Away 28 Dec - 2 Jan

Taking a well-deserved break just before the new year (and more work) starts. The last few weeks have been a haze and the body is shutting down - I'm so burnt out I think I've gone a little crispy around the edges. I just want to get away from everything and everyone here (except you SF my dear!!!).

There's not much of a holiday itinerary - I suppose it will just be a few must-see sights (the flower market, Halong Bay and the Old Quarters), a lot of aimless wandering, and then lazing and more lazing. And oh yes, check out where the New Year parties are! That should be interesting.

Anyway.

SF summoned me for dinner last night - it has become a tradition of sorts to meet before either of us goes away on a trip.

We had dinner at Kaiho (International Plaza) and then took the train to Esplanade where we had to settle for dessert at Earshot because the V Tea Room was closing at 9.30 pm - and actually did - while Max Brenner apparently stopped accepting walk-ins at the same time but were still open by the time we finished our dessert more than an hour later (doh). Anyway, dessert was pretty good and SF was enjoying herself checking out a First Date and the girl's cleavage. (And SHE thinks I'm the sort of pervert who would make out after getting my kicks at BME ??!! POT!!!)

And oh, has anyone seen the Nike display at City Mall just outside New York New York? What's with the men breasts - and pointy look-at-me ones too - on the otherwise toned half torsos? I was half-expecting buck-toothed beavers to start popping out from those little molehills!

Ok, I know I've gone stark raving mad again.

So.

To all you very NICE people reading my blog, Happy New Year and see you all again in 2007! :-)


PS: Will write about recent body modification when I'm feeling less grouchy.





Golden Girl






Love in the Arathi Basin

Yeah. Bite me. It was raining all day. I couldn't go to the beach and was homebound. So what was I to do? WOW the whole day lor. Hehe.

And out of sheer boredom - yes, levelling CAN get tedious - I decided to brave the treacherous Battlegrounds. Besides, there were no raids since half the guild was in the BGs too.

So I sent my 40 druid into Warsong Gulch. The session I signed up for happened to be a small one, and the Horde was mostly unchallenged, so my first PvP turned out to be a very pleasant experience - and addictive! Having a druid was also nice because the travel form is an instant and can be activated on the move. I simply stayed close to the main group, and casted the occasional offensive and healing spells.

I played a few more sessions in the other BGs, alternating between my druid and priest. I found the latter decidedly harder since I was holy-spec, and at 60, everyone else with their epic gear hits A LOT harder. Ouch.

The real fun began when the guild formed a raid for Arathi Basin. While I had to play with my priest and I didn't get to hit anyone, the fights were more organised AND it was nice to have team members looking out for me.

One time, the team was alerted to incoming Alliance at the gold mine. I was on high ground then, and looking down at the mine, I could see The WOW Stapler Maniac already being set upon. It didn't look like the others would reach her in time before she became beef steak, so I jumped off the high cliff, cast a levitation spell midway (which slows my descent so I won't go S!p!L!a!T!), and managed to throw a shield when I got near enough and just before I hit ground, and continued with the heals. By then, another guildie had already joined the fight, which was just as well since I levitated too early (note to self) and so landed later than I should.

Looks like that sleep debt won't be getting repaid anytime soon. Heh.


Have Yourself a WOW Christmas



Guess who picked up a new pet from Swamp of Sorrows in the early hours of the morning? :-D Ain't he a cute little critter?

And yes, a very Merry Christmas to everyone too!!! :-)





Fire Woman

I had my second 'reading' this year (the first was a tarot reading by M at her birthday cum Halloween party). The Oracle-in-training sent us our computer-generated "Ba-Zi" reports a few days ago, and we popped over to her place this afternoon for a more detailed reading.

There was the usual character analysis, including a reference to my reticence - a weak Earth which only appears in the hidden stems - which no other reading has ever mentioned.

There were also a few other interesting revelations and some crystal-balling. A Blood Star was indicated in late November to early December, referring to wounds on the face or body involving a sharp metal object from an accident or surgery.

Blink.

The Oracle had not known about my recent tattoo when she analysed my Ba-Zi, so that was pretty freaky.

Another interesting revelation - particularly in the context of work the past year - was how my best would only be brought out through competition with my peers/colleagues. (The Oracle found this extremely amusing. Mutter darkly.)

So yes, I did have some small sporting achievements in my younger days, and while the spirit is still willing, let's just say 'weightier' (heh) issues have taken over my life these days. But, when the occasional opportunity presented itself, the body had been known to cooperate - like butting CirCe out of a game of Musical Chairs a few New Year celebrations ago. Hey, she may have the perkier ass, but mine's obviously got a longer shelf-, or rather chair-life. Ha. Ha.

Seriously though, I remember what a friend (I can't remember which one) observed a few years ago as I whined about my work troubles (again), that I always seemed to have to deal with jealousy at the workplace. He/She thought that it might have to do with the way I projected myself - something about being a Welcome "please step all over me" Carpet, and someone who never came across as, let's just say, worthy because I was always so quick to discount myself.

Hmmm.

Oh well.

It was just nice hanging out together again - all three of us - even if it was just for a couple of hours. I think it also had something to do with The Oracle's lovely open-concept house and the natural lighting - it almost felt like we were out, but with a cozier setting :-)

Anyway, thank you E for the reading! And thank you CirCe for arranging the meet-up!


Tis The Season To Spread A Little Cheer

After being a grouch for the past few weeks, I decided to redeem myself a little.

So when the taxi-driver realised that she had forgotten her cash card for the ERP, which meant a $10 fine that my ride would just about cover, I passed her a $10 shopping voucher (which I had won at the office Christmas party just a few hours ago) on top of my fare at the end of the trip, and wished her a Merry Christmas.

Tis the season to spread a little cheer (even if I don't have much reason to be cheerful), yes?


Drop Dead Gorgeous

Culled from CC.

# Oreos, anyone?

# Yeah, I can certainly see myself here. Gaaahhh!!!

# Another favourite: Pink Power!!!





Rambling at 0203 hours

What a load of holier-than-thou cow crap!

So who cares if no one wants to read about my stupid cat or hateful future in-laws or thinks I'm sharing too much information? Until the blogsphere became what it has today, blogging was really about writing for yourself. And you know what? Back then, it never mattered if you did write about your stupid cat or hateful future in-laws or shared too much information.

I miss the 'old days' of blogging. I do, and in so many, many ways. Sigh wistfully.

PS: Strange how alcohol before bedtime actually keeps me up while coffee sends me to sleep. Hic!


All I Want For Christmas

Lookee who just tagged herself. Heh.

3 things I would love to get for Christmas:

[1] A very, very nice man who will make me very, very happy. (Failing which, some alcohol would be just as nice.)

[2] A nice man. (Failing which, some alcohol would be necessary.)

[3] Ok lah, any man will do. (Failing which, just knock me senseless with the bottle before I die from the loneliness.)

3 things I definitely do not want for Christmas:

[1] To get sloshed again and start ranting in the early hours of the morning.

[2] To get sloshed again and start ranting in the early hours of the morning.

[3] To get sloshed again and start ranting in the early hours of the morning.

As I was telling CirCe, not everyone approaches the year-end jolly - especially when they realise yet another year has passed, and then they REALISE that there isn't anything worth remembering or to be thankful for just being alive.

Oh well.

Tis the season to be a humbug. Bah!

We return now to our regular boozing. Hic! (Another excellent product - a delicate cherry and not too sweet or sour - available at Magma German Wine Bistro. Who wants some?)






Briefly



# Leysieffer dark chocolate with pepper on a rainy Monday night. Absolutely exquisite. Available at Magma German Wine Bistro, 2 Bukit Pasoh Road.

# Man, it sure is raining non-stop.

# At a staff appraisal: "X is extremely driven - but tends to miss the road signs." (Well, it's true.)

# I know it doesn't make sense that I've gone back to gaming into the nights instead of catching up on sleep after working so hard the last several weeks that I'm on the verge of self-combustion, but I need something to take the edge off work.

# Next photography trip (sometime in February): The Southern Islands. Hophop.

# Actually, it didn't hurt much. The anticipation was worse, really.





1930 hours

That is, if I don't chicken out . . .


Cutting Edge News

Circumcision cuts risk of Aids by half: Studies

WASHINGTON - CIRCUMCISION reduces by about half the risk of contracting the Aids virus, according to two new studies which could have significant implications in the fight against the deadly disease.

The trials conducted in Kenya and Uganda showed that men who had their foreskin removed were much less likely to contract HIV through heterosexual intercourse than their counterparts who had not undergone the procedure.

The studies that began in September last year were to last through mid-2007, but were stopped this week because of the significance of the findings.

'These findings are of great interest to public-health policy makers who are developing and implementing comprehensive HIV prevention programmes,' said the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) director, Dr Elias Zerhouni.

'Male circumcision performed safely... complements other HIV-prevention strategies and lessens the burden of HIV/Aids, especially in sub-Saharan Africa where, according to the 2006 estimates from (UN agency) UNAids, 2.8 million new infections occurred in a year,' he said.

The trial in Kenya involved 2,784 HIV-negative men and showed a 53 per cent reduction of HIV acquisition in those who were circumcised.

In Uganda, 4,996 men took part in the study that showed that HIV acquisition was reduced by 48 per cent in circumcised men.

Conducted by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the NIH, the studies confirm the findings of a similar French-funded one conducted in South Africa.

Dr Kevin De Cock, director of the HIV/Aids department at the World Health Organisation, said the findings constitute a significant scientific advance in the study of Aids and could have deep implications.

'Circumcision does have the potential to prevent... many hundreds of thousands and perhaps even millions of infections over coming years,' he said.

'A once-only intervention that confers 50 per cent efficacy is obviously a very important development and I am sure countries are likely to say we need to invest in this,' De Cock added.

But he and others warned that the findings should not lull people into believing that circumcision provides fullproof protection against acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

They also stressed the importance of circumcisions being carried out by medically trained professionals and of patients receiving proper post-surgery care to avoid complications.

In addition, the experts said that in advising circumcision, agencies and governments need to take into account cultural differences, as in some countries the practice is not widely accepted.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


Cough. Cough. The name says it all.





1467T You Asshole!!!

$@!$@!%&$!!! 1467T gold-coloured car splashed dirty puddle water all over my freshly laundered skirt and legs and shoes!!! at the traffic lights in front of Hope Centre at Tiong Bahru Road !!&!@_&%!$!!!

That's right. That's ME with my bright orange umbrella on a rainy day and my jaw hanging a metre from its usual position.

I hope you kena JIAO DIARRHOEA all over your car!!! And someone stuffs a used sanitary napkin up your exhaust!!!

Fuck you!!!





Peak Performance

OMG, this is like, sooo retro.

I do remember, however, being absolutely besotted with Twin Peaks and its surreal out-of-this-world characters, which stood out from all the other formulaic shows. And then TP went into Season 2, and got too bizarre (read: trying too hard) even for me.





Tis The Season To Be Trolly

OK!!! I swear I'm going to bite off the head of the next telemarketer and shit down his/her neck* who calls to offer me one more credit card I don't need (especially if they mangle my name, or heaven forbid, address me by my birth name on the mistaken assumption that the bearer is all sugar and spice and everything Barbie).

I had listened politely to Prudential's interesting financial plan first thing this morning; and then it was UOB who wanted to "upgrade" me to its "higher level" Signature Card which came with more benefits (and was also accompanied by a tedious verification process because "this call is being recorded for Customer Service purposes, Mam" - and might I add, I was most cooperative during the "upgrading" exercise); followed by ABN Amro's attractive 51-day repayment plan (which I promised to think about and give an answer by tomorrow).

But some 10 minutes later, when my phone buzzed with yet another unfamiliar number and the telemarketer went: "I am calling from Standard Chartered ... ", I just freaked out and ranted about being inundated with one too many calls. This one actually started to call me by my birth name (instead of the usual formal address by surname) - perhaps more out of shock - when my head flew off my shoulders. Eventually - and calmer (what can I say, she did invoke The Name) - I agreed to have the materials mailed to my home address instead.

Oh wait, was that call recorded by Standard Chartered too? Arghhh ...

AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

Anyway.

This troll is very happy with her ugly orange and purple Tangs-Citibank Visa, thank you very much.


*Shamelessly culled from B The Old Man - uttered after someone took his time turning in the dragon's head and made the whole raid wait for the buff.





Rambling Sunday

Not too bad a Sunday.

Slept in until noon - and got woken up by SCV's telemarketer. Sigh. (No, I don't watch much TV and I don't get home early enough. Yes, it's nice that you have so many more channels now, but until you start screening porn, I don't think I'll be tuning in to your 101 exciting channels. - And noooo, I didn't say that to the telemarketer of course. What do you think I am - a pervert???) I was politely non-committal - too sleepy to be my usual nasty self. Heh.

The afternoon was spent gaming. I managed a couple of minor upgrades for my main but I think I had more fun from running with an experienced group that didn't spend half its time deciding what to do, and half of the remaining half running like headless noobs into death. Sure, it's all fun and games, and I'm hardly as into gearing up my toons as the others, but I'm quite sure feeling even MORE bored (and irritated) than doing nothing is not it. Bleah.

I got to the beach as daylight was beginning to fade. It was good - as it always is - just being there and doing my own thing. The crowd was smaller because of the heavy rain earlier. I didn't even mind the wet ground (and the mess to my wheels).

I know I keep saying this. But yeah, I really should hit the beach more often.

PS: Is it just me or did the past couple of months pass too quickly?





Birthday Girl

Go shower The Stapler Maniac with your hugs and kisses.


Names

This morning's taxi-driver was named LAU SOO.

Snk. Snk. Snk.





Bacon Boy

If only breakfast every morning was this good.


A Very Good Handshake

From Dummies.com:

A firm handshake with good eye contact communicates self-confidence
. . . an appropriate handshake begins with the introduction:

1. Extend your hand and grip the other person's hand so that the web of your thumbs meet.

2. Shake just a couple of times. The motion is from the elbow, not the shoulder.

3. End the handshake cleanly, before the introduction is over. If you want to count, a good handshake is held for three or four seconds.


Introduction. Check.

Firm handshake. Check.

Good eye contact. Check. Double-check.

The hands held on to the eyes as they searched for that initial flash of wonderment and familiarity.

Questions unspoken.

Questions unanswered.

And then I dropped my gaze and pulled my elbow back slightly, breaking the hold - our three or four (plus a couple more) seconds were up; and it was beginning to be a little embarrassing with colleagues looking on.

Oh well.

(PS: Besides, I did not think The Best Friend would have approved of the little - though rather intriguing - mole under his left eye. Heh.)