all kittens adopted!

Rice, Suede, White Gold, Grey, Bronze and Bonnet have all gone to their new homes, which is great because the woman's management of everyone's feeding and cleaning times has left a lot to be desired.

for a moment there, was afraid we might have to keep Bonnet too as the girl who reserved her had to renege because of parental objection. they already have cats in the house and didn't want another one. the woman is glad however, that the family sorted that out before she took Bonnet back with her. so it seems it might be good practice to get adopters below 21(?) and still living at home to have their parents co-sign the adoption contract...

i haven't seen a more timid and human-shy kitten as little Bonnet, probably why most of the others were adopted first. then again, she has suffered quite a lot of trauma in the past 2 weeks. the car incident and then having to see her companions leave one after the other until she was the only one left in the cage condo. the woman tries her sling trick on Bonnet to get her used to human contact. it works! after sleeping soundly against her chest for about half a day, Bonnet starts to play her animal games with her, lick her fingers and curl belly up on her lap.

thank goodness someone adopted her before the woman got too attached, again. bye bye, little Bonnet.

31 Days Later

On 01 December, there shall be an article in my blog titled “Aching Hero” which is definitely not a Legend & obviously no condors are harmed in the process of writing. Shortly, it will be about me celebrating the completion of my first novel. Plus the recurrent aches in my wrist. Heh.

Or a post with a caption “I tried my best. I couldn’t make it. Yeah, I’m a failure.” which will have the shortest content ever in my blog that is “Please refer to the tittle.”

The outlook doesn’t augur well for November. I’ll be extremely busy at my workplace. But many are as busy as I am—if not busier—but they still can make it. So I should not wail & use the excuse of my work. Right? Right…

That’s the logic. I’ll just have to ensure it’s firmly glued in my mind.

There are 2 participants that I’ll look up as a role model in term of their passion in writing regardless of their tight schedules. Yup, ladies…so you’d better be the NaNoWriMo winners this year too. ;-)

The links to their websites (Thanks for the permission!) are shown under “NaNoWriMo-tioners:”.

bobby

no one replied to bobby's adoption post so guess he is with us now.





the manja cat loves to snuggle!

spot the animals

test your knowledge on the animal family. name the 4 animals in the intentionally vague (i swear!) picture below

and win a virtual dining experience at the animal family
4 out of 4: canned gourmet with rosie at the fine dining table
3 out of 4: science diet with fruity by the washing machine
2 out of 4: timothy hay with rabbeet in the utility room
1 out of 4: kfc leftovers with whoever gets there first at kitchen sink
0 out of 4: day-old lint at shower drain pipe, help yourself

answer in comments. no cheating!

My Game Plan.

I’m sure as habits dictate it, I’ll look back at this article one day and cuss “You’ve got to be KIDDING me!

As per today, though, my plan for having my 50,000-word novel completed for NaNoWriMo is as follows:
- the first 3 days for brainstorming the plot & characters.
- 20 days for letting the ideas ooze through the tips of my fingers.
- taking 1-day break & hoping my mind is crystal clear for me to:
- read and check how (good) the completed novel is (about 5 days) and
- the final day for deciding the title.

Failure to accomplish this task will mean an instant humiliation with me being the first to berate myself. Failure is therefore not an option. I’m a nasty scolder. Bah to “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”. This Congreve guy is obviously living in the past (No Duh. He was living in the past. Between the late 17th & early 18th century to be precise & his play of “The Mourning Bride” has popularized that proverb & cast fear among those backboneless men who couldn't reject a woman's love).

Anyway, on a serious note, by the end of next month, I should know whether I will make a good writer. Uhm, or at least a writer. And whether I enjoy writing. That's going to be my main objective.

Counting down for NaNoWriMo.

To myself on November-days to come: Stop reading & start writing, man!

Weird? Nah, just being my usual self.
Who wish that a day may consist of more than 24 hours.

Or at least give me a Groundhog Day to accomplish what I want to achieve.

Rome's new by-law aims at protecting cats, dogs and other species living in the Italian capital

"The civilization of a city can also be measured by this."
Rome dogs win right to daily walk

Rome's city council has recently come out in favor of the cat's existance in Rome by citing their ancient heritage: "There is a deep-rooted affection for these cats who have an ancient bond with the city." The city council even went so far as to protect the cats, in 2001 naming cats living in the Coliseum, the Forum and Torre Argentina a part of the city's "bio-heritage."
Rome Cats - Sanctuary amongst the Ruins of Rome
Gatti di Roma
Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary
Friends of Roman Cats - Success Stories

inspired by the article on rome cats, the woman goes in search of the heritage of Singapore's cats:

Kucinta - The Love Cat of Singapore a beautiful myth
The Singapura Singapura still recognised in some (misinformed) quarters
Why Singapore Cats Have Knotted Tails legend of local bobtails
Bobtailed and Tailless Cats geneology of asian bobtails

the search is quickly exhausted. would be nice if we get the same respect as our roman counterparts. how about someone talk to NParks on a cat sanctuary in singapore??

other interesting finds:

Action Cat free postcards & more
These Cats of Singapore touching tribute dedicated by a husband to his crazy cat lady.

Critic's Pick - Mine!

Did anybody watch the Critic’s Pick: “Arrested Development” at the Arts Central TV last night?

After checking from the Net, I realized that the yesterday episode “Sad Sack” was of Season 2. Even though I had no idea about the series, it was still very much entertaining. There was this part when a character, a 19-year-old Steve, whom both Maeby and her mother Lindsay liked, was introduced.

It was briefly, yet effectively done.

The voice-over stated that Steve was Maeby’s senior in the school, the final year student and had been so for the last 3 years. Then one after another, the 3 year-end students’ books profiling the name, the photo, and the student’s message was shown; the focus was on Steve.

The first photo of the first year-end book featured him making a funny, grinning face with a note: “I’m outta here!”.

Next had him with another pose of unconcealed joy again and the brief message: “So long, suckers!”

The last one was a contrast: Steve looked sad & pouted in the photo with his solemn advice: “Study hard, guys—Trust me on this.”

What a laugh.

Anyway, I’m looking forward for the next week episodes. And who knows, perhaps, one day the Critic’s Pick program of the Arts Central will feature “South Park”. Heh.

Fables and Reflections...

...which is the title of The Sandman graphic novel Vol. 6.

Just put in a reservation this elusive, ehm, art book yesterday.

I was hunting for it last Saturday at the Ang Mo Kio library. Naught.
Couldn’t find the book although the library online system said the book was not on loan.

Nevertheless, the trip was not a complete waste as I managed to get The Sandman Vol. 5 “A Game of You”—featuring Princess Barbara, or Barbie actually—and “The Sandman Companion” that contains thorough analyses about individual novels as well as interviews with the ingenious author, Neil Gaiman.

true beauty

the woman has her hands full with cats by now. in quiet moments, however, she still misses maneki and the bond they had. it is unsubstitutable. non of us other cats look at her in that same way.

but she learns to find joy again in the unique ways that we respond to her. the way i purr when she rubs my exposed belly and paws. the way fruity loves to be held. the way rosie flops on the floor for attention. yet she is still looking for that elusive bond that has gone away.

a stray 1 and a half month old kitten appears downstairs for the first time. after saving it from the rough play of tomcat and tibby, it follows the man upstairs and they decide to keep it for the night to have it fed, washed and dewormed. with all available territories taken up by kittens, rabbits and us, the woman creates a cloth sling and the kitten falls into a deep sleep against her chest for the entire night.



in the morning, they release the kitten back downstairs. it rained the previous night and the ground is all wet and muddy. they just could not walk away so they bring it back upstairs and put up another adoption notice for Bobby. He is named Bobby after a previous observation by the man that most resident neighbourhood ugly male strays are called Bobby - with affection. one at the pasir ris fisherman's village, the other at the holland village coffee shop. they are dogs of course but it still seems like a fitting name for the grubby odd-looking critter. glad i am no longer at the bottom of the food chain.

but he is a sly one. like maneki & me, he plays a different card. when the woman has to go for a birthday party, he follows her to far east plaza then to plaza park royal happily in the sling cloth. the way he looks at her, paws her chin and curls up with abandonment touch her deeply.

they are apprehensive about keeping another cat permanently. but realistically, Bobby has little chance of being adopted. From experience with the kittens and much of real life, everyone goes for good looks.

how futile the pursuit of beauty because people are unprepared for how quickly the euphoria of owning it dissipates. they are left asking for more and don't know what that could be. but to be touched to your core by a deep steadfast connection raises the bar on what is true beauty that you wouldn't look back from and stays with you a long long time.

Card's Unfold.

In one of my earlier articles, I mentioned about the author Orson Scott Card and some of his books that appeal to me.

His fame was actually started with his novel “Ender’s Game” originally written as a short story.

The book deals with how the Earth prepares to face the invasion by ant-like aliens. The Battle School has been built at the outer space and the selected few, highly gifted children are sent there to be educated in terms of strategy, leadership, and especially creativity in combatting the buggers (Yeah, that’s how they call the aliens).

The protagonist is a boy, Andrew Wiggins whose nickname is Ender. And "Ender’s Game" is about how he copes with the pressures in the Battle School and how he—unknowingly--defeats the buggers.

The author smartly span another story that converges to the same denouement with Ender’s Game. The story focuses on Bean, who is the most talented kid of Ender’s Jeesh (Jeesh = the group of Battle School kids under Ender’s leadership during the final conflict with the aliens).

The series then split to what happens to Ender after defeating the buggers. The setting is mostly at the outer space and the books are “Speaker for the Dead”, “Xenocide” and “Children of the Mind”.

While at the same time, the books “Shadow of the Hegemon”, “Shadow Puppets”, and “Shadow of the Giant” are about Bean and Ender’s older brother Peter in their attempt to bring some order to the Earth. After the alien threat is neutralized, the Earth nations revert to their belligerent stance. The complication is later introduced with the Battle School children returning to their own countries and serving their nations in fighting others. Having a common enemy—especially when humanity is at stake--is indeed a unifying factor.

I find it more enjoyable to read Bean’s plot line than Ender’s three subsequent sequels as the former offers plenty of (clever) manipulations and political intrigues that I could easily relate to the Real World. So is it cryptic enough to tempt you to read the books? Heh. Go ahead then. Read them. :-)

But do start with "Ender’s Game".

Lost in "Hotel California"

While I could conjure a story from "A Whiter Shade of Pale" song--even if it's proven to be wrong--I, however, could not do the same for "Hotel California".

Still the song amazes me. The lyric completely stupefies me. Not understanding what the heck some of the verses trying to say might play a part.

For example:
- "Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends"
Uhm, right...Tiffany-twisted? Mercedes bends?

- "What a nice surprise, bring your alibis"
What has a nice surprise got to do with alibis?

- "They gathered for the feast / They stab it with their steely knives, / But they just can't kill the beast"
They eat what they kill? Raw? Or I'm just being too damn literal here? *sigh*

- "Last thing I remember, I was / Running for the door / I had to find the passage back / To the place I was before"
&
- "You can checkout any time you like, / But you can never leave!"
These two parts present the puzzling climax. So what happens to the "I" in the song? Does he or does he not manage to escape from the Hotel?

the fun never stops

fruity's godfather (yes, how come i don't have one?) leaves our place at 4am after a late night. when he and the man enjoy one last smoke downstairs, they see a tiny kitten run under a parked car. worried, they peek underneath only to discover that the kitten has climbed into the engine.

they call the crazy cat lady down and they spend an hour trying to lure the kitten out. it is well and truly stuck. it doesn't help that the car is installed with a body kit and sitting on a hump. the woman can barely get her head in underneath but sees nothing. 5am and dead tired, they wonder what they are going to do:

1) leave note on car - it is a sunday and there is a high chance the owner might sleep in. the kitten might fry under the hot sun.

2) keep luring the kitten until the owner comes - less sleep, same conclusion.

3) rock and lift the car - go to jail

4) track down owner

crazy as it sounds, that is what they do. seeing an SPF decal on the car as well as some related paraphernalia, the woman calls the police (not the emergency line la) to see if they can track down the owner (possibly a police man) by licence number.

the officers who drop by are cool. as soon as they hear the kitten meow, they are just as anxious to help it get out. but it is still rather a funny story that begs to be told.

the first patrol car comes by and the 2 officers call in the screening of the car after verifying the details of the 'case'. half hour later, another patrol car and 2 more officers drop by. (they called for back-up) by then, there is word from hq that the screening system is down so the 4 officers make a go of it and start rocking the car to see if they can dislodge(?) the kitten.

at 6.30am, the owner of the car shows up. it doesn't happen everyday that you see 4 policemen rocking your car downstairs when you are brushing your teeth. he quickly releases the bonnet and we rescue Bonnet from it. The charcoal-coloured kitten is scared shitless.

sometime during the night between the arrival of the first patrol car and the second, a cleaner comes round to see what is going on. he tells the civilian rescue squad about a box of kittens left out in the corridor of a neighbouring block. the woman and friend go check it out and indeed, find a box of 5 kittens wallowing in their own diarrhea and vomit. they remove the kittens immediately into a proper carrier. when Bonnet is rescued, she is placed with the kittens and they all drive straight to the vet.

the kittens are now up for adoption. hope they all find good homes soon.


polar cats

by now, the man and woman are quite certain they want to add more cats to the animal family. they search the cat welfare website and debate between full grown cats (woman's choice) or kittens (man's choice).

as usual, woman wins and she goes off to visit Baby Blue, Rosie and Snow White at their fosterer's. She is thoroughly impressed when she gets there. Not only by the gorgeous 2 yr old cats with their beautiful pure white coats but the fosterer who cares for 13 cats and a dog at home as well as the strays in her neighbourhood. talk about an animal family! and what is truly extraordinary? her apartment is spotless from daily relentless cleaning! we could use some of that gusto over here. maneki would agree.

the fosterer helps take the 3 cats back to our place. fruity freaks out immediately and goes into hiding (these are big cats). i think it is futile to fight the inevitable. much prefer to watch and see how i play this situation.

snow white reacts appallingly to the new environment, she burrows into a cabinet and hides behind some files. so it doesn't work out for snow white.

baby blue and rosie take to the woman and roam easily around the apartment sniffing and rubbing their chins everywhere. it looks like there might really be permanent additions to the family very soon. it has been far too optimistic of fruity to think that this is going to be a 2 cat family. i know the crazy cat lady. all i ask is that these cats be entertaining.

unfortunately, rosie is a regular pokemon, everyone is highly strung with the change and she is going around trying to make friends. when we all hiss and growl in return, including baby blue, she slinks away with a wounded bleat and tries again. baby blue, well, he looks promising. i decide to focus my energies on him and watch him closely.

the fosterer leaves with snow white, leaving baby blue and rosie here on trial. shortly after to my disappointment, baby blue disappears under the bed and stays put there. rosie continues to try and make friends. the woman thinks she is a shoe-in so i start to pin all my hopes on baby blue. get your ass out of there and show us what you got.

and he does. after an hour under the bed, the polar bear of a cat comes out and starts picking a fight. with us, with the woman, with the fridge. he hisses at everything, including air. he would hiss and we would all stare at what he is hissing at and there would be nothing there. i like spunk. this is looney. the only thing he doesn't hiss at is Leafty, he even licks him on the head. what is it about that white rabbit?

but one thing is for certain, baby blue is not liking this place one bit.

the woman decides to give him time but shortly after, he is bashing rosie, fruity and me on sight. the woman packs him back in the carrier and sends him home before anyone got hurt.



so here i am stuck with hello kitty and pokemon. and they are both lookers. i am screwed.

but it is much like me to make the best of a situation so i let rosie lick me which she loves to do. who doesn't need a little love now and then? fruity still runs when rosie comes too close. don't blame her, the feeling is much like a 4-tonner bearing down on a volkswagon. and you are the volkswagon.

crazy cat lady

listen to the guru, action is a good cure for grief, but there are limits, peoples!

man and woman comes back from supper and a cat comes up to them for attention. they recognise it as the sweet young 'village bicycle', having been seen frequently mounted by tomcat and tibby. since this presents a rare window of opportunity, they catch it and bring it upstairs with the intention of sterilising it the next day.

but once they get it home, her big round eyes win them over and they start to think that they might keep it to fill that big old empty place the grand dame left behind. so confusion begins.



before they admit the cat for operation, they have it tested for virus for the sake of fruity and me at home. the results test positive for leukemia and this throws everything out of whack. the vet advices against sterilisation because there is a high chance of complications after the operation. not an issue if the cat is to be kept permanently indoors. what could be done is to deworm and vaccinate it against other diseases, as well as vaccinate all the other cats at home against the virus.

the man and woman rush home to get fruity and me back to the clinic. to their chargrin, the vet then tells them that the vaccination for leukemia is known to cause tumours in cats. it is also not a 100% guarantee and it is best to keep the cat with virus permanently away from the healthy ones.

the man and woman are utterly confused at this point. is it too much to ask for the vet to provide all necessary information up front so that a decision can be properly made? the man asks the vet for statistics on tumours after vaccination but she doesn't have it on hand. so how much of what she is saying is a real risk or just to cover her ass??

keep or don't keep? keep, they subject us to risk and themselves to a lifetime of logistics separating all of us; don't keep, the cat will be out there spreading the virus and having litter after litter of sick cats. WTF!

coincidentally, cat welfare person calls the woman at this time in answer to her previous enquiry about sterilisation of strays. their simple advice (if only sooner) would be to sterilise the cat anyway and then release her. they have sterilised many strays, all with high risk of leukemia and complications after surgery are rare. also, the stray cats that have been in contact with her would already have been infected anyways, like it or not.

logical common sense that the woman is angry with herself for not arriving at sooner. problem is, she is reluctant to let leukemia go. see, she even named it.

but it is too late, leukemia cannot be sterilised until one week after vaccination.

with their very cramped quarters, the man and woman are not confident of enforcing a proper quarantine for a whole week. they release leukemia back downstairs and hope to catch it again when the time comes.

my turn

so the old girl has left us. sneaking a pee in her litter box is not half as fun now but there it still sits.

for a while there i have been quite convinced the chronicles of the dysfunctional animal family has come to an end. after all, it should be happily ever after for fruity and me, having finally come out from under the punitive regime of the grand old dame.

then a sequence of events has compelled me to pick up where she left off. and to understand some of her angst.

ordinarily, i would leave the heavy lifting to my apprentice. but on second thoughts, hello kitty here could make us all sound like sanriotown or sesame street characters. neither are acceptable. the old girl would turn.


What is the colour of Fear?

With the 5/10 Kingdom article, thus the Yellow Ribbon project for much-maligned Wolf persona is ended.

Previously, I mentioned how I was amused about the 10th Kingdom’s mushrooms which sing “A Whiter Shade of Pale”.

This is because it is one of the songs, which always mystifies me (Oh, another one would be “Hotel California”).

What is “A Whiter Shade of Pale” really about?

The lyric goes like this:
We skipped the light fandango
turned cartwheels 'cross the floor
I was feeling kinda seasick
but the crowd called out for more
The room was humming harder
as the ceiling flew away
When we called out for another drink
the waiter brought a tray

And so it was that later
as the miller told his tale
that her face, at first just ghostly,
turned a whiter shade of pale

She said, 'There is no reason
and the truth is plain to see.'
But I wandered through my playing cards
and would not let her be
one of sixteen vestal virgins
who were leaving for the coast
and although my eyes were open
they might have just as well've been closed

And this is how I interpret the song:
“I” in the song is a wanderer (“feeling kinda seasick”? He travels a lot & knows how "seasick" feels like) who happens to come across a tavern & indulging in a music & dance. With a charming girl whom he just befriends or perhaps flirts a bit (it’s a fandango after all, right?).

The perplexing part is introduced by the second stanza. It may hold some importance as this part is kept repeating throughout the song. To continue from the previous stanza, so the Guy & Girl are out of their breath dancing & now rest while sipping their drink & listening to the miller telling his story. Something about the tale evidently scares the girl (“her face, at first just ghostly, turned a whiter shade of pale”. The colour of fear?)

In the third stanza, our attentive wanderer likely shows his concern by asking her why. Consequently the answer "There is no reason and the truth is plain to see." Which truth is plain to see? Now I imagine the sentence “and would net her be one of sixteen vestal virgins” have to do with the miller’s tale. (And that the wanderer is a bit slow in realizing that the girl is one of the sixteen. If he has known it earlier, there won’t be a need to ask the girl & for the girl to snap "the truth is plain to see".)

Anyway, what does "vestal" mean? According to Wordweb, it “relates to Vesta”, “(Roman mythology) goddess of the hearth and its fire whose flame was tended by vestal virgins; counterpart of Greek Hestia”.

Okay, to think that the miller’s tale frightens the girl who’s apparently going to be one of those vestal virgins, I deduce that the tale must be horrific by nature. Perhaps the job scope of so-called vestal virgins with regard to "tending the Goddess' flame" means the girls are to be burnt alive?

So sick!

Anyway, I am touched by the last two sentences “and although my eyes were open, they might have just as well've been closed”. I take it as an expression of how frustrated the wanderer must feel as he may have fallen in love with the girl & yet he is powerless to prevent her fate to be the mere fuel to the fire.

So I like the song coz I’m compelled to think about the above possibility to create some meaning out of the song.

Searching the Net, this site offers an alternative & more credible explanation & at the same time proves my intrepretation is utterly wrong. Check it out.

The 5/10 Kingdom.

The Half Kingdom? Nope, it was I trying to find an information about a TV miniseries. The title was actually the 10th Kingdom, but I somehow was so sure that it's the 5th Kingdom.

So I started the hunt with “the 5th Kingdom” as the keyword. The Yahoo search results no.4 revealed the URL that has “10kingdoms” phrase. Ah, so it’s “the 10th Kingdom”.

The 10th Kingdom! This show has the right mixture of fairy tales go twisted—not that dark, mind you--and balanced with beautiful scenery. But what intrigues me most is about one of the characters that eventually & completely reforms. Yup, the Wolf again.

True as a how a fairy tale goes, there is also a regular, modern girl who is transformed into a heroine (not that she has any choice) together with his good-for-nothin’ (oh, he's good at wailing & complaining, though!) dad who is dragged along to the adventure.

You’ve got to watch it! The absurdly funny parts I can recall are:
- The mushrooms which sing “A Whiter Shade of Pale”.
- The shepherdess singing competition, in which, the heroine Virginia adopts the Queen’s “We Will Rock You”.
- The deadly guessing-name game between Virginia’s father & the blind woodsman.

Annotation to Previous Entry.

1. “For that, I can outsource the task to a certain noble (debatable, depending which version you read) Fable character, which is proficient at huffing & puffing.”

I was referring to Bigby Wolf, a reformed Big Bad Wolf character in Vertigo’s Fables graphic novels, which I unfortunately have read only the Volume III: Storybook Love.

In this volume, it was revealed that the wolf in "Three Little Pigs" & "Little Red Riding Hood" tales is the very same character. Ha, I never even think about that possibility.

Interesting to note from the Wikipedia link above is that I was not aware that there is a version of "Three Little Pigs" tale in which the wolf was finally killed & eaten by the third little prick, uhm, pig.

Now I wonder whether there's been any speculative story out there that ever tries to link that resourceful pig with the revolutionary (to some extent) Snowball & Napoleon in George Orwell's Animal Farm.

2. “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

Of course, this refers to what Rhett Butler’s snappy retort to apparently clingy(?) Scarlett in the classic “Gone with the Wind”. Well, I have not read the book yet. So I will restrain not to judge how the story goes just from the quotes.

Why Should I Give A Damn?

I was rather irked recently. I was advised to be careful in what/how I write in my blog as I may be judged by certain female readers concerning my level of cynicism (abundant!), intelligence (questionable), openness (wrong blog, lady!) & friendliness (got to look up this word in a dictionary).

I was not disturbed by the person who cautioned me that.
Oh, he meant well & I truly appreciated it.

What I was annoyed is why it should matter. Do I really intend to use my blog to sweep the girls off their feet? For that, I can outsource the task to a certain noble (debatable, depending which version you read) Fable character, which is proficient at huffing & puffing.

This. Is. My. Blog.

And whether people are impressed or not? Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. If people try to judge me based on what I write in my blog, help yourself with a generous serving of horror & repulsion.

Gosh, if you want to play a fair judge, do read my comments in those blogs that I visit.

I never claimed myself as a blogger. I registered a nick so that I could have an accountable identity when I posted a comment here & there (and like a virus, it will spread. Beware! Although till now I don’t get any restraining order, so I guess I’m doing pretty well myself. Heh.)

I write, or blog, because it makes me closer to finding myself.

life after Maneki

thank you so much for all your kind words. i am happy that Maneki touched all your lives too as she did mine.

Within every reader, there is a writer lurking to emerge.

Hence my participation to NaNoWriMo.

Yeah, just registered yesterday. Ooo...let's see the end of next month--you'll start the race on 1 Nov & to complete the 50,000-word novel by 30 Nov--if I can finish composing that. Or die in trying. :-)

The icon (Not bad, huh? Just below the "I Power Blogger" one) should serve as a self-reminder to do the task.

Omnia Mutantur, Nihil Interit.

Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost.

Encountered this yesterday when I was skimming The Sandman, Book X: The Wake.
(Now who says we can’t learn from comics or graphic novels? Heh)

I had been pondering on this sentence since.

I mean, knowing and understanding are two different matters. I know that in the past, some Roman wise guy might start popularizing this sentence. Hmm…maybe after conquering other kingdoms, when they tried to pacify the crestfallen natives?

Okay, as usual, I’m digressing.
It was not my intention to delve into the origin of the saying.

The point is how to understand. How to grasp the wisdom of the saying? That is if you agree at the first place, that Omnia-Mutantur-Nihil-Interit thing is indeed a gem of truth.

Maneki left us on 11 Oct 2005 3.20pm

she took a turn for the worse the next day. even with the heat pads and oxygen tank, she couldnt breathe and couldnt get her temperature up.

when we arrived at the hospital, she knew right away, made her tiny squeaking sound and tried to get up to greet us. she couldn't and slumped back down. as i stroked her, all she could do was answer me with a tail wag. it kept wagging as i stroked and spoke to her.

the vet told us it was time to let her go because she was in a lot of pain. the only things keeping her alive was the drip and the oxygen tank. it is with much anguish that we could accept that such a precious creature could not stay with us longer. we were supposed to take her home today! and it hasn't even been a year that we have had the joy of knowing her.

but she shouldnt have to suffer needlessly. goodbye my maneki, i love you so much.

In Memory of Maneki Neko


"Buah Simalakama" Fell Down Under.

I was reading this article during my lunch break.

It is about how Australia government increased their pledge of aid to Pakistan after Saturday earthquake that killed at least 23,000 people in Kashmir.

Now I could imagine how awkward it was for the ruling party in Australia. If they increased the donation, which they did, the opposition would surely take the credit out of it (It was because they dared to voice out against the government).

If they chose to ignore the opposition’s urging, then bye-bye democracy.

Hence, it was a very much of damned-if-you-do-and-damned-if-you-don’t situation, wasn’t it? Or in Bahasa Indonesia, it could be associated with "Buah Simalakama" (If you eat the fruit, your father will be dead. If you don’t, it is going to be your mother who’s gone).

True that it is sickening to see how such a calamity was used to boost certain party’s popularity. Even if it was not meant to do so. Perhaps the opposition was really sincere & concerned about how low Australia would be regarded by the rest of the nations if the government stubbornly donated the perceivably meagre amount of money.

No matter how the outcome could be, it would tarnish the image of the country. It happened for Australia. It may happen for other countries.

I could only think one solution to prevent this. And no, I don’t mean to discard the democracy. One feasible answer is to have the opposition having a major role together with the government to administer the aid effort.

Share the credit. The ones who should benefit most are the victims. And that should be the main goal.

What Age Do You Act? (Rated: PG)

I'm amused with how people turn to online questionnaires to find out more about themselves. Alright, it doesn't do any harm. It's just for fun. But I'm still amused.

Take this one for example. It's about "What Age Do You Act?"

You'll go through a set of questions & in the end you'll be given an assessment & explanation about your (mental?) age.

The interesting part is all the answers are so rosy. Everyone won't help but feel good about themselves. So, let me present the twisted & sadly, more realistic interpretations of the result.

The black text below are the original heartwearming explanation. The blue text within the blue brackets are mine. :-)



Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe. (But not for long. You can’t be a kid forever. What, think you this is a Neverland? Get ready to flirt with disappointment, kiddo.)

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world. (Your subversive view will lead you to a place of your own: a prison. You’ll become famous. But at what cost?)

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences. (That’s your problem. You feel. You don’t think.)

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more! (Lack of idealism will trip you to reap success illegally & your greed of true love will be the cause of your divorce as you’re seeking it—the true love—from more than one person.)

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax. (What else can you do? You no longer have optimistic views about life. You no longer look at the world with awe. You finally become a compliant citizen. You are a sharp thinker. Yet you feel like a baby trying to run. You are bankrupt & divorced.)



sickly me II

they come visit me the next day and i wish they didn't. i am exhausted, stressed and scared shitless.

apparently, my kidneys have completely collapsed, causing major toxin build-up in the body, infecting the lungs. this news distresses the man and woman greatly. the best the vets can do is to pump me with antibiotics and drip me to rehydrate the kidneys, hopefully to flush the toxins and bring my kidney values back down closer to normal.

the woman gets more and more upset as i continue to huddle at the back of the cage unresponsive. it doesn't help that a couple of cage doors down, a family is saying their final goodbyes to a goner cat. the whole room rings with silent prayers and misery.

the day vet drops in. full results are still out until they complete the in-hospital treatment. but with my kidneys gone, the man and woman are very likely looking at a lifelong commitment to drip me daily.

they have concerns about whether this may be artificially prolonging my life and cause me more suffering but the vet reassures otherwise. there is no doubt that the man and woman will do it but it weighs on them whether they are doing it for me or for them.

the following day, the woman visits me again. i am snoozing but hop up with a squeak when i hear her. i miss her and her fawnings and get a big dose of it. I would also have gladly escaped the cage if she hasn't stopped me. i forget i am still attached to the drip.

the vet comes round again and has good news. my kidney levels have dropped. i even ate today. this reaffirms the woman's convictions to help me live with the drip.

the woman's mood is also lightened when little puppy lounging just inside of the grill in the top cage pees and it drips down directly onto my head. glad she thinks it is so funny. she informs the orderly to watch the problem and cleans me up.

i sulk when i realise the woman isn't there to take me home and leaves without me. hopefully my tests tomorrow prove positive and i can get out of this depressing place.

sickly me

on and off i haven't been eating well for the past month. it all catches up on me one day and the woman finds me gasping for breath in a corner of the room when she wakes up. with more efficiency than usual, they call a cab, bundle me in a blanket and take me to the emergency clinic at mount pleasant.

they thought i might resist the prolonged manhandling as i usually do, but i don't. i sit quietly in the woman's arms and she grows gradually more and more afraid.

at the clinic, the smell is overpowering. when i am let down to stretch my leg, i choose a spot underneath the visitor's chair as i watch sick animals come and go until the vet is ready to see me. the vet pegs me for a cat way over 10 years old and gives a preliminary diagnosis of respitory and renal malfunction. he recommends that i be hospitalised for various tests as well as to be put on a drip immediately to rehydrate the kidneys.

the woman is reluctant to leave me all alone in the cold strange place but hasn't much choice about it. they leave to join friends and the woman gets emotional there thinking about the empty spot on the study table where i lay claim.

Being able to forgive yourself: Priceless!

Last Friday, I finally met the friends whom one of them was deeply upset by my insensitivity (Heh, and some still claim that I’m oversensitive. :-\ ).

Sure, it was just an innocent misunderstanding.
No malice whatsoever, oh nossir.

But the by-product was she getting sad. So for that, I was hit by guilt.

Anyway, it’s o-v-e-r. I could observe throughout the dinner that they were enjoying themselves. So it is possible for such a perfect couple to continue being good friends even after a break-up.

The dinner was originally meant just for the three of us. I was thinking to drink for a while (it’s at Brewerkz & the beer is its speciality), and then left two of them to have a quiet chat to clear out whatever residual problems they had.

That didn’t happen.

They invited their friends to come along. Perhaps it was for the best. We did have great fun together. Although I for one was rather hurt & relieved at the same time seeing my ex gf joining us.

Hurt as she couldn’t be bothered to inform me that her problem was eventually over (and this was despite the fact that she knew how much I worried about her). I deduced that she solved it as she came with her boyfriend (A great guy. She made a right choice!).

Relieved as her bf treated her well. Very, very well. Then wouldn’t it be redundant to shake his hand & told him to take a good care of her? Then again, it might not as I did give an or-else-I-will-hunt-you-down histrionic pause in the end of that sentence.

So, that chapter of my life...I could close it.
About time to move on. Way overdue.

When I contemplated about the night, I realized I was truly forgiven by my friend and his ex. By them making that night a memorable one.

My friend, he invited a magnetic lady teacher whose teacher-like patience was evident whenever she had to answer the FAQ of what she did for living & how long she had been teaching.

I managed to decipher her blog identity immediately (Please, you can’t hide that sparklingly rich smile by just changing your hairstyle). She did know mine after two guesses, though.

The teacher in turn invited her friend who unfortunately came rather late. His antic of ‘she-loves-me, she-loves-me-not’ was hilarious.

My friend’s ex had her friend to join us, who adopted a name "Ice"--coz we can't pronounce his name? Cool & sober & I almost made him pay for the whole bill as he’s the only one who adamantly acted cool & sober after those drinks. *grin*

She also invited along my ex & her bf. Enough said.

A reclusive—-but unarguably nice & decent-—friend of mine also joined us. He initiated the exciting bamboo game. Alas, his blog identity was unmasked as well by the teacher (she is good!).

Uhm...it’s not intended to be a gathering just for bloggers. So I won’t reveal their nicks here. Oh well, maybe next time! ;-)

Edit No.1:
In hindsight, I may be slightly tipsy myself. As I couldn't recall the girls started sniffing the smell of burning matches. Read more.

The Book that I Hate to Read, I Want to Re-Read.

Yesterday night, the usual routine of haunting the nearest library, I felt an urge to stop at the rack for books whose authors’ surname started with CAR.

Absent-mindedly, I picked up a book "Seventh Son" by Orson Scott Card. Hmm, I’ve read this one many, many times.

I browsed the list of books by the author. Stopped at "Lost Boys".
Yup, I remember this one too.

I remember the general outline of the story. I wish I could forget about it. The book is rich with sadness--which would only be apparent in the ending part. (How could it be rich with sadness if it is only apparent in the ending part? Go & figure it out yourself by reading it.)

It’s rather unusual of me to read that kind of genre.[1]

I wish I could borrow the book.
I just want to see exactly whether the similar feeling can be evoked.[2]

Footnote:
1. Then why did I choose to read it at the first place? Well, I’m hooked with the author’s works. I read "Seventh Son", "Prentice Alvin", "Alvin Journeyman" & "Heartfire"--book I, III, IV and V of Alvin Maker storyline respectively. I managed to hunt for book II: "Red Prophet" at a second-hand bookstore. And now, I’m eyeing for the latest (final?) instalment: "The Crystal City". [2]

2. If you manage to borrow it from the library, kindly lend me. Please. :-)

Copyriiight

I was in the process of composing a thought based on an online article about how a certain imprisoned public figure condemned the last weekend's Bali blast but also opined that the attacks were a sign of God's displeasure with the Indonesian government. (Cool, the imprisoned fellow now censured God? That's an improvement!)

Anyway, I came across a tiny footnote stating:

[ ___ ] text, photos, graphics and logos shall not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium. [ ___ ] shall not be held liable for any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions in any [ ___ ] content, or for any actions taken in consequence.

What on earth did they mean 'indirectly in any medium'? Do I, by providing a link to the article, unintentionally infringe the copyright law?

If it's really important, why did they put the notice in so clamantly small font? And not to mention that curious choice of light gray as the color.

The Queue of the Lemmings.

And I was one of them.

Noticed an advertisement in the paper telling that a certain credit card issuer treated the card users with a pair of free tickets.

The collection of the tix would start on 3 p.m. that Sunday.

Plenty of time, so I hung around the library looking for a corner to finish savouring "Cat’s Cradle", a book by Kurt Vonnegut. Couldn’t find a place to seat, but managed to borrow "The Sandman: The Dream Hunters", though (narrated by Neil Gaiman—again, yay! —and illustrated by the talented Yoshitaka Amano).

Decided to go to the food court to read. Felt hungry, instead.

On 1 p.m., after having lunch there, I visited the cinema to take a look at what time the show would be.

Surprisingly, the queue had already been formed!
And to think that the counter for the collection for the tickets was still closed?!
Hallo, people? You’ve got 2 hours of your precious Sunday to be wasted like this?

I could spit with disgust at their greediness.
I could admire their persistence.
I could curse the credit card issuer by half-heartedly rewarding the card users (Didn’t the company know that they could just send the tickets to the card users?)
I could praise the credit card issuer coz the company was able to reward AND to create publicity at the same time (The queue made the onlookers wonder what the queue was all about).

Yet I decided to queue as well.
So I did have 2 hours of my precious Sunday to be wasted like this. * sigh *

But I had a book with me (two, in fact) & I could read the books while queuing, couldn’t I? Not that I had other schedules, that is.

In the end, "Cat’s Cradle" was finished (A bit disappointed with how the story was ended). Heh, still I was proud of myself to be able to utilize a book as a time machine to help me pass the 2-hour waiting swiftly.

It would otherwise be a humiliating queue.
Or perhaps it was, but I might be too engrossed with the book to be aware of it.

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