My mom was right

It's too hot in Singapore to wear this shirt, even in the semi-airconditioned environment of a Halloween party.


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At 5 pm, with the party scheduled to its doors at 7 pm, I literally reached into the back of my wardrobe and found the perfect thing.

My mommy's shirt

The shirt is, in fact, my mother's. I stole it from her wardrobe some time in the early '90s, I think. She got in the US in the '70s and always said it was too hot to wear in Singapore.

The bolo tie is mine --- some tacky souvenir I picked up on a school trip to the US (specifically, Arizona) in 1991. I don't believe I've worn it with the shirt before, but I think a cowgirl costume sort of calls for it.

Now I just need jeans (check), boots (check, although they have heels which no self-respecting woman rancher would wear) and maybe something that looks like a lasso.

Alas, I have no cowboy hat and no time to either run to Peninsula Plaza to get one or to borrow wahj's, which I hear was a big hit at the office party last night. But hey, as long as I'm not costumeless or slutting it up this Halloween ...


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Getting the guys together

Wined and dined

Put three guys together for the first time and what do you get? A conversation that runs the gamut from National Service to comic book superheroes to comic books-turned-into-movies to chien bien jokes (i.e. really bad jokes that earn the joke-teller a merciless pummelling). If you know the answer to why Superman's underwear is really tight, you'll know the kind of jokes they were telling last night.

Terz pointed out that we now know a Daniel-and-Shereen and also a Daniel-and-Serene. This, in addition, to the six or so Christines/Kristine/Christinas in his cell phone, the four or five Cheryls in mine and a handful of Nicks that he talks to regularly. We're starting to use nicknames in conversation and on our cell phone entries to keep everyone sorted.


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New splash page

Now that I use some of this web space for work, I thought it was time to retire the massively outdated domain homepage and put up something simple that wouldn't immediately send any potential clients reaching for the Close-Window function on their web browsers.

And why design it myself when I could get my friend Daniel to do it for me?

If all you're interested in is my blog, there's no real reason for you to need to refer to the domain homepage. Nothing about this domain's architecture has changed and this blog is still right here.

But go see the new splash page anyway.



That time of life

Class reunion time

I always open snail mail from my alma mater university with a little trepidation. If it's the quarterly alumni magazine, there's always the feature stories of current and former university students overachieving their way through life, not to mention the "Class Pages", which I scrutinise for alumni from my years with the same glee that some people read the obituary pages --- except with the reverse outcome because finding out what everyone else has been up to inevitably makes me like I haven't been doing very much myself.

And if it's not the magazine, then it's usually a plea for money. Which is what I got today, but with a twist.

You see, my tenth class reunion is upon us next year.

I sort of knew it was creeping up upon me because I finished that bloody eight-year bond last year , which means I've been "back" for eight years, which is something some people still ask me: "How long have you been in Singapore now?" Also, because I'm now freelancing and I look younger than my age (yes, I'll stop smirking now), from time to time I also get the question, "How long have you been working?"

Too long, my friends, and without enough to show for it. But this isn't a pity party blog entry.

No, upon perusing the latest attempt to hit me up from money, I noticed that the Class of 1997 Reunion Committee was handily listed in a sidebar and that two people I actually used to hang out with in university are on the committee. Since they're also people who held fairly high-profile positions in campus organisations, part of me isn't really surprised at that.

Naturally, after I read out their names to Terz (they're both female), he immediately asked, "Are they cute? Are we going for your reunion?"

The thing is, I can't remember the last time I saw the both of them. One was pretty good friends with my ex-flatmate, at one stage, which might or might not also have been the stage when one of our guy friends was trying to go out with her. I say trying because I'm fairly certain it never took off.

The other girl I was closer friends with and the last thing I remember us doing together was heading down to a Lincoln Park street festival of some kind just before graduation. Did I even see her at graduation?

It's amazing the things you forget after ten years.

Anyway, they were both what, in Singapore parlance, one would call "high fliers" --- overachievers, extremely intelligent, extremely motivated and extremely able to get things done. I'm sure they have high-profile careers to match.

I just wish the alumni mailer had included their email addresses so that I could contact them and find out.


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The Cowboy Bar Halloween party (aka Virtual Insanity) is in five three (shit, I can't count either) days' time.

I have no costume.

I thought of going as Inara, but it's harder than it sounds plus my hair's not long enough.

I thought of dressing up as a parking auntie pontianak, but Terz said it might get me beaten up by aggrieved drivers.

I do not wish to spend $80 renting a costume from any of the shops.



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Seeing 6ixth

6ixth: A Photo Exhibition

To quote Tan Pin Pin, it's "photography doing what films can't because of the Films Act which prohibits 'political films'".

I popped in for the opening yesterday. You have until 30 October to see the pictures at the Substation gallery and badger Jeff (the photographer, also a friend of mine) about the story behind them.

Go! Go now!


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A good night's drink

A balancing trick
Taken by Stryke

You know the mr brown show's acquired a certain cultural cachet when you're sitting in Ice Cold Beer and suddenly your non-blogging friends launch into spot-on imitations of mr brown and Mr Miyagi on episodes like dead birds, csi malaysia, finding nemo and, well, dead birds again, because who doesn't love a good mr brownMiyagi-imitating-Jackie Chan imitation?


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Sars does it again

No, not the disease, the much more talented writer.

"Sincerely Your's" has been one of my favourite grammar guides ever and now she's followed it up with "Sincerely Your's II: Pirates of the Carribean".

My favourite entry, because I've been seeing this particular error a lot lately:
"I'm not averse to the idea." NOT "adverse."
I think "commerical" might be more of a typo problem than a grammar one (I know I have an autocorrect entry for it) and I say "supposably" when I'm trying to channel Joey Tribbiani, but otherwise, I'm with her all the way.


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About last night

There was the drive:
Cowboy Caleb (from the back seat): Are we there yet?
There was dinner:
Cowboy Caleb (at the start of dinner): I'm so hungry, man. Can we order a pizza to share? A risotto?
Cowboy Caleb (upon the arrival of his Fiorentine bisteccona): This is the sort of meal that makes you feel like a man.
Cowboy Caleb (halfway through the Fiorentine bisteccona): I'm so full. I can't finish this, man.
There was dessert:
Cowboy Caleb: (silence)
All happening at Ristorante da Valentino.

Taken by Cowboy Caleb


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What the week was like

Mostly spent hiding from the haze in the National Library. It's kinda like being a student all over again.


I have plus 10 geek cred

I like Urban Dictionary's word of the day. Sometimes it's silly, sometimes it puts the finger on that very term I've been looking for (as it did with the recent "tune wedgie" or last month's "mancation").

And sometimes it's just hits. The. Spot.

Yesterday's word of the day was "geek cred", the meaning of which isn't too difficult to parse. But it was one of the illustrative examples they provided that killed me:
"You have the un-edited original trilogy ripped from the laser discs? That's like, plus 10 geek cred."
I have the un-edited original trilogy (Star Wars, in case you weren't following) ripped from the laser discs, thanks to the kindness of the ex-boyfriend.

I have plus 10 geek cred.

Thank you, everybody.


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A meeting of minds

It's very thrilling to unexpectedly meet someone who not only appreciates Beautiful Girls as much I do, but once we get started on it, both of us immediately quote the same line: "Romeo and Juliet, the dyslexic version."


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Me and my MOO cards

Last month, MOO gave away free Flickr MiniCards to Flickr Pro users. Since this included free shipping worldwide (I can't remember the last time any web-based promotion did that), I immediately grabbed a lot of them and alerted other Flickr Pro users I knew in Singapore.

Silly me --- I thought I was getting 10 x 10 cards, but the deal was for just 10 after all.

My MOO cards

As Darren Barefoot's already observed, the colours turned out darker than I expected. I would've picked more daytime or brighter pictures if I'd known.

Also, the cards are tiny --- it doesn't sound that small when the website tells you "roughly half the size of a standard business card", but it feels a lot smaller in your hand.

Still, they were free so I'm not complainin'. And I have a pretty good idea of what I'd be paying for if I ever decide to order up a full batch.

Now to see who I'll be handing them out to ...

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Incidental research

And the most sexually stilted quotation by a Really Famous Person that I found today:
The function of muscle is to pull and not to push, except in the case of the genitals and the tongue.
--- Leonardo da Vinci
as quoted in The Columbia World of Quotations
Man, Leo really had a way with words.


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Reason #507 why my cousins rock my world

DVD booty

Because they (Packrat and Ondine, to be precise) got me this!!

Macross and Southern Cross and Mospeada --- all in one 22-disc package!

They found it in Sembawang Music Centre and the first thing they did was to get it for me!!! (Plus they thus avoided paying some exorbitant price at Amazon or something.)


Let's not forget that I am the person whose name still appears on the alt.fan.robotech FAQ, even though I haven't gone near the newgroup or FAQ since the mid-1990s.

So far, Terz and I have watched about six episodes of Macross and we're stunned, stunned at how tacky and choppy it is. I will say, in my own defence, that it was the Jack McKinney books rather than the American animated series that got me hooked onto the series, though. And of course, it was Packrat himself who, many moons ago, first passed me those books ...


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The best of today

Best news headline:
"Probe peers into Venusian secrets" (from the BBC, no less).

Best excuse for not answering my cell phone:
"I'm at a military camp all day and they won't let me bring my cameraphone in."

Best health warning:
"Don't drink Coke. I tell you, it'll kill you." (preamble to a 20-minute lecture on the evils of Coke.)

Best voicemail signoff:
" ... so call me on my handphone. This is Kevin, from _____ [company] and from _____ [church]." (He mentioned the church name because that's where I know him from. I guess if one's name is Kevin, where there a dime a dozen of them in Singapore, he was wise to identify himself so thoroughly. His colleague was cackling in the background, though.)

But the best line of the day came from my father, which I sadly cannot repeat here in case I get hauled up for threatening national security. No, really --- I can't. And damn, it was a great line.




Too soon for comfort

Sometimes I see the preview trailer for World Trade Center on TV and I think, no, I'm not ready to watch that yet. No, not even the trailer.


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Laundry day

Ink enjoys clean sheets

Pretty, isn't it? Nice clean sheets, fresh from the dryer. Comfortable cat, contemplating the clear skies (no haze today, woot!) outside the window.

Unfortunately for the sheets, Ink went off to his kitty litter shortly after, did his business, came back --- and left a faint shit streak on the clean bedsheet.

So that went straight back into the washer ...


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Not coughing yet, but ---

If you hadn't heard already, the air quality is shit in Singapore this weekend. Looking out from Muddy Murphy's last night, my eyes thought it must be raining because of the way the street light was dispersed, but my nose knew better, what with the distinct smell reminiscent of burned grass.

So my new hobby is checking the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) reading, which seems to have peaked at 150 at 9 pm tonight and was 136 at the last reading of the day at midnight. (The government doesn't provide hourly PSI updates between 12 am and 7 am because we're all supposed to be asleep like good citizens and no one might be choking, coughing or sneezing half the night away and want to check on the PSI reading.)

Haze 2A
Taken by Terz

Usually, we can see Marine Parade, a vague hint of the sea and sometimes even the shadowy outline of Sumatra in the distance. Today, there was just the awful, smelly miasma.


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Saturdays are for ...

... brunch at Killiney Kopitiam ("Which Killiney Kopitiam are we going to?" "Er ... the one at Killiney Road ... ") with the gang of old friends. The boys egged me on to order mee siam mai hum ("We'll back you up with a loud chorus," Packrat promised) while the girls belatedly realised that we were all wearing pink (unintentional, we swear). wahj enlightened us that the Pollution Standards Index reading at 11 am today was 128 (anything above 100 is Bad For One's Health), which explains why the air smells execrable and the sunlight's all washed out. Kay was impressed that everyone knew about their new refrigerator. Ondine showed off her new bag to grand admiration all round. And G-man gave us a ride home in his new(ish) car, which made me wish I had a small car of my own to zip around in so that I wouldn't have to be at the mercy of our world-class transport system.

I am declaring a moratorium on kaya toast for at least a month.


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World-class transport system, my ass

Who knew that in this day and age, it's still possible to wait at a downtown bus stop on a weekday after lunch for thirty-five minutes without the bus showing up? (This is a country where most buses run every ten minutes, on average.)

And all I needed was a bus to take me from that part of town to an office that's literally just outside two steps outside downtown. I could've walked there in the thirty-five minutes I spent sweating up a storm at the bus stop.



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It's an epidemic

Even restrooms have to look funky now

If I see another "hip" and "funky" restroom, I'm going to vomit.


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Oktoberfest! Oktoberfest! Flat and stacked



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It was supposed to be a mooncake party

Party central

But when we got there, the host announced that it was a wine and cheese party instead.

No wonder he'd asked us to bring wine if we wanted.

I ate too much Indian rojak, drank too much red wine and wasn't actually very social.

Indian rojak never looked this good

Party people

The night before, on my way out to the Aya Sekine concert at the Esplanade, I saw clusters of children near the open field beside the train station, each child wielding a paper lantern lit from within by a small bulb. The steady glow of electric light didn't quite conjure up my romanticised memories of childhood, but it was novel and entertaining enough to see little moppets wandering around after dark (dutifully supervised by their parents and, in one case, a foreign maid, of course).

I suppose wee lightbulbs are a lot safer than skinny birthday candles that might fall over and set the lanterns on fire from within --- but that was part of the fun, right? Being a kid, yet handed this thing with a live flame, and having to be vewy, vewy careful while playing with it, because if anything besides the candle caught fire, that was the end of one's lantern privileges for the year.

My paternal grandmother used to be the supplier of lanterns every year when my brother and I were kids. The lanterns generally took the shape of animals with coloured cellophane paper stretched over over a wire frame. I remember having to try and make that type of lantern in school too --- which was a terror, because I could never get the wire in exactly the right shape and glueing the cellophane paper onto the frame was a bitch. Much better to just let Mama buy them for us.

You don't see those cellophane lanterns so much anymore. Now they're all either made of chunky, unfriendly plastic or they're the pretty paper ones (which I disdained as a child but now they're my favourite). And you'd be hard-pressed to find one with a candle-holder inside; they're all built for bulbs these days.

There weren't any lanterns at last night's party, nor any mooncakes either. Dammit.

Look up, look up


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