Whining at the boss

See, work sucks, but there are little silver linings, like having earned the right to say this to the boss through SMS:

ME: Sorry to interrupt your evening, but just reminding you to look at the [detail omitted to preserve the sanctity of my job] paper so that we can send it to [person A] and [person B] to take a look.
BOSS: You just spoiled my dinner :-)
ME: I'm in the office! No dinner!


Recipe for relaxation

2 cans of Carlsberg;
4 movies - The Big Chill (excellent for pretending to be high and admiring Kevin Kline's thinness), Bend It Like Beckham (such a solid and unassuming film), Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (er ... hot chicks?) and The Return of the King (see my thoughts on the movie from last year); and
9 hours of beer-sotted sleep.

Tomorrow, I slave again. On the bright side, only three more days of slavery before I get to inhale the freshness of the northern Pacific air.



Nothing like a little blogging to take your mind off work, so much so that you shut down the computer and only then realise that you forgot to send off the all-important email with the all-important work that you've been plugging away at for the last four hours.

Okay, now I'm leaving.


If this were a regular workday, I'd be ecstatic to be leaving at this time.

Seeing as it is, technically, Saturday, I am officially a) bummed, b) starving, c) braindead, and d) in need of a vacation.

The sad thing was that a colleague asked if I was working late because I had to get work done before I leave on vacation, and my answer was no, the deadlines are all for this week anyway, so if I didn't have the prospect of vacation to keep me sane --- well, let's just say that I will be having at least one stout drink tonight to restore the equilibrium in my mind.


This next time week, I'll be in another country.

Sounds great, except for the part where I'm still at work on a Saturday afternoon, because there aren't enough hours to do the work that people expect of you. Clearly, I should lower their expectations of me. (But then I wouldn't have earned the right to whine at my boss or tell him when he's being silly.)


This morning, so far

Every time I have sushi for dinner, I wake up feeling excruciatingly hungry the next morning. This morning, I was so hungry that I walked almost all the way to the MRT station to catch the train to work, before I realised that I'd left some important work documents behind. So I trudged back home to get them, and then decided I would treat myself to a cab ride instead. That's the problem with actually having an income of one's own: it tends to get frittered away on self-indulgent cab rides and nice dinners, rather than actually saved for the proverbial rainy day (or move to Vancouver).

On the bright side, I got to work early, so I had a good spread of breakfast options to choose from in the staff cafeteria. Even though there's still heaps of work ahead of me, at least I'm not hungry anymore.


The thing about spilling hot coffee on yourself is not so much that it's hot --- because fabulous chocolate-brown Mango pants are able to indeed absorb most of the heat and the dark coffee colour --- but that for the rest of the time you're wearing those coffee-stained clothes, you really, truly reek of coffee.

I like coffee as much as the next person, which is to say that I don't live and die by it, but after smelling it on myself for about two hours, even after I bought a new shirt to replace the formerly white, now coffee-stained one --- well, I was glad to come home and change.

On the bright side, British India had cheap, nice tops for sale, so I could get a replacement shirt without much ado (or much cash).

The Hallmark Channel is currently showing D.C. 9/11: Time of Crisis, which IMDB calls "an inside look at the Bush Administration, beginning with the day of the attacks, and following the President's journey to Ground Zero, culminating with his now famous national address nine days after the attacks." For me, it simply proved that I'm not ready to watch gratuitous repetitions of the Twin Towers' collapse yet, nor is it possible to watch Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Condoleeza clones putter their way through an inept script --- with ironic similarity to how they puttered through war and beyond in real life --- without offering a snarky comment every other minute. It's especially creepy how closely the actors resemble the people they're play. I just hope the resemblance was achieved with the aid of makeup and such, rather than the fact that there are some poor sods who actually look that much like members of the Bush administration.

Okay, back to Buffy.



Nothing like a brilliant flash of thunder, bright enough to reflect even to the non-windowed part of the floor where my cubicle is, to get you excited for the rest of the afternoon.

I love thunderstorms.



"Tentative. My whole life this week is tentative."

Me, to T, as he tried to make plans for dinner over the next two nights, and I stared at the unshrinking mound of work in my Inbox.

However, I did make time to give blood this afternoon. I thought it would only take like half an hour at the most, but we went right at the end of the blood drive, along with all the other last-minute people rushing to give their share. By the time I explained to the doctor that I didn't know if I'd had a Hepatitis B jab, was prone to fainting off and on but not regularly enough for it to be an issue, and had in fact been to Hanoi earlier this year, and then I was tested to make sure my hemoglobin sank to the bottom of the Harpic blue test fluid (very CSI, except for the absence of the TMIcam), and had my left arm vein prepped but they couldn't find the vein, so I waited in line for a bed with a right arm vein, and finally gave my 300 ml worth of O+ goodness and got a drink (not packet Milo with palm olein but fat-free carrot-and-mixed-juice) and some genuine Singaporean Khong Guan biscuits for my trouble --- a good hour and some had passed by.

I did, nevertheless, walk away with a very impressive- and space age-looking white plaster over the hole they poked in my vein. Very "I just had a blood test done at Camden Medical Centre", as opposed to the more plebian "The auntie just spent ten minutes flicking at my inner elbow to coax the vein out".

It was only three minutes and she wasn't that auntie.


Working weekend

I thought of so many clever things to blog about today, as I hauled ass to work after lunch (yes, on a Sunday --- such injustice), did the damn work, played my new favoured white-noise-radio-station-of-choice Gruvsonic loud enough to keep myself going, and eventually traipsed home at about sundown.

But now that I'm home, and T made a good dinner, and we watched Two Weeks Notice --- which, despite its chronic grammatical fault, is a highly digestible movie, even when I've seen it twice over two days --- well, I just don't feel like being snarky about work anymore.

Instead, let me alert you --- as I alerted T when we finished the movie just now --- that what with renting Two Weeks Notice and Bridget Jones's Diary this week, and About A Boy a couple of months ago, and the sweet flavour of Notting Hill some time last year, I just might start my own Hugh Grant DVD shrine of worship. That man waltzes so well with charm and irony that every other actor alongside him is instantly reduced to a fumbling, dreadful boor.

Blog updates likely to be infrequent over the next 7 days. In Chandler-style, I put it to you: Could there be any more work and deadlines loaded onto me?


Raisins for dinner

There's something oddly soothing about having a redoubtable techno beat thumping in the background while I hammer away rhythmically at the keyboard at 10.30 pm in the office on a Friday night.

I'll take what I can get. With no one around, I can put the music on LOUD too.

Raisins for dinner probably don't provide enough of a stomach lining for all the heavy drinking I plan to do tonight, but having a completely hungover aspect when I come back the office tomorrow might help remind people how much work I'm doing around here.


Childhood flashback #4328

You know all those years in church paid off when you see the word "A Tribute" and your mind immediately launches into full-blown orchestral choruses of "To God Be The Glory ... for the thiiiiiiings ... he ... hath ... DONE!!!!"


(Or should that be, Amen?)


Troy in Fifteen Minutes

By way of Dylan, I present you: Troy in Fifteen Minutes. It's more of a spoiler than the Iliad itself, so if you're, uh, funny about that sorta thing, don't click on the link.

Or do, anyway. It'll prepare you for just how much the movie is "inspired by" Homer.

And the no. 1 sign I'm working too hard ...

In an SMS exchange with T this evening, he asked about "your ETD", and I went on to talk about Educational Technology Division where I work, and he was like: Estimated. Time. of Departure.

And then I cackled with glee over SMS and assured him I would leave by 6 pm.



I inadvertently had a vegetarian lunch today. I have nothing against eating vegetarian meals; it's just peculiar to find yourself in the middle of one, chewing gluten when you thought it was, er, pork. Suffice to say that sweet and sour gluten does not have the same zing as sweet and sour pork.

On the upside, I'm not actually hungry yet, despite not having had any meat all day. Rowrrrr!


My pop culture intake this weekend

After this morning's vapid little outburst on Troy, here's some possible opening sentences to a cogent review of the movie, should I ever find myself capable of writing it:
How does Hollywood take Homer's epic and make it accessible for modern audiences? Provide enough battles to stir the men's adrenaline, without having so many that it becomes a War Film (ref: Saving Private Ryan, The Thin Red Line) that women will refuse to see with their men. Give all the Good Guys impeccable love interests who are the Reason They Fight. Make sure that even the biggest badass in the original has a Heart of Gold (see Achilles, reformation of). Have the Good Guys scoff freely at the gods. Cast lots and lots of hot men. And take advantage of ancient Greek clothing customs to show off Brad Pitt's butt (hey, it's worked like a charm ever since his debut in Thelma and Louise!)as often as you can.
And for anyone who watched the Best Of-style episode Survivor: America's Tribal Council and who also happens to be a graduate student in media studies, thank Jeff Probst and Gerri Manthey for giving you all you ever needed for your dissertation-in-waiting on reality TV shows and existentialism in modern society. Heck, it's enough to make me want to sign up for a media studies programme stat, since I already have the episode on tape.


My verdict on Troy

Sprite: How was Troy?
Me: Not bad. The boys didn't like the love story, but I think girls won't mind. Brad Pitt was HOT!
Let me just say that again: Brad Pitt was HOT!!!

I just wrote a reasonably thoughtful review of Jersey Girl. Somehow, I don't think I'm going to be able to do that with Troy.


Boots 'n all

It is a very befuddling thing to be absolutely certain that you saw a brilliant pair of reddish-brown boots on a very fine young lady on TV --- only you have no recollection of what TV programme this was (possible Buffy? --- but reddish-brown isn't really her style), and you're fairly certain that no local shoe retailer would carry such a design anyway, because the paltry local boot selection is generally confined to plain black boots and footwear that's somehow necessary for what passes locally as "line dancing".

Now you know what clouds my brain when I'm supposed to be working all day.

Reflections, on my way to work

If I ever have to wear maternity clothes, here's what verboten for my wardrobe:
  • The slightest smidgen of lace

  • Curly bows, the likes of which were last seen adorning a four-year-old's hair

  • Any dress modelled after the latest hot birthday party fashions for saccharine-sweet four-year-olds

  • Large floral prints

  • Checkered prints --- cowboys look good in them, I maintain that the average urban pregnant female does not
I just had to get that out of my system. Thank you.



It is a very strange thing to wake up with the title number from the musical Rent dancing around in your head, and to have it go on and on uninterrupted despite trying to write a review of Jersey Girl on the train, reviewing last night's TV news broadcasts and replying to many, many work emails.

This could be a symptom of the fact that I'm broke because I overspent last month. Or it could be a belated reaction to my renewed acquaintance with my Rent CDs last week (finally found them in the computer room). I should warn you that because I hadn't listened to it in so long, most of what was going around in my head was a musical jalopy along the lines of: "Duh duh duh duh duh-duh duh duh, duh duh duh duh duh-duh duh duh-duh-duh-DUH (RENT!). Duh duh duh duh duh-duh duh, duh-duh duh duh duh duh duh-duh duh duh-duh-duh-DUH (RENT!)."

I'm just going to put the CD on and put myself out of my duh-duh-ing misery now.

The uses of A-level English

"Of course I punctuate my text messages, I did A-level English," one young man explained, with a look of scorn. Evidently an A level in English is a sacred trust, like something out of The Lord of the Rings. You must go forth with your A level and protect the English language with your elfin bow of gold.
That's from Lynne Truss's (you bet your ass that's punctuated correctly) Eats, Shoots & Leaves, p. 19.

What a devilishly delightful book.



I've been really wanting to blog, because I have the clean new template which makes me feel loved and pampered, but such is the way of things in the universe that no particularly witty zinger or riveting web-read or anything at all, really, comes to mind.

This is not to imply that I've been walking around empty-headed since I changed the blog template yesterday. I have, as usual, sacrificed my fair share of braincells while thinking about work. I'm reading Love in the Time of Cholera, so that's fair exercise for the mind while riding the train to and from work. And I haven't zbeen watching much TV since Monday night's marathon, so that's some braincells that have been given a slightly longer lease of life.

On the other hand, I haven't really been eating, either, since I still have this residual feeling of fullness from Monday night's fast food frenzy...

Tonight there might be cheese and crackers, and possibly bread, if the remainder of the baguette hasn't solidified into grainy granite yet.


I'm a lemming

So Blogger offers us new templates (allegedly 26 news ones, but if you discount colour variations, there's really just 10 new designs), and the first thing I do is to change mine.

The green is much more soothing, isn't it?

Of course, first I had to print out all the old blog entries (with links and with comments), so that I can file them away in their orange glory for posterity. When I was done with that, it was time for a meeting, then lunch, then back here to tweak my Blogger settings a little more before my next meeting --- oh, and I squeezed in a wee spot of work in between all that. Really.

Hey, at least I didn't yield to temptation and take a sick day, after the excessive indulgence in Coke and pizza and chicken and Survivor and The West Wing season 4 finale last night.


Vacation packing list, circa early May 2004

Nothing like having a dream about having to leave for the June vacation stat without having packed properly, to make me want to draw up a packing list right now.

In the dream, I was totally not packed, natch, and for some reason we had to be at the airport at 11 am for a 1 pm flight, only the "afternoon" whizzed by and by the time we were leaving for the airport, it was evening but strangely no one was the least bit concerned about the possibility of having missed the flight --- and I woke up with the strongly sinking realisation that I left my lovely brown leather jacket behind.

Oh, and the "we" in the dream, whoever they were, they weren't the husband, cousin and cousin-in-law with whom I'm travelling in June. Nor was it the old crush from last night's dream, nor indeed, anyone recognisable as an acquaintance of mine. I got the distinct sense that they were family, though.

Okay, so before this totally turns into a dream blog, let me get on with my packing list:

1) Brown leather jacket - more a vanity item than anything, but I haven't worn it since I bought it in 2002, so hey.
2) Dark blue jeans
3) Light blue jeans - these are the only two pairs of jeans I have
4) White top - looks excellent with jeans
5) Maroon top - not as excellent, but highly comfortable, its velvety fabric looks a little dressy, and it travels well
6) Green mock-neck top - I wish I had more of this in my wardrobe in general
7) Long-sleeved dark green mock-neck top - too hot in Singapore to wear it, will come in handy if the Pacific Northwest turns a little chilly
8) Blue top - utilitarian, rather than fashionable, never leave home without it
9) Rockport shoes - the same pair I bought in Vancouver in 2000 to replace my fondly remembered Timberlands that gave up the ghost the moment they got to Canadian shores, after seven long years of service
10) Socks - duh
11) Underwear - double duh
12) Something to pass as pajamas, since I don't actually own any

Five tops is probably two too few, but I'll sort through my wardrobe and add to the list later. The important thing is that everything fits into my little wheelie, so that we don't have a car space crisis when we pick up our rental. Also, T is bugging me to go look at his photos, so I'm going to post and run. Ta!

A wrap-up of the news this week

I have to loiter online till work things are settled, so I might as well jot down a quite recap of this week's events while I'm at it.

(*) SMRT responded to the email feedback I sent them on Monday. Apparently, the "audio clips" are on trial 3-30 May and they'll "review" them after that. I know it's too much to hope that by "review", they mean "never play them evermore, and in fact, sink them to the bottom of the ocean a là Angel, only without any witnesses to help you find the spot and salvage them ever again". I'll settle for if they change the annoying jingle and speak in decent English rather than have voices yap at each other in harsh Singlish. (Singlish isn't always harsh; the stupid "audio clips" just chose to use that particular vernacular variant.)

(*) A former teacher of mine collapsed in school on Friday and passed away yesterday. She was one of my Economics lecturers in junior college. It's horrible for that to happen to anyone. I wasn't very close to her or anything, but she was a good teacher and a fine person, and now she's gone.

(*) W got a year older yesterday and he received from me, aside from his real gift, the right number of exclamation marks, in lieu of birthday candles, in a birthday email. Alas, I was eventually late for the nativity festivities thanks to the Man. Meanwhile, T and Ru had the oilest fish dish ever, and W did not get a happy-clappy birthday song from the Mezza9 crew because we, uh, spared him. Come to think of it, we didn't even hum our usual birthday song!

(*) I really slacked off at work this week, not so much from procrastinating as from being efficient (shhh, don't tell me bosses). I did my work, and then there was no work left, and then with impeccable timing, the last burst of work --- courtesy of the Man --- descended upon me at precisely 5 pm on Friday. Bah.

Okay, I'm now officially off-duty and going to hang with EH, so as to get as far away from a work email connection as possible. I want my weekend now now now!

Dreamt a little dream

It's a very strange thing to have an old crush appear in your dream, looking as hot as he did seven years ago. It's even stranger when in the dream, he and a whole bunch of people had come to stay in our little flat, though in typical dream fashion, the flat also looked huge enough to house twenty people at once.

I blame it on the rapid tumult of emotions that preceded sleep, viz.: massive guilt at spilling wine on Ru and Neil, mild alleviation of that guilt after Ru's kind SMSes, total immersion in Polgara the Sorceress to quiet the mind down, followed by instant sleep.

Today, it's supposed to be a restful Saturday. Oh, except for the part where I was awakened at 10:20 am by a call from work (though I slept through the beep-beep of seven SMSes before that). And then where I had to log on for about two hours, not really doing anything so much as reading email, calling other people to make sure they acted on the email, and then obsessively refreshing my Inbox to make sure that all the replies to the emails are getting through.

I totally need to stop working for the Man.


Grocery shopping

It turns out that Monday is the night when Cold Storage is out of roast beef and regular bacon, and then you have to buy the Danish streaky bacon, which isn't so more expensive as it's more streaky than you'd planned. However, they do have the right boursin cheese as well, and the idea of coming home to a sinfully white cream pasta sauce tomorrow night makes the whole week sound much more promising than it did this morning --- which began unpropitiously with me waking up at 7 and feeling scratchily like the airconditioning had been off all night, when in fact it had only been off for the usual hour (it goes off when T wakes up).

No, the real problem with Cold Storage on this Monday night was that they were playing The World's Most Annoying Cover Versions, sung by The Guy Who Tries To Harmonize With Himself Even Though His Singing Is Completely Flat. It almost drove me out of the store.

Speaking of annoying things on the public address system that drive you crazy, behold my feedback to the SMRT (the local subway company):
Today I heard for the first time what must be your new "public service announcements": an annoying and loud musical jingle broadcast over the train's PA system, followed by an even more annoying woman's voice carping in Singlish about something or other, before she's rebutted by a male voice, and then the two of them go back and forth like a pair of squabbling neighbours (or perhaps squabbling chickens, it's hard to tell) for about thirty seconds.

It took me a while to deduce that the "announcements" were trying to remind passengers of the importance of the following:
1) Don't hold your newspaper too wide and take up other people's personal space
2) Don't read over another person’s shoulder
3) Don't sit on the floor
4) Don't shove your butt into someone else's face
5) Don't make too much noise on the train

I also deduce from the stunned expressions around me that it was the first time a number of passengers had heard these "announcements". Significantly, most passengers, like me, also looked more annoyed than they had been before the "announcement" started.

I understand that SMRT repeatedly reminds its passengers of the need to keep the trains clean, not to eat and drink on the trains, and certainly to be wary of suspicious objects. But don't you find it deeply ironic that these ear-splitting "announcements" shatter the very quiet that they aim to uphold? I almost snorted out loud when I discerned the portion where the man's voice asks the woman to be quiet so that he can read, because I had just been reading peacefully for most of my train ride, only to have the intrusive announcement break my concentration with the crackling loud music and harsh discordant voices.

Furthermore, I highly doubt if these "announcements" serve their purpose. Recalcitrant and inconsiderate passengers would hardly bother to listen closely and discern the real message behind your cryptic "announcements". They would simply continue talking loudly or continue with whatever other inconsiderate behaviour they are displaying.

I strongly hope that SMRT will cease using these "announcements" immediately. The "old-fashioned" announcements, though monotonous, were sufficient to meet their purposes. Most commuters who take the train regularly don't need fancy or sophisticated advertising jingles to catch their attention. They just want a bit of peace, quiet and predictability so that they can travel peacefully from one destination to the next, and possibly catch up on their sleep or homework or reading if they need to.

I personally hate taking the bus nowadays because so many of them have that annoying TVMobile installed and you can't avoid the racket it produces no matter where you sit on the bus. The train is the last relatively quiet mode of transportation still available in Singapore. Don't ruin what little quiet space is left to us commuters.

I look forward to receiving your reply and to the discontinuation of these dreadful "announcements".
I don't mean to turn this into an Angry Blog like T's, but seriously, those inane "public service announcements" just cheesed me off.

However, to bring this post back on-topic, we do now have Earl Grey tea. So I'm going to go drink some of it.