Friday, July 30, 2010

Still hooked

4.30am is no time to start reading a book. Unless you finished the previous one at 4.25am.

OK, I learn fast. Halfway through Stieg Larsson Book 2, I went out and got Book 3. I was not going to be left hanging again in that deprivation mode when I finished Book 1 overnight, with hours to go before the bookshop opened to get a serial fix. The reason why I had to go out twice, to two different bookshops in two days, was because the bookshop where I bought Book 2 did not have Book 3. So 24 hours later, I took the train downtown to a bigger bookshop to get Book 3 -- while reading Book 2 on the train there and back. I think I haven't slept properly for the past 72 hours. L thinks it's a good thing that Larsson stopped at 3 books -- if he'd gone on for more, that would be a good week without any sleep.

And this is why I hardly ever start reading trilogies. You know you're starting on a long haul because you're never going to stop with one book. It's like the literary equivalent of opening a bag of potato chips, you're never going to stop at one chip. But sometimes -- like Tolkien, and now Larsson -- they're worth the long-term commitment .

The problem now is that Book 2 isn't the same edition as Books 1 and 3, so I haven't got a matching set. When I bought Book 2, I just grabbed the first edition I came across, like a junkie needing a quick, desperate fix. It didn't matter then that Book 2 didn't match Book 1. And now my copy of Book 3 doesn't match Book 2.

This sort of thing only bothers OCD people. And people who are proud of their matching Terry Prachett Discworld paperbacks. :)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Austen industry

I've just realised that my Jane Austen related books are fast outnumbering the Austen books proper. And these are just what I have, which is a small fraction of what's out there, plus what I've borrowed from the library. I'm not even including trash like Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

I wonder if Austen ever realised that her name and plots would kickstart a whole new genre?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


L had one piece of advice before I embarked on the reading spree -- leave the Stieg Larsson till when I'm on leave and can afford the time because I wouldn't be able to put it down.

Well, I started the potboiler at a Starbucks, and went home, got into bed that night with it, and stayed up till 7am till I finished it. And that's not the end of the story. I slept for a few hours, then leapt out of bed after one cup of caffeine (normally, it takes me three cups before I can even crawl out of bed) and headed straight out for the mall -- to get Books 2 and 3 from the library, and if not, the bookshop. I hadn't even showered (but at least I brushed my teeth and washed my face!), I was in that much of a hurry to get my hands on the next two books in the series.

L laughed me out of the house. He's going to stop laughing when he realises that he's going to have to wait till I'm done with the sequel before he gets his hands on it.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Reading material

Home this week, clearing leave days and planning on staying in bed with two dogs and reading. Oh, OK, at the most, I could schlepp to the sofa.

I've already finished the Prachett. The Larsson I've always been meaning to get round to reading, same as Che Guevara. Hilary Mantel I got on the strength of The Economist's review and winning the Man Booker Prize. Look at the heft of that volume, it's definitely bedside reading material and not something you can slip in your bag and fish out at Starbucks.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sumer is icumen in

Lhude sing cuccu.

Yeah, I know it's kinda cuckoo to go on about summer when you're living one degree north of the equator, and there's watermelon available year round (don't hate me, R, I remember what you said last summer about watermelon being an indication of the season). But the supermarket signs of summer -- such as imported stone fruit -- is really something worth singing about. Guess I'm not about to count my food miles there.

Oh, the poster is a mailer of a restaurant's seasonal menu. It's too pretty to consign to the recycling bin with the rest of the mailers that I get, so I'm sticking it on my wall for the colours. And the laidback effect that it gives me everytime I look at it.

Murie sing cuccu!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Love, etc

My husband loves me too. He went and got Blutack when I realised that we didn't have any in the house. So that his wife could stick postcards of her crush at her desk.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Feed a fever

I love my friends, and I think they love me. They spammed me with pictures of Diego Forlan when they knew of my World Cup crush. Then one of them turned those pictures into postcards ("you only get eight, any more would be a shrine") when I went into post-World Cup post-Forlan withdrawal (yes, I know Spanish La Liga starts next month, but I'm not likely to follow it -- I'm smitten but I'm not stupid enough to follow a league where I only know one player).

And even the one who then spammed me with pictures of Forlan's model girlfriend, in an attempt to jolt me back to post-World Cup reality. Why do footballers always have to date models? Life is unfair enough as it is.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Saturday night out

... feeding my Forlan crush at the Kopitiam's free screening of the World Cup third and fourth placing.

We knew that they would stop alcohol sales after midnight so we brought along our own liquid picnic.

PS: I have realised that the drawback to watching with one's husband a match featuring one's crush is that every time Forlan got possession, L would elbow me, "Eh, your boyfriend!"

If only.

Monday, July 05, 2010


A weak attempt at food blogging -- which is to say, I want to show off what I did for dinner over the weekend. It doesn't look anything as food porn as Chubby Hubby though. But then again, he's a pro.

We usually have a packet of frozen roti prata (Singaporean Indian pancake, usually eaten with curry) as a staple in the freezer, and one day, instead of heating a prata in a non-stick pan on the stove top as I usually do, I stuck one in the oven because I had it going for something else. To my surprise, the flat pancake crisped up and puffed up into layers like flaky pastry.

That sparked off ideas of what to do with prata, mostly along the lines of using it as an easy pastry substitute. It's more restrictive than pastry because you are restricted to working with a circle of frozen dough which you can't roll or manipulate. But it is a lot more convenient, and doesn't involve getting out the rolling pin and pastry board. And I thought pre-made pastry was already convenient. This beat even that.

The easiest thing to make was a sausage roll, I simply rolled a prata round a sausage and popped it in the oven. Last week, prata became the pastry topping for a chicken pot pie. That worked out quite well and it was dead easy because you could just place the circular prata over the pie dish and fold it down over the edge.

Then I got adventurous. Prata became the dough for a pasty. It was an ugly-looking pasty, because unlike malleable dough, I couldn't pinch the pancake neatly into a decorative plait where I sealed the ends, let alone decorate it Martha Stewart-like with pastry appliques on top. But hey, looks doesn't matter because once you cut into it, it will just crumble away into flakes anyway, and it tastes just as good.

Oh, that dish in the corner, it was a vegetable soup.