Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Preserving Harry Potter

I found this on the backpage of Time Magazine and thought some of it was hilarious. My favourite is the Dark Lord of the Dance one.

Harry Potter

It will be pretty sad when the series ends with the release of this last book although for me, it ended at Book 4. After that, it just went pretty much downhill. I think it also coincided with me returning to Singapore for good so maybe it's got to do with the weather. Who knows? Anyway, just to finish up the series, I shall read the last book and I shall read it during confinement or when the babies are sleeping. That might mean I don't finish it till maybe next Christmas or something but at least, it's something for me to look forward to, in the non-baby department.

Packrat's already planning our early morning dash to Borders for the book. It's always fun to head down, although the Borders staff did piss me off royally at the last release. Well, I shall not expect so much this time and concentrate more it'll probably be among one of our first dates post babies. :)

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 10:10

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Circus in the field

Having been house bound for most of the week, I was itching to go out and see if the world had changed in the time that I'd been home or in my own part of Singapore. We were due to be in the city yesterday anyway and decided to take the opportunity to try and catch the Singapore Arts Festival opening show at the Padang. We hadn't bought tickets to anything this year just in case I wasn't going to be able to see it what with the burgeoning belly and all. Anyway, even though Sylvie Guillem was going to be performing in one of the shows, I decided not to risk it. It wasn't as if she was doing something classical- I'm less keen on watching her to contemporary work.

Anyway, I thought it would be quite fun to go watch some aerial acrobatics. It wasn't going to be a Cirque Du Soleil thing but I wasn't going to be a snob about it. It turned out somewhat strange though with some strange improvisation thing that reminded me of wayang kulit (Indonesian shadow dancing), and then came the flying wheel.

spinning wheel The wheel has landed
We expected more to be done on the wheel apart from people walking around looking like they were on some giant hamster wheel but apparently that was it. I must however admit, I don't even think I could walk around on the wheel when it was suspended some 50m off the groun.

That was followed by the giant human net made up by volunteers. Apparently, they only spent two days learning how to do what they were supposed to do in mid air. Once again, although not all that impressive (we have impossibly high standards as a snooty audience), it was quite amazing especially since I think I would have been scared shitless by being harnessed onto a rope without much else.

human net human net formation
I did at times think they looked like giant maggots especially when they were squirming around and getting into position although once they got into position, it did look impressive.

the human net complete
Being extremely sensitive to the heat now, I felt very bad for the people up there since they were covered from head to toe in what looked like space suits and they had 40-50 spots trained on them? Sweltering.
Of course, it had to end with fireworks. Tame fireworks but always quite pretty to watch them. All in, it was 45 minutes of fun and it felt, for a little while, that we were in some other country with open air performances that were fun albeit too arty for the common person to understand , relatively unantagonistic weather (strangely, it was quite comfortable despite the crowds and the spots) and civilised crowds.

That reprieve is always nice. And we take what we can get.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 14:46

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Value for the month

When a bored brother IMs a bored sister in the middle of the afternoon, the conversation can get somewhat ludicrous. There is talk about schools in Singapore. There is the laughing at uniforms of certain schools. Uniforms with little green squares on them get laughed at pseudo mottos like "Plot your future. Now." I'm sure ex students or current students of that school will not be all too pleased but we mean no malice.

Then there was the discussion that girls schools had better mottos than boys schools. Perhaps because boys schools tried to also inject testosterone into their mottos and just caused them to sound too much like battle cries at the end of it.

While trying to discover the various mottos of various schools, yes, we are extremely bored people, we chanced upon a girls school, mission school at that, with a Virtue for the Month. Apparently, the month of May is a month of "graciousness".

Since this was a school that has been famously known for girls who do not see the need to sit properly with the excuse of shorts underneath, we decided that...

For the month of June, the virtue that should be emphasised is " Young ladies should sit properly on the bus or in any public place".

For the month of July, the virtue to be emphasised is " Young ladies should not wear shorts under their skirts".

And for August, the virtue would be "Young ladies should keep their school belt on whenever the uniform is worn".

At that point, the brother got called away to a meeting and I'm in dire need of a nap. So we will continue planning and plotting for world domination another day when the boredom hits again.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 15:26

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Utterly useless

From the typical perspective of the kiasu, hung up on paper qualifications Singaporean, I'm very well educated. Some would say elite even. Unfortunately, it has dawned upon me that academic qualification means absolutely nothing. I am trained for nothing and qualified for nothing. Before anyone goes off consoling me and saying my job is a noble one, let me clarify.

Yes, I do have a job. My job is to make sure that there are literate people in the world out there and it is somewhat important. But it does not shy away from the fact that my job is a very protected and sheltered one. Unless we're absolutely daft, miss classes, hit kids or worse still feel up kids, we're pretty much guaranteed a job.

The problem is when one who is trained to do such a job wants to break out of doing the noble thing or anything along those lines.

On Saturdays, I like looking at the Recruit section, just to get a sense of what is actually out there. Occasionally a job catches my eye. Like today- an ad for a visual merchandiser and sales executive for Banana Republic . It caught my eye for the stupidest and most shallow of reasons- I like clothes and I like Banana Republic clothes. I think I reacted the same way when Gap opened in Singapore. Being the supportive husband that he is, Packrat said I should apply. Unfortunately, I don't have any experience in the fashion field nor sales field. Fields that my parents would have frowned upon if I had chosen to go into because, they like the rest of Singapore are utter snots when it comes to education for their children. My father would have said something along the lines of "send you to school for so many years and that's all you could do?" with a great sense of disappointment and implied failure in his voice.

So, the fun things, the ditzy things that would be fun just to explore, are not open to me, all because I've very academically qualified and clever. A friend of mine still harbours hopes that I will eventually do my doctorate. Unfortunately for her, I've come to the conclusion that unless I want to spend the rest of my life in an ivory tower that is even more sheltered and cloistered than the one I am in now, there lies no reason for me to pursue it.

So, the long list of acronyms that follows my name officially are just that, a meaningless string of gooblygook that is pretty much utterly useless.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 10:34

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Childhood ambitions

Last night, we were at an old friend's house. I've known him for about 14 years and by extension of that, I know his family pretty well too. He's got a younger sister, a couple of years younger that I am. This meant she was a kid when I first knew the family and I was pretty thrilled to have this younger girl follow me around a lot. After all, I had always wanted a younger sibling.

We shared a bunch of stuff. My sister-in-law had always given me stuff, old clothes, books she thought I might like etc. So, I saw it fit to do the same with this friend's sister.

These friends have recently moved and in the process of the packing up and moving, the sister found a bunch of my books that I had loaned her as a kid. Among other things, it showed that she hadn't cleared out her room in 14 years but that's not the point of my story.

These were some of the books that she returned me yesterday.


I smiled goofily at them because I think they reflected all my little childhood ambitions. Note that none of them had to do with being a doctor, a scientist or an astronaut. But then again, these weren't things I wanted to do when I grew up, they were more things I wanted to do then. Gymnastics because all the cool girls in my class were doing gymnastics. But my mother was adamant about that one because she was convinced I'd land on my head and split it in half revealing the lack of brain matter- a fact that she was, at that point, not ready to deal with.

Then, there was ballet, since I wasn't allowed to prance around on the balance beam and do somersaults. Once again, I begged my mother. It wasn't my first choice because it was a little bit girly for ol' tom boy-ish me of yore but it had enough attractive qualities, all those big leaps and turns and impossible leg positions drew me like a moth to a flame. Once again, my mother vetoed it. This time, her logic was even more bizarre. Because I was such a tom boy, she didn't think ballet and I were a good match. I don't know, wouldn't one think ballet would knock the tom-boy out of me then? Well, whatever it was, once again, my childhood dreams were thwarted. This one, however, stayed with me long enough that once I had my own money and discovered these things called Adult Ballet Classes, I seized the opportunity and took it as far as my dollar and my body could take me.

The ice-skating one, was pretty much a none issue except for my fascination over ice skating movies and triple axels. Singapore didn't have an ice skating rink when I was a kid and by the time they had one, I had pretty much outgrown the fascination and was deeply entrenched in my ambition of taking a ballet exam that would allow me to teach junior ballet.

So for the next few days, I will read all these little paper backs that'll take me about half an hour each and remember what it was like to be enthralled by these little childhood dreams. It's all fluff and promises to be somewhat lame but fun at the same time. It always is fun to be brought back to a time when life was much simpler.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 10:06

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Formidable Frigate

Every morning, when I listen to the news on the radio, I get extremely annoyed. The news on Class 95 is much better but I hate the DJs in the morning. Full of male testosterone-y rubbish. The DJs on the Power 98 morning show however are slightly better because Hossan's on it and he's naturally funnier than the two clones on the other station. I know some people hate his guts but as long as I'm entertained in the morning on the long drive to work, I don't really care what other people think.

What pisses me off is what Power 98 passes off as news. The men in my life have all tried very patiently to explain to me when I rant that it's because it's an armed forces radio station and therefore what they see as news may not necessarily be what other people consider news. Take for instance this morning.

Leading the bulletin was the news about Tony Blair stepping down as Britain's Prime Minister. Ok, that's fine. Then it was something about a frigate that had just been launched. And the frigate was named the RSS Formidable and everyone was very happy that it was launched! Yes, and that is news how? Sometimes it's even worse when they see it newsworthy to tell people about some NS dude who no longer has problems with the Shuttle Run component of his Physical Fitness thingyinmagig. And a sound bite of the guy going "er, yah, now, not so hard, now I can run faster and it's very good because next time, in the jungle, I can run from one tree to another and then run back faster and the enemy bullet cannot hit me ah". Er, I'm kidding here, I usually phase out of switch stations muttering about the stupidity of how news is defined by the radio station. And this comes from a girl who could rattle off the number of SLBMs, ICBMs, MIRVs and SS what nots the US and the USSR had during the Arms Race and read every Tom Clancy book that was published before Rainbow Six. So, I'm not really pulling my "I'm a girl, don't bore me with your army crap talk" card here.

I'm just wondering, do NS Men really want to know all that as well or is it just yet another means of convincing our nation's men that they're serving a worthy cause and it won't all come to naught.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 09:23

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Yummy mess

Once again, I'm home for lunch and decide that I shall just use whatever's in the fridge to make lunch. I discovered yesterday that Packrat had bought a pack of hash browns and had stowed it away in the freezer without my knowing. He, on the other hand, claims there was nothing about keeping it in the freezer especially since I saw him have some of them for dinner with pork chops the other night.

Anyway, hash browns are a childhood food for me. My mom used to leave them in the freezer so that her growing children could snack on stuff without bother her too much. I remember eating hash brown sandwiches as I was growing up. Nuke the hashbrown, stick it between two pieces of bread, drown it in chilli sauce and that was breakfast. No one cared about Atkins or about low carb diets then and I credit those sandwiches for my growth spurt. By age 12, I was already 1.6m thanks to eating 4 of those for breakfast in the mornings. :) My mother also made imaginative and extremely child friendly meals with the hash browns. It had to do with ham, cheese, egg and the hash brown.

So, for lunch today, I decided to replicate that. Egg with ham beaten into it atop the hash brown and cheese to melt over it. It didn't look all that pretty

Yummy mess

but it sure as heck was tasty. Of course, extremely unhealthy and high in salt. But what kiddy meal isn't? I'll just make sure I'll have rice and steamed food for dinner to compensate. :)

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 13:02

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Silly puppies strike again

Apparently, Rudolph Hitler went to war in Europe because he wanted to show the world Germany's empirical strength.

Now, I know that Germany is at the forefront of research, technology, science, math and all that jazz but did ol' Red Nose really want to show how the world that all of Germany were nerds and geeks?

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 21:54

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Monday, May 07, 2007

The irony of food

On Saturday, we decided to go to Toa Payoh for lunch. I can't blog specifically about where we went because I don't remember the name of the coffee shop. Anyhow, it served roast meats, noodles and rice. Packrat and I are quite a fan of such local fare.

We ordered the usual. Soy chicken, noodles, rice etc. We thought roughage would also be a good idea so we ordered a plate of vegetable. I mean, after all, we're told to eat many servings of veg a day.

The only problem was that when the veg came, we were certain this wasn't what the Health Promotion Board had in mind when they stipulated on how x number of servings of vegetable and fruit was necessary for a healty diet. Eating veg is a good thing, something the both of us enjoy. But when it looks like this,

Unhealthy veg

then you hesitate. All the brown stuff that we thought was a garnishing of shallots or mushrooms was in actual fact pork lard. Yup, huge chunks of lard. Because of that, the veg was swimming in, not gravy but oil! Animal oil. If the dish had not cost $5, I would have just left it and gone in search of fruit after lunch. But I wasn't going to leave $5 on the table even if it was an unhealthy 5 bucks so we used the soup that came with the meal to try to rectify the situation. Soak the veg in the soup and then eat the veg. The only problem with the plan was that then, we didn't have soup with the meal. Well, at least the soup came free and a good thing it did too! At the end of our meal, there was a thick film of oil that covered what was once soup.


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Ondine tossed this thought in at 11:09

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Driving Miss Daisy

Our baby-mobile has arrived. It was a sad sad moment when we had to say bye bye to our old car that remained unnamed right till the very end. She served us well. We got into no scrapes, she took us up to KL and to far flung places to eat and kept all our little secrets and rubbish as well. Toward the end, she knew she was going to be given up and she protested. Letting us know her indignance by having the air-conditioning go on strike during the hottest of afternoons and being totally temperamental about the central locking system. No matter how much we coaxed her, she sulked and pouted through her last days and even though we were totally frustrated with her, we were sad when we had to give her up.

Now we have a new car. I've christened it Cassiopeia for some strange reason. It's new, it's spacey, it smells clean, it's silent and the air-conditioning works without a hitch. But it's different. For one, we aren't supposed to push her till her engine's totally oiled. So, we're only supposed to drive at about 80km/h which is almost impossible. The idea stressed me out so much I dreamt that I was driving wrecklessly at 140km/h on the shoulder of the expressway!

Today, I got highbeamed and overtaken by a truck, a bus and some other vehicles that aren't supposed to go beyond 60km/h. I felt like I was on a bicycle and even then, I may have been able to go faster. It's our first experience. We've never had a new car before, our previous rides were all second or third hand so there was no such issue as oiling the engine.

And so, despite the trappings, I miss everything about our nameless old broad right down to the indicators on the left hand side.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 08:46

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" Far in the stillness, a cat languishes loudly"