Archive for September, 2003

T-shirts and sneakers

Tuesday, September 30th, 2003

A few days without checking in. This is how it always goes, isn’t it? Friday I spent 3 hours with Lawrence working out the wrinkles in the workbook I have done for him, got a check for it too, finally. Got another one in the mail for another story that day too, hooray. Nothing to do in the afternoon but sleep. I took Zen downtown to meet Naoko so we could buy a present for Stephanie, then off to Pasir Ris on the other side of the island. Nice barbecue party in a “resort,” lots of villas stuck together, people barbecuing on the common patio, a very festive atmosphere. Lots of Japanese and Singaporeans and Chinese (from China), and me the sole westerner. Nearly everyone was Japanese-Chinese-English trilingual, a few were only bilingual in two of those languages. Interesting conversations! Zen went to sleep at 10, then we were off at 11 back to our part of town to sleep late.

Saturday hung around a bit, then went off to Clementi to inspect their shops and their shops’ wares, then off to the usual Indian restaurant for a yummy, cheap dinner. Learning to play more Neil Young and Simon and Garfunkel songs on the guitar. “Mrs. Robinson” and “Pocahontas” are coming along nicely. So is “the Boxer.” I wonder if I should try Cat Stevens?

Sunday we went to Turf City to meet Vivian and Alain for some lunch at the Unique Restaurant where you choose a fish from the tanks outside and they cook it for you. Fresh!! Also had ostrich (yummy!) and frogs legs!! Zen was kept awake until 3 PM, but we got him home and napping. I took a short jog. Got to get in shape for that half marathon, don’t know how I will do it. Was exhausted in the evening.

Today was a hang-around-and-get-through-some-work day, tweaking Lawrence’s manuscript for him. Gonna meet him tomorrow and show him some drawings for the second phase of the project.

A joke: An exchange student from Geneva tells his Japanese classmates “I am from the shores of Leman-ko.” He is instantly expelled from school and sent back to Switzerland.

Thought for the day: Near perfect is imperfect.

fatty fat fat farts and friends

Friday, September 26th, 2003

Hey ho,

couldn’t blog last night, so I am doing it today. Lots of writing and hanging about the house yesterday, couldn’t have been too exciting since I remember nothing about it.

Today it rained most heavily all the time. I went downtown to check out the details about the registration of businesses, the application of work visas, it all happened from 8:30 to 10:30, fast for that sort of thing. I had a coffee and hung about Clementi checking out the shops. The whole day was spent dodging the rain and those black clouds. I dropped off Zen by bike with only a few drops, I picked him up by bike thinking I had cleverly found a lull in the downpours, only to get soaked on the way back. Stupid me.

Found a funny site about Japanese emoticons. Like the Japanese intestine, they are different from western emoticons. link

Thought for the day: Reiterating a point is unnecessary. Ifve told you this many, many times.

Zen in the Park

Love and Rockets meet Madonna

Wednesday, September 24th, 2003

Hi ho,

Went to an interview this morning in the east, not too far from Changi airport actually. Nice small training company run by a guru who has his own books. They might want to hire me to do some sales, some training, some writing and editing of websites and training materials, perhaps fly me all over Asia and the subcontinent and the Middle East. Could be fun, could be stressfull… if I get the job. Two magazines I have written freelance for emailed me and told me that my money is on its way, which is nice!! This leaves only one or two unpaid freelance writing assignments.

Got back just in the nick of time to pick Zen up from nursery school (12:40) and get him home and into bed for his nap, then time for me to eat lunch, chill out, turn on the computer and get on top of all that stuff. Took Zen to the park once before dinner, once after dinner. A nice, fun day.

Thought for the day: Examine your head from within.

Tongue Dancer!


Tuesday, September 23rd, 2003

Dear Editor Hoflich:

The site looks pretty freaking nifty. It’s the first time I register on a site and it doesn’t take me twenty minutes AND a credit card number.
The Marrrrrtians are among us! Well, they are, its not my fault!?!?

John T(h)roaty


Tuesday, September 23rd, 2003

Busy-ish day. I got through editing my 58 short stories again. I did it once in May, but this time through I still found lots of errors. I will do it yet again before I print them. I think I have been through them 3 or 4 times already. Should be nice to have a bunch of finished stories to send out. Of the 58, surely some will be published. I guess the game is beginning. My list of personal projects is getting smaller, it’s kind of nice to be nearing some sort of closure.

Got working on some other things, like a sample chapter for the Business Koans project. Hope that can take off. Zen slept from 1:30 to 4:15, then we went to Bukit Timah Nature Park to play on the jungle gym and take some pics. Fun.

Got an interview tomorrow, hope it goes well.

Thought for the day: child says “no,” CEO says “no.”

Here are some funny signs I have seen around Singapore:

This means don't feed monkeys bananas.  Or don't pull a knife on the monkey.

This means don’t feed monkeys bananas. Or don’t pull a knife on the monkey.

Wot?  Just because they smell bad?

Wot? Just because they smell bad?

Boy meets bump

Boy meets bump

Well, since you insist...

Well, since you insist…

Sunday Century

Monday, September 22nd, 2003

Nice weekend. Saturday we hung around waiting for Mitchan and Manae to come up from JB. Right around the time they were supposed to arrive, huge clouds rolled in, wild winds blew, and a heavy dounpour was unleashed. They were only an hour late. Naoko and Zen went shopping with them to some Japanese grocery shops and I got a bunch of computer stuff done. Lots of hanging around while the kids slept, the ladies cooked, and we had a nice Japanese meal with Tiger Beer.

Today we went to a local garage sale. It was OK – lots of plants and furniture and books and videos for sale. The guy had a ton of Clint Eastwood and Humphrey Bogart films. I bought Barbarella, Fistful of Dollars, Small Soldiers, Key Largo, and Doctor Zhivago. Got home and found out that Barbarella was too dirty to play, ditto for Key Largo and Fistful, so I went back and replaced them with One Million Years B.C. with Raquel Welch (missed that one first time over), Two Mules for Sister Sara, and High Plains Drifter. Should be good.

At the garage sale also got a kids book by Shel Silverstein for a dollar (great find) and a green, wooden kids table with two chairs for five bucks – great deal. We had been wanting one for a while. Zen needs something to draw on, and he just loves this one. What a great deal.

Zen went to sleep late – 3 or so. Spent the afternoon, while they slept, applying to jobs, hanging around, getting things done, then went for an hour jog. I will need to get in shape for that half marathon on December 6th. Nice run through Bukit Timah Nature Park, maybe about 10 km. or so.

Went for a walk at dusk, saw Sean and Mihoko and the kids. Went over to their place to drink vodka on the rocks while the kids played. Kai fell asleep at 9, but Zen and Hana played happily for quite a while after that while we adults talked about politics and literature. Mihoko gave us a bottle of Richard anise-liqueur – yatta!!

Thought for the day: approach infinity without being infinite

Zen meets Lafcadio the Lion

Son of a Boy Named Sue

Saturday, September 20th, 2003

Just downloaded Shel Silverstein’s sequel to “A Boy Named Sue”, and wow what a shocker!!

Yesterday was a dull day of sitting at home doing this and that. Around 11 huge black clouds rolled in and unleashed some of the fiercest storming I’ve ever seen. At what would normally be the brightest time of the day, a huge obsidian cloud hovered over the sky turning the day to twilight. I was reminded of the Eric MacCormack short story about a cloud like that that hovered so low over the town that the faint reflection of the buildings of the town could be seen off of the bottom of the cloud itself!! By the time I had to pick Zen up from school it still had not stopped, so I set out on foot but the rain stopped by the time I was there – I could have waited and taken the bike!! So I carried Zen home, how tiring.

Today I went downtown to do some errand shopping – waited too long to set out, missed a bus, and only had 45 minutes to run around and get everything done. Couldn’t fix my watch, couldn’t find the t-shirt vendors, and no time to buy new shoes either. At least I found the Talk-Talk CD I was looking for, although I didn’t buy it. Better luck with the bus going home at least. Have decided to give up on the book of short stories I am reading, time to start the Bruce Chatwin book.

Got good calls today – some training company wants to interview me, and a publisher is interested in hearing more about my book idea for “business koans.” Talk about a Friday afternoon pickup – I thought nothing ever happens on a Friday afternoon, I guess things are different in Singapore.

Went out to ead Indian again with Naoko and Zen, this time it was yummier than most. Naoko had her Indonesian massage too, how nice for her.

Thought for the day: stick around after a long meeting to enjoy the empty room

Laughing Zen

Tomorrow started

Thursday, September 18th, 2003

A day of bumming around. I got rolling on some more fiction editing, though. Who knows, maybe by this time next week I will have all that in order too – 5 types of query letters, 2 sample chapters for the 2 novels, 58 short stories edited tidily, and 65 poems to send out. Hmmm…

Thought for the day: Don’t blame the mirror for being dirty.

Doctor Octopus!

funny Tuesday

Wednesday, September 17th, 2003

Didn’t get much done today – feeling run down with a cold or something. Did a lot of reading, though, and tried to email some videos through to dad so he could see recent pics of Zen. Only half of them made it, for some reason. Oh well, there is always tomorrow.

Got the teachers at Zen’s school to take some videos of him in class. He seems to be doing stuff on his own a lot, I wonder if that is because he is the youngest kid, or if it is the standard Hoflich “good natured lonerism.”

Realized today that Naoko and I have birthdays on the same day a week every year – this year we both had birthdays on Sundays. It will be like that every year, even leap years. Also discovered that everyone in my family was born on a weekend – Saturday or Sunday.

Found out that the Hanshin Tigers won the league in the home stadium in Nishinomiya. Woo hoo, Hanshin, the team with the best fans in Japan.

Thought for the day: Are you a 24/7 type worker?

Chewing contemplatively

September 15, actually

Tuesday, September 16th, 2003

Long, busy day. Went downtown to take care of a bunch of stuff – went to the business directory to figure out how to open a business and get forms, also visited CNBC to drop off a resume and on to Dale Carnegie to have a chat with the ever-friendly ex-Taiwan hand Tim Egold. Then went across the street to see about all the work visa forms from the Ministry of Manpower. Finally off to the Standard-Chartered Bank to hand in my application to the marathon and pay my fee. Instead of just paying someone and handing in a form, I had to take a number and talk to someone at a desk as if I were applying for a loan. The girl I talked to was as dense as a brick and kept asking personal questions. She must have thought my first name was Hoflich, because she kept calling me Hoflich. It’s been years since I have been called that.

The weather at noon was really strange – half the sky was bright blue with the hot sun shining down, the other half was covered with dense black clouds covering the earth like a black iron pot lid, with fluffy white cottonball clouds floating nearer the surface – inching across the sky. It got dark all afternoon as Zen napped for four hours, but never really rained. Bizarre.

Hung out at home in the evening, suffering from a cold. Took lots of videos and thought about Dad’s upcoming birthday…

Thought for the day: Marrying a commoner will hurt your polo game.

Tower of song