Friday, December 22, 2006


I had a craving today. To eat dinner!

And I polished off 2/3 of a plate of cantonese style fried kuay teow (as compared to yesterday: a few stalks of kai lan and a piece of sizzling tofu).

Hang on though, I feel some gas building up...

They say it gets better after this

So far this week:

  • Have suffered gastric pains so acute, I was left curling up on the couch wishing I could just shrivel up and die. If gastric pains can render me so incapable, I cannot imagine how I am going to go through labour. Thank gawd for epidural.

  • Passed enough stink bombs in the house to contaminate it for a whole month.

  • Hubby has a new affinity for the couch since it's been his new bed for the past week or so.

  • Racked up the electricity bill since hubby has been having a field day with the air-conditioning and watching DVDs till the cows come home on his new bed on the living room couch.

  • Onion is my new enemy.

  • The way my muscles are slacking off, another week of hormone-induced muscle slacking will result in me not being able to fit into my snug pants anymore.

  • Cannot tolerate my 6-heaping teaspons of milo per mug rule anymore. Four flat teaspoons is more than sufficient. Less is even better.

  • Sweet potatoes are my friends.

  • Being trapped in an area with strong food smells makes me feel nauseous.

  • Did I mention gas?

Merry Christmas, everyone!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Here poochie, poochie, poochie!

All those maternity books, they lie!!

Am just into my 10th week and all the maternity books that I've read have said that if this is my first pregnancy, I am not supposed to show. My foot I'm not supposed to show. It's taking all my willpower and whatever lax muscle skill I have to try and suck it in but it's not working! the stubborn bulge still pooches out.

My loose pants are starting to feel snug and my snug pants are tight. I can't button my jeans up without feeling like I'm trying to squeeze a watermelon into my waistband.

And I have absolutely no appetite. Ask me what I want to eat and I just stare at you as if you've asked me the equivalent of a calculus problem. "Huh?" I don't care. I don't feel like eating. I don't want to eat. I don't want to think of food. I'm just eating for the sake of sustenance. I'm eating because if I don't eat I will suffer a worse fate: gastric pains.

And I feel like burning my maternity books. No pooch my ass.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

It's a blob!

All right, I suppose announcing it this early on my blog would go against all pantang and superstitions about telling people you're pregnant before the third month. Well, screw it. If I don't talk about it here, I can hardly talk about it anywhere else since blogging has taken over my daily written journal entries.

So, I officially have a parasite growing in me and it should be about 8 weeks old. We've still got a ways to go. A long way to go.

A week ago the doc scanned my non-existent bump and I could not make anything out on the screen. Other than what looked like scratchings or etchings on a black background, all I could see was a blob in a black hole.

And then he upped the volume. Lo and behold! There was an audible heartbeat and it was going like there was no tomorrow. "146 beats per second," announced the doc. Wow, I thought. "That's damn fast!" I exclaimed. "Yes, the baby's heartbeat beats at around twice the rate of the mother's," he confirmed.

That's nature for you.

It's mindboggling.

My other half, chef extroadinaire

On Tuesday evening, Rizal decided to roast us a chicken for dinner. A la Jamie Oliver.

It was delicious, other than the fact that he was a bit too generous with the salt. The rosemary and thyme gave off a distinct and delicious aroma, infusing potatoes, onions and carrot with character. Rizal couldn't help gushing about how juicy and fragrant the lemon was after it was parboiled and pierced just before he stuffed it into the chicken.

It's a good thing my hubby is so enthusiastic about cooking. I don't mind someone else doing the cooking. I like helping to eat. I'm not a half bad cook myself, it's just that I'm too lazy most of the time to get my butt off the couch and do the preparations needed to cook a dish, or two.

Not so Rizal. He loves the whole process of cooking. Or I think he does. I've never seen him happier other than when he's gaming or salsa-ing. Grocery shopping with a mission fuels him.

Like I said, I'm lucky someone else in the family can cook. If we were to wait for me to whip up a dish, we could wait till the cows come home. Sigh, luckily he's been patient with me and not demanding at all.

So the next project we'll be working on together is Christmas dinner with/for the friends. What we're planning: stir-fried corn, jacket potatoes, portobello or field mushrooms with cheese on a tomato base, seafood couscous, a la Jamie Oliver again. And of course, turkey but that will be bought. We hope the rest of the group should be able to come up with salads, drinks and desserts. Or maybe we could whip up some Christmas punch?

It would be a dinner to look forward to.

Monday, December 04, 2006

All the world conspires against you getting what you want

I had a terrible craving for fish head noodles last Monday. I had no time to drive all the way to my favourite fish head noodle shop in Taman Tun for lunch. By Wednesday I was still craving said FHN. I had a break after my appointment and decided to drive over to the shop before heading back to the office. It was 2pm. The shop was CLOSED!!!

It's not a dinner place, so I wouldn't get a chance to have FHN for dinner. So I asked a friend if he knew anywhere that had passable FHN for dinner. He pointed out a place which is notoriosly difficult to get to because of the rush hour traffic. Forget it.

On Friday after work, I was circling around my area on the way home before heading to a dinner appointment. Eureka!! A shop which had FHN popped out at me. I parked the car and almost skipped all the way to the shop. I got there, but ARGH!!! was told by the girls that the boss had not arrived yet, therefore the stall wasn't ready to sell any FHN. ARGH!

It goes to show, if you really want something bad enough, you may not get it at all. But then again, maybe it's just me.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Reading the subtitles

I was surfing Astro and stopped on 8TV the other night. It was a programme called "Rodger Dodger". It was in English with BM subtitles.

A group of yuppies were discussing the role of men and women, and whether they needed each other. Or something to that effect. The talk moved on to sex and whether women really needed men or not in this act. As I watched the conversation unfold, whenever the protagonist mentioned "vagina" or "clitoris", the words would be bleeped out of oblivion. So you'd see the characters mouths moving but you wouldn't hear the word uttered. Sigh...nothing new since we all know how taboo it is in this day and age in this country to talk about sex and genitalia or anything related to either.

What the censors at Astro failed to do was bleep out the subtitles as well. So while the characters are "air-talking" about vaginas and clitorises (is that the plural?), any viewer with brains the size of a peanut could figure out for themselves what they were saying by reading the subtitles. In the BM version, of course, which worked out to be "vagina" and "klitoris" since knowing how taboo we all are about sex, I doubt if we could find the equivalent of the female anatomy translated in BM. We're talking about proper BM and not slang or coarse words.

I digress. If the censor's job is to censor what they or the government think is taboo, how did bleeping out the uttered word but leaving the subtitles intact serve as doing their job?

So I suppose, if there were any other reason at all to drive our literacy rate up, it would be to tell our kids, "Hey, even if they censor it on the TV, if you're literate, you can understand what they say by reading the subtitles. So go finish conjugating those vowels."

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Watching this could actually affect what you eat or don't eat

During the credit roll to Happy Feet:

"You know, I was just thinking; after your sister watches this, she may swear off fish and become a vegan."

"You know, I think that could just happen!"

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Taking responsibility for our actions

I received a call from a friend one day at four in the morning. Disoriented and half-asleep, I thought she might have called me by mistake so I hit the 'busy' button. The next thing I knew, I received a text from her telling me that she'd discovered her husband was cheating on her and to call her when I could.

I took my mobile with me and called her right away from the living room. I knew exactly what she was going through and how talking to someone can make a difference.

Her husband's transgression was unforgivable but he claimed no physical contact other than holding hands. What is it with men? Can they be so dense that they think just having dinner is not infidelity? It is when your spouse doesn't know how many dinners you've had together or if you find yourself in a kitty corner with your dinner partner. Or is it that it has to be sex before they claim unfaithfulness? Or that giving the all-universal line: "I didn't think" will absolve them from any blame? "I was stupid" is another favourite line with perpetrators. As if being stupid and not thinking can possibly take away the indescribable pain your wife suffers from finding out about your affair. Here's another good one: she was convenient. Can you believe the callousness with which men treat our feelings and trust?

Any spouse who thinks that having dinners and intimate long chats or holding hands with any person other than their partner does not amount to infidelity or an affair should be shot. And hung out to dry. There is such a thing as emotional infidelity. It all boils down to this: if you are hiding it from your partner, then you are being unfaithful. Having dinner, intimate conversations, sharing private jokes, intimate or even 'legal' physical contact, having crush-like thoughts such as, "she would love this pair of earrings"; they all count.

And the husbands fobbing off the affair as their wives' faults because there were problems in the marriage? They should be castrated, humiliated and then tortured some more. The last time I heard, men (and women alike) are responsible for their own actions. Whatever it was that was going awry with the marriage, both husband and wife contribute to it.

Most women usually accept their husbands back into their lives after an affair. Usually they do it because of the kids. Sometimes, the thought of being alone is scary. Sometimes it's just weariness; if you have no kids, the thought of going out there into singlehood, hooking up with another guy, only to have the same thing happen to you again, is just too much to bear. Might as well stick to the current guy; if it ever happens again, you are more prepared and you've already given him fair warning. The second time around, you will make absolutely sure that he suffers. And anyway, what insurance is there that the next guy you end up marrying won't cheat on you either?

And yes, an affair jades you. Trust is a thing where once broken, is almost impossible to mend. That crack, however small and expertly glossed over, is still there. You no longer believe that men are to be given the benefit of the doubt. They don't deserve that benefit. I know many women, myself included, who have been in and encounter many situations which could potentially lead to "emotional/physical entanglements" or affairs. But I do believe that women in general are stronger in character and therefore are able to avoid tendencies to stray, no matter how difficult their domestic issues might be.

When caught, some husbands may promise the world to ensure their wives don't leave. But at this point, it's only words. Saying it won't happen again is not enough, is never enough. The words need to be follwed-up thoroughly with action. Nothing can guarantee that it won't happen again, least of all promises. After all, couples promise to love and honour each other when they say their marriage vows and look what can happen even after those vows have been said.

Picking up and surviving after an affair is never easy. Rebuilding the trust and earning it falls on the perpetrator. The one who had the affair has to prove that this marriage is worth saving. Of course, the wronged has their fair share of work cut out for them too.

My friend gave in after a day's contemplation and returned to her husband. I think it was a wise move. I think her husband still loves her despite her feeling that he doesn't. At the very least, he has the family to think of and I think he is the kind of person who will not let his family fall apart so easily and therefore will work to prove his worth. She has stated her terms and he has given in to all her requests and knows what he has to do in order to regain her trust.

I am just glad that the anguish is now somewhat diminished from her voice and that she sounds much better now than she did when I first spoke to her. She doesn't speak in fit and starts, punctuated by stifled crying. She sounds and seems more like her old self. I admire that she made it extremely clear to her husband what she needs in no uncertain terms (even drawing up a legal contract) and that she is making some major changes in her life to ensure that things work out. I think she is much stronger than she thought she was (in the end, we all are, when we find ourselves faced with situations like this) and this episode has made her even stronger, but sadly has also jaded her. I don't think it was her fault that this happened. But I do believe that there came a point in time when there was a lack of communication in their marriage and this served as fuel to the affair. I believe her husband was weak and succumbed to temptation. I also believe he liked the attention that the other woman was lavishing on him and so he lapped it up.

In the end and at the risk of sounding like a male-basher, I believe that men are just weak. They crave attention, they have humongous egos, they do the stupidest things without thinking or with no regard of the consequences. Some even hold little regard for their other halves.

Yes, we're only human but we should be responsible for our actions especially when what we do affects the people who are closest to us.

Call me jaded but I have seen too many infidelity cases to reserve judgement on men. They all have the potential to be scum. I see it in the workplace, I hear of it from friends, I have seen it happen to others, I've had some measure of experience myself. I reserve my high regard for the opposite sex until their lot proves that they really deserve it.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Almost as bad as "The dog ate my homework"

My ear surgery had to be postponed a day. The following conversation ensued when my ENT specialist did a quick check-up prior to surgery on the day I was supposed to be admitted.

Dr. Soni: Oh dear, your ear still looks a bit moist. Have you been putting the ear drops three times a day like I told you to?

Me: Actually, no.

Dr. Soni: Why not?

Me: cat stole the ear drops.

I kid you not. He really did. Right off the side of my pillow on my bed and straight down the stairs to only where he knew. The offending bottle of ear drops didn't show up till a few days later somewhere in the living room.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I really should eat more steak

Why else would I eat more steak except for the fact that I can't even tell the difference between medium and overly well done? It would serve to reason that if I ingest more steak I should be able to distinguish between the former and the latter within just the first bite. Unlike what happened to me tonight; it didn't dawn on me that my New York strip was way past well done until I'd chomped away into a jaw-dropping marathon halfway through the piece of steak. It didn't register that something was not quite right and that one shouldn't have to chew quite so many countless times just to get the meat into small enough pieces to get down my throat.

No, of course I didn't realise anything amiss until Chin Lai had finished his piece of beer-soaked tenderloin and Rizal's perfectly finished steak had arrived. I noticed the lack of redness and blood in mine but somehow it didn't hit home until I had an exquisite taste of Rizal's steak. Then only did I realise that what I was chewing before, that the piece of ... thing (for lack of a better word) wasn't steak, it was a piece of rubber masqueraeding as medium done strip.

And then I got the chance to make a fuss about my dinner. I don't think I was mean or fussy. You just can't accept the excuse that the chef did not know that the strip is a thinner cut than the tenderloin, thus if you ask for medium for the former as opposed to the latter, he/she would not know that you'd need less time on the skillet for the strip than for the tenderloin. Or that the waiter should have told me that the strip steak was a thinnner piece of meat than the tenderloin therefore if it was done medium it would be more well-done as opposed to if it was a medium tenderloin. I couldn't even understand what the waiter was saying when he tried to describe the white tuna special. Was the host trying to bullshit me?

My main was taken off the bill, but the least they could have done was to offer dessert on the house or given an overall discount.

Did I mention that we had to cancel our dessert order because we'd waited for more than 30 minutes for it? Operating on a full house and not being able to cope with the crowd is a pale excuse. It's a Saturday night, a busy night by all standards and a full house is to be expected. You do not go around and tell your clientele that you did not think you could cope with a full house.

So if you feel in the mood for an overdone piece of strip steak and don'd mind accepting feable excuses for why your food is taking ages to get to your table, head to The Boathouse at Taman Tun on a Saturday night. Oh, and ask to be seated in the room; that will surely ensure that you are ignored most of the night.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Back home to my furry brown cows

In today's hectic dog-eat-dog world and stab-you-in-the back after I have lunch with you encounters, I'm so glad I have two furry brown cows to return to at the end of the day. The two furry brown cows are my incorrigible cats. There is a third but all she does is sleep and her existence is almost as much of a non-existence that she doesn't count.

I was scuffling from living room to study last night for lack of anything better to watch on TV and indecision on what to surf online for. Like a dutiful canine, Trixie padded after me from the living room, meowed at me just to make sure I knew she was in the room with me and then proceeded to curl up in a corner among the stacks of junk just to keep me company. It didn't matter that I went in and out of the study more than a few times that night; she dutifully followed after me.

When I finally plonked on the sofa to watch Astro, she sprawled her furry self on the coffee table in front and was joined later by the fatty, Pixel. Not a few minutes later, he was sprawled perpendicular against Trixie, using her as a pillow. Unfortunately my phone camera was upstairs being charged, so I had no opportunity to record down that oh so adorable pose.

Everytime I got up to walk to the kitchen, Trixie would pop her head up to keep an eye on me. Pixel was of course, asleep and dead to the world.

Sigh...the small pleasures of life. I'm glad my furry brown cows still remind me of these little pleasures.

Can you please talk louder? I've got a piece of dressing in my ear.

I've had to raise my voice to a couple of people in the office. Normally, they already talk as if they are whispering some secret that I am only meant to hear. And that alone already annoys me. But with the piece of dressing (medical, not salad) that's stuffed in my ear to keep my graft in good condition, I am even more impatient when people speak slightly louder than whisper level.

I told a couple of my sales people to speak up when they met up with me this morning, in a good way. And then another one of them, a guy no less, comes up to me and talks like he's got no energy got it from me after lunch.

"Can you talk louder please? I can't hear you la!!" I just about yelled at him impatiently. It's all understandable if you're female, but if you're a guy and whispering, you've got no business having me strain my other good ear just so I can try to make out what you're trying to say. Especially when you've lost a case you've been working on.

I don't suffer imbeciles lightly.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

What do I do with a 7-day MC?

I got discharged from the medical centre yesterday with a bag of antibiotics and painkillers plus an ointment for the ear. Doc sent me home with a 7-day medical cert, which in all likelihood, will not be used. Got off work early today to stop by 1U Jusco to get kitchen mats for mom and wondered at the immense lack of parking space. Don't people have to work at 4pm in the afternoon??

My right ear is stuffed with dressing and itches like hell. The string from the stitches is hanging out in a loop just begging to be pulled. Urgh, I have to resist the urge to scratch and poke my ear until next Tuesday at the very least. I just hope my fingers don't stray to the itchy spot in the night when I'm asleep. Last thing I want to find when I wake is a pillow drenched in blood, undone stitches and a ripped up ear.

There's nothing worth watching on TV, I don't feel like reading and I had to force myself to write. All this and it's only 8pm. Rizal's off in Hong Kong and I'm supremely bored.

I wonder if I can get my brain to shut off by 10pm?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Where have I been lately?

I've discovered the world of DIY all over again. I don't quite remember how but I pointed my mouse to Craftster one day and I have been hooked ever since.

I'd long given up DIY projects because of the time and hassle one has to invest. These days I find I lack the patience to see through anything more difficult than darning a hole or sewing a button back on (I just recently darned a hole on a fairly new top; I'd just left it lying in the closet for lack of incentive to fix up the hole).

Trawling through the web, I stumbled upon Crafster and going through the forum has started my creative juices a-stirring. Melted beads, reworked furniture, easy paintjobs; they all look fairly easy and promising. Plus it would give my house a much-needed personal touch. Plus a few more pieces of furniture, shelving and storage solutions, to be exact.

Anyway, I am hoping to embark on a DIY odyssey of sorts, go back to getting my hands dirty so that I can tell people that, yes, I made that piece of ...whatever, and oh, I took those pictures and decided frame them up differently. I suppose it gives me a sense of accomplishment to be able to prove to myself that I am handy with my hands. I'm not sure how capabable my right brain is after such a long hibernation, but I suppose now's as good a time as ever to start prodding it to life.

We'll see in the next few weeks or months what it's actually capable of.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Am feeling lazy and very complacent. That and my internet at home was down for the better part of the week. Urgh...

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Peter Pan

I have this version of Peter Pan:

Oops, took the image off Amazon and it has the "Search Inside" link on it.

I don't remember the story much but after Hatena Diary's many posts on Peter Pan, fairies and fairy tales, I think I may read it again...

And then there were some...

It had to happen. In my slapdash, pick-em-all-up, buy-it-for-its-cover way of stocking my growing library, I have bought and am still buying books that I just cannot get through after more than a few chapters.

One of those genres is the translated book. I've always held to the believe that translated books somehow lose something in the translation or that whatever language it was written in probably reads better than the English. That's why it is difficult for me to sit through Murakami and not constantly think to myself, "Hey, that actually would make more sense in Japanese", or "It would sound so much better in Japanese". Not that my grasp of that language is better than my knowledge of English, given that I haven't used it in yonks; with what little Japanese I have left over from university, I can still some how picture Murakami would sound perfect in Japanese. In English, he reads like a halting, stilted Hemmingway. He just doesn't sound as "right" as he would in his native tongue.

And that's what I thought of Cornelia Funk's The Thief Lord. Somehow, the story didn't "get" me and the dialogue sounded stilted. It was not a very pleasant read. Because of Murakami and Funk, I have tried to keep away from translations as much as I can. But I gave in a couple of days ago.

I bought Isabel Hoving's Dream Merchant. The first few sentences were fine. A few pages into the book and I realised I was not enjoying it; the dialogue felt stilted (again) and the writing was stiff. I could somehow imagine it to read better in its native Dutch. The plot is interesting but the writing (translation?) takes some muster to wade through. And I just don't have the patience. I am deciding to ditch this book after going through about five chapters worth. Maybe someone else could fare better than me.

My other habit that lands me with more than one book unread is buying based on the cover alone. Sometimes I just wing it and pick a book for its cover. Wrong move. I should never judge a book by its cover. Ever. Even though nice covers are pleasing to the eye and quite pleasurable to collect. Bertrice Small's Forbidden Pleasures cover was attractive and had the blurb shouting, "Bertrice Small [is] the reigning of ... erotica, romance, love, and lust!" - Literary Times

Pah. Give me Susie Bright (of Herotica and Best American Erotica fame), Mary Anne Mohanraj (Torn Shapes of Desire: Internet Erotica) or even Julia Quinn any day. ANY day. Forbidden Pleasures is not very tasteful erotica, and the writing borders on sucky and boring. I went through two chapters and skimmed the erotic bits. And came away wishing for more Julia Quinn (I'd read two of her books by the time I picked up Bertrice Small). Regency romances that boast wit, humour and lively characters are gems indeed. And Julia Quinn delivers them all with a bang. Although I did notice that all her women protagonists tend to talk an awful lot, are self-assured and more than a little opinionated. But who cares when her writing shows them off to such witty and humorous light? Did I mention that her writing is oh, so witty?

I should have just stuck to perusing the Women's Fiction leisurely and casually. Not all Women's Fiction are gems even though most of them have interesting, attractive enough covers.

After such a scathing review, I wonder if I coud possibly pawn Forbidden Pleasures off for oh, say half its price of RM42?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Blowout month

October is book blowout month. I won't even bring myself to go through the agony of counting how many books I bought; it would give me a cardiac arrest.

All I can say is: I am running out of space.


Love is so short,
forgetting is so long.

- Pablo Neruda, from Tonight I Can Write

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Not enough

It's not enough. Somehow, whatever it is that I'm doing for the environment now is not enough. I feel it in my bones. It doesn't matter if I signed up for contributions and to be a member of both WWF and the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), it's still not enough.

How can it be enough when all around me I see red clay, flattened to the ground and concrete jungles replacing what was once green? Merely donating to nature causes and joining in on nature and conservation drives is not enough.

We are not doing enough fast enough. We are losing more green, extinguishing wildlife and using up the earth's resources faster than we can save or protect them.

And I don't know what to do about it.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Our legacy to our future

This week was the first time in a long while since I'd taken the NKVE toll road that cuts behind Mont Kiara to connect to Jalan Duta and the Segambut roundabout.

I was stunned and shocked to see that to the left and right of the areas after the toll, where lush green used to be, is the devastating mark of development. And it's the kind of development that wipes out all traces of nature and any sign that there used to be abundant trees or wildlife. In its place are the ugly building blocks of man: concrete skeletons of the massive monstrosities that will be apartments, condominiums and shopping malls. Tower after tower, block after block and square after square of cold grey (or soon to be beige, cream or peach) angles and corners.

Gone are the verdant trees and the low brushes covereing the hillsides flanking the toll road. Instead of fresh cool greenery absorbing the sunlight will be hard angles reflecting and deflecting the sun.

A friend told me that area was supposed to be a reserved area; protected land that was to be a "green lung"; that was what it was until unscrupulous (albeit wealthy and connected developers) paid off corrupted government officials to approve building and land rights to churn out a profit.

Thus is the nature of Malaysians: short term gains for long term detriment. Because the people who are pushing the paper and who have the most means to make a difference cannot, will not see the forest for the trees. We take for granted what we have; we neither treasure it nor seek to protect what is rightfully ours to protect. We never give back in return, instead we take, take and continue to take. What's there is not just ours for the taking; it is there for us to protect and nurture for generations to come.

By the time we realise what we've been doing wrong and what we've lost, it will be too late. And those that will suffer may not be us, it will most definitely be our future generations.

As I rounded the bend into the road that takes me to the Segambut roundabout after the toll, a monitor lizard was trying to cross the road from the edge of the greens. It had just begun to amble across in its own lazy way that only monitor lizards can, with its tongue flicking in and out, when I passed it by. I looked in the rearview mirror and saw that there were no cars anywhere behind me and sent up a prayer that the lizard would make it safely across and not be reduced to a bloody blot on the road in its quest for greener pasture.

Dug the hole deeper

I failed to mention that my visit to Payless Books wasn't the first trip to the bookstore this month. It was the third. I'd visited Kino twice already since today. And I didn't walk away empty-handed...

And they say you'll never learn...

The biblioholic has struck again!

Struck out, rather...

I got lucky at Payless Books today, or so I thought. Picked up :

1. Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief - Book One (Percy Jackson and the Olympians) @ RM15

2. Marian Keyes' Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married @ RM9.90

3. Gail Carson Levine's Cinderellis and the Glass Hill (Princess Tales) @ RM12

While I was counting my lucky stars for finding Percy in hardcover
(and Sasha's since I was getting the book for her), I should have known luck such as mine doesn't just fall out of the sky. When I picked up Keyes from the romance section (romance!!), I had a niggling feeling I'd probbaly either read or bought Lucy Sullivan before. The feeling stayed with me up until I paid for it.

That little voice in my head kept telling me the title looked just a bit too familiar and I probably had the book stashed away in the corner of my shelf somewhere.

Sigh...true enough. I dove straight for the lowest shelf right in the back in the second tier row of books hidden behind the first tier in front: ... Married staring out at me from behind. No need to dig it up. I can recognize the typefont for that title anywhere.

I wonder if my mother-in-law will like it?

Monday, October 09, 2006


I waded through two chapters of Feist’s Silverthorn before I gave up and decided to re-immerse myself in Weiner’s bumper issue of Good in Bed and In Her Shoes, although this time, I reread only the former. Going through Feist’s Magician ate up my appetite for fantasy. And suddenly I don’t find myself very interested in most of the kiddy lit on the shelves either. I’d suddenly developed a craving for chic-lit and found myself trawling the bookshelves for some yummy feminine writing I could devour. Sadly my enthusiasm was sorely dampened by my finicky tastes: the books on the shelf were either too cute, or the subject matter too common or I just didn’t like the name of the title or the author.

And so I ended up with these from Kino:

Dogs of Dreamtime: A Story About Second Chances and the Power of Love by Karen Shanley
I Am a Pencil : A Teacher, His Kids, and Their World of Stories by Sam Swope
Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman

I breezed through I Am A Pencil. Reading about teaching Inner City kids English and what a difficult job teaching really is, reminds me how glad that I am not a teacher. I wouldn’t be a good one. I wouldn’t even be an average one. The greatest contributing factor to this conclusion is that I have no patience, or very little of it.

I have just started on Dogs of Dreamtime. It may be a while before I complete it. Going through books at the rate I do is akin to being a sponge: I absorb the words but the retention rate is minimal. Only a select few remain in my memory. Those that totally blow my mind away are few and far in between but I can count most of these from my kiddy lit category.

I can safely say that I have at least 4 books that I have not touched yet. And still, I’m already thinking of what to buy next. What is it with this obsession for books? Or for owning them? It’s as if I fear that I may run out of books to read. Or that I’ll be stuck somewhere without anything to keep me occupied. I’ve taken my reading a step further by reading in the car at the stop lights or in the jam. It’s a more efficient use of time than getting worked up because I’m only moving two inches as opposed to two meters.

Now if only I could find the space to fit all my books in one location: my house. Now they’re just scattered over at my parents’ as well as a storage location somewhere in Cheras/Kajang, in mothball-filled boxes. I have a feeling I will never see my whole collection in one location; there is just no space.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Keeping tabs

I need a straightjacket, one specifically to keep my hands bound to my body so that I won’t reach for my purse to pay for more books.

If there is one area where I know I need to exercise more restraint in my life, it’s books, or rather, the buying of books.

This month, I’ve gone through 5 books already and am into my 6th book. Normally I don’t keep track of the number of books I read but Rizal asked me early in the month how many books I read. I told him on the average, maybe four. These were numbers I sort of just plucked out of thin air because who keeps track of how many books they read anyway? The national average, I think, is less than one.

The reason I go through the number of books that I do may be because I read mainly YA fiction or kiddie lit. Sarah Dessen and E.L Konigsberg take considerably less time to get through than either Raymond E. Feist or Jennifer Weiner.

However, my record for this month so far were The Devil Wears Prada, Goodnight Nobody, Little Earthquakes, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, and Up From Jericho Tel. Only two of those titles are YA fiction or kiddie lit.

Back to the issue at hand: I bought three books from PayLess yesterday. I really could not help it. I was there to scout around for used and cheaper copies of Feist’s Riftwar Saga. I found Silverthorn but as I am just rereading Magician: Apprentice, I thought it pointless to jump the gun and purchase Silverthorn even though it only cost RM6. While looking around in the Fantasy section, Ursula K. Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea caught my attention; Rizal had misplaced my copy and now I have the entire Earthsea Chronicles minus the first book. Buy! At only RM7.90.

I walked over to General Fiction, browsed around and stumbled upon Anne Rice’s erotic classic, The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty. What luck! If there is one genre that’s as close to endangered here, it’s erotic fiction. Or anything erotic, for that matter (romance does not count). And it was only RM15! One shelf up and I came across Megan McCafferty’s Sloppy Firsts for a reasonable RM12. I couldn’t believe my luck. New, it costs a whopping RM55.66!

How does a bookworm and bibliophile like me resist such temptation? Where else can I get three books in generally good conditions for RM34.90? I can just about buy a single new tome of fiction for that price.

My three books? An absolute steal!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Surviving Time

Eleven long years. That’s how long we’ve been together. Married only for three. At the risk of sounding cliché, time really flies. Today’s the anniversary and Rizal woke up with mild food poisoning and he needs to fly off to Jakarta later. I’ll be at home later hopefully with a Subway sandwich, enjoying the solitude, curled up on the couch reading a book.

Out in full force

You see them too late at the last minute when you round that corner. If you’re on the mobile without a handsfree, you’re as good as dead. For more than a year now I’ve been driving around the same corners in the same routes that I’ve been taking to and from work daily. I’ve never seen a shadow of the cops other than occasionally.

These days it’s different. In the span of a week, I’ve seen more cops around corners than I have in two years. At first I wonder why the sudden diligence on their part. Then I remember: fasting month looming ahead and Raya is just around the corner.

Yes, they’re out in full force to collect duit raya, how could I have forgotten the annual surge of cops out on the roads. Every year in a dash to accumulate duit raya before the Raya season, the cops will head out in full force to nab or book errant drivers. The sudden diligence can be quite alarming to those who haven’t experienced the cops out in force. There will usually be a group of them, usually 5 or 6 at a time. One will be stationed right where the turn or the corner begins where you can’t see them, hiding behind the pillar. The next thing you know, a few feet up, you will be pointed at to stop. And then, god bless you if you don’t have a well-oiled explanation ready. Or a full pocket handy.

It's about time the government started revising the police force's meagre base salary of RM650. Even a factory worker earns more than that.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Blighted Ovum

“Blighted Ovum. Sounds like good name for an alternative rock band. Can imagine the members all look a bit off coz slightly blighted when they were ovums.”
- Evelyn Heng (close friend)

“Sounds like a command or a spell one of your RPG characters cast during your gaming sessions. ’Blighted ovum! Take two points damage to internal organs and five points hit to reproductive system. Roll D12 to determine survival .'"
- me to hubby

Three positive home test kits, a momentary lapse into panic and some moments of elation, two visits to the gynea, a no-show embryo on the ultrasound and a blood test finally resulted in the doc calling me.

“Your blood test came back with low HCG Levels of 440. At 7 weeks, if it was a high positive pregnancy, you should be having HCG levels of about 2,000 – 2,500. So you can rest assured that you most likely do not have an ectopic pregnancy. What happened most likely was that the pregnancy resulted in a blighted ovum. In short, you had a miscarriage.”

At this point, I heaved an audible sigh of relief.

1. No ectopic pregnancy = no blockage in Fallopian tube = no surgery = intact ovaries.

2. Not pregnant = another few months of respite and life is back to normal.

And we're back in the saddle again...

Monday, September 04, 2006

When the cows come home

Many go through life expecting signs from up above or attaching meaning to things that they see. One area of my life which seems to be trying to tell me something is when I travel or drive long distance.

Whenever I travel on the highway to get somewhere outstation, I never fail to come across trucks transporting livestock to the slaughterhouse. It doesn’t matter whether I’m heading south or north nor does it seem to matter what time of day I travel. I will inevitably come across a truck crammed with cartons bearing chickens or ducks and once or twice, pigs. It happens to me ALL THE TIME, sometimes even in KL, right after the Subang toll heading towards the office or even on the Federal Highway or on the Seremban highway.

On the way to Melaka on Friday night, we came across a truckload of ducks. On the way back up to KL from Melaka on Saturday afternoon, it was a truckload of chicken.

Rizal said to me that it’s a sign; the day that I see cows being transported to the slaughterhouse, I can and should declare myself a vegetarian.

Errant parking discouraged

There is a small little green patch of grass presided over by a wisp of a tree between our neighbour’s unit and ours. That spot has got to be less than 4’ wide; it can just about fit one car, if anyone decides to park there. Usually it’s left empty as our cars are normally parked in our own driveways.

Lately, one of our neighbours has begun to indiscriminately park their cars in that spot. It isn’t the neighbour who shares that small plot with us; they have only one car. I’m quite definite it is one of the neighbours on the left of us but I am not sure who. There was a MyVi parked there two days in a row sometime two weeks ago. Last week, some Indian lady parked her proton there overnight and then again over the weekend when we were in Melaka.

It is irritating because when someone else parks in that spot, it leaves very little room to maneuver our cars in and out of the driveway. That, and if we have any visitors, there is no spot for them to park.

When I found the proton there on Saturday evening, this is the note I left the lady on her windscreen:

To whom it may concern:

If you would like to park your car here on a regular basis, please leave us your car keys so that we can move it when we need to.

Poh Ling

When I came back from Little Havana a little past 2am the car was gone.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Another one bites the dust

Warning: the following is a brief illustration of what board games can do to the psyche.

"I've been dreaming about this game since Tuesday!!" Johan opines as we started a round of Ticket to Ride Europe last night. His first taste of the game was on the Sunday before.

"I haven't been dreaming for 5 years and I couldn't stop thinking about the game!"

As a second time player, he kicked all our veteran asses. So we inducted him into Ticket to Ride - Märklin Edition as well. Is it a surprise that in his brimming enthusiasm he kicked our asses yet again?

Friday, August 25, 2006


My dad said this to me one day:

“Hey, since you’re now bumi, why don’t you go change the company registration to bumi-status? Then we can supply to the government directly.”

Puzzled, I replied, “Since when am I bumi?”

“You’re married to Rizal mah. So your status changed to bumi, right?”

“Where got!! Just because I married a Malay doesn’t mean I’m bumi lah.”

“No meh?”

“No lah!!”

Hardly a Malaysian

Some time not too long ago, Rizal said this to me in relation to a comment on Asiaworks:

“I wish more Malays would take these courses and open their eyes and see that this country is not just about them but that there are other people and other races and other religions that live in this country as well. The Malays think the world revolves around them.”

As the days go by, I find that living in this country become less tolerable for the fact that the majority of the population believe that Malaysia = Melayu.

True, I married a Malay but he can hardly be called pure (Javanese+Chinese+Indian) even though I am pure Chinese. And if we looked closer at many of Malaysia’s citizens, they have managed to shy away from inbreeding and gone the way of mixing up their blood and making their culture even more interesting.

Therefore, how can people (the government especially) believe that Malaysia = Melayu?

“What matters isn’t the country or what the government does but the company we keep: our friends and family,” says Rizal.

True, but how do you educate the rest of the people because it’s still an issue: there aren’t many of us who think the way we do.

And what difference is it then, to move to another country and make it our own, since it doesn’t matter which country we live in? I can honestly say that I have no feelings or patriotism for Malaysia whatsoever.

It’s hard to feel grateful to a country which closes a blind eye to the brain drain to our neighboring Singapore just so that they can fill their ridiculous education quota in the local universities here. It’s difficult to drum up patriotism when opportunities are not given to the deserving and they have to look elsewhere for help. How about supplying goods to the government? We sell through bumi dealers because the company is not bumi-owned. That works out fine but some of these bumi companies just sit on their butts waiting for orders to fall in while we are busting our butts doing the work.

The Chinese will always find a way to make things work, no matter what the situation. Even with the NEP, we’ve found ways around it. We know, more than anyone that you can’t sit around waiting for that silver spoon to be passed on to you: there is no such thing. You don’t get very far in life expecting the good things to fall in your lap just like that.

I’d like to think of myself as Malaysian but there really is no reason to other than the fact that I was born in this country. I love the nature there is in this country, but even that is slowly being eroded by development.

Since globalization is the order of the day, it is with feeling that I say I am a citizen of the world.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

What the husband says to me after a night away from home

“You know, actually I miss the cats more than I miss you.”

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Puke fest

It was a case of one-upmanship. My girl cats must be vying for ‘most bulimic cat award’.

I returned home late last night to find two dried-up piles of puke trailing from the side of my pillow to my mattress. On my freshly changed sheets. No questions on whodunit there. The only furball to plant herself firmly anywhere near my pillow is the one and only Meg. She promptly got yelled at and banished from the room while I changed the sheets, muttering and cursing under my breath.

The next morning, while trying to remain awake after my alarm had gone off, a great heaving sound greeted me. And then the retching started. Sigh…when will it ever end?

This time it was Trixie and wouldn’t you know it? She had to puke on the bathroom rug. On our WHITE bathroom rug. Which had also just been recently washed.

I am waiting to walk into more piles of dried-up puke when I get home today.

Why bother with expensive media (that malfunction) when you can get bootlegs for cheap?

I didn’t go to Cherating for the Malaysian Salsa Festival. After watching a DVD of the three-day event, I’m not so sure that I regret not going.

Sure, I missed the opportunity for attending workshops held by international instructors but I’ve got that to look forward to in the upcoming Singapore International Salsa Festival in October.

No, I don’t miss having to cringe watching one of the Malaysian salsa team performers opening the first night of performances. And frankly, I don’t miss having to duck my head and feel horrified that I am Malaysian and that these people up on stage are representing Malaysia while trying to disguise and recover from some major botched moves or trying to stay balanced on their feet after a flip. I don’t mind not having to associate myself with them because they were so ambitious they lost sight of giving a world-class performance rather than incorporate a difficult routine just to show off their salsa skills. There is little to display and be proud of when the moves are not committed to memory nor honed to perfection.

I watched the recording of the opening act with a growing sense of dread. If the Lazyboy could have ensconced me further in its plush leather arms, I would have sunken all the way in and never surfaced. The face-paint was gaudy, the costumes were not well-designed (big strips of cloth flying around at the seams of the pants don’t count for sexy) and the moves were all but shocking. The choreography was too ambitious, forgoing perfection and well-timed execution for ambition. The team started out shaky at best, and deteriorated rapidly from their first foot forward. The timing and coordination looked sketchy and somewhere towards the last third of the performance, the mainstage couple botched up in a major way and could not recover from their mistake. They looked totally off compared to the other two couples flanking them. Not only that, the performers looked like they had run out of steam! Somewhere from the middle of the routine, I could tell that they were losing their energy and their stamina. That became glaringly evident towards the end and right at the finale of the routine where the men went on bended knee so that their partners could flip forward and onto the backs of the men. The main couple were the most glaringly lacking: the woman all but flopped onto the back of her partner (I swear if I was there, I would have heard an audible sigh of relief escape from her after the execution of that move) and when he flipped her over to land on her feet, she very nearly landed in a heap when she stumbled, lost her balance and her footing from sheer exhaustion.

All I could think was, “I’m so glad that I’m not there to witness the performance first hand. It’s so sad that this is the state of our salsa standards.”

As I watched on, I realized that the same names and the same faces from the Malaysian salsa scene kept appearing and reappearing. Was it me or just my imagination? Just how many times do I have to see the same team and the same faces perform again and again? Watching the procession of Malaysian performers, it would seem we have a dearth of different performers and different styles. Which is entirely untrue. And mind-boggling when you consider one of the biggest schools in KL wasn’t on the performer’s list.

Slip into the mix a repertoire fit for the bedroom, a so-called exotic dance. Scantily-clad in panties or rather, panty-like bottoms, transparent white top with colourful bikini bras for visual interest, the girls were all but performing a striptease to the audience. Hardly salsa. I heard the drool from the front row VIPs could have watered the entire grounds of Cherating.

To cap it all off, the DVD produced was of such poor quality that we could not view the remaining half of the performances. That would amount to at least another 10 performances. And when Sam told me how much he had to pay for the DVD, I swear his neighbours from five floors below and five floors above as well as all around his apartment unit were jolted out of their bedtime slumber by my indignant exclamations (it was past midnight on the first night of the working week).

It started off casually enough:

“Did you say you paid RM1.50 for the DVD?”

“You paid HOW MUCH for the DVD??!!!!!”



“Why couldn’t they have not sold it right after the festival but instead spend some time on it to edit it properly and then sell a good copy??!!”




“You should just pay me some money and I’ll go down to JB and get you some good quality pirated stuff.”

“RM150 FOR THIS CRAP???!!!!”


Heaven help the rest of the world when I am in nutcase mode.

After having to sit through the sheer agony of watching some of the performances (not all the performances were that bad, the international acts were a pleasant distraction from the majority of the local performances), it was a somewhat fitting end to the whole indignity of the night.

RM150 for a shoddy recording of a world-class event short of painful.

Monday, August 14, 2006


Proof that my cats actually have a better life than me. Required activities of the day: eat, sleep, play, look cute.

Note: That used to be my reading chair, and the key phrase here is used to be.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Living with gas

Grumble, grumble, rumble, grrrr…

I can no longer ignore my stomach’s protests these days. I never used to but I got careless recently. What a surefire way for my body to tell me that I’m not doing right by it. That or it’s telling me I’m really not in my teens or even twenties anymore and that I’d better give it some TLC or it’ll go on a strike.

One day of curling up in bed, wondering if an alien is going to come bursting out of my sotmach and I think I’ve learned my lesson. Mom reminds me daily that I should have NO COFFEE, no tea, skip the dairy products, be sure I have snacks with me everywhere I go, and to EAT REGULARLY if I don’t want to end up like her, battling stomach ulcers for five years.

Three days without my morning coffee and the third day I’m a zombie. I need my additives. I had Nando’s last night before I realized halfway through the meal that the Garlic Peri-Peri Sauce is actually spicy. And then the stomach started a little protest rally and I quickly downed my strawberry smoothie to coat the spiciness before I realized that the smoothie has yogurt in it. What can I eat???!!!!

I’m hoping things start looking up by the end of the month because I am looking forward to getting a half gallon of Baskin Robbins by the 29th. Yes, it’s a three-day 31% fiesta. If that doesn’t motivate me to get better real fast, I’m not sure what will.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Making a difference

It's amazing what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it. It doesn't matter if you are academically trained to do it or if you had no knowledge to start with in the first place. What matters is that you have the desire for action. If you feel you can or need to change your current situation, all it takes is for you to figure out how much of a change you want to make. Then go ahead and make it.

In life there are many examples of people who have made changes in ways that were unimaginable or who started out with small steps that turned out phenomenally big. Take Gandhi, Martin Luther King, that pakcik in Terengganu who's doing his bit for the turtles. One doesn't have to study wildlife biology to go out there and make a difference. We are not helpless. We just THINK we are. The important thing is: we go out there and MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

And that's where people of action, great people, differ from the norm. The norm just sit around, reading about the news, and then lamenting the fact that they never studied how to save the world or how to save the turtles or how to make a difference when all around them atrocious things are being done that they can't do anything about. The people who make a difference go ahead and make that difference even if they started out not knowing how. They make a difference because it matters. They make a difference because they can. They make a difference because they want to. And they want to bad enough that they would do whatever it takes to make that difference.

One doesn't have to give it all up like Gandhi did. Don't have to be like Mother Teresa either. You may get there in your lifetime, if you want it bad enough or if you're passionate enough. It's a matter of how much of a difference you want to make and how much that passion means to you. If helping out at a turtle sanctuary somewhere off the east coast of Malaysia once a year doesn't seem like a big enough difference, go and do it twice, three times a year. Or better yet, get involved in the planning and the organizing of such an effort. Or put in some time at other volunteer organizations.

There's always a way. But you have to give up something else in your life in order to put in enough time to make that difference that you want to. Maybe you have to give up your reading time, or you need to cut down on other leisure activities. In the end it doesn't matter what else you're giving up because you're doing what you're passionate about and what matters to you. If you're passionate about dancing, go and dance! If you're passionate about saving pandas, go and save the pandas! If writing means so much to you, write!

What good is there in sitting around, lamenting and complaining about what you can't do about the state of the world? While you're sitting around feeling sorry for yourself and the world at large, a difference can be made if you actually just went out there and did something about it. Nothing is fair in life, what you decide is fair for yourself is what matters. What you do to make it fair is what matters. Just because life isn't fair doesn't mean we can't do anything about it if we want to.

We can't save everyone or everything but we can do our bit to help. Rizal signed up as a WWF donor just yesterday. It doesn't cost much, just RM30 a month for as long as he wants to. Now, some may say that that's just giving away money and that's not really helping. Well here's the thing: every little bit helps. Even though we're just drops in the ocean, it's the drops that make up the ocean. And if Rizal should decide that donating money is not enough to help the animals, what's to stop him from volunteering more of his time at organizations like WWF? Nothing. It's a matter of whether he wants to spend that time at WWF rather than RPG-ing.

Some people have taken it all the way: given up their jobs to devote their time and effort in their passion for saving animals, or following their passions, for that matter. It takes an extraordinary individual to sacrifice the material comforts and all that is familiar in order to make that leap. I for one am for material comforts. I have no qualms volunteering once a year or helping out here and there. I see myself making that difference even though it's only in these small ways. For now, that's enough for me. That's the difference I'm making and even though it's not much, it's better than nothing. I've stopped eating shark's fin soup. I recycle as much as I can and my next step to helping the earth and the animals is probably to spread more awareness about how finite our resources are and that this earth is ours to share. Being the top of the evolutionary chain gives us the responisibility and the care of those who are below.

With great power comes great responsibility.

Even though there are still atrocities enacted upon those who share our earth, I believe there are just as many people who care. There are those who care enough to do something about it rather than sit around moaning and lamenting that they can't do anything about it.

And these are the people that make the difference. These are the people who really care.

What too much gas can do to you

I thought I was going to die. Or at the very least, that my stomach was going to explode. A couple of months going without breakfast and irregular meal patterns resulted in my cringing on the bed, curling up in a fetal position trying to survive the waves of pain wrecking my stomach.

I called my mother. She said the symptoms sounded like gastric. She should know, she battled gastric and stomach ulcers for five years. I lay around the couch and the bed for a few hours more. I texted Rizal. He said I could be pregnant. I messaged back, saying that was unlikely since the pain is at the stomach, not abdominal area. If I’m having pains, it could be an ectopic pregnancy and I don’t want my fallopian tubes to explode. I lay around some more. Then I went to the doctor. He put the stethoscope on my stomach. “can’t you hear all that gas?” he asks me. Hello, if I could, I wouldn’t need to go consult you? “So it’s not gastric?” I asked. “It’s gastric,” he said.

Now I have to eat frequent small meals, avoid oily, sour and spicy food and milk. I have to eat breakfast and skip the coffee. I have to make sure I’ve got something to munch on or snack on with me all the time. So that means food in the car, food in the office, food at home. At the very least, I have to drink water. I have to eat on time and regularly. And not get stressed out too much.

I have my work cut out for me. I’ll have to find snacks that don’t go to rot after too short a period; I’m sick of throwing things out from the fridge or from the pantry. The most recent throwaway was a packet of Japanese rice which we never got around to cooking. Weevils were having a party in that packet.

I hope cookies and biscuits last longer.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Putting my iPod to good use

Merv noted one day that I hardly used my iPod. I agreed, and he solved my problem with crappy radio songs in the car by getting for me that converter thing that you can hook up to your iPod, latch onto an FM station on the radio and presto! your collection on your iPod is all you need to put up with in you car, not irritating DJs nor crappy songs.

That device has transformed my mornings driving to work and the times that I spend in the car. Instead of cursing the radio DJs and their apparent lack of taste in music, I now curse my radio because it searches for radio stations and automatically stops when it gets a valid signal. I just can't seem to do a manual search, so it's no mean feat trying to latch onto an unoccupied frequency. The device works less than perfectly: the reach is less than what was advertised on the box and the overall sound quality is lacking. If the frequency gets stronger when I'm driving, the radio station latches on and overides my iPod. Somteimes it sounds like Switchfoot is trying to drown out Mawi, unsuccessfully. My iPod sounds like it's been broadcast over radio, but that's exactly what it's doing: broadcasting over the airwaves. I can't complain; I'm too simple-minded to bother about these things at the moment because I can now actually choose what I want to listen to without having to rip out anything from the existing audio setup in the car and pay RM3000 in the process. What did I expect from a RM150 device? I'm happy for now.

We've got a hodge podge of songs in that iPod; we've got stuff from Belle & Sebastian to Warrant to Pavarotti to Ruben Gonzalez to Klaus Badelt. So it stands to reason that, with my penchant for variety, my iPod is set on Shuffle most of the time. Half the time, my finger is on the forward icon because the iPod is spewing out Natascha Atlas when I really want to listen to Audioslave. However, I leave the shuffle setting on because I like not knowing what to expect; I like that the next song could be a piano lullaby from Hikare Oe or an eardrum blaster from Metallica. Either way, if I don't feel like it, I can always hit the forward button.

Among Rizal's and my collection of over 1,000 songs, my favourite of the lot belong to Peter Pan, an Indonesian band. I've been listening to their music more often than not when driving. I'd downloaded their music and uploaded them to the iPod. I don't remember why I don't have their albums like I do Sheila On 7, another Indonesian band.

The quality of the downloaded tunes leaves much to be desired and not wanting to have to listen to the substandard quality that I now have on my iPod, I bought two of their albums at Borders today: Bintang Di Syurga and Taman Langit. And then I realised that the iTunes on Rizal's PC is shot. It's not working and has not been working in the last couple of days. And that he's had problems reinstalling it because of something to do with Quicktime. It doesn't sound like something he can fix right away.

I'll have to content myself with listening to Peter Pan on the PC at home and putting up with the downloaded versions in the car. For the moment, I can kiss goodbye to my plans of blasting my favourite Peter Pan tune, Ku Katakan Dengan Indah in the car. Well, like I mentioned, I still have the downloaded version. In this case, a mediocre tune is better than none at all. Or putting up with the commercial junk on the radio.

Friday, August 04, 2006

The cat's in the bag

We found the perpetrator who left the note in our mailbox.

We had a long, revealing conversation and the confrontation was not unpleasant,  thanks to Rizal.

I was right: our cats are innocent.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

There are cowards amongst us

Rizal brought in the mail from our postbox last night. We found this among our assortment of bills:

Dear Neighbour,

The cat that you keep frequently littering of faeces and urine (which very unhygienic and smelly!) in my house compound.

I hope that you keep your cats within your house compound ONLY and never allow it to run loose beyond your house compound.

(Typos and mis-spellings are writer’s own. Note unedited.)

  1. My neighbour is obviously not dear to me and a coward as he/she doesn’t even have the courage or decency to write down their unit number or name so that I can contact them.

  2. The only reason they know we have cats is because I let them out in the common backyard garden only on weekends for a few hours and I can be heard calling for them to come back after they’ve had their short run outside. And the reason I’m out there calling is because my cats are like dogs: they generally come back when they’re called.

  3. Our cats DO NOT gallivant outside on weekdays. Even some weekends when we’re not home, I do not let them out.

  4. I can bet any amount of money that they have no idea how many cats I have or what they look like.

  5. There are numerous other neighbours with cats who roam free on a daily basis. I know because I’ve seen these cats and they’ve also left little paw marks on the walls of my car porch. I think they’re cute.

  6. I have not had any “presents” or “offerings” made to me by the cats who have free run of the outdoors, even though my little back garden has little grass and some ground that cats may hide their “gifts” in. So I don’t know how true said neighbour’s claim is.

  7. Trixie and Pixel prefer the grass and bushes outside in the backyard to other neighbours’ backyards. Pixel is too fat and dumb to climb up fences and into backyards. I find our cats crouched and hiding under bushes outside in the common back garden more often than not.

I will not confine our cats to our own compound because they only have the two days in the weekends to gallivant. And only a few hours at that. The backyard is a common area and my cats are free to roam there. The only worry I have is what non-cat or non-animal lovers may do to our beloved pets should they catch them wandering into their backyards. I’ve heard horror tales of nastiness people show animals, especially cats: boiling water thrown at them, even hot oil, cats being whacked with sticks or other objects, etc.

My only hope is that these people are reborn as cats or some other stray in their next life and receive the same treatment that they mete out to animals.

My project tonight will be to try to locate the coward who wrote the note and confront this ball-less idiot and clear the air. I’ll start with our immediate neighbours and work outwards. And it has to be someone living in a ground unit with a backyard. The writing looks like it may belong to a woman. If the note doesn’t belong to a neighbour on our row, it would belong to one of the neighbours whose backyard faces mine. They would be the ones who hear me calling out to my cats in the back.

All I really want to do is confront the coward who wrote me the note. And point out to that person that the neighbourhood has a plethora of people who own cats. And find out if they slipped a note into all these people’s postboxes.

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