Take a Deetour

"I write to find out what I think." - Joan Didion

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Homegirls of the '80s

Via Jellygirl's brilliant reminiscence, my two cents' worth:

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Friday, October 28, 2005

Where's the Gork* Section?

According to the THE NERD? GEEK? OR DORK? TEST, I'm a...
Modern, Cool Nerd
60 % Nerd, 60% Geek, 39% Dork

You scored better than half in Nerd and Geek, earning you the title of: Modern, Cool Nerd.

The Modern, Cool Nerd is intelligent, knowledgable and always the person to call in a crisis (needing computer advice/an arcane bit of trivia knowledge). They are the one you want as your lifeline in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (or the one up there, winning the million bucks)!

For The Record:
  • A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.

  • A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.

  • A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

  • Nerds didn't use to be cool, but in the 90's that all changed. It used to be that, if you were a computer expert, you had to wear plaid or a pocket protector or suspenders or something that announced to the world that you couldn't quite fit in. Not anymore. Now, the intelligent and geeky have eked out for themselves a modicum of respect at the very least, and "geek is chic."

    My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
    free online datingfree online dating
    You scored higher than 58% on nerdiness
    free online datingfree online dating
    You scored higher than 81% on geekosity
    free online datingfree online dating
    You scored higher than 70% on dork points

    * Geek + Dork = Gork (See also previous posts here & here).

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    Wednesday, October 26, 2005

    Ole Ole Ole...

    Today, my 3-year-old niece declares to me proudly, "I can speak Spanish!"

    So Grandma asks her to say "please" in Spanish to me.

    Without missing a beat, she says, "Pleaseinspanish!"

    For this, I guess I have Dora the Explorer to thank.

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    Tuesday, October 25, 2005

    Learn You Engrish

    Siren si·ren (sī'rən)

  • 1. (The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition)
    In classical mythology, evil creatures who lived on a rocky island, singing in beautiful voices in an effort to lure sailors to shipwreck and death. Odysseus ordered his crew to plug their ears to escape the Sirens' fatal song.

  • 2. (The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
    A device in which compressed air or steam is driven against a rotating perforated disk to create a loud, often wailing sound as a signal or warning.

  • 3. (The Conglomeration of People Who Have Nothing Better to do at Wala, First Edition*)

    Unfortunately, my brilliant doctoring of Charles Edward Boutibonne's Sirens is barely visible here, but you get the picture (ooh, punny!).

  • * Otherwise known as "Excuse me, but your VBL** is showing."
    ** Very Bo Liao.

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    Monday, October 24, 2005

    Infinity and Seven Hundred

    Get thee away, old lady, only young 'uns allowed here!

    So I've been volunteering at a kindergarten, training 13 little boys for their graduation concert performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. 2 weeks later, my voice seems to have taken on a permanent rasp to it and my vocabulary seems to have shrunk to a few choice words (usually put together in different permutations of "keep quiet", "stop playing" & "look at me when I'm talking to you"). But really, Jacob and Sons have been an endless source of hilarity for me.

    Today, in an effort to get friendlier with my bunch of 5 and 6-year-olds, I asked them questions then they got to ask me questions. OF COURSE, they'd ask me, "How old are you, teacher?" And OF COURSE, I walked right into that one. I ASKED them to GUESS.

    "One Hundred!"
    "Infinity and seven hundred... and seventy!"

    The chorus of little monsters yelled, all clamouring to answer my stoopid, stoopid question.

    Then one little boy said very seriously, shushing his friends, "No lah, she's not so old!" Then turning his big eyes to me, says with great conviction, "You're forty-something, right?"

    Boo hoo hoo... How did I age another 10 years in the space of forty-eight hours?

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    Saturday, October 22, 2005

    Sounds Like "Stir-Tea-Come-Ting"

    It's no coincidence, OK? Toto, I have a feeling we're not in twentysomething anymore...

  • We always play charades whatever bar we're at and tonight was no different. We always try to sabo each other by coming up with the most impossible movie/book/song titles, so was I surprised that the evil Mr P gave me that old TV series Thirtysomething to act out? I broke it down into 4 syllables and ended up with, "sounds like: stir-tea-come-ting". They got it in the end.

  • Then when I get home to check my mail, look at the fun yet frightening doodah I got from :0) Super Agent BaBOON:
    As of 10/21/2005 4:44:55 PM CDT
    You are 30 years old. ~ yes, thanks for the reminder!
    You are 363 months old.
    You are 1,581 weeks old.
    You are 11,068 days old.
    You are 265,648 hours old.
    You are 15,938,924 minutes old.
    You are 956,335,495 seconds old. ~ whooppee, that's 7 x "old".
    There are 255 days till your next birthday
    on which your cake will have 31 candles ~ what joy. really? I. HAD. NO. IDEA.
    Those 31 candles produce 31 BTUs, or 7,812 calories of heat (that's only 7.8120 food Calories!).
    You can boil 3.54 US ounces of water with that many candles. ~ great, why not stab me in the heart & cook it in the boiling water too?!
    Your birthstone is Ruby.
    Ruby is said to open one's heart to love. ~ hahaha. then i think my birthstone is broken

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    Thursday, October 20, 2005

    Today Velly Or-leng!

    Woke up, it was a chelsea morning, and the first thing that I knew
    There was milk and toast and honey and a bowl of oranges, too
    And the sun poured in like butterscotch and stuck to all my senses

    Oh, won’t you stay
    We’ll put on the day
    And we’ll talk in present tenses

    chelsea morning/ joni mitchell


    A surprisingly optimistic song from Joni.
    I love the bit about talking in present tenses. It would be lovely not to look back at the past and not to worry about the future.

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    Wednesday, October 19, 2005

    It's Not Just a Trifle, It's Serious!

    Look what I made! P, R & lovely new friend, K came over for dinner tonight. Missing B's magic piano fingers, we couldn't actually rehearse anything afterall, but the evening was not entirely a waste.

    We had a gut-stuffingly good time and finished the meal off with trifle, served up in individual glasses. I think they look pretty impressive, but taste-wise, nobody can beat JellyGirl.

    She is a dessert diva who feeds our tummies after our souls are fed (heh - we meet & eat at bible study, what!) and you need to read this and this to understand why I'm obsessed with making trifles!

    JG, thank you for being my makan muse!

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    Tuesday, October 18, 2005

    Mum-mum Meme

    Here's one from the scrumdidilyumptious Skrat.

    For a girl whose first words were mum-mum (baby talk for food), it's no wonder this meme's been especially fun to do. Only thing is, it kinda took on a life of its own and I ended up with a little more than the specified "Five childhood food memories I miss (or don't)":

  • Something mom used to make for us when we were little: Make a little well in a plateful of steaming hot rice, crack in a raw egg and stir it all up with sesame oil in soy sauce and pepper - mmmmmmmmmm!

  • Maggie mee. Chicken flavour. First thing I learnt to cook. Been making and eating it since I was 6. Who can forget the TV ad of school kids climbing up the steps singing “Maggie Mee, fast to cook, good to eat”? A little later on, a staple during midnite feats at girlie sleepovers. My friends taught me different ways to cook instant noodles, like cracking an egg in, then separating the noodle/ egg mixture from the soup and seasoning it with ketchup and chilli sauce (see also FRIENDS).

  • When I was about 5, I remember going for a daily “joyride” with my neighbour Ruth. She was a year older and was already in Primary 1. I’d hop in the car with her and her nice uncle (who had a '70s 8-track cartridge player in his car), who’d drop her off at MGS (then at Mt Sophia) and give me 10 cents to leap out and buy a take-away bag of “birds’ nest drink” from the auntie who had a stall just outside the school. It really was just cold sugar water with bits of jelly floating inside, but yum! Then I’d leap back into the car, waving goodbye to Ruth and then Uncle would drop me off back home.

  • The BEST, and I mean BEST, mee pok you’ll find in any school tuckshop. Our daily ritual was to get it dry with chilli and extra fishcake & fishball, eat the noodles, leaving the liao behind. We’d then carry our bowls of wonderfully soy/oil/chilli-coated fish cake/balls back to the Ah Chek. He knew the drill. He’d ladle out hot soup into our bowls, to which we’d add more soy sauce, lard and giant dollops of his super hiam chilli. Mouthwateringly, tear-inducingly shiok acid soup! SCGS Alumni, you know what I’m talking about.

  • Contraband french fries. The tuckshop Makcik wasn’t allowed to sell us unhealthy food, but we created such demand, that she’d sell her greasy, soggy, salty “fries” in little packets from under the counter, with a shifty eye on the lookout for marauding teachers. 9 years old and we were already experts in espionage!

  • We loved food so much, the year we discovered boys (1986), we developed code names for boys according to their attractiveness: Tunafish sandwich = Not great, but will do. Taco = Quite tasty, Hot! And so on the list went.

    (see topmost photo) dinnertime @ grandpa's - he custom-made the little wheely table so we'd have our own eating surface.
  • Buddy Buddy in Serangoon gardens was a wannabe fast food joint that had Fred & Barney from The Flintstones as its copy-right defying mascots. Fried chicken and hamburgers from there were our Saturday staple dinner, when we went to stay over with Kong Kong P. He used to pronounce hamburger as “ham-ber-Jers, bless his cotton socks! He’d also mix us Campbell’s cream of mushroom and chicken soup to eat in front of the telly, when stuff like Magnum PI and Simon & Simon were on.

  • Next morning, we’d be treated to chicken curry puffs (the deep fried kind with a hard boiled egg and chicken chunks inside) after Sunday School from Sputnik Eating House in Serangoon Gardens. Better than Old Chang Kee, any day!

  • Kong Kong & Mama’s soft boiled eggs (everyone who grew up here seems to have a soft-boiled egg story!). 
Served up in their little shot glasses with soy and lots of white pepper.

  • Watching Kong Kong make thick, strong black coffee the traditional way. i.e. using that thing that looks like a sock. Mama and Kong Kong would keep their sweet black coffee in a thermos with a cork stopper, which we all could pour and drink anytime we liked.

  • Walking with Kong kong to the coffee shop to buy lunch, then improving on the hawker food by tweaking mee pok with extra vinegar and sesame oil, mixing chicken rice with a careful concoction of dark soy, till the rice turned uniformly black (see also BIG BROTHER, BAD HABITS).
  • Condensed milk sandwiches. Another bad influence from my brother. We’d steal the gooey milk from a jar in the fridge, smother slices of bread in the stuff and cram it all into our greedy mouths before mom could yell at us (see also BIG BROTHER, BAD HABITS).


  • Look at 'em at their wedding dinner in 1971 - they love a party and a glass of red (or 15)!

  • Mom and Dad make a lethal combination. Dad loves to eat, mom loves to cook - funny, since she didn't even know how to make a cup of milo when they were first married. My parents learned from each other and still throw the same crazy parties where the old folks get pissed and someone always drags out the guitar for a loud oldies singalong. Get a load of their funky festive headgear. I spent a lot of of childhood feeling very embarrassed. Haha.

  • Growing up, family time meant food, food & more food. The house was always full of friends and relatives sharing the good times, taste-testing new dishes, experimenting with new recipes.

  • Thursday night family dinners were also pretty elaborate affairs. When Dad and bro were not arguing and I wasn’t sitting there wishing I was somewhere else, the meals cooked by mom were phenomenal. Usually flirtations with “Western-style” cooking. Full roasts – especially chicken, beef and pork with crackling. Or, we’d go with dad to the Daimaru supermarket to get fresh take-away sashimi for dinner. Mom and Dad would encourage us to try everything, including urchin and sake. Which leads me to…

  • Wine (& other alcoholic bevs). Dad’s life-long passion and the elixir I’m named after. My first taste at age five set me off in fits of giggles before I passed out. Actually, not much has changed!
  • Fine-dining. From Steak Tartar to Fois Gras, Mom & Dad treated us to a childhood of culinary adventures. I remember loving the whole ritual of going out to dinner, dressing up and feeling terribly grown up. Of course, having to endure 5 hour-long dinners, never-ending sets of cutlery and unpronounceable menus by candlelight, was the catch. Anyone else remember L’Escargot at the now defunct Imperial Hotel, Restaurant de France at Le Meridien, Latour at the Shang, Harbour Grill at The Hilton, Baron’s Table at Holiday Inn?

  • Chicken rice, eaten Kor Kor style, which he learned from Kong Kong KC. Mix rice with soy till black, peel skin off chicken and hang them off the side of plate. Eat everything, saving skin for last. When plate is clean, slurp up skins one by one with great relish, heart attacks be damned!

  • Hawker Centre Ritual. After eating, we’d pour leftovers (food, drinks & all) into a communal bowl and smoosh everything together, giving the mess different names, trying to out-gross each other.

  • This one’s warm & fuzzy : Milk from school. My bro used to bring his little packs home to freeze. Later, Mom would snip the frozen packet open and he’d share some with me. It was our own version of ‘ice-cream’!

  • I Tag...
    My busy busy friends who probably won't even have the time deal with a meme:
    Peekabooboo Duckling Adventures
    Tim O
    Toothless Monster
    Yummy Mumster
    And anyone else who wants to do this (just let me know, so I can read your version!)

    One of my fave cook books based on childhood memories and family history is beautiful, engaging and quite simply delicious – Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros.

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    Monday, October 17, 2005

    Call Me Stephanie

    Grease 2 synopsis here, straight from Blanche's website!

    I really suck at bowling.

    Even when the system screwed up on Saturday night and awarded me with a spare even though I hadn't hit a single pin, I still ended up the big loser of the evening. As usual.

    I think I suck so bad because I always half-expect my fellow bowlers to break into a song-and-dance number, just like they did at the Bowlarama in Grease 2. Then I get really disappointed when nobody does. Nobody singing, "We're gonna score-hore-hore tonight!" in an encouraging fashion. No one. That distracts me. Makes my aim bad. That's the story I'm sticking with, anyway.

    Now I KNOW Grease 2 may possibly be one of the cheesiest, worstest movies to emerge from the bowels of the '80s, but in my 7-year-old heart of hearts, it ROCKS, ok?

    One fateful afternoon in 1982: I caught the Rydell High gang Rock-a-Hula-Luau-ing at a neighbour's house (obviously a huge treat, since hardly anyone owned a VCR back then), and thus began my geeky Grease 2 obsession.

    I don't even mind admitting I can quote most anything from the movie and I know every last cheese-tastic song by heart.

    I'll admit when I saw the Grease/ Grease 2 DVD Box Set at HMV in London, I screeched gleefully and snatched at it, then felt hugely insulted that it was going at the baragin bottom price of £9.90 £7.97.

    I'll even admit I begged my mom almost everyday to change my name to Stephanie (after the Pink Lady character played by Michelle Pfeiffer). When that didn't work, I tried to convince her we needed to become Catholic (when you're 7, you think only Catholics can have 2 names), so I could have "Stephanie" added as my second name. My last name, would be Carrington, of course, once I grew up and married Michael (Mr Cool Rider himself, played by Maxwell Caulfield) - I didn't mind sharing him with Michelle. And I also don't mind sharing with you that he was probably my first celebrity crush...

    not even 7-year-olds can resist a man in leather pants!

    ...Not even seeing him in goggles and slashed-to-the-navel silver lame, perched astride a spinning motorcycle, amidst a smog of dry ice, could stop my girlish affections...

    ...it all changed died when I watched Empire Records and witnessed my Michael Carrington incarnated as the washed up rockstar Rex Manning...
    Which Empire Records Character Are You? Find out @ She's Crafty

    I guess there IS a limit to how much cheese a girl can handle, after all. No more leather pants for me. No more bowling for a long time too.

    But you can still call me Stephanie.

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    Sunday, October 16, 2005

    THE Reason Why You Should Move to Singapore

    Safety first on Keong Saik Street!

    Unexpected night-time encounters can sometimes make for excellent blog fodder. In usual procrastinating fashion, we ended up at BS last night, promising to "protect" M, who had to meet up with a friend from Nu Yawk.
    Said friend wants to move to Singapore. We were puzzled over his rabid love for our little island. Until he explained, eyes-rolling & wrists flapping:

    "Well, the boys aren't that cute, but the apartments are fabulous!"

    So let that be our consolation, we're ugly, but at least we live in pretty houses!

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    Wednesday, October 12, 2005


    the irony! mr potato head endorsing fries! interesting take on the irony.

    I realise normal people don't actually slip a word like onomatopoeia into their everyday conversation. Except one-time lit students maybe. Or pompous geekstresses with overblown poetic inclinations. Which I have been called many a time. Which calls to mind one dear friend who, despite being a philosophy major and powerful example of a brain that works at frightening speed, said to me, "Ono-ma-whaa???"

    For the rest of the night he continued to mispronounce onomatopoeia as "Oh no, my potato!"

    I like it when friends use humour to remind you to get your head out of your arse. Even if it means I can never look at a french fry the same way again.


    When everything seems to be set
    to show me off as a man of intelligence,
    the fool I keep concealed on my person
    takes over my talk and occupies my mouth.

    While I am writing, I am far away;
    and when I come back, I have already left.
    I should like to see if the same thing happens
    to other people as it does to me,
    to see if as many people are as I am,
    and if they seem the same way to themselves.
    When this problem has been thoroughly explored,
    I am going to school myself so well in things
    that, when I try to explain my problems,
    I shall speak, not of self, but of geography.
    - Pablo Neruda, We Are Many

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    Tuesday, October 11, 2005

    Meat Market

    Once a playa, always a playa, baby.

    Eating dinner @ Carl's Jr tonight, G spotted her best friend's brother who came over for a chat. He makes us both laugh with his cheesy sleaze. Or is it sleazy cheese?

    This is the same fella who, on our first ever meeting, described some hot ass he'd seen at some nightspot and finished it all off by quoting Jay-Z, "Can I get a What What", complete with ass spanking hand actions and a wink.

    Who on earth is this oozing slab of smarm?! I thought to myself. Thereafter, G. kept Mr Smarmy-pants at bay from me by threatening bodily harm (to him, of course, not me).

    So fast forward 4 years later, we meet him again at the double juicy, beef cakey, Mother of all Cooked Meat Merchants and I think, How Appropriate.

    G (to Smarmy-pants): Eh, you've lost weight, ah?

    SP (complete with pelvic thrusting action): Actually, I put on weight cos' I broke up with my girlfriend lah, so no more gerder-bak gerder-bom*, know what I'm saying?

    Me (to myself): I'll give you gerder-bak gerder-bom, you male slut-monkey!

    * read it quickly - it's more onomatopoeic than anything else!

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    Monday, October 10, 2005

    Ear Wax

    It's done.
    All out.

    And I feel at least 20 pounds lighter.

    Decision-making is never fun (esp. when your future is involved) for a ditherer like moi, but all is resolved.
    Learning to say "NO" is the hardest lesson I'm having to learn and I think I'm still at grade school level.
    Learning to not care what other people think as a result of your saying "NO" is even harder for someone who's been a people-pleaser all her life. Believe me, it's hard when you have bitchy producer on the other end of the line saying, "Well, you only get to say no once to me, honey!". Who says that sort of thing anyway?! He may as well have added, 'You'll never work in this town again!" for extra effect.
    But that's exactly what I said. N-O. Then followed that up with profuse apologies. Twice, to different potential employers (See? Loooong way to go!). But still, a no's a NO.
    It's difficult to believe I did it. Relief didn't come immediately, unless blubbering and flapping arms around for 10 minutes counts as relief, but relief is what I feel now. Peace that I've made the right decisions.

    I call it divine intervention. And along the way, I've learnt a lot about myself and what I want. Miss Non-commital has realised the value of committing to a choice and sticking with it. But I don't have to like it! It's been a continual struggle and I suspect it'll always be (maybe in lesser and lesser degrees, hopefully). I've lived so much of my life in the past and comparing myself to what I was, I need to look forward with no regrets.

    But from today's and Friday's NO sessions, this control freak may just be learning to unclench her butt muscles a smidge.

    And the angels sent to nudge me along?
  • She provided the rah-rahs. Thanks for turning my idea of an eeww-logy into something closer to an eulogy! And for the jasmin ball tea, hand-holding & straight-talking.

  • She provided the soul support. "We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year, running over the same old ground. What have you found? The same old fears." Seemingly bleak lyrics, but know this: we share the same fears, the same struggles & even though we feel stuck, HOPE is the promise. Look forward and upward, girl!

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    Thursday, October 06, 2005

    Stuff Between the Ears

    Silence on the blog front can only mean one thing.

    Heavy things press on my puny mind. This heaviness I ponder will take a while longer for me to carry, but hopefully all will end in smiles. Decisions, decisions. Fickle me needs to focus and act. No one's gonna hold my hand or tell me what to do.

    So while very untrivial things occupy the space between my ears, I can only write of very trivial things.
    Like how I went into HMV looking for ONE CD, couldn't find it, and somehow FIVE others ended up in my bag (after I paid for them - what were you thinking?!).


    click on cds for info - go on, do!

    Bonus! While @ a recording session, the generous Mr A of UM bestowed me with the delectable Jack Johnson's new CD (see detours du jour in sidebar). Perfect pondering music, tho' one is suddenly overcome with ideas to run away to Hawaii and sit in a hut while the rain falls down outside. Don't ask.

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    Sunday, October 02, 2005

    Shoe Dreams Are Made of These

    Question: How long does jet-lag last?

    Nevermind, had to get up after tossing and turning for the last hour or so. And decided to hunt down the makers of my new aquisition and fave shoe of the moment. Notice the ornately carved blue-tinted perspex heel and the tiny purple swans painted on the side! I love them so much, I'm loathe to share them, but what the hey... Massive eye candy here!

    I wanted to get these, but managed to stop myself:

    P.S. Finally rolled out of bed at 1pm yesterday to retrieve trapped car. Grumpy from a nightmare that parking fees were $45, I drove puffy-faced and puffier-eyed to the !@#$%^ library and discovered the parking charges were $17. Thanks to the nightmare, I felt strangely relieved.

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    Saturday, October 01, 2005


    Why it happens, I'm not quite sure, but mischief and misfortune seem to follow me round, hiding behind a potted plant till the very right time (for them, worst for me) to attack.

    After a lovely time at Quidam and post-dinner drinks/ snacks at the Intercontinental, I waved a cheery buhbye to the girls and tottered off on my skyscraper-high Office rainbow wedges in the direction of the National Library.

    How cunning , how clever of me, I thought to myself, to park there to avoid the massive queue into Parco Bugis. Then I realised the National Library was on total lockdown. It was shut tight. Uh-oh.

    How do I get to the car park? Ah... I'll just walk round and down the ramp at the entrance.

    So off I tottered, got lost, circled the perimeter of the library several times, got my feet lacerated by pretty but killer heels, then finally conceded defeat. The entrance to the carpark was locked too, by a set of ultra strong metal roll-downs.

    Who's feeling cunning and clever now???!!!

    Proverbial tail between my legs, I flagged a cab. The car would have to have its first sleep over.

    In the cab yakking nineteen to the dozen with G. about the sudden slew of job options, the things I need to do, all my reservations, etc, etc, I finally got home 45 mins and $24 later. Before I got out, the taxi driver said to me, "Sounds like you are doing a lot for a lot of people, got no time for yourself." He said this twice, handed me the change and drove off.

    I was gobsmacked.

    Then later on, I accidentally dropped my favourite black eye-liner into the toilet bowl and flushed it before I realised what I was doing.


    The cherry on the cake? Now I don't believe AT ALL, but 2 days ago when G. was reading P & me our horoscope according to 8 Days, we all couldn't help but laugh:

    You're full of good ideas, but for WHOM? And for WHAT?!

    Makes sense though. And good questions to ask myself.

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