A meme-like blog post

Because I'm feeling a little under the weather and I can steal the questions from Tricia instead of having to think up entirely original material. And yes, even though I didn't bother with the "25 Random Things About Me" Facebook meme.

1. Do you like blue cheese?
I don't mind the odd daub of it.

2. Have you ever smoked?
Once. If I ever picked up the habit, my mom would kill me.

3. Do you own a gun?
No. I live in Singapore.

4. What flavor Kool-Aid was your favorite?
Clearly whoever came up with this list of questions is American. I must've tried Kool-Aid at some point during my university years, but I can't remember a single instance.

5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments?
No. I just get impatient.

6. What do you think of hot dogs?
Yums! But only if they come with the trimmings.

7. Favourite Christmas movie?
Love Actually. I stole Packrat and Ondine's copy last Christmas and, er, haven't returned it yet.

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
Black coffee.

9. Can you do push-ups?
Kind of. Been practicing somewhat during Pilates class.

10. What's your favorite piece of jewellery?
A curvy silver bracelet I bought at a jewellery stand in the basement of Norris University Center, some time in the mid-1990s.

11. Favourite hobby?
Every time I see the word "hobby", I immediately think of "stamp collecting", even though I was an indifferent collector at best. I think hobbies are so 1980s.

12. Do you have A.D.D.?
We didn't have that in my generation at school.

13. What's one trait you dislike about yourself?
I don't have a very good memory.

14. Middle names?
Not telling! Some things are best kept private (or forgotten).

15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment.
What am I thinking?
Damn, I type fast.
My wrist is itchy.

16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink.
Black coffee, ice-cold water and green tea (out of a bottle or a can).

17. Current worry?
I'll never write that novel.

18. Current hate right now?
When I was a kid, my mother told me not to say that I hated anything because "hate" is a very intense word and not be bandied about lightly (I don't think she used "bandied" though). So, uh, yeah, not really hating anything specific right now.

19. Favourite place to be?
I've been thinking a lot about Hoi An today, partly because a friend there has been Facebooking about eating at Casa Verde, and I'm trying to pitch a related food article. But I think my answer from before still stands: I don't really have a favourite place, though there are many places that I've liked dearly and would be happy to revisit.

Also, my apartment's still a good place to be, though it's not the same apartment that I wrote about the last time.

20. How did you bring in the new year?
Do you mean "ring in" Anyway, it was at a friend's apartment, with the clink of champagne and the riotous chorus of local TV station MediaCorp's New Year countdown event.

21. Where would you like to go?
Paris (again)! Iceland (was just watching a Bizarre Foods episode of this)! Also (in no particular order): Melbourne, Laos, China and Taiwan.

22. Name three people who will complete this.
Um. No.

23. Do you own slippers?
I'm going to steal Tricia's response because she said it best: "This is Singapore. We were born wearing slippers."

24 What shirt are you wearing?
A grey pajama top.

25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?

26. Can you whistle?
Yes, passably.

27. Favourite colour?
Red and its attendant hues.

28. Would you be a pirate?
Yes, if I can look as hot as Keira Knightley and get my pirate swag from 826 Valencia.

29. What songs do you sing in the shower?
None. I'm an execrable singer.

30. Favourite girl's name?
This changes regularly, but one perennial favourite is: Min.

31. Favorite boy's name?
Can't think of one right now.

32. What's in your pocket right now?
Nothing. After all, I'm going to bed.

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Okay, it's officially passé

When the "25 Random Things About Me" Facebook meme is all over the mainstream media, viz.:
... then the window has officially closed on me responding to any of the friends who tagged me for the meme on Facebook.

If you must have some random "facts", go read some of the old memes from my blog archive.

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What have you eaten lately?

I was wondering what to blog about today, then I came across this new meme at olduvai's monomania.

The Omnivore's Hundred (which originates at Very Good Taste)

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you've eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile (I want to say I've eaten this, but I'm not sure)
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat's milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth US$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald's Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S'mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs' legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette (I think kway chap counts)
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe (I can't remember if I had this in Prague)
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
85. Kobe beef (I'm not sure if I've had this)
86. Hare (rabbit counts!)
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

I've had 55 of the items, excluding the three (crocodile, absinthe and Kobe beef) I'm not sure if I've eaten before. I guess my score isn't too surprising for someone who lives in a fairly international city.

I'd do better if I was more open to Mexican food or, you know, had more cash (see items #45 and #84 in particular). After all, the only thing I flatly won't eat is insects --- although now that I think about it, I must've inadvertently ingested a tiny black ant or two in my time.

Oddly enough, I haven't had a PB&J sandwich, despite the four years I spent in the US.

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Year in review: 2006

Reading Capitalism Bad; Tree Pretty reminded me that I did this last year.

Write down the first sentence of the first entry in the past twelve months:
The thing about spending New Year's Eve at the same place we were last New Year's Eve --- not to mention it being the same place we spent the most recent Xmas Eve --- is that one can't help getting a little introspective about where the year's taken us and what's changed (or not) since last year's party. I know it's not Monday anymore, but those of us who got to enjoy the long Chinese New Year weekend just started our work week today, so it's apropos that we take a moment to take Monday's Test (link via By The Way). I have a desk. Ink has been with us for three weeks, and every week we've had to pop into a pet store to pick up supplies. And so it was, that at the ripe old age of 32, despite not having the opportunity to vote in this general election, I attended my first political rally tonight. Because then when my iPod decides to crash, I won't panic about the recorded interviews that I should have transferred to my hard disk last week, instead of waiting till --- well, till the iPod crashed. Some nights are all about chilling out, particular when the preceding evenings have been spent hammering on the keyboard till midnight or thereabouts. The funny thing about being a freelance writer is that I work industriously through several consecutive weeks and weekends, then in the middle of the afternoon today, I look down at my to-do list and suddenly I've got nothing to do. So I finally sat down and watched Revenge of the Sith in its entirety tonight. But when we got there, the host announced that it was a wine and cheese party instead. Busy week, hence the "dearth of blog posts", as Little Miss Drinkalot pointed out last night. Alas, poor Terz.
Whew! At 309 words, that's a damn sight longer than last year's 212-word aggregate.


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Just in time for the holidays

Nothing like a boring meeting on Wednesday to make me pick up the threads of something I let slide for months: reading blogs. And nothing like catching up on blogs (which is sorta like catching up with a whole bunch of old friends, all at the same time) to make me realise that I'm way, way, way tardy on a meme that dio tagged me for over a month ago.

For the record, yes, this took me four days to complete. The letter 'H' is harder than it looks.

10 Things I love that begin with ... the letter 'H'

1. Home --- namely, the apartment where Terz and I have been nesting for the past seven and some months. It's not posh, it's not huge, it's not tidy --- but it's got everything where we want it to be (more or less), a great view of the neighbourhood, is in a lovely neighbourhood itself, and it's ours.

2. Hawai'i, where in 1997 I spent a few very touristy days with the family, then spent a few very drunk days with the friends --- wherein I discovered that snorkelling was not that hard to pick up, tourist divers give local divers the evil stink-eye when the latter spear fish (legally!) and the local variety of ice kachang is shave ice.

3. Hollinghurst comma Alan --- wickedly good British writer. I read his books, then despair of ever being able to write.

4. "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and other carols of its ilk. Blame it on when I used to attend church, which entailed going carolling every Xmas because that's what all the kids were doing. Call 'em schmaltzy if you must, but I like a good rousing "O Holy Night" or "Joy To The World".

5. Har gow, siew mai, lor mai gai (sticky rice with chicken) --- that's what I singsong when people ask if I speak Cantonese. It's actually a line first uttered by ampulets, from some random conversation when I was supposed to "teach" her a smattering of Cantonese or somesuch. (Hey, we've been friends 15 years --- I can't remember all the conversations we've had.)

6. Hugh Grant. But only because I just watched Love Actually again on Friday, and I'm feeling all Xmas-y and googly-eyed.

7. Halley's comet --- well, maybe not so much Halley's in particular, but I was a bit of an astronomy nut as a kid. The interest was only brought up short by the cold hard brick wall of reality when I realised how much actual physics I would need to have in my back pocket if I was going to pursue astronomy seriously.

But I still remember being thrilled to my little toes in 1986 to be outside the Science Centre one late night in March, I think it was, to see the blur spot that was Halley's comet through a telescope. Not only was the comet in our neck of the woods (so to speak), it was even more mind-boggling to think that it wouldn't swing around again till 2061, when I would be, well, much, much older.

On hindsight, coming on the heels of the Challenger explosion, maybe seeing the comet for myself (disappointing faint inkblot though it turned out to be) was important too.

Speaking of astronomy, has anyone else been watching the 2001 BBC documentary Space (with Sam Neill) on our local Discovery channel? Good stuff.

8. Haroun and the Sea of Stories, which I only read after I finished university. Yeah, I was late to the party again. Such a beautiful book, metaphorically and literally, if you happen to own the illustrated version, which, I discovered with great jealousy on Friday night, EH does.

9. Hubby! Which is a term I hardly ever use, actually, but it was the first thing Terz said when I told him that I was struggling with this H-list. Oops.

10. Hershey's and many other brands of chocolate. 'Nuff said.


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A long overdue meme

Alas, poor Terz. He tagged me and then hardly saw me until his birthday yesterday.

Instructions: Below is a Science Fiction Book Club list of the most significant SF novels between 1953-2006. The meme part of this works like so: Bold the ones you have read, strike through the ones you read and hated, italicize those you started but never finished and put a star* next to the ones you love.

Okay, I am going to absolutely suck at this.

1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien *
2. The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov
3. Dune, Frank Herbert
4. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
5. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin
6. Neuromancer, William Gibson
7. Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke
8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick
9. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
10. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury (I think I tried reading it)
11. The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
12. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.
13. The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov
14. Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
15. Cities in Flight, James Blish
16. The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
17. Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
18. Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
19. The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
20. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
21. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey *
22. Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card
23. The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson
24. The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
25. Gateway, Frederik Pohl
26. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling
27. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
28. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
29. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
30. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
31. Little, Big, John Crowley
32. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
33. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
34. Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
35. More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon
36. The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
37. On the Beach, Nevil Shute
38. Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
39. Ringworld, Larry Niven
40. Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys
41. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
42. Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut
43. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
44. Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
45. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
46. Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein
47. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
48. The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks
49. Timescape, Gregory Benford
50. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer

Clearly, I have a lot of "classic" science fiction reading to catch up on. Meantime, though, in what scarce free time I have on the train, I've been reading a lot of non-fiction.

No tagging here. I can't think of enough friends who read science fiction whom Terz hasn't already tagged.


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Because I love books

Obviously, nobody had to tag me for this meme.

Taken off Capitalism Bad, Tree Pretty and two peas, no pod.

1. One book you have read more than once

Bill Bryson's Down Under, which I read every year when I want a break from reading new books, because it reminds me that good writing doesn't need to be florid, overwrought, "literary" or about "important" or "lofty" issues. Pair this with the Australian tourism advertisment featuring Delia Goodrem's "I Can Sing A Rainbow", and I'm sold on the place.

2. One book you would want on a desert island

The Riverside Shakespeare, because then there'd be lots to read --- tragedy, comedy, and all the mishmash between for every mood --- not to mention helpful notes for the really obscure bits. Also enough variety between poetry and drama, and plenty of fodder for (pseudo-)literary analysis scrawled on coconut leaves if I got really bored.

3. One book that made you laugh

Bridget Jones's Diary, by Helen Fielding. Just about anything by Bill Bryson. And any of the Blandings stuff by P.G. Wodehouse --- that's when I first realised as a child that writing could be funny and well-written (okay, the word I'm reaching for is "witty", but I was reverting to a child's vocabulary there).

4. One book that made you cry

The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen (whose name I always spell with an unnecessary 't' on the first try). The family he describes --- so dysfunctional, yet so real, so depressing. I couldn't get through the book the first time, made it through the second time and then needed a big hug from Terz. I'm not sure I'll ever read it all the way through again.

Honourable mention: A Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin, because a character died when I totally didn't expect him to die, which left me not only genuinely aghast and torn up, but also in awe at Martin, because what the hell kind of writer dares to kill off the kind of character that you don't expect to die --- which then made me nervous about reading the subsequent books in the series, which explains why I haven't.

5. One book you wish you had written

The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje (whose name I can spell impeccably), because it was lyrical yet real, out of this world yet very much of it. Now that's one book I need to buy for keeps.

6. One book you wish had never been written

All the Chicken Soup books, because they elevate rose-tinted optimism to an unworthy art form. Life is hard. In fact, life is frequently shit. Get over it already.

7. One book you are currently reading

Ironically, I am not reading anything right now. I was going to reread Pride and Prejudice because Cristy mentioned it on her book meme blog post, but I think we loaned it to someone. Consider this an official APB: Who has my Pride and Prejudice???

Meanwhile, I need to meet wahj to borrow some books off him. I could go buy some new books, but I really shouldn't (except for the aforementioned Ondaatje). They're all over the floor as it is.

8. One book you have been meaning to read

Midnight's Children, by Salman Rushdie. I attempted it as a teenager, which was a foolish, foolish mistake because I was too young and silly. It's only in the last few years that I've truly appreciated Rushdie's writing. Maybe I should allow myself to buy this one, in addition to the Ondaatje ...

9. One book that changed your life

A Passage to India, by E.M. Forster --- though mainly, I suspect, because it was Mr K who taught it to us.

10. Now tag five people:

Why tag five people when you can tag ten? Also because I like doling out blog homework to former students:

1. yuhui
2. ampulets
3. wahj
4. cour marly
5. sarah
6. leah
7. dio
8. strangemessages
9. Daryl
10. ballsy


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The most inane meme ever

This is what comes of chatting online with Cowboy:
Let's all play a new meme I've invented that tells people what kind of preferences you have in various topics. It's also a way to show how clever you are by inventing little snippets of useless information that convey little information.
And then he tags me to do it. My first thought was: Cheebye. Then I thought I would humour him, since I hardly ever see him anymore these days.
  1. I'd rather be Wonder Woman than Supergirl (classic comic book heroines).
  2. I'd rather be black coffee than Coke Light (beverages).
  3. I'd rather be Canada than the United States (countries and their dominant cultures).
  4. I'd rather be a hummingbird than an eagle (birds).
  5. I'd rather be Anthony Bourdain than Kylie Kwong (celebrity cook types).
Tag! You guys go figure out your own categories:
  1. Terz
  2. Yuhui
  3. Nardac
  4. cour marly
  5. trisha

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I am Singaporean

Blame this one on brown. I wrote it last week, mulled it over some more, got tagged by a gecko's tale, let it sit for a bit longer and finally decided tonight that I'd better publish it before the bandwagon passed. If you didn't know already, this is inspired by Molson beer's "I am Canadian" commercial (see the video on Youtube). Or something.

I look Chinese, like 77% of the population, but I'm actually a quarter Ceylonese and three-quarters Chinese ---which is not a category recognised by the Immigration and Customs Authority.

In school, they told me my Mother Tongue was Mandarin, even though none of my parents or grandparents spoke it. By the way, I think in English.

I speak good Singlish and I'm understood by my fellow Singaporeans. But I don't understand enough Hokkien to appreciate the film Money No Enough.

I speak extremely good English and I'm understood by people from the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand --- and Singapore.

I studied hard in school because everyone said I should, but I should've gone out to play more often.

I read.

I have a sense of irony.

I love shopping but it should not be our national pastime.

I love food, but I think it's more important to talk about politics and ideas.

I went to university on a government scholarship. Thank you for paying for my education. But I quit when my scholarship bond ended because I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life upholding a hierarchy of self-styled mandarins and demigods.

I proposed marriage to my husband so that we could get an HDB flat, because my parents wouldn't have been crazy about us living together otherwise.

I still live in a HDB flat today because it's more than enough space for the two of us and our cat.

I don't have any children because, well, I just don't. Last time I checked, my womb was my business.

I am not apolitical or apathetic. I’m just confused when the government says that either I am a constructive critic or else I am "a partisan player in politics".

I have never voted, but I would have in the last election if the boundaries of my constituency had not been changed.

I am a blogger. I exercise free speech responsibly and I have the conviction to stand behind any statement I make.

I am not seditious.

I am not a Communist.

I am Singaporean.


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Going nowhere fast

Chatting online with Ondine tonight, I admitted rather abashedly that I have no real goals in life at the moment. Then I remembered that I cobbled some together for a meme some time back, so perhaps I should revisit them:

1. Write a novel. Any novel. Even if it's chick lit and Stellou never speaks to me again.

Does starting several short stories and toying with the idea of interviewing my grandparents oral-history-style count? Baby steps, man, baby steps ...

Okay, perhaps I should have an intermediate goal, like complete one of those damn short stories by the end of the year.

2. Learn to speak another language.

I think this one will have to wait till I have more dough, or can trade lessons with someone who wants to learn English. If I could, though, I'd take refresher classes for French or start Japanese.

3. Keep a cat or dog. Iguanas need not apply.

Hey, accomplished! And it wasn't even planned that way.

4. Attempt another musical instrument (maybe the cello?).

See #2 above.

5. Bake a cake or brownies from scratch (i.e. not out of a Betty Crocker box).

This might have to wait till we get a real oven, which really isn't a high priority for us right now. Also, till I become accustomed to spending time in the kitchen again.

6. Live in a place that I can afford to furnish with enough bookshelves for all our books.

Heavens, no. Though we keep buying more books! Again, I sense that money will be an issue for this ... Unless I learn to build my own shelves, which doesn't seem likely given the fact that it's usually a struggle for me to assemble Ikea furniture.

7. Finish this damn meme already.

Well, that's done, but it really doesn't count.

I think I need some better life goals.


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24 things that took way more than 24 hours

So I've been tag-team-tagged by Chandler and a gecko's tale.

Once you've been tagged, write a post with 24 weird facts/things/habits about yourself then tag 6 other people.

1. If I don't do a meme straight away, I'll sit on it for weeks and weeks on end before finishing it. This one, for instance, took a good five days to get done.

2. I haven't not had a drink everyday since Sunday, 15 May.

3. Many moons ago, I went by the nick LizVader.

4. I frequently think of something, immediately forget it, and then spend ten minutes (or hours, or days) trying to dredge the thought up from the miasma of my brain. Yet another reason my domain is named what it is.

5. Before I went to university, I was painfully shy. Funny how it looked a lot to other people like I was being aloof, when I was just absolutely crippled by the thought that everyone else was too cool to be interested in me.

6. I still think everyone else is too cool to be interested in me.

7. I obssess about how untidy my handwriting is, even though a) I'm hardly twelve years old anymore, and b) I hardly ever handwrite anything anymore.

8. I have to practise my signature because at some point since the last time I renewed my passport, my signature's gotten a lot more indecipherable, to the point where official-type people have asked me to re-sign documents to make sure I really am the person I say I am.

9. My favourite comfort food is buttered toast with sugar sprinkled liberally on top.

10. I really didn't need or want an engagement ring, but Terz insisted.

11. When I was a kid, I quavered in fear some nights, thinking that giant monsters (?) would swoop down from the mountains (what mountains? Singapore has no mountains) and kidnap us away to their giant cave.

12. My nose is so sensitive to dust that cleaning up just one room in our tiny apartment is enough to send me into sneezing fits for the rest of the day.

13. I can't type the word "enlightenment" accurately on first try. The impulse is always to type "englishtenment" instead.

14. I have a cat who enjoys clambering into and sitting inside the washing machine drum, although he looks a little confused when he unintentionally sets the drum turning.


Clearly, he's no hamster.

(Okay, so this point is about how my cat may be weird, rather than about how I'm weird, but I'm running out of steam here.)

15. I remember song tunes rather well, but I'm hopeless at song titles and even worse at song lyrics. It's all about the melody.

16. I go to dance clubs to people-watch, not to dance, because I don't dance. More accurately: I can't dance.

17. I have a horrible poker face.

18. After consuming one unit of alcohol, I turn red faster than anyone I know. People who've never been out with me before often feel the need to point it out, probably because they're afraid I'll pass out on them or something. I've been told it's got something to do with good circulation and/or a particular enzyme that Asians are genetically predisposed to having. All I know is it means I can't have a drink over lunch and then go back to the office because everyone'll know I've been drinking.

19. I don't use makeup, except for a dash of lipstick when I remember to, but, more importantly, I don't know how to use makeup.

20. I typically IM in grammatical and correctly punctuated phrases. And I generally apologise for typos.

21. I have an incredibly poor gauge of distance. If there weren't markers on the ground where I run, I wouldn't have the faintest idea how far I'd run. If you ask me how far away something is, I can give you the dead distance in terms of how long it'd take to get there, but I'd be hard-pressed to say so in kilometres or, worse, miles.

22. I'm multiracial. That's less common than you'd think it was in ostensibly multiracial Singapore.

23. I'm a great believer in vibes. If I have bad vibes about a person/place/job, I probably won't pursue it. It's all about the gut instinct.

24. I don't mind the odd meme, but I feel guilty about tagging others, so a lot of the time, I just let the meme die with me.

Like this.


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I am what I am

Courtesy of Little Miss Drinkalot.

I AM: impatient and easily distracted
I WANT: a happy life
I WISH: I could have voted today
I HATE: intolerance
I MISS: winter
I FEAR: failure
I WONDER: where I'll be in ten years' time
I REGRET: nothing
I AM NOT: tall
I DANCE: only in the shower
I SING: only in groups and then very quietly
I CRY: too easily
I MAKE WITH MY HANDS: nothing at all --- neither arts nor crafts nor cooking
I WRITE: everyday
I CONFUSE: conviction for truth, nostalgia for reality
I NEED: a sharper mind
I SHOULD: start writing those damn short stories already
I START: my day with some kind of milk drink
I FINISH: things quickly
I LOVE: life
I REMEMBER: not enough


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Technically not a reader request, but ...

So when I said I was making it Reader Request Week, I wasn't thinking of memes. Blame this on Little Miss Drinkalot then.

Seven dreams before death:
(I assume this means seven Really Great Things I'd like to do before I die, as opposed to seven dreams I've had slash hoped to have before I die.)
1. Spend a few months living on the northern Oregon coast.
2. Write one good novel.
3. Write the family story, if only for myself.
4. Run a bookstore-with-a-cafe (Stellou, are you paying attention?) --- nothing too big or pretentious, just a cosy nook with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and tasty coffee.
5. Speak another language with reasonably fluency (French or Japanese seem to be the most likely candidates at the moment).
6. Have a kid who enjoys reading.
7. Perhaps I should aim to do something remarkable that doesn't have anything to do with reading or books ...

Seven things I can’t do in this lifetime:
1. Draw anything more complicated than a stick figure or a simple map.
2. Figure out complex numbers.
3. Work for the UN.
4. Keep a room or apartment perfectly clean and tidy for more than three days.
5. Live alone.
6. Watch a horror movie.
7. Bungee jump.

Seven things that attract me:
1. The ever-important sense of humour.
2. An healthy sense of irony.
3. An independent spirit.
4. Enough self-esteem not to sweat the small things, but not so much that it becomes overweening arrogance. It's a fine line to walk, people.
5. An open mind.
6. Plain simple kindness and decency.
7. The good sense not to pay too much attention to lists like these because how can you reduce something as complex as attractiveness to just seven things anyway?

Seven things I say:
1. Wah ...
2. Wah lau (which translates literally as "oh, penis" okay, Terz informs me it's really "oh, father", which doesn't seem like a very nice thing to say but colloquially, it really is the most appropriate exclamation of choice most of the time)
3. What's the plan for dinner? (Almost everyday, to Terz)
4. Inky-dinky-poooooooooh (Almost everyday, to Ink)
5. Argh.
6. Can.
7. Very full, very full (typically after any meal)

Seven books that I love:
1. The Return of the Native, Thomas Hardy
2. The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen
3. Emily Climbs, L.M. Montgomery
4. Cat's Eye, Margaret Atwood
5. The Lady and the Monk, Pico Iyer
6. Little Town on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder
7. Down Under, Bill Bryson

Seven movies that I’ve loved:
1. The original Star Wars trilogy
2. Before Sunrise/Before Sunset
3. Serenity
4. The Lord of the Rings trilogy
5. Roman Holiday
6. The Sound of Music (though I haven't seen it in years)
7. Dogma

Seven tags:
Nah. I'll pass.

Compare my responses to that other 7- meme.


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Five by five

It's very hazardous to catch up on blog-reading, because that's when you learn you've been tagged again.

Name five of life's simple pleasures that you like most, then pick five people to do the same. Try to be original and creative and not use things that someone else has already used.

I dunno about that last part, but here's my crack at it:

1. Lying on a beach on a dazzlingly sunny day (Vancouver or Bali preferred, though other suggestions are welcome). Bonus points if the view includes mountains (see Vancouver).

2. Lying on my couch with a good book.

3. Crunching into a crisp-from-the-fridge KitKat on a hot tropical afternoon.

4. Savouring a beautiful work of art (not necessarily art per se --- music, performance and literature also qualify, so I suppose I should clarify that my second point above refers more to the experience of sinking into our couch to read, as opposed to whatever it is I'm reading).

5. Wandering the streets of a city, any city.

I'll leave you all to tag yourself, since this is short enough as memes go.


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A meme 4 you?, addendum

In response to tinkertailor's lament that we live in a shallow generation:

4 books that changed you
A Passage to India, E.M. Forster
Jude the Obscure, Thomas Hardy
The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan
The Emily trilogy, L.M. Montgomery

4 people you met who've changed your life
Mr K

4 philosophical worldviews that you found feasible at one point of your life or another
Secular humanism


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Year in review: 2005

(Shamelessly stolen from rosmar.)

Write down the first sentence of the first entry in the past twelve months.
The first things I did after waking up on New Year's Day were: clean the two-week-old nail polish off my fingernails, cut and file my fingernails, whip Xmas leftovers into a late sandwich lunch, watch the second disc of director's/writers' commentary on the extended edition of The Return of the King and take a nap. Ondine thinks it might be my inner auntie coming out, but I went a little crazy this year and we're the most stocked-up on Chinese New Year goodies, ever. I had my very first Skype conversation last night with Nardac. It is a strange thing to give a boss what is essentially nine months' notice. While I was away from work last week, I set my students a guided research assignment on the Singapore blogosphere. I unexpectedly encountered two former students recently: one via email, the other in person. Today is one of those days when I wish I still had a car. You need a little poetry to spice up your life. At some point after dawn, Terz turns to me and goes, "Don't you have to get up for school?" Because black text on a white background is the easiest on the eye.For the first time in months, we have exercised our coffeemaker. Uh.
At least my sentences seem to be getting somewhat shorter.




A pseudo-purity test

(Stolen shamelessly from Agagooga.)

Start off with 100% and minus off 1% for each thing that has happened to you.

Drank alcohol.
Cried when someone died.
Been drunk.
Had sex.
Been to a concert.
Given a handjob/gotten a handjob.
Given a blowjob/gotten a blowjob.
Been verbally sexually harassed.
Verbally sexually harassed somebody.
Felt someone up and/or been felt up.
Laughed so hard something came out of your nose.
Cheated on a boyfriend/girlfriend before.
Been cheated on by a boyfriend/girlfriend.
Been to prom.
Cried at school.
Gotten lost in a WalMart or a department store.
Went streaking.
Given a lap dance.
Had someone of the opposite sex in your room.
Had someone of the opposite sex sleep over.
Slept over at someone of the opposite sex's house.
Kissed a stranger.
Hugged a stranger.
Went scuba diving.
Driven a car.
Gotten an xray.
Hit by a car.
Had a party.
Done drugs.
Played strip poker.
Got paid to strip for someone.
Ran away from home.
Broken a bone.
Eaten sushi.
Bought porn.
Watched porn.
Made porn.
Had a crush on someone of the same sex.
Been in love.
Frenched kissed.
Laughed so hard you cried.
Cried yourself to sleep.
Laughed yourself to sleep.
Stabbed yourself.
Shot a gun.
Trash talked someone and then acted like their best friend the next day.
Watched TV for 9 consecutive hours.
Been online for 9 consecutive hours.
Watched an animal die.
Watched a person die.
Had sex and/or messed around somewhere with at least 1 person present.
Pranked somebody.
Put somebody in the hospital.
Snuck into someone's room and/or your own room after being out.
Kissed somebody of the same sex.
Dressed punk.
Dressed goth.
Dressed preppy.
Been to a motocross race.
Avoided somebody.
Been stalked.
Stalked someone.
Met a celebrity.
Played an instrument.
Ridden a horse.
Cut yourself.
Bungee jumped.
Ding dong ditched somebody.
Been to a wild party.
Got caught stealing something.
Kicked a guy in the balls.
Stolen a boyfriend/girlfriend from a friend.
Went out with your friend's crush.
Got arrested.
Been pregnant.
Been to another country.
Started your house on fire.
Had an encounter with a ghost.
Donated your hair to cancer patients.
Been asked out by someone that you never though you'd to be asked out by.
Cried over a member of the opposite sex.
Had a boyfriend/girlfriend for over 3 months.
Sat on your ass all day.
Ate a whole carton of ice cream all by yourself.
Had a job.
Gotten cut from a sports team.
Been called a whore.
Danced like a whore.
Been mistaken for a celebrity.
Been in a car accident.
Been told you have beautiful eyes.
Been told you have beautiful hair.
Raped somebody.
Danced in the rain.
Been rejected.
Walked out of a restaurant without paying.
Punched someone/slapped someone in the face

My score: 50%

Of course, I'm not saying where I lost those points.




The Power of Seven

First, I got tagged by tscd and started on this meme. Then I got distracted playing Typer Shark (the reason I was playing it will become evident if you read this list). Then it got actually hard to finish this list. Then I felt pressured to finish it, because wahj finished it and he was tagged at the same time I was. Then ampulets, who got tagged by wahj, tagged Terz and Terz finished it while I was still, uh, mulling over the finer points of my list. Bah.

So here's my edition of the 7-meme that's making the rounds. Those of you who were wondering where the "dead plants" post was, scroll on down to see where it fits into the grand scheme of things.

7 things that scare me:
1. Snakes.
2. Large spiders, especially those with furry legs.
3. The thought of my loved ones dying, even though part of me is aware that it's an inevitable element of life.
4. Losing all my stuff in a fire.
5. Having to go through a nuclear winter (yes, I am a child of the '80s).
6. The idea of the US sinking further into a tailspin of blight conservatism, because it could, unfortunately, take the whole world along with it.
7. Being attacked on the street.

7 things that I like the most:
(Note: things, not people)
1. Chocolate anything! (but not white chocolate)
2. Just about anything that Joss Whedon's had a finger in.
3. Our apartment.
4. Good writing, in any genre.
5. Good food, of any cuisine except Mexican, which I've tried several times over in North America and just never developed a taste for.
6. #5 notwithstanding, ice-cold Coca-Cola, in all its sugared glory.
7. Sitting on a beach far from the city lights and watching the night sky, all night long.

7 important things in my room:
(This is a difficult question for me because we don't have a lot of stuff in our room that isn't functional --- you know, wardrobe, clothes, etc. And unlike Terz, I didn't reinterpret the word "room" to mean "our entire apartment".)
1. Bobo (both of them).
2. The iBook, when it's there.
3. The cellphone, when it's there to serve as my alarm clock.
4. My passport --- don't leave Singapore without it!
5. Our goofy wedding picture that's been sitting on the floor since we moved in.
6. The battered, xeroxed copy of Robert Lowell's Selected Poetry, slathered with my 'A' Level notes in miniscule handwriting --- good poetry, good memories.
7. Earrings that are of sentimental value.

7 random facts about me:
1. I have a second earhole in my left ear, which caused no small amount of upset when I came home with it as a teenager, but I haven't worn an earring in it in at least ten years.
2. Some years back, the best friend and I accidentally stalked mr brown.
3. The first real writer I enjoyed, as a child, was Isaac Asimov, and loved to no end the book I, Robot, before Will Smith was even a zygote on the celebrity scene.
4. Whatever's on my plate, I eat the food I like the least or find the least interesting first, while rationing my favourite food so that it's spaced out between bites, with some saved for the very last few mouthfuls.
5. I wear my engagement ring and my wedding ring on the same finger, but the wedding ring (platinum) always winds up in this funny dented shape after a couple months' wearing, whereas the engagement ring (white gold) retains its shape just fine. Go figure.

Originally uploaded by Tym.

6. I have a strange weakness for el cheapo Van Houten chocolates.
7. I spent my freshman year in college living on IRC, to the point where a friend trying to call me had to get the operator to execute an emergency breakthrough on the phone line because it was always tied up by my modem.

7 things I plan to do before I die:
1. Write a novel. Any novel. Even if it's chick lit and Stellou never speaks to me again.
2. Learn to speak another language.
3. Keep a cat or dog. Iguanas need not apply.
4. Attempt another musical instrument (maybe the cello?).
5. Bake a cake or brownies from scratch (i.e. not out of a Betty Crocker box).
6. Live in a place that I can afford to furnish with enough bookshelves for all our books.
7. Finish this damn meme already.

7 things I can do:
1. Type at 110-120 wpm (according to Typer Shark).
2. Procrastinate to the extreme!
3. Speak faster than my mind can keep up.
4. Trip over nothing, and stub my toe while doing it.
5. Forget something within five minutes of hearing about it.
6. Play the piano.
7. SMS without looking at the keypad.

7 things I can't do:
1. Dance. No, really. It's downright embarrassing how little rhythm I've got.
2. Be nasty to someone's face.
3. Quit picking at my fingernails.
4. Take care of a plant without killing it. Witness the latest casualties:

Dead plants
Originally uploaded by Tym.

5. Use corporatespeak while keeping a straight face.
6. Comprehend the appeal of boxing.
7. Carry on a conversation/hold the attention of a child under the age of five. (And I barely even manage with five-year-olds.)

7 things I say the most:
1. Whatever.
2. Dude.
3. No probs.
4. Wah ...
5. Right.
6. Aiya ...
7. No worries.

7 celebrity crushes:
1. Viggo Mortensen in Aragorn mode.
2. Brad Pitt.
3. Gregory Brown.
4. Benjamin McKenzie (yes, it would seem that my tastes run to younger men).
5. Johnny Depp (since his 21 Jump Street days).
6. Michael J. Fox (since Family Ties, of course).
7. Denzel Washington.
(Hm, they're almost all white.)

7 people who could do this:
I think this meme has done enough evil already, so I'm going to skip this question. Besides, almost everyone I would've tagged has been hit already.

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