Saturday, August 30, 2003

Graduate School? or no Graduate School?

mr staniland:

Two years in, and quitting will be like gnawing your own leg off.

Graduate school is cotillion for eggheads.

Somewhere in the back of your head, your dissertation or your oral exams will be burrowing outwards through your brain tissue with incisors of fear.

for quotes like these and more -- go to:, courtesy of jay =)

i have too much time at work. =)

(a) watched most of The Recruit last night. while the movie is not the most scintillating movie ever made, i stand by my comment that Colin Farrell is yummy. he looks like a cross between George Clooney [all my girlfriends know what a HUGE fan i am of Clooney; the man is delectable] with just a touch perhaps of...a darker Ben Affleck? maybe. he pulls off the combination of arrogant-bastard and lost-little-boy to perfection; his character is totally believable - even if the movie's plotline is a little -a lot- contrived and sort of maybe painful. i haven't finished it yet but i'm already expecting lots of twists and turns, and i don't know if i'm going to be more disappointed if they happen or if they don't happen. ah well. it's worth it to see Colin Farrell in CIA-Agent mode.

(b) this is for ms aw =) -- yeah, i agree with your assessment of Wurtzel. she's a self-indulgent writer, and personally i think Bitch wouldn't have gotten published if it weren't for the runaway success of Prozac Nation. while Prozac was worth the read -i really enjoyed it albeit was very depressed by it- i think that her style of writing is not well suited to making arguments that hold water. she runs around from point to point, jumping back and forth within each argument; she uses OTT language, too many commas [something i too am guilty of, but you know what? i don't write like that when it's going to be published rather than stream of consciousness] and waaaay the hell too many examples. it makes me irritated at her, rather than being convinced by her arguments. i like simplicity, i like coherence, i like order in my expository writing/reading.

that said, i know that some of my friends here really like the book, think it's awesome. and perhaps it is good that she gets to vent and have an outlet for her anger that seems to resonate with some women out there. but personally i don't agree with a lot of what she's saying. yes, she makes me very angry with the way the world is out there, the way the world treats women. but she seems to forget that a big problem is that women sabotage other women, women aren't nice to other women, women don't all want the same thing.

reading her chapter on Hilary Clinton, i was, quite frankly, disgusted. what is wrong, precisely, with being a political wife? wurtzel points out that any power Hilary had as First Lady was taken secretly, rather than openly - but that's not really true, in the first place [the First Couple presented themselves as that -a couple working together in the White House], and in any case it is because society doesn't have space in it for a First Lady who holds political power. Hilary, i would argue, made a compelling argument for expanding the position of First Lady [just as Barbara Bush makes a compelling antiargument. you want a real political wife? look at the Bushes] into one that has real ability to make policy changes. she's also reminding us and redefining for us the meaning of the word wife.

when did wife become a bad word? when did marrying someone come to mean you are selling out, you are surrendering to the other side, that you are a traitor to your own kind? does wurtzel imagine that it is somehow easier to be a wife than an investment banker/governor of california/President of the United States? she doesn't seem to respect the fact that Hilary Clinton made a choice -and enjoy the fact that the choice was open to her, that she had two options to choose from. to be fair to wurtzel, when the book was published the Clintons were still in the White House and Hilary had not yet become a Senator. so it seemed to her that Hilary was wasting her talent hiding behind Bill in the Oval Office.

(c) i saw Mars last night, from the telescope on the roof of Ryerson. it was so beautiful, this round, luminous disc pulsing in the lens of the telescope, almost like it was breathing along with me. and the detail! i could see the south pole of Mars, a bright white spot on the edge of the orb, and shadows of the martian 'seas', almost like the surface of the moon. 'twas very cool, and well worth the walk to campus, the pear cider at the Pub with rachel watching the Cubbies lose to St Louis, and the climb up waaay too many stairs to get to the roof. everyone should see it. =)

Friday, August 29, 2003

i hate the world today
you're so good to me i know
but i can't change
tried to tell you but you
look at me like maybe
i'm an angel underneath
innocent and sweet

yesterday i cried
you must have been relieved
to see the softer side
i can understand how
you'd be so confused
i don't envy you
i'm a little bit of everything
all rolled into one

i'm a bitch i'm a lover
i'm a child i'm a mother
i'm a sinner i'm a saint
i do not feel ashamed
i'm your hell i'm your dream
i'm nothing in between
you know you wouldn't want it any other way

so take me as i am
this may mean you'll have to
be a stronger man
rest assured that when i
start to make you nervous
and i'm going to extremes
tomorrow i will change
and today won't mean a thing

just when you think
you've got me figured out
the season's already changing
i think it's cool
you do what you do
and don't try to shape me

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

because i just bought tickets to the Cubs-Mets game on the 16th of September, at our beautiful beautiful Wrigley field. a night game!

and for reference:

"Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don't care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the Cubbies!
If they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out,
At the old ball game."

i revert to my non-feminist, non-angry, three year old self to say:

my speakers have been shipped!! i love Fedex tracker. my speakers are now somewhere in NJ enroute to Chicago, and they will arrive by friday afternoon. jay says they're usually early. sweeeeeeeeeeeet.

on the other hand, my cookbook -which is supposed to take between four and fourteen days, has yet to arrive. so perhaps they will arrive together in a burst of blissful retail gratification, and i will explode and die before janice can get back here to celebrate with me. -grins-

the heat has broken -- it is a cool 24C and falling outside. one of those golden summer evenings meant for long walks by the lake with the breeze blasting your hair back and chilling your skin when in the shade. instead, i'm gonna curl up here and read til dinner and West Wing.

oh, and i got my fall quarter bill today. the number on it is heart-attack-inducing. higher education is not for the faint-hearted indeed.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

The Rules of Engagement

from Bitch, by Elizabeth Wurtzel --

"It tells women how to act as to compensate for the fact that while feminism has changed the way many of us think and behave, while it has made men change diapers and do dishes and spend quality time with children whie women perform neurosurgery and direct movies and trade Eurodollars, it has failed to truly change the way we feel. As Ellen Willis put it, most succinctly: "Feminism had transformed women's consciousness without, as yet, transforming society, leaving a gap between what many of us demanded of a relationship and what most men were willing to give."

i don't know how to be a Good Girl, a sweetheart, anymore than i know how to be the Bitch, the Vamp, the Bad Girl, the It Girl. it enrages me that i still have to make the choice between being a Good Girl and getting what i want; it infuriates me that i don't have the courage to say this is my life i will do what i want and the rest of you can fuck off and die because i am afraid that if i do that, i will be left alone. the Bitch is always alone. women hate her, even as they love what she represents, because she dares to break the stereotype -though she has become stereotype herself.

i am afraid to ask myself what i want these days because it feels like i am opening a door to the pits of hell -- what i want and what i can get are so far removed from each other than to contemplate them simultaneously threatens to throw me into despair. i want to be independent, i don't want anyone to tell me what i should want, or need, or do; i want to be angry, i want to scream, i want the world to listen when i yell; i want to be the Bitch, the Bad Girl, because the Bad Girl gets what she wants; i want to be unafraid. i want to be able to wear what i want, do what i want, say what i want without being labelled a slut or a vamp or a shrew or a nag; i want to be treated well because of who i am not because i am -caught somewhere between a girl and a woman, unable to go forward because i'm not convinced i can, but loathing the very notion of going backwards because it is a proposition loathsome beyond words. i want to stop pretending my life is fine, i want to stop pretending to be confident and secure and strong, i want my anger and my insecurities and my fear to leave me for good.

i want to be free of you can have what you want as long as what you want includes a husband and children; i want to be able to make my own choices because they're my choices; i want to be able to stop considering what my family will think, what my friends will think, what society will think if i make these choices. i want to do things for Me -- and i can't because of where i come from and what i am; because i have been raised to think subconsciously or not that i have to please everyone, i have to change my behaviour to suit everyone -- and simultaneously told that i can have everything i want, be anything i want, do anything i want. i have been told that i can be superwoman, and at the same time it is requested of me that i choose not to be. i hate the notion of settling for something that i don't want because i have been told that is what i want; i hate that i find that notion more and more acceptable because the older i get the more pressure there is for me to be the woman that the world expects me to be.

so you see, if i'm angry at the world and if i am a bitch it is because i cannot be what i want to be. because i feel like i'm stuck between a rock and a hard place, and if i don't move i will explode. if you keep moving they can't getcha. i want the gap between what we have been taught to expect and what the world is willing to give us to close, and i know that's not going to happen, not in my lifetime. not when everyone has a different idea of what it means to be a feminist, what it means to be independent, what it means to want equal rights, how to pick their battles so they don't lose the war -- the fact that it is seen as a WAR means that we have already lost, because we make enemies of the very people we are trying to get to treat us as friends. i want the Bitch to no longer be a stereotype that gains attention, because every woman -every PERSON- can behave the way they want and no longer have to go to extremes to ensure that possibility exists.

so when i say i hate people, i'm not being a teenage-angst-filled twentyone year old. i'm being a human being, a girl, a person, frustrated as hell with the way the world is shaped, angry as all fuck at herself and everyone else for not being and not being allowed to be the people that they want to be, would choose to be, should demand to be.

High Flight
John Gillespie Magee Jr.

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

Nothing Gold

getting up for work this morning was so hard. taking long weekends just randomly is such a bad idea, compounded by how work miraculously gets acquired and assigned to you while you are away, to land with a solid thump on desk when you return. not that i'm complaining, mind you -- it gives me some reason to come to work in the morning now that i have DSL at home and no longer require the internet connection in the office to stay in touch with world events. -grins-

i have forgotten to email the sorted list to my office email address. so much for telecommuting. -amused- i shall endeavour to remember when i get home this evening. and it's the last lindy lesson for the summer tonight at Ida Noyes...and this friday is the last Java Jive. how quickly summer is coming to a close -- this weekend is labour day weekend. [another long weekend, but at least this time even the bosses have the long weekend off]

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

-- Robert Frost

now it's back to work, while daydreaming about (a) what to cook for dinner tonight and (b) when my cookbook will get here and (c) when my Logitech speakers, which i have just ordered from, will get here. i want those speakers. -whine-

to make my first day at work in four days complete, it is now raining, and i have forgotten to bring my umbrella. clever girl, jeanette. -wry-

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

I Wish I Had A Sorting Hat

thankfully i am finally done with lists of auto suppliers -- i have been hunting down suppliers to Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Saturn, BMW, Mecedes, Subaru-Isuzu and Autoalliance for the last two days, until my eyes crossed and my fingers cramped, and carpal tunnel threatens...but of course i have been doing this at home [telecommuting, walter called it] so it could have been worse. and the carpal tunnel is therefore my fault and not my bosses -- because at work i have a desktop with a keyboard instead of a laptop. =) who needs mobility in the Fed anyway.

that said, crazy weekend is almost over, and tomorrow it will be back to work for me. [thankfully it will also be back to work for Jay, who has been in new york these past four days, which means i won't have to sit in the silent-as-a-tomb part of the office alone, reading papers and squinting at computer screen] have accomplished nothing that i wanted to do IE clean kitchen and bathroom, grocery shop, read, sleep. this is because every time i have uninterrupted chill-time [other than friday, which was complete chill time, i didn't leave the apartment At All, didn't even unbolt my door] someone calls me up and goes 'jeanette, what are you doing now? wanna go ____?' and i go 'sure, if there's aircon'. so there goes reading and naptime. but on the other hand it meant that i got to have dinner with pstan and eric, and walter and minghao [who has taken off for parts unknown, otherwise known as europe], and brunch with lishan, who has left for singapore. it also struck me that all my girlfriends are not here, and i am hanging out almost exclusively with guys, which might explain why my mood/behaviour has been completely insane lately. i have no one to talk to who understands what i'm saying. [guys just don't speak female. it's a fact of life.] -grins- rachel is coming back tonight, so there'll be at least one chick in hyde park to hang out with --and janice comes back friday. hurry up, before my brain explodes. =)

i'm gonna sit here and feel justifiably proud of myself for finishing the sorting lists, before realising that i haven't done any of the rest of the work Bill left me; and then i am going to go saute beef in wine, and heat up leftover japanese curry [which we made a HUGE pot of last night] for dinner. i suspect there will be curry for many more meals yet. perhaps i should package them into single-serve units and hand them to various guys to eat. [oh wait, pakshun's in mexico, so presumably he didn't starve to death in his apt without ruoxi to make sure he gets fed]

later, everyone. =)

oh, and i have a coffee machine, tons of spices and pastes for cooking, tons of teabags, and a pyrex baking tray courtesy of lishan. wow. =)

Monday, August 25, 2003

p/s. it was a cop shooting -- carjacking in progress o/s a restaurant on the South Side, cop attempting to prevent carjacking was shot, wounded in side, doing well in hospital. no wonder the place was buzzing like a bees' nest -- cops don't like it when one of their own goes down.

it takes a certain amt of intolerance for shit to be a cop on the South Side of chicago.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The --

so it's been a really sort of cool day, though it got off to a slow and somewhat rocky start, involving me being an uberbitch and then an indecisive brat who really just wanted to drive ard and do nothing instead of going to a corn festival in Dekalb. anyway, the majority of the day was spent in Woodfield Mall, which a crazy huge mall out in Schaumberg, a good fortyfive minute drive from hyde park. shopping there is amazing, though our main purpose for the drive was to eat at Todai, the japanese restaurant which has a lunch buffet, but our planning -or lack thereof- let us down, and we arrived too late. alas.

but then we came back to hyde park -- and on the spur of the moment, literally on the fly, i wound up having dinner with two of my favourite boys-about-town, one mr paul s. staniland, and one mr eric a. gehrie. we eat at the Star of Siam [yes it is a thai restaurant; we go all the way downtown to eat at a thai restaurant when we could easily have eaten in a similar fashion right here in hyde park. but eric was coming from home, up north.] and then decide to come back to hyde park and hang out at the boys' apartment for a little while. so here we are -- i'm riding shotgun in eric's big white Lexus [thanks pstan, i love riding shotgun] , we're playing rap music, we're sitting at a traffic light waiting to get onto Lake Shore Drive, and right next to us is a small thicket of kawasakis and suzukis, and on board are the usual pack of almost-middle-aged bikers and biker chick girlfriends/wives. though there is this one kawasaki which had just one guy on board -no chick- and it was the most gorgeous kawasaki i have ever seen. anyway -- the light turns green, and the bikes take off -- it's lovely for a second and then they get trapped by the next light, and we pull in front of them in our lane 'cos there're no cars in front of us. and once on Lake Shore, i forget about them, trapped in traffic, and turn my attention to the serious question of whether we should put on the fog lamps. [E: quick, ding ding, should i turn on the fog lamps? J: aren't they annoying as all fuck to other drivers? E: hell yes. J: go for it.]

so we're tooling along Lake Shore, going the legal speed limit because you don't speed on Lake Shore unless you're 'in the mood to get a ticket', and discussing the very presence of police cars on LSD at all times, when the previously mentioned kawasakis come flying by, absolutely flying, and for a long moment i forgot everything i'd ever said against donorcycles and biker-thugs, and want with all my soul to be flying on LSD riding pillion on that beautiful bike. they are going waaaaay over the speed limit, and it's beautiful. then right in our rear mirrors come the flashing blue lights of the Chicago PD, and we're like 'oh you guys are so screwed, this is why speeding on LSD is a badbad idea' -- and the CPD car is simply zooming up toward the bikes and it's alongside, and we're thinking any minute now they're so gonna get pulled over...and the copcar continutes zooming up LSD, leaving the bikes alone. big sigh of relief. so: if you're a biker on a kawasaki going several times the legal speed limit on LSD which is crawling with marked and unmarked CPD cars, you'd better hope that something big is going down somewhere, so that the CPD has bigger fish to fry than to give all of you a massive ticket each.

[of course, as we reach hyde park, there are cop cars everywhere, and we have no idea why. speculation: some big takedown/police office was shot -- because the cop cars were cruising looking for Something/Someone. even the UCPD was in on the act -- joint patrol area.]

so that was kwekkie's exciting saturday evening. =)

Saturday, August 23, 2003

what a brilliant way to wake up on a saturday morning: i have to be up early in case the refrigerator people from Sears decide to show up at the crack of dawn IE 0730 on a saturday to inspect my fridge. the warranty is abt to expire, so the owner is getting the last gasp benefits if she can. anyway, so i stumble sleepily out of bed and wander over to my computer, where i talk briefly to gail and find myself pointed to this -- for those of you who know gail/ryan/chris, sorry for the double post, i couldn't resist:

"... Not that Chris enjoyed running six pointless laps around a track; he wasn't a masochist. What he enjoyed were the two opportunities to see Ryan's bare body. He'd watch, out of the corner of his eye, as Ryan unbuttoned and slipped out of his shirt (like a dancer in a sensual ballet), then pull on his tank-top (which was always one size too tight for him). never failing to muss up his hair in the process; then he'd remove his long pants (oh, those gorgeous legs) and hurriedly jump into his shorts (short shorts) which had grown way too small for him, but suited Christopher's taste just right, and the entire show would be replayed afterwards (on the VCR of the gods) but only in reverse... blessed torture! thy name is man!"

©Sim Yee Chiang, 2001

on top of this, i wander by cheetung's blog [congratulations, by the way] and find an absolutely hilarious exchange between one mr ryan tan and one mr lee minliang. -giggles- you guys, you've made my day. =)

has it been so long since One-Winged? wow. -grins- those were the days indeed. the meetings at yisheng's place -with the doggies! and the walk!- and the hilarity of reading the poems submitted, sometimes in KAP Macs with fries and nuggets and ketchup and BBQ sauce flying everywhere; leaving the room when my poems came up for review; putting together a final draft; proof-reading the draft in a monster of a ringbound piece of art. fighting over the title and moaning over the cover art -or lack thereof-; and then finally, at long last, seeing it in print.

the joy of seeing my name in print, even if it is in a local anthology of poems organised by an exceeding small and inexperienced group of JC students. =) wow.

Friday, August 22, 2003

it is HOT. it is the hottest day of the summer thus far, and when i checked the temps around six pm, it was 36C/in the high 90s in F. we are also experiencing some power outages in scattered parts of the city as everyone starts to turn on their aircons and their fans and opening and closing their fridges as they remove cold coldcold drinks to keep cool. people are collapsing of heatstroke, breaking into fire hydrants and running down kids playing in the water. heat definitely doesn't bring out the goodness/happiness in people. and it seems to want to keep up over the weekend -the weatherman seems to think that we want to avoid stormy weather; can't he get it into his head that rain would be a relief from this heat-and-humidity? -amused-

i have my aircon on though, so i am in fairly good shape. wish us here in the city of chicago good luck!

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Computers crash, people die, relationships fall apart. All we can do is...

...breathe, and reboot.

i know. i promised another post if i got my DSL working. and i did, all by my lonesome self. =) am quite proud of myself, to be honest -- i just stuck pieces in where they looked like they would fit, stuck the CD in the drive and lo and behold -fast reliable internet access, just like the lady on the phone who took my order said. [we communed over our mutual inability to make anything electronic work, and then she told me that DSL setup was absolutely idiot proof. well, now i believe her. -grins-] for a glorious two hours last night, mostly spent on West Wing and Law and Order, i had a working computer AND fast internet access. heaven.

then disaster struck. after downloading the Windows Updates patches, and installing them, i dutifully told everyone -gotta go, need to reboot, brb- and hit the restart button. my baby then churns through the startup process to 'Setup is updating your configuration files. This may take a few minutes...' and chokes. she Will Not Cycle Past to windows. so of COURSE i flip out, and lose my temper, and swear at microsoft and bill gates for a solid half hour, thoroughly upsetting myself and alex in the process -sheepish- until i run out of energy and start a solid, splitting headache. damn you, microsoft.

i brought her into work this morning and the first thing our tech guy -ken- says is 'you'll probably need to reinstall the operating system', and when i hear things like that i flip out. totally. but he somehow managed to get her to boot in safe mode, and once i rebooted she reverted to normal mode and typical, grouchy, girly laptop behaviour. i backed up my stuff, just to be safe. but she seems to be fine now, whatever was choking her has gone away.

so my life has been rebooted and normal sevice will now resume. =)

updating the look of my blog -- decided that the puppies are cutesy and all but a little annoying after all this time. so here's to a new, plain, sober look to my blog. and if blogger continues to give me flak, trouble or no trouble i am migrating to LJ. the features at LJ -like the comments boards- appeal to me tremendously. imagine being able to (a) post what kind of music i am currently listening to [nothing; i am at the office after all] and (b) what mood i'm in by pulling down a menu or filling in a form. whew. before i forget, will someone whose blog entries have titles please let me know how it's done? -looking at adrian-

been listening to the soundtrack of 10 Things I Hate About You repeatedly over the last few days -- need the thumping cheerfulness of I Want You To Want Me to get my lazy ass out of bed, followed rapidly by putting Even Angels Fall and Your Winter on repeat play to make sure i start the day with them ringing in my skull. singing along at top volume while getting ready for work is one sure-fire way to ensure i'm late for the bus and have to leg it along 55th St to make sure i get to work reasonably on time. [before jay i mean. that's reasonably on time enough for me] in the meantime am loaded down with tons of pleasure reading -ain't that funny? 'loaded down with pleasure reading'- which i purchased over the weekend in lieu of a new Coach bag that i didn't really need but fell instantly in love with from afar. a visceral kind of desire, which i should not indulge, since i am very poor and feel guilty spending money on suede bags with leather straps. on my reading list for the week: that new Da Vinci Code thing; a book abt the guys who translated for and put together the King James Bible; a foodie's memoir; and random cookbooks -i told you i was turning domestic. this on top of several other novels, and some rereading i am going to have to do sometime, like Gaiman's American Gods [i own an autographed copy! i heard him read! hah!] and Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals.

that's it from me in the office today, but expect another post later if i get my DSL up and running. i've got my fingers crossed that even tech-idiot me can get it to seems simple enough. not. we'll see what happens in a few hours, after i struggle with finding something i feel like eating for dinner [no, not another slice of Better Than Sex cake, i promise; it'll be something real, like a PBJ bagel or something], reward myself with West Wing and Law and Order, and settled down to tackle the problem of installation. whew.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

The grey ceiling on the earth
Well it's lasted for a while
Take my thoughts for what they're worth
I've been acting like a child
In your opinion, and what is that?
It's just a different point of view

What else, what else can I do?
I said I'm sorry, yeah I'm sorry.
I said I'm sorry, but what for?
If I hurt you then I hate myself
Don't want to hate myself, don't want to hurt you
Why do you choose your pain?
If you only knew how much I love you, love you

I won't be your winter
and I won't be anyone's excuse to cry
We can be forgiven
and I will be here

You found hope, you found faith
Found how fast she could take it away
Found true love but lost your heart
Now you don't know who you are
She made it easy, made it free
Made you hurt till you couldn't see
Sometimes it stops sometimes it flows
But baby, that is how love goes

You will fly and you will crawl
God knows even angels fall
No such thing as you've lost it all
God knows even angels fall

It's a secret that no one tells
One day it's heaven, one day it's hell
And it's no fairy tale, take it from me
That's the way it's supposed to be

You laugh, you cry, no one knows why
But oh the thrill of it all
You're on the ride
You might as well open your eyes


i bought sunflowers today, at the farmer's market on Adams and Dearborn. just around the corner from the office. they were just a dollar -- they are practically giving them away -- and they are happy and beautiful and bright and bring a taste of sun into the office. and my apartment, once i get them home. it was good to get outside for lunch, walk ard the market -piles of fresh fruit and veggies, and the scent of piles of herbs and flowers floating everywhere in the noontime sunshine. next tuesday, i'm planning dinner around the food that i can buy -- fresh tomatoes and peaches and nectarines, peas and beans, basil, oregano, apples...

i am turning into a food/cooking junkie, and i LIKE it. terrifying.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Funeral Blues
by W. H. Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of public doves,

Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West.
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever; I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

i missed this poem --sort of like one would miss an old friend-- so i looked it up online and posted it for posterity. i remember hearing it during the movie [Four Weddings and a Funeral] and while i no longer remember the content of the movie i still recall the scene in which this poem was read aloud, and falling in love with auden for the first time.

am considering buying a new tv and dvd player from walmart. total cost under 200 dollars. think it may be worth it to be able to watch dvd movies at my place on a tv screen instead of a computer screen -on someone else's computer. or trekking over to H's place in the cold. so we'll see what happens.

in the meantime, work is slow, so it's time to take off early for the day and get some extensive reading done: i did some shopping over the weekend at the three bookstores in hyde park and now have lots to read and no uninterrupted time to do it in...

jay's just taken off and it's 3.46pm. indeed the mice are playing while the boss is away!

Friday, August 15, 2003

you are my tether to
an unknown childhood:
the penumbra memories,
the almost-might-have-beens.
an insubstantial shadow
a fragmented freefall
of words to shape
a misspoken intimacy.

you know how there are some weeks where nothing at all out of the ordinary happens, and then everything happens at once? i've just had a DAY like that. an epiphanic day, if you will. for various reasons --

sliding ard from blog to blog this morning, i took an abrupt turn at josh's blog in a direction i'd never taken before, and found -- a whole bunch of people that i'd thought were lost to the ether forever. not people i was particularly close to in primary school or secondary school or junior college, but people that once upon a time i had met, and connected with, and had precious honest phone conversations with, and spent time with. however short and perhaps ultimately meaningless the times we spent were, in the end, the fact that we had once brushed past each others' lives means something to me. it's nice to read your blogs, and think to myself -- oh, so this is where you are, this is who you are now, this is what you do now. it's nice to -at a distance, at least- touch your lives one more time. to be startled into memory -- the long-forgotten shared nights, the tiny touch of a phone call, the serendipitous glimpse in a movie theatre, the random passing in the night of two people who are --not quite strangers, but no longer friends.

and i discover connections between us that i had no earthly idea existed. how strange and tiny and insulated our little island, and how small our social circles -incestuous- -isolated- that we run around and around and can never get away from the people with whom we grew up. and finally, at the age of twentyone -how old a twentyone- i think most of us have given up running, and accepted that yes, these are the people i will run around with the rest of my life/and yes. i do, ultimately, in the secret bottom of my heart, know you, and understand you.

i'm not sure if you remember me, and i'm not sure if one day you will slide by this page and go 'oh jeanette, i know her --' as a faint shadow on the edges of an old childhood memory: but if you do -- and if you want to swing by now and then, and say hello - i would love to get to know you again.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

was reminded that my blog has not been updated for days. i've been thinking about updating, of course, but i don't really have anything interesting to say. work continues as it always has: rapid moments of frenzied swearing at a recalcitrant, stubbornly malfunctioning Excel, emailing the finished product to boss, then hours of sitting at the computer surfing, or perhaps helping stuff envelopes full of invitations to a conference the boss is organising. much more interesting things are happening in the lives of my friends at home -evan: hang in there, it sounds like law is boring but you will start to kick ass soon; adr: i cannot believe your roommate is a navy officer, how cool is that -grins-

i think life has settled into a sort of domestic rhythm for me here in hyde park: i wake up, i putter around the house, i leave for work -- i come home and cook dinner, and watch some tv, and generally hang around the house until bedtime. honestly, i'm starting to enjoy the solitude, the living alone, the independence. it can get sort of lonely, but i'm not really bothered by it -- though of course considering the amount of time i have spent on the phone lately, i really haven't been nearly as lonely as i was when i first arrived here. and there are tons of people here in hyde park -- just yesterday on my way to lindy class, a car zoomed by with three occupants waving madly, and the one in the backseat blowing kisses: dave and kai and paul were on their way to dinner on 57th street, probably to Noodles. it was amusing; i'm sure the random passersby enjoyed the spectacle of girl-on-sidewalk-blowing-kisses-to-passing-car. and on top of the quiet nights at home there's dancing, and dinners with friends, and just plain hanging out. and reading. =) it's nice to be reading for the sake of reading instead of reading for class, you know?

was talking to alvin last night -hey alvin!- and was reminded: did it ever occur to you tt the decade between 10 and 20 feels like so long, and the decade between 20 and 30 much shorter? maybe it's because we are changing so much between ten and twenty years of age, from a brainless, unconscious child to a reasonably sensible human being; or maybe it's because at twenty years old you possess the ability to look into the future and plan and see what you would like your life to be -- and at twenty there is so MUCH you want to do with your life and so little time as a free agent -an independent, single human being -- someone with few permanent responsibilities and ties --to do them in. how on earth am i going to be able to fit another two years of undergraduate education, six years of work, two years of graduate school, marriage and a first child into the next ten years of my life? if someone can find a way to extend time, i think perhaps that might help; failing that, i think i might just have to throw my hands in the air and surrender to the inevitable: i can't do everything i want to do, i can't have everything i want to have. there just isn't enough time or space in a life for all these things. and i think that i'm slowly going from the woman-who-wants-everything to the -woman who is willing to accept that she isn't going to get everything, but doesn't care as long as she gets what's most important right- stage. perhaps. =)

in the meantime, it is almost time to knock off for the day; West Wing is on tonight; and tomorrow is thursday -- one day closer to the weekend. and perhaps the possession of a suede-and-denim Coach bag. who know. so there ARE simple things to be happy about in life! -contemplates new shoes- it's easy to make me happy, isn't it? -grins-

Friday, August 08, 2003

"You'd miss the seasons," I say,
casually picking at my unfinished salad,
watching the fireflies strobelight the lateness
of a summer evening (they tangle
in the brilliant grass, the canny spiderweb)
"Miss winter?" you reply, vivid eyes
registering only a quizzical incomprehension.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

we are surrounded, -surrounded- i say, by idiots. have been blasted out of my idle musings mode by this particular piece of crap:

Govt Backs Bus Route Changes Along NEL

gimme a break here. how is this better for consumers? hello -- we all know what's going on here. SBSTransit has realised that they are cannibalising their own consumer base along the NEL, and the NEL is running FAR below full capacity, so of COURSE they go running to the regulator and say -look, we were stupid, now we need to 'rationalise' our bus routes IE close them down so that we can force people to take our brand new bloody expensive trains- and the regulator and ministry say -ok, the markets must be allowed to work and people must just suffer-

how could this have been avoided, you ask me? well for starters it was STUPID to let SBS have the NEL: they have no experience running a train line, it doesn't break any monopoly; if anything it created a whole corridor in the northeast where SBS now has a monopoly over transportation in general with attendant ability to neglect competitive pressures on pricing -not that we have any since transportation in singapore is at best a oligopoly, which acts like a monopoly thanks to our beloved regulator, LTA. i shall refrain from airing my views on the LTA; they aren't fit for public consumption. they should have realised right from the start that this would happen; the trains are going to take some bus riders -like me- away because of the location of the stations, the speed of transit, and the ability to ignore increased cost; but the convenience of the bus stop situation and the relatively straightline ride to downtown via upper serangoon road means that people are less willing to change their habits and walk to a more expensive, and perhaps more inconvenient train station [both on the entry and exit].

we return to the idea of 'public transport' - is it a market tt shd be private in the first place? now certainly it's not a public good in the sense that street lamps, or storm drains are public goods. but in the sense that there would be market failure if govts did not intervene -certain routes would not have service because they would cost too much to run, but people who are living there desire the services-, govt intervention is necessary in the mkt to make sure people get necessary services. in that case shd public transport be in the public interest or in the interest of the private companies that provide the services? where shd the govt stand on the issue of 'rationalising' bus routes? certainly people are going to be unhappy abt it -- the kids who have to find another way to go to school, the grandmothers who don't want to have to walk three extra blocks from the mrt station because they're ninety years old and might break a hip. who's going to take responsibility for these people?

the transport industry has always been a touchy spot with me; it infuriates me how our ministry and regulator can be so silly and inconsistent and unversed with reality. i mean, HONESTLY, who believes that SBS is more fit to run a train line than SMRT; who believes that trains can be anything but a natural monopoly in a market the size of singapore? and who has the best interests of the people in mind? the private transport companies? the regulator? the govt?

they sure don't act like it.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

snippets from a day [maybe my typo-ed version is better: snippets form a day]

...I wear workshirts to the opera
often. I want my feet to be bare,
I want my face to be shaven, and my heart --
you can't plan on the heart, but
the better part of it, my poetry, is open.

-Frank O'hara


a precision of language,
words to describe
the slide of summer
from dog-days' slumberous
to apple-crisp fall


"Candidates are not supposed actually to discuss issues during a campaign, but to invoke needs and put aspirations in vague language." -Lightning Rod, Garry Wills, The New York Review of Books


"The welfare of farm people depends far more on the functioning of labour markets than on the markets for commodities." -D. Gale Johnson, in a luncheon address at the Fed titled Role of Government in the Rural Economy

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

these associations really do exist:

Association for Dressings and Sauces
International Bottled Water Association
International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses
USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council

and --wait for this--

National Watermelon Association


have you ever thought about the word understand? why does it mean what it means? where does it come from?

oh to be on campus with online OED access. can i be a college student again please? i'll be very good and quiet if you'll just let me study and read and write, and not have to live in a reality that has national watermelon associations for a while.

Monday, August 04, 2003

Three Ways of Looking At Love


we laugh, and we play,
but most of all, beyond all,
we sing.
and as we sing our marvellous way,
we laugh, we play, and sometimes
sometimes we fall, tremulous, in love
with each other,
absorbed by the perfect chord,
consumed by our passion for
making music.

eyes closed in effortless escape,
dive headlong overboard into the
splendour falls of song, swim
the heady rush of soprano melody
upstream fade into sensual bass thrum,
half heard half felt, deep in the bones,
aching in the soul. we ring triumph in
soaring tenor tones pealing the
lonely alto darkness, universe-wide.
heart over head rapids rushing
devour us; we dissolve into
the harmony we paint one another.


wear white gold around a finger,
wear it a reminder of those you have lost
into the sargasso of your past. wear a
never-again love on your sleeve;

and bell-jar yourself
in antiseptic purity. is this love,


timeless ritual floods the air
flowing warm against my skin
soothing; bathing me with the
tender-rough caress of a lover’s hand;
coursing my spine tumbling with the
flaming fury of reassurance,
and I can breathe again:
feel my lungs expand
absorbing the peace
of familiarity
and the infinite grace
of home.

random thoughts on a sunday afternoon:

every time i read Tsin Yen's poetry she moves me to tears. somehow she lives her life on the outside of her skin, she opens herself to joy and pain in a way that i'm not quite sure i know how. and expresses it, in her own inimical fashion, in the words and phrases and in the language that i wish i had command of. -sigh- so i'm sitting here in the Reg desperately trying not to cry in public and annoy the woman sitting across the way from me any more. she keeps turning ard and glaring at me for making noise, because i sometimes can't help but laugh aloud at something you have said, because i forget that i am here in the library, and only imagine that you are with me in person.

i know what it is. partly. she writes in soundbits, as she points out -- and her soundbits are precise, and accurate, and insightful. there's no empty space in her writing, no wasted breath in her language. it's beautiful. she writes now of heartbreak, and my heart breaks along with hers, even though right now i am as far from heartbreak as i can be, i am happier than i have been in a long time. =)


i think maybe today's a time for reflection and a sort of aware sadness - maybe it's the weather: it's raining yet again, it's been drippy all weekend; and maybe it's the loneliness of being by myself in hyde park without my usual props, and my friends all at home, far away from me. rachel has just reminded me that this is 'our last summer together'; that after this year a whole bunch of the friends i have gathered around me over the last two years will graduate and scatter to the winds, and we will never be together like this again. it will be weird for me to be at college without paul and eric and rachel and sean and hanyann around as well.


college shd be a time for reading and writing and thinking, a space for reflection and breathing and expansion? a "slow motion explosion of love"? i wish i could, i wish i could sink myself into a mass of books, sit curled up in my armchair in my room as the rain paints rivers on my windows, and just read and read and read, and drown in the deluge of words -- and once more write like i used to. to make the words seep into my skin, into my blood, and come out fresh and new and meaningful from my fingertips. but my fingers are mute, and the words are trapped inside, hiding behind my eyes and in the back of my brain.


without you one night alone
is like a year without you baby
do you have a heart of stone
without you, can't stop the hurt inside
when love and hate collide


i'm unhappy with the format of this blog. it's time to explore options elsewhere.

Saturday, August 02, 2003

Someday, when I'm awfully low
When the world is cold
I will feel a glow just
Thinking of you
And the way you look tonight

Oh, but you're lovely
With your smile so warm
And your cheek so soft
There is nothing for me but
To love you
Just the way you look tonight

With each word your tenderness grows
Tearing my fear apart
And that laugh that wrinkles your nose
Touches my foolish heart

Lovely, never never change
Keep that breathless charm
Won't you please arrange it cos
I love you
Just the way you look tonight

Friday, August 01, 2003

another lunch today, this time with the other interns at the Fed and with the President of the Fed Bank of Chicago. he seems to be a pretty nice guy, chatted with us for a while, and then talked a little bit about the workings of the Federal Reserve system: what it does, how it works, how it's run and who governs it -a whole bunch of people, apparently. =) the external auditors happen to be PricewaterhouseCoopers, which i remember because they have SUCH a longass name. =) so lunch was pretty fun, plus meeting some of the other interns was cool. though they seem to all know each other pretty well since they've been here since the start of the summer, and i've been here two days. =p

reading blogs while in between work assignments -- my workload is still ridiculously light and will be for the next couple of days -- and came across josh's blog. am reminded that i too have not been writing poetry, and that saddens me. i know i've posted on this multiple times before, but it's a big deal to me, i need to complain abt it more often. esp now that i have the time and perhaps the energy, but not the persons, or the inspiration. [i'm misquoting tsin yen, who in turn misquoted kenneth ___] perhaps part of the reason is that my driving inspiration used to be unhappiness, or longing -- and i'm happy now. very happy, in fact. of course i'm not beaming with joy and fulfilment 24/7: i am, after all, nominally working, and i am far far away from home and the people that i hold dear. but right now, i am basically, fundamentally happy - and happiness doesn't produce poetry -or good poetry anyway. it certainly produces crappy stuff. =p

maybe my future belongs to prose. not to the tortured tangles of hopeful, hinting, teasing half-lines, but the clear and straightforward happiness of cheerful argumentative prose. one can only hope =)