Taking a bow..

Yes, sadly I shall be gone for about 3 weeks starting tomorrow (actually in a few hours).. Flying back home :) I might blog a bit from the comfort of my bed, but I seriously doubt I'll have the will power to.. given that I'll be full of good food and will be horizontal most of the time :D

Anyways happy Holidays to all! May my spirit be with you till my writing catches up in 2009 ;)

Serenity.

I understood the true feeling of this in the last couple of days.. Just sudden random moments in a crazy day that make you slow down, take a breath, and enjoy the feeling of being happy...

In spite of the pre-departure rush and the Christmas wishlists that still need to be attended to, plus essays I have due, the last couple of deadlines at work, and a very long nerve wracking Wednesday (I don't know how I lived through it and came out alive), I've managed to be a socialite :)

Hung out at Marina Square after work on Thursday, snagged a couple of goodies, and wore my soles thin. Friday was the great Secret Santa gift exchange at work, followed by a heavenly Christmas buffet dinner at the Ritz.. we dolled up to the theme of Old Skool Glamour, and it was a hit :) Saturday heralded a lazy morning, a happy visit to Ikea, and drinks at Wala wala later in the night. And I saw the UnXpected at their best for the first time... Shirlyn's voice is amazing :o I've missed out so much, and you're missing out too in case you haven't checked them out :)

Wine and Christmas pudding on Friday, my dear friend Malibu on Saturday, and margaritas and nachos to come on Tuesday... I am a happy girl indeed.. :)

My Sunday morning was the best though. It was raining, and I read in bed for a couple of hours with my favourite track list playing in the background.. Managed to get most of my essays done too, and spent the rest of the day in bliss.. Right now, I'm on top of the world, and at peace with myself.. I can see the stars through my window, my vanilla candle's burning in the corner, Run to the Water's playing on shuffle mode, and the room's dark except for my table lamp... A moment of serenity before the madness of the world comes crashing back in the form of deadlines, packing and general chaos.

In the spirit of Christmas..

.. take a listen to the medley of voices :)

It's one of the most amazing versions of the song I've heard so far.. Hats off to Espen Lind, Askil Holm, Alejandro Fuentes, and Kurt Nilsen.



Suyin, thanks for this babe!

Trepidation.

December has brought with it a lot of choices. New beginnings, and the opportunity for them... Change has always been difficult for me, but I'm learning to step out of my comfort zone, swallow the fear, and plunge on ahead. But I miss the feelings of familiarity, and knowing that the safety net is no longer where it used to be is a bit unsettling.

I can't wait to go home. Between Prav flying off this Sunday, and Dilini and I reliving the awesomeness of hoppers, kotthu roti, ala hodi and pol sambol during lunch, the two weeks left feels like forever. There's so much to do, and I don't know where to start. I hope I make it to the airport in one piece...

I watched the shades of blue unfold this morning, with my cup of coffee and the Goo goo dolls playing in the background. Nature has funny ways of reaching out to you and making you feel alive. So does music, and the comfort of someone's presence.

Margarita Mondays are going to last, I hope. It's nice to be able to sit down with the wind in your hair and not worry about a thing. Between excitement, laughter and happiness, there's too little time to be sad or depressed, and I'm glad for this. Friends can truly be amazing.

'..and I don't want the world to see me, 'cause I don't think that they'd understand...'

The whole world is moving, and I'm standing still...

This is my favourite line from a song by The Weepies, called The world spins madly on :) I just love the opening chords...



I think I first heard it in a movie, and it was one of those songs that just captured the moment.. I think everyone can relate to this on some level: that detached kind of feeling you get sometimes, when life's rushing you by and you're an observer from the outside.. Or you're stuck in a 'moment' that seems to slow down time.. And when the little things in life sometimes make all the difference :)

It's been a while

But... I am attempting weak comeback anyhow. Instead of the usual excuses for my absence, I'm attributing this latest 'break' from blogging to a soul searching expedition I took (meaning I lay in bed most of the time and the distance from there to the computer seemed too far...) within the confinement of my sunny apartment at Holland village..

In reality, I've not been inspired enough to write (I think the job absorbs most my creative capacity for the day, leaving me drained of puns and sounding bored, to myself at least). But in the spirit of imminent countdowns and beginnings and general boughs of holly and festivity, I shall blog a bit before I head home for my much needed and much anticipated Christmas holiday, one week of which I plan to spend lying down on a beach somewhere...

I think its a tad bit too early to start reflecting on the year that's passed and its ups and downs and in betweens, so I'll leave that for another post.. What I do want to say though, is that the saying 'What goes around, comes around..' seems to have been realized quite a bit over the last couple of months, in good ways and not so good ways.. I guess karma has a funny way of sneaking up on people ;)

Onto other matters of great importance, I've resumed a temporarily ignored past-time: swimming :) No real way to describe how great it feels, but I plan to stick with this, for so many reasons... maybe running was never really my thing :p

People have been bugging me a lot lately about my 'future' and career goals.. I'm started to get a bit irritated, but they do have a point: I should see myself somewhere doing something worthwhile for the next couple of years I guess.. But its so hard trying to figure out what and when and how *sigh* And I don't really see the need to rush this decision.. I'm quite happy where I am now :)

Happenings worth mentioning: I am shopping for Secret Santa! It's been so much fun already, and there's still 2 weeks left :D The Christmas tree went up at work, and now is blinking away and distracting me further from the work I should be doing :p Scrumptious Christmas party/dinner coming up too... And I was privy to the ceremony of drinking Absinthe a week ago ;) Pretty cool I'd say, the process anyway, though the guy drinking it didn't look so cool after it went down... It involved a conical flask, a smaller wine glass with some sugary liquid, which was ignited and poured over the conical flask so the entire thing was on fire, and then the guy drank a shot glass of absinthe through a straw from the bottom of this whole set up... My research on this since then yielded these facts (my research was a bit hampered here and there by other distractions, but Wikipedia seems to have got it right)

And onto the subject of books: I finally finished The Kite Runner :D It was an awesome read, totally captivating and such a stark picture of reality and life, put in the perspective of someone with a weighted conscience... I'm proud of myself for not getting emotional till the last page :D I think I was sadder that the tale ended more than anything else though :) But its a prize of a book, and I strongly recommend it for some deep seated reflection..

Anyways dear reader(s), the rest of my Saturday beckons me, as well as the other half of To Kill a Mockingbird, which has been neglected over the last few days, and a couple of must-see movies... I shall be back soon, I promise ;)

Garfield without garfield :O

Jo skyped this to us the other day..

Curious? Check out the website to see more ;)

Advertising 1101: Honda got it right... ;)



Excerpt from the ad info:

There are no computer graphics or digital tricks in these images. Everything that you see happened in real time exactly as you see it. The recording required 606 takes and in the first 605 takes there always was something, usually of minor importance, that didn't work.

It was necessary for the recording team to install the set-up time after time and it took several weeks working day and night to achieve this effect.

The recording cost 6 million dollars and it took 3 months to finish, including the engineering design of the sequence. The duration of the video is only 2 minutes, but every time that Honda shows the commercial on British television, they make enough money to support any of us for the rest of our lives. However, this commercial has turned out to be the most displayed in the history of the Internet.

Honda execs think that it will pay for itself simply because of the free showings (Honda is not paying one cent for you to see it). When Honda senior execs viewed it, they immediately approved it without hesitation-including costs.

There are only six Honda Accords built by hand in the whole world, and to the horror of Honda engineers, the recording team disassembled two of them for the recording.

Everything you see in the sequence (besides the walls, floor, ramp and untouched Honda Accord) is part of those two automobiles. The voice is that of Garrison Keiller. The commercial was so well received by Honda execs when they saw it, that their first comment was how amazing the computer graphics were. They almost fell out of their chairs when told that the recording was real without any graphics manipulation.

By the way, about the wind shield wipers in the new Honda Accords, they are sensitive to water and designed to start working as soon as they get wet.

In honour of the quarter rockstar :D

Yes Benny, I'm sticking to my word ;)

So for those of you who don't know Benny (aka Asela), he's a really good friend of mine from school... :) We go waaaay back and still talk on a weekly basis, and he faithfully sends me songs that he recommends over MSN and rubs it in whenever he has a holiday and I don't :p

He's a really talented guitarist and a rising star, a fellow Lifehouse and Switchfoot fan, and took part about 2 weeks ago in TNL onstage, which is a competition in good ol' Sri Lanka where rock bands and soloists belt it out and compete for the grand title.. Unfortunately it's always held in November so I've missed it for the last couple of years, and this year was no exception, only that I missed Benny's performance, and would've given anything to be there... :(

You can click here to take a look at his profile ;) And don't forget to watch the video! His song choices for Onstage were the acoustic, indie versions of Quasimodo (Lifehouse) and The Remedy (Jason Mraz)..

Anyways this was just a little post to say I'm proud of ya Bens! (and yes, to also publicly embarrass you a bit :D) I'm gonna fly down next Nov to watch u win ;)

Signing off,
The Loyal Groupie

Spilled her coffee, broke her shoe lace...

So I've decided to do a bit of a mini series on some of my favourite alternative rock bands from the 90s and early 2000s... I think I've already covered Breaking Benjamin in a previous post, so next up is Fuel ;) Introducing my 3 favourite tracks: Bad Day, Falls on me, and Hemorrhage...





Through the eyes of a child...

If volunteering with the kids every month has taught me anything, its how important parental guidance can be. On a side note though, it's also taught me how to be patient and not lose my calm, specially when I become their primary art exhibit :p

Not everyone has it in them to be the perfect parent; I don't think such a thing even exists. But children don't get to choose who their parents are. If you bring a child into this world, how can you not want what's best for him or her? Some of the kids I see are so neglected and deprived of love and attention that it's heartbreaking. You get to be a kid only once and that should be one of the happiest times of your life, instead of being surrounded by adults who paint a dark picture of what life has to offer.

I've also realised that sometimes you get a glimpse of the core of a child; i don't really know how to describe it in words, but there are these moments during some ordinary task like running a relay or making a bookmark, when you see the inside of a kid through what he or she does. It's so uncomplicated with children; they don't judge, they accept you with all your flaws and faults, and they see the world in such a simple way. Sometimes you don't want them to grow up, just so that they could stay that way...

Updates from a self-proclaimed socialite

This week has been all about social engagements, friends and food... LOTS of food. I've been sinful to the point of actually having to decline dessert on occasion (which generally serves as my main course :p). The following more or less sums up my week's wanderings:
Monday - Holland Village
Tuesday - Wisma Atria and Little India
Wednesday - N.Y.D.C. and New York New York at City Hall
Thursday - Fish and Co. (at the airport)
Friday - Pasta Mania and Eclectic Attic at Plaza Sing, followed by a trapaise through Somerset and Orchard.

Today I shall be at the biennale at Marina bay and Southwest point. And tomorrow heralds dinner again at a yet undecided location.

The flip side of all this is that my sleep debt has accumulated to about 25 hours. I'm also gonna have to run like a lunatic on the loose everyday to get back in shape.

Onto other matters, every girl out there should go check out the Bodyshop decor for Christmas. You don't have to buy anything (though temptation might get the better of you) but just go look at the giftpacks, the colours, and enjoy the festivity of the atmosphere.

My experimental endeavours in the kitchen yielded some pretty good results too. Lessons I've learnt: Apples are perfect for salads, and oregano makes anything taste better. My salads are going to need some work, but the Waldorf and a yet unnamed one have been the best so far.

Movies at lunch began at MTM this week, and first up was Hancock. I'd give it a 2.5/5, mainly because Will Smith is such a hunk... *sigh* But the Christmas mood is spreading, and word of Secret Santas and a looming Christmas party is out.. :D

With that, I shall get back to my interrupted marathon of TV shows and try to sneak in a bit of snooze time... Will be back sooner than laters ;)

Halloween, the way it should be..

This year, Halloween actually was something to remember :) I haven't really acknowledged the holiday since I was about 6 and dressed up as a princess, so its been too long a wait. Not that its really a big deal either, but it can be heaps of fun, and it was :)
The babes and dudes at MTM outdid themselves this time... I was seriously impressed and laughed so hard I had permanent stitches in my side during lunch. Check us fabulous peeps out below:

It would've been even more awesome if we'd all headed out to Zouk like planned and partied till the cows came home. Ironically, I ended up in Clarke Quay with two other friends anyway, and it was THE place to be at Halloween, even if only to get a glimpse of the Halloween spirit in Singapore. From wonderwoman to some weird elf-like creature on stilts, to french maids and Egyptian princesses, imagination had run wild and the crowds had done a pretty good job translating it into real life.

Several stories, jokes and drinks later, coupled with Patatas Bravas (heavenly~!), a long walk in the middle of nowhere and music by Reverie, the boys and I wound up back at Clarke Quay again, and came very very close to going reverse bungee jumping at 2 in the morning :p All in all, a day (and night) to remember: great company, good ol' Malibu, and a hell of a lot of fun ;)

With hands like those...

Introducing my latest fascination: Hand shadows

Turn up the volume peeps... ;)



Men are from Mars....

Period.
Unfortunately this is not gonna be a post dedicated to downtrodding the male species, as thrilling as that would be.. Sorry girls, maybe next time ;) Guys, you may continue to read...

Its rather about the trends in relationships that seem to have arisen in the modern age of the 21st century. Or more simply put:

There is a shortage of decent single available straight men.

Possibly because:
a) they are dating female antichrists
b) they are strung into a relationship with a non deserving female that is going nowhere, and are being used and laundered and don't seem to be able to get out of it
c) they are in a stable, happy relationship with someone who they deserve to be with
d) others- reasons such as having just recovered from a) or b) or sudden ventures onto the other side of the spectrum, if you get what I mean
e) they are just waiting to be found
f) the rest are just your run-of-the-mill everyday jerks

The breakdown goes something like this (these are rough statistics, conjured after a moment's thought):
a) 25%
b) 17%
c) 8%
d) 15%
e) 2%
f) 33%

I am now at the stage where I'm trying to come up with an explanation for all of the above. So far, I have:
a) Something is seriously wrong with the men (and women) of the 21st century
b) Men have been tricked into believing that they are God's gift to women (this mainly applies to category f)
c) They seem to be going through some universal phase of mass confusion and end up with the WRONG girl again and again
d) There is a lack of decent women to go around (my money's on this)
e) Due to b) and d), they have suffered ego/self esteem/collateral damage and are now willing to settle for less than their expectations (or hopes, or worth)

I'm sure there are better explanations (or more logical ones at least) out there, but for now, I rest my case. I only hope this post serves to make all of today's decent single available straight men out there (well at least the ones who read my blog, and possible friends) think twice about the blindfolds that they seem to have turned into a fashion. Or at least lift them up a bit to get a peek at the world out there ;)

On a different but related note though, I would totally understand if the blindfolds are in place to shut the rest of the world out. I feel like that on Monday mornings. But then I just switch to my shades ;)

ps. This is sort of a follow up to the post about 'single girls' from a couple of months back... Await more in the series :p

Memories, sentiment and the like..

A lot of people think they're overrated. 'So things happened, so what? Remember the good times, but don't hold on to them forever, because life passes you by in the meantime...' I have to disagree, and there's plenty of evidence in my room and in me- pictures of friends and family, birthday cards and gifts collected over the years, little momentos from the years gone by.

I was reminded of what we take for granted when I came across this a couple of days back... It really touched me and the doubts of the last few days took a backseat for a change.

Memories also got the better of me this weekend. I watched a Walk to Remember, and that soundtrack still gives me goosebumps... it was one of my favourite movies from back in the day, and it still is. Snippets of Baz Lurhmann's hit kept replaying in my head, and a cute stranger made me laugh and feel like a teenager again. Rain, an online conversation, and the goo goo dolls kept me up much later than normal.

I caught up with an old friend, was shouldered by a new one, and remembered the little book of autographs that I collected at the end of school, 5 years ago. Flipped through a couple of pages, and was in tears a few minutes later. Four particular entries made me smile, and I'm glad those people are still in my life. Everything was so different back then, so simple, so unrestricted. So young.

I went back to the basics, took a step back, and reflected. Went for a drama performance at NUS, and loved the subtle hints and humour. Experienced a rush similar to one I had a couple of years ago. I'd forgotten how good the feeling of butterflies in your stomach and weak knees can be. The recklessness of tempting fate can be irresistable.

James Patterson surprised me with an unusually twisted read... As usual, I got caught up with the characters in the book, stepped into their lives, and felt shell shocked at the end of it. If you're looking for a slightly different crime/mystery novel, try 1st to Die.

A long chat with bro and the fondness of family made me feel loved and really lucky. That, and a best friend who knows me better than I know myself. Things look good at the job front and Halloween's got us all excited.

Lots to look forward to, and less to look back upon with regret. October's been good to me, and other than the indecisiveness of the rain and the departure of a couple of people, there's nothing much to complain about :)

Siblings... what would we do without them? :)

So bro is officially off to Sweden in January... :) I'm so relieved he managed to clear all the red tape and pesky administration, though there's still a bit of that left to wade through.. And now I have an excuse to plan my European trip! :D Since he's basically going to be there for the latter part of winter, spring and a bit of summer, I'm going to have to make my pick of which season I want to make my grand entrance in, and I'm looking at the transition between winter and spring... I really hope this isn't all going to be wishful thinking in the end :p

I'm going to miss him to death. I already feel sad at the thought of him not being there on the 8th floor of EA, and he's not even gone yet. Our traditional dinners of subs and intellectual (sleep-inducing) movies are going to have to be put on hold for 6 months (somehow feels like 1 1/2 years :p). Life's going to be a short transition back to the time when I didn't have family in Singapore, during my first two years in NUS, but I think having him here all this time is going to make it a bit harder than before. I can't believe I'm saying all this and still getting annoyed with him on a weekly basis... *sigh*

Anyways with a final act of desperation in trying to get bro to take me with him, I shall end this post and hope that I'll somehow survive the 6 months in one piece. Never mind if he makes it... :p


When God gives you lemons...

you're supposed to make lemonade right?

Variations of this task:
Sell the lemons and make an extra 50c on the side
Save the lemons for a rainy day (well ok a hotter and sunnier day when you need it more)... but keep in mind that lemons are not immortal
Give someone else the lemons because you think they need them more than you do
Start thinking of other exotic ways to use the lemons. e.g. make a lemon meringue pie, use them in a salad (healthier), throw them at the cat next door, etc.
'Lemons?? I didn't want lemons! I wanted a frickin' lemon tree!!'
..find a new God.

Humans have the innate ability to complicate things. Its genetic and embedded oh-so-deep in their DNA. It's probably why people find it so hard to make decisions and stick with them. I mean, you can't really blame them, when so many options are staring at them in the face.

Next time, just stick to the basics, and keep it simple: Make that lemonade before someone else steals your lemons (while you're holding them and wondering what to do with them) and makes a killer version of your lemonade instead...

The evolution of dance



Kudos to Nips for this one ;)

At a loss for words...

Taken into context, I think I've lost the will/energy/enthusiasm/imagination to blog. Either that, or my genetically inbuilt laziness has finally conquered my mind and taken over my body (and possesses me over weekends). As a result, I am spending my Monday morning at my desk, staring at a video script that needs work, and trying to will myself to walk the 10 meters to the pantry and get myself a cup of tea... *sigh*
But life's been good :) I discovered the pleasures and pains of fine dining in Singapore, pleasure in the food, wine and company, pain at the cost of it... Spirits have been high the last couple of days, and between trying out sushi, catching up with friends over dinner, a much needed long distance phone conversation, chilling at the library, rediscovering my favourite bands, brunch in the woods on Saturday and maintenance day on Sunday (= manicure, pedicure, bubble bath, etc) followed by lots of good food, friends, more food, rum and chocolate cake, a BBQ, a birthday and awesome vocals, I have been busily happy :) I actually squeezed in a couple of hours of TV, finished a book and created a salad too ;)
Things to do though: get back in shape, track down a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird, go out dancing, begin that venture in a slightly different direction, and listen to more music. I really need a 3 day weekend :(

My lovely morning :)

So today I had to literally crawl out of bed in the darkness and get out of the house before the sun rose. Don't ask why, because I'm trying to fight the overwhelming urge to put my head down for a bit of a catnap, and thinking of the reason I had to get up stirs up feelings of frustration. Yes, I solemnly follow Garfield's rules of rest and relaxation ;)

But anyway, my morning was a really good one. Well technically (at this moment) it hasn't ended yet, but the early part of it was good. Its a bit ironic because I've been dreading today for a while. But that's another story altogether... (the day can still spiral downward :p).

So I was out of the house by about 6.40am.. when usually I wake up at 7.30 :p (The trip from my bed to the kitchen to make coffee was sheer torture) But the morning was BEAUTIFUL. It was the time before the sun rises but dawn's already come and gone, and the word that popped into my head was tranquility. People were out jogging and walking their dogs, and school kids were making their way sleepily to the bus stops (I probably didn't look any better). But the sky was a gorgeous pale blue and it was cool and windy (I don't think my lame attempt to describe the morning is doing any justice to it :p). But just the walk from my place to the MRT left me awake and energized and happy. Yes I was actually smiling within an hour of waking up :p

I think I actually understand for the first time in my life why people wake up early and go out running or walking. Mornings are beautiful just before it gets bright and hot and sweaty. Its a pity I've missed so many while catching that extra half an hour of snooze time. I used to be a morning person in university, but all that's changed since work started and sleep became a lot more valuable... and necessary.

The other sub highlight (I think I just invented a word :p) of my morning was that I got into a very cool bus. It was really crowded though, but half way through the ride it emptied out, and I was left a bit stunned at the interior. It was designed like the inside of a club :| The whole inside was done up in maroon velvet, and the seats were white leather and kinda like Beanie bags except sleeker. And.. wait for it..... *drumroll*.... There was a BAR! Well a makeshift one without the alcohol :p One of the windows had been plastered with a picture of the back of a bar with a smiling bartender and a lot of alcohol. And there was a protruding ledge (the makeshift bar) and two barstool like seats for passengers. I was seriously in awe and silently kicking myself for not having a camera with me... But it was really really cool.

Anyways it all turned out good, the errand I was running didn't take too long, and I was at work by 9, with all these ideas zipping around in my head. In retrospect, I'm glad I actually woke up early and got so much done, though by 3 pm I know I'll be lolling off to sleep :p But I think I'm gonna try and get up early once in a way, just to start the day off on a high. It can't hurt that much. And I'm still smiling ;)

All the small things...

So October has arrived and has brought with it extremes of weather... either torrential rain or blinding sunshine... The F1 weekend is over and the roads and bus services in the city are back to normal.. And we're 2 months away from 2009! :|

October (or maybe the end of September) also brought with it a tinge of nostalgia for me... It's got nothing to do with the dates or anything, but I guess I was thinking back on what I was doing a year ago... Peeps who remember the crazy HYP semesters will remember me being stuck in lab with those mice till 6-7pm everyday :p But I found myself missing bits of that life... And they weren't the big once-in-a-lifetime moments either, but rather the small things, like the long chats over teh halia at the Prata shop, the walks around campus at 1am, lying down at SRC and looking up at the stars (when there were no clouds :p), the convenience of food 5 mins away (though living at HV I really can't complain about that, but about the prices I can :p), hanging out in people's rooms when they were a couple of floors above you or a block away, randomly meeting people in the bus or at the bustop and ending up having dinners that lasted for hours... The little things we took for granted while wishing that we could get out of university faster and not have to worry about exams and lectures.

Working life isn't bad, but the worries don't necessarily stop.. You realise you have a host of other things that avalanche the minute you start getting paid... the loans, the rent, the bills, the career, and the list goes on... It's also a lot harder to meet people with schedules and time to consider...I guess the grass is always greener on the other side :p

I guess the point of this post is getting a bit lost on me (due to the lack of sleep), but I think what I wanted to say was something along the lines of 'enjoy what you have when you can' or something like that... B'cos you'll seriously miss it when you realise its gone.

The long-term benefits of sunscreen ;)

This is something that always cheers me up, and it's about time I posted it. Bazz Luhrmann had it down right :)

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Sing.

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Floss.

Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.

Stretch.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen...

The fine line between fact and fiction

I think re-immersing myself into the world of fiction has left me with lofty aspirations and optimism about life, and I find that I have to keep reminding myself of the stark difference that reality offers. Not that there's anything wrong with reality (well ok, there are a few things here and there :p), but just that life in a storybook borders on perfect and ideal; there's the ideal marriage, the perfect guy, the best job, the fancy house and car, and the adorable kids (i'm skipping the brutal murders and serial killers :p). I'm at the last couple of chapters of the Prodigal Daughter, and its had the same effect on me that Kane and Abel had: I've gotten attached to the characters and entered their realm of life.
I think its sort of an escape, into the life of someone else that you would like to experience for a while before you get back to your seemingly mundane one. Suspense/thrillers, mysteries, crime fiction and classics have the same effect- books like Along came a Spider, A time to kill, Post Mortem, The second time around, etc. had me rooted to the spot, wondering what I would've done if it was me in the book, and guessing wildly how the story would end.
There's just something about books that movies just don't quite match up to. I think the reading experience as a whole has something to do with it.
If only life were a little closer to that in the storybooks... *sigh* I'm pretty sure we'd still find something to complain about though ;)

I feel old.

I also feel emotionally drained and very very tired. I think this past year and everything that's happened is finally taking its toll on me.
In the few months after graduation, I think I grew up a lot more than I have in the last 4 years. It was a series of changes and big steps in a very short time, and I don't think I had time to take it all in and process everything. But things worked out pretty well, and I'm grateful for that. But I don't think I've completely recovered yet, or I just haven't had the time to.
A couple of good things came out if though. I think I've toughened up a bit :p A few harsh lessons of what happens when you care too much about things and people did the trick. So even though putting my foot down (albeit still a bit gently) makes me cringe, I think in the long term it causes a lot less distress on my part. Selfish as it sounds, I think its worse being nice to everyone and getting trodden on in the process. You can't always make everyone happy.
The other good thing is that its made me appreciate family and friends a lot more. There are a few people who will stick with you when you're going through hell, and several others who actually contribute to you going through hell, and now I know who both those groups of people are. Its also made me miss home a lot, and realise what I took for granted. By missing home I don't mean physically being back in SL, but rather the comfort and safety of family and knowing someone's always got your back. I'm also truly starting to appreciate how hard it is to be a parent, and if I could do half as good a job as my parents have done, I'd be very proud of myself.
I know this post is bordering on the line of emo, but I'm not thoroughly depressed or anything (yet :p) though the cynics out there are probably thinking I'm in denial (which could be true, but I dont think so :p) I just spent some time thinking about these things over the last couple of days, and needed to put it in down in words.
I think I need a break from life and a nice, long, relaxing holiday... Preferably on a beach with a good book, a shot of rum and some RnB :)

You'll need a cup of coffee for this one...

... because it's a bit long, but worth every minute :) Kudos to my Dad once again :D

For those who like to read ;)
http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2008/06.05/99-rowlingspeech.html

And for those who'd rather listen :)



What is the world coming to? :(

Reading the news these days is depressing. Well news in genenral isn't always the most cheerful I guess (other than during the Olympics :P). Other than maybe the folks in Greenland and the Amazon,everyone else everywhere else seems to be knee deep in problems. Either its bankruptcy or financial 'meltdowns', war, border disputes, genocide, natural disasters, violence and the struggle for power, or disease related death (there are a host of other problems, but the depression caught up again so I'm gonna stop listing them). Maybe us Homo Sapiens have gotten ahead of ourselves and are now dealing with the repercussions... I really hope it improves with time though, the world's too nice a place to fall apart :(
If only 'World peace' was as easy to achieve as Miss World contestants made it sound...

My new found freedom... or lack of it before?

Updates from the world of Amri...

After fighting my way through writers' block, I decided to post a couple of updates, just to remind myself that I have a blog and to keep it from dying completely...

Ever since graduating and starting a job, I've been tailed by insurance schemes, credit card companies and financial planning offers (to my amusement and slight annoyance)... Just this week I met up with a friend who's now a financial consultant and was telling me about the concepts of wealth management and accumulation... Which is what cracks me up :p The main component, the 'wealth', hasn't really started accumulating to be managed in the first place, and second, just b'cos I've started earning doesn't mean I want to immediately get a life insurance cover and start a financial plan for me to save till I'm 60... Fair enough, we've just started earning and therefore are 'prime' candidates for a long term relationship with the company, but a little more breathing space and some time to enjoy the little 'wealth' we have would be nice, and a little less pressure and drama about what would happen to us if we weren't insured and we had an accident and were left disabled :p Anyways people need to do their jobs and I guess this is part of their job....

Onto other happenings, I watched the NUS symphony orchestra last week and will be going for a performance by a drama group at Esplanade tomorrow and a concert by the Piano Ensemble next week :) I love going for these things... I blame it on the 2 years of EMCC that made me an avid arts follower... :p Now that I actually have the time, its pretty amazing how much goes on in Singapore that you don't know about ;) Oooooh and i watched Wall-e! :D He is so adorable :) And Eve kicks ass ;) Its a pretty good movie for one without much dialogue.... I'd recommend you go check it out :)

Next up is Mamma Mia, though I'm not sure I'm gonna watch it at the cinema, its more a Friday night stay in and laze around kinda movie... New seasons of the TV shows are starting/ have started this month too... So I am in a happy place :D Though I really think they should've stopped with Season 2 of Prison Break :p But at least Michael and Linc aren't dead yet so they're nice to look at... ;) I can't wait for House and Heroes to start too...

And I have been shopping! Got myself a couple of goodies, decorated my room (= visited Ikea), Body shopped and window shopped some more till my feet started cramping in protest :p But it was gooood.... I wish I could just buy over Forever 21 and have all those clothes... Same goes for the shoes at Charles and Keith.. *sigh* The best part about having a jeans and t-shirt job is that it doesn't cost much to dress up for work... :) But that also gives me less excuses to invest in all those shoes...

My temporarily forgotten but now-revived loves, books and reading, has been keeping me up at night... I just finished a suspense/thriller called First Lady, which was boring at the beginning but picked up later and made a real nice read... I've just started on the Prodigal Daughter now, which I finally managed to get my hands on.. And Nat has a copy of Kite Runner so I won't have to buy it :) I've been avoiding Borders these past few weeks because the temptation's too great, but I see myself winding up there pretty soon...

The world of Amri doesn't sound too dull huh ;) More updates in a couple of days peeps.. Till then stay happy and go watch Wall-e if you haven't already :)

Little snippets of wisdom and laughter... :)

Save the whales. Collect the whole set.
A day without sunshine is like... night.
On the other hand, you have different fingers.
Remember, half the people you know are below average.
He who laughs last thinks slowest.
Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.
Support bacteria. They're the only culture some people have.
A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
How many of you believe in psychokinesis?... Raise my hand.
OK... so what's the speed of dark?
When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.
Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just don't have film.
How much deeper would the ocean be without sponges?
What happens if you get scared half to death twice?
I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder.
Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?
Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what happened.
Just remember---if the world didn't suck, we would all fall off.
Light travels faster than sound. That is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
Forrest Gump was wrong. Life isn't like a box of chocolates. It's more like a jar of jalapenos. What you do today might burn your ass tomorrow.

    The darn travel bug...

    I love travelling... Not the long hours of waiting at airports and the actual flying, but the excitement of exploring new places and sightseeing... I've been following the travel logs of a couple of friends, one in Peru, two in Italy, one in Bali and one in New York, and now I'm dying to get out there and see the world :( The irony of the situation is crazy... I get to travel to different places for work, all expenses paid, but I don't get to live the tourist lifestyle and I'm usually on a tight schedule... *sigh* such is life, but I'm not going to complain just yet :) I just wish I lived in Europe or Australia, where travelling around the world is a mandatory part of life :p And I could just backpack around the continent, without having to fly there! Anyways I shall set my sights on making that tour of Europe and Mexico happen one way or the other, I just hope sooner than later! (and once my French is at a decent level :p) Till then, I am gonna envy my buddies and start a travel fund for myself ;) Oh and invest in that camera I've been eyeing for a while now :)

    That elusive thing called happiness

    Lately, in the hours when I am mentally free to wonder about life and all its quirks, I've been visiting the notion of happiness quite a bit.. I guess its b'cos I've been seeing and hearing the unhappy side of people a lot, and I've been trying to analyse myself and find out if I'm really and truly happy (its hard work so I'm still not done :P) I think everyone has their own definition of happiness, and they measure themselves against that definition and rate their happiness accordingly.. The funny thing is that, while its so easy to compare yourself to someone else, rate how 'happy' you are in relation to other people, what makes you so sure that other people are happy? It is b'cos they look/seem happy according to what you define as 'happy'? If you break it down that way, you could be comparing yourself to people you think are happy but may not be, so basically your self rating of happiness is based on someone who may not even be happy! I think I'm talking in circles now... :p

    Moving on to the other questions swirling around, is happiness really a choice? Or is it one of those things that you wake up one day and feel, for no particular reason, but is gone just as quick? Do you make it happen or wait till it sweeps you off your feet?
    As an afterthought, I don't quite like this philosophical version of me that has emerged :s But then as I told a friend the other day, I'm experimenting with the different forms of writing, and I guess my blog is a canvas in that sense... (again, philosophical :p) In account for my renewed learning of the French language, I should probably have a French post too..Haha now there's a thought ;)

    I have returned ;)

    I actually didn't mean to be away for so long, but life happened in the mean time and my glorious return was put on hold a little longer... But anyways, I am back, after quite a terrible couple of weeks which involved me being attacked by some deadly viral flu that left me unable to get out of bed for a good 5 days, taking heaps of pills (and finding out how expensive medical care in Singapore is) and then infecting the peeps at work, which I feel really bad about :( I hope they don't get it as bad as I did :( Honestly this bug was really really bad, I've not been this sick since I was a kid, and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy...
    But the first week of September is coming to a close, which means I am finally free to start planning and executing my guilt free shopping sprees for the weeks to come :D I've also neglected quite a few of my friends, though they were very understanding about it, so I shall be seeing them more and catching up over coffee and dinner :) I need to get my room and closet in order, and my life in general I think :P *sigh* so much to do!
    But first, I am gonna continue enjoying my lazy Saturday reading in bed and listening to Jars of Clay while the rest of the world rushes by... :)

    A week after my rainy Tuesday...

    ...and I am still beaming :D It's been a really good week :) I'm waiting till the end of the first week of September to go out and party though (and pamper myself hehe, though some of my friends have already done quite a swell job :D). But some of the highlights of last week are definitely worth mentioning :)

    I happily indulged in my 4 Cs (refer earlier post if you don't know what I'm talking about) to celebrate the occasion -not that this was any different from other days- but the theme of the day itself seemed to be cheese, courtesy of MTM and Natasha, who both got me cheesecake :D Caramel and Oreo...yummy! *dreamy sigh*. I did a little social experiment too, and I'm quite amused with the results *evil grin*

    Dinner that day was mexican at Cafe Iguana with Nips and bro... Watching bro experiment with the chilli was a laugh :D anyway a blueberry margarita and burrito later, I was stuffed and needed help getting up from the table... Only to be 'walked' to Timbre and serenaded by Reverie (with renditions of Happy B'day and Over you :D *blushes*). And when I got home after all that eating, 5 mins to midnight, Natasha came running out, zipped around the kitchen, and brought out the cutest cake ever! Haha so for the 3rd time that day, I blew out candles and made a wish :D

    It was pretty cool to get calls and msgs from all over the world, all the way from California to Canberra and in between, and parents and bro calling me at midnight and my little ceremony with the vanilla candle all made it better :) Nips made me cry (again- 3rd year in a row :p) with a little presentation 10 mins before midnight :p

    And then on Sunday, it all happened again :D My buddies came down in the torrential rain to the Swensons at Holland Village and I was yanked out from being horizontal to being surprised again :D I was really really touched... And I love all you guys for making it so special :) The funky card goes up on the wall of fame too :) I am gonna have to buy more furniture to hold all the gifts ;)

    So people surprised me, wished me, and made me feel a lot younger than I really am (I blew out candles 4 times! :D), and to all of you, a big THANK YOU :D Nips and bro deserve a LOT of credit, and I am still getting over bro's gift, which I love, as psychotic as it may be (you'll have to visit my room to see it- again on the wall of fame). All in all, it's been a great b'day and a heck of a b'day week :D It reminded me just how awesome my family and friends are, and how much they care... And its the best feeling in the world to feel so loved :)

    Thoughts for my rainy Tuesday...

    This is pretty old and I'm sure we've all seen it at some point, but today I went back and watched it again, and realised that the inspiration never fades...

    A glimpse of life at MTM... in pictures



    Ok so this is a short picture perfect glimpse of the camera lovin' peeps at MTM... :) More shall follow once I get Bad to upload them :P

    Weirdness and annoyance...

    I have lately been a passive observer of change. Mainly in other people, but also in myself, on a narcissistic note ;) And as I said in a post not too long ago, people will change. But that doesn't make it any easier to deal with, specially when these are people close to you and more than just acquaintances (or random people on Facebook :P). I've been getting annoyed a lot more than I used to, maybe because I've become less tolerant and 'nice', but also because a lot of people I know and hang out with are becoming so darn insensitive. And sure, you can't make everyone happy all the time, but there's a line you cross when you just stop caring completely. Sad to say, I'm losing my respect for these people, and I'm losing it fast... It could just be the fallacy of thinking, 'oh maybe it's just this once..' because you want to believe the best about someone, but that expectation just slaps you harder in the face when you realise, 'what the hell was I thinking, giving this person another chance??'

    So when I look back at the last, say, 5 yrs, and actually count the number of people I still consider 'friends', the number has almost halved from back then, and its continuing to decline. Not because we don't keep in touch the way we used to, but because things have changed so much that I don't want to keep in touch anymore, even for sentimental reasons. From a self-obsessive point of view though, it could be me contributing to the change too, and yeah I admit, I no longer have the patience and forgiveness factor I once did, but that's also due to the way people have been acting and treating me, so for me its been a more 'learn-to-stand-on-your-own-two-feet rather than let people drag you down with them' kind of change... I've not become a mean old hard and cold person though, because I'm still happy, love my life and the special people in it, and still have a very close circle of friends that I would give anything for without a moment's hesitation, because they're worth it...

    Disclaimer: This is not a rant against any particular individual(s), so I shall not be answering questions on who I'm talking about or what happened, etc. These are general thoughts and opinions, just like the rest of my posts (well minus some of the visual effects :P)

    From the Oscars...

    Some pretty cool choreography ;)


    ps. Thanks dad!

    Indulgence :D






    Coffee










    Cinnamon (buns)











    Chocolate










    Cheeeeeese







    The 4 Cs to my heart ;) [as far as food goes anyway :P]

    America does have talent... ;)

    Nams sent me this eons ago... About time i put it up :)



    ps. Don't you love the end? :D

    And here's the winner performing :)

    Realizations...

    I made up my mind at work today (during one of those intermediate stretches of mental freedom) that I would try really hard to not blog when I'm depressed... Mainly because that's what I've been seeing lately on blogs and it makes me sad to see so many people sad and angry... I wouldn't want that version of me (quite the human being, I can get very sad/angry too) to join the masses out there, not because I'm trying to be 'better' or different from the rest, but simply because I don't like the idea of emitting sadness, specially on personal issues... Maybe that's me just being silly and sensitive, but reading friends' blogs that are all dark and angst-ridden really scares me sometimes, and maybe people like seeing that kind of thing or don't get as affected as I do, but I still wouldn't want my own version of posts like to be open for public viewing. At the same time though, I know blogs can be a really good vent, and I used to be one of those people who vented through blog-like channels, but when I went back and looked at the stuff I'd written (after a couple of months) I felt really :| at what I must've been thinking and feeling when I wrote all that, b'cos in general, I'm not a sad person (I try not to be anyway :P), and there it was, displayed like some scary inner preview into an angry mind.

    Another thing I've been thinking about is the way things have been changing, evolving perhaps. I was comparing the three most recent stages of my life (school -university- working life) and the only real thing that's been constant throughout is family and a few very close friends... Of course you make and break friendships all along the way, hopefully more of the former :P but as time goes on the relationships change too... I guess when you see people less there's also less of a bond (in a very general sense, because there are always exceptions to the rule), and less things to talk about, though logic would probably try to tell you otherwise... people's expectations change too, and that's sometimes the reason for the evolution... Back in school, we all swore we'd be friends forever, and I know without doubt that that will be true for some of those friendships, but not all... In university, you meet a completely different set of people, more global, different perspectives and upbringings, and rather than growing 'up' with them, you grow as a person, in other ways.. And those friendships are no less important, particularly as you step out into the crazy wide world out there... But at the same time, I think you also need to let go of the fact that you can't and won't always be 25, sleep in and skip class, have all the energy to party all semester and study a week before the exam, and do things the way you used to... Working life makes you aware of that, specially when your colleagues are older than you and at a different stage of life, one that you know you'll be getting to soon, but not just yet, so you pick up on their little tips of wisdom and experience, and find yourself thinking "10 yrs from now, I'll be going through that.."

    Things change, people move on and we all get older... But that doesn't mean you can't have fun along the way and enjoy the ride ;)

    On a merrier note, August is here! :D

    The 'working woman' syndrome

    Having entered the realm of the working world this month, I am sad to say that I also seem to have acquired the characteristics of a working woman, namely:

    a) Lunch means finish your food in 5 mins and use the remaining 55 mins to prowl the streets and shopping centres of ____ (insert location of working place- in my case, Bugis), in search of good bargains/ sales/ cheap things to buy, whether you need them or not.
    b) If the above plan fails, move onto plan B: instead of walking to the bus stop after work, you walk into the mall nearby.

    Now this is something I swore I'd never do. But I did :$ I have since stopped though, because I realised that the depression accompanying the price tag on the blue top that I really wanted and was the last one in the shop that also fit oh-so-perfectly, is not worth the effort.Nor is the bank statement that comes at the end of the month and serves as a reminder of why I swore I would never do this. (I also have covered all the shops and malls in the vicinity, so now I just go home after work :P but that's just a minor detail- its Singapore after all, so there's always a new mall to visit).

    Moving onto the rest of the habits that I have picked up,

    c) The kind of clothes that I now am interested in owning are the same ones I used to laugh at and make fun of 5 years ago. Same goes for shoes and bags and earrings. Comforting though, is the fact that I have not yet crossed into the land of frills, lace, skinny jeans and tights. I really hope I never do (my faithful readers are granted permission to rap me on the head if they ever see me wearing one or more of the above mentioned items)
    d) My range of shower gels, moisturizers, and body sprays are increasing at an alarming rate. I really don't know how this has happened (ok maybe I just don't want to admit it to myself) but I found myself checking online for vanilla perfume today in office :| Gone are the university days where a few choice fragrances were enough. Smelling nice has suddenly escalated to the top of my list for no real reason :P
    e) I have too much of a social life. Seriously, its not just living in Holland ville, but I'm coming home everyday at 10-11pm. Some days I have to juggle meeting several people. All this has led to the reappearance of the panda eyes and a lack of energy to get from a horizontal to a vertical position in the morning.
    f) Lunch is now inclusive of dessert. This was unheard of in university, but my love for chocolate and all things related has taken over and now my afternoon tea in office consists of cookies/ scones/ chocolates/ muffins/ cake (a.k.a a lot of unnecessary calories).
    g) I am thinking of saving money and travelling with it. Now this is not so bad really, except that I also have to work out how to get enough leave for the tour of Europe (the mediterranean specifically) that I have planned.
    h) Weekends that used to mean parties, shopping, and fine dining in the good old days, now mean sleep till noon, do laundry, clean the house, and catch up on all the TV shows missed during the week.

    While revealing all this to the world out there (and to my own self..) I've now sworn not to give into the syndrome. Tonight I shall be home by 6.30pm and will push away all thoughts of vanilla perfume, shawls, and going to Italy.

    *Sigh...*

    All about dance :)

    So many of you (i'm hoping there are many :P) might already that i'm a huge fan of dance... Specifically hip hop, contemporary and what's known as 'street' dancing (Koreans are really really good at this)... I love going for the dance performances at NUS and some of my favourite dance movies are Save the Last Dance, Honey, and Step Up 2 (ok so the romantic angle of it doesn't hurt either ;) ) Anyways I came across this vid of Robert Hoffman ('Chase' in Step up 2- absolute hunk!), something like an ad for people who wanted to dance in the movie, and I was really amazed that people can do this :| I guess that's what got him the lead role (plus the good looks ;) )



    Here's another clip...



    So anyone who loves this kind of thing, if you haven't already watched it, go watch Step Up 2... That movie rocked! (esp. the finale :O)

    People need to laugh more

    This guy goes into a doctor's office. The doctor says, "Oh, Mr. Jones! We have the results of your test. Do you want the bad news first or the very bad news?" The guy shrugs and says, "Well I guess I'll have the bad news first." "Well the bad news is, you have 24 hours to live," the doctor replies. The man is distraught, "24 hours to live? That's horrible! What could be worse than that? What's the VERY bad news?" The doctor folds his hands and sighs, "The very bad news is...I've been trying to contact you since yesterday."


    What a woman says:
    This place is a mess! C'mon, you and I need to clean up. Your stuff is lying on the floor and you'll have no clothes to wear if we don't do laundry right now!

    What a man hears:
    Blah, blah, blah, blah, C'MON, blah, blah, YOU AND I, blah, blah, blah, blah, ON THE FLOOR, blah, blah, blah, blah, NO CLOTHES, blah, blah, blah, blah, RIGHT NOW.



    A woman has the last word in any argument.
    Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.


    Recently a teacher, a garbage collector, and a lawyer wound up together at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter informed them that in order to get into Heaven, they would each have to answer one question.
    St. Peter addressed the teacher and asked, "What was the name of the ship that crashed into the iceberg? They just made a movie about it." The teacher answered quickly, "That would be the Titanic." St. Peter let him through the gate.
    St. Peter turned to the garbage man and, figuring Heaven didn't REALLY need all the odors that this guy would bring with him, decided to make the question a little harder: "How many people died on the ship?" Fortunately for him, the trash man had just seen the movie and answered, "about 1,500." "That's right! You may enter."
    St. Peter then turned to the lawyer. "Name them."



    My wife and I were comparing notes the other day. "I have a higher IQ, did better on my SATs and make more money than you," she pointed out.

    "Yeah, but when you step back and look at the big picture, I'm still ahead," I said.
    She look mystified. "How do you figure?"
    "I married better," I replied.

    (I thought this was really cute :D)

    Of oatmeal and bananas...

    I'm surrounded by healthy people and nutrition addicts :| And they make me, the chocolate chip cookie loving, coffee indulging, cinnamon bun hogging girl who spends half her weekend in bed, look bad :P My housemate, for example, is the model child and will be loved by mothers all around the world, and eats a lot of cucumber, asks for extra veggies, and has cereal and grapes for breakfast... At work, everyone goes on about the amount of oil in the kopitiam food (which I agree, is quite a bit, but i still love the food, specially this thai place that has awesome pineapple fried rice :$), the calories in buns from breadtalk, how switching to lean meat only has improved their physique (this came from a guy) and how having veggies and fruits as their afternoon snack has helped them maintain a balanced diet... Unfortunately, all of the 'unhealthy' food choices above are the ones that keep me alive :P (especially breadtalk!)

    So in the last few weeks, i have succumbed to this health mania by doing the following:
    1) I discovered cranberry and kiwi juice, which is now the main fluid in my system
    2) I invested in bananas, something I haven't done in over a year, and they are convenient when there's nothing else to eat and also keep my potassium levels intact (to be all scientific about it..)
    3) I have yogurt every day, in spite of it making my snifles a lot worse
    4) My cheese went from the normal one to high calcium, reduced fat version, and it tastes the same ;)
    5) My breakfast is toast (God bless our toaster!) and I strongly suspect I am getting addicted to it
    6) I haven't had a burger in over 2 weeks (and i am experiencing withdrawal symptoms)
    7) I walk to the MRT instead of taking the bus, which is 5 mins further away, even when I am in heels (but not when it rains :$), but most of the time because i'm late and the train is faster :P
    8) I am starting to prefer whole meal bread to the normal white bread, even though i feel grandmotherly eating it
    9) I discovered that Jacob's oatmeal cookies are lifesavers and taste much better than Oreos or cream crackers
    10) I've gone back to my roots and taken an avid interest in drinking tea instead of milo or my second cup of coffee

    I really hope I'm healthier now than I was before :P [I'm awaiting a sign from somewhere to tell me its working ;)] But strangely it hasn't been difficult at all... some of the changes just happened and I didn't even notice it on a conscious level... ( like the supermarket being out of normal bread and whole meal being the only option :P)

    On the other hand, i haven't stopped my caffeine intake, or controlled the cravings for chocolate or scones or muffins or cookies (there's a place near work that has THE BEST scones ever!) but i am still quite content and i have convinced myself to eat while i can and worry about the rest of it when i have to (hopefully in 40 years from now!) ;)

    A tribute to the HYP experience :)

    I've been meaning to write this for a long time but never really got down to it... Those who stuck through the last yr with me will know how crazy HYP was... the long hours at lab, the dreaded mice experiments, the setbacks whenever the most crucial info was needed... Yup it was a difficult year, but I came out of it alive, with a really good project, and with some wonderful friends and memories too :) What I was most thankful for what that i wasn't just another student in for a year... Our lab was like a little family and we still keep in touch :)

    My supervisor had a huge part to play in the whole thing... He was there everyday in lab too, usually earlier than me though I outstayed him now and then ;) And while he was always pushing us to work harder, he's a really great guy to work with... His awesome sense of humour got us through some really difficult days, and our lab was always the noisiest and ppl would shoot us disapproving looks for laughing ALL the time :P

    As I once told Nips, your HYP isn't really a complete experience without your supervisor yelling at u AT LEAST once :P so yup I went thru it too.... I guess it was all for the best and I'm really glad I stayed the extra year and did Honours... It taught me just how much I didn't know before and I think I'm a lot better off now having gone thru it :)

    Rashi and Qi Xiao were great too :) Hehe we were always caught giggling and gossiping in some corner and hogging all the munchies and b'day cake in lab and I miss them a lot...

    Us at Thai Express in Holland ville :D

    I also miss the others at the Immunology Programme... Fei Cheun, who's gonna be such a cute mum :D Nabeesa, with her cheerful good mornings when we were barely awake, Jason, my neighbour (in a way :P) who always checked up on me, and my friends from the other labs: Esther, Seah Fang, Timothy, Xavier, Sean, as well as the others I made along the way :)

    I went to lab the other day to say my goodbyes and it was great seeing all of them again :) The new students were in and all my equipment's been taken over and they're no longer labelled 'amri' :( My old table's been taken over too... Apparently there are gonna be more than 10 ppl there instead of the 4 of us like it was last yr, so I see a lot of territorial wars happening :P But it was really good catching up and laughing like the old times... they were all so happy and supportive about my new job and the whole graduating experience and it felt really great to know that there are still people out there who genuinely are happy for u and stick with you no matter what you decide to do...

    I'm in love..

    ... with Chris Daughtry.

    His voice is amazing. I've been listening to him all day at work today, all wrapped up in my shawl, sipping hot chocolate, and watching Dilini battle with the aircon in the office hehe.. and working of course... :P I think my favourite song of his right now is Over you... It used to be It's not over (he's all about ending things :P), but Over you just turned my world around... It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside... :$ It sooo helps that he's a hunk too, and a bad ass one at that ;)

    Anyway coming back to his voice... And the lyrics... And the fact that he's bald... *sigh* Ok so here's a video of Over you... You cannot tell me that you don't like it :P And it's all about getting over someone and being strong and all that (so he's motivational AND to die for...) And his favourite band is Live! :D (its fate I tell ya..)



    You should also head down to Timbre or J bar and hear Surath sing this... Awesome :D Listening to him sing this one song makes it all worth it (for me at least :$) so imagine what its like if you go down for the whole evening ;)

    Anyway I think Chris should've worn the Idol hands down... You can't say that just because he sort of leans into the rock genre that he didn't cut it (and while I am partial to bald hunks with a killer voice I am being totally unbiased here!) The fact that he's released albums and gone on tour (as opposed to the winners of American Idol :P) tells you all you need to know ;)

    I am gonna go back to staring at him sing... :$

    Little India and its unique.... atmosphere.

    I've been visiting the Little India/ Farrer Park/ Serangoon areas quite a bit in the last couple of weeks, particularly during the weekends (I had no choice given my status as a working girl now :P). My last venture into that side of S'pore was on Saturday when Nips and I met Uda, Kadam, Saad and the gang for dinner there... Honestly, I seriously advice against girls going there on their own for a spot of shopping or whatever on a weekend, specially in the night... It's not that its dangerous really (its Singapore after all) but its a bit creepy still... you get throngs and throngs of Indians and the like all meeting up and hanging out in groups there... And what bugs me the most about them is the way they all STARE. I'm still trying to understand this... and i'm failing miserably :P They look at you like they're seeing a woman for the first time, and its not just a parting glance or glare but its a long oggling uncomfortable look :S

    Now this isn't limited to just Indians, because Sri lankans are no better.. My SL girl friends will know what I mean; if u walk into a mall in Colombo, you're immeditely hit with a tidal wave of stares and sniggers and nudges... I mean seriously can't guys be a little DISCREET if they still want to oggle? There is a huge difference between checking out a girl (which somehow is a habit men in general cannot overcome :P) and looking at a girl like u're picturing her naked or something...If they think it bugs us, they're falling a bit short really... It peeves me off!! And even though Gen said its probably safer there with the million odd ppl than on an alley with a bunch of 5 hooligans in some other country, it really doesn't make you feel better when ur smack in the middle of all these people... Its really unnerving.. But i guess what makes it a little worse is that I've seen women stare too! Not in the same pervy way, but more of a disapproving, oh-my-gosh-what-are-you-wearing kind of way... I mean seriously, being in Singapore, people really need to be a little more open minded... its must be painful being so disapproving and critical of everything! :S

    The second thing that I was thinking about is why Indians never move out of little India and those areas to hang out... I mean other than the food and the familiarity of the place I can't think of any other reasons why they want to stay localised... But you'd never seen a bunch of them in Orchard or Novena or Jurong on a weekend... I guess its the whole territorial feel to it.. But its strange that for the very same reasons, we avoid the place unless we really HAVE to go there :P

    Life in heels...

    Yup I've officially started work :D So u're now looking at the new medical writer ;) Its been a slow couple of days, but I love the people and the company... Everyone's just so nice :D It was a bit intimidating at first because all these people with PhDs and MDs were asking me for input on their projects, and I'm like the baby in the office, as D put it, the 'fetus' :p... But they're so down to earth and fun, and its such a cool mix of ppl :D We've got Americans, Australians, Irish, Malaysians, Singaporeans, British, Indian Americans, and Sri Lankans (yup I have company in that category :D)... We've already booked a couple of days for movies this week and today the girls went out for drinks after work (my boss actually dropped me home! how awesome is that :D), and yday was my welcome lunch... I also got my first new project to work on, and I'm really excited about it :) I came home today and couldn't stop beaming, a total happy high ;) (I strongly believe that one lychee martini isn't enough to make you high :P) Bugis is also a really nice place to work... Because of all the shopping that you can do (they seem to have sales ALL the time :D)

    Onto other news, graduation was last week :D It was grand and a really big deal to me, specially having my family there in the audience, and celebrating with the peeps who've been through the last 4 yrs with me :) It was a pity that I missed a lot of my friends who graduated in the ceremony after us though :( Highlights of the event were that someone's sole got left on stage during the first part of the ceremony (this was really funny), the end of the ceremony marked by the streamers and balloons (I thought that was the best moment of the whole thing!) and the picture taking afterwards, which involved throwing our hats into the sky a million times to get the perfect picture, scanning the crowds for friends and posing and smiling and posing some more (pretty tiring I tell u, this graduation business..)

    I got a graduation bear from Nips :D I absolutely love her (yes its a her, because I say so :P) and I'm still trying to christen her, but she's happy with the rest in the little soft toy kingdom in the corner of my bed, and definitely looks the most educated :P I've also given my room a new look... A little rearranging and voila, it looks spacey in spite of a double bed and a lot more stuff :$ My posters are up too and this time I have enough wall space ;)

    All in all it's been a great couple of weeks.... I miss my parents a lot though :( it was so much fun having them here... And man did we eat... We tried Mexican, Indonesian, Swedish, Swiss, Western, Indian and Thai food, and in between were the little things like kaya toast, buns from bread talk, nasi goreng and roti johns, and sundaes from Haagen Daaz :D Yeah we all have healthy appetites :P

    So things have definitely started to look up.. I love my new job and new apartment and life in general, and I'm glad the difficult stretch has passed... Now I just need to hit Ikea to spify up my room ;) I hope I get paid before the sale ends!