You know your office is too cold when...

You take an apple from the fridge, eat it within 5 minutes, yet your hand is icy cold as if it's been immersed in Arctic waters, and even after you've tossed the apple core and tried to resume work, you have hardly any feeling in your fingers and mere typing or SMSing becomes nigh impossible.

Bah! Technology.

My PDA merrily drained itself of its battery over the weekend. I know not how this happened, since the "hold" button was on, which is supposed to prevent the device from turning itself on.

Not only is it drained, but all my data is missing.

Not only is all my data missing, but when I try to sync it with the desktop data, it keeps crying "Fatal exception!" after about syncing a quarter of the stuff.

And I've tried to do another hard reset, the ones the support website tells you should initiate a box saying, "Erase all data?" --- only in my case, it just seems to be performing a soft reset, dammit, not the hard one I want.

So now I'm sitting here with a pit in my stomach, which is the symptom I immediately get every time something I'm technology dependent on decides to not work the way it's supposed to, and I really don't know what else to do. G said I can cry to him tomorrow night, but I'm hoping this isn't a crying situation. I'm hoping this is more a "G will know how to do a proper hard reset, and then I can sync everything again" situation.

Moments like this are when I truly hate technology. If I go to work without a PDA tomorrow, I honest-to-god won't know what appointments I have, how much money I've spent of my weekly budget, or even what my good friend's email address is. Aieeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Birthday Weekend

Today is my cousin Dan's birthday. Happy non-30th birthday! We celebrated it on Friday with chocolate banana cake and other food that's psychologically satisfying but, nutritionally speaking, not very good for you. We had no space after cake for the gelati, and forgot about the white wine T bought for the occasion, and there was entirely too much attention paid to the Fear Factor Playmates special --- but other than that, it was a neat birthday party.

Tomorrow is T's birthday. Instead of having a birthday do at home like Dan (primarily because that would require us to actually cleam up the place), we're meeting people at the Sixth Avenue restaurant Brazil for what promises to be an extended evening of overeating. We're mostly Chinese, you know? We take our eating and our celebrations very seriously.

Yesterday and today, I moved onto the couch and overdosed on The Two Towers trivia, i.e. I watched just about everything on the extended DVDs. Since I brought home the DVDs on Monday night, I've completed:

a) The extended cut itself;
b) The cast commentary over the extended cut (and again I protest, why no Viggo? He appears in the Appendices!);
c) The director/writers commentary over the extended cut; and
d) The entire Appendices, except for the still images and audio clips.

Whew! I'm going to give it a rest for now. Don't want to watch too much of TTT before we watch the marathon on Dec 17, plus I think T's pretty sick of hearing the TTT soundtrack (it's in most of the Appendices as background music). Of course, I could always switch over to watching the extended Fellowship for a bit...


I broke the lift

I swear, all I did was enter, press the usual floor button, the hit the "door close" button. Then this alarm sound started freaking out in the building. So I tried "door open", which fortunately worked, and I got out. The door slid close, the lift tried to go up to the floor I'd indicated (without me in it), and the madcap alarm went off again.

Rinse and repeat, a few times. By now, the alarm wouldn't stop going off.

And the thing about where we live is that even though we have two lifts serving the block, once one has gone up to any other floor, it won't come back down so long as the other is parked on the ground floor. So we have a situation in which the ground floor lift was trying its darnedest to leave the ground floor, dammit, and the one at a higher floor couldn't come down and get me, either, because it knew that its counterpart was already on the ground floor.

I gave up and took the stairs, calling the 1800 service number on the way up, only to have them tell me to call another 1800 number for the company that actually serviced my block of apartments. On the upside, both 1800 numbers were answered within 3 rings, so excellent service for after midnight, you guys. And by the time I was done talking to them, I had pretty much made my way up to the 11th floor where I live. Fortunately, it'd been raining all day so despite the unexpected exertions, I wasn't perspiring much.

The alarm seems to have stopped by now, so I think they fixed the problem. By the time I got to the second (correct) 1800 number, I was near the 9th floor (which, given the loudness of the alarm, seemed to be the source of the problem though neither lift was stuck at this floor), and the lady who answered was like, "Siren?" I was like, "Yep." And that was pretty much the end of the call.

The moral of the story is that if you live in an apartment that opens right up to the lift lobby, be prepared for weird midnight freakings-out of the lift sirens.

Bye bye, Buttercup

I have a trio of Powerpuff Girls keyrings, each with one wee heroine dangling off it. Bubbles is my favorite, so I use that keyring for my house keys. Blossom is the fearless and ambitious leader of the group, so that keyring has my office cabinet key on it. And Buttercup is the tomboy, and also happens to share the same shade of forest green in her trademark coloring as our Beamer, so Buttercup gets to carry the car key.

Tonight, I slid the car key off Buttercup for the first time since we got the extra key some time in late 2001, and laid the empty keyring at its usual place by the door.

Tomorrow, T's parents take over the car. We were going to sell it anyway, what with T quitting his job and all, so in a way it's good that his parents decided to take it over instead; it means we know it's going to a good home (T's dad is far more scrupulous about washing his car every week) and we'll still see it every so often.

But despite us not transferring ownership (or, for that matter, the name on the bank loan), the car won't be ours anymore. It won't be there in the morning, blinking its dusty green at me (assuming T hasn't driven to work) as I walk to the MRT station. It won't be there for us to hop into whenever we're overtaken by a whim to drive someplace to eat (and many good eating places in Singapore are notoriously not public transportation-friendly). I won't whiz down the PIE or ECP* with Bon Jovi or Van Halen or the Buffy musical Once More With Feeling soundtrack blasting loud enough to drown the background traffic noise.

A car's a thing you think you'll own when you grow up. Your parents usually have one, even in strictly controlled Singapore. Adults talk about cars: how much it costs to fill them with petrol, where to park them for free, what the latest models are, what crazy accident one saw or witnessed while en route to work, how the latest government revision of car ownership policies further diminishes the value of each vehicle.

Adults always want newer, better cars. Me, I'm happy with our Beamer (a 1997 316i, for anyone who cares). It was my dream car for a long time, I let T talk us into getting one, it served us faithfully and brought a little whiz-bang excitement into our lives. I'm happy. I don't need to own another kind of car to feel I've had my adult car.

Which makes it all the more difficult to yield it to T's parents tomorrow. Yeah, we'll see it again tomorrow night, first thing, since we're all having dinner to celebrate T's coming birthday. But we always said we have a Beamer, so we can't afford to have a child. I'll miss our baby.

* The PIE (Pan Island Expressway) and ECP (East Coast Parkway) are local highways that pass near where we live.


Umberto Eco speaks

Vegetal and mineral memory: The future of books

A long read and a good one.

"The charm of tragic literature is that we feel that its heroes could have escaped their fate but they do not succeed because of their weakness, their pride, or their blindness. Besides, Hugo tells us, "Such a vertigo, such an error, such a ruin, such a fall that astonished the whole of history, is it something without a cause? No... the disappearance of that great man was necessary for the coming of the new century. Someone, to whom none can object, took care of the event... God passed over there, Dieu a passé."

"That is what every great book tells us, that God passed there, and He passed for the believer as well as for the sceptic. There are books that we cannot re-write because their function is to teach us about necessity, and only if they are respected such as they are can they provide us with such wisdom. Their repressive lesson is indispensable for reaching a higher state of intellectual and moral freedom. "

And people ask me why I read...

8 hours' sleep

This is a sadly rare fact worth recording: for the past few nights, I've gone to bed at 10ish, slept till about 6:45 am, and woken up, before the alarm clock rang, feeling rested. I even had dreams both nights, though fortunately they were of the hazy, indistinct variety that doesn't keep you awake fretting through the dreamscape all night. So I actually feel like I've slept enough and feel sufficiently energized for work. I can't remember the last time this happened on a weekday.

"We're not here to fuck with spiders."

Apparently, that's what Peter Jackson said at one point during the making of The Two Towers. Or maybe I heard it wrong, which is also possible because I'm somewhat deaf on account of persistent ear wax --- which meant I had to keep toggling the volume up and down to be able to hear everything on the cast commentary on the second DVD of the extended Two Towers.

John Noble? Mumbles like a meditating shaman. Could barely make out every other word he said. Everyone else spoke at a regular volume. I can confirm Sean Astin talks too much and is mostly gushing about something or other --- love his exuberance, but it got a little to be too much of a monopoly at one point. They should just let him and Elijah Wood have their own commentary. Elijah, on his part, admitted to smoking clove cigarettes, then said smoking was a bad habit, and concluded the movie by saying, "Beer is good." It's nice to know our hero has his vices. Then I finally hit the monstrously long credits, and there wasn't a peep out of Sean Astin. He must've left the room.

Now to find time to watch the director/writers commentary...


I was going to say "a wash-out" but Sprite beat me to it

Also, it wasn't technically a wash-out. The food was decent. Fun was had --- maybe not your crazy miniature golf levels of fun, thanks to the rain, but the boys (T, cousin Dan, his brother David, and my brother) didn't seem to notice how much time was passing during their very long game of bridge --- at least not till they tried to stand up and then had to spend a good few minutes stretching their legs.

To clarify, we were at Sentosa for a family picnic: my family, Dan's family and another aunt and uncle. A picnic in the rain carries a whole different mood. It slows the pace down, certainly takes your mind off the heat (usually the primary peril of any picnic in the tropics), and I'm a rainy-weather kinda girl anyway. There was a lot of girl-talk and Sprite was plagued by mysterious raindrops that sporadically anointed either her cup or her head and we ate a week's worth of junk food (though there were plenty of chips left over for Dan's birthday party later this week). The rain was "teasing rain", as Uncle Henry called it --- except that I thought he'd said "kissing rain" to describe the light drizzle that alternated with stormy outbursts. And there's nothing like an angry gray storm charging in from the sea to really get you into the end-of-the-year monsoon mood.

We eventually packed up about mid-afternoon, and went home and overdosed on the extended DVD edition of The Two Towers. T had already seen it the night before, on account of his impatience for not waiting for me, so he dozed while I watched it. Then I watched the first half of it with cast commentary, which wasn't as sparkling as the cast commentary on the first movie. I figure when the cast did the commentary for FotR, they were all euphoric about how well everything had turned out. Now they're a little more into the promo work of it all, and a little more distanced from the fun days of filming, maybe they're a little less bubbly, less thrilled-to-the-bone about everything. Sean Astin still talks too much, of course, and Elijah Wood kinda plays second fiddle/sidekick to him in the commentary, but I suppose that's a fair tradeoff/reversal of their movie roles. But I want to hear more anecdotes along the lines of the hobbits' "Tig-Tag" from FotR. And why didn't Viggo Mortensen do any commentary?


Raking the keyboard

When typing on a laptop keyboard becomes nigh impossible, and typing on a regular desktop keyboard gets tricky because your fingernails are literally tripping between the keys, you know it's time to cut those fingernails, never mind how funky they look in shocking pink nail polish.

The reason I'm procrastinating on cutting them is because I'd really like to let some manicurist do it instead. On the other hand, I can't afford a manicure if I'm to stick to the $600-for-two budget (see Nov 13 entry below). *growl*

A dim sum-moning

We had dim sum at this old-fashioned coffeeshop at Geylang last night. Good food, decent prices, yummy barley, and best of all, the right atmosphere: a huge fish tank with two huge fish pottering about, the right smell of old but clean airconditioned coffeeshop, just a handful of tables and lots of stools to push from table to table.

It gave me a hankering for Yuet Con, the Hainanese place along Purvis Street that we used to go to a lot as a child. Yuet Con's smell will always be the classic coffeeshop smell to me.

I just got off work. Well, I didn't have to go to the office on a Sunday, but I did have to traipse around Aljunied-Kembangan GRC with my Minister on his first walkabout (which I insist should be a bus-about, since we took buses from stop to stop). Now I'm home, the work emails have been sent and I'm going back to bed.

Busy week

There was:

Wed: The Play Oh Man! after work. Not as acidic as I would've liked, but Kumar's stand-up routine during the interval was enough to make me want to go see him at the Boom Boom Room. (Yes, sadly, I've never been there.) Plus yesterday, on Discovery channel, they did Six Degrees on Singapore and one of the six featured was Kumar, so you know, it's a sign.

Thu: Dinner with the uncle and aunt visiting from England. We had really good North Indian food --- well, really good for the most of us, a little too hot on the heels for post-India-trip T. If anyone in Singapore wants to know where, it's this little corner coffeeshop at the intersection of Norris Road/Serangoon Road. It's not posh, but it sure is yummy.

Fri: Survivor, at home, with friends. Not very exhausting. On the other hand, my decision to stay up for another hour to watch some extras from the extended Fellowship of the Ring DVD? A treat for me (I hadn't watched these bits in almost a year), not so much a treat for my braindead/sleep-deprived shell.

Which brings me to the real highlight of the week: We have tickets to the Lord of the Rings marathon on December 17!!! All thanks to cousin Dan, who is nowhere as redneck as my appellation for him sounds (despite certain self-admittedly spazzed-out comments to the local TV crew regarding said purchase of tickets, ha!).

The story of how we got tickets and how Dan wound up on TV is kinda a mini-saga in itself, but here's the Cliff Notes version:

Thu morning, around 9 am: Dan SMSed to say that the major movie chains had announced their LotR marathon plans. Of course, they would announce this in the local paper on the very day that I was on course and didn't have access to said paper.

The rest of Thu morning: Frantic messaging between myself, Dan and assorted friends to determine who's in. The fact that Dan didn't have the cellphone numbers of various mutual friends meant I was the central point of contact, even though I should've been paying attention to the course I was attending.

Thu morning, before lunch: We've got our pretty confirmed list of who's in.

Thu afternoon: Dan updates us that the movie theatre we were planning to go to has no cool freebies. Orchard CineLeisure, in contrast, is centrally located and is offering free flow popcorn and drinks for the marathon. More frantic messaging to ascertain that no one objects to the change in movie theatre. Also had to check with people who couldn't make it for the 12-hour/whole-day marathon if they would want tickets anyway to just Return of the King, assuming we were allowed to get tickets for just that movie.

Thu evening: All is confirmed. Dan is ready to move into action at midnight when tickets go on sale.

Thu, midnight (or should that be Fri, midnight?): I'm asleep. Dan logs on.

12:18 am: I quote Dan's SMS: "Everyone and their dog is trying to get onto the websites." Part of the trouble was that two of the four movie theatres running the marathon didn't have any tickets uploaded for sale that night, so presumably everyone and their dog was trying to get onto the remaining two websites.

12:30 am or so: Dan finally gets onto the website in question. All online tickets are sold out but we can try at the box office.

Fri morning: I read Dan's overnight SMS and advise him no worries if we can't get tickets, we'll just do our own in-house movie screening, since we have/will have multiple copies of the extended DVDs between us.

10:13 am: A jubilant SMS from Dan: "Got the tickets!"

The tickets weren't all he got. He also got cornered by Channel NewsAsia, which had sent down a camera crew in anticipation of a crazy line of fanboys, but found all of three people in line. Dan spent the rest of the day hoping his interview would be pipped from the news on account of more newsworthy things happening, but as it turned out, they frequently used footage of him waiting in line and the 10 pm bulletin even showed his interview.

Now we just need to plan logistics for the marathon: food, blankets, pillows, etc...


The next phase

SMS received from T at 12:07 pm:

"Ah, the smell of freedom. Not to be mistake for the stench of chronic unemployment. Ü"

It's his last day of having to report to school, can you tell?


Best SMS I received today

"WEST WING ALERT! West wing tonight- half twelve. Time to buy video tapes. Ah! Not ready!"

Thank goodness for dear friends who share the same passions.

I'm off to buy video tapes right after work!



Argh! Lordoftherings.net has previews of the Extended DVD stuff! Just after I whetted my appetite over the weekend by watching bits of the Fellowship Extended DVD stuff. I'm going to be here for a while...

"Disorientation. Loss of the East."

Rushdie repeats the line so often in The Ground Beneath Her Feet, it's going to be permanently ingrained in me as the definition of 'disorientation'.

Anyway, it's certainly true of me today. The "urgent" thing I have to do at work? I'm plodding along slowly. It will be done before lunch, but I keep getting distracted by other windows at work (though I'm not surfing the web, I swear!) and phone calls and the dull drone of an incipient headache at the right rear of my head.

Hrm. Maybe I'll follow my own blog link and go peek at the LotR website for a few minutes...


It is profoundly depressing to wake up in the middle of a Sunday night, to realise that you just had a vivid dream in which you remembered something urgent that you had to do at work on Monday, and that you went ahead and started thinking through the work in your dream, even though your dream-self knew that none of that vague work-related gibberish could possibly be of any use to you in actually doing the work come Monday morning, and finally that when you were startled into consciousness on Monday morning before the alarm clock went off, you knew there was no point thinking about Monday's work so you went ahead to think about the film shoot you have lined up for Wednesday instead.

Now that I'm at work, of course I don't want to do the urgent thing I have to do.

My stomach was funny all weekend. At first I thought it was gastric, but I think it's evolved into some more drawn-out form of discomfort. And my head hurts from time to time.

Standing in my shower this morning, I was thinking I could really use a few days off work, but since I'm saving up to take some time off around the Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King premiere, I'm going to have to last for another month till then.


The ongoing search for austerity

I just found out that a colleague with whom I have a comparable household income (or should I say had, since our household income will be halved come January) spends only $600 a month on non-car, non-household utilities expenditure. This $600 covers him and his wife, by the way. $600.

In contrast, I spent $700 a month on myself, and frequently find that it's not enough.

I am a financial wimp. At least I feel better about turning down an invitation to go eat at a $30 per head Japanese buffet next week. I mean, I love Japanese food but we totally need to stop doing things like this.

The Onion: Mom Finds Out About Blog

Read it!

My greatest fear indeed. It's supposed to be satirical, obviously, but it's sadly more true (at least for me) than anything else.


Twiddling my thumbs

I was gonna blog about how I was trying to kill time the last hour before I could leave work, but then I found little things to do. Drew up a flowchart today, instead of waiting till I forgot about it. Did some filing, which always satisfies the inner anal-retentive moppet in me. Caught up on some LiveJournal reading.

We are seeing Kill Bill tonight. I'm not sure, in my dotage, if I'm up for that much Tarantino mayhem.


Revisiting The Breakfast Club

T and I just watched the ER episode, "Secrets and Lies", which I heartily dub The Breakfast Club episode of ER, with less vandalism. It really made me cackle. Loved:
a) The sex-ay men (i.e. Carter and Kovac) fencing;
b) Kovac's nonchalant admission that Abby's sleeping on his couch;
c) Susan over-sharing on Carter's jealousy;
d) The "Who was youngest when they lost their virginity" contest --- even though I knew it was gonna end on a downer when it was Kovac's turn.
e) The complete lack of Mark Greene in the episode.

Best of all: Carter and Susan break up, so that Carter can go for Abby. Woo!

I totally need to watch it again. ER's mostly crappy, but it's like an old storybook that you can't help reading and rereading even when you know exactly how the plot will turn out. It's familiar, warm and cosy --- like an old blanket.

Blue shoes

Today, I wore my blue shoes for the first time since 1996. I last wore them in New York. I hadn't worn them since then because they hurt like hell all week I was traipsing up and down New York from one publishing interview to another. The only reason I wore them then because it was my first real go at job interviews, for which I'd purchased a sensible blue suit, and it'd taken me ages as it is to find the right pair of sensible (i.e. boring) blue shoes to match.

I didn't realize till I was on my way home that I'd last worn the shoes in New York. I mean, New York, man. Dreams of a career in publishing deflated by the fact that my parents couldn't/wouldn't pay off my scholarship bond. Not that I blame them --- I barely have a sense of independence now, when I'm not owing them US$200,000 for my college education alone --- but I still feel the loss of missed opportunities keenly. New York --- five? six? interviews during one week of spring break --- yielding a welcome from St. Martin's Press --- that I declined because I didn't want to burden my parents (again) with the cost of putting me up in New York City for a whole summer. St. Martin's Press. Dammit.

It still burns.

Today, my blue shoes took me on the more prosaic route to and from work. They felt looser than before, which made me wonder if my feet have shrunk since I moved back to Singapore, but still chafed sufficiently at just the wrong spots on my little toes to give me mild achiness. They can join my usual circulation of work shoes, but I certainly won't be wearing them everyday.

Funny enough, I also recently found my blue skirt (from the abovementioned blue suit for New York interviews). It'd been living in T's suitcase since we tagged along on that school trip to New York/DC in December 1999. We found it only because T was emptying the suitcase for India. I don't think I'll let the blue suit rejoin my circulation of work clothes, though. It's so marmish --- it was my first suit, I didn't really know what I was buying --- and not at all like how I dress now, even on days when I'm dressed more like the civil servant I'm supposed to be.


My Day (though not today)

So I was thinking the other day that it would make a really neat blog entry for me to chronologically list everything I do at work. Not that what I do at work is very interesting, but it's oddly difficult to describe in an impressive manner when people ask me, "What do you do, exactly?" And even when I do describe it, I feel like I'm leaving something important out. And of course, the fact that I work for the government means that a lot of what I do is just my little clinking contribution as a little cog in the wheels of the great machine of bureaucracy.

Having said that, I kept my little chronological chart on Wednesday and here it is. A couple of caveats: Wednesday wasn't a typical day at work. One of my bosses was away, so you know how that is, and because we were all going to a colleague's for a Deepavali dinner that night, I wasn't trying to rush off from work in the evening either.

Bearing all that in mind, I present to you (without betraying the Official Secrets Act) my Wednesday, November 5, 2003:

0845 : Arrive at work --- media review & ad hoc discussion on some projects
0907 : Clear work email
0909 : Fiddle with some Intranet stuff
0912 : Check personal email
0914 : Quibble with colleague over a boss's email
0915 : Help another colleague locate his course venue using the Intranet
0916 : Check personal email
0920 : Continue with media review
0922 : Listen to a colleague's joke
0923 : Resume media review
0934 : Check personal email
0935 : Phone call on meeting arrangements
0938 : More media review
0939 : Phone call regarding financial matters
0941 : Pantry break to make tea for my raspy throat (this was before I fell ill)
0945 : Clear work email and settle financial matters
0953 : Media review
0958 : Personal phone call
1000 : Approve some online files
1007 : More Intranet work and file approval
1008 : Interrupted by having to make visit arrangements
1009 : Resume Intranet/file approval task
1017 : Make visit arrangements
1023 : Back to Intranet/file approval
1043 : More media review (this takes a while because I had to assemble different parts of a report from various colleagues)
1044 : Ad hoc discussion on projects
1046 : Media review
1055 : Corporate video stuff (mostly planning shoots, obtaining footage, that sort of thing; not actual video-editing)
1100 : Computer crash! Requiring 2 reboots to get things going again
1105 : Computer finally working; back to video work
1114 : Intranet/file approval (it's a busy day for it)
1118 : Make transport caims
1120 : Personal phone call (my mom!!)
1123 : Media review (almost there ... )
1125 : Approve work done by a subordinate
1151 : SMS/check personal email
1155 : Media review (almost there ... )
1200 : Phone call regarding visit arrangements
1202 : Video and visit work (I tend to multi-task, toggling between screens)
1208 : The last bit of the media review (whew!)
1230 : Make visit arrangements

1236 : Lunch!!!

1442 : Clear work email (okay, so it was a long lunch)
1443 : Intranet/file approval/video work (more multi-tasking)
1455 : Work on a reply to the press
1509 : Consult via email with a colleague in another Division
1511 : Check personal email and catch up on some reading on education-related articles on the web
1518 : Ad hoc discussion on a media query and the corporate video
1529 : Work on the video
1533 : Toilet break!
1537 : Clear work email
1545 : Intranet/file approval time again
1546 : Personal phone call
1547 : Clear my workspace/cubicle a little
1548 : Work on reply to a public query
1555 : Phone call regarding visit arrangements
1602 : Clear work email
1604 : Resume work on reply to a public query while blogging on a separate screen
1613 : Listen to voice talent samples for the corporate video
1617 : Archive work email and do some personal stuff & SMS
1630 : Clear work email
1633 : Check personal email
1657 : Clear work email
1658 : Receiving shocking SMS
1659 : Toilet break (not because of the shocking SMS)
1703 : Blog once I'm back from the potty
1711 : Clear work email and personal email and approve more files
1729 : Told to work on a speech --- mild panic
1730 : Check personal email while approving more work files
1745 : Tweak some personal stuff
1813 : Clear work email
1815 : Settle the reply to the press
1833 : Learn that visit is cancelled, hence cancel all earlier arrangements
1838 : Look through that speech I have to work on
1844 : Work on some personal stuff
1853 : Toilet break
1856 : Return books to the office library
1858 : Shut down computer for the day

That sounds pretty bland, now that I've got it all typed out like that. You'll note: only 3 potty breaks and only one trip to the pantry. So I was at my cubicle pretty much all day. Okay, so there was quite a bit of rampant checking of personal email, but only because I had some personal deadlines to meet.

Typing out that list from my pencil-scrawled notes has given me a headache at the base of my skull, so I'm going to go chill now. Agenda for tonight:

  • Watch the last bit of Eyes Wide Shut
  • ;
  • Talk to my ex-roommate in Seattle
  • ;
  • Locate a knife that I can bring to the airport tomorrow morning to cut the security tape off T's luggage
  • .

Yeah, he's back tomorrow!!


Cannot make it

"Cannot make it" is a phrase used colloquially by one of my new colleagues (new, as in she just joined us this year). She uses it to describe someone or something who basically can't meet the expectations of what they're supposed to do. E.g. A person who "cannot make it" is frequently someone who's failed to deliver the duties/responsibilities of his/her job. A driver who "cannot make it" is someone who drives badly. A pen that "cannot make it" is one that doesn't write well. It's a handy term, one that we've picked up from her to use for just about anything.

Well, this morning, I could not make it.

I was going to go to work, but when the alarm went, man, did I feel wiped out. I thought about having to wake up, shower, take medication, hop on the train to work, work till 1, then hop on the train back --- and I knew I wasn't going to make it. Nevertheless, the responsible part of me got up to scan the local news headlines and do some news summaries (which is what I would've done had I gone in to work) and email them to my colleague. I also took medication, yawned a lot and now feel ready to go back to sleep again.

So, clearly, I'm recovering, but slowly. I was well enough to entertain my parents yesterday, make French toast, and watch the latest installment of Survivor. But I wasn't well enough to go out for dinner with them or to eat a real meal.

Discovery Travel's showing something about the best beaches in the world, one of which is Goa. That's a place I never thought of vacationing to before. Hmmm ...


Home Alone

When popping down to the provision shop (aka 'general store' in American parlance, I think) that's just next door to get milk, bread, Kleenex and toilet paper causes you to feel absolutely winded when you get home, you know that taking a second day's medical leave off work was worth it.

I'm actually just sitting here waiting for the meds to kick in. Once they do, I go from alert to asleep in what feels like fifteen seconds flat. Last night, I fell asleep to True Courage: Singapore Shootouts, about Chinese gang shootouts with the police in the 1960s (since you know, we don't have guns or anything anymore) and woke up to a news report about Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew recovering from his prostate surgery. Very surreal.

The morning's TV lineup doesn't quite offer that level of disorientation. I am making do with Rescue 911 and a National Geographic special on the extinction of the dodo.

Meanwhile, T, in India, also had a fever last night. Not as high as mine, but enough, by our doctor's standards, that if it persists over a few days despite medication, she'll test my blood for dengue. Whee! However, my temperature was 36.4 degrees C this morning --- which sounds more like the thermometer is broken, but we'll see.



So I was going to blog today, just a short one, about how there's this person I've recently started working with whom I know has an Interesting Past (at least, one more interesting than the average Singaporean's), but I don't know what that past is, and partly my curiosity is killing me --- but that on the other hand, for that person to tell me about that Past would imply a greater intimacy than I really want with the person --- because this person's okay, I mean, a nice person and all that, just that somewhat not on my wavelength and not really someone I want to get to know on that personal of a level.

And then I get an SMS five minutes ago that basically reveals the Past from a third party (who used to be known as cousin Dan's wife, but she didn't want to sound like a hillbilly in my blog, so I'll call her Sprite --- the fairy, not the drink --- from a truncated version of her email address). Sprite works with someone who's part of my colleague's Past.

So now I'm:
a) relieved that the Past has been revealed without any unseemly intimacy (and my guess was right);
b) wondering how/if I need to cover up the fact that I know of the Past;
c) amazed at my ability to write in convoluted sentences about people with no names (except Sprite) and wondering if I'm reading my friend Astella's blog too often.

Oh, and I really should be working, but my nose is sniffly and there's not that much to do. (Of course, now that I've said that, I'm going to be swamped over the next week. Just wait for it.)

Rebellion is nigh

My nose would like to secede from my face. At least, that's what I think it's trying to tell me, between all the sniffling and nose-blowing and general discomfort.

I had inklings that I was coming down with a cold as early as last week, but the sneezing fits would pass without incident or regular recurrence, so then I thought it was just maybe dust in the air. Today, I'm pleased to confirm that it's just a full-fledged cold (minus the runniness).

On the down side, I have dinner plans for the next three nights! And my boss is on vacation this week, so it's prime time for long lunches and a generally more restful atmosphere in the office! This is not the time to take MC...

Stupid, rebellious nose.


Too much editing makes the baby go blind

I'm not blind yet. I will be, if I don't send off this email soon.

I suppose resting my eyes for 2 minutes to set the VCR for Monk and move the laundry from washer to dryer doesn't count, when I've been working steadily for over two hours. I swear, I've never copy edited so fast in my life. On the other hand, I'm feeling (a) stressed by the deadline and (b) eased along by good writing.

Now I'm stressed because Yahoo! Mail is being slow. Bah.

I had dinner with my colleague Evelyn tonight, then we went window-shopping at Raffles City.

The bad news: I am now craving a pair of Nine West shoes that costs $145. Correction: I'm actually craving two different pairs of Nine West shoes. Both are black, strappy, and with nice heels. Both would be worn less than five times a year if I bought them. Okay, one I could conceivably wear to work, but I'm unsure of the no-heel-support design.

The good news: I almost paid $65 for a cute widdle black bag, except that good sense reared its pretty little noggin in the nick of time and I realised that once I put my wallet into the widdle bag --- well, let's just say that the widdle bag is only slightly bigger than my wallet.

So much for that. I think my decision also helped Evelyn not buy the delightful blue purse she was contemplating.

I still want those shoes, though. Want want want. I am an evil consumer machine. My other excuse is that I'm engaging in (somewhat excessive) retail therapy since T is away. Either way, my bank account is not pleased. Neither is my wallet. I keep trying not to think of the money I'll make from this copy editing, since it really should go into savings and not Nine West shoes.

Upon further reflection, this entry should really be titled, "Too much window-shopping makes the silly girl go MAD".



I really should be getting dressed for work. But it's much more fun to type more blog posts instead.

I finally caught T on ICQ last night, for the first time since he left for India last week. What's he been up to? I quote his last SMS from yesterday: "... Anyway, it's the kids that are making it tedious. They want to shop. Where? Supermarket. For tidbits. I'll kill the next person who says he doesn't want to eat dinner."

Hee hee.

Are You Hot? was on last night, but I didn't watch more than 15 minutes of it, on account of my extreme tiredness and mild irritation with the blog-post-eating computer (see previous entry). Also, the show's not quite as fun once it gets to the studio eliminations, when there's a stupid audience in the background cheering or booing (depending on whether their taste coincides with the judges'). The camera focusing on the audience kept zooming in on the same people too. Bor-ring.

I went to bed, intending to read more of Neal Stephenson's sublimely entertaining Quicksilver, but my brain had other ideas. This is certainly no slight on the quality of Quicksilver, merely an indication of how much you ought to be awake to read it, so that you don't miss obvious things. Or even un-obvious things, seeing as the book is ONE THOUSAND PAGES and change.

I'm a little intidimidated, yes.

The computer ate my blog post!

It really did! Last night! Don't flunk me!

My computer is wont to shut down of its own accord. No, let me be more precise. It doesn't so much shut down as that the screen suddenly goes off, but you can hear the hard drive still spinning, but nothing else happens. No beeping sounds. No blue screen of death. No anything. Just blackness. And the constant spinning to tease you into thinking that it might come back on any minute now.

The guy who fixes my computer when it's wonky doesn't know what the problem is. He's tweaked this and the other setting, and he really has no idea. On the bright side, the problem didn't get worse after he tweaked. It's just unpredictable. Which means that typing blog entries on the fly (as I'm doing right now) can be somewhat on-the-edge-of-your-ergonomic-chair exhilarating. Never know when it's all going to go *poof*.

Well, when last night's entry went *poof*, I went to veg out on the couch in front of the TV and hand-wrote it instead. So now I present you: last night's blog entry.

November 3, 2003 (at about 8:45 pm)
This episode is brought to you by the letter B and the number 3

I got to play personal shopper today. Sadly, it wasn't as much fun as it looks on TV. However, I did get to visit not one, but three Singapore Museum Shops in the span of 1½ hours.

(Yeah, we have museum shops in Singapore. I knew Singapore had arrived as a Major Arts Centre when the first shop opened up a few years ago. I can't remember if that was before or after the Metropolitan Museum of Art Shop showed up on the local scene. Yes, we have that too. Can't be a real Renaissance City without having an overpriced, chi-chi museum shop of your own.)

I was sent with a budget at the behest of a bigwig to buy something 'local' and gift-worthy that didn't necessary alliterate with 'b' (though it did, eventually). My boss (oh, look, a 'b'!) suggested the Museum Shop because haven forbid we buy something representative of Singapore from a local artisan.

So I popped down to the shop at the Singapore Art Museum (known un-affectionately and ridiculously as 'SAM' in local parlance, like it's a pet or something). The airconditioning was nice after the walk from City Hall; the road works immediately outside the museum, where they've rerouted the road to dig the Circle MRT line, not so nice. Upon my inquiries about more "local" items that I'd seen in the Shop's online catalogue, I was informed that this particular outlet stocked more 'modern' items and that I should try the Empress Place Shop.

So I popped over there, by bus then realised I could've walked, but just as well I didn't, 'cause there was more walking in store for me later. Anyway, the staff at the Empress Place Shop were helpful, but after some browsing and hasty consultation with the boss via cellphone, we settled on a book (see, the final 'b'!): Singapore -- A Pictoral History, 1819-2002.

Only the Empress Place Shop had sold out of English editions, though the History Museum outlet (whew!) had a few left.

The Force was not strong with me today.

So I had to go to a third Museum Shop, and it was over at Riverside Point, where the History Museum's been temporarily relocated in a shopping mall, while the original buildings are being restored/renovated. Yes, that's not a typo --- a mall.

From a boatman's point of view, getting from Empress Place to Riverside Point was just a jaunt down the river. From the pedestrian's, it was a good 10-15 minute walk (in boots). From the public transport commuter's --- impossible. The fact that a river runs through our downtown, as well as the way the roads evolved in that area, including a predilection for narrow one-way streets, pretty much maens that to get anywhere in a non-aquatic vehicle downtown, you have to go at least three times the distance to circle around to where you actually want to get to.

So I walked. The sun wasn' ta problem, but it was a little humid. And lo, on the fourth floor of Riverside Point, there was the shop --- with the book --- finally.

Fortunately, Clarke Quay MRT station was practically right next door, so I didn't have to walk much further to catch a train home. Now I just have to remember to bring the damn gift to work tomorrow.