story of a dot

The Adventures of the Emancipated Little Mouse

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

All you need is love!
All you need is love, love!
All you need is love.

- All You Need is Love, The Beatles

As usual, I am late in writing my new year's reflections cum resolutions.

I know, they're awfully over-rated, and I don't really keep my resolutions past February anyway, but I insist that the act of writing is wonderfully therapeutic! :D If only my enthusiasm for renewal extends to spring-cleaning.

Urgh.

So, what have I been doing this:

1) Spend the first half of the year in school, writing my thesis and in general feeling completely wretched most of the time due to stress, self-doubt and way-over-my-head syndrome.

2) My love life was more or less pulverized (not an exaggeration darlings), and it messed up most other aspects of my life. And it really shouldn't have.

3) I went back to Europe for a month, and love every single second of it - except maybe the moments I spend being grumpy and hungry due to lack of affordable food in Paris. It is no fun being student-poor and having to count your pennies in the most glamourous city in the world.

I saw my European friends again, and they did me a world of good by reminding me of what I really want before all that job talk burnt me out. But money is still really good anyway.

4) I found a real job - one that actually pays me non-peanuts. I love the financial independence but hate the adult responsibilities and cynicism which comes (super-glued together) with adulthood.

5) I'd managed to piece together, awkwardly, the pieces of my relationship (which I'd taken for granted and relied upon for way too long). It gets better, but progress is slow and I'm an impatient person. I still get angsty, resentful and can be an all round vindictive bitch from hell, but ugly episodes like this are becoming less frequent. I figure to take a day at a time.

Besides, I'm 23. The world is for the taking! :D Haha.

6) Writing on Fashion Nation has been more rewarding that I had originally thought. The past year has been a really good one for the FN girls, and we're really excited about new ideas and projects that we may like to introduce in 2008.

Much more than the occasional material perk, the best thing about writing has been the sense of moving forward, to take up something and see it advance. I know it is all terribly kitsch, but it is our baby, and we do work hard at it :) So I guess we deserves a pat on the back from ourselves once in a while.

[Edit: I actually wrote this out on the 2nd of Jan, but only just published it.]

This year, I hope to be more patient, healthier, diligent, wiser, kinder, and of course happier.

And we shall never speak of 2007 again.

Hopefully, the Beatles are right, and all we really need is love :)

P.S. I think I am most probably moving this blog somewhere else really soon. It's been a fabulous run here, but all good things must come to an end. Somehow I feel rather emotional about closing this down. I guess it warrants an entire post for itself.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Over Christmas, I got a lovely surprise :)

Hanying printed out my entire four years worth of entries on this blog and bound them into neat booklets. It's a lovely gesture, and I'm really grateful because if left to my own, I'll never get around to doing it, although I have every intention to do so.

I couldn't help but notice that while 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 are thick with self-centered ramblings (only sometimes), epiphanies, insiders jokes, careful documentation of events and conversations, favourite quotes from favourite books and other bits and pieces of what my life had been, 2007 is a pitifully thin collection of don't-worry-I'm-still-alive posts, desperate attempts at pretension of normalcy through incongruently chirpy words and more embittered rants of rage and grief than has appeared in all the previous years combined.

[What a crazily long sentence... very bad English indeed.]

2007 has been a fucking bad year. That is undeniable, and I won't even try to be irritatingly self-help about it and throw euphemisms at you.

But to be truthful, the good things really do stand out in a sea of such utter bleakness (haha, drama drama! :).

For one, finally finishing off my degree and managing to hold on to my class of Honours has brought me a ridiculous amount of joy and satisfaction. As of yet, it was the toughest thing I'd ever had to do, but in the true spirit of Marquis de Sade, I will do it all over again in a heartbeat. Just maybe this time, less distraction from personal tragedy will be good.

I'm really glad that the year is going to be over. In fact, changing the numbers in the date does not actually amount to much, but metaphorically, it means everything.

It is the kitsch of wiping the slate clean, of the chance of starting all over again and hoping that this year will be better than the last.

What goes down must come up again after all :)

I should be furiously writing out resolutions now. Of course, keeping them will be an entirely different matter, but the act of writing has a calming effect like no other. It gives a sense of order and control in this insanely volatile world.

So, why not? :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

One of my friends is going to write a book :) And I'm going to get a signed copy.

Ah, to be a friend of a published writer! Haha.

***

I'm organizing the Christmas Party in the office this year - it seems to be a task met out to the newest member of the department. Nicely put, I was nominated; to be truthful, I was arrowed :P

But we all have to take our place in the Great Hierarchy! Haha.

I never knew ordering a turkey (damn bird) can be so trying. And why do we even eat turkey for Christmas?! It's a Thanksgiving dish!

So glad I won't have to do this again the next year - I hope!!!

***

I'd just had an event called Lelong Lelong at work today :) It was pretty fun.

Basically its a flea market of sorts where everyone brings something to sell for charity. No work was done the entire day (which is always a good thing), and I bought several things for dirt cheap prices (this too is good).

Among the various inane things I purchase (out of the goodness of my heart. hoho), there's a DVD of Pulp Fiction - so perhaps, we can watch it for Film Club some time :) No, I refuse to give up on Film Club despite a less than ideal first screening.

So, I'm thinking, perhaps my organization is pretty humane - you have no idea how many man hours are lost in the name of charity.

Also, I'd learned that many of my co-workers are such able singers *laugh* Must be all that time spent in bars, on the KTV and binge-drinking.

***

Meeting with the Midnight Brunchers - FINALLY! :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Can I not go to work/take MC?
- Something I ask my mum every morning

I can't help but notice that a considerable portion of my peers expresses they are bored, or at least somewhat uninspired, with their jobs. We're all getting by, but getting by does not seem to be quite enough.

In the last few months that I'd been working, a notable number of my friends have stated their desire to switch jobs. And these are people who have been in their current jobs for an average of half a year.

Almost none of us have a five year plan, and for those who do, they more often than not include travel rather than marriage.

It seem that we're in our Odyssey Years, which refers to "the decade of wandering that frequently occurs between adolescence and adulthood".

During this decade, 20-somethings go to school and take breaks from school. They live with friends and they live at home. They fall in and out of love. They try one career and then try another.

[...]

Dating gives way to Facebook and hooking up. Marriage gives way to cohabitation. Church attendance gives way to spiritual longing. Newspaper reading gives way to blogging.

No wonder I keep feeling like running away *laugh*

So don't feel so bad that you don't seem to want what your parents want. It's just different now :) Besides, we can't all want the same stuff - surely there won't be enough to go around.

Full article here.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Samantha: And I'm getting back together with Richard.
Charlotte: Richard? The man whose death we'd been plotting?!
- Dialogue, Sex and the City

It is not the first time I'm wondering, but why are women so intolerant of their friends' bad boyfriends, and yet are often so resigned to their own boyfriends' shit?

***

On some rare occasions, I bring work back home over the weekend.

And this is notable because I have a general personal policy not to check my work emails on weekends. I have decided to subscribe to an European work ethic (hoho) to sustain my own sanity in this proud-to-be-checking-emails-at-3am society.

That may be why I have a feeling I won't be getting promoted or salary increments any time soon :P But each to his own!

So sometimes, either due to a sudden burst of diligence or onset of guilt, I print out papers or lugged books home to read - with full intention of really reading them.

Just that I don't. They sit quietly in my work bag for the next two days, and I bring them back untouched to the workplace the following Monday, slightly more worn and crumpled than on Friday.

Maybe I really should start checking my emails on weekends, just to get into the swing of things.

***

Somehow, I'd been finding it harder than ever before in my 20+ years of existence, to bounce back to my default level of happiness - which was previously pretty high.

Perhaps that's the problem; it was too high!

I am close to giving up on Eternal Optimism as an ideology as I sit on the wall between the Land of Happily-Ever-Afters and the place where little mermaids turn into bubbles.

FYI, the Little Mermaid did turn into bubbles in the original Hans Christian Andersen story. We're all be horribly cheated by Disney.

Personally, I feel that Disney is the root of all our adult discontent and unhappiness. It has instilled in us unrealistic expectations which we spend the rest of our lives pursuing relentlessly.

I may become one of those sadistic mothers who will banish Disney from Saturday morning cartoon-watching.

Only Spongebob Squarepants will be allowed. Its more... you know, modern, and I plan to run a very progressive household :)

***

Monday mornings are always quiet, but I am already thinking of escaping down to the library, where I will have a fantastic view of the Bay and near-complete privacy.

People walking back and forth behind me unnerves me quite a bit.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

I'd always love books, and enjoyed acquiring them. Going to a bookstore and coming out with a new book gives me a rush much like a shoes high. When I have my own place, I shall have floor to ceiling bookshelves - and I shall fill them up!

Recently, I'd extended my books obsession to their often perceived to be more bimbotic counterpart - the magazine. I just can't seem to stop buying them. Mostly because they have beautiful glossy covers :P

In contrast to books, whose appeal lies in the breadth of the imaginable, the pleasure that the magazine gives is wholly visual. I always find that its a pity that magazines are meant to be thrown away, because some can really be so lovely.

I'd just received a magazine in the mail from NYC :) Some very nice people there sent it to us and I'm so glad to have it. Basically, it is the Fashion Week magazine - entirely about the three major fashion weeks this season.

The photographs are so beautiful. I think sometimes we forget that fashion photography is art too.

And that is nothing very bimbotic about it :)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Recently, I'd taken to tying up my hair because I haven't had it cut in more than 2 months, and its becoming seriously overgrown.

I just have to dong for one more month, then I can do a major overhaul.

Whee! :)

On How Great Minds Think ALike

Me: I think that if we fly SQ to NYC, we'll transit in Frankfurt.
Janice: Hmm... yes *ponder*
Me: So can we stay in transit for a few days in Frankfurt?!
Janice: YAH! *laugh*

We spent the next few moments laughing hysterically and trying to high-five each other (we succeeded only after 3 tries), gleeful at our own genius.

Next year's Grand Adventure travel plans sounds good already :)

***

On the Arithmetic of Shoes

In the past week alone, I'd acquired 5 pairs of shoes. My dad says that I have a problem :P

Doing the math, they add up to a total of S$156.80. Subtracting one pair which the boyfriend bought for me, it'll be S$106.90.

All in all, quite cheap for so many pairs of shoes isn't it?

I swear I'm not trying to justify my shoe addiction.

***

Wanqing picked up yet another dog last night (the second this year). I think she's going to strike 4D soon.

It's a 4 months old Shih-Tzu puppy named Calcium (it'll have to be one of the weirdest dog names I'd ever came across).

The Girls woke me up and gatecrashed my place in search of a doggy-bag and emergency dog rations. Was rather pissed to be woken up (am always grumpy with sleep) but since Calcium is one of those dogs with human expressions (I'm not kidding you), I'll let it go.

Coco is not pleased about other dogs in her territory.

I suspect it is because she thinks she's human.

Coco: *sniff at Calcium* What are you?
Calcium: I'm a dog... like YOU!
Coco: Gah, that's not true! I'm human, at the pointy tip of the food chain.
Calcium: No. Look, we both have tails! *wag tail in encouraging manner*
Coco: I refuse to believe that. Please go away before I snap at you with my somehow exceptionally sharp human teeth.

***

This week seems to be passing very slowly.

Can't wait for the weekends.

This is my eighteenth consecutive day of working. My last two weekends has been burnt on organization team-building and retreat.

I'm not sure, but I'm sure that working for 18 days straight will definitely contravene some human rights convention of some sort, no?

Although I really shouldn't complain so much. I usually have good food and lodging while on these trips. Plus, shopping is sometimes thrown in.

I just want to take a real, do-nothing rest. That's all :)


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Hmm.

Perhaps life is something you have to prune constantly, like a bonsai plant.

You snipe away the unruly parts and shape it into something that you desire. Everyone's bonsai is different, but by right, everyone should be holding a pair of scissors. And not be afraid to use it.

I'm getting tired of having a overgrown bonsai of a life. It makes me melancholic - eternal optimism and melancholy do not mix.

I find myself wishing a lot, feeling envious a lot, sighing a lot, wanting to pull my hair out a lot - generally feeling extremely discontented and disappointed with where my life is right now.

Or part of my life.

It looks like I'll definitely have to prune my bonsai, I just don't know how.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I have been meaning to write about kitsch for a while. It is only of those ideas that burrow into your head, stays there and ferment for some time.

I'd kidnapped Candy's Unbearable Lightness of Being for a good few months. It's really good, largely because half the time you're not really sure what is being said (so you have to think hard and puzzle and ponder). Or you think you know, but it's just not quite what you think and you know that.

In contrast to the constant need to really think when we were back in school, the general feedback has been that holding a 'real' job appears to be much less mentally stimulating. It seems a depressing situation - of those not tired out by the quantity of work to be done, we're mostly bored and uninspired.

I think that I may have made it sound worse than it actually is.

I just miss being excited by mere ideas and enjoying thought for its own sake, where function and materiality are not in the equation.

Perhaps, the ideal image of individual thought that I hold so dear may be kitsch as well.

***

The following are all shamelessly ripped off from Milan Kundera's Unbearable Lightness of Being. Not so shameless actually, considering that I bothered with the credits. A left-over from days we'd spent worrying about accidental plagiarism.

***

Kitsch is the absolute denial of shit, in both the literal and figurative senses of the word; kitsch excludes everything from its purview which is essentially unacceptable in human existence.

***

When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object. In the realm of kitsch, the dictatorship of the heart reigns supreme.

***

Those of us who live in a society where various political tendencies exist side by side and competing influences cancel or limit one another can manage more or less to escape the kitsch inquisition: the individual can preserve his individuality; the artist can create unusual works. But whenever a single political movement corners power, we find ourselves in the realm of totalitarian kitsch.

When I say 'totalitarian', what I mean is that everything that infringes on kitsch must be banished for life: every display of individualism (because a deviation from the collective is a spit in the eye of the smiling brotherhood); every doubt (because anyone who starts doubting the details will end by doubting life itself); all irony (because in the realm of kitsch every must be taken quite seriously); and the mother who abandons her family or the man who prefer men to women, thereby calling into question the holy decree 'Be fruitful and multiply'.

In this light, we can regard the gulag as a septic tank used by totalitarian kitsch to dispose of its refuse.

***

In the realm of totalitarian kitsch, all answers are given in advance and preclude any questions. It follows, then, that the true opponent of totalitarian kitsch is the person who ask questions. A question is like a knife that slice through the stage backdrop and gives us a look at what lies hidden behind it.

***

The Grand March is the splendid march on the road to brotherhood, equality, justice, happiness; it goes on and on, obstacles notwithstanding, for obstacles there must be if the march is to be the Grand March.

The dictatorship of the proletariat or democracy? Rejection of the consumer society or demands for increased productivity? The guillotine or an end to the death penalty? It is all beside the point. What makes a leftist a leftist is not this or that theory but his ability to integrate any theory into the kitsch called the Grand March.

***

For none among us is superman enough to escape kitsch completely. No matter how we scorn it, kitsch is an integral part of the human condition.

***

I think to think that kitsch is bad is also kitsch! *laugh*

And that we all need kitsches because a world completely devoid of things that are all-good simply cannot be lived in.

***

And I have to go off to bed.

Because whether it is a kitsch or not, I still have to work tomorrow.