29 December 2005

525,600 minutes

The year finally coming to an end in 24 hours, I decided to rework my very first blog entry which was on the remembrances of past years. Two months ago when I started it, I had taken the wrong bus and was walking the kilometre back home in the humid Singapore night when it suddenly hit me: I am 25 - and the clock is ticking away.

At that time, in a panicky attempt to account to myself how my years have passed, I decided to signpost my recent years as follows:

clock2005 - (Let's get past this first)
2004 - Year of ALOT of travel
2003 - Year of finally learning the cello
2002 - Year of Yale and tango
2001 - Year of Japan
2000 - Year of the Freshman 10

A few weeks later, I watched Rent and one of the songs really caught my fancy - lo and behold, I was actually able to hear most of the lyrics in spite of my notorious deafness (!):
525,600 minutes - how do you measure, measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee. In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife. In 525,600 minutes - how do you measure a year in the life?
It is funny, but I have never thought it in that way. But now that the song has mentioned it, I do know of someone whose life would, on one count at least, be measured in cups of coffee. And for me, miles would be a very apt measure for 2004 indeed. (Although I must admit that I am still trying to figure out whose / how / why life would be measured in inches... Hmm.)

I found out later that the song is named a rather run-of-the-mill »"Seasons of Love". What a shame; I had liked the song for its introduction, i.e. non-love part actually.

So, that leaves me with the miles / minutes / coffee / laughter / tears of 2005.

Well, honestly, many of those 525,600 minutes in 2005 have been chaotic. But since the year has been winding down nicely for me these few months (other than recent crazy dreams of flying crabs and python and ape!), I feel like I should give it more credit than term it the Year of Chaos. (Yah, it was chaotic, but not to the extent I am counting down every minute for the year to be over.) Perhaps it is just because 2005 is still too upclose and personal; more distance and hindsight should help give it a better signpost soon. I will fill in the blank here when it comes to me.

Onwards to 2006 instead. It looks good for now - more travel and Gigi's wedding in Hong Kong - so I am looking forward to it. January trips to Pakistan and Laos are already scheduled, so look out for more entries to this traveblogue. Incidentally, I went to donate my blood platelets today and the poor nurse had to look up ALL the countries I have been to in the past 4 years. (It was compulsory to declare and I had already tried to shorten by summarizing them as "US, Europe, ASEAN, Central America".) I cleared the hurdle today - almost didn't because of Cambodia - but will have to check for Laos and Pakistan for malaria clearance the next time I donate. Humbug.

28 December 2005

Have you discovered Mozilla extensions?

Okay, I guess the first question should be: Have you discovered Mozilla Firefox? If the people around me or my site counter stats are anything to go by, I guess not :( Which is unfortunate, because I seriously have not looked back since switching to Firefox. (It first came installed on my work laptop.)

If you haven't experienced the joys of »tabbed browsing yet, please do. It is the single biggest reason to switch. And here is the deal - you can customize Firefox with »Firefox extensions to make surfing exactly the way you want it. Want a translate function in your right-click? A really compact menu bar so that you can put your bookmark toolbar in the same row as your menu bar? A nifty search bar that combines Google, Google Images, Dictionary.com, Wikipedia, WebMd, IMDB, Lonely Planet etc.. all in a single dropdown menu? (This is the excellent Firefox search bar in the latest version. I used to use the google toolbar but discovered there was no more need for it especially since I discovered the Search WP extension which meant I didn't to have to lose the highlighting function in the google toolbar.)

I accidentally came across »Download.com's favourite extensions yesterday, hence the motivation to post my favourite extensions too...

Have I won you over from IE yet? :)

The economics of socks

I had planned to only share this with the other economist nerd I know, but considering the economics of socks is a prerequsite to adulthood, I thought I'd share it.

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20 December 2005

Introspective lucidity | Drunken debauchery

The week that has just passed was an eventful one. The first half rolled along nicely with a nice intellectual slant: proof-reading archaelogy papers, then receiving an absolutely delightful Christmas present - a fountain pen. It was the perfect gift because I had been lamenting the loss of my old one since August and had been longing to feel the solid weight and flow of a good pen in my hand again. I haven't been able to stop fingering it since Thursday and must confess that I have finding excuses to write things down...

From there, life shifted two gears forward.

Thursday evening 6.50 pm. I suddenly heard that my Sec 3/4 form teacher had died. We went to the funeral. It was brain cancer - aggressive one. The saving grace was that she wasn't in pain. But she lost her memory, movement, reflexes... one by one. Such a cruel way, for an intellectual. Going to the funeral was sobering. It is a lucid remainder once again that life is so fragile and that one is so blessed to be healthy, standing, breathing, thinking, every single day.

The introspective lucidity seeped into Friday where there was a big Christmas party at work. (Is it possible to be introspectively lucid while placed in drunken debauchery at the same time?) Wine flowed freely from noon onwards, and by 5 pm, I was in rather high spirits. In fact, I was so high-spirited that I offered to wash the wine glasses but not realizing that another high-spirited person had spilt wine / water on the floor. I slipped and fell, remember seeing people sweeping alot of broken glass bits away, but not remembering how I got back to my desk to awake only at 7 pm and noticing a small scar on my palm...

Most of Saturday was spent on music theory lessons, replenishing fluids and waiting in the stupendous queue for »Ministry of Sound. The only other time I remembered such single-minded waiting was at the Time Square New Year Eve's party - and alright, I guess that was worse. 100 minutes later, we were finally inside and I felt such a sense of triumph at my patience that I had to take a coaster as a keepsake:
We didn't stay too late as Friday's party had worn us out but I liked MOS. Its many rooms of music reminded me of ID Bar in Nagoya, but MOS' decor was more interesting what with the heavenly Pure room, pyschelic retro room and angsty R&B room. We apparently missed the chill-out tunnel but I guess it just means a good excuse to return sometime soon.

Sunday... Sunday evening's open-air guzheng concert at the heritage site of Fengshan Temple off Mohd Sultan Road warrants a surrealist posting all of its own. Akan datang.