Wednesday, May 30, 2012

On leechblock and why it didn't work for me and finding a mountain

I installed Leechblock in a fit of trying to get myself to be productive.

And it didn't work.

It didn't work for several reasons - chief of which was the fact that I quickly discovered that I could STILL access the blocked sites on Internet explorer instead of Firefox.


Ok it semi worked - I.E is almost painfully slow and it would freeze my entire computer every time I used it for any of the blocked sites.

The second reason it didn't work is because I had foolishly listed blogger as one of the sites to block. I didn't realize it then, but I needed blogger. I needed an outlet. I needed to write things that didn't sound like I had something stuck in my bum. Because that's mostly how hyper formal letters sound and I spend a lot of my time writing those.

I really really needed to come on here, this space and blather on about extremely random nonsense like walking home, sunsets, my driving instructor and the blueberry scone I just ate which didn't have enough blueberries.

Finally - I didn't get more productive. I just found other ways to access sites and waste time I would have wasted anyway. I realized that getting onto blogger and blathering my wool gathering ways to the world was how I got rubbish out of my head and that after that, I could miraculously do my work.

So now I have this ton of writing-ness that has been all blocked up within me for a few months and I'm bursting to say all manner of  inconsequential things. 


The main thing i wanted to write about today is Neil Gaiman's commencement address and the random thoughts I had which are mostly not really about Neil Gaiman at all.

I agree with some stuff he said but the first thing and the main thing that struck me was how he'd never gone to university. Never even started - he said. He didn't have a plan. He just had a list and he talked about how he kind of knew where he wanted to go ....

"And I knew that as long as I kept walking towards the mountain I would be all right. And when I truly was not sure what to do, I could stop, and think about whether it was taking me towards or away from the mountain."

And this reminded me of David. My driving instructor. Only the kindest most patient driving instructor who was like a father figure to me.

David taught me how to drive straight. I couldn't before because I kept thinking that the car was veering to one side or the other and I kept trying to "correct" it. So he told me to look into the distance, look further away and miraculously, if you do that, you really will drive straight. I drove straight, passed my driving license and stupidly forgot to stay in touch with David.

I wish I had. It's one of the regrets that will never go away. I wish I could have emailed him and told him about my getting married. I wonder how his kids are doing and whether his grand child is healthy.

So it occurred to me that I've always looked at the short term goals. The immediate road ahead. Not the mountain. Not the distance. Just the tarmac in front of my nose. 

Then I realized I'd gone to university - twice - because I didn't know what I wanted to do. Both times. I had no idea what mountain I ought to be looking out for. What mountain? And where?

To do for this weekend:

Find the mountain.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Love and hate - Singapore

Mr Brown's put up some lovely old photographs of Singapore circa 1966/1967.

One of the things I struggle with is that I find Singapore difficult to love. I don't hate Singapore; I am aware that are many many good things about living in Singapore but nevertheless, I find Singapore difficult to love.

I like the convenience of living here, the efficient public transport and etc but somehow, something is always missing.

But anyway, I saw those old photos and was suddenly overcome with this ofeeling of wistfulness. i don't know why. I wasn't born in the 1960s and I have never experienced 1960s Singapore but when I looked at these pictures, I was overcome by this.... wistful feeling that once upon a time, maybe Singapore was a place that was easier to love. Maybe.

But that feeling evaporated by the time I took the next train home. That train and some of the trains in the last few weeks have required quarts of patience and fortitude. Once I ended up hugging Mr Grey all the way from my stop to town - not that i mind hugging him - but it was that crowded. So crowded we couldn't afford to even have normal couple space between us.


But there are very specific parts of Singapore I do love - wholeheartedly and easily. I love wandering around the Katong area, eating nyonya kuehs, peeking into shops that sell Peranakan paraphernalia ...

I love my walk home and how the path from the train station into the estate leads me past a small patch of green and how on rainy days, the path echoes with the sound of a bull frog chorus. There are melodies and harmonies and I am in love with how it drowns out even the sound of the trains passing by. I love that path, that little itty bit of green with the occasional flashes of blue from kingfishers and the odd squirrel.


On a somewhat related note.

Just the other day, I was walking home in the dim twilight. Not on the same path as above, another one. (this is why I love my estate, it abounds in paths that cut through swathes of green)

As I walked, I peered out in the gloom and saw something that made my hair stand at first. Staring back at me was a pair of eyes, a tall great thing that seemed to come up to waist height. Then I realized the thing was a very very large bird on stilt like legs with banded brown and white wings.

For brief moments, I looked at the bird and it looked at me. And all the time I wondered - what breed? What species? Have I got time to take a photo? No, too dark. Argh.

Then it hopped away and was lost in the gathering night. 

(I have a very old book - Birds of Singapore - that I bought when I was 11. It has coloured pictures (not photographs) and is somewhere in the wasteland that is my room. I have GOT to track that book down and find out what bird that was.)


Random addendum

I look around at a lot of people who can't imagine living anywhere else. Then there are people who would jump at a chance to get out.

It's odd but I'm not really in either group. I like specific bits about here. Mostly that the family is here and so life is easier - the kind of ease that comes when you have a large extended family and their support.

I'm aware that life elsewhere is likely to be tougher in some respects. But... when I think about having green spaces and my kids growing up to live in shoebox apartments ... there is a sense of worry and unease. This is no country for dreamers.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Mr and Mrs Grey

It's been awhile since I blogged and I honestly contemplated beginning this one with "Reader, I married him" but stopped myself (sorta).

About 19 days ago, Mr Grey and I got married. It's been about 19 days and I'm still counting, still mildly incredulous that it actually happened. But every morning, I wake up to Mr Grey's voice (he generally gets up earlier) and I am reminded all over again - married.

He and I, in a church, vows, lots of people, white dress, toasting, our fun bridal party, my aunt's tears, all the fleeting hurried impressions of the day we got married.

His name isn't Mr Grey of course. I named him after his sleepy grey cat. The real Mr Grey - if there is ever such a thing - is a large grey cat who has a gentle nature and pads about looking curiously and sleepily at life. Nevertheless, on this blog and in this space, he is and always shall be, Mr Grey and by extension, I suppose I am now Mrs Grey.

All the asides aside, in the last month

I got married
went for a too short honeymoon in Bali
came back to work
did a lot of laundry
bought some carpets got sick and
read some poetry.


The Guardian has done up this fun interactive site where poets post up their favourite love poems. I love that Donne (my personal favourite) got picked three times :)