Archive for October, 2003


Thursday, October 30th, 2003

Long, frustrating day. In the morning – rush off to take Zen to the school, then get on the 77 bus downtown. It is the same bus Naoko takes, so we ride downtown together, she goes to work and I continue on four more stops to my interview place at the massive SunTec City, which is a huge mall with five or six business towers tucked away at the back. My destination is miles from the nearest bus stop, of course. The interview goes OK, it is with a job placement agency. They MIGHT have a job suitable for me with an internet agency, but maybe not. Wait and see, but now that introductions are out of the way hopefully something will develop. On the way back to the distant bus stop I linger at a few shops – HMV, Borders, books and music as always. Film. DVD. Wait at the bus stop 30 minutes before the thing finally comes. Get home, it is lunch time – check emails and go pick Zen up, hoofing it since I left the bike there in the morning. Zen sleeps at 1:45 and I chill out reading ghost stories for a while. When I am finally ready to take a nap, the person who plays piano on the upper floor starts practicing. Man, do I ever hate the sound of someone practicing piano, especially when the vibrations come through the cieling and also the open windows to where I am trying to sleep. I wish they had a keyboard, like the kind that doesn’t produce massive vibrations… the kind you can use headphones to listen to your playing with! A huge rainstorm comes up and dumps a ton of water on the t own, lots of thunder and lightning too. I get some work done, mostly emailing and proofreading, and another article is done. Take Zen for a bike ride to Bukit Batok Nature Park, then discover a huge tree has fallen across the bicycle path. I turn around and take another way into the park and my rear tire gives out. I walk 20 minutes back to the bicycle shop so that Zai can fix my tire, only to find out that the shop has moved to Buena Vista. This all adds to my problems and frustrations. Bummer. Had lovely curry with Naoko and Zen, showered, watched the Big Lebowski again.

Book Review: Popular Ghost Stories is a bunch of ghost stories, most about 3 pages long. The book is 120 pages, but you could probably read it in an hour. Some of them were OK, but most not. Fewer typos than the Malaysian Ghost Tales book at least, and slightly better composition. Slightly. One ghost story was a repeat from the other book – the one that told of the doctor whose patient dies, then he hears of another person living in the same flat who wakes up to find the dead patient’s name carved into their arm. In one book the ghost was a foreigner named John, in this book it was an Indian named Siva, otherwise all the same. Enough of ghost stories for me, next I read the English Patient.

Thought for the day: Put a log on the fire of your sprit.

getting sleeeeeeepy…

Wednesday, October 29th, 2003

Two days, Monday I… forgot what I did. Lots of reading, some phoning, some hanging around organizing things.

Today I did a bunch of calling and writing and organizing stuff, then went to Beauty World for lunch (funky place on the roof) and got a call from a placement agency to come in for an interview – nice. I see the resumes I sent out 5 months ago are trickling through the system finally. Hope something good happens. Got to the kindergarten to find out that Zen had been grumpy all morning, then fell asleep at 10:45!! He slept until 12:45 when I picked him up, then went home with me and was wide awake all afternoon. No work got done, although we did have a fun time listening to tunes and hanging out. I had to carry him back to the school later on to pick up his shoes and get my bike. Tiring. He finally got to sleep at 9!!! Outrageous.

Book reports: I have been reading a lot of ghost stories recently. Classic Singapore Horror Stories from Angsana is probably the best – good writing and some genuinely disgusting stories. Of course there is murder, suicide and decapitation, unfortunately there are also abortions, necro-cannibalism, bestiality, necromancy, evil dead, and hideous deformities. Some HP Lovecraft inspired, some Edgar Allan Poe, and some plain old nonsense. True Singapore Ghost Stories 1 is the classic that inspired all the madness, now in its 29th printing and with 100,000 copies sold, it is quite a success story. It has also spawned a series that is up to 10 books, as well as countless imitators. Unfortunately, it is not very interesting, with some “I thought I felt a ghostly presence enter the room, that was it” type stories, or others that “really happened” to a friend’s cousin. Some “classic” stories in the middle to break up the monotony, and a wee bit of tongue in cheek. I prefer the horror stories. Ghostly Tales From Malaysia is even worse – at 170 pages, it is not much more than a pamphlet and can probably be read in less than two hours. The stories are short, some of them are quite poorly told, and altogether silly. Plenty of typos too, like “I said, ‘hey mister, can you carry me’ in a little girl’s voie. He very kindly obliged. So, hiding my hilarious laughter, I turned into a big bad wold!” Voie? Wold? Hilarious laughter?

Thought for the day: if it works fine, don’t update it.

Papaya kui hito

Hito kui papaya

papa banana, mama banana, baby banana

Monday, October 27th, 2003

The long end of a long weekend. Saturday we went for a swim in the morning, then hung around in the afternoon. Zen finally went to sleep at 3 and slept until 5-ish. Tony called and invited us to a barbecue, turns out his barbecue will be right next to the barbecue we have already been invited to for Raymond’s birthday! I got a lot of little things done and seem to finally be on top of my “work.” Even had time to finish reading the Star Wars book!! Zen woke up and we went off to buy beer and wine for the barbecue. There was black sky in front of us, so we hurried to the mall, got our errands done, then made it back with raindrops wetting our heels. The rain didn’t last long, so we went to the barbecues at 7 and had a great time. Two cool groups of people – Tony’s group couples with kids, Raymond’s group hip single people. Met lots of Japanese and Singaporean couples. One couple was the most attractive couple I have ever seen – he a was tall and handsome Singaporean, she was a tall and gorgeous Japanese with an infectious smile. Where do people like this come from? They must have a lot of fun in life. Got home after 10 and Zen finally went to sleep. He doesn’t need much it seems.

Today we went off to the botanical gardens early, that was fun. Lots of great greenness, funny new flowers and fruits to see, and we fed the turtles and fish with old crusts of bread. Saw a squirrel wandering along the branches, and lots of cool dogs. Also saw a bizarre tourist couple – dressed for fall in flannel shirts buttoned to the wrists and thick vests. The man was relatively normal looking, but the woman was fat and dumpy and ill shaped and her vest stretched to the knees with all sorts of bulky objects in the pockets. I wonder what their story is. Took the bus home, kept Zen from falling asleep before his lunch so he could finally get some food, then he was napping by 1:30. Did a few things, went jogging at 4:30. Nice.

Thought For The Day: If ideas were material, calculate the mass, weight, and density of your mind.

Book Review: Tales From Jabba’s Palace. A Star Wars book and the relativly elusive third book in the Tales Of… series following Tales Of Mos Eisley Cantina and Tales Of Bounty Hunters. Not a bad collection of stories based on characters seen in Jabba the Hutt’s palace at the beginning of Return Of The Jedi, but also not a terribly great one either. The best story is the first one, of the Rancor keeper (working up on the scene that Roger Ebert pointed out in his review of the film) and his tears at seeing his beast dead, the tale of Boba Fett escaping he Sarlacc was also OK and had some unexpected twists. The tale of the Gamorrean guard doing a “Weekend At Bernie’s” was a little surreal too. Not as good as either of the other two books, but still good for a laugh at least.

there's no place like home...


Saturday, October 25th, 2003

Hey, it is holiday time in Singapore – Deepavali, tuyau jie, the festival of light and renewal, the Hindu new year. A day off for Zen and Naoko, an normal day for the likes of me I guess. Hung out in the morning, went swimming with Zen and Naoko, Zen didn’t go in the water for a while so we went wandering and talked to Sheeday and Stephanie, then back to the pool. Zen slept from 2 to 6 and I worked on my slavery article, also did some reading, yay. Went for dinner at the Indian place near here, then took bus 66 downtown to Serangoon Road in Little India to see the lights. Very nice, Zen was cheerful. We went to a temple and saw the inside, many people praying and being blessed, many priests there in cool robes chanting and singing and it was very interesting. The temple is beautiful inside.

Got home, showered and relaxed, Zen was asleep by 10:30 or so. Nice night.

Thought of the day: Can you see the forest for the trees?

Riders on the Swan

groggy day

Friday, October 24th, 2003

Woke up, took Zen to school, hung around the apartment reading and not working. Nothing left to do. Read on the internet the sad news that Elliot Smith had taken his life. There goes one of the most promising young singer songwriters. He goes to join Kurt Cobain and Nick Drake. I listened to XO in tribute. Odd, I was thinking these days of looking up tabs to some of his songs. Turns out they are fiendishly difficult. I guess I won’t be playing any, ditto for Nick Drake unfortunately.

Finally got in touch with someone at First, the local movie magazine, to talk about writing for them and it looks good. Yay. Napped and showered and then picked Zen up from school. Hung around in the afternoon and napped some more. Took care of a few small tasks, then when Zen woke up I took him to the park. He played a bit, then we had dinner and hung out in the evening. He went to sleep quietly at 9:45, and I got to work on the proofreading job Miriam had just given me. Took about an hour and everything all sewn up – great. Naoko came back from drinking with her friends at 1:30. Another late night for all of us.

Thought For The Day: Ask a friend if his shit stinks; gauge his reaction.

Soooo... sleepy...

Turn the page

Thursday, October 23rd, 2003

What a 2 days. Yesterday was all about getting on top of the little jobs, today was all about getting on top of the big jobs. Yesterday was about prep, today was about finalization. Got up at the regular time, Naoko took her bus at 8, I dropped off Zen and got back home at 8:10. Slick – everything is running smooth this morning. Got on a bus just as it was pulling in to the stop and went down to the Ministry of Manpower and handed in my Employment Pass papers, the first step to registering my own company. Woo hoo. It went OK and I took 40 minutes to get back home, quick because all of my connections were smooth as silk, always a good sign. I got to work and did 3.5 hours on the questionnaires assignment. I was nearly finished at 4 when Zen woke up, so I put him in front of the VCR to watch his favorite Japanese kids show (taped on video) and I got it all done and sent off at 4:30. Hooray. Celebrated by taking Zen to the pool. I had a nice swim on this glorious afternoon, but Zen would only watch me splashing in the H20, he didn’t get wet himself. “Hey, you should come in, the water’s great,” I told him, but he just looked at me quizzically like he didn’t quite understand what I was saying. Oh well, his loss. Actually, mabye he was right not to come in, as the water was a bit warm – piss warm.

Went to the park to play with the kids and talk to the moms. Zen had a fun time playing with Hana and Kai and all the other kids there. He carjacked a bunch of kiddy-mobiles, what a sweetie, laughing that inscrutable grin of his. When it was time to go, I tricked him into leaving the playground without squealing in displeasure like he sometimes does (we did the same for sleepy time tonight too, somehow, it was quite a smooth maneuver). Naoko came back from Holland Village with her subtle haircut tonight, looking good. I was feeling fine from getting a few milestones behind me, nice night.

Got the tabs for the Bob Seger song “Turn The Page,” was reminded what a fine fine song that is – and not just because Metallica covered it. I always thought Bob Seger was OK, but to me it seems that there is a conspiracy afoot to forget he ever happened. Like the Eagles are always having new greatest hits packages come out (the newest one made front page news in Singapore this week… for no special reason, just because it existed) but will you ever hear a Bob Seger song without watching Risky Business (Old Time Rock And Roll, and Like A Rock are Bob’s barfiest moments, surely)? Probably not. Turn The Page…

Thought Of The Day: Explain to yourself the meaning of: 110%… near perfect… almost there… more than welcome…

Fly, helicpoter, fly


Tuesday, October 21st, 2003

Not really an interesting day, but I sure got through a lot of those little chores and things like that. Tried Japanese food and vegetable delivery services today, they seem to work fine, yay. Worked more on Sean’s project, filled out forms, played guitar, Zen napped from 1 to 5!! Amazing. Watched the Big Lebowski again, Zen is still fascinated by it. I wonder how many 2-year-olds have the Big Lebowski as their favorite film.

Talking Cock, the Onion satire news of Singapore, has welcomed my stories. I will send them some soonish. I need to pick a poultry-related pseudonym. I was thinking “Roquehardt, the Robbing Cock,” but I wonder if it is too lowbrow.

Thought for the day: What is the sound of one hand swooshing?

Fly away home


Monday, October 20th, 2003

Another weekend. Woke up early on Saturday and went to JB at 10. We got downtown at 11 and met Mitchan and Manae at McDonalds at 11:30 or so. Went off to eat yummy fish head curry and other delicacies, then back to the place to relax. Zen slept in the car from 1 to 1:45, then woke up and bummed around all afternoon. Took off at 5 to go buy bread from the yummy bakery downtown, then back to the fun Southern Town to watch dances like the Bon Odori from Japan and others. The event was kind of lame, and parking a nightmare. Some stupid game of paper scissors rock took way to long and was really dumb. It took us a while to get all of our food, but we were patient and ya-h – it turned out fun after all. Fun Indian dancers, fun Malay dancers, then finally the Japanese dancers and the wild drums and good sounds. Lots of people joined in – Japanese people in yukata, Malay and Chinese people in yukata, one funny-looking Chinese lady in a satin kimono with a fake-looking obi, and lots of food and beer. Got home, Zen stayed up until 11. Wanked around and cried until he finally went to sleep. He doesn’t know what time babies are supposed to sleep, obviously.

Today we got up at 7, left at 8:45 or so, got home well before 10. A record of sorts – only an hour between Mitchan’s place and ours, when 2 hours is usually de rigeur. Diddled around the house, cleaned up, I went to buy groceries and lunch with Zen, he fell asleep in the baby chair when we were nearly home – yoiks. He slept until 3, then was up until finally going to sleep at 10:30. We went to the park together at 5, then had yummy sui jiao that Naoko made at 6. Lucky me, there are some left over for my lunch tomorrow.

A Joke: the Malaysia government is considering passing its own minimum gas level law for Malaysian cars crossing the Causeway. The ammount itself it also being hotly debated. One party believes that all cars should be 3/4 full so that Malaysian drivers don’t get ripped off in Singapore buying expensive gas and supporting the enemy economy, while others believe that all cars should be 1/100 full so that they don’t stall on the Causeway and block traffic.

Thought For The Day: Respond to superiors by saying NEVERMORE or I WOULD RATHER NOT to statements and requests.

Yo!  Bum rush the show!!

busy as B’z

Saturday, October 18th, 2003

Hey ho, what a day or two. Thursday was nutty and lumpy. I was wondering what to do with my life as I finished up the first draft of my long Bintan article – should be 1000 words, now 1650 words, have to trim away over a third of it!! Thought about starting the slavery article that was overdue, and the pics that I had to draw, then three new jobs materialized. One is inputting and analyzing questionnaire results, one is interviewing an executive from an Italian clothing maker who is sponsoring golf in Singapore, the other is translating 200 words from English into Japanese. So far the first 2 have come through and we are waiting on the last one. Wow. Watched 24 last night after having a few beers with Sean, it was OK – the first episode that wasn’t nerve wrackingly intense!!!!!! Barbara came over too to talk about publishing and magnets. Hope her meeting goes well. Zen was good.

Today got started on both new jobs, also the slavery article. Around 11:30 the sky filled up with sick-looking black and yellow clouds, the sunny noonday sky became a cloudy twilight theater – very creepy. Had to turn on lights. Rain came down in streams, it was like a squall on the lake or ocean. Then by 12:30 it was all over and I cycled off to get Zen. Unfortunately my plans to grab a bite to eat were dashed, I warmed up rice from the fridge and ate it with konbu. Not so yummy, but not so bad either.

Went off to my interview at 5, Zen cried terribly. The interview went OK from 6 to 7, although at one point I began to get terribly nervous. My voice became a dry croak. I don’t know what happened. Mr. Higuchi is a dapper fashion executive from Nagano and a mighty cool guy. Cuff links as compasses, compasses as cufflinks, and an amazing watch. Left at 7, met Naoko and Zen at 7:45 out at the Indian place for dinner. It was OK, but a little rushed feeling. Next week will be normal again. Zen stayed up until 10:45, and I got nearly half of the article down right away – great.

Thought for the day: How will your boss react when you ask him how much severance pay fired employees get?

Lissen, who you dissin'?

In A Garden Of Eden, Baby

Thursday, October 16th, 2003

Finally getting my paperwork under control. Monday morning I went off to meet Ronald Rajan and Joyce Lim of New Man and DARE magazines, downtown, had coffee and talked, very nice. In the afternoon I tried to get things wrapped up but didn’t make much progress. Yesterday I got down to work on things, finished up my Motherhood article, answered emails, tried to figure out what I need to do so start my business… still. Got emails, made calls, wrote out and in. Sigh… Last night went off to visit Tony and Barbara for a chat, found out it is Tony’s birthday, how nice. Drank beer and ate chocolate cake and admired Tony’s dad’s calligraphy, which is on the walls of their place. In Signature Park, but a bigger place than ours. Today I got more little things done, including printouts of tabs and letters, also photocopied all that stuff I need for the business, I hope I can be on top of it all when the time gets right. Zen slept from 1:40 to 5, which is pretty long. Tonight, what did I do tonight…

Thought of the day: Question: does an idiot have business nature? Answer: yes, even idiots form a demographic.

Hey there, hat kid!