Sunday, January 31, 2010

That Vicious Circle

We never learn.

Just today I listened to the radio and found a young girl playing a prank on her boyfriend - supposedly trying to make him jealous. Never actually saw the sense in that but judging by the shockingly blue streak that spewed from his lips, she succeeded. Took mere seconds for our bad boy to go ballistic. Washing the thug's dirty mouth with soap wouldn't have sufficed since I'm sure only heavy-duty carbolic acid would do the trick. And all the time he threatened bloody violence, the silly filly just giggled possibly thinkng that her threatening brute of a boyfriend was so the man.

Seriously. Is this barbaric throwback to the Neanderthals what girls really, really want? Call me back when you're bruised, battered and beaten in a women's shelter.

Are we all doomed to repeat the same mistakes? Reminds me of a friend all eager to introduce her new beau - after going through a recent bitter separation. One would expect that she's learnt her lesson.

So when will the next hit come?

I was wrong. Whispery Wilhelmina came in with ... what we have termed a clone of her jerkoff husband. Seriously. It was like her brutish husband revisited. I had to rub my eyes twice to make damned sure I wasn't encountering deja vu.

The minute she took a seat, it was like the start of the Belittle Wilhelmina Game with Jerkoff Joe as the outstanding contestant. I didn't even have to ring the bell for the games to start.

Joe : You gonna eat that? It must contain a thousand calories.
Wilhelmina : *giggle* Sorry. Of course not.
Joe : And you still have all that baby fat.
Wilhelmina : Yeah, I'm working hard at it.
Joe : Obviously not enough. God, you're sloppy. Wear a bib, would you?

Had to stop myself from joining in the mean fun.

Look, Wilhelmina has her faults, I know - but we love her, warts and all. Though the temptation to shake her does come occasionally. So question for Jerkoff Joe - if you actually see that many fatal flaws, why are you dating her? Go find some other stick-thin anorexic bleached-blond then.

Worst of all, Wilhelmina doesn't see it. Blinded by love ( and black magic? ) the man can do no wrong. The unprepossessing Joe is playing all the same cards as her ex husband did - and yet again she seems to be falling hopelessly for the same pack of lies. Poor Wilhelmina. Near Pavlovian, she sees scumbags and drools in response. A scrub magnet no doubt trapped in some Freudian love game, doomed to love dominating bastards in a two-hundred-mile radius.

Yeah, I know I'm harsh. But I feel like shaking her hard. Didn't I listen to a litany of complaints about a jerkoff husband? And now she's back with his twin? Scumbag Version 2.0?

Maybe some serious aversion therapy would work. Electrocution?

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Last Outlaw

You know I'm actually pleased that my brother met his wife. Although my brother tried unsuccessfully to keep the affair semi-clandestine, it's pretty hard to keep a secret when I - the nosy kid brother - am always snooping around. And the perfectly wrapped gifts come Christmas that year was a dead giveaway.

Come on, pretty buttons and bows from my macho brother? Not likely!

Never thought to hear me say it but I actually love my sister-in-law. Though her bold outspokenness can be disconcerting to the elders, I find it quite refreshing since her sincerity can never be in doubt. Quite a rarity these days when I see shockingly impudent in-laws joining the household only to raise all sorts of domestic havoc. At least in hysterical Cantonese drama serials.

With the notable exception of that devilish femme fatale who came between the brothers ( and the father ) in Legends of the Fall. Horrific.

Paul : Just say the word and I'll have her disposed of. No one need ever know.
Calvin : Umm. I'll take that under advisement.
Paul : Seriously, I have two new crocodiles in my moat. Helpful lil beasts.

In real life I give you Miz Borgia, Charming Calvin's villainous sister-in-law. Our first meeting couldn't have gone worse since the snotty ice queen swept past everyone else - including Madame Borgia - without caring to deign a glance.

I was this close to saying Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner but I figured I was already fey enough without quoting 80s musicals! So I immediately trashed the welcoming muffin basket I made for her and geared for battle. Fortunately his family was spared the ugly confrontation since an entire ocean separated us - with Miz Borgia domiciled temporarily in the Middle East - till now.

Her return has been greeted with little fanfare though Madame Borgia decamped to the peninsula only to attend to her postnatal needs. Didn't take long before the menial drudgery had Madame Borgia beaten down. Seems like Calvin's redoubtable mother has been struck by the seasonal flu leaving the usually self-sufficient lady practically incapacitated - and at the tender mercies of the heartless Miz Borgia.

Upon being presented with an ailing Madame Borgia, our pampered princess could barely lift a finger to help. So much for filial piety. One would surely expect the devoted daughter-in-law to immediately rush out to boil some soothing herbal tea. Instead our fragile Miz Borgia yawned into her vinaigrette and pretended to lie pitifully prostrate on the divan.

Madame Borgia : *cough* I am stricken with the flu. Could you desire the physician to attend to me?
Miz Borgia : I am beset with ennui! I simply cannot be bothered by such trivial matters in the morning. Take her away.
Madame Borgia : *cough* *cough*
Miz Borgia : Good gracious. Is that a piece of your lung on my silk blouse? C'est dégoûtant! Away , you diseased creature!
Madame Borgia : My son! Oh where is my son!

Such a melodrama, I know! What could her blue-eyed boy Charming Calvin do but to ride ventre à terre to his crippled mother's rescue. A journey of 100 miles. On the slim excuse that he supposedly wishes to relieve Miz Borgia of her cares.

How very nice of him! I would certainly relieve Miz Borgia of her worldly cares by sending the executioners out for her head instead. Preferably perched on a bleeding pike.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Love & Books

I must admit you were not a part of my book
But now if you open it up and take a look
You're the beginning and the end of every chapter

Sweet lines from a song that keeps playing repeated on my radio. You know the sort that gets into your head. But I can't help but start thinking how very true it is.

We grow up with this image of the perfect guy, someone with similar hobbies, likes and dislikes. And after all they do say the best relationships are based on common interests. My endlesly sappy friends, Lanky Lex and Jaunty Jared, seem to have that all sewn up with their shared adoration of classical music, environmental affairs and chirpy sparrows. Twins separated at birth, I swear.

Even Soused Soldat and his multi-personality collective managed to find a man who appreciated his love of sappy musicals and spontaneous jaunts down under.

Now you're telling me you hate books?! Take that back!

Me and Charming Calvin? Almost nothing. Seriously. My endless shopping sprees probably tires him. My neverending home DIYs probably scare him. Even my greatest hobby only gets a lazy nod from him. And I mean soporific since he can barely last an hour with even the most electrifying bestseller. Thrilling pageturner so they say on the back cover reviews - but just flip a page and our sleepy fellow's already deep in dreamland.

At least he's trying to read a book. Or ten, as his resolution this year says.

Calvin : I shall read ten books!
Paul : *snort*
Calvin : I will read ten books!
Paul : How about settling with ten chapters instead?

Well, I know. I'm not exactly supportive.

Booklovers certainly can get obsessed since it seems someone actually made a study of it :) Bibliophiles and their partners. What if he reads? What if he reads an entirely different genre?

Always thought I'd have someone that would be able to share my thoughts on the written word - since I find words endlessly fascinating - but as the song says, he's something I would never choose but something I'd never want to lose.

Oh yeah here's the song I was talking about. Corny as hell but I've learned it's okay to be corny every once in a while.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Borneo Yoko Ono

Over here, work has started getting into a regular humdrum routine. Something I don't particularly mind after the hectic pace of the city before. It's kinda nice to kick back, relax and unwind.

And when the stress does catch up to me - rare though that may be - I find myself searching through the roster of names to put an instant smile on my face. It has become almost a force of habit to scan through the registry of names! You see, the folks over here are certainly original when it comes to finding names. Forget about the Wrestleys and Cherrys.

What a name!

Over here we have far more novel monikers. Obviously the hopeful parents here are far from unabashed in naming their offspring. Not only have I been regaled with the likes of Elektronika, Handbag and Jesus Christ, we've also had superstars dropping by for a visit. Kevin Costner came by for a nose job while Kenny Rogers had a circumcision done just the other day.

The today we had Yoko Ono making a brief appearance. Far from the slant-eyed Japanese kook we all expected, this particular dame was short, squat and particularly dark.

And scheduled for an appendicectomy.

Yoko : Yes, my name is Yoko.
Paul : Imagine! And do you have John, Paul, George and Ringo for siblings?
Yoko : How did you guess? John and Ringo actually.

How can I not smile at that?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Road to Pemberley

By the old Moulmein pagoda
Lookin' lazy at the sea
There's a Burma girl a-settin'
and I know she thinks o' me".

Despite the many poems and songs written to it, certainly not an easy road to travel, methinks. Quite as difficult a path as the road to Pemberley. A little something our newly literate Charming Calvin picked to christen his new home. Certainly posh enough ( and pricey enough! ) to rival the famed residence of the Darcys.

Despite the purported rumours of a recession with lay-offs and budget cuts, the real estate industry doesn't seem to have taken as much of a hit. The shockingly overinflated prices don't seem to have come down even a little bit. Obviously the lucky nabobs are impervious to such slings and arrows of misfortune.

Not Charming Calvin though.

Maybe I should buy the bridge as well!

Since the exorbitant price tag for Pemberley looked intimidating enough, it took a while for Calvin to get his affairs in order before making the momentous decision. Getting his ducks in a row so to speak. Can't recall the time I bought my own place but surely it took much less deliberation. Then again in comparison to the palatial Pemberley, my little hillside manor would probably cost as low as the shabbiest housemaid's quarters.

Still, our manly Calvin steeled himself, said a wishful prayer and took the plunge into financial insecurity. Armed with a fixed deposit, an indifferent housemate and an indomitable spirit. Kudos, I say.

Of course the difficulty starts now as Calvin attempts to extract certain financial documents from his redoubtable mama Madame Borgia's safekeeping. The venerable Swiss Banks have nothing on this lady. Almost nothing escapes her fierce eagle-eyed glance - and she would be far from pleased to know that her blue-eyed boy intends to reside in the sinful city of Sodom permanently.

Already imagining a daring Mission Impossible stunt with Charming Calvin - appropriately dressed in studly black - shimmying down a rope to break into his mother's locked safe. In the dead of night. Possibly with me at the computer relaying instructions via the snazzy headphones.

Paul : Not a sign of movement from the bedroom. Big Mama's down for the count. Make your move.
Calvin : Damn. Looks like she's activated the alarm system.
Paul : Lemme just fiddle with it.

Madame Borgia wouldn't even know what hit her.

Of course defeating Borgia's schemes is only the first step on a long journey. Now to deal with real estate agents, shifty house owners and bank managers.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sibling Rivalry

Perhaps that's not the right term to use. Rivalry would be wrong for what I'm about to describe could also be termed as a simple act of adoration. All depends.

You see, I had a day out with Charming Calvin - and my sister-in-law decided to hand us the kids to babysit. So there we were, the gay couple with the two kids, Chatty Carmen and Rambling Raoul. It was all we could do to keep the rambunctious duo corralled in the bookstore.

With the kids practically climbing the walls, I was this close to handing out the sedative Midamilo. Even my evil eye failed to make an impact on the mischievious Raoul who proceeded to run up and down the book aisles in training for the Kid Olympics.

Gay dads
Finally all tuckered out!

But after several rounds of aimless bolting around in the store, even Rambling Raoul was tuckered out. And then it happened.

Obviously trying to get a rise out of her brother, Chatty Carmen started creeping under his cot to nudge him. Tried everything possible to wake him up. Waved her hands in front of his face. Blew into his ear. Drew on his feet. Just short of drop-kicking the entire cot over. Fortunately Raoul was so knocked out that he could barely swat her away.

Now would that be called endearing?

Paul : What is she doing? Is Carmen going to take out castanets and a tambourine next?
Calvin : Trying to wake Raoul up?
Paul : Hopefully that's to get him to play with her. And not just to irritate her brother.

Wishful thinking perhaps? Totally reminded me of the way my brother used to do the same to me. Nudging, poking and whistling. Generally being a fraternal pest to wake me up.

Like father, like daughter? :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

School Spirit

Remember that colleague of mine who just dropped her scion off at school? Well she did so insisting that the school doesn't matter at all in shaping a kid's personality.

How very odd. I beg to differ. School actually matters. Of course it doesn't matter as much as the home environment but it still plays a significant role. Certainly don't mean the boring cookie-cutter schools that have sprung up in the suburbs recently. I doubt you can tell the difference between generic School A or School B, especially with their shockingly interchangeable names. Seriously. Numbered schools?

I'm talking about the older institutions of learning that have inculcated a certain ... culture in generations of students. Though I wouldn't claim that the teachers were all that great, the school environment in these places do imprint a certain indefinable trademark, I would say, on their students.

Even the social misfits.


Something instantly recognizable even in a stranger. Like an invisible badge. Even my old schoolmates have remarked on that fact. According to the convent girls, they can tell the hometown boys apart easily. Supposedly boys from my rival school are the hip, happening blokes you date for dangerous fun while the boys from my school are the gentlemanly fellows you bring back to mom.

Paul : So basically the dawgs and the saints.
Gal : That could be the tagline.

Never realized till I found out a year or so back. Not exactly complimentary but I don't mind it. At least wait till the girls find out how we differentiate the different convents.

But not only did the missionaries teach us to open doors for ladies, they also taught us the all-important bro code. Though we might squabble internally - count the number of daily brawls in the school canteen - when it came to outsiders we certainly stood together as brothers. Nothing proves this spirit of fraternity more than the one time I saw a group of jocks defending this lil bespectacled kid from neighbouring bullies just because of his uniform. They certainly couldn't let a member of their fraternity - no matter how puny - be abused by others.

Ah, the bro code. No doubt Barney Stinson swiped it from the La Sallians. Starting with rule number one which is bros before hos :)

Unfortunately I'm dating a bro so it gets a little complicated.

So schools not making a difference? I beg to differ.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Two Gay Boys, A Girl and A Ratatouille

Despite the fact that my schedule's pretty empty these days, there's really not much we can get up to here. We - as in the coven-ish trio exiled over here - Fabulous Felix, Piratin Patty and me. After all, there really aren't all that many cafes, restaurants of stores here. Short of jungle trekking, karaoke-ing or illegal smuggling, we don't really have all that many options for wholesome entertainment.

Reason enough that Piratin Patty decided to rush out to get an oven. This way we at least fill our time with something that we can bite on.

Lee Pace
The Pie Man anyone?

All of us are clumsy amateurs of course. Hell, I haven't picked up a cake beater since secondary school! Yes, like every other budding gay kid, I actually spent an entire period of my life greasing pans and making chocolate chip cookies. All shockingly domestic. Just short of the frilly pink apron saying Kiss the Cook.

Unfortunately I came to learn that baking isn't at all like riding a bike.

Hell, I took a while to even separate the yolks from the whites. I mean how the fuck do you do it without getting a few broken yolks! And folding the cake batter? What does folding mean exactly?

But the recipe books we purchased along with the oven proved quite helpful. And certainly more reliable than some of the dubious recipes we found online. From the disastrous ginger fluff of last week to the buttery chocolate loaf yesterday, we seem to have made reasonably decent progression. At least we haven't actually poisoned anyone.


Two cakes a week at the least. Who knows, one day we might get good enough to start selling. Pat a Cake Cupcakes anyone?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Radio Killed the Video Star

At least over here.

In the city, we are spoilt for choice with dozens of radio stations competing for our attention. Always amazes me that we have bandwidth enough to fit them all in! Just tune in, flick the dial and you'll find a station specific enough to meet the needs of almost everyone.

Unfortunately not the case in Miri though.

Despite the rumour that they once boasted of having the fabulous Capital FM over here, I have to say that the radio airwaves these days are generally... soporific to say the least. Although the single English-medium station here plays a couple of hits sporadically, the usual bland serving revolves around a smattering of Elvis, a dollop of evergreen oldies and a whole lot of freakish one-hit wonders from the decades before.

Quite a torture when you realize that we only have one ancient transistor radio playing in the operating theatre here. Is it any wonder that crazed fellas waving sharp utensils isn't all that uncommon here? Seriously. There's only so much Five Hundred Miles you can hear before you feel like running amuck with a parang.

Turn the radio on?

So much for thumpa thumpa music to keep us awake in the wee hours.

But I'm a persistent fella, sitting by the radio fiddling with the dial just to search for that elusive radio station! Note the condition of the embattled antenna - twisted into knots and circles just to catch the best transmission. Imagine how rustic we all seemed huddling by the radio to listen closely for the sounds of civilization. Half expected the radio to dutifully inform us all to Keep Calm and Carry On.

So you can imagine the discovery of a new radio station just today. Greeted with an elation not seen since the cavemen here found fire. I believe Ebullient Eve even did a little dance.

Eve : Oh my God. I think I can hear it.
Paul : So do I. This is amazing. Finally, I feel like I'm in the Noughties at least.
Eve : Not to mention the sounds of the city! I can almost smell the traffic jam now!
Paul : Say goodbye to lousy tracks!

All because we finally have a half-decent English-medium radio station. More than one actually. Ah, choices.

Finally. I was really getting tired of keroncong and Kenny Rogers on the airwaves.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tool-Time Guy

They say after a couple of years, things start to get a bit boring. You've known each other for a while, most of the kinks have been ironed out and it's gotten a lil humdrum.

At least that's what I thought.

Want this fixed?

Then the electric cord I'd bought for the kitchen turned out to be a tad too long. Now don't look for it, there's no wicked innuendo hidden behind those words.

Paul : Damn. I need to get a new plug.
Calvin : That's no problem. I can shorten it for you.
Paul : You can do that?
Calvin : Of course. That's what I do?
Paul : You can do that?!
Calvin : Sure I can. Go get me some tools.

The things you can still learn about the boyfriend. Turns out engineers actually do know what to do with electrical appliances. Of course he didn't know enough about me to know that I wouldn't know which tool to bring him first. Oh please, the toolbox. I wouldn't know what a Phillips screwdriver was even if it hit me on the face!

So what is it about guys with tools? :)

Real hot, I find. Even without the prerequisite denim cut-offs, hard hat and toolbelt.

Charming Calvin wasn't pleased to be sweating over an electrical outlet on a sultry afternoon - and the man really hates perspiration. The temperature had to be shooting through the roof but I wasn't about to complain. After all boys with tools are hot.

But I restrained myself. Though I was tempted to throw Calvin on the kitchen table for some afternoon delight, the voices in the dining room reminded me that our mothers were chatting only a thin wall away.

Certainly not conducive for some light spanking.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Lalique Rice Bowls

Remember what my uncle once said about the civil service and the private sector? Rice bowls, he said. He likened the civil service to a sturdy wooden bowl, be it ever so humble, while the private sector was a fragile Lalique bowl, apt to shatter at the slightest vagaries of a fluctuating economy.

Well today I actually turned down the Lalique bowl.

Not that it wasn't terribly tempting to grab it with both hands. Finally Mister Fortune beckoned with promises of endless bounty and yet I firmly closed the door on him. After weighing my present options, I figured it wasn't worth the sacrifice.

Working hard for the money?

As usual I made my pro-con list.

Though I would have money enough to spare to purchase a magnificent Pemberley for Charming Calvin, it would be years before we could even consider settling down together. A long-distance relationship might last the occasional parting of ways but I wouldn't stretch it with a permanent physical separation. You see, the Lalique bowl comes with a painful caveat - a near-instant exile into a rural backwoods even more terrifyingly remote than the one I'm in right now.

Another reason I had to say no. I couldn't possibly leave my aging parents stranded back across the lil pond. The filial piety card still works for me. With my brother miles away in the Middle East, I'm their only go-to person around here. And though my mother insists that some time in the sticks would be good, I don't think she meant it as a permanent stint.

At least those are the more humanitarian reasons. I do have some selfish reasons of my own. Like ye Gods, did I mention it's far away in the boondocks? I couldn't possibly imagine myself living in terra incognita forever. A fucking Starbucks at the very least! Unfortunately the significant hike in salary isn't enough to compensate for the loss of a social life.

Finally let's face it, it's all about me. I want a regular hum-drum routine for a while. A short lazy break from the crazed hectic pace I've been setting for myself these past few years. Just wanna get up, get to work and go home. No lectures. No quizzes. No presentations. And definitely no exams.

At least not for the next little while. Maybe I'll wait for the next Lalique bowl - hopefully one with less strings attached. And if not, the wooden bowl's looking quite alright at the moment.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Inspector Paul and the Mystery of the Disappearing Colleague

The mystery's afoot, my dear Watsons.

Something's been troubling me soon after I received a letter announcing the arrival of a new colleague.

Not very long after, the unsubstantiated rumour started going around the hospital that our department's being haunted by an unseen spectre. Fortunately for us, not the creepy ghostly kind with icy claws out to drag us screaming into the bowels of hell. Our phantom's a far more benign sort. Seems this particular ghoul of ours slips in and out of the workplace without any of us knowing, randomly dropping items, letters and assignments on our desks in between his brief hauntings.

No one has been able to work out the message he sends though.

In fact I actually recall catching a glimpse of the faint shadow fading in and out in the early mornings during ward rounds. Muttering vague indistinct premonitions and warnings before staging an equally sudden disappearance. And the occasional manifestation again in the evenings before we all break to go home.

Simply mysterious.

Making a run for it.

Perhaps connected to the letter I mentioned earlier? Deductive Holmesian logic would obviously tie the letter to the familiar shade.

But I doubt myself. Surely this daily apparition could not be my missing colleague, could it? Didn't expect the invisible man to come join me.

Lately I've dubbed him Sir Spectre since he's hardly ever around. Even though Sir Spectre's reputedly reported to duty - at least that is what's written in the letter on hand - I've been basically holding the fort alone for the past week or so. Some days he's so often missing from action that I'm starting to believe that he's a figment of my fertile imagination. In fact his frequent prolonged disappearances from the workplace has made me doubt his very existence!

Hence the need to hold the letter in hand as proof.

Though it obviously falls to me to keep Sir Spectre solidly here in our realm of existence instead of flitting about. Though I tried very hard not to be a despot, obviously I need to crack the bitch-whip. So much for remaining happily neutral. Maybe a trap to keep him at work? Or steel manacles to chain him down? Now what do you suggest?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

God in a Tin Can

So what has been happening in the country lately? Certainly no need for me to reiterate since the shameful news has been blared loudly ( and embarassingly ) in all the papers around the world.

But let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time there was a little village. In that village there was a nondescript tin can that they all prayed to. Seems it fell down from the heavenly skies one morning while they were all out in the farms. An act deemed supposedly divine. Hence the prayers offered to the humble tin can.

So for years the folks in little village prayed to the tin can.

Prince of Persia
The Passion.

Until one day a band of marauders came into the village. Numerically superior, they outnumbered the little village and immediately demanded to have the tin can.

Marauders : That is our tin can. We pray to the tin can as well. So you cannot pray to it or use the tin can in any way.
Villagers : But it is our tin can. We have been praying to the tin can for decades. Centuries even.
Marauders : We don't pray to the same tin can. Your village idolizing this tin can will only serve to confuse us all and weaken our own faith. Hand it over or I'll desecrate your little tin can temple.
Villagers : You may not have our tin can.

At an impasse of course. All over a tin can. Something so small yet so powerful. Obviously a tin can by any other view doesn't look quite as metallic. So how does this parable end?

God ( or whatever they decide we may call him ) only knows seriously.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sense and Insensibility

As I feared, it took a mere four days to reach the end of my rope of resolutions. Patience and compassion were my resolutions for the year but I fear I'm hastily running short of both.

Especially when it comes to a certain delicate lady recently conscripted into service.

Hereby dubbed Milady Malady.

Barely half a sennight into her transfer to a certain department, my lady has descended into a monumental fit of vapours brought upon by the unaccustomed stress of intercontinental travel. Oh, her shattered nerves! Seems the act of transporting a mere handful of hatboxes left our simpering belle prostrate on the silk divan muttering for her salts. The insistent demands of her burly manservants - no doubt exhausted after the endless rearranging of the new living room set - had our desperate heroine whimpering for her physician.

Obviously far too overset with melancholia to work, said the good doctor. Confined to bedrest, our poor lady so beset with problems.

Prince of Persia
I'm sure no one would blame me if I popped her one.

Had I been by Milady's bedside, no doubt I would have throttled her where she lay stricken in her sprigged muslin nightgown. Maybe aimed the bejewelled snuffbox at her sadly aching head.

Quite obvious I never had much patience with women of such delicate sensibilities - even when they were fictional characters between the pages of a Jane Austen novel. Silly tiresome little widgeons. Even then I felt like symbolically ripping the offending pages off the spine just to rid myself of such bothersome creatures. Overcome with emotion? I'd probably knock them out with my anaesthetic vapours myself.

And then just today our Milady Malady had a sudden relapse due to her passel of wailing kids. Seems her overworked maid has fled into hiding leaving the entire pre-pubescent lot crying at Malady's skirts.

Malady : My children! Oh my poor children! I can't leave them alone yet I can't take care of them! How will I ever handle them!
Paul : Either make them sing Do-Re-Mi yourself or hire Sister Maria.

Seriously. Might I add that she's currently enceinte with her sixth? Now whatever shall we do with Malady.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Scholarly Dreams

Fevered dreams.

Those fevered nights when we flit through that no man's land between unconsciousness and wakefulness, where dreams lie await to creep on us unbidden. Since I've been having the occasional spike of temperature for the past few nights, I've had my fair share of dreamstalkers.

Even a fairly amusing recurring dream.

Me as a college student! Make that me and Calvin. An impossibility in reality since we would never share a campus - unless I repeated one year too many.

Only in my dreams, we were both walking around a chilly Bostonian campus - a supposition with all the brilliant autumnal foliage surrounding the grounds. Not to mention the amazingly chic winter coats we had on. I blame the endless Gilmore Girls reruns with all that talk about Yale.

Definitely one for Sigmund Freud though I'll take a stab at amateur psychoanalysis. Though I was technically in a relationship with my ISO in university, I never actually got a chance to parade a boyfriend around. Closeted homosexuality aside, my InSignificant Other studied two continents away. Always wondered what it would be like to have a special beau back in school and I guess I got my wish. Somewhat.

Back to school!

Turns out dream Calvin volunteered as a reporter for the independent student paper and I was the nasty editor. Ah, dreams. Not only did Calvin attend the same college I was in, everyone else I knew had somehow managed to get in. Jaunty Jared covered the sports beat and we had Zany Zinedine as the oh-so-fabulous fashion editor. In the background I think I even saw Lanky Lex posing as the school photographer.

Fun times. Even more so since I could afford shockingly expensive Burberry coats as a struggling college student. Apparently I'm also sinfully wealthy in my dreams.

Which doesn't explain Calvin's peculiar accent. Totally blame the slow, lazy cadence of his real speech but somehow the Bostonian Calvin speaks like a laid-back surfer dude on a bong high.

Paul : Remember, I need the story by Monday.
Calvin : No worries, dude. Will have it on your table way before that.
Paul : You'd better make sure of that. Boyfriend or no boyfriend, that cute ass of yours will get a whipping!
Calvin : Ooh tough, dude.
Paul : Grrr.
Calvin : Chill, man. Here, have some Doritos.

Obviously I'm still a psycho kiasu freak in my dreams.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Get Nekkid

Peeping toms always get a bad rep.

There's a particular episode of the comedy FRIENDS where a member of the sextet accidentally catches the other naked - and as a running gag immediately insists on getting tit for tat.

Ross: There's only one way to resolve this. Since you saw her boobies, I think you're gonna have to show her your pee-pee.
Chandler: You know, I don't see that happening?
Rachel: C'mon, he's right. Tit for tat.
Chandler: Well, I'm not showing you my tat.

Though I'll admit I haven't been all that innocent when it comes to this particular crime. Certainly unplanned of course. Not like I sneak about in fedora, trenchcoat and binoculars hoping to score a licentious peek.

Even here, construction sites are aplenty - and the youthful migrant workers are hardly embarassed about showing off a lil bit of tanned skin. It's almost inadvertent on my part, just a random glance out the window to catch them taking a shower out in the open. Clad only in see-through white briefs, most are hardly pleasing to the eye - but every once in a while, you do find a particularly delicious specimen.

And you stare helplessly.

Certainly not the case when it comes to catching a friend unawares. If it was a fella, I'd probably be a lil bit more blasé about it. Not like I've never seen guys naked before!

But I'm technically not nekkid!

But it's a girl - and as much as I'm socio-culturally required as a red-blooded male to get titillated by the sight of boobies, I could hardly restrain a horrified yelp of my own. Might see bare boobies at work but it doesn't mean I'm used to seeing it at home! You can imagine the poor girl practically leapt out of her naked skin. Even now I blush at the thought of it.

Of course she looks fabulous - I can say that, can't I? - but she'll definitely think twice before dancing around nekkid in her apartment again. :)

Definitely one for the memoirs.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Bad Romance

After seemingly insurmountable trials and tribulations, the charming prince finally gets his bride. As the sun sets on an impossibly perfect evening, they walk contentedly into the horizon sharing a kiss to what seems to be a happily-ever-after.

Cue crescendo-ing violins before the end credits start rolling.

Prince of Persia
You mean that's not the end of the story?

At least that's what we're all led to believe. But is that all? Do we actually get our happy ending just like that? Unfortunately our sweet fairy god mother - trying to smoothen things over - never actually tells us the ugly reality of things.

That sweet little dwarf waiting helpfully is just the date she can never get rid of. The seemingly perfect princess just hates sticky forest creatures and simply can't wait to have them roasted/barbecued/sauteed for dinner. And worst of all, that handsome prince peeking over the bower might have the most horrid queen mother waiting behind the scenes, possibly worse than the wicked stepmother left behind.

Why worst of all? You can dump the dwarf. You can roast the deer. But you can't possibly drop-kick his mother off a burning cliff. They're family after all. And you all know family means no one gets left behind.

Even if that someone is a wildly hysterical queen bitch.

Everyone comes with baggage, familial or otherwise. And some aren't as easy to get rid off as knockoff Pradas. So what do you do with clingy in-laws?

Modern-day Miss Independents who don't believe in fairy tales tend to raise their hackles to demand immediate emancipation. Dump the prince, they preach. Who needs him, they say! After all they can easily build their own dream castle out of wood and stone.

Me, I'm a lil bit more of a dreamer. After all fairytale endings don't come without a price. No reason to toss out the prince along with the crazy mother. There are other ways to skin a wildcat after all. Not only would I charm the insane harridan, I'd brew, bubble and boil potions enough to enslave her to my every word. Answer her every mindless whim while smiling like sunshine. Soften my image to appear the martyred Snow White while the enemy appears to everyone else as the abusive stepmother.

In the hopes that the prince - and the rest of the sympathizing castlefolk - would then proceed to burn her at the stake.

But that's me. I like a challenge.

Certainly not advice for the faint-hearted. Of course if the prince is a bit slow on the uptake, I always have my back-up arsenic. Always have a plan B.

And C.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

No Shit Sherlock!

Wouldn't you know, I actually have a thing for doctors.

Dr John Watson in particular.

Far from the portly, fumbling shlock of previous incarnations, the latest Sherlock Holmes adaptation has the good doctor re-imagined as a sleek, scholarly army veteran with shades of the pretty boy. All very Jude Law. Supposedly a closer match to the loyal sidekick dreamt up by in Arthur Conan Doyle's detective novels. Since the last time I picked up his novels had to be back in lower secondary, I can only simply nod and agree since I can barely recall the parts that I read.

While his more famous titular counterpart, the crime-solving detective Sherlock Holmes, has evolved into a modern bohemian character, who dresses more like an artist or a poet. Played by Robert Downey Jr with a raffish insouciance, he's more Toulouse-Lautrec in a fedora than the quintessential venerable Victorian gentleman in a deerstalker.

And oh yeah, the newly-violent gym-toned Sherlock throws a helluva lot more punches. After all, what's a Guy Ritchie movie without a coupla ballsy punch-em-ups? Pity we never got his buddy Watson stripped down to his boxers!

Watson : How long are you gonna stare at the watch?

With all that sweaty, testosterone-y masculinity on avid display, is it any surprise that I found Sherlock had far more chemistry with his wingman Watson rather than the prerequisite femme fatale adventuress, Irene Adler. No doubt an intentional homoerotic slant to annoy the traditional purists.

The sad attempts to toss Adler together with Holmes to confirm his heterosexuality only made me hate her more - especially since Watson had less screen time whenever the femme fatale strutted across the screen in her Victorian hoops. Come on, who doesn't want to see Jude Law in a dapper gray suit with a top hat. And his solid, dignified presence provides the perfect counterfoil for the insanely manic posturings of Downey's Holmes.

Holmes? I'd want to tie the manic-depressive freak down and dope him up just to have him shut up. Sexy? Please, I don't go for disheveled raving psychos.
Watson? I'd want to tie him down and do all sorts of wickedly indecent things to his naked body.

Despite having low expectations for the movie, I found myself pleasantly surprised with the movie. So make sure you stay - even till the end for the beautiful end credits with the preceding movie stills freeze-framed to recall the original magazine illustrations.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Victims of the Vaccine

Damn Jenner and his fresh-faced milkmaid.

Maybe I should damn the mooing cows as well to complete the curse.

But why would I mock this surprisingly ingenious Father of Immunology? With the inadvertent help of his innocent milkmaids, Edward Jenner invented vaccines to cure us all of smallpox. Barring the fools who still keep the active samples, he effectively helped eradicated a particularly virulent disease.

And started that debilitating torture device called vaccination.

Makes me wanna lie down and sleep...

Something that comes around annually for health caregivers. Remember that monstrously indestructible eternal enemy called the seasonal flu? Comes from a shockingly hardy virus that's nigh impossible to kill. Short of nuclear war possibly. And even then it would probably just happily mutate into something far deadlier. Hence the fresh need to find new biological weapons to incapacitate it yearly. Which also means different ( and variably effective ) vaccines every year.

Supposedly the diligent, dedicated frontliners are deserving of the flu shot. Lucky us.

Ouch. Seriously. Let's face it. Doctors are all just a bit terrified of the needle. Sticking them into others isn't as big a problem as everyone thinks since hey, it's not me feeling the pain. But when we're the ones getting the shots, we cry like lil babies.

Come on, whoever said that the needle doesn't sting is lying big. Prick them with a large-bore needle if you hear that. Short of being thoroughly anaesthesized, it's almost impossible not to feel the needle going in.

Not to mention the inevitable side-effects. Think baby flu. Which stinks since you're not ill enough to be medically confined to bed. Yet you feel like the walking dead.


Saturday, January 02, 2010

Ring a Ring of Roses

You know clumsy lil Jack who went up the hill to fetch a pail of water? Seems my lil niece Chatty Carmen doesn't know him all that well. At the moment she is not very sure about tumbling Jill either.

One of the books I cherished as a child was a collection of traditional nursery rhymes and even now as my memory fades into senility, I can still recite Solomon Grundy and Hey Diddle Diddle by heart. Just the simple cadence of the largely nonsensical rhyme is enough to put a smile on my face. So I figured why not pass on that tradition with a gift of a nursery rhymes compendium. Turns out Chatty Carmen doesn't even know that the cow jumped over the moon.

So don't even talk about eloping tableware.

Wonder whether Charming Calvin even knows.

This is no laughing matter! The Chinese don't believe in nonsensical rhyme!

Obviously the simple nursery rhymes we learnt in kindergarten aren't quite as universal as we thought. Dismissing them as childish frivolous tunes, the chinese-based nurseries have done away with them entirely - possibly hoping that the endless communist mathematical mantras would keep the unruly tots in line instead. Surely muttering multiplication tables verbatim would put anyone to sleep!

No. The Chinese don't do frivolity.

Though of course when I got older, I became gradually appalled by the subversive - and occasionally macabre - elements behind the nursery rhymes. What a disillusioning moment it was to learn that most of our rhymes - like our favourite fables - are derived from far more sinister origins. Like this one.

Ring a-ring o' roses,
A pocketful of posies.
a-tishoo!, a-tishoo!.
We all fall down.

Bet you didn't know that there are rumours that the harmless lil ditty was based on the great plague? Hell, I didn't need to learn about that! Now each time I hear a buncha rugrats recite the rhyme, I immediately have nightmarish visions of H1N1.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Bonne Année !

Which means Happy New Year of course. Hope I had it right after Amélie whispered it in my ear last night.

Oh yes, I found myself spending the eve hurrying down the cobbled streets of Paris with Amélie from Montmartre. And in between resolutely fixing the lives of the confused citizenry ( and sowing discord amongst our enemies ), I decided to make myself a couple of resolutions as well.

Nothing much to hope for. Pretty happy with my lot in life recently. Have my health. Have a job. Have a great boyfriend. Have a great family. It's all good. My Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs isn't that complex. Doesn't take much to have me smiling, I guess.

Amelie with her next plan.

1. Patience

Oh yes. Something I definitely need to learn. Especially with the likes of Nervous Nancy. And her endless sighing/twitching. Gotta keep from inadvertently snapping at her. God grant me the patience. Will need that with the oncoming influx of anxious, inexperienced house officers.

2. Compassion

Lately someone pointed out to me that I had very little compassion for the weak and needy. Mostly I just feel the need to drop-kick the spineless fools off the nearest cliff but I guess we should all change for the better. So a dash of compassion would be good, I guess.

3. Roses

Speed kills? Never believed that old adage but I've been running helter-skelter for quite a while now. So I figure it's time to slow down, maybe take time to smell the roses. Will try to enjoy my leisure time in Miri a lil bit more. Maybe take some really slow drives around the town. Take in the sea breeze. After all, for the first time I actually do have... time on my hands!

So what do you have planned for the new year?