So I just sneaked this in before midnight and I have two things to say before I hit the sack:

I finished my marking! Hurrah, hurrah! I'm not certain I was entirely objective towards the end and I kept writing "Eh" and "Feh" and "Bah" in the margins because I was too spaced out to compose coherent comments, but heck --- the point is, I'm done! Now I can focus on my homework for Monday night's class...

I logged onto one of my roleplay games and found out how much work I'm behind on that. Bah. That's what Saturday morning will be spent catching up on. Fiana, you'll have your desc soon by then --- I promise!

And now a tired Tym (despite her two and a half hour nap this afternoon) will take herself to bed for more rest.


Okay, so I couldn't resist, and I checked e-mail while uploading this journal entry. I just had to be honest and tell you that. Hit rate: 7 e-mails, out of which only 1 vaguely interests me. Alas.

I can't really afford the time to write this, but I feel bad for not writing in several days, and I've got several thoughts just bursting to get out of me, so I'll sacrifice the half hour and write it anyway. Besides, those student essays I was grading have managed to irritate the hell out of me and it's best that I take a break from marking before I savage anyone else's literature grade.

The past few days have been pretty much a routine of wake up, head to work, grade essays without being distracted by the internet (though the latter has proven far too attractive, which is why I haven't worked through the pile of essays as fast as I'd hoped), come home, grade more essays, sleep. I took a break from it over the weekend, but that was because I had work to do for my Monday night IR class. The coming weekend will probably be spent likewise and will be extra unfun because I have double the amount of reading this time and a book review assignment to prepare. Whee! I'm determined to get through marking by tomorrow for that reason (40+ scripts to go).

The above paragraph is probably fairly boring to you non-teachers reading this, so I'll move on.

On Monday morning, I tried to find a quicker way to work while driving from my husband's school to mine --- and wound up on a merry adventure indeed. Those of you who aren't familiar with Singapore can skip the next paragraph; those of you who are can read on and cackle with glee at my folly.

My husband's school is at Bartley Road/Mount Vernon. My usual route is to drive straight down Bartley-Braddell, then take Lornie Road to Adam Road down to Farrer, then take a right onto Commonwealth Avenue to Ghim Moh where my school is. Last week, instead of taking Lornie Road --- which is really difficult to filter into once it's jammed --- I took Thomson Road (is that what it's called?) past Mt. Alvernia Hospital to the PIE entrance at Catholic JC, took the PIE to Adam Road and proceeded as usual from there. On Monday, I got too ambitious for my own good and wound up taking Mount Pleasant Road instead of joining the PIE, thinking it would enable me to skip the PIE slowdown and head straight for Bukit Timah Road, but I forgot that Mount Pleasant only exits on the Stevens Road side onto the PIE itself heading East, i.e. the way I would go home! So I take the PIE to Toa Payoh, turn off there and make U-turn back to take the PIE heading west (towards school), only instead of getting off at Adam Road, I decide for some whacked-out reason to take the Eng Neo exit after it instead, which put me smack at the tail-end of a jam all the way down Eng Neo to Bukit Timah Road, from which I turned to Sixth Avenue and joined a lesser jam up to Holland Road --- and finally made it to school at 8:00 am. Which is not too bad considering all the petrol I wasted.

Needless to say, from now onwards, I am resigned to driving my Bartley-Braddell-Lornie-Farrer-Commonwealth route. We do, however, set off at 6:30 am instead of 15 minutes later, because that does make a significant difference in the amount of traffic I have to contend with along the route.

Whew. I got tired just typing that.

I'm trying to think of some other exciting things to write about, but my life has been sadly excitement-less this week. What makes it slightly more stressful than it already was (and those of you who don't roleplay online can skip this paragraph) is that the Search committee I'm working on needs dragons desc'd and finished by next Wednesday, i.e. two days after my book review assignment is due. I'm leading one dragon team and working on another, and I haven't a clue where I'll squeeze time in to work things out. I suspect I'll get very little sleep this weekend.

All this work is catching up with me, you know. I was completely knackered after class today --- classes resumed and I taught the first four periods of the day, 8:00 am - 10:30 am --- and all the coffee, tea and sugar I imbibed didn't seem to help. So I took myself down to the canteen for lunch, which also failed to revive me, then went up to the staff lounge to sleep. I curled up in an armchair and had the best sleep I've had all week. Maybe that's a magic armchair. I didn't honestly think I would be able to nap effectively because the staff lounge is usually quite busy during lunchtime and there are lots of people wandering in and out, eating the lunches they bring from home, and talking on the two phones we have in there. But I leaned over and was out like a light, and when I popped awake 45 minutes later, I was more rested than when I got up this morning after 8 hours of sleep. Go figure.

So then I dutifully went back to my desk and marked some more. I thought about going home, but I seemed to have found my groove, so I plugged away at it for several hours before leaving.

I'd write about something else besides marking, but I have to confess that I've not had many deep thoughts lately. I'd like to write about my colleagues, but I don't want to turn this into a bitching forum. That's unhealthy and just Not Nice. I don't mean to imply that I have awful colleagues --- on the contrary, this school is one of the best places to teach in all of Singapore --- but some people's idiosyncrasies just get to me after a while, even though I can live with that since they're thoroughly professional folks in every other respect.

Tonight, Terz and I are going to Charlie's, which is this casual eating place at Changi Village that serves lots and lots of international beers. We get a lot of varieties in Singapore as it is, because the local ones (Tiger, Anchor and Raffles) suck rocks, but this place is par excellence in casual dining/beer-drinking and they don't charge fancy prices for it either. It makes the 45-minute drive (even from our place, and we live in the East!) worth it. We're going with some friends from his work and my work and some other miscellaneous friends --- probably ten people all in all, which is a nice number. I just hope the weather isn't ferociously hot. Charlie's has al fresco seating only, so it can get brutal if it's one of those still, airless nights. What I wouldn't give for a balmy breeze from Hawaii right now.

I fully intend to come home and finish up 15 more scripts before I go to bed. If I don't, please hit me with a big stick. I used to be so organized in college --- could do a million and one activities and still have my homework in on time --- but this whole juggling act with graduate school, peak marking season at work and Search building up to a head is really wearing me down. I guess I should've gone to grad school while I was younger and more energetic.

I'm going to post this now, then zip out to pick Terz and do the Charlie's thing. I haven't even checked my e-mail today!


My friend's father passed away today. We sorta knew it was coming because he'd been sick for a while and my friend was abruptly called to the hospital yesterday afternoon, but it's never real till it's, well, real. I found out via SMS on my mobile phone: first a message from a mutual friend about the death and the wake, then a couple more making plans to go to the wake on Monday afternoon. Maybe that's why it seems so real on the one hand yet not. Did it really happen when all you have is a text message on your mobile phone about it?

What's more surreal for me is that this guy is my age, my generation. The funerals I've been to in the past few years have always been for older people. This bereavement hits home, even though I don't know my friend that well, because it brings death one step closer to me. I've always wondered what it feels like for my parents, who've been to friends' funerals countless times: what's it like to go from attending your parents' friends' funeral wakes, to your friends' parents' wakes, and finally to your friends'? And to acknowledge the passing of intimate family members in the interim as well. How does it feel to know that your time is running out, your generation is next? What can you do besides hope and pray that you and your loved ones get a few more years?

I don't know what I'll say to my friend on Monday, besides the usual. He came in to work today, just for an hour or two to finish up some stuff, and I already was at a loss for words after he reported that his father was still in critical condition and not expected to live beyond Saturday. I hate being trite, especially when it's someone that I care about, but what do I say or do to make him feel better? People always assure me that being present and showing support is enough, but that always makes me feel inadequate. Possibly, my sense of helplessness stems from the fact that the closest death has come to me is when my grandmother passed away seven years ago, and that was even more surreal than this because I stepped off a flight from Chicago to see my family wearing black patches on their shirt sleeves (a Chinese practice, indicating bereavement) and found out that my grandmother had passed away a couple of days ago, but they hadn't even told me she was ill because they didn't want to distract me from my examinations. (How quintessentially Asian of them.) All I could do was peer into her coffin at her peacefully embalmed expression and try dimly to recall what I'd said to her at Christmas. Hopelessly inadequate.

I hope my friend's doing all right. He's ordinarily a private person, too, so it'll be hard to tell. But I hope he's okay.


This will be a short entry, because I'm pooped and I have little to report, as it were. I'm not sure why I'm pooped, that's the thing. I've been getting decent amounts of sleep, I haven't had to teach a class in close to three weeks, and I've been on top of my marking quota (by the way, I made a mathematical error in the old journal entry --- it's actually 250+ scripts in 16 days, not 228 in 9 days). I think it could be my growing frustration at inept student scripts, particularly when I know I reiterated certain ideas in class, and it seems that all those important ideas just flew clean out of my students' heads at some point between the lesson and the examination. Bah. I still feel misanthropic when I pick up my red pen to inflict sarcastic vengeance upon the examination scripts, but I think I got most of it out of my system yesterday.

I think what really makes me nervous is that I'm the only teacher teaching The Scarlet Letter and I'm afraid that my misplaced enthusiasm or cockiness will result in noticeably poorer results on that paper in the November examinations which will haunt me for the rest of my life and drive me further away from teaching. I probably won't be in this school come March (when examination results are released) to either bask in the glory or suffer the wrath of good or bad results respectively, but I don't want to have done a shitty job. I like the book and I don't think teaching it was a bad idea --- but that unerasably (I know that's not a word, but I can't think of a better one) Singaporean part of me still worries about examination results and school rankings and the fact that I'm currently the only local and non-white teacher teaching the Humanities programme students (it's a special programme in my school).

Of course, the true 'teacher' part of me is appalled that I'm worried about examination results when my gut feeling and casual comments I've overheard from students should assure me that teaching The Scarlet Letter was in no way a bad idea, remote as it might seem from Singapore experience. It's not remote, by the way. Singapore is intensely puritanical, minus the Bible bits. My favorite quotation from the novel that applies to Singapore is that both Puritan Boston and Singapore are "communit[ies] which owed its origin and progress, and its present state of development, not to the impulses of youth, but to the stern and tempered energies of manhood and the sombre sagacity of age; accomplishing so much, precisely because it imagined and hoped so little."

Okay, I just digressed to spend about ten minutes struggling with Dreamweaver, trying to resize frames. It's oddly not as intuitive as it sounds -- either that, or I was really going about it the long way.

I think the other reason I might be feeling pooped is 'cause I've been driving to work everyday this week. This is not normal for me. My husband usually takes the car and I get a ride with my colleague. However, her husband is currently out of town and she doesn't drive, so I've been driving instead and picking Terz from work in the afternoon (also because since my students are currently in examination mode, I don't have classes and my schedule, barring the odd invigilation of an examination, is pretty much up to me). But driving to work is taking its toll on me. Singapore drivers are horribly rude. Throw in the added stress of morning traffic and things just get worse. And I'm not even driving on any major highways! I also don't really have any alternative route that I can take to get from Terz's school to mine --- there's a big old reservoir smack in between, see, so I can't drive in a straight line or anything. And of course, I have to contend with the idiocy of parents at not just one school, but two. No wonder my I'm a grumpy old misanthrope this week.

I'm sorry if I offended any parents with that last sentence, but in my experience, any parent who's fighting rush hour traffic to get their precious kid to school --- a kid who is usually asleep in the back seat or staring catatonically into space rather than engaged in conversation with their sacrificial parent, by the way --- is going to pull all sorts of stupid stunts. Already Bad Singapore driver + morning traffic + stress of getting Hope of the Future to school = Really Bad Shit in front of schools all over the island every day. Bah.

Okay, I need to just end here and go to bed, because clearly my fatigued brain cells are taking over and this entry is going nowhere. Suffice to say that I am entrenched in marking, mildly stressed by the fact that a major online roleplay event is happening sooner than it's supposed to (and than any of us like) which means a bit more of that work next week, and hoping that my colleague's father's condition has stabilized because his family called and summoned him precipitously to the hospital this afternoon, which is generally not good.


I sat down this morning at work to finish this --- to get everything out of my system before the new work week commenced --- but then I overheard colleagues a few rows down disparaging the ceremonial reopening of the NYSE that had been televised the night before, and one of them said, "They've had four days of my sympathy --- now go back to normal mode." And I had to leave the room.

If I had true courage, I would've walked over to them and said, "I'm so sorry the American tragedy had to impinge on your comfortable sense of reality. They can't just go back to normal mode because over five thousand people just died when planes fell out of the sky. They don't have anyone they can attack to feel better about themselves, and this is all they can do to rebuild personal and national morale. And you know what? No one forced you to turn on your fucking TV and watch them mourn, which you really shouldn't be doing anyway since you haven't an iota of respect or compassion for what happened, so why don't you just take your fucking normal mode and stuff it into your big-assed mouth and go home and cuddle with your wife, poor woman that married you? (Oh, and by the way, aren't you lucky she's still alive?)"

I wanted to be meaner with that comeback, dramatizing it in my head right now, but I can't. It's a measure of the enormity of the event, isn't it, that it can't be trivialized even with well-intended sarcasm. To be fair to Singaporeans, that comment wasn't made by one of them. But he obviously wasn't American, either.

But it's not about America. It's about the lives that were snuffed out in that one brief moment; whether it happened to America or Afghanistan, it's equally tragic. I know I'm glossing over a number of factors here, which as a good student of international relations I shouldn't do, but this is my gut feeling. How can you mock any attempts --- tacky though they might be in some other context --- to turn weakness to strength, despair to hope, insecurity into solidarity? Would any country, any government allow tragedy to splinter, serrate and finally eviscerate their nation from within?

I'm not sure if what I overheard triggered my highly misanthropic mood this morning, but I truly felt like I hated everyone (except my colleague Mel, who is the nicest person in the world without being the slightest bit saccharine, and who is nice without ever having to think about it). I doggedly plugged into my music, savaged a number of disappointing examination scripts, and tried not to talk to anyone for a few hours.

What is it like, a week later?

I don't quite laugh at terrorist jokes anymore, even when they're courtesy of Jay and Silent Bob. The hardest part of watching the movie on Saturday night was not wincing at the terrorist-related humor, even though I kept reminding myself that the movie was made months ago, before America changed, and that the humor wasn't in as bad taste as my brain was registering (although it was in pretty bad taste for other reasons).

Even saying that something is "evil" took my breath away last week --- I can't remember the circumstance now, but we were watching some sitcom on TV and a character pulled a prank on another one, over which I enthused, "That's so evil!" And then I stopped, and let it hang in the air, and was relieved when the laugh track carried us along and I didn't have to dwell on the true evil in this world.

I don't feel as guilty for not tuning in to CNN or some other news network all the time when we're at home, though I felt a first twinge when we first switched from news to two hours of C.S.I. and The X-Files on Wednesday night, just twenty-hours after what happened. The car radio is no longer tuned to the BBC. I don't want the events of last week to become banal, the way Pearl Harbor was vulgarized by the arrogantly eponymous film, but I can't bear the hopelessness of hearing the same news repeated hour after hour simply because, well, there's nothing new now.

I haven't forgotten how to smile and I'm so glad that friends who were close to the epicenter of events haven't forgotten either. There are two friends that I need to call in New York whom I haven't because I procrastinated and I didn't know what I'd say to them, but I will make those calls right after I finish this.

But I can't stand to watch the footage of the plane crashes and tower collapses. I sigh heavily when I see the hole in New York's skyline. I feel the inchoate hurt rise from my stomach towards my throat when a lawyer friend in London is clearly so stricken --- on simultaneously professional and personal levels --- that her convoluted e-mail is full of legal jargon I can't possibly understand. I read Sars' firsthand experience of what happened in New York and I'm knocked over all over again, yet a minute later, like her, I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry over the fact that there's a room in hell reserved for her.

And life goes on. My brother, who studies at UW-Madison, seems oddly unaffected by things, if he's being truthful in his journal. Maybe the female gender is the more emotive, or maybe it's just the horror of seeing and hearing people I care about, the city I care about, in such a devastated state. When I first heard a BBC newscaster say "the devastated city of New York", another part of me lurched and I thought: there's a phrase I never imagined I'd ever hear, not in this lifetime, not in any lifetime.

I'm thankful for friends who are safe, for people who are so eager to help, for sober minds ready to contemplate and not merely condemn. I wish there were something inspirational I could say here in closing, but this isn't the week for it --- nor might it ever be again.


I've finally sat down to write this and I can't help feeling like Scully: tapping away at my laptop, in the silence of the aftermath, painstakingly recording observations, reflections, hopes, fears, nightmares --- all in that same steady tone that perennially quivers on the verge of an utter outbreak of tears. The irony of writing this entry is that my hard drive is at a friend's --- being repaired or replaced, depending on the verdict it receives --- and I hadn't given any serious thought to keeping an alternative offline journal for the week. Then the night of September 11 reverberated with the booms that were heard around the world, and I can't help not writing, not to merely record or vaguely entertain, but because I need this to render everything burbling inside me into some form of coherence --- something that will help me make sense of things, or at least stop feeling like every time I hear a tantalizing new detail about the event, that I'm going to burst into tears there and then.

It began in the most unlikely of ways: we'd just returned home with a friend after dinner and the news was on. In our two-person internet-reliant household, we hardly ever watch the local news, unless something major has happened locally. I was in the middle of griping about some new educational initiative that had just been announced --- something that, like most details of my life, is but a paltry echo of the world that was --- when the letters began to stream across the bottom of the TV screen: two planes had collided into the World Trade Center in New York. We didn't think it was a joke, but the enormity of the scene hadn't hit us either. The local news broadcast ran a short snippet, featuring what on hindsight proved to be the least spectacular of all the footage that was played over and over on our TV screen for the rest of that night, and moved on to other sundry news; we impatiently switched to Channel NewsAsia (the local, aspiring-to-be-regional, aspiring-to-be-the-Asian-CNN news network), then a friend called and we were onto CNN. And we stayed there for the next four hours --- not that it made any of it seem the more real to us, despite our in-between mutterings about Osama bin Laden, Palestinian liberation groups, the impossibly empty skyline of Manhattan after 10:30 pm and finally, World War 3.

I spent those four hours alternating between the computer room, with my laptop and modem, and the living room with the TV. My Palm and the phone tagged along with me, as I tried to reach the few friends and family I had in New York and DC, as I clenched my teeth at the frustration of only having e-mail addresses and not phone numbers because it had never occurred to me that I would need to call them so desperately, as I finally resorted to calling their families in Singapore because all the lines connecting overseas were hopelessly jammed, as I went online and found friends crying and shaking and watching the sky in fear. I cursed the fact that C was in New York on an assignment from her paper and recalled with chagrin that a cousin had just taken a posting there too; I worried about an ex-student from last year who'd just enrolled as a freshman at Georgetown --- she'd have no excuse to be at the Pentagon, but as it turns out, the Pentagon is just five minutes from Georgetown and she was plenty stricken; I bit my tongue as I asked my husband about a college friend of his who last wrote to him from New York and then did a frantic and ultimately fruitless internet search for him. The surreal moment was when my mother, as I asked her how to reach my cousin who'd just left for a posting in New York, didn't sound too concerned at all and had even nonchalantly logged on to send some random e-mail to my brother --- as if what was transpiring half a planet away was just that: images from another dimension, that had no bearing on our daily lives.

Surreal is, of course, how many people I know in America have described the situation. It's surreal for me, too, but in a completely different way. At home, by night, Terz and I were glued to CNN, reluctant to switch channels, even where our stomachs were turning over at the same horrific images of the World Trade Center --- they never seemed so noble, so unshakeable, as in their final few minutes --- and there was little new news to compensate for reliving those moments. The world, for us, was what was happening in the US. By day, we went to work and everything was eerily normal. I had expected it to be, as we finally went to bed at about 1:30 am on the night/morning of the 11th/12th, and dreaded it as well. The hopeless inanities began on the drive in on Wednesday morning. The BBC provided the necessary link to what was going on for the 45-minute drive (why wasn't the local news station doing the same, I wanted to yell), but when a colleague who rode with me mentioned the need for blood donations and, in the same breath, "More Aids", something inside me twisted. When another colleague, over breakfast, was lamenting the implications of the incident on the world economy and how the Singapore economy, already in doldrums, would be affected, culminating in a complaint about "higher COE prices" (A COE is a certificate of entitlement, which you must buy before you can buy a car. It's a rather draconic system that I'll explain some other time for you non-American readers. Just know for now that it's pretty much a grassroots issue in Singapore, just like gas prices and property prices.), I looked down at my food and didn't feel like eating anymore. When people saw me looking at news websites and asked me if anything was new, I smiled wanly at them and didn't know where to begin. When I overheard snippets of what were potentially crass jokes about the situation, I closed my ears and refused to listen. I didn't do anything at work all day Wednesday except read news websites and e-mails from safe friends, and log on to my roleplay games to check on other shaken friends. What else could a person do?

The guy who made the comment on COE prices asked me later in the day on Wednesday if I was okay; he's really not heartless or anything --- just, like most Singaporeans, not very sensitive to tone or nuance. The other reason I didn't want to talk about it with anyone besides my husband or hear the local media reports was that I know someone --- be it government type or man-in-the-street --- is going to cast this horrible incident in a jingoistic light, to turn it into another 'lesson' with which they can beat the local citizenry over the head with the fact that nothing is certain, nothing is secure, but goddammit, we have the best military in the region and have no fear, the same thing will never happen here as long as you keep voting for this government.

Even typing that made me feel sick. I'm not going to pursue that train of thought, not even to counter it, except to state that it's out there, lurking on the streets, and if anyone has the gall to say it to my face, they've got something else coming, even if I break down and cry right in front of them then and there.

But New York, New York … I can't help loading and refreshing the New York Times website. I can't help coming back, even from washingtonpost.com, to the news on New York. I can't help staring at the smoke-obscured footage of lower Manhattan and thinking about all the emptiness it hides. I saw Tom Tomorrow's "The Modern World" cartoon for Salon.com and my heart broke all over again, two days after the fact.

I've had a special affection for New York ever since I first visited in 1995. This affection has nothing to do with anyone I know who lives or was living there, nor is it tied to a specific street corner or restaurant or location --- no particular image of sunrise or sunset, Statue of Liberty or other landmark. There was a vibrance in the air that thrilled me every minute I was in the city, whether I was staying in Queens as I did on my first two trips or in Manhattan in later ones, and I desperately wanted to work there. I applied for and got an internship with St. Martin's Press in the summer of 1996, but financial considerations prompted me eventually to decline the job. I've always regretted that, always wondered if that might have somehow led --- against all the odds and despite the excruciatingly expensive scholarship bond I'm now working off --- to a career in publishing in New York. My friend Astella took that path in my stead and hers was the first name that popped into my otherwise blanked, stunned mind as I watched CNN on Tuesday night. (Thank goodness she overslept and didn't go in to work in lower Manhattan that day.) But I'm not talking about a "I could have been there" scenario; I just feel a dull, dull ache when I think about the city that I love, twisted sharply into an amazed and relieved gratitude for the unstinting help and support so many Americans are rendering to those in need --- the idea of blood banks turning people away still blows my mind --- and both sentiments coalescing in a grief whose simplicity eludes description or understanding.


It occurred to me while I was folding the laundry-fresh clothes just now that I'm overdue for a journal entry. It's not my fault for not writing --- this has been a very event-free week, as just as I'd hoped. Other than attempting plenty of crosswords (though not completing all of them and certainly not without the help of my husband's brand of esoteric knowledge) and watching plenty of television --- Angel, The Powerpuff Girls, my usual weakly doses of Gilmore Girls, Friends, C.S.I. and tonight's The West Wing --- I've done absolutely nothing.

One thing I should be doing is writing university recommendations. But I keep telling myself I'll save it for when my husband's away at camp, which was supposed to be for four days (Wednesday-Saturday), but winds up just being two days (Friday-Saturday). This evening, we're going to watch A Knight's Tale. It promises to be foolishly predictable, but I can take it. It doesn't truly feel like the holidays unless we indulge in some mindless Hollywood entertainment.

Other random things I've done this week:

- I finally caught up with my friend L, whom I hadn't seen in months and who deserves a shout-out because her dedication to her LiveJournal is partly what guilted me into keeping this web journal. L and I ostensibly went to the airport for lunch (her suggestion). We wound up going shopping as well and I bought stationery --- I am such a girly-girl when it comes to stationery, even though I resisted the temptation to buy even more pens. I also resisted the urge to buy some Julia Stiles movie that looked really crappy but then part of me got all soft and googly at the thought of watching Julia Stiles --- but then I walked away. I love Julia Stiles. I'm aware that she's been in some craptastic movies, but I love her nevertheless. L walked right past The Body Shop despite my elaborate explanation of their current sales offers and the free gift thing. We also waltzed through Charles and Keith --- a local shoe store that is my favorite place in the world to buy shoes --- without making a purchase. She did, however, promise to give me her C&K discount card when she goes to Australia to study next year, which excites me greatly about future shoe-shopping opportunities. (Someday, I will make a tally of all the shoes I own --- from the flipfloppiest pair of slippers to full-on winter boots --- and all of you will keel over in shock.)

- Last night, my husband and I had dinner with my colleague and his wife. Technically, he's not just my colleague because we have a good mutual friend in common too. But I only really got to know him when we started working together. He and his wife are two of the warmest people I have ever met. You know how when you first meet some people and conversation is sorta awkward and you're not sure what to talk about or if you'll tread on the other person's toes because you don't know them that well? That's never been the case with this couple. Last night was the first time Terz met them for an extended period of time and he agreed --- they are lovely people to talk to. Somewhere along the line, those two got As in socialization skills, and I'm not talking about the smarmy, insincere sort of socialization you get at cocktail parties. We would've probably hung out together longer, but we all decided we wanted to go home and watch The X-Files, craptastic as that has been lately.

Craptastic is the word of the day, apparently.

Okay, now the lightning is threatening and I'm also fearful of my computer's hard disk, so I'm going to upload this stat. Then I'm going to take a long overdue shower. Don't make that face at me. I don't smell that bad when all I've done is lounge around in the house all day.


Another lazy, achievement-free day. I roleplayed a little, did plenty of crosswords, watched plenty of Angel and am now prepared to go watch more.

Roleplay was ho-hum, mostly because I was paranoid that my hard disk was going to crash at any minute and thus wasn't really concentrating on the roleplay per se. Also, when I roleplay on Sunday mornings, it's Saturday evening US time, so the games I frequent tend towards the quiet side. As luck would have it, just when I'd gotten warmed up and into the thick of a good scene, my computer decided to misbehave and that was the end of that. I retired to the couch to do crosswords.

Several crosswords later, I took a shower and made lunch. I went to the grocery store yesterday (don't think I mentioned it in the journal entry) and bought forty dollars' worth of food, including many sandwich fillings that should last me through the week. I say "me" because my husband has to go out all day for work-related things every day this week. No matter what the official line is, not all school holidays are equal and not all teachers are equal in enjoying said holidays. I just count myself lucky that I get this week free, though I will make the time to write four recommendations for Cambridge/Oxford university applications for some of my students.

The hard part will be not spending all my time vegging out in front of the TV, as I did this afternoon. I can only do crosswords for so long before my brain protests, so I popped in a tape of long overdue Angel episodes (we're talking episodes 7-11 of season one). I have the entire season one and the first six episodes of season two on tape, but I haven't quite gotten round to watching them because that's precisely the luxury of having them on tape: I can sit through them whenever I please, not necessarily one a week or whatever. I personally like watching several episodes or half a season in a row --- there's a real sense of momentum built up for that.

You may ask: why, however, am I fixating on Angel? Don't break off your friendship with me, but David Boreanaz is highly yummy. I know that his acting abilities are limited and that this show might have jumped the shark in season two, but I'll still watch it for eye candy. DB is not the reason I began watching Buffy avidly, however; that was because Buffy was actually a good show, back in the first three seasons (and maybe the fourth, if you cut the show a little slack). But my possibly sad devotion to Angel's all about the tall, dark and handsome (don't puke) lead, and the fact that he's got two hundred-plus years of history to tell.

I never claimed not to be superficial. Besides, it's the holidays!


I just watched almost an entire episode of Once and Again. I'm not a fan of the show --- it's too mundane and moderately paced to hold my attention --- but the local TV station broadcasts it on Saturday nights which is the perfect vegging out time for it. The funny thing about it is that the teenagers' relationships in the show are far more interesting to me than the adults' --- or perhaps I just latch onto the teen stuff because my own adolescence was horribly mundane and I have no choice now but to live vicariously through the experience of TV characters.

How sad is that?

The good thing about today was that I did absolutely nothing and achieved absolutely nothing throughout the day. The web photo album continues to be on hold, due to my inactive creativity and also my own fears about the stability of my hard disk (see next paragraph). I did, however, complete several New York Times crosswords from our crossword book, though I admit that I peeked on some really obscure clues. I can't be expected to know details of Civil War battlefields, can I?

The bad thing about today was that I rediscovered how unstable my hard disk is. I think I really need to replace it, which will set me back another couple of hundred dollars. But I've already overspent for this month, so hey, what's another couple of hundred thrown into that?

I have the answer to that question: a possible two thousand dollar bill for some damage I inflicted on the car today. Okay, so all I did was run over the kerb at a very slow pace, and then I cursed myself for it, and then I didn't think the damage was that bad, but it really was because the husband says that fixing it requires rustproofing and all sorts of extensive labor charges, and right now I'm looking at a giant bill. I'm also squiffy with the husband as a result, because the car really is his darling (not that it isn't mine). So this is truly the worst thing that happened today. Bah.

But now I've had a dose of Once and Again, and imbibed a Kurant vodka'n' Coke, and my hard disk has cooperated sufficiently for me to compose this entry (and hopefully to upload it), so I'm going to go to bed and dream of the lazy week ahead.