Tuesday, July 31, 2007

It takes a woman

... to notice that you've got your hair done in the week that you were away from the office (http://snugpug.blogspot.com/2007/07/purple-reign.html). L, who was with me the entire time at the hairdresser's, looked long and hard after it was done and said he couldn't see any difference. While my colleague, at one glance, knew it had been coloured, even if it was subtle compared to all my previous hair colours, and had a trim.

The last but one trip to the hairdresser's, when L was not with me when I went to my usual colour guy, a friend actually texted L when I was on my way home, to tell him what had been done to my hair so that he could notice and compliment accordingly.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Kick start

This stuff looks like it's radioactive and can glow in the dark, doesn't it? I don't know how kids can eat this voluntarily and how parents can feed it to them. I only ate it because I needed a sugar high to kick start my first day back at work after after a week of lounging about at home. And that it came in bright cheerful colours only helped. It might have helped more if it was a little less florescent.

Oh, I don't normally eat sugary cereals. But L gets a hankering for them now and then, so he buys the variety packs, the ones that come in a single serving size. But as he is allergic to some fruit, he is suspicious of the so-called fruit-flavoured cereals. Only I don't think there's any real fruit in this bowl.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


I am rapidly going off Cheap Flat-Packaged Furniture Co. Last year, when we bought a couple of thousands of dollars of furniture for our new house, they never told us that what we spent more than qualified us for their privilege card.

So recently, when a magazine coupon let us sign up for the privilege card for spending a tenth of the usual amount needed to qualify, I thought I would finally be able to get it.

Only to find out at the store that the amount had to be spent in the main store, not in the food outlet. A stipulation that wasn't in the small print anywhere on the coupon.

I would have let it pass, had it not been a double whammy of missing out. I really felt cheated out of the card the first time round. So as L suggested, I went on the Net, found their website, contacted them, and expressed my disappointment. Twice over.

And for good measure, added other less than happy experiences. Like the time when we bought the furniture, paid for the assembly, only to find out that delivery and assembly was done by their subcontractors, some of whom had no idea how to assemble certain items. They puzzled over the pictorial wordless instructions. I could have figured out the wordless instructions myself, only I had paid for some professional to do it more expertly. It certainly didn't inspire any confidence in their ability. In fact, one of the workmen flatly said he didn't do shelves, and left our unit half-assembled because it was beyond him. He would come back the next day, bringing along a colleague who knew how to do the job. To his credit, he did. But this was at a time when we hadn't yet moved in, so we had to make arrangements to go back to the new flat to let in the workmen.

Then this Chinese New Year, when we changed the removable couch covers, we found that covers without elastic are hard to get round furniture edges when sewn to exact measurements. It's like an irresistible force meeting an unmovable object. Not impossible but tough. L, getting irritable as he wrestled with the covers, said that he would like to invite Cheap Flat-packed Furniture Co's general manager over to personally change the covers to see how easily he could do it. So in my email to Cheap Flat-packed Furniture Co, I extended the invitation. That was last month. I guess he's not coming.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Life lessons learnt from dogs

Forget all about that sweet homily you've seen often circulated round the Internet, the one that tells you to go through life with your head stuck out the car window, roll in the flowers and welcome home loved ones enthusiastically with a running jump.

The true lesson in life from a dog is what I got off my dog e-list the other day, something which appears to be Rupert's personal motto (C, who owns Rupert's brother, along with another wiry fox terrier, says it's every foxie's motto):

Handle every situation like a dog -- If you can't eat it or screw it, piss on it and walk away.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Hanging up the brushes

Our groomer called and told us that she is giving up her shop unit at the neighbourhood mall in December. Well, she's not exactly giving up the shop per se, she is giving up the dog grooming and pet goods business and will convert the shop into a gaming centre. After December, she will still take grooming clients, but on weekends only, at one of the pet farms on the same road as the dog run which we go to frequently.

So we will probably still see her. Although it might take some explaining to the furkids that when we drive down that road to the dog run (Rupert recognises it), it may not lead to a fun time in a large field but to baths, haircuts and nail trimming. They will be in for a shock.

And possibly the saddest part of it all is that there's more money in computer gaming than dogs.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Vet visit

Rupert was due for his annual vaccination at the end of July, and since I am on leave this week, it seemed like a good time to get it done. Which meant that Murphy's Law kicked in and the car chose this week not to start.

The Chevrolet people came, jumpstarted the car, towed it off and it has been sitting in their garage since Monday because they have not been able to get a check-up/fix-it slot for us yet.

Okay, never mind, let's do Plan B. Leave one dog at home, take the one that needs the shots to the vet in a taxi. Two humans, one fox terrier, we outnumber Roop the Poop two to one, we can handle it.

Which, of course, prompted Murphy's Law to swell up to a double dose. Queeni's Schnauzer Bumps (seriously, that's the name of the itchy, bumpy skin condition Schnauzers are prone to) flares up and she must have been going for her tail because the base of her back and her tail are red and angry. It was really ugly looking, just short of dripping blood.

Called the vet double quick and made an appointment for two dogs. The receptionist is used to us, one dog at a go and wanted to make sure: "Is this for Queeni or Rupert?"

Her response just about summed it up nicely. We called for a cab and as always, we skip the automated booking to talk to a human because it's only fair that the operator/dispatcher indicate to the driver that we have a dog -- in a carrier, we always stress -- so a Muslim cabby wouldn't pick up the booking. Although we've had Muslim cabbies before who didn't mind the dog and non-Muslim cabbies who did.

Couldn't get a cab. Sometimes, it doesn't pay to be honest when you say you have two dogs. In carriers or not. So we got a bit economical with the truth, we just said: "Got dog. In a carrier." Without specifying the number.

So we finally get a cab. And then the next problem was Rupert in the carrier. Grown too big and strong for the soft-sided carrier, he tipped it over and got out of it three times between our front door and the taxi waiting downstairs. But mercifully, he behaved in the taxi because I had one of his bones with me and rammed it into his mouth everytime he as much as lifted his head up. He obligingly gnawed on the bone instead of doing what he always does in cars -- try to cover every window because he can't decide which window to look out of and thinks he's missing something at one window while looking out another.

When we got to the vet, Queeni glowered at everybody while Rupert loved everybody. He loved Dr P, even though he got poked with a needle twice -- once for the vaccination and another for a blood test before starting on heartworm preventive.

Queeni was fairly well behaved, none of that growling and thankfully none of that biting the vet business. Dr P asked if she ever growled at Dr T, the senior vet who took over her care when he removed the mast cell tumour (Queeni was seeing Dr P today since she might as well see both dogs together at one shot). We don't think so. Yeah, there's something about Dr T, said Dr P. Well, we're happy a fellow vet thinks as highly of Dr T as we do.

And boy, do we love our vets. I didn't realise until I got home and looked at the receipts that I realised she charged us very cheaply. Since Rupert was there for a vaccination and annual exam, we paid for that package, which does not have a consultation charge. I expected to pay consultation for Queeni but for that, I was billed for "repeat consultation/short examination for second dog" -- which was considerably less. OK, granted that over the years and many dogs, we have probably paid for Dr T's Lexus, the renovation of the new hospital wing and his kids' college education, but it's nice to know they're making things easier for us when they can.

And the taxi ride home posed less complications. We called and punched in the code for the vet hospital because it was registered on an auto phone-in booking line. We reasoned that there was no need to talk to a dispatcher this time because any cabbie responding to a call from a vet hospital would be prepared to pick up a dog. Or two.

The furkids have passed out from exhaustion. I think I will soon, too.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Basket case

So I'm home on a week's leave and we're not driving up to Kuala Lumpur with A as we first planned on doing a couple of months ago, for a whole bunch of reasons. And if I thought I'd be home with nothing to do, then I was very, very wrong.

The furkids -- well, mostly Rupert, actually -- are doing their part in making sure my time is well occupied by filling the mending basket. Almost all the stuffed toys require surgery.

Most of the cases are straightforward but Turtle on top of the pile has complications. He's not an open and shut limb-stitching case like the others. His problem is that he's so old, his fabric is coming apart in little clumps, with much assistance from Rupert's teeth.

It is probably time to retire Turtle. And that's the bittersweet part. Turtle came with Queeni some six years ago. At that time, when R handed Queeni to me, he put with her in her carrying crate one of his Tshirts and Turtle, saying that Turtle was her favourite toy.

And indeed it was. Turtle helped her settle into her new home, helped her establish playtime with her new family. Then along the way, many, many other toys were added and a few years ago, she stopped playing with Turtle. There were toys that rolled, rattled and squeaked. Turtle's time was up even then.

But I'm not sure if I can throw Turtle out like all the other toys that were damaged beyond repair. Turtle is part of Queeni's history with me, and I suppose he will now join that storage space all dogparents probably have -- the place where they keep the furkids' baby teeth, puppy collars and outgrown toys. It is where I kept a couple of Spock's favourite toys after he died, while the rest were donated to SPCA. Another dog, another time, another keepsake.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Purple reign

Yesterday, the first day of a week's leave from work if you don't count Saturday and Sunday, I went to spoil myself a bit. I went to the hairdresser's and then I got a much-needed neck and shoulder massage at the reflexology place next door.

It didn't actually start that way. L needed a haircut so I went to the mall with him, and since I was there, decided I might as well get a trim anyway, my hair was starting to get wild. It's been maybe five months since my last hair cut -- that's how long that recently uploaded picture taken at the hairdresser's was sitting on the mobile phone because I forgot all about it.

And since I was getting a hair cut, I got talked into getting a colour job. Five months since the last one, my head was now double toned -- black at the roots and a variegated brown six inches down till the ends. Variegated because it bore the history of a series of different toned streaks in different colours.

I am now done with multicoloured hair. While that's fun to have, it means that you really should go back and get the colours touched up every month or so and I'm too lazy to do that. I figured if I dye it to a colour closer to black (not black because why dye your hair the colour it comes in?), then when the black starts growing, the double tone wouldn't be so obvious.

So now the hair's purple. Not very purple though. It's pretty close to black with the purple coming through only in the sunlight. Good enough for me.

Monday, July 23, 2007

More music

Yesterday, we had on TV the four-hour abridged version of the recent 24-hour Live Earth concert (http://snugpug.blogspot.com/2007/07/24-hours-of-rock-n-roll.html). The original was way too much music at one go -- while it was fun staying up till way late to watch it on TV, it was strange going to bed to rock music, waking up to it still in progress and it was still loud and pumping when I got ready to go to work.

And I'm still not sure if it ever got anywhere near what it was meant to achieve. Unlike Live Aid, you don't see visible results like a convoy of trucks rolling off for Africa. You go to a concert, or watch it on TV, feel really good and virtuous that you're part of something, but when the music's turned off, what exactly have you done to save the earth?

Still, the abridged version was nice in that it let me catch up on the bits I missed when I was asleep or at work. And finally, I got to watch The Police. So Stewart Copeland now has to wear glasses. And Sting, who used to be the good looking frontman of the trio, is the only one with significant hair loss. This must be what they call retribution.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Mother of all water bowls

When HRH was the only dog, her water bowl was a cute little bowl from a child's breakfast set. It had a cartoon of a fairy princess and it suited her.

When Rupert came along, the fairy princess had to go. It wasn't that it was too girly for him but that the bowl just plain wasn't big enough. Rupert doesn't so much drink as stick his head into the bowl, displace the water, and then lick some off the floor, then shake his chops and send water spraying everywhere. When I found myself refilling the princess bowl four to five times a day, I switched the vessel to a deep, wide Japanese bowl meant to hold ramen. It was heavy enough so Rupert wouldn't be able to send it flying -- we ruled out plastic dog dishes a long time ago. It was functional, but it wasn't well, pretty. Unlike the princess bowl.

So when I saw this huge, bone-shaped dog dish, I had to get it. It's more like a water trough than a bowl. The biscuits are there for size comparison. The bowl could easily hold a whole bag of biscuits.

And I'm sure it would make Rupert very, very happy. I think Vivi could take a swim in it.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

"Sharper than a serpent's tooth..."

'King Lear' makes me cry everytime I read it or watch it. And now, it's making me cry without my even starting on Act I, Scene 1. Because I can't get tickets to the Royal Shakespeare Company's production that opens tonight, with Ian McKellen as Lear.

Tickets were sold out weeks ago. And these were at prices that I consider exorbitant -- $200 to $500. Even the RSC doesn't charge so much on home ground. I suppose there's the cost of touring -- Singapore is the only Asian stop on this world tour. It cost the Singapore Repertory Theatre $1 million to bring in the RSC and I suppose they are making good that money.

The most ironical thing is that Sir Ian told our arts reporter in an interview that Shakespeare and Chekhov (he's doing a double bill) is not high brow and that students should come and watch. What student could afford $200 and that's the cheapest seat? Well, there's an even cheaper $80 seat but your view is obstructed, the ticketing site kindly tells you. Even I could ill afford a ticket and I was just going to buy one ticket for myself and leave L at home.

But all that's moot, of course. There are no tickets to be had. I'll just have to read my well-thumbed copy of 'Lear' tonight while those in the $500 seats rattle their jewellery.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

My brains are fried

That's why I haven't been updating the blog. Besides, it's kinda nice to let sleeping dogs lie... :p

It has been crazy at work because we're in the midst of switching to a new software and a new system. It's all I could do to keep abreast of things, and it made it all the more harder to come home and turn on yet another computer (and a different OS too) for relaxation purposes.

For the past three weeks, we've been trying to get the hang of the new system. We've got a guy from the ITD helpdesk permanently sitting with us and it was embarrassing how often I had to get him to come over to help me do the simplest things. Up until now, we've had one foot in the new system and another in the old but by tomorrow, we will be switching completely to the new system. And all hell will break lose. And Helpdesk Guy will probably go postal on us.

Oh, the picture. L took it, quite a while ago, using my mobile phone camera and I'd forgotten about it. We were at the hairdresser's and as always, it takes longer to do a woman's hair than a guy's and he was getting bored. I'm getting a steam treatment. It looks like I'm being cooked, doesn't it? I sure felt like I was dim sum.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Sleep ... a pictorial study

This picture is here so that I can have a reference for the picture in My Profile. When I uploaded a picture for it yesterday, and deleted that blog entry after that, the profile pic went away.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Crazy old world

So Paris Hilton's time in jail made the news here. I didn't care much about it. Scooter Libby's indictment and sentencing didn't make the news here but I followed it out of interest after all that business with the NYT reporter going to jail.

Is it just me or doesn't it bug anyone that Paris Hilton did more jail time than Scooter Libby?

Saturday, July 07, 2007

24 hours of rock 'n' roll

... and I'm tired just thinking about it. On the wrong side of 40 now, I can't party all night anymore, never mind 24 hours -- even if it's on a couch in front of the TV for the Live Earth concerts.

Actually, I've got some misgivings about this 24-hour worldwide concert. I seriously wonder how much of the earth this song-and-dance routine is going to save. I mean, all those rock stars performing aren't within walking or biking distance of Wembley or the Giants Stadium or wherever they are supposed to show up, and have to be chauffeured in, if not flown in. And think of all the resources needed to rig up for the concerts, and more for the worldwide live telecasts. That's one huge global carbon foot print, isn't it?

The local TV station got into the act by encouraging people to wear green. I just don't know how wearing green and slumping in front of the TV is going to placate Gaia around these parts. And this is the country with the tourism board, ie govt, endorsed month-long Great Singapore Sale. Reducing consumerism is just not on the consciousness of a people whose national pastimes are shopping and eating.

I just can't summon up any enthusiasm for the Live Earth marathon concert. There's no vibe to it, not like what I felt for Live Aid when I was in the UK, oh lord, was it almost 20 years ago? Maybe you just had to be in a place where it's actually happening, watching it on TV just doesn't cut it. Or maybe I'm just more cynical now. Whatever it is, I think you can only pull a Geldorf once.

And just like with the Grammys earlier this year, there's only one act I want to watch -- The Police. The concerts open with Sydney first. I don't know half the acts appearing. For me, Australian music died with Michael Hutchence and when Midnight Oil disbanded. And who knows what Jimmy Barnes is up to now? The Police appear in New Jersey, so probably that's 20 hours into the telethon. I don't think I could last that long and I shouldn't leave the TV on all that time. That's hardly cutting down on electricity. Not very green, is it?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Veni vedi veci vino

I had the day off today and we went to the hypermarket where I found Leonardo last week -- we like going there on a weekday when parking is a breeze and L loves the American-style standalone building surrounded by a free carpark -- as opposed to the usual supermarket inside a shopping centre where you have to jostle with other mall goers for a (paid parking) spot in the basement carpark.

This time, I found Leonardo next to Mona Lisa. OK, this time, it's way too tacky for me. I left her smiling on the shelf.

What I also found were two other chianti brands. That's when Leo got dumped. It was like a goldmine, going from no choice of chianti to a choice of four. And this was at a discount hypermart not known for luxury items.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

La vita vino

What's there to do when you were a famous artist and inventor in your lifetime and you've inspired a best-selling page-turner (and less successful movie, despite Tom Hanks in it) after your death? You lend your face and name to wine.

I saw this Leonardo chianti in the supermarket and bought it because I like chianti and up until now, there's only one brand of chianti (Ruffino) that is available at the supermarket. Oh, I'm sure the upmarket wine shops will have a good selection of chianti but I mostly buy my plonk at the supermarket. I was actually very hesitant about Leonardo, I thought it was kind of tacky drinking wine endorsed by a dead white man. But actually, it wasn't half bad. And cheaper than Ruffino.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Comic strip stars

L drew this, inspired by the furkids. I'm not sure if you can make out the writing though, I haven't got a scanner so I took a photo of it. I'm also not sure if there will be further instalments. Genius is hard to predict. :)

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Naughty bits

It's an old wives' saying here that a child with two hair whorls on his head is extra naughty. So does it mean that Rupert, with two hair whorls on his rear end, is extra naughty then? Help.

He came aptly named. Depending on whether he has committed transgression No 1 or No 2, his name routinely gets changed to Roop the Poop or RuPee. Usually it's one or the other but today, he surpassed all expectations and managed to do both. In rapid succession. In inappropriate places. Nowhere near the pee pad. That Dog.