Sunday, December 30, 2007

Big deal

The last time I wrote about Rupert's spacious new crate, I mentioned how he had gone in voluntarily for naps. Well, he's also taken to bringing his toys into the crate.

And then, to Queeni's bewilderment, he went on to bring her toys in there as well.

So much so that HRH couldn't stand it anymore. She too had to go in, and take a nap there, just to see what the big deal was all about. And it sure is big for a little Schnauzer.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Waking up the dead

When a work crew started setting up a sound system, speakers and keyboards at the multi-purpose hall at the corner of our block earlier this week, I thought it was for some sort of Christmas party. After all, the kindergarten two blocks away uses it as a venue for their concerts.

When I was at work, L reported hearing strains of Abba, Cyndi Lauper and the Bee Gees wafting up to our windows -- all in dialect though. You haven't lived till you've heard Saturday Night Fever in dialect, he would like you to know.

So I thought maybe the senior citizens group was having some Christmas/New Year thingy going on. But the next night, the music continued, L reported with some surprise when I was at work. This time, he noticed something odd. Everyone attending was dressed in black and white. If it wasn't a themed singalong, it was a funeral. But that didn't explain the Bee Gees. In dialect or otherwise.

So today, under the guise of taking the dog for a long walk, I went and kaypohed. It was a funeral. Had to be. There was a coffin. And wreaths. And a multi-media display on a screen that flashed old black-and-white pictures of who was presumably the deceased as a child, and at different stages of his life -- the sort of thing that you usually see at weddings, not funerals.

Well, it's one heck of a send-off. Especially with the Bee Gees. In dialect.

Friday, December 28, 2007

And he's half my gene pool

The junior nurse was starting to panic.

She couldn't rouse my Dad. He was sitting up with his eyes shut, as if he was sleeping. He wouldn't respond to her calls, nor to her shaking him by the arm.

Mum was wise to his ways. She calmly told the nurse to take his vital signs -- pulse rate, blood pressure, oxygen level, temperature was all good.

He had done this before. Unused to not having his way, he retreated into a major sulk and pretended basically, to play dead.

The first time he did that, she went into a panic. Now, at the third time, she was an old hand.

But it freaked the junior nurse out, not surprisingly, and she had to fetch the staff nurse. Who was just as experienced as Mum.

"Uncle, would you like an ice cube?" she wheedled.

Immediately, his eyes flew open.

I love my Dad and feel for him, for all that he is going through, all the frustration, all the helplessness. But he is still a blooming butthole.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas spoils

I wasn't kidding when mentally drained (from fathers, feeding tubes and hospitals) and short on shopping time (also from fathers and hospitals), I said I was getting L underwear this Christmas. But at least they are kinda snazzy in a funny way. And aptly labelled 'Private Structure'.

And the shoes are mine. Like all the shoes in the house. :)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Peace on earth

... can be easily achieved with turkey and rice Nylabone Digestibles. Come to think of it, the furkids are the only ones having turkey this Christmas.

They also got squeaky toys -- a furry hedgehog for HRH who prefers soft toys and an orange ball for Rupert who likes bouncy chaseable things. But they both wanted the other one's toy. Furkids.

Merry Christmas!

Fleas navidog.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Is it Christmas yet?

Wake us up for Christmas.

I think I'll join them for a nap. I meant to bake gingerbread cookies yesterday. I even bought ground ginger for it at the supermarket. But I forgot the golden syrup. Last night, I even went through my recipe books in search of a cookie recipe that I could make with what I have. But I'm lacking one thing, either the syrup or shortening or molasses. Looks like there'll be no cookies then because I'm not about to fight my way through the supermarket in the last weekend before Christmas.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Three's still a crowd

But at least now we're making room for Daddy.

Reason #4590 why Queeni doesn't like children

We were walking the furkids this morning and HRH, as always, was off leash and had trotted on ahead. There was a group of young boys on their bicycles, and they saw her but not the rest of her entourage and decided to "Let's chase the dog!" and started to make pretend-revving motions on their handlebars.

That was when L stepped up from round the corner and snarled: "Just you try!" Whereupon the bike pack turned round and pedalled off.

And who could blame HRH for not liking children?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Quality of life

Some years ago, when I heard about Living Wills and Advanced Medical Directives, I thought they were a pretty good idea. While you are of sane mind and full capacity, you basically sign a Do Not Resuscitate order that lets your family pull the plug without any guilt on their part.

But now I realise, there's a big component missing that the AMDs do not cover. They all presuppose that you're plugged in.

How much quality of life do you have when you cannot eat nor drink, cannot move about without assistance and cannot hear or see much.

When my old pug reached that stage, I knew that I had to have that little talk with the vet. The day that he couldn't eat was the day we had that talk.

When Dad gradually lost his hearing and his sight, he didn't care that he couldn't watch much television -- he said he wasn't missing much because even before that, he only watched sports because he didn't have to follow a conversation or a plot. By then, he couldn't read for more than a 5-minute stretch. But he delighted in his food. But now, even that is denied him. Worse, it is horrible to deny water to a thirsty person.

While I'm not saying that I am about to put anybody down, it's just so much harder with a person. More strings, more what-ifs, more baggage. I used to think that making the decision to put down a dog was the hardest thing to do. Now, it seems like that was the most straightforward decision. Beats sitting around powerless to do anything to help.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

No turkey this Christmas

Why are holidays and family gatherings all about food? Now that Dad has a feeding tube and cannot eat, and is spending Christmas in hospital, I have no idea how to do Christmas for him.

It's not the first time he's had to spend Christmas in hospital. Two years ago, he was in the same step-down care facility after his coronary bypass. Then, we had a picnic in his room and he was delighted by a slice of turkey and stuffing the hospital provided and the Christmas cake we bought.

This year, Christmas food is going to be out of the picture. Luckily, there are always presents. I found a gift towel that's packaged in a wedge shape and decorated to look like a slice of cake, complete with faux icing and soap chocolate-drizzled kumquat. I hope Dad hasn't lost his sense of humour even though he's been quite grumpy the past week.

It's Chinese New Year that I don't want to think about, when Reunion Dinner is the whole point of Chinese New Year's Eve.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Penthouse suite

Rupert's had a crate upgrade, thanks to my colleague. She was going to sell it at a garage sale but decided to give it to me when I asked about it. Roop has grown so tall now that when he stands up in his old crate, his tail sticks out through the top.

It took Roop a night to figure out how to get into the new crate because the door isn't where it is with the old one. But now he loves his roomy new crate. He placed his favourite toys in it and then went in to take a nap -- and now with the luxury of space, can even do his turning round thing before lying down. And stretching out.

Good thing he's comfortable -- jail time for PoopHead might as well be pleasant.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


HRH ponders over what's going to fill her stocking -- hanging over the windows (in lieu of a fireplace in these tropical parts) in the background -- I bet she can smell the Nylabone Chewables through their packaging.

Roop the Poop doesn't need to think so hard -- besides, he hasn't much grey matter to work with -- he's getting a lump of coal.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bah, humbug (again)

This poster was in the window of one of the shops in the suburban mall down the road. It made me feel all Scrooge and Grinch-like and immediately removed all the desire to do my Christmas shopping because it implied (to me, at least) that Christmas joy must come in gift-wrapped packages and that I'd be a horrible unseasonably mean-spirited person if I didn't go buy! buy! buy! lavish presents.

Will L be joyful with carefully chosen socks and undies?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Have I truly gone to the dogs?

A friend sent me this link to an NYT article, with his comment, "An interesting tributary of anthropology" -- Who Invited the Dog?

I have not decided whether I'm to be lumped with the extreme cases of owners who take their dogs everywhere, to the detriment of others. The last time I met this friend, the dog (there was only one then) didn't come because I was buying him dinner at a posh hotel buffet and I'm sure that I didn't insist on going somewhere dog-friendly just so the furkid could tag along.

But when it comes to family stuff, then it's different. They expect the dogs to come along. Because the dogs are family. To the extent that my mother no longer gives me my favourite chocolate cake for my birthday -- because then the dogs can't partake.

And I'm guilty, like the catowner in the NYT article, of wiping my dogs after they do a "stinky bom bom", as he calls it. And why is that over the top? You wipe your own ass when you've been to the loo, don't you?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

'Twas the week before Christmas

The cards have been sent. The stockings have been hung up. The tree has been up and decorated for weeks already. We've even switched to Christmas Tea -- scented with orange, cinnamon and clove.

But I'm starting to panic. I have not done any Christmas shopping. I just haven't had the time. Dressing the tree and writing cards you can at least do at 3am and unwinding after a night's work. But shopping, you need to do that during the hours that the rest of the world functions.

Oh wait, I have got some Christmas shopping done -- for the furkids and their cousins. L is pretend-hurt by my priorities. Looks like he'll be getting socks and underwear.

Instant karma

L was very taken in by this Christmas offer at a Converse shop. I think he's excited by the thought that wearing Chuckies immediately puts you on a road to salvation.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Dead Cat Bounce meets Downward Dog

... that just came into my head during yoga class and I had to suppress the giggles. We've just started the second season of the yoga class at the office gym and this time round, there weren't enough takers because a lot of people are going on leave at this time of the year. So the women's class and men's class have been merged into one, and now my class is full of business editors. And also the editor of Singapore's biggest daily. Yes, that one. Intimidating.

Monday, December 10, 2007

World wide food

It strikes me as somewhat ironical that just as consumers are becoming environmentally aware and buying local so that their food doesn't have a giant carbon footprint, a big-time supermarket here is running TV ads that feature animated imported food brands dancing to the song "you've got the whole wide world in your hands".

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Paging George Bernard Shaw. Will Mr Shaw please call 999.

Another shaky picture taken with the cellphone -- and thus proving that taking pictures should best be left to cameras.

It's a sign on the train platform telling you how long it will be till the next train. The letters in white at the bottom say: " - George Bernard Shaw - Seen anything suspicious? Inform us or call 999."

Does this mean that GB Shaw has been directed to call the police? Or is GB Shaw suspicious?

Actually, it was the tail-end of the quote for the day (imagine, someone's hired to type in an inspirational quote everyday). It never fits into one line at the bottom of the screen so the quote gets spread across different flashes of the screen, and the attribution just got on the same line as the usual Beware of Terrorists kicker.

Poor Mr Shaw. Things still happen to him when he's long gone.

Sports edition today

All right, sports fans, here's a poser for you: How can a football team that has scored four goals still lose the match when its opponent scores just one goal? Answer: When two of those goals are own goals.

And that's how Singapore beat Vietnam in the SEA Games football match. It's almost embarrassing how the commentators went on and on about the Singapore win when actually the Vietnamese did all the work for them.

Just as in the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games, Team Singapore is mostly Team Imported From China And Now Naturalised. At least with the South-East Asian Games, you're not going to have the irony of a final that's flying two flags but is really China vs China. The only irony now are the morale-raising trailers on TV sponsored by the Singapore Sports Council -- which feature the racially correct component of Indian, Malay and obviously local-born Chinese athletes (it's quite politically correct too, one of the athlete is disabled). But where are the now-Singaporean China-born ping pong players and the angmoh footballers in Team Singapore?

In other sports developments, L was watching the Lexus Cup golf tournament and raised another interesting question: Why is Australia in Team International and not Team Asia?

Kevin Rudd must be begging to fix that one and must already have an answer. In Mandarin, no less.

Friday, December 07, 2007

I got tagged!

... by Funny the World to do this meme on behalf of Queeni and Rupert.

Queeni and Rupert's top 7 annoyances:

1. Queeni is annoyed by people -- walking down the staircase, on the
common corridor directly outside our flat, outside our window.
2. Queeni is annoyed by children -- running, screaming, anything as long as they are small people.
3. Queeni is annoyed by the neighbours coming home -- even if it's their home, the corridor outside is hers.
4. Queeni is annoyed by plain kibble -- she expects a little garnishing, some meat or liver slivers. She has barely accepted mixed veg because I'm cutting down her protein intake.
5. Queeni is annoyed by L cuddling her in bed when she wants to lie in the aircon draft.
6. Queeni is annoyed by grooming -- brushing her coat and teeth.
7. Queeni is annoyed by Rupert -- when he's shaking her favouritestuffed toy; when he's stretched out in the middle of the bed; when he's on my lap; when L is giving him attention. She's plain annoyed by Rupert's existence.

Rupert is never annoyed. He gets excited, hyped up, even. But happily so. He's the sweetest dog I've ever had.

And I'm tagging:
Vivi -- she's sure to have a lot to say!
Milly's Muse
The Cat's Whiskers -- nobody said it had to be a dog thing.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Chin up

I'd forgotten all about this picture that I took on my cellphone. It's shaky because it was taken on the bus. It's a sign sponsored by the Civil Defence and hangs on the handrail of the bus at eye level and says: "Chin ups keep you fit for IPPT".

Like it's to make you feel better when you're swaying and keeping your balance as the driver does his Evel Knievel tribute. So all you National Servicemen packed in the buses and hanging on to the handrails as the bus takes a sharp corner, it's all for a good cause.

There's another sign at the exit: "Stand up for Singapore". Actually, I'd rather sit.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Getting neighbourly

When we got the keys to our flat more than a year ago, we found stalactites growing from the ceiling of the kitchen bathroom, which meant that the neighbour upstairs had a leak problem with his bathroom floor.

Which meant that our first introduction to him was to tell him that he had to get his floor fixed. We wondered how that bode for neighbourly relations. And we hadn't even moved in yet.

Actually, it wasn't so bad. It helped that he has a papillion and that we have a schnauzer and later on, also a fox terrier. Even if his papillion humps our terrier that's three time his size.

And now, more than a year later, we got invited to lunch today, to celebrate his newborn son's first month.

Oh, we bitched about HDB workmanship over lunch. Now that's being neighbourly.

Ready for Christmas

The stockings are hanging in anticipation. Rupert kept jumping up and nipping at them and had to be swatted. He was shocked, then sorry. That Dog. If he doesn't watch it, he'll get a lump of coal in his stocking.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Getting cheesey

Is it just me, or don't you think that "fresh" and "aged" is a bit of an oxymoron?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Musical notes

Someone on my dog e-list ventured off topic to post about Raising Sand, the new CD from Robert Plant and Alison Krauss and how good it was. If she didn't do that, I may possibly have missed a good thing. Krauss is a blue grass singer and that's not something I usually listen to, so if I hadn't known, I would have skipped this CD altogether. Although I may probably pick it up because of Plant, the Led Zeppelin vocalist.

When I got it at the CD shop, I noticed that there was a new Best of Led Zep compilation, Mothership. So I got that as well. Now I'm truly stuck in the music of my misspent youth.

It's very interesting listening to the two CDs, one after the other. It is like watching (hmm, well, hearing) a musician evolve. Although the Plant in Mothership would've probably downed another double JD and asked you what you were smoking if you had told him that many, many moons later, he would be collaborating on something like Raising Sand. But I guess, like Brian May and his PhD in astrophysics, this just shows that he has earned the right to wear his hair long and curly, and his jeans tight.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Queen rocks!

Brian May, the lead guitarist from rock band Queen has just completed a doctorate in astrophysics and has been named as the next chancellor to Liverpool John Moores University.

Which goes to show that it is not a bad thing to play guitar, drink Jack Daniels, get tattooed, mousse your hair into big curls and wear tight jeans.

Definitely not time misspent. I should've done that instead of reading Beowulf.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Monster movie

Beowulf is either here or coming soon, judging from the trailers on TV. And also judging from those, I was quite amused to see that Angelina Jolie is being used to sell the movie even though her character doesn't have a name.

And I'm not going to watch it. As much as I like Neil Gaiman (who co-wrote the screenplay), I'm not going to sit through an Anglo-Saxon epic poem. I'm still thanking my lucky stars that Beowulf, in all its original Old English glory, was dropped from the curriculum the year I started uni, because it was too tough for the students and everyone was failing it.

The Scandinavian heroes and monsters, a lot of fighting and even more funerals just don't appeal to me. Not even Angelina
Jolie wearing nothing, even if that was just FX. Grendel's Mother is not exactly the Wife of Bath. Even if she is speaking modern English.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Busy weekend

The bedlinen has been changed and the dogs have been bathed.

It's so nice to slip into fresh, crisp sheets. Unfortunately, Rupert doesn't seem to think so. He bounded happily onto the bed when he knew we were turning in for the night, but appeared uneasy by the lack of smells on the bed. He turned around and around and couldn't settle until we were all in bed.

I'm sure the bedding and the freshly bathed dogs will smell doggy in no time.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Not made in China

This is a cotton placemat. The label says Made In India. All very believable of course, since it's rough Indian weave cotton.

But the bilingual bit in Chinese characters on the label threw me off. Funny, isn't it? I could've accepted Hindi along with the English. Made in India pride, etc.

But Chinese? It's either masquerading to be cover both industrial giants or it was made before the witchhunt over China-made products and thought that would give it consumer cred?

Friday, November 16, 2007

If the throne fits ...

The serf pays homage to HRH Queeni.

And then tries out the throne for himself.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007


M and A came over for dinner last weekend and A brought a bunch of DVDs for our edification. One of them was of Madonna's latest Confessions tour, partly because A thinks we don't get out enough and was shocked to hear we never caught any of the big shows that came to town.

And I can't make him understand that I do not like musicals as a genre and that I do not require spectacle to be entertained -- given a choice between a huge concert with flashy costumes, dance routines, soundscape and fireworks, and a small group of people in penguin suits sawing away at instruments, I'd rather pick the chamber concert. Unless the huge concert is a U2 concert.

And that's only one of the reasons why I cannot get into Madonna -- but dutifully sat down with them to watch. The other reason why I don't like Madonna is that her concerts -- however slick -- are peppered with more plagarisms than a college paper bought off the Internet.

One song morphed into Jimmy Sommerville. Another morphed into an Abba riff. Along the way, she was John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, down to the white suit. Then morphed into a Jimi Hendrix persona. And then took on Pat Benatar. So who's the real Madonna?

And what's the difference between Madonna and say, the Pussycat Dolls? Both still feel the need to dress up to carefully choreographed routines. Although, in the PCD's case, dress down might be more apt.

I honestly don't see the difference between Madonna and say, Rihanna. Both stole songs from other people. L -- who is no Madonna fan himself -- says I should leave off Madonna, that she has paid her dues while Rihanna is a young upstart. What, just because you've been around 20 years, you can steal other people's songs?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Bah, humbug

I was a bit flabbergasted when I stepped into the suburban mall down the road from where we live on Friday. It was decked with boughs of holly and all things Christmassy.

Which meant that it was probably already decorated that way, for the shoppers on the public holiday the day before -- Deepavali. If I was Hindu, I'd feel dreadfully affronted, like my festival had been skipped over.

Is it just me, or does Christmas seem to come earlier every year? The Americans haven't even had their Thanksgiving yet. (I don't think the Canadians have either, but I'm not really sure when theirs is, except that it's earlier on their side of the border.) Or maybe our problem is that we haven't got Thanksgiving so we haven't got a last Thursday of November demarcation before which Christmas just isn't allowed to start.

I like Bing Crosby but I can't bear White Christmas in November. The poor cashiers at the supermarket, they're going to be subjected to two months of Christmas carols.

I was most intrigued to hear a cover verision of Feed the World/Do They Know it's Christmas. Whoever attempted to cover Geldorf & Co sure has got some nerve.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Got hustled again

Is it my face or something? Barely a week after a kid asked me for bus fare home, I got somebody else telling me a long story of how he got stranded without his wallet and farecard and can't get home. It was barely 10am and it was in the grounds of the hospital -- I was hurrying to the hospital where Dad has been warded two weeks, to catch his doctors as they go on rounds.

This guy, an old retiree, started telling me in Mandarin how he had just taken an even older neighbour to hospital, how the 80-year-old was alone with no one to fend for him, how he rushed the guy to A&E, and was now stuck at the hospital having left his wallet and everything else at home. I was terribly rushed and answered in English (no time for mental translation): "So what do you really want?" and knowing the answer of course.

And then came the English version of the long story. Are all hustlers bilingual? He even went as far as to tell me he used to drive an ambulance before he retired. So go find his former colleagues and friends, I told him. Oh, not to this hospital, he said. Complete BS. And how did he pay for the taxi fare to take his elderly neighbour to hospital if he didn't have his wallet? Oh, he just had enough money in his pocket. So why not call the neighbour's relatives? Surely they would thank him enough to send him home. Oh, the guy's alone, remember. No one to depend on. Not even to take him to hospital.

Now I was really running late and very irritable. I opened my wallet, meaning to give him $2, the smallest note, for trainfare. Just to get the damn monkey off my back. But I didn't have any thing smaller than a $10 note. So I gave it to him. Oh sure, he thanked me very nicely but while making fast tracks away from me. I shouted after him, I want his handphone number and IC number. "No need, no need," he answered and picked up speed. So I yelled down the road -- it was busy enough at the start of the working day as the staff poured in -- "Nobody give him any money! He's fleeced enough out of me!"

I was cross because I could have handled it better if I wasn't so rushed. I know where the medical social workers' office in the hospital is, I would have brought him there and handled him over to them. If I had the time. I was also cross because I made the effort to get up early and get to the hospital by train, instead of calling a cab -- mostly because I couldn't account for traffic on the highway. And now the money I saved on a cab has gone to some con man.

But later, in retrospect, if he was so desperate for $10, he might as well have it. It's not like I can ill spare $10. And most of all, I hope that $10 will buy my Dad some good karma.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Woud ma'am desire a coffee?

Today is a public holiday -- Deepavali -- and L is home, so he left me a cup of wake-up coffee on my nightstand.

I was asleep when he brought it in, and woke up only when a cold nose nudged my hand which was hanging over the edge of the bed. I opened my eyes to a very enthusiastic foxie with the thought bubble : "Look! Coffee!! You have coffee!! You have to wake up for it!! How exciting!!!"

Like he brought in the coffee himself.

Wish I had a picture.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Towards world conquest

First, we take the bed. Then we take the couch.

You take one end, I'll take the other. Divide and conquer.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Completing the circle

The other night, Rupert went to bed on the living room sofa and had a good hour's sleep there as I was reading the paper. When I finally turned off the lights to go into the bedroom, he wouldn't even budge. So I left him out there and went to bed.

And then I couldn't sleep. It felt funny not to have him in the room. So I went out and poked him a bit and he sleepily tottered into the bedroom. And headed for his now seldom used bed in his Cinderella corner. I think he was enjoying all the space he had to himself on the couch and didn't want to join the already crowded bed. Also, getting up on the bed also means tackling Queeni, who grants bed rights to him on a nightly basis, depending on HRH's whim.

I still couldn't sleep. Never mind that I already had one dog in bed with me. The other missing component meant that it just didn't feel complete. So I got out of bed again and got Rupert. Who promptly turned a few circles and pressed up against me, his butt to my face.

Now I could sleep.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

I don't quite get the illustration on this banner advertising a Malay food stall. It's giving me the impression that Freaky Freddie is in the kitchen doing the cooking (and slashing away with his knives).

But then, it's a nice entry for today. Happy Halloween y'all.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

They're starting young

"Can you give me $1 so I can take a bus home?" the sweaty kid with wet hair plastered flat on his head asked me as I walked past the playground between the flats on my way to the office.

He asked me that in Mandarin at first and I thought I understood but I wanted to be sure so I asked him "What?" in English and he deftly translated. So he's bilingual. And smart too.

I said I didn't have a dollar (actually I did but I reacted on what I was taught, that you don't give money to homeless people in case they booze themselves out with it but buy them food instead) but I could walk with him to the bus-stop, see him up the bus and pay for his fare with my ez-link card (stored value smart card for use on public transport). He said no need to bother me so much and that he could walk.

The bus fare would have been less than $1, he was maybe 9 or 10 years old and definitely would be charged student fare. You wanna bet Hot, Sweaty Kid was hustling me for $1 for a can of Coke or something?

Monday, October 29, 2007

A prisoner of his own device

Rupert gets jail time in his crate* for peeing transgressions. He also gets crated here when we leave the house for more than a couple of hours -- which is everyday when we go to work.

So I used to worry that he would hate his crate after all the enforced time in it. But it has now become his own little spot**, so much so that he will go into it voluntarily for a nap. Whew.

*It is a crate to anyone who sees it as a wire crate. Throw a nice print over it and dog people with several of these in the house will tell you it's an end table/occasional table/coffee table. See, not all furniture in this house comes from Ikea.

** Heh heh, ES, hadda work in Spot again.

*** Enough words, YH?

**** Picture courtesy of L, assistant photographer to blogger.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Bean Bros, part 2

L left the TV on and it was a while before I realised that it was showing The Importance of Being Earnest starring Rupert Everett and Colin Firth -- the two actors that C named the foxie brothers after. At that time, he said that he picked those two names because he wanted something very British for the pair of English fox terriers. I didn't know the two made a movie together and I don't know if C realised that either but the Oscar Wilde connection now seems quite apt.

And I think my Rupert is a lot more handsome than Rupert Everett. Even if he is Prince Charming.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I'm not pro-gay. I'm anti-discriminatory.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

The Prime Minister Has Spoken. Section 377a stays. Covering Parliament the last two days was more riveting than watching Desperate Housewives.

The only thing that surprised me was that 3771 was not sold out for the 4D lottery over the weekend. Which only goes to show how unimportant this issue was to heartlanders. They're more concerned about the hike in bus fares than what people do in their bedrooms.

Say religious extremist and my instant mental picture used to be that of swarthy bearded men in dark robes and turbans, the ones who want to implement syariah laws and cut off hands of thieves and stone adulterers.

Now, I think the robes are white, with hoods and burning crosses. That religious extremists are the ones who say everybody cannot do what their god says they cannot do.

I remember writing years ago that I stopped going to church because I can no longer find in there the carpenter's son who broke bread with tax-collectors and hung out with prostitutes. I still can't find him there.

And now they will say I'm as mad, bad and dangerous and will march around the Civil District and pray for my soul.

Remember those WWJD wristbands? Nowadays, it wouldn't be for "What would Jesus do?", it would be "Who would Jesus discriminate?"

Monday, October 22, 2007

Another Rupert tail

There is nothing as sorry looking as a dog with its tail down -- especially when it is usually a jaunty little upright exclamation mark.

Roop wasn't feeling very good yesterday, he was hacking and trying to cough up something but didn't manage more than a little frothy puddle. Whatever it was he was trying to cough up still wasn't out of him and he was miserable about it.

He went to bed, huddled at the foot of the bed under the duvet, hacked quietly a few more times and went to sleep.

He's much better today, and back to his normal self. I'm happy to see his exclamation point waving about.

[Are you sure, ES, that you want me to blog twice a day? It will be about things coming out of either end of Roop.]

HRH says: Get that exclamation point out of my face!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Close encounters with Rupert

Scene: Orange stray cat lies curled up squarely in the middle of the corridor leading to the field.

Fox terrier, on his way to his peeing spot, stops dead in his tracks. He doesn't know what to make of the cat. Or how to handle a situation where a cat blocks his path.

Cat narrows his eyes at the terrier, daring him to continue on his path -- which would require the cat to move.

Fox terrier sets his ears back in thinking mode. But the brain, seldom used as it is, has never processed such a situation before. Completely flummoxed, he lifts a paw and looks up to the human. If life was a comic strip, the thought bubble over his head would say: "What is the heck is that Thing?"

Human winds up the slack in the leash so that terrier is on a tight lead and urges him past the cat.

Terrier walks past hesitantly at first, then picks up speed and walks straight past. He still can't work out what this creature is. He still has quite a bit to go before he realises that traditionally, dogs chase cats.

Cat continues his nap, unmolested.

I have a blog entry.

Everybody wins.

The cat, especially.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Bean Brothers

I was off on Tuesday and had time on my hands after my physiotherapy session, so L and I went over to C's house since he lives just a short walk from the hospital. Actually, I had an ulterior motive: I wanted to see Colin, Rupert's brother. I like comparing the two from time to time, to see the difference and similarities in two dogs from the same litter. I've never been able to do that before and even now, long after Spock died way too young, keep wondering about how his brother is doing, whether he had the same health problems and why didn't I keep in touch with the woman who had him.

Colin shares the same sweet disposition as Rupert, and is just as cuddly. That's where the similarities end. Physically, they could be night and day. Rupert is broad-shouldered and barrel-chested while Colin is lean and slender. Perhaps this is the part where there is some truth that dogs resemble their owners (or the other way round). You can tell that Rupert is our dog and Colin is C's.

Yeah, this post requires a photo of what M calls the Bean Brothers (imagine two Mr Bean characters bumbling around) together. Ok, I will get round to that. Some day.

And Toby, the older dog, is still the Young Master of the Universe, requisitioning my lap as soon as I sat down. When I got on the papa-san sofa, both he and Colin were like a well-synchronised tag team, instantly taking up positions on either side of me for a cuddle. I was surprised at first because last time I was there, the papa-san sofa was for humans only, and the dogs could only get on it by special invitation. (There's another sofa in the room which is the dogs'.) It was only when M caught us in the middle of the cuddlefest that I was told the special invitation rule still stands. Busted.

Busted again when we got home. There was hell to pay when HRH smelt the scent of the two dogs on us. Me, especially. I was the chief cuddler culprit.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Watching the watcher

Lsaid that he mentioned "Mummy" when I was at work and he was home with the furkids -- whereupon Rupert promptly went to wait by the door for me. And when Mummy did not materialise and the floor got a bit hard, he got on to the couch but sat at the corner nearest the door and kept staring at it, and waiting.

I came home to a red carpet welcome, of course. But then again, I always do. :)

And where was HRH while Roop was mounting guard by the front door? Lying in state on our bed. Her bed. But to give her credit, L added, her nose was pointed towards the door. Hmmphf.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Life's ironies

While the UN spent the weekend working out a new set of sanctions against Burma, the Sunday paper here runs a fashion feature on how to choose Burmese gemstones.

*bangs head against wall*

Monday, October 15, 2007

In which I actually went shopping

I don't shop a lot nor very often, but when I shop, *I shop*. I had a day off on Friday, and met L downtown after he was done with work for dinner. It was actually so that we could stop by for groceries after the meal, so that we wouldn't have to battle the weekend supermarket crowds. I usually get the shopping when I have a weekday off but this time, I didn't think my back would let me carry the groceries home alone (although it's much better, thank you).

Proof that I don't go downtown enough: I didn't know that there's an underground traffic tunnel at the Stamford Road/Fort Canning bottleneck. Not that it's necessary knowledge: traffic still slowed to a bottleneck after emerging from the tunnel.

So since I was downtown, I shopped. Marks & Sparks for tea bags -- nobody does extra strong malty tea like they do. Prestat for chocolates -- nobody charges for chocolate like they do, purveyors of fine chocolates to HM the Queen not withstanding. It's $22 for 100g, which amounts to about 20 pieces. Still, I regard the expense as medicinal. I have given up eating mass brand chocolate from the supermarket because they induce migraines. This is not a snooty statement. I actually experimented, after the last incapacitating migraine, which did not fit in the hormone cycle and came on after eating cheap(er) chocolate.

And then I wandered into Birkenstocks. And noted that they have a new shoe model out (which may not be that new, given that I'm so fashionably behind time) -- it is not open-toed and has a strap round the back of the foot so it doesn't look like a slip-on sandal. In fact, it looks like a pair of Mary Janes. A far cry from the brown "nun" sandals, eh, ES? I remember showing you my pinkish lavender pair the last time I bought one -- and that's how long ago, so that's how often I shop. Behold, my new pair of work shoes. And it also helps that it comes in happy colours. Black Monday's not so dark today.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

When you don't feel much like doing anything, playing with the dogs takes up a lot of time.

And posting their pictures on the blog means you don't have to think of something to write.

Told you my life is going to the dogs.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

One world

And just when you think the world's a sorry place, you come across a food court that has representations from China, Thailand, Japan, Korea, Italy, Singapore and the US. I think this place (next to the office) qualifies for UN Security Council membership.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

As the world turns

... Gays in Australia are recognised for their achievements.

... But gays in the US are beat up

... And gays in Singapore are fighting for their legal rights.

... Wanna bet that monks in Burma were shot by bullets made in Singapore?

I have been too dispirited to write and post since the last entry. The above are links sent to me by friends or were posted in their blogs in recent days. And that's why I'm dispirited. One world, indeed.

Meanwhile, ordinary folk go to work, cook dinner, call their mums, tell their gay friends they love them, walk their dogs. And hope they make a difference.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Act now

Repeal Section 377a
The deadline is Oct 19, I wish I'd known about this site earlier. But it's not too late... yet... act now!

We love our humans, just like our cousins Vivi, Toby and Colin love their humans. Only instead of having a mummy and daddy like us, they have two daddies. And that's the only difference. Their daddies lavish love and attention and many, many T*R*E*A*T*S and spoil them rotten. Just like what our mummy and daddy do. Their daddies work hard at their jobs. Just like our mummy and daddy. Their daddies pay their taxes and contribute to the community. Just like our mummy and daddy.

But the law here makes it a criminal offence for their daddies to love each other. However, the penal code may be rewritten. Please help us repeal Section 377a. And help us to help them love each other.

Queeni and Rupert

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Bag lady

I read about people queueing for hours for this Anya Hindmarch designer bag, how it was snapped up within hours of its launch in the UK, is now sold out in the US and how the company has now closed the waiting list for new orders.

I really didn't understand the hype over it. It isn't even fabulously pretty. Honestly, I've got prettier non-designer bags. Not that I have any designer anything, by the way. I certainly wasn't going to get it, I don't shop, I don't follow fashion and I don't join queues. For saying that, I expect my Singaporean nationality to be revoked anytime now.

And now I have an Anya Hindmarch. Because I can. Without queueing or waiting. Or even jostling or punching -- which I gather occurred among tai-tais queueing up outside the flashy boutiques, so much so that the company is withdrawing launches across Asia for customer safety.

It's excess stock. Somebody had a bunch of them and I was asked if I wanted one. So I bought one. Admittedly, this designer bag is designed not to come with a designer price tag. Still, does this make me hip and happenin' now?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Further adventures in subbing

Back when George W Shrub stole the US presidency, the departing Democrat administration reportedly pried off the letter 'w' from the White House computer keyboards. In the spirit of things at the time, I wrote a column without using the letter 'w'. It turned out to be easier and much more fun than writing verse. The byline presented a bit of problem since my surname starts with 'w' but I thought maybe I could circumvent that with two v's set close together. In any case, in the spirit of not having to sub my own work, I left that to the sub to worry about. In the end, the column was spiked but I enjoyed the literary exercise anyway.

Now here's more literary gymnastics. How do you sub/layout a page without hyphens? And it's not ragged-right so you have to break words at some point. You could maybe force some line breaks but imagine doing this for every line of every column. And it's not a frivolous literary exercise this time but damn serious. There's a sponsor who doesn't want hyphens on his page (!) and the poor sub (not me, thank goD) is tearing her hair out.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Mid-life crisis

You know you're on the wrong side of 40 when *getting off the couch* results in a sprained back muscle.

I honestly don't know how I did it. I was lying on the chaise longue and getting out of it has always meant scooting your bum to the edge before you could swing your legs on the floor and haul yourself up. I was doing that but my feet were not solidly grounded on the floor because there were two dogs under my legs when I leaned forward and that did it. I already have a bad back, what I did just aggravated it.

I didn't realise how bad it was. Well, there was a momentary flash of pain that made me want to spit out the coffee I just swallowed. But after that, I didn't feel anything. I could even walk the two dogs and bend down and pick Queeni up out of the neighbour mak cik's way when she was sweeping the corridor when we went past.

Never underestimate adrenaline until it wears off. One hour later, I was immobile in the shower. It took me 20 minutes to get my pants on.

The doctor proclaimed it to be a bad sprain which would take a week to heal. But he only gave me 3 days' MC. What, doctors think that there are only 3 days in a week?

Now for part 2 of the sorry story. Doc also gave me muscle relaxants and heavy duty painkillers that had to be taken with an antacid. I took them on a full stomach but still, the medication churned my stomach so much that I spent all night and most of this morning puking.

Moral of the story: Never ever get off your couch. Stay on it. Wallow. Getting off the couch results in Bad Things.

Monday, October 01, 2007

About last night...

I check my junk mail folder once in a while just to make sure that no legitimate email slips in there (you know who you are, who sends L emails with .doc attachments to my email account, which go straight into the Junk folder because of the said attachments, which cannot be read anyway because this Mac does not have, *will never have* MS Office, dammit.).

But I digress. Back to the Junk folder. Where I saw mail from:
Sender: Mohammad
Subject: I won't forget last night
That sure stood out from the crowd offering replica watches, discount medication, software and performance enhancers, especially during Ramadan. Even so, it cannot be The Mohammad. Although Jesus did send me email once. And he had a Latino surname and was selling medication. Siddartha Gautama does not have email yet, I think.

Last night. Last night I went to the office party for the paper's 31st anniversary. Where I got sabo-ed by the deputy chief sub who was prowling around with a wireless mike ... after having been slapped on the wrist by him the previous night for a subbing infringement.

I'd rather forget last night. If that's okay with Mohammad.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Spooky story

You know all these real ghost stories that happened to a friend of a friend of a friend? This is the only one I can tell, and it happened to a friend of my friend and I swear it's true. Sumpah.

A woman who works for her friend recently adopted a rescue dog, an Aussie mix. She calls him Curley and he is deaf.  He is an older dog found wandering around. The rescue group people noticed that Curley goes crazy when older men come around so they surmised that he must have belonged to an older man who may have either passed away or had to go to a nursing home or hospital.
One night, the woman woke up and saw a spirit standing by her bed. It was an older man and Curley sat up in bed, staring at him and wagging his tail. When the woman finally got the courage to speak, she asked the spirit if he was Curley's owner, and then it faded away.

Curley had been having some issues and his owner is working them through with him. But since the man appeared, he has been a much better dog, she said.

What spooks me out isn't so much that the woman saw the spirit, but that the dog also saw it, and sat up. *And wagged.*

But I guess maybe Curley needed some closure from his former owner, that he needed to be told that his former owner couldn't take care of him, so the new owner would. And maybe the former owner also needed to know that Curley is being taken care of. Hence the visit. So maybe this is a good sort of spooky story.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Clean bill of health

HRH went for her six-month check-up following the amputation, following that nasty mast cell tumour episode. She's got the all clear. We are happy.

What wasn't a happy start this morning was trying to get a cab. It still doesn't pay to be honest. We could have used the automated booking, but as always, bypassed that to tell the operator to indicate to the driver taking the booking that we have a dog in a carrier, especially as this is the Ramadan month and we don't want to screw up a Muslim driver. We ended up getting screwed. It took more than 45 minutes to get a cab and that was after lost tempers and indifferent operators. We were late for the vet appointment, but they were very nice, as always. They even called a cab for us, for the trip home.

That time round, we got a driver who was very concerned about Queeni -- since he picked us up at the vet, he thought she must be ill. He used to have a dog, a Pomeranian. He talked about it all the way back, how it used to run around naughtily but became quiet and still when it was ill, how it used to wait by the door for him when he went out, and how it leapt and jumped with joy when he came home. He was smiling as he recounted all that he loved about a dog, now long gone. It made our day too.

There's something about dogs.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The perils of subbing, part 2

I thought it was too good to be true when the copy subbing workflow slowed to a trickle at 11pm last night, with an hour to go before offstone. Damn right it was too good to be true.

One innocuous foreign page, assigned at 4.30pm and with the line-up ready at 5pm, was forgotten until 11.30pm, with half an hour left on the clock on a die-die-must-meet-offstone night because there was a supplement insert to go with the regular paper.

No one had the heart to blame the page sub for forgetting about it. She had two early pages, one of which was killed in a pagination rejig -- after she had finished the page. Then as the night progressed, she had to switch her focus to the VIP front and prime pages.

But it did mean half-an-hour of frenzy for the rest of us. And I guess there's no such thing as a full-page house ad.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The perils of subbing

... trying not to get teary eyed while going through the pictures and wire copy coming out of Myanmar.

The White House of course has already made its statement; the UN Security Council is convening (probably already has by now); even China, the junta's only friend, has had a discreet word. Only Asean, with Singapore in the chair, hasn't said anything. What goes on in the neighbour's backyard is the neighbour's problem. Typical.

[Update late on Thursday night: Reuters has photos of the AFP photog moments after he was shot. I don't think anyone could use those photos.]

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The morning after

... Mid-Autumn Festival and the lanterns are still hanging prettily on the trees. What's not so pretty is the new footpath splattered with wax and scorch marks. And what's more insidious is that someone strung a line between two trees in the field, presumably to hang lanterns on last night. I hope no late night dog walker got decapitated.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Signs and wonders

One morning, this sign appeared at the edge of the field outside our house. I wonder what it's going to achieve. The people who already pick up their dogs don't need it and the people who don't aren't going to be cowered into submission by a wordless sign.

As it is, we already differentiate the dog people in this estate into those who pick up and those who don't. Those who don't are usually also the ones who keep their charges on a tight leash and won't let them socialise even though their dog and mine are madly wagging their tails at each other.

So not surprisingly, those are the dogs whose names we don't know so we've formed our own: Devil Dog for the aggro Japanese Spitz; The Schnauzer With the Tail, to differentiate him from the rest of the Schnauzer crowd, most of whom we know by name anyway; Ugly Shihtzu, but then L thinks all Shihtzus are ugly -- and we say this having had a pug once so we've nothing against adorably ugly dogs. Actually, we finally found out Ugly's name. It is Yogurt. As in dairy product. He was better off as Ugly.

Once, one of the the non-picker-uppers' dogs was in the middle of a squat when I was out walking mine so I walked over and offered the woman a sheet of newspaper. I don't read English, she said in Mandarin. In my limited Mandarin, I told her it wasn't for reading, it was for picking up her dog's poop. She looked clueless.

I wonder what excuse she'll use for not understanding this pictorial sign.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Sleep positions

Now that Rupert has won bed privileges, the two dogs start the night like this, mirror images of sleep, with HRH Boss taking the top of the bed, of course.

Then when we get in, Rupert tries to move to the top of the bed. Some nights, HRH gets grumpy and growls at him, so he hops off to sleep in his dog bed in his Cinderella corner of the room. On the nights he gets to stay on the bed -- and that's usually only if she is too sleepy to budge herself or him -- he puts his head on the pillow, and his bottom half is under the duvet. By the morning, he has shifted so that his head buried under the duvet (I don't know how he breathes) and his ass is next to my face. That's phase #1 of my morning wake-up.

Once, just at about dawn, I stirred because there was a weight on my pillow. I opened my eyes to find HRH sitting on the pillow, perched on the highest ground she could find, looking down at Roop in consternation: how the hell did he get up on the bed? Didn't I push him off?

Rupert gets up when L does, and is taken out for a quick pee. I don't trust him on the bed when he has a full bladder. Then he jumps back up on the bed for round #2 of a lie-in. My phase #2 wake-up finds a dog on either side of my legs, lying sphinx-like alongside me and facing the door, like two sentries guarding me since L has by that time left the house. It's a great, safe, warm feeling to wake up to. Much better than a dog's bottom in your face.