. So it was five of us having pizza and drinking oodles of vodka drinks, then more people came by to hang out, and we watched whatever was on TV (Who Dares, Wins, C.S.I., some of Deuce Bigalow and a bit of Zorro). We finished a whole bottle of Absolut between us, which is not bad, although nowhere near the heavy drinking we were attempting, since my friend had about fifteen bottles of hard liquor and about as many bottles of wine as well. (Her family discovered the size of the entire stash when they spring-cleaned recently. Oh, and her family was out of town when we were there drinking their vodka.)

The funny thing about this journal entry is that the funnest part of the last three days was Sunday's dinner, but it sounds like it was the boring-est. Which just goes to show the futility of these darn journals.

I am now going to stare threateningly at the chicken till it cooks, dammit.


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