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.