Take a Deetour

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

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Feelin' Nuffin' But Love

Monged out in front of the telly in a severely carbed-up (2 packets of instant noodles - yeeah!) stupor, giving thanks for little pleasures (besides thoughtfully rubbing my belly overhang, of course!):

1. Yet another gem of a sign I shot off a truck. I love being Asian!

Oh, the bad puns I could spin, but I won't...

2. As if the carbs in my belly aren't enough, I want to go here, like NOW! I chanced by it once back in 2001 and it was an out-of-body experience. More! More! This isn't helping, either.

3. Realising that the self-imposed social ban was bad for my mental health. Meeting up with B for dimsum today really helped clear the insanity. Today & tomorrow are the only days I'm gonna get off for a LOOONG time, so I'm grateful for the rest - the voice sure could use it. Hurrah for little blessings!

With much inspiration from this blog of note.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Arriving late at S's annual Deepavali party, resplendant in all my shawal kameezed glory (how did I end up being the only one - Indian & Non - in traditional costume?), it struck me how much I miss being in the company of people. After keeping myself away from human contact (so I wouldn't have to speak or use my voice in any other way) for so long, it was strange to find myself surrounded by familiar faces. Yet my language seemed to have left me. Conversation wasn't readily familiar to me. But then everything went right again when T started getting teased for his secret Spice Girls obsession.

"I AM the Spice Girls!" He exclaimed.

"Oh yeah, which part of you exactly?"

"My arm is Sporty, my ear is Posh..."

"And that's Baby!" P interjected pointing at T's crotch.

I lost it. I just lost it. Wheeeeeeeee...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Paralytic Stirs

Fear is a powerful emotion to live your life by.

And while I know how ridiculous it is to let it take hold, I still did. In debilitating ways. I was too scared to chat with the colleagues, to scared to answer the phone, too scared to play with the niece and nephew, too scared to hang out with friends. Too scared of messing up my voice. Too scared to write about it. The days stretched into a routine of wake-up, cry, go to work, come straight home, lock self in bedroom, cry, sleep. Repeat. Rinse.

But now, THANK GOD THANK GOD THANK GOD the gig is over. Literally, not figuratively. Voice intact (MIRACLE!!!), it went down a treat, especially the bit where my dad ran up to the stage in hero-like fashion & downed the pint S. (the sabo king!) dared me to bottoms up half-way through our song.

In celebration of being unshackled, this month, I shall pluck the good from the bad, see the humour in the sad, and...

  • Read Moral Disorder again and again. So good, it bears repeating.

  • Continue to revel in the oral vibrations delivered by my new toothbrush, the magnificent Oral-B Pulsar!

  • Drink water 8X a day out of my trusty Heineken pint glass, whilst fooling self into thinking it's ice cold beer.

  • Indulge in a spot of uni nostalgia and listen to a lot of early '90s brit indie-pop music, like Suede, Oasis, The Stone Roses, James, Lightning Seeds, The Farm and also more recently, The Thrills.

  • Watch old black and white movies on TMC in the wee hours.

  • Lose 10 pounds so my co-star can at least attempt to lift me into a loving embrace at the climax of the scene. As of now, I remain grossly 5kgs heavier than him. Bah.

  • Enjoy my erstwhile secret crush on Brandon Flowers.
  • Sunday, October 15, 2006

    I Wouldn't Call My Family Melodramatic II

    The aunt and uncle from Down Under are having a raucous, champagne-fuelled mid-afternoon family fiesta with the rest of us when G pulls me conspicuously into the kitchen to tell me how frustrated she was about something she misplaced earlier.

    As she starts talking, I hear the aunties whispering outside, before one of them bursts through the door in typical kaypoh-chee-fashion and asks in a conspiratorial tone, "What? What? What? What secrets are you two whispering about?"

    We stare blankly.

    "Why? Guy trouble issit?" She continues in a loud whisper.

    Slightly annoyed, and in the same loud whisper, G. says, "Yah. Don't tell my mom, but I'm dating a married man."

    "Hah? Really, ah? It's OK what, as long as he treats you well," she continues, trying hard to be the cool auntie.

    I can't resist chipping in, "Yah, and he's got three kids. G's gonna be a stepmom!"

    We move this loudly whispered conversation outside for the benefit of our other nosy relatives, where the attention suddenly turns to me.

    "So G's dating a married man, what about YOOOOUUUU??!"

    "Me? I'm engaged... I'm getting married to a cocker spaniel."

    Spare me the female dog jokes, please.

    Sunday, October 08, 2006

    The World Is Made Up of Only Two Kinds

    Caught the creepy-cute feature-length documentary My Date with Drew on cable and was completely reeled in - couldn't stop watching. An average joe films his mission to bag a date with Drew Barrymore. The catch, he has $1,100 and 30 days to do it. The money, he won on a TV game show and the time frame, the number of days in the money-back guarantee of his video cam.
    Countless deliciously cheesy 80's movie references aside, I knew sticking out the movie till its end was so worth it when the guy revealed that in his world, there are only 2 kinds of people and he judges them accordingly. Mock if you will, but after cackling uncontrollably to myself, I realised I agree with him.
    Yes, how lovely! My world, too, is made up of only 2 kinds of people - those who love Grease 2 and those who don't. It gave me a little thrill when I discovered that Ms Barrymore loves Grease 2 too! OMG!!! Does that make me a stalker?! But seriously, I never met a person who loves Grease 2 that I didn't like.
    Although I may have to draw the line at guys who sing Cool Rider to calm themselves down.


    22 Oct update: P. says even so, no wonder I don't have a boyfriend. Bah.

    Friday, October 06, 2006

    Stock Take COMPLETE!!!

    In·ven·to·ry (ĭn'vən-tôr'ē, -tōr'ē)
    n., pl. -ries.
    A detailed, itemized list, report, or record of things in one's possession, especially a periodic survey of all goods and materials in stock.
    The process of making such a list, report, or record.
    An evaluation or a survey, as of abilities, assets, or resources.
    tr.v., -ried, -ry·ing, -ries.
    To make an itemized report or record of.
    To include in an itemized report or record.
    [Middle English inventorie, from Medieval Latin inventōrium, alteration of Late Latin inventārium, from Latin inventus, past participle of invenīre, to find.]

    Resurrecting something I used to do - presenting, my innards served, from A - Z, on a pretty platter:

    A - Aging Rockers. Blondie were here on the 11th for their Farewell Tour gig @ the Hard Rock Cafe. Somehow I got dragged along for the experience (Thanks, T). Look, I know they're pioneers of new wave punk. I know I may never see them perform again (although Farewell Tours never seem to be what they claim to be. They just keep coming back - like Cher). I like Rapture, Heart of Glass, Denis Denis, The Tide is High & Maria, but I think I missed the boat of blonde-ness by a few years. Don't feel insulted, but we stayed at the gig for all of 20 minutes, bothered by the sheer number of tall ang mors blocking us short asians in the standing-room-only venue. And it's not much fun listening to a deadpan Deborah Harry, whilst watching her on a plasma screen 'cos too many people are obscuring the stage.
    Sigghhh... Aging is a beautiful yet grotesque thing. Beautiful because we wear every wrinkle, every scar as a badge of honour for lessons learnt and wisdom gained. Grotesque because I'm still not comfortable watching 40-something-year-olds in their Yuppie suits and greying hair relive their glory days, gyrating and screaming along to every song. Probably because in about 10 years, that'll be me at a Coldplay concert or something. Maybe I should go catch Sonic Youth (strike while the irony is hot!) gigs more often. Sheesh.
    Ironically, see O.

    B - Batam. Infamous home of laydees' spas... cheap krupuk & Kue Lapis... playground of dirty old men from S'pore... and now, me. Am off in a couple of days to this den of iniquity, but for very un-iniquitous reasons...

    C - Crying & Caffeine. Boo Hoo Hoo... The tears have finally arrived. I'm missing New Zealand, I'm missing YWAM, I'm missing the team, I'm missing the kids from Waharoa, I'm missing the simple, disciplined life we lived. I feel overwhelmed by my lovely but distracting homeland. Many decisions, many things pulling me in many directions. I loathe nostalgia. It makes you yearn and miss and cry and hurt. But this too shall pass, that much I know, so bawl on, sister!
    As for the metabolic stimulant, I decided to go 100% cold turkey. As of Monday, 18th Sept, I stopped drinking tea and coffee. Big Mistake. Huge. See H.

    D - Debt. Did you hear the one about the girl who went away to New Zealand, Thailand and India for 6 months and racked up bills of all assortments and amounts back home in her absence? No? Lemme fill you in. I started with a $10,000 IOU to the parentals who paid said bills for me. Am slowly chipping away at the brain-numbing 5-figure amount by selling myself on street corners and ebaying off my vast Barbie doll collection - wahaha!
    Current debt stands at $8,371.22.
    Looking on the bright side, at least when your parents are the loan sharks you won't come home to find a bloody pig's head at your door!

    E - E-mail. Thank God for it. Just got lovely long one from O, which makes me feel less like a bit of agae swirling around in a giant sea. The ebb and flow of being home (I know! Pathetic! It's been over 2 months now!) can otherwise leave one slightly neurotic laydee feeling desperately lonely and lost. So what a blessed treat to hear the familiar trill of my inbox, heralding the love of someone from halfway across the world. Hurrah!

    F - Father. Is it me or is there something very strange yet very amusing to find your old man watching MTV and singing along to Beyonce's Deja Vu? Apparently, Dad's 61 going on 16.

    G - Grace. What can I say? God is good. Even when the world seems like it's gone crazy around me.

    H - Hiding & Headaches. Been doing a lot of that lately. Locked up behind closed doors, not talking much to anybody. Afraid of the big ol' world out there. Feeling ridiculous. I have to face reality and my fears at some point. Later.
    Meanwhile, my head feels like elephants are enthusiastically breakdancing back and forth behind my eyes and up & down the back of my skull. Consequence of cold-turkeying on coffee and tea - my 2 most favourite bevs on God's green earth. Why this unnecessary show of bravado? For the sake of my vocal chords, I've decided to stop poisoning them with the super-drying effects of caffeine. I have a musical to be in soon - one whole gruelling month of singing - gotta start being good to my body. Unfortunately, my body is not being good to me. I never knew caffeine withdrawal was this bad. Day 3 today and it's worn off a little, but the first two days were horrendous. By mid-afternoon, I couldn't function because of the pain in the head. Guess I deserve it for going from 6 cups of tea & 2 cups of joe a day to absolute zero. Don't try this at home, kids. Leave it to the, uh, professional singing lunatic.

    I - Improvement. Progress is slow, but being made. With regard to U & N, the suitcase has been unpacked (sigh) and put away, but its contents still stacked all over the floor, against walls; whilst the toiletries of neurotic nostalgia are being ruthlessly depleted day by day. In fact (see M), as of a half hour ago, all the Mor Fig & Olive stuff has been used up (double sigghh).

    J - Juggling. The old life involved a million and one little things everyday that screamed for my attention and deftly, cleverly, I dealt. I will never know how I stuck for that long to waking up @ 4.30am everyday, working non-stop for 14 hours, squeezing in extra jobs on the side, gym, hanging out with friends at night, keeping up with everything scheduled. Now, if I have more than 2 things on my daily planner, I get confused and forget meetings, errands, etc. A four-hour rehearsal now and I'm a goner for the rest of the day. Look, also, under R.

    K - Kindness. This seems a bit obvious, but I keep surprising myself with this simple fact: It's way easier to be kind to people whom you think deserve it and so not to people whom you think aren't up to par. And that's hypocrisy. So am trying to find any opportunity to be kind to someone daily. Even if it means having to suck it up and go against my every scroogerific instinct - especially on the road.

    L - Little Shop of Horrors. Said musical is already living up to its name! 2nd week into rehearsals and I'm having sleepless nights and nightmares featuring the entire soundtrack played on perpetual loop at full volume. Sigghhh... Signing up for this = committing social suicide. Voice coach pushes us so hard that vocally, I'm drained as a longkang at the end of each 6-hour day. After which, I go straight home and cease speaking till the next day when the manic vocal acrobatics begin again. I haven't been out or seen spoken much to anyone in ages! I've given up bars, clubs and other smoky, loud places. I've given up alcohol and caffeine. Next on my ruthless list, spicy foods! Boohoohoo. I've started exercising (almost) everyday. I've started drinking 4 litres/ 1 gallon of H2O everyday. And so far, the only thing I've gained is an extra 6 urgent toilet breaks per day on average.

    M - Mor. As in the divine cosmetics company from Oz. Finally found a twee little shop @ The Mount that sold their products and carefully carted one bottle of Fig & Olive Body Wash home. That was 5 months ago, thanks to careful rationing. Look also under N.

    N - Neurotic. Do you know what neurotic is? Neurotic is rationing all the toiletries you may have bought over the last 6 months because you have weird, morbid fear of forgetting what has past. A fear that all your memories of the incredible, excruciating, sublime adventure across North Island & South East Asia will disappear down the drain with the soap suds. So there they stand sweating in a row, the usual suspects lined up on the humid mosaic of my bathroom, little jars and tubes and bottles with that last .0007th of product left clinging to their insides.

    O - Old. Miss S. was tremendously relieved, as was yours truly to discover that we both can't hear anything in that TV ad about the secret cell phone ringtone that grownups can't hear. I guess it's easier to deal with your aging aural faculties when you're not the only one. Either that or the arses behind the ad are just screwing with our 31-year-old minds and they haven't actually included the sneaky teen buzz. In which case, I shall be very angry and take revenge with this.

    P - Pregnant. Before the congratulations or complaints start rolling in... a) That's not me in the picture. b) It is a belly of the male persuasion (thanks, Mr T!), merely for visual purposes. c) I'm not with child. I just look like it. Hey, I've had a lot of catching up to do on Mom's home-cookin'!

    Q - Quiz. As in yet another totally useless and meaningless self-test. I am truly ashamed. And curiously addicted.
    I am nerdier than 48% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

    R - Rest & Relaxation. Trying to strike some sort of balance between work and play. The workaholic in me is so hard to kill - Rehearsals are stressful vocally, but not mentally or physically, so I always come home feeling like I haven't actually worked. Then I spend the rest of my time at home faffing about, trying not to feel guilty for not having done much, except faff and watch telly. Feeling especially off-kilter because going out is also out of the question due to lethal combination of: a) being broke b) 2 month ban on caffeine & alcohol c) most R&R activities with friends involve lots of a) & b). Therefore I haven't seen beloved friends in ages and this sad state of affairs will continue till end Nov.

    S - Signs. Love collecting funny ones. Here's another I spotted last night in a public loo:

    T - TV. Is my new best friend. Due to self-induced social coma for the sake of preserving the vocal chords, my only connection to the outside world (beside IMM & email - I've even started ruthlessly screening phone calls) is via a 12-by-14-inch confection of glass, plastic and wires that sits on a shelf directly across from my bed. Therefore, I find myself home, yet again, on a Friday night, equal parts mortified and excited that Extreme Makeover is on now and Assault on Precinct 13 (judge if you must, but the pirated DVD of this movie I a friend paid good money for didn't work and so it's a matter of uh, indulging the deprivation) later. Right now, I am so deprived of human contact, that I'm not even ashamed to admit my insides leap about with joy to hear mom & dad are home and I can sit and watch TV with them. Sigh. Bah. Poo.

    U - Unpacking. Or rather, the lack of said activity taking place! I've been home for almost 5 weeks now and am still living out of one giant suitcase, gingerly weaving my way around a room that resembles an obstacle course of bags, books and papers.

    V - Vitamins. Part of the new health kick. As D. from work said, we're all on self-imposed social comas till the show's over, but at least it'll be the fittest (albeit loneliest) we'll ever be. True blue, Mr D. Especially since I now pop a multi vit, evening primrose/ ginseng combi and garlic/ horseradish capsule everyday. The latter is supposed to help with nasal ailments, but with the PSI readings soaring and the haze getting stinkier & thicker by the minute, my allergies are raging uncontrollably.

    W - Words. Written by other people, they always help to make sense of the present:

    5 feet tall and the ears say it all...
    My ancestors were cross-breeding elves & hobbits.

    "I tell you these stories because these things happen to everyone. It’s not about being starched or polished or cute or polite. It’s about having ears that stick out, about breaking yet another glass. It’s about seeing something for the first time and making a million mistakes and not getting completely discouraged."
    – Maira Kalman

    "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond imagination. It is our light more than our darkness which scares us. We ask ourselves – who are we to be brilliant, beautiful, talented, and fabulous. But honestly, who are you to not be so?
    You are a child of God, small games do not work in this world. For those around us to feel peace, it is not example to make ourselves small. We were born to express the glory of god that lives in us. It is not in some of us, it is in all of us. While we allow our light to shine, we unconsciously give permission for others to do the same. When we liberate ourselves from our own fears, simply our presence may liberate others."

    - Marianne Williamson/ Return to Love: Reflections on a Course in Miracles - resurrected by akeelah & the bee

    X - X. As in the roman numeral for ten. Which is the number of slices of bacon I've eaten over the last 3 days. In Jamie's twist on spaghetti carbonara, in the BK chicken sanwich for lunch, sprinkled over my minestrone soup for dinner. And if you are what you eat, then flip me in a frying pan and call me Salty Pig!

    Y - Yum! It's all here, baybeh! The finest Earl Grey Cake I've ever made with my own two hands. Ok, I cheated on the no-caffeine ban, but come on, does it really count if it's baked in a cake?

    Z - Zaftig. X + Y = Z. 'Nuff said!