Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Marking territory

Somebody dragged the life-sized stuffed dog into the crate. Now Nobody can get in.

The suspected culprit looks pleased with himself, and has a glint in his eyes.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

It was a dark and stormy night

Beef stew made it better.

Not Interiors Digest

Why is it when you see pictures of reed diffusers, they look so elegant and when you actually have one in your house, it just gathers dust? And how do you clean dust off essence-soaked stickyish reeds? Bet Martha Stewart never had that problem.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Once in a blue moon

... they actually share something ... that is to say, the Queen deigns to let the Other One on the bed.

L thinks that it would be nice if that dog shaped thing you see in the rear -- a life-sized cuddly dog toy -- were a third living, breathing dog.

Q thinks that it would make the bed very, very cramped indeed.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monsoon Monday

It's grey and rain soaked outside. I haven't seen the sun in days.

So I'm desperately counting blessings this thanksgiving week. Let's see -- I'm off today; there're heaps of sunny Oz pix in iPhoto; and oh, the Bondi Rescue tshirt arrived in the mail today. :)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Back to reality

The house guest has left (no thanks to Qantas), the spare mattress that she was sleeping on aired and put away, my own suitcase finally unpacked, all the gifts distributed, holiday laundry done and folded, and my work bag is ready for tomorrow.

It is as if the past three weeks didn't happen.

Thank goodness for pictures of sandy beaches and cute lifeguards. :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Oh the irony

Locking out your staff and grounding your entire aircraft fleet but not pulling out your Visit Australia With Qantas ads.

Occupy Qantas Lounges, I say!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

and other Australiana

I thought the Opera House looked a bit "veiny", something that you never see in postcards and photos. Turned out that it's because the roofing is covered in what's pretty much bathroom tiles. And the grouting needed cleaning, at that.

The Blue Mountains ...

Meet the natives ...

The dingo looked just like anybody's yellow dog ...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

You wacky Aussies

... and all the other things for which I didn't have the camera handy ...

... Jai Ho on the airport muzak.

... Wallabies rugby shirts go on 50% discount after Australia gets kicked out of the running for the Rugby World Cup.

... A brown dog standing on the passenger seat of a dusty Holden ute, head stuck out of the wound-down window, ears flapping in the wind.

... street name sign for "Dreamhouse Road", just outside Manly. Ah, happy the residents.

... Kids in school uniforms hitting the beach after they've been let out from school. Why hang out at a mall when there's a beach?

... Stuffed toy kangaroo tied to the rear bumper of a ute going down Campbell Parade, Bondi.

... Wedding photographer yells out to wedding party on church steps to "take off your sunnies" before clicking the shutter.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Not regal enough

Not quite sure what's so queenly about this Tshirt collection. It's neither Freddie Mercury nor Priscilla of the Desert.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Ten years ago, and I remember it as clear as day. And I'm not American, and live on the other side of the globe.

I was at work. It was shortly past 9pm in Singapore. By that time of the night, I had already finished my work, and I was idly scanning the newswire service. The regular copytaster was off that day. I saw a little newsflash that a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center towers. That first single-line newsflash suggested that it was a light plane.

At that time, nobody had any idea it was a jet. I had thought it was a small plane because some years before, there was a prankster who landed a light craft in Moscow's Red Square, just for the hell of it. And I used to play a game that a friend had on his computer, which was an aircraft flying simulator where you could pick a skyline of whatever city you wanted to soar about in. I used to pick the New York City skyline and made it the object of my game to try and fly my plane between the World Trade Center towers. And I thought that was what happened. Someone probably tried to do that and ended up crashing into the tower.

I told the night editor about the newsflash, and he wearily said to put it as a short one or two paragraph filler in an inside page, which would involve minimum rejigging of pages that had already been done. This was the same man who once famously banned stories of train crashes in his native India because it happened too often to be news.

And then live coverage spluttered on the TV. And crescendoed into an unending torrent. Not just New York, but also the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field. There wasn't so much horror when we saw footage of the second plane crashing into the tower as disbelief. It didn't feel real. It felt like we were watching a Hollywood disaster movie. I don't know if it was because news people feel no emotion when covering disasters because you snap into a somewhat detached business-like mode of 'How many dead? How many wounded? Is this picture too gruesome to use in print?'

I think the detachment was the effect of watching a disaster unfold on a screen -- you're wired to think that it's not real, it's a Michael Bay movie, and that after a couple of hours, the lights will come back on and life will become normal again.

It was with that sense of disbelief that I typed an e-mail to a dog e-group I belong to, all dog people and friends, and all American. "What on earth is going on in the US?" And their replies slowly came back, all stunned and shell-shocked as I.

And it didn't help when you keep watching a loop of the second plane crashing into the tower, like it's some kind of instant replay. I remember it got too much for me, so I went out of the newsroom to get away from it and to clear my head. I very probably lit a cigarette at this point. At the carpark, I ran into the copytaster who was on her day off. She got into her car and started driving back to the office as soon as she saw the TV news.

By the end of the night, that one-par filler became the front page, back page and several inside pages. I usually got home at midnight then. That night, I got home at 5am. My father, who usually went to bed at midnight, was still up, and had just turned off the TV. "Horrible, terrible," he said to me as he went upstairs to bed. And he's a man not given to saying very much.

The next day, a New York resident in my e-group forwarded an e-mail from the father of one of her students, a first-person account of how he walked down from his office in one of the two towers. Later, when the NYT wire service picked up his story, I recognised his name. Suddenly, picking through news wires wasn't impersonal detachment any more. These were friends of friends. It was a friend's friend who walked down a World Trade Center tower. Over the next 10 years, it would be a friend's nephew who was posted to Iraq. And so the web of connection slowly crept out and grew, and drew us closer than six degrees of separation.

I wasn't supposed to be working tomorrow, Sept 11. I thought I would be spending it at home, watching all the 9/11 programmes, docu-dramas and analyses on TV. There's been an unending row of trailers for them. I was pretty sure that it didn't matter what station I was tuned to, at any given time, some channel would have a 9/11 programme airing.

I wasn't sure that I wanted to watch another loop of that plane flying into the tower. So I was somewhat relieved when a supervisor asked if I could work the Sunday shift because we were short-handed. It would at least get me away from the TV. But it won't get me away from the news wires. Come 9pm, I don't know if I want to be doing what I did 10 years ago.

Now, 10 years on, the lights have come back on. But life was never normal again.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Double take

When I saw Sean Bean in a trailer for Game of Thrones, I stupidly thought for a fleeting moment that there's another instalment of the Lord of the Rings. That split-second hurray moment of yay! more! was rapidly squleched by a rational how-is-that-possible, there-are-no-more-Tolkien-books logic.

Well, you can't blame me. Sean Bean looks exactly the same as Boromir ...

... and whoever he's supposed to be in Game of Thrones.

There's a reason why Thrones writer David Benioff called it "The Sopranos in Middle Earth" (says the ever-helpful Wikipedia).

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Saturday night drumming

I don't even know what to call Drum Tao. They are more than taiko drumming -- the performance incorporated dance, musical interludes and even a few comic sketches with the punchline in percussion. I suppose they were sort of like a hybrid Stomp, fused with eastern classical, with more choreography than Madonna, more spectacle than Lady Gaga and more drum solos than Ringo Starr can shake a drumstick at.

No pix -- they were strict about no photography or filming, but their website has got videos. They're very, very good, the full house at the Esplanade Theatre gave them a standing ovation.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Larger than life

OK, I filched the pic off the Net because it's better than what I attempted to take with the cellphone cam. It's a hoarding for an upcoming shopping centre in the heart of Orchard Road. And apparently, it's created some controversy. I personally, don't find it at all objectionable. In fact, I find it quite yummy. :)

Friday, September 02, 2011

Ain't that the truth

Stole the pix off a friend's Facebook profile.

Cos I can.

And cos it's well said.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Festive feasting

Sometimes I wonder why I bother to cook on Hari Raya (Eid) when the neighbours are only going to show me up. :)

Oh yeah. L's birthday was on the same day. Roast lamb with mashed sweet potato and roast zucchini and carrots are a pale comparison to sambal ayam, mutton rendang and sayur lodeh though!

And guess which Doofus Dog head-butted the oven when the lamb was in there roasting?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Doofus dog

You know something's wrong when the house is too quiet and That Dog is nowhere to be found. Rupert wasn't in any of his usual sleeping spots and the only thing that kept down the rising panic as I looked round the house for him was that Queeni didn't seem very perturbed.

I finally found him in the corner of the dressing room. Earlier, we had taken Queeni to the vet for her annual shots, and after we got back, L had left her soft-sided carrier in there, next to a coat-stand. Roop had gone in to sniff at the carrier, had somehow got his head stuck in the carrying strap, and on top of it, had somehow got it twisted round the base of the coat-stand, probably when he tried to wriggle out of it. And there he stood, tied to the coat-stand and waiting quietly for rescue.

At least he didn't bring down the cast iron coat-stand. He did look rather relieved when he was freed. Queeni didn't give a damn, I think she probably thought he was better off tied up in the room.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Curry on

National Cook Curry Day was a week ago, and L was so pleased with the assam fish curry then that he followed it up this weekend with chicken curry.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

On the shelf

Just back from a caffeine run. That's like 10 bags of Carrefour coffee behind the two big boxes of Marks and Spencer extra strong tea bags. Everything else on the shelf are dog treats and dog biscuits. We're all set.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Going green

There are now potted plants all over the office. Big, leafy plants two to three feet tall, placed in corners, at the end of cubicle rows, in between filing units.

I found out from the administrators that these plants were rented. I didn't know you could rent plants. The rental includes watering once weekly and a topping up of the hydroponic feed.

They are part of some workplace health initiative the organisation is undertaking, and my particular office is getting the first go at the plants, to sort of test drive the outcome. The biggest boss emailed that we were picked because we had the highest MC rate.

I honestly don't know how the plants are going to cut down on the sick rate. I think people are falling sick because they are overworked, and we are overworked because we are short staffed. New hires might solve things better than new plants. But I guess plants are much cheaper to rent than people.

Also, I remember from biology classes that while plants absorb carbon dioxide and give out oxygen from photosynthesis in the day, the reverse happens at night.

You wanna bet that the sick rate among the night crew will only get worse? Now, among other things, we have to fight for oxygen.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Starting young

There was a bit of commotion on the landing outside our front door yesterday afternoon (and the dogs joined in happily). Turned out that the six-year-old boy down the corridor had staged a run-by toy-throwing at the three-year-old boy across the landing. Yes, he ran past the open door of the flat, and threw a small stuffed pink dinosaur inside, freaking out the younger boy.

Now, a day later, the three-year-old's mother said he won't step on the bits of the floor where the toy bounced and landed. The toy is now sitting in the basket of his dad's bicycle, which is left outside the front door. The boy insisted on placing it there yesterday. Today, he seems anxious that the toy be removed and returned to "abang down there" (brother down the corridor). His mother explained that he feels the need to right things. A concerned L patted the boy on the head. The boy then scrubbed away at it. His father explained that he does that when he is touched, and will then run to the bathroom to wash his hands.

OCD sure starts early.

So does toy terrorism.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Weekend in front of the TV

Only the Brits will consider making a TV programme that retraces the journeys of a long dead poet -- The Scandalous Adventures of Lord Byron. And only a Singapore girl whose name came from Byron and who was mad about the Romantics when she was much younger will watch it. Rupert Everett as the narrator was the icing on the cake. The bonus is when he strips down to his skivvies and tries to swim the Hellespont. Even if he didn't cross it (a Russian tanker got in the way of this Leander), I think he out-Byroned Byron on that.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Impulse buy

Sort of. I was looking for something to wear in the office when the aircon gets chilly at night when the room empties out. I was thinking of a fleece hoodie. And then I saw this. Cut and styled like a leather jacket, but it's denim. Certainly light enough to wear here. And at 70% off. What's not to like?

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

It's criminal

Went to Borders to get a book today. And found them selling cookware. And photo frames and gee-gaws, all stacked aptly under "crime".

Sunday, July 31, 2011


Loopy Roopy's idea of getting into anything -- including closed doors and baby gates -- is to head butt his way through. Well, That Dog has twice banged headfirst into the oven door. The oven being hot, in use and containing a roasting chicken.