Saturday, September 30, 2006

Slam Dunk

On Wednesday night, I went to my first professional basketball match. I have been to school games, court side at that with the opportunity to get splashed with the sweat of 18 year olds. But this is my first real pro game, in an airconditioned venue, cheerleader girls and hotdogs from stands. The only problem was that we didn't have foam fingers that we could buy.

The game was between the Singapore Slingers and the Perth Wildcats. The Wildcats won, 107-100 and by the end of the match, I could convincingly yell "DEE-FENCE!" and an occasional "GO SLINGERS GO!".

I wish the stadium was more filled with spectators though, it would have made it all the more exciting. As it is, I think there were about 1000 of us and a good percentage of them were caucasians. In fact, the loudest Slinger fan was an Aussie bloke who seemed to have lungs of steel and could belt out cheers for the Slingers a million times better than the Slinger girls who were a sad sad excuse for cheerleaders. Mr Cheerleader singlehandedly managed to rally all the Slinger fans behind his cheers, me included. The Slinger girls, well, were not very athletic, not very spunky, not very peppy, not very good looking and not very inspiring, cheer wise.

Slinger Girls

And yes, they are twirling Chinese fans around, all lending to the whole Caucasian stereotype of the Oriental mystique. Bah.

Also, it reminded me a little bit of Veronica Mars (my new favourite tv show), not.

LILLY: Why’d you join Pep Squad, Veronica?
VERONICA: Umm, the PE credit. You?
LILLY: Veronica, I suffer from too much pep. I needed a pep outlet.

Credit where Credit is Due 1.02

Pep that the Slinger girls sorely sorely lack and desperately need.

Thank goodness the basketball action was fun enough but it did mean that time outs weren't really welcomed. I went away from the game, a little hoarse and a whole lot more educated. It didn't make me want to go out and play some ball though. Some tell me that 19 was a really old age to start ballet, but starting basketball at 30, erm, no thank you. I can't even shoot tissue paper straight into the waste basket from 2 ft away properly, let alone a huge basketball from 20 ft like this Slinger dude.

3 pointer.

Much less slam dunk like this dude.

Perth Wildcats

In ballet, I was told that I had wonderful elevation and "hang time" when I jumped, but I don't think I could have, on my best day, do that, unless I had rocket launchers on my feet!

But it was good fun, especially since it made mid week seem a lot more bearable. The kids that were there seemed to have had a whole lot of fun too, especially since it was a school night, but I would much rather my kids be watching that than stuck in front of the television/playstation/computer.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 12:35

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Friday, September 29, 2006

Rumbling

When I took 5 adolescents to Calgary last February, I was kept very amused by one of them whose life revolved around food. Every bit of non intellectual conversation for him revolved around food. Even geese flying in a V-formation elicited a food related response from him. His choice phrase and action was to jump into a squat position onto any chair and growl very loudly "I'm hungry". This usually meant we had to get him food in the next 10 minutes or hear a whole lot of whining.

Today, I feel kinda like that. I've been hungry since 9am. Note to self, do not eat breakfast at home because that will mean, getting hungry earlier in school. And I have nothing to eat round me. So I'm grumpy, one devolution away from being a caveman who growls and grunts and jumps around demanding food and my foot is itchy.

So, I'm not a happy camper and... I'M HUNGRY!

Feed me!

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 11:22

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Getting lucky

I bemoaned sometime back that I never won when I entered lucky draw contests. Before I got married and when my reading material consisted of Martha Stewart Weddings, Female and Her World Brides, I would conscientiously cut out all the coupons, in the hope that I'd win, anything from wedding rings (which we'd already custom made and ordered) to free mattresses (also bought, bought even before we had anywhere to put the bed!). And I never won. Yes, I'm quite a loser, with the capital L. I am a perpetual optimist and I live in hope.

Sometime back, we went to see The Devil Wears Prada. I insisted that we go with friends because I'd seen that one of the movie houses had a lucky draw contest where you stood to win The Devil Wears Prada memorabilia. And I lived in the vain hope that this might be the contest to turn my luck.

The truth is, since I saw the movie and was totally awed by the clothes and ditzily enamoured by the glitz and glamour, that I'd forgotten that I had actually entered the contest until I receive this email from a strange person called the Contestmaster. The nice Contestmaster informs me that my stars were in alignment and I was in luck!

Contest

I smsed half the world (And from people I call my friends, I was called "DITZ", "BIMBO" "WAH LAU EH!" - although I don't think that was a name directed at me), bounced on the bed squealing and giving poor sleeping Packrat a big shock and twirled around in circles till I got dizzy and breathless. Then I came back to earth and whined very loudly about the fact that our printer doesn't work and the earliest I could collect my prize was yesterday.

I didn't even manage that. I went today, to Level 13. I wish I had had enough guts to photograph the Shaw office, but I was overawed and there was a security guard who stared menacingly at me. It was dark, it was somewhat cave-like, as if I had entered the bowels of another dimension where everyone spoke in hushed terms and top secret research was carried out there. Anyway, in the middle of the vast space that was the lobby, there was a marble desk with one lone lady. I present her my letter, she picks up the phone, calls the Contestmaster and says somewhat cryptically "Devilwearsprada" and hangs up.

As I wait for the Contestmaster to bring down my loot, I wonder if he remembers to bring down the right one. After all, the receptionist lady didn't specify that I had won the tier 1 contest and not the other. The difference being one LaRue Handbag. And that is a very big deal. The clever Contestmaster brings down both prizes and checks my letter to decide which I deserve. It takes all the grown up restraint in me not to tear open the goodie bag. I want to see the Notebook (not that I know what to do with it), I want to see the Mousepad (According to Packrat, the mouse I use doesn't work too well on mousepads), I want to know what a portfolio is (it comes in a spiffy black box and makes the goodie bag weigh a ton) and last but definitely not the least important, I want to see the bag!!!!!

But I have to wait. Because I have to go to the car, wrestle my way through traffic (although at each light, I run a finger along the goodies... It's oh so tempting!), get home, park the car, get into my house before I can open it. And let me just say, the ten minutes that it takes to leave Shaw and get home were one of the longest ten minutes of my life.

I'd already planned that I was going to blog about this but I was going to wait till I had some photographic evidence. So I laid everything out nicely to show everything I got and in all self-important glory, I photograph them for posterity.

The Devil Wears Prada

Check out the extremely cool red portfolio with a note pad and a ceramic pen. And the super cool-can wear in many different ways- handbag.

Prada Loot

All very good. Now, the only thing is that, now that I've used up my luck to win this, does it mean that I'll never get lucky again? I hope not. :)

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 22:34

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Saturday, September 23, 2006

Homework

When I was in primary school, my mother would always tell me that I should finish my homework on Friday so that I wouldn't have to worry about it during the weekend. In theory, that sounds like a good idea. And it will probably be one of those pieces of advice that I will say to my children and then stop myself halfway in horror because I would have suddenly had a flash back to when I was in school, except this time, it was my voice, coming out of my mother's mouth! Anyway, she did say that to me and every Friday, I would come home, dump my bag in the corner and rejoice over the fact that there was no school the next day! The bag would stay in the corner, totally forgotten till Sunday night, where there would be great great amounts of panic because it would be at that point that I would realise how many pages of Chinese writing homework I had to do but had failed to.

The thing about it was that all through the Saturdays, there would be this nagging feeling at the back of my head about my homework and I would hastily shove aside because I wanted to be swimming and out playing. As I got older, as long as there was homework not done, no matter how much fun I was having over the weekend, part of me would be dreading the point where I had to go home, buck down and finish it. It was a horrible feeling, that came only second to how I would feel Sunday evening, knowing that the next day, I would have to go back to school again.

Fast forward 20 years...

I still get those horrid Sunday evening feeling, it hits about 8 o' clock and nothing's changed. My father still says very loudly "Got school tomorrow!" Of course, this is directed more at my nephew and niece but it was the exact same tone he used with me to get me to get ready to go to bed. And his tone still makes my heart sink right into my stomach because, really, nothing's changed. Every Sunday, when he says that, it still applies to me. The next day, I would have school. And it still sucks royally.

Just like this sucks.

Going out the whole of today and having lots of fun was great fun. I think I drank close to 1.5 litres of iced tea today. I also had a great lunch, followed by a movie, followed by a great dinner. But I knew, that the minute I got home, I had to start on my homework. Although it's not Chinese homework, sometimes the stuff that I have to plough through is written in a language so alien, it could really be Chinese homework. The feeling really hasn't changed much. It's a deep deep sense of dread with a whole lot of reluctance thrown in for good measure.

Worse, there's the Internet obviously to distract me, the bed that looks extremely inviting and no mother sending the "don't you dare" stare everytime I looked as if I was going to get up from my seat. So, there's really very little motivation or fear that's driving me to do my work. The only thing keeping me planted to my seat is that horrid, horrid sense of guilt that I didn't do a stitch of work the entire day and while that wasn't enough to motivate me to do anything when I was 10, it sure is now.

Darn, I wish I never grew up. Otherwise, I could do what I did then, shove all the Chinese workbooks under the couch so that I could feign ignorance about homework and tell the teacher I couldn't hand in the work because my books were lost. Of course, that trick only works if the couch stays put. If you end up moving and the couch gets moved and having to explain away the dust covered, cobwebbed books to the mother, you'd wish you'd done the homework. I wish I could do the same now especially since I won't have to explain anything to my mother and my couch is a pretty long one that can hide a whole lot of papers.

My only problem is, doing that then and explaining it to my mother was hard. Now, I would have to explain it to 225 students, their parents, my bosses and possibly my bosses' bosses and at the end of it, I'm not going to be let off with just a "no tv for one week" ban. It would probably be more along the lines of "go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200".

So, it really blows.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 21:55

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Rosemary, SAGE and thyme

Olie and I had a conversation about sages yesterday. Not the herb but people who were sage like. I'd always thought that sages were people who were wise beyond their years and had a quality about them that well, made them sage-like. I always thought of them in a good way.

According to her, however, sage like people were not people who were wise. They were people who went beyond being wise. They were wise and overbearing and unloaded their opinions and advice on people, even people who weren't really seeking their advice/opinion.

There really are many people like that out there, who, in her words, dish advice like a dispenser. Often these are people who think that they have the answers to your problems and go out of the way to tell it to you, in a not so subtle, not so sensitive way. Often these people make you feel cornered, where you feel like a deer in the headlights, where there's no way to run and it's coming at you with the speed of a MAC truck and you will be hit and floored by it.

We came to the conclusion that the difference between a wise person and Olie's interpretation of a sage like person is the art of listening. A wise person knows when to shut up, knows when the advice is not really welcomed, knows that it would probably be a better idea to just shut up and listen. A sage like person doesn't really hear you, just barrels through, telling you what he/she thinks you need to hear and doesn't stop until they're content with their spiel.

We also came to the conclusion that if we're at the receiving end of unwelcomed sagely advice, the only trick one can employ is an oh-so-important life skill where it goes in one ear and goes out the other with a few well timed nods and uh huhs thrown in for good measure. If we are feeling generous enough and not yet homicidal, a good tactic is to nod and go "I'll take that into consideration. Thank you" without reinforcing whether it was good or bad advice.

Another solution is to turn tail and run and not give the sages the opportunity to even start. Of course, that's provided these are sages you don't encounter on a regular basis. In my opinion, if there's a spiel that's bubbling below the surface, it'll find some way of erupting and the longer you put it off, the more it's built up and the more lethal it becomes.

So, I don't really know what the best way is to deal with these herb like people. I guess like all people management techniques that I've learnt, you mix and match and see what works best. But lesson learnt from my exchange with Olie, don't feel too good about yourself if someone calls you a sage.



Ondine tossed this thought in at 12:25

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Friday, September 22, 2006

Partymobile

I once explained the term "totalitarian" to mean that a government's influence extended into every single realm of life in a society, among other things.

Sometime back, I blogged about the PAP logo-ed mail I got.

Today, I see this. I know George W Bush goes around in his limo as well as an armour plated Suburban. And I know the head of our government mostly goes around in his Mercedes with the plate S2 on it. But maybe, this is the vehicle they use to go for coffee runs in the morning or when it's more party business than state business.


PAPmobile

But then, I'd be repeating myself.

And it is true. Their influence is indeed everywhere.
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Ondine tossed this thought in at 18:31

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

On days like that, I really just want to fuck it all and leave.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 13:43

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Toilet humour

There seems to be a tummy ache of epidemic proportions in my office today judging by the bathroom. I don't really care if there is if people flush properly, but when the bowl isn't clean, twice, I get a bit grumpy. And this isn't even kids we're talking about.

Now, where's the Keep our toilets clean and dry police when you need them?

Poo. Literally.


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Ondine tossed this thought in at 13:32

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Shanghai nights

Early yesterday morning, Packrat's phone buzzes (it never rings because it's never on sound mode). It's a few minutes before 6 so of course I'm slightly alarmed that the phone is buzzing. I grew up with parents who feared phonecalls at ungodly hours. Of course, then most phonecalls at ungodly hours were mine (how I used to talk through the night and fall asleep on the phone is beyond me- I need my sleep now!). Anyway, they always said that phonecalls in the middle of the night could only mean one thing- bad news.

So, when the phone buzzes, all this sails through my mind. Then it stops. As abruptly as it began. Then suspicion takes over. Who calls, and after a few rings, hangs up? Someone who's trying to get his attention but does not want me to find out- Ah, the neurotic me takes over. But bewilderment follows closely after when I peer at the number and realise that it's not a local number. Too many digits. Now the question is, does Packrat have an overseas mistress? Highly unlikely unless it's a trunk call from Tylys of the WOW world.

I tell Packrat about it, but he seems to think nothing about it and shrugs it off. Of course, men on illicit dalliances tend to be able to act as if nothing has happened.

At work, my phone rings. It's very soft so I take quite a while to respond to it. When I do, it reads as a miss call already. And when I check the call log for the number, it's the same overseas number that rang Packrat's phone. Puzzler and puzzler. What? The mysterious mistress, unable to get Packrat, rings me instead? To do what? To reveal the misdeed? To collude with me? To complain? By this time, I'm not only curious, I'm totally bored with my work, so I take this opportunity to be distracted and Google the country code.

When I do find it, I totally crack up. There is NO way that my anglo-monolingual husband could be having an affair with someone on this number. Let alone have this person ring me to confront me. Simply because the call came from China! Well, there are a billion people in China, but most of them speak a language he hardly is able to converse in and while I am slightly better, I would have a great amount of problems going "YOU BITCH!" in the language.

So the real reason for these calls? I suspect it's not just Bangalore that has got international call centres. My colleague's phone rings shortly after mine with a different number but the same country code and prefix, as did an aunt's 2 weeks ago, I recall. Now, the funny thing is if 3 out of the 4 people mentioned actually picked up the call, the operator would be far more frustrated that we would be because we don't speaka da language.

Other helpful colleagues have suggested that they may be Chinese headhunters. Once again, sorry, we will fail the interview because I realised through my dealings with meeting parents, I don't even know what Economics is in Chinese let alone be able to say "the economy in China is a booming one and I would very much like be able to experience it first hand". The only way I would be able to say it, is translate it word for word and like we tell our students, that doesn't work very well!

The mystery remains. At this point, I've run out of imaginative stories to spin based on the mysterious number. Who is the mysterious caller? Now I'm wondering whether it's Mrs White in the library who did it with two tins and a piece of string...

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 08:17

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

First you twist it, then you lick it, then you dunk it, then you eat it...

The highlight of my extremely boring day at home was to kill a cockroach. And no, I did not actually twist it or lick it. I tried to dunk it and I definitely did not try to eat it.

I was just minding my own business grading my papers when all of a sudden, Packrat shoves my chair out of the way, with me on it. Before I could summon the muscles in my face to look hurt, I notice a look of fear in his eyes and sense him recoiling. Following his line of sight, I discover a roach under our desks.

What to do? Panicky husband, gross bug.... I order panicky husband to get me a container. He's all twitchy and skittery and he's not the one that's going to get a giant container descend upon him. Anyway, I do that and I grab the first piece of paper I can find to act as a bottom for the creatively crafted prison that now houses the offensive bug. Unfortunately, the piece of paper I use is actually the cover sheet for my exam papers. Can you say Oooops?

With Packrat dodging out of the way but following closely behind me, I take the 6 legged cargo, skittering around in its enclosed space to the other bathroom, planning to flush it down the toilet. I do not tell Packrat that the paper is thin and I can actually feel the spinnidly legs running around in, in a frenzy. Because of that frenzy, it managed to avoid the toilet bowl totally and landed in the corner of the bathroom. That emitted a screech from me, sending Packrat into waves of panic as he imagined a giant cockroach eating up his only defence from the bug world!

But Super Ondine, with bug killing powers regroups and manages to get the errant cockroach back under the plastic container. She's out of ideas as to how to kill it since the preferred way of flushing it down the toilet doesn't seem like it's going to work for this bug. So, she leaves it under the container while she thinks. She's just about ready to leave it there to suffocate when Packrat (strange that he's so well informed when he daren't go near the bug!) her that bugs live on very little air and it'll take forever to suffocate the critter.

What to do, what to do, what to do? Super Ondine spots the huge, giant bottle of Clorox sitting on the floor and a lightbulb bubble lights up over her head. Clorox the little bugger. Now the question is how to get Clorox into the semi-airtight cell that houses the cretin? First, find some paper, preferably not the cover sheet to another set of scripts (the previous cover sheet was hastily flattened and smoothed out although if CSI took a look at, they would probably find bug juice on). Super Ondine and her trusty sidekick settle for a credit card bill - it is one way of getting the offensive looking bill out of the way. Pour out some Clorox, carefully because that stuff stings and stinks when it gets onto skin (regardless of whatever super power one may have and bug killing powers are ranked VERY low on the list), and then pour it onto the bill, in one concentrated spot. Then slide the paper, carefully and slowly it under the container, till the Clorox spot is directly under the container and then, we wait.

First there was the sound of six legs scrambling (actually five because one leg was later found outside the container) then there was frantic skittering, then total silence, just silence. Only broken when Packrat calls out from behind "Is it dead yet?"

That's how you gas a cockroach to death. And that's when Super Bug Killing Ondine turns back into regular Ondine. I'm told it was an extraordinarily elaborate way of killing a cockroach but hey, when you've been stuck at home the whole day, your brain goes into hyperdrive and no job seems too small a job for Super Ondine. And I even took photos to document it. Well, one photo to show the crudely made gas chamber for cockroaches. If you look very carefully, to the right of the container, say about your 3 o' clock, you can see the leg that broke off amidst the ruckus.

cockroach

I'm not going to patent it or anything. So, if in the event of a cockroach sighting in your house and you don't have a cat, by all means try my method. All you need is some paper, a plastic container, something to weigh it down (in my case, I used a bottle of air purifier oil), some Clorox and one skittish husband and you're all set.

Q.E.D.


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Ondine tossed this thought in at 22:18

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So this is what they really think

I'm feeling well enough to be grading the exams that I'm supposed to be. But I'm not well enough to be as snarky as I should, especially when faced with this sort of comment.

In Singapore, our ability to make simple committments is also true. Even in schools, workshops, lessons and other activities are often cancelled or postponed because teachers multitask and are unable to committ to what they earlier organised. And if teachers do it, what more students.


So, apparently, we've sold our soul to the necessary evil of multitasking and the students are the victims of our over ambitious, over zealous nature. It's always amazing to see how the adolescent mind interprets situations. I could get defensive about all this, but that would just add credibility to his argument, so I won't.

But I will say this, when I was 18 and I had tuition class or extra classes cancelled, I didn't bother to find out what reason there was behind it, I just did the dance of joy and plotted gleefully how to use the surprise free time I suddenly had on my hands.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 15:34

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Writing about blogging

I've been forced to stay home. The reprieve on Sunday after Saturday's sick was just a reprieve. Monday was an extremely long day because there were exams and then some extra classes followed. It was one of those 7 to 7 days. I know some teachers regularly clock those hours, but it is inhuman and extremely hazardous to one's health. And there was very little sleep to be had because of all the congestion happening in my head.

By yesterday, it felt like someone hit me between the eyes and left a headache there that was to grow exponentially through the day, not helped in any bit by the kind colleague who thought that spinning me on the chair was great fun! So, today, I give up and see the doctor only to be chided for not having come in earlier and being told the headache was caused by a build up of fluid in my nasal passages. How fun! Anyway, I've been put under house arrest till the headache clears. Which means, when the fluid clears.

And I'm still working. I'm trying to figure out a way to get to my exam scripts without having to physically drive to school and get it. If I had to do that, I might as well go to school.

Anyway, while home, I thought it was perfect opportunity to blog about exams. This was a question I found on an exam paper. Writing about blogging is always fun. Writing about blogging during an exam, not quite sure how fun, but still more interesting than discussing natural disasters and their inevitability.

exams

It would have been a fun question to mark although I suspect our typical local student's knowledge of blogging doesn't really go beyond Xiaxue (who I will not link) and mrbrown (who I will link and apologies for putting him in the same sentence as XX). And when I commented that gaylegoh would be a good example of someone whose blog was more intelligent and less about self-indulgence, I was asked in the most innocous of ways, "what class is she in?". Heh. I should be the one marking those essays then. At least, I know gaylegoh, and I know more than just XX and mb. Oh well.

The other joke about the paper was the question beneath the blogging one. I was told how a kid broke down hysterically after having done the question because instead of reading "silence is golden", he'd read and written an entire essay on how science is golden. Unless he is dyslexic, it's a mistake an 18 year old kid shouldn't make. Tough luck for him!

I'm sure there're many more goofs out there. Some of them don't come from students. I received a memo yesterday about invigilating an exam today (which I'm not). In the memo, I was instructed to bring a realm of paper into the exam venue. That sure is a whole lot of paper. And I had no idea that paper was that powerful.

Heh.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 11:19

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

In sickness and in health

I was right before, my throat was going to make me pay. Yesterday, it started off with me being unable to swallow (and NOT in the Zoe Tay way). Then the pain spread through the day, through my entire body. By the end of the day, I couldn't tilt my head back because my neck was too painful, my ribs hurt, my back hurt, behind my shoulder blades hurt (I didn't know you could hurt behind your shoulder blades) , the soles of my feet and my palms hurt.

Not cool. So I begged Packrat to come get me from town, there was no way I was going to survive the crowded bus ride home. And as I sat forlornly, wanting nothing more than being able to curl up into a fetal position, outside Wheelock Place, I watched these two guys make total asses of themselves. Every Caucasian girl that neared us, they didn't even need to walk past us, they wolf whistled. Every single one, it was not even discerning according to looks or anything, just pure race! You had to marvel at the idiocy. I wanted to say something snarky to them, but I was in too much pain to form much of a sentence, what more a snarky one.

Well, Packrat managed to get me home and I managed to crawl into bed. But the pain got too unbearable, even lying down so I told him we were going to the doctor, even if it was going to cost an arm and a leg- afterall, it was Saturday night. By then, there was fever as well because why else would one feel that one needed a jacket to walk outside in barmy 30 degree weather?

Anyhow, $52 later, I was armed with potent anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers. Poor Packrat, a sick Ondine means a whiny Ondine and a whiny Ondine wanted chicken noodle soup last night which the supermarket decided not to stock so the whiny Ondine threw as big a fit as she could while her pain receptors walked in overdrive. The good thing is the drugs kicked in fast and it put me out for a good twelve hours.

Now, I feel vaguely human again and Packrat's still passed out from the effort of keeping me from killing him last night. I hope this is it for this year, same bad throat, one month apart is just not cool.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 10:23

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Friday, September 08, 2006

Let them eat cake!

It's the last day of our vacation. So instead of sitting around moping that the following weeks are going to be extremely shitty, we decided to see Plentyfish for lunch in Arab Street. I've been nursing a bad throat ever since I had a bite of a deep fried pork rib marinated with garlic and salt a few days ago. Unfortunately, Plentyfish doesn't really know how to eat healthy and Plentyfish's father had promised Packrat a lunch of snails. Yes, snails. Not escargot but snails. Apparently, it's an Indonesian delicacy and you can find it in Arab street. So our lunch was fried chicken of 3 varieties, fried fish of 2 kinds, some varieties of unidentifiable meat, a soy thing with beans to be representative of veg, cuttlefish in sambal and of course, the snails.

I know for a fact that my throat's up in arms with me. But the good thing about lunch was it put us in the vicinity for good cake. We chanced upon this little bakery/deli called the B Bakery that reminded us of the cafes we used to go to for brekkie in Melbourne.

The lemon meringue got a good deal of attention not only because it was yum but the meringue part made the entire cake look like Gandalph had sunken into the pool of hot lemon custard and all that was left was his hat.

lemon meringue again

See what I mean? But the meringue was light and fluffy and the lemon, tartish and zingy with a biscuity crust.

There was also the passionfruit cheesecake. The cherries were juicy and dipped in rum to give it a little bit of kick. It was delicately wrapped in thin chocolate and the cheesecake, airy but with the ability to melt in your mouth. Plus, it was very very pretty and was topped off with macaroons.

Passionfruit choc cheesecake again

I had the chocolate fudge cake that didn't look pretty enough to be photographed but was layers and layers of dark chocolate with a little bit of sponge cake in between. It was like eating a bar of melted dark chocolate. An immediate high that caused Packrat's eyes to glaze right over.

An entire litre of herbal tea hasn't soothed my throat. I think it's going to make me pay for both the lunch and the cake. But it really was well worth it. Next time, I go, I'll try the apple sage cake. Yum.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 17:32

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Monthly Dose of Useless Information

Every month without fail, I learn things that clog up the limited space that is my mind. Warning, this might be too much information for some of the guys out there. So if you're irksome about even thinking of girls having periods, stop reading now. And, get over it already.

Anyway, everytime I go to Australia, I buy Libra pads. I don't know why I do that. Perhaps it's because I hate the pad brands in Singapore. Perhaps, it's because Libra pads come in pretty non-pad like wrapping and colours. Perhaps because it's more comfortable. Or perhaps, it's just more entertaining.

You see, on the back of every pad, from liner all the way to the super duper all night long-stretch from the top of the butt all the way down and up to the belly button- pad, there's this little bit of sticker paper on the back, where the adhesive bit is. And it's not just regular sticker paper, it's sticker paper with fun facts like the underside of each Snapple cap. Like the last Snapple drink I had taught me that "the Mona Lisa had no eyebrows".

So Packrat usually knows when it's that time of the month because I'd suddenly be a fountain of useless information for a couple of days. It also makes the generally crappy week pass by quicker with just that little bit more of a sense of humour. And now, Packrat's actually doing period math so that he'll know when he has to be prepared for a week of non-sequiturs. And I usually have a lot.

Just look.
libra sticker paper

And that's just one pad. Multiply that by the number one goes through in the few days and it's really a whole lot of rubbish. You could technically write a story with it. Of course, it'd be a total balderdash that only makes sense in the dream dimension. Because it would sound like this.

There was once a girl who was 126 cm tall. She had a friend whose long legs were her entire height and holds some world record for that. Both the freakishly long legged girl and short friend had this one bone in their throat called the hyoid which is the only bone in the body not connected to any other. Because they were weird, they lived in Australia, the only country that is a continent. They ate a great amount of honey because it was the only food that didn't spoil. They had a horse named Mr Ed who could sleep standing up. They rode him to school in the mornings and this morning, they learnt that the number 4 is the only number in the English language that has as many letters in its meaning as it does in its letters.



Q.E.D


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Ondine tossed this thought in at 23:14

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Oh Crikey!

We just came back from watching Snakes on the Plane and began to talk about dangerous reptiles. Inadvertently, the conversation turned to the death of Steve Irwin- the Crocodile Hunter yesterday. It was all over the news yesterday and all over the newspapers today. The Straits Times being the Straits Times once again showed how brilliant it was when it commented that it was great irony for Steve Irwin to be killed by a sting ray.

Whoever taught the writer irony in school, when reading this, must have been a) turning in her/his grave, b) burying his/her head in the sand, c) cussing and spitting at the newspaper and feeling like a royal failure for having produced such a goof. Kid! It would be ironic if Steve Irwin met his death while wrestling a croc, realising that it was for real this time and muttering "Oh Crikey!" for the last time.

But it definitely is surreal, to know that it isn't a practical joke. More than one person I knew asked if it was an April Fools' joke 5 months and a few days late.

According to a friend in Oz, her radio alarm woke her up yesterday by repeating the news that Steve Irwin was dead and she took a long time to figure out that it wasn't some strange surreal dream. And it's almost as if there's national mourning happening over there, with news on the hour giving updates and all the free to air channels paying tribute. Even John-the furrowed bettled eyebrowed-Howard stood up in parliament and offered his condolences to the family of the hero of the hour.

I say that because I remember it wasn't too long ago when most of the Southern hemisphere saw the guy as a big joke. I remember he was on Channel Ten on Sunday evenings and I couldn't bear more than 2 minutes of him. I think it was more the accent than what he was actually saying or doing, but that's a different story for a different time. People thought he was an embarrassment. Afterall, here was a guy perpetuating the myth that all Aussie blokes weren't very much different from Crocodile Dundee and all insanely thought that they had more lives than a cat.

But he did raise awareness for the wild and played a large part in Australian conservation projects. So much so that he started a zoo. Some would say this bloke made it good. He had a tv series and a zoo, a beautiful wife and 2 children- he's got it made. The truth, though, couldn't have been more different. Yup, he did have the wife and the two kids, but he was no where near successful. Sure his tv series made him a ton of money but man that he was, he didn't keep a cent of it. He used whatever he had to further his cause and he lived the life of a poor man. None of the money he made went to buying himself a fancy car and his wife some diamonds. All this was for a greater cause.

And yesterday, he died doing what he believed in and enjoyed the most. No doubt many counsellors have been despatched to the schools in Australia to deal with the emotional fallout of losing such a cultural and pop icon in Austrlia. But that's how one could most definitely be comforted, knowing that while Steve Irwin's life was taken from him quite unexpectedly and suddenly, it happened in the open, in the ocean, in nature and by nature. In words that children may understand, he was doing something that made him really happy.

A much better and more dignified way of dying rather than being senteneced to death by a million papercuts.

God Bless Steve Irwin's soul. By now, his battle cry should be resounding all through heaven. And Mr Crocodile Hunter, you can now enjoy battling the largest of crocs and not fear.

Oh.... Crikey.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 23:10

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Saturday, September 02, 2006

Mail Call

Some months ago, we rang HDB to tell them that the apartment above ours had some leaky problem that was causing water to drip and de-colourise my pretty blue bathroom tiles.
The men came, they took photographs with their digital photos, gave instructions to the neighbours upstairs not to use the bathroom so that they could figure where the leak was and then went away to figure out how much it would cost the common person. That would be me.

Then, today we get a letter in the mail.

This was the letter head.

PAP
At first, I was wondering if they had really bugged our house and heard Packrat and I talk about seditious issues and were sending us a warning letter before dragging us away in the middle of the night. Of course, the part of me that grew up on a diet of action flicks knew quite well that our government wasn't about to warn us if they were going to abduct us, put us on show trial before exiling us to live on Sentosa together with the red-eyed Merlion statue.

Anyhow, it wasn't a warning letter. It was however, a letter that was signed off like this.

letter

Apparently, being our MP, he had appealed to the HDB to assist us in repairing the ceiling leak and to make sure that we didn't have to bear the burden of the cost. Of course not! Since it wasn't our water pipes that were leaking water onto the bathroom tiles.

So that's what MPs do for their constituents.

On top of that, it gave me worthy blog fodder and that's always something to be thankful for!

How very nice of him.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 00:08

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" Far in the stillness, a cat languishes loudly"