I had a restful, TV-filled weekend. How 'bout you?

Ordinarily, I watch a lot of TV. This weekend, I watched all that and then some. Reason No. 1: The Amazing Race offered the unexpected pleasure of a two-hour episode this week, and who am I to refuse? Plus I got to see Itchy and Scratchy get booted from the race in the middle of the Outback after that. Reason No. 2: T was away on a mini-roadtrip with our friend X, so I got watch all my chick flicks that I rented last Sunday but didn't watch yet. (My attempt at watching them last Sunday were derailed when T and a friend ditched an event they were supposed to be at and got home several hours earlier than expected; I only managed to watch Serendipity then.) So this weekend, in addition to the usual ER on Saturday nights, I also crammed in Save the Last Dance, Hamlet (with Ethan Hawke and Julia Stiles) and four episodes of the first season of The West Wing ("He Shall From Time To Time ... " until "Celestial Navigation", the latter being the very first episode of TWW I saw on TV and thus holding a special place in my heart, plus it has Edward James Olmos in it).

I think my friends who came over last night were somewhat appalled at me. For one thing, I had declined to join them at Charlie's (this place at the eastern end of Singapore where we eat sometimes) because I'd been in the middle of laundry --- a very serious undertaking in our household, since we've discovered through experience that if we don't promptly shift the clothes from the washer into the dryer within an hour after they're washed, they start to stink, and then we have to wash them all over again --- and Save the Last Dance. When they got to our place, due to Charlie's being closed, they discovered me in the middle of The West Wing. And then I said we could watch anything else until 10 pm when ER was on. I think I totally sounded like a laundry-TV junkie. I think I am a laundry-TV junkie.

For those of you keeping track, I regret to inform you that my ex-student who was awarded (yes, awarded, not just shortlisted for!) the Angiers B. Duke Memorial Scholarship has chosen to take a scholarship from the Singapore government instead to study at Cambridge University. I spent several hours talking to her over it and attempting to subliminally influence her --- to do so liminally would have contradicted my attempt to nurture her free and independent will --- but she nevertheless took the safer option. I don't know whether to laugh or to cry.

Here's some better news: I actually got home from work before T on Friday night. How did I manage that feat? I just learned, four and a half months into the office job, then when we are scheduled to work on Saturday morning, we are permitted to leave work at five pm the day before, instead of having to wait till five-thirty. I feel sorely cheated of my time, even though mostly I don't think my work is finished by five pm on Friday. It wasn't, this past Friday, but I ditched anyway. Getting home to take a two-and-a-half hour nap was more important.

On Saturday, I had lunch with Miffy. She is an old and dear friend whom I don't see often enough, but since the reason for that happens to be a nice young man she's hooked up with, I don't belabor the point. We had noodles for lunch, then had yucky ice lemon teas that cost more than our noodles. Note to all readers who are likely to want an ice lemon tea or cafe-type beverage while in Singapore: Although The Book Cafe displays an admirably vivid devotion to Nabokov in its tasteful decor, its ice lemon teas suck. And it's really hard to ruin an ice lemon tea.

Since this journal entry is rapidly turning into a reluctant ode to popular entertainment, I might as well tell you that I've asked my brother to arrange for Episode II tickets on May 16. I hope my parents aren't too jetlagged to enjoy it. Call me slow, but I didn't realize until a friend brought it up last week that I would be in the US for the film's opening while T would be here. Then again, I've been too blah to even download the Episode II trailers lately. Watching them on TV suffices for now.

Oh, the other girlie thing I did this weekend was to trim and paint my nails.

T will be home from his 4WD adventures shortly. I'll post this first.


So I gave up on that writing on the train stuff. Too tedious. I think my Palm is too scratched on the writing bit. I tried to take care of it, but the stylus eventually made marks on the surface anyhow.

Today was a busy day, but also the kind of busy day, as it turns out, which is good for illustrating what my job is all about. So this is what I did today.

In the morning, I had to be there early 'cause some of the local media were coming to take pictures/footage of a committee meeting. Okay, it doesn't sound very exciting, and if I were a photographer/cameraman employed by the media, it'd have to be a really slow news day before I volunteered for such an assignment, but it happened. After that wrapped, at about 9:30, I went back to my desk and fine-tuned some writing I was doing. Then I met a colleague from a different office at 10 am because we're both in charge of publicity for this upcoming work-innovation-workshop-seminar-retreat type thing (I'm not being deliberately vague; I only have the foggiest idea of what the event actually is myself). We worked on stuff, interspersed with chatting about her three-month-old pregnancy, which isn't as TMI as it sounds because she was teaching with me at Raffles and we both joined the education ministry together and we're pretty good friends.

So I went back to my desk and continued to work on the writing thing. By 11ish, the committee meeting had concluded and they needed to issue a press release, so I had to figure out with the secretariat who was going to write it. Once that was settled, at about 12:45 pm, I took off for lunch with a colleague. It was only the two of us --- because three of our colleagues are on leave and three couldn't afford to take the time out for lunch --- but it was really fun. I never really thought of us as being on the same wavelength, but we had a decent time talking about all sorts of things. She, in particular, had plenty of stories to tell since she was at the school that had an emergency exercise yesterday.

(If you didn't read the local press already, what happened was that a school was roleplaying an emergency evacuation exercise, except that some antsy neighbors called the media, thinking it was a real emergency. The media showed up, the school thought they were roleplayers too, and things got a little confused, resulting in a press release at the end of the day to clear everything up. The only question I got is: if you were living next to a school that appears to be experiencing some kind of emergency, wouldn't you call the fire department and policemen first, both of whom knew it was a mock emergency situation, rather than the press? Go figure.)

After lunch, there was more writing of stuff. Not the press release, since I hadn't attended the meeting and people who had were perfectly capable of doing the necessary rewriting. But I did have to handle calls from the press chasing me for the press release all afternoon. I said we were trying for mid- to late afternoon at first, but it was 6:45 by the time it finally got faxed out. 6:45 pm, I kid you not. And not that many people had to read and approve it, either. It's one of the hazards of working in a large organization, I guess. I feel bad for the reporters waiting on the other end of the line for the press release, 'cause they have no (or little) story till they see it --- but I also feel bad for my powerless little self, twiddling my thumbs in my cubicle till things are okay to go.

So it was 7:30 pm when I finally left work. I was right when I told my mother it would be a long day and having us over for dinner was a bad idea.

At home, Kentucky Fried Chicken awaited me (I know this grosses some of you out, I'm sorry) and then I watched the first episode of season two of the Gilmore Girls, which has been waiting patiently on my videotape since Tuesday night. And now I'm here. I still have last night's The X-Files to watch, but it won't happen tonight. I'm too pooped. I think I'll get into work at 9 am tomorrow, instead of 7:45 am like today and earlier this week.

I think today went well despite the loads of work because I wore my blue suit which I like and which I got for like thirty bucks at Filene's Basement in Boston in 1999. Maybe that's why people wear suits to work --- so they feel good and then even the crappiest day doesn't feel so bad. I'm not wearing one tomorrow, though. I only have three at the moment, unless you count a jacket that happens to be black and a skirt that happens to be black, though they were bought from different stores at different times, you consider that a suit.

Okay, enough rambling, more sleep. Goodnight!

I've finished Lady Windermere's Fan and there's still a few stations to go, so I'm attempting this writing-on-the-train stuff again. I have the Dr Faustus eBook with me, but I'm not in the mood for Marlowe-ian verse right now.

I've been meaning to write about the cats. There are two neighborhood cats I pass on my walk to the train station every morning. One is an older, fatter tabby which haunts the void deck around the police post, the other is a brown-white-orange youngster who's staked his claim on the covered walkway beside my train station. Both cats typically ignore the many human passersby around them, preferring to stalk prey their own size or nap in the shade. Both cats make me wish I were a stray cat, particularly on mornings when I'd rather loll in bed than go to work, or on evenings after a blah day of work.


I just thought of something I did today that was reasonably record-worthy. So I had to attend this IT security training session at work today, and I was pretty sure it was going to tell me everything I know already, which it did, but it didn't stop me from heading back and changing my passwords and stuff. Because IT security guys, even the nice ones, really know how to spook you.

I'm just saying.

But at least I'm not one of those people who type 'password' when they're prompted to key in a new password.

I thought I should write, before I give the appearance of having forgotten about this journal again.

Last week, for all that it wasn't busy, wasn't very inspiring either. I had many inspiring thoughts while travelling to and from work --- the eBook reading plan is working out very well, indeed --- but when I got to a place where I could write/type them down, I didn't feel like it anymore. I think reading Oscar Wilde on the train during rush hour is very therapeutic, nevertheless. I've finally read The Importance of Being Earnest and I've just finished Act One of A Woman of No Importance today. (T though I was rereading Earnest 'cause I rattled off the titles too quickly and all the Importances got mixed up.)

Before launching into Wilde, I also completed reading Legends of Vancouver, which, while clearly written in an era preceding the advent of political correctness, nevertheless retain an air of mystique and wonder that made me think deep, happy thoughts about Vancouver while confronted with the less than mystical aspects of commuting to work. I also dug out our Vancouver atlas so I could pick out places that had been named in the stories. When people ask me why I like Vancouver, for all that I visited there for less than two weeks last year, my answer has been simple: The mountains. Now I have one more reason, even less tangible than that: The legends.

Oh, and between the first Importance and the second, I also read Oliver Goldsmith's She Stoops To Conquer. Not as wicked as Wilde, but still a good read without being as fluffy as Mrs Hardcastle. It's nice to read plays for a change.

Oh, and after the first Importance and before the Goldsmith, I read Metamorphosis (the Kafka, duh). Finally I know what that cockroach story is about. I like Kafka. The Trial is one of my favorite books ever; I think it resonates deeply with my Singaporean aspect.

To top off all the reading I've been doing, I downloaded a .txt-to-DOC converter this morning, so now I can happily Gutenberg all the non-copyrighted books that have been on my reading list forever and get to it! My literature teachers would be so proud of me.

I'm trying now to remember what else I've done this past week besides sort out my eBooks and I'm sadly coming up short. Oh, well --- I remember what we did on Sunday night. We had dinner with two friends we haven't seen for a while, then adjourned for ice cream at Gelare at Siglap; my somewhat-still-newlywed friends joined us there too. First they showed off his new digital camera and recent pictures of a stray cat taken with said camera; then they pondered destinations for a cheap regional honeymoon spot. Alas, because we are all Responsible Working Adults, we went home at about ten pm.

(By the way, G or Lil, if you're reading this, you might want to know that the Bean at Siglap has closed down. I was distinctly disoriented by its absence; I thought for a moment that Gelare had taken over its premises, but no, the shop space is vacant and locked up for now.)

Tonight, there is plenty of TV to watch, including the new season of Friends. Unfortunately, because I didn't sleep enough last night, I'm not sure if I'll make it past that to give Alias a shot. I think I'll go program my VCR now...


Okay, I have to go to sleep soon, 'cause I have to be at work on time for an eight o'clock meeting, and T has already packed it in for the night, and I really should stop surfing the web.

However, I thought I would edify and perhaps entertain you, O reader, with a brief journal entry before I log off and shut down.

(Except that I'm not really shutting down --- I mean, my computer will be shut down but I will just go to bed in a far more prosaic fashion.)

Yesterday was a day of surfing the internet at work. Today was a day of doing Real Work. It began with a speech for an event that was only confirmed yesterday. Fortunately, the draft speech was fifteen poorly written paragraphs, and by the time I was done tweaking it, it had settled at a neat nine-paragraph length. It's not for a major event (hence the last-minute nature of the whole thing) but I hate writing things at such short notice. For the previous speech I wrote, I had three lovely weeks to mull over the thing and it's my favoritest speech yet. You can read it here.

Despite having much work to do, and two meetings to attend, I didn't have to stay beyond six-thirty pm today. Yesterday, I got to stroll out of the office at five-thirty pm --- on the dot! 'Twas a miracle. It felt bizarre to be in the elevator going down and walking out of the building with all these other people. Usually it's just me by the time I leave. Anyhow, the reason I left early yesterday --- other than not having much to do --- was 'cause T came by to pick me after some course he attended in town and we went to my aunt's. She's decluttering her house and fobbing stuff on to us --- including a neato carved Chinese-y desk and some paintings and a box of teacups. My aunt has exquisite taste. I have no money. It's a nice relationship we have.

And now T has come to growl at me for not going to bed yet, so I must flee the keyboard.


This has been the weekend of much downloading. Fortunately, it's all for my Palm, so it's just itsy-bitsy things: DeepReader and MoneyTender and some eBooks and documents. I would link to the various websites, but I'm feeling lazy. But if you go to Palmgear.com or Tucows, you'll find them there.

What compels me to find more useful little applications for my Palm? The realization, from looking at my colleague EH's, that mine is sorely underused and really, since I went and paid for this one, I really should do something more constructive with it to help manage my life. So there's DeepReader so that I can read short stories or even attempt reading a book on the ride to work --- without having to haul a heavy book in my bag --- and there's MoneyTender to help me manage my weekly expenditure better, and there's Converter 2.2 to convert figures to and from metric to other standards. First book on my reading list: Legends of Vancouver by E. Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake). It was written at the turn of the century and I figure I ought to swot up on a bit of cultural history if we're going to move there someday.

Other than that, it's been the usual weekend --- much lazing around and some roleplaying (now that I have a working keyboard unlike last week) and Kentucky Fried Chicken to sustain us through the day. It abruptly rained in the afternoon, like hell hath no fury, but just as abruptly, it tapered off. Crazy tropical weather.


Home. Tired. Survivor begins at 7 pm --- it's a delayed telecast this week because TCS 5 was showing some stupid pay-per-view Wrestlemania shit last night, except that it wasn't pay-per-view here because TCS 5 is a public broadcasting channel. Off to stone in front of the TV for two hours --- because The Amazing Race is on after Survivor --- which will be followed by one hour of eye rest before ER at ten. However, the afternoon spent at the technically-not-my-ex-colleague's new home was fun- and giggle-filled. More about that later, perhaps, if I don't hit the sack straight after ER.

Naturally, just as I was about to whine about having two hours to kill at work before I could leave, something came up. So I’m reasonably busy --- though not actually being very productive --- and trying to wind up something before I leave in seven minutes’ time. I have to leave promptly because a bunch of us are going to an ex-colleague’s housewarming. Technically, she’s not my ex-colleague: She quit last September or something and I took her position (and her cubicle). But we’ve met once and she’s pretty easy-going all around --- unlike the people mentioned in the previous post --- so I’m going to go hang with the girls from the office for a few hours before I crawl home and get some much-deserved rest.

Dear lord, I’m bored. I’m here at work but I have, as is usual for a Saturday, nothing to do. I’m still not sure why we have to work on Saturdays when we operate at half-strength anyway and no one’s really in the mood to do anything because we all know it’s Saturday. Having said that, I’ll endeavor to write tidbits about my workplace, since such details have been woefully sporadic in this year’s journal entries.

Tidbit no. 1: It’s funny how among the women, at least, some prefer and even insist on using the restroom that’s equipped for handicapped access and won’t step into the common ladies’ restroom except under duress. I can understand the need for privacy, I suppose, since the former is a little room unto itself whereas the latter has four cubicles laid out a la typical public restrooms. But I’m thinking, if all these fussy people use the one for handicapped access, then that solitary cubicle is used so many times more than any of the four cubicles in the regular restroom, which share out the germs between them. Besides, at least we have four cubicles to share between all 40-50 women that work on this floor. At my old school, there were four cubicles shared by about eighty women, and none of us ever caught any funny diseases from going to the toilet.

Tidbit no. 2: There are some odd women --- and yes, they are, alas, women --- who work in the department that shares this floor with us. They’re odd because they never look at you when they walk past you, they never smile, they never say hello and they’re really just --- odd. Okay, I just thought of at least one guy who ought to join this list of oddness: the only time he spoke to me was when he wanted to know where my colleague (who sits in the next cubicle) was; other than that, he always looks oddly at me when we bump into each other and I never quite make it to greeting him since he looks like he wouldn’t know what to do if I did.

But what’s so hard about saying a simple hello, especially since we share a common boss and work on the same floor? I’m not even suggesting anything as sophisticated as the American “Hi --- how are you --- how’s it going --- etc.” But it’s the blank looks that really bother me, as if I’m not standing right there.


Time for my obligatory entry. It's not really a chore. It's been a slow couple of days --- as in, I left work before it got dark and I didn't feel totally pooped when I got home --- so I have the energy to write here. But not a whole lot of energy, 'cause last night Mrs B asked us to go play pool with her somewhere and I declined on account of post-work fatigue.

Tonight, T was asleep when I got home at 7, so I desultorily watched half an hour of ST:Voyager, before flipping over to the far more mindless yet far more enjoyable Friends at half-seven. Then he got up, and I boiled some eggs and instant noodles of the mee goreng variety for dinner --- my dinner, that is, since he didn't want any. Boiled eggs and noodles make a remarkably wholesome dinner, much less fattening and healthier than the assam fish head curry I had for lunch that was just oozing in oil.

Work was fairly productive today. I've cleared a lot of little bits of this'n'that --- like public complaints and some filing I was behind on --- and I've made progress on the two bigger projects that I'm working on. My colleague EH and I have so much fun working on our project, mostly because she's really easy-going and we can make silly jokes and gossip and then get right back to writing our paper. Yes, we could be more efficient writers, but then we'd also be sulkier ones.

EH, I believe, has the honour of being the first of my new (as in 2002) colleagues who's named in this journal. Congratulations!

Public service announcement time: If you are in Singapore and trying to establish the time at which your programme will be broadcast, because you're setting the VCR timer for it, don't trust Teletext. Teletext is grossly misinformed, which is why I missed the first fifteen minutes of Buffy last week. For tonight's taping, I checked Teletext first, then the internet. The internet has proved to be more reliable.

Oh, and yes, I could get the most reliable information, which would involve ordering a newspaper everyday or at the very least checking the ones we get at work, but I'm too cheap for the former and didn't have the presence of mind (despite it not being a busy day) for the latter today.

Dear lord, I'm rambling and with so little to propel me. I'd best stop here. Cheers!


In an attempt to write more regular updates, here I am, dutifully typing at my new keyboard instead of watching Boston Public. Of course, the latter isn't that great of a show, so I'm not making any great sacrifices here.

I need to coin a new term for what happens when your fingers type so fast that one hand is faster than the other, and you keep having to backspace because the 'n' came after the 'g' or something. It's not just the new keyboard; this has been afflicting me at work too. I might type as fast as ever, but my accuracy sure has gone down.

Speaking of which, I can't remember the name of the website where you can take an instant typing test, but it was pretty cool.

So today I went to work. It was hard to, because I've been sleeping in the last two days --- as in really sleeping in until my body wouldn't sleep anymore --- and today it was threatening to rain too, when I woke up, with thunder rumbling and all, so I knew it was going to be an even better morning to sleep in. Instead, I hauled myself out of bed and got the day started. Bah. When I saw that my new colleague and old friend H was not in the office because she was on child care leave, I felt jealous of her --- what a perfect morning to sleep in! But she has a three-year-old, so of course she wasn't sleeping in. In fact, when she called me back at the end of the workday, she said her kid was running a fever up to 42 degrees Celsius. (That's, uh, like, 108.5 degrees F if I did the math right, and I probably didn't, and how sad is it that I had to actually write the figures out to calculate the difference.) Anyway, he has a fever and possibly some virus, so both mother and son will stay home tomorrow too. Poor things.

Work was its usual uninspiring self. I've been making more mistakes than I should, which earns me this short and curt e-mails from one of my bosses, which is fine with me except she's not at all short and curt with me in person, so either she's all passive-aggressive, or it's just one of those e-mail things. I'm thinking it's the latter, because I'm sure I could come across that way in e-mail too, which is probably why I'm so deliberately casual and chatty on e-mail, which means writing work e-mail is a chore for me. That's another thing I tend to make mistakes on: plain old e-mail. You'd think an internet kid like me would have no trouble, but work e-mail is a whole different genre from personal e-mail. I hate work e-mail. I reread everything I write at least three times --- usually five or more if it's going to someone senior --- and then I hold my breath, say "What the heck, what's the worst that can happen?" and hit 'Send'. Then I forget about it till it comes back --- usually with no comments on etiquette, but it's the egregious few that are all Miss Manners about it that grate on me.


I know I'm supposed to make a list of things I do for work, but I never want to when I have the time to. And now this entry is maundering on when I really have nothing to say, so I'll stop here.


Wow, it's been three weeks since I last wrote. I mean, I knew it'd been a while, but I didn't realize it had been that long of a while. You probably thought I was either busy or had completely forgotten about this journal.

Well, I have a new keyboard now, so I've really no excuse not to write. The previous keyboard hasn't died --- just that the 'a', 'q', 'z' and '1' keys decided to stop working after I spilled my Pepsi and lime juice mix over it. I really liked that keyboard too --- it's more than ten years old, doesn't have that Windows taskbar key that's now a standard feature between 'Ctrl' and 'Alt' on the bottom left of the keyboard, and it clacked very loudly, intimidating Terz. Instead, I have a very calm Logitech which is no match for the martial soundtrack of Mech Warrior 4 that Terz is presently installing on his computer. (I bought a keyboard and Palm screen covers; he got a Sidewinder and Mech Warrior 4. It's all too plain how differently we treat our computers.)

Pepsi and lime juice, by the way, is the only decent way to drink Pepsi. If you know me well, you'll know I can't abide by Pepsi. If an establishment only serves Pepsi and not Coke, I'd rather drink 7-Up or an iced lemon tea or something. But we'd been inadvertently building up a store of Pepsi in our kitchen because every time we order pizza or KFC, it comes with Pepsi (unless we order Canadian Pizza, which comes with Coke). Then T realizes one day that we have lime juice in the fridge and mixes a beverage roughly one part lime juice, three parts Pepsi. Voila: the awful sweetness of Pepsi is suitably tempered, and we have fizzy, tolerably sweet drinks to keep us going when we run out of Coke in the house.

I know that previous paragraph probably grossed out some of you who loathe KFC, Pepsi, sweet drinks or fast food in general. We have few vices, but the few that we have are quite inimical to our health, we know.

Work's been tolerable this past week. I'm getting used to the cycle of busyness-lull-busyness-lull --- kinda like teaching, except without school holidays when you don't have to be in the office at all. My old friend Ha has come to work with us after all. She started April 1 (insert gratuitous April Fools' joke here). Meanwhile, another old friend, code-named Miffy, who was supposed to start a new position on April 1 found herself stranded in Kuala Lumpur instead. She'd planned to fly standby on SIA back to Singapore (the cheapest tickets there are), but it being Good Friday/Easter weekend, there were tons of Singaporeans at KLIA with the same plan as she, and she wound up coming back a day later. Fortunately, she's the kind of person who can get away with such stunts without her boss berating her or imposing other unpleasant punishments upon her professional well-being.

Oh, and I had my birthday on March 28. I got birthday money, and two birthday dinners (one with my parents and one with T), and with my birthday money, yesterday I got myself a new suit (insert gratuitous 'birthday suit' joke here) that I will wear on Thursday when we have this big fancy lunch with political types at work. I'm now 28, which is an age that I always imagined I'd be someday, but now I'm finally here and it's a little scary.

Meanwhile, I'm wasting away the year mostly watching TV it seems. I now officially watch too much TV, as I used to as a teenager. Every week, I watch:
- Survivor
- The Amazing Race
- Buffy
- CSI (the second season just began on Wednesday!)
- 24 (also just started this week)
- ER
- Combat Missions (because T watches it, not because I care about the show)

As of next week, I'll be adding The X-Files and Gilmore Girls to that list, though Buffy will have (mercifully) ended by then. And then who knows when The West Wing will finally start its third season here? Plus I'll have to make sure T faithfully tapes all of the above when I'm away for two weeks in May. Oh, the stress of it all...

I think that's suitably caught everyone up on the past few weeks' milestones, crumbly as they have been, and I'm going to go shower now.