Tuesday, July 31, 2007


A while ago, I wrote a short review of my friend Michelle's etsy shop, eggmanstudios. She has since added some awesome new stuff, and I want to feature some of it. She has recently made the time to move more into painting than polymer clays, although of course, she still does both. I am absolutely in love with the the key painting. A lot of her paintings are also offered as prints (which she does on some sort of incredibly fancy paper with an incredibly fancy printer).

Quarter After Twelve

Nautilus Ice Cream

Framed Lost And Found

Monday, July 30, 2007


Neuticles: an artificial replacement for the testicles of neutered pets. According to AP, -The idea, says inventor Gregg A. Miller, is to "let people restore their pets to anatomical preciseness" after neutering, thereby allowing them to retain their natural look and self-esteem. "People thought I was crazy when I started 13 years ago," says the Oak Grove, Mo. entrepreneur. But he has since sold more than 240,000 pairs (a few of which went on prairie dogs, water buffalo, and monkeys). "Neutering is creepy. But with Neuticles, it's like nothing has changed."- Neutering is creepy? And fake testicles for animals isn't?

13265.47: The current Dow Jones Industrial average, and the lowest it's been in nearly five years, due in part to a bad sub-prime housing lending market (who woulda thunk that in a pinch, the sub-prime market would bust? need a crystal ball for that one....) and negative sentiment in spite of decent forecasts. What does this say to me? If I had money, I'd be snapping up Netflix stock, that's what.

The Underdog: which is right where he wants to be. Sen. John McCain is back in the role of the underdog, railing against party excesses and partisanship. I personally like this McCain much better than the party front-runner the press was touting him as. I doubt if he'll win in the primaries, because, like Howard Dean for Democrats, McCain isn't 'safe' enough for most Republicans. And by most, I mean the ones that count - the big donors. So, I'll just sit back and enjoy the ride, and look forward to hearing more statements like this from him: "It's getting harder to do the work of the Lord in the city of Satan."

Jailtime: how much time should a woman get for having an abortion? The latest Newsweek asks this question based on a video shot by a man at a protest outside of an abortion clinic. As one might expect, most of the answers were not answers at all, as most people who actively protest against abortion are idealists who - in general - have a hard time thinking logically about their position. So, if abortion is illegal, how much time does the woman get? Recent interpretations and Supreme Court judgments (I'm looking at you, Justice Kennedy) do not hold the woman responsible at all, preferring instead to place all blame on the doctor. You can't have it both ways. Either you criminalize the woman who is said to be committing murder (that IS the rhetoric) or, you realize there will always be those who make the choice to abort their baby regardless of the law or the availability of decent medical facilities. So, jail time and botched abortions? Or the legality of a practice I'm sure most people, even those who are pro-choice, would agree is not a choice that should be considered a woman's first.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

National Museum of Singapore et al

Today being Sunday, my usual day off, I intend to do something interesting. Today's plan is to revisit the Catholic Church here, The Good Shepherd, but arrive early this time. No more getting overheated and almost passing out. I went back to the Anglican church last week because they have air-conditioning, but it's just not the same, and the sermons are, quite frankly, too long.

After church, I plan to visit the National Museum of Singapore, which I have now seen multiple times from the bus, but haven't ever actually stopped to visit. After that, I'll probably go to the library and hang out for awhile. Pretty much anything to keep from having to go directly back to my tiny, claustrophobic little corner of the earth I currently call my room.


It is an unfortunate habit of most of the population of the planet to believe that what they have to say is inherently interesting to someone else. I am no exception.

For various reasons, I have had the opportunity to view a number of movies in the past few days. Here's the quick and dirty for your reading pleasure.

"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" - Excellent! Loved it. I liked Johnny Depp's version of Willy Wonka, completely different than Gene Wilder's interpretation. I loved the cinematography, the colors, the dancing/singing Oompah-Loompahs - everything. It was a very good movie, in my humble opinion, and if you haven't seen it, you should. I watched this one, along with Madagascar, with the boys, so it was really fun to see the movie through a child's eyes. They were also impressed.

"Madagascar" - I was pleased with this movie as well, because I got exactly what I expected: a cute, decent story involving talking animals that solve deep emotional problems in less than two hours, complete with singing and dancing. This is better than a lot of the drivel that gets made for the children's audience, though, and I would MUCH rather watch "Madagascar" than the "Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy."

"The Fugitive" - I have always liked Harrison Ford, just because you know what to expect from his action movies. He's always the everyman placed in an extraordinary situation and he has to rise to the challenge and kick butt. Which he always does, much to the audience's satisfaction. Some of my friends in junior high had the Backstreet Boys on their walls. I had Indiana Jones. Anyway, I had not noticed before the pharmaceutical company angle in the movie. He, Richard Kimble, is supposed to be killed because he wouldn't lie about the efficacy of a drug being tested at the hospital where he worked, but his wife is killed instead. Fascinating that this was a topic back when the movie was made in 1992, and yet nothing has been done, and the problem is now far worse. Big pharmas are scary. Very scary.

"Knocked Up" - I saw this in the theater tonight as their father and his girlfriend were watching "The Fellowship of the Ring" with the boys and I wanted to not be there. It was either this or "Vacancy" and I much preferred this. It is irreverent, funny, sweet, and by turns, gross (she has a baby, and they show part of the birth - I was 'sick' the day we were supposed to watch the baby being born video in health class - I really don't want to think about that part of the process until it's absolutely necessary). I enjoyed the performances - Katharine Heigl is better than I expected, and I adore Paul Rudd anyway (Phoebe's husband from "Friends").

Thus ends the - of course - fascinating reviews for the evening. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing "Rush Hour 3" - you know exactly what to expect from Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan. Should be a blast!

Friday, July 27, 2007


I was informed by my mother tonight that my grandfather has passed away. He died of liver failure, just as my dad did last year. He was a great guitar player, in fact, he bought my dad his first guitar. He was a beekeeper for a while before his stroke. Whenever anyone got sick, his favorite remedy was a generous tablespoon full of honey. Honey was also used for depression, headaches, stomachaches, and anything else you could possibly imagine. He had a saying he used to like to use on my mom: "Fish and company stink after three days." He, of course, would use this after three days or so of us visiting at Christmastime. He was a crazy old guy, but I loved him. He had a long and full life, lived on his own terms. You can't ask for much more than that.

Go hug someone you love. Buy them something special. Spend some time with them. And go outside and twirl around under the stars.

Of Trekkies and power outages

This article just came out: in the new Star Trek movie, we will get a look at the young heroes of the original series - Spock, James T. Kirk, and I assume Bones and Scotty well, maybe even the rest of the crew, who knows? Anyway, I'm rather happy about the people they have working on the show (as in, SO GLAD Rick Berman is not directing the creative aspects of the film). The last film was absolutely terrible (Nemesis - they killed Data!!), so this one, if it's done even half well, will be a vast improvement. And no, in case you are now chuckling that I'm interested in Star Trek, I do not dress up, go to conventions, or study Klingon. You can, you know - learn Klingon on tape, and such.

This evening for dinner, I had a rather unwelcome surprise. The power suddenly went out when I attempted to use the oven. Their father had not yet attempted to use it because he didn't know how and couldn't read the directions (not in English, made by a German company), so he gave the directions to me to figure out. I had it all figured out, was ready to pop my mac'n'cheese into the oven, when pop! - out went the power in the entire apartment. This has happened to me before, but because of my blowdryer, so I did what I usually did, turn off all the breakers, then turn them on again. This didn't work. So, after getting the guard a couple of times, and talking to the manager, I finally figured out a way to test each switch individually. So, the power is now back on (go me!), but we can't use the oven. So, it became stovetop mac'n'cheese. Ugh.

At least we still have our movies for Friday night movie night. Tonight, it's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "Madagascar" for the boys, and after they go to bed, "The Fugitive" for me. I like that show.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Shopping list

  • 400 g Australian beef
  • mangoes
  • bananas
  • Fuji apples
  • Chinese pears
  • crunchy granola bars
  • broccoli
  • whole milk
  • peeled white onions
  • breakfast cereal
  • 3 bars of dark chocolate

I feel like a bloody housewife.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Job hunting

I have decided that I loathe job hunting. I was on the USAJobs site again today, applying for government jobs. Seems the best bet, in view of the fact that I have a degree and largely useless work experience. Useless in that it's not enough to get me a decent job in the private sector. Nice thing about the government is that they assume if you have a degree, you must be smart enough to handle certain jobs. I like this attitude. :)

But I am still fuming a bit that the four applications I filled out today took me more than four hours total. I wish we all lived in a world where people were falling over themselves to hand US a job.

For your enjoyment - a convex/concave dragon and an optical illusion drawing.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

another example of the stupidity in our system

This article is disturbing on a two basic levels: bureaucratic incompetence and our utterly bankrupt system of justice.

1) That it is possible for a clerical error to occur, and a man be in prison for 4 years rather than 40 - oops, my bad! Missed that zero....

2) That a man was sentenced to 40 years in prison, with the possibility of parole after 20, for shooting a man in the eye (caused him to lose his vision in that eye). Reason I find this disturbing? Multiple reasons.
  • he was clearly remorseful, as the first thing he did when he got out accidentally is apologize to the man he shot
  • he's black. How many white guys are in jail for 40 years who didn't even kill anyone??
  • 40 years???? This is what gets me the most - the dude didn't even die! Since when is completely and utterly destroying a man's life (40 years!!) an acceptable method of resolving crimes?
  • Again, he's black. That's probably why he got 40 years, along with the other colored inmates in whatever prison he's at. According to Bureau of Justice statistics, "At yearend 2005 there were 3,145 black male sentenced prison inmates per 100,000 black males in the United States, compared to 1,244 Hispanic male inmates per 100,000 Hispanic males and 471 white male inmates per 100,000 white males.
A few reasons why this bugs me.
1) The assumption appears to be that if someone uses violent force, it is perfectly acceptable to consign them to a fate of living death. Sorry to reference Foucault here, but that is exactly the reason why cutting off someone's hand for theft makes more sense than 10 years in prison. I have spent short periods of time in what felt like a prison, in terms of not being able to back out of the contract, being forced to act a certain way and live in a certain place. It is utterly mentally defeating.
2) Some people who are sentenced in this manner were not at all bad people, but simply made bad choices. So, we lock them up for life. This is a very good, humane practice.
3) Time served does not necessarily mean that the person has paid their debt to society, even though that is the purpose in theory. Ex-convicts have a very difficult time turning their lives around because no one believes they are actually capable of managing it. Thus, the argument that locking someone up for a time serves to help them pay their debt for their bad behavior is disingenuous and misleading.
4) Such sentences fall most heavily on poor, black males. Anyone with half a brain ought to realize that locking so many people up costs taxpayers a pile of money. Wouldn't that money be better served in improving inner city education, encouraging community involvement, such as boys' and girls' clubs, or supporting other community building endeavors? However, this is a long term solution - Americans, in general, don't favor long-term solutions.
5) The concept of the prison as a method of restraining and/or punishing criminals is, in many respects, deeply disturbing. I personally believe that if someone knew they would lose their hand for stealing a car, they'd be less likely to do it. But then, you could lose your life in early industrial England for stealing bread, and people still did it, so who knows.

Main point - some poor (and I do mean poor, he probably had an underpaid, overworked public defender advocating for him) black dude shouldn't have gotten 40 years in prison for shooting another dude in the head . And the dudes who embezzle hard-working folks pensions get 3 years in minimum security prisons, sentences suspended.

"Enhanced interrogation measures"

I should have just read the news today to get a good rant going. Here's an article about Bush's latest decision regarding the torture of alleged terrorists.

Sen. John McCain was right to oppose torture of any kind as a stain on the reputation of the United States abroad. The one thing we've attempted to maintain, in government and in popular culture for decades, is that we're the 'good guys.' Somehow, I think that seeing a real life demonstration of waterboarding, or being told that sexual abuse is now not allowed (that fact that ANYONE calling themselves a 'good guy' would see that as an acceptable means of obtaining information is beyond me) serves to undermine this reputation.

The Viet Cong could do whatever they wanted to their prisoners because they didn't need to fight a PR battle. We do. And the CIA interrogation program, which is quite small, simply isn't worth the loss in international respect and, more to the point, domestic respect for the actions of the United States.


Today, I have no rants. I have no new crafty things. I am simply up two hours before I wanted to be so I would be available when the air conditioning service people come. Apparently, if you don't get the aircon serviced, dust and water built up, then the water starts gushing from the unit and you no longer have any a/c. Not a desirable outcome by any stretch of the imagination in Singapore.

However, last night, when I could have slept on the couch, as their father is gone again to spend the night with his girlfriend (I didn't wash the dishes immediately after dinner - shh!), I decided on my eensy weensy little non-air conditioned space because I am now sick. Not sure with what yet, not sure how bad, but I've felt this feeling in my throat way too many times not to know when I'm sick. So, breakfast will consist of tea with honey and hot cereal.

I've been spending much of my spare time job hunting, a task for which I have no special affection. As I have little experience (education, one year as a legal assistant) and an advanced degree, I am over-qualified for the positions for which I have experience, and under-experienced for the positions for which I am qualified. So far, I've simply been looking into whatever I can get. Job hunting = lame.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Constant Gardener Book Review

I originally bought this book because I knew I would have some extra time on my hands here, and it was S$17 for a book over 500 pages, meaning it would actually take a significant chunk of my time to read. I absolutely loved this book. I have no idea what the movie is like, haven't seen it, but have great respect for the folks involved in making it. If it retained the energy and the fury of the book, it must be a good movie.

The basic plot is that Tessa Quayle is killed due to interference with a tuberculosis drug. Her husband investigates, and it is this investigation, of himself, of their relationship, and of her fight against the big pharmaceuticals, that makes up the story. It's tightly woven, well-told, and the characterizations are brilliant. I really enjoyed how John le Carre really made all of the characters jump to life for me. The first time that really happened was when I cried in David Copperfield, and le Carre has done almost as good a job at character development as Dickens did.

I personally love this book because it attacks - justly - those companies that represent what I hate most: millionaire "philanthropists" who are perfectly willing to be "humanitarians" when it serves their own purpose and makes it possible to buy a larger, sleeker private jet. These new arch-criminals aren't going to be featured on Saturday morning cartoons. But they play just as fast and loose with human life and the environment, as though life, precious in all its forms, is here solely for their own personal benefit. May a pox descend upon them all.

If you have time, and, as summer is upon us, I'm sure some of you do - read the book. It's brilliant.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Le "Velveteen Rabbit" et "La Femme"

And, the Velveteen Rabbit is now complete, as is my next brooch creation, "La Femme." These were pretty fun to make. If no one snaps them up, I will be perfectly happy to wear them myself. :)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Velveteen Rabbit, Part 1

Here is my pretty little Velveteen Rabbit brooch center. I'm going to the craft store tomorrow to search out the perfect ribbon to place this brooch upon. What do you think?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Now for the book

Harry Potter 5 was quite satisfying. There were good effects, good performances, a tight storyline, and cool outfits. All in all, a very good adaptation of a book that is more than a couple of inches wide. The plot moved very quickly, I felt as though I barely had time to catch my breath before the next event was taking place, but all of the important elements were present in the movie. I very much enjoyed this adaptation, although the director would have done well to make a special extended edition in the same vein as Lord of the Rings, although I have no idea if that would have been approved by the producers.

Now for the book!

I'm adding some new stuff to my etsy shop. Currently, I only have some crocheted glove things. I'm working on some embroidered brooches in a storybook theme and then the new Seven Wonders theme, which should be available in the coming weeks. I will definitely post pictures. :) I'm trying to go for a Victorian kitsch sort of theme overall in my shop. I've always loved the really over the top Victorian lace styles, so I thought it would be neat to combine that with embroidery. We'll see how it all turns out. Any suggestions for my storybook theme? I am starting with the Velveteen Rabbit, and will probably also include fairy tale characters as well.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


I read two articles today on msnbc.com about the war fatigue being experienced within middle America. It's about time. What I find so sickening about it all - especially the politicians 'breaking' with President Bush - is that they're all like rats on a sinking ship. They were with him when it was politically expedient - now it's not, so they're not. Where were they when this could have been prevented? Voting for it all, that's where.

A few weeks ago, I read some articles on msnbc.com (which is, btw, a very good source for popular news, a good barometer of public opinion, if you will) regarding global warming, that more Americans now believe that it is real than don't. This was supposed to be some sort of huge revelation. I mean, even the most idiotic person ought to be able to realize that the data is incontrovertibly clear that the planet is warmer on average. The difficulties arise when discussing what exactly should be done about that. But good news folks - more Americans now believe the planet is warming than don't.

Maybe it's our system of education. Maybe it's our lack of any serious news media. Maybe it's our inability to understand anything other than short news bytes on Paris Hilton.

But somehow, it all seems like too little too late, and we will be remembered, not as the greatest generation, as our grandparents were (justified or not, they are remembered that way), but as the dumbest, most-lacking-in-foresight generation that ever devoured oxygen on this planet. Congratulations to us.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Hogwarts, here I come!

The last few days, I've been rather upset and unhappy with my situation in Singapore. As I expected, the experience of living with a man I don't know while attempting to take care of his two children to his ex-wife's expectations is rather - challenging.

But, I have slogged through what will probably be the toughest part (this is what I hope) through the support of my loving friends and family, and I will persevere. It also helps/doesn't help that I really can't wait to go home, go to the Seattle Opera House, eat at the Spaghetti Factory, go to the Imax, basically, do everything that I haven't done in ages since I moved away to college in 2001.* It's time to go home. So, I'm homesick, which is both good and bad, depending.

The last thing that's got my spirits buoyed recently is that I'm seeing Harry Potter 5 tomorrow. yay! Can't wait. AND, especially can't wait for the last book. I don't want to buy the expensive hardcover though. I'm working on how I'm going to get to reading that.

I also really need to get a job. I have plenty of loans to work on, plus I need a new laptop. Mine was on sale when I bought it because it was already going out of "fashion" technologically speaking. Now, the light in the screen constantly poops out and now my space bar is stuck. Which is making is beyond annoying to type this blog post, but I refuse to give in to self pity over a sicky space bar. Hopefully I'll have enough by next fall when I go back to school and back into deferment status on my loans. Good plan all around. :)

*I don't care that Ellensburg was only an hour and a half away from Seattle (barring trouble on Snoqualmie, which was rather frequent during winter). The Burg FELT like a different world, regardless of how close it may have actually been.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I hate long division

Actually, I don't hate long division - I used to do super big problems in school because I was bored. But today I had to teach long division to one of my little charges, and next week the other will catch up in the math homework, so I will have to teach him as well. I was so exhausted after getting him through four problems on his own that I took a really long nap. Think sometime how exactly you would attempt to explain to a 9-year old that you must place the answer on top, but the answer to the multiplication part goes below, then you have to subtract, then drop the next one and divide again - seriously, not fun.

Tonight we went out to the beach for dinner, and there was an absolutely fantastic sand castle there. I forgot my camera, so I couldn't get a picture of it. Anyway, I'm sure we'll go back. It was pretty cheap and delicious, and one of their father's favorite spots. I had to pay for my own drink though. He ordered three lime juices without asking me what I wanted. I don't like lime juice, and I really don't like what passes for lime juice at most outdoor food centers here in Singapore. I used this opportunity to teach the boys a lesson - never order for anyone else unless you know them well enough to know what they would like to eat/drink. Seriously, what is it with men wanting to order your food for you?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Another day in tropical paradise

Today I went to church, as I usually do on Sundays, but I was running late this morning so by the time I got to the cathedral, I had to stand outside. Standing outside is no small sacrifice - there are no fans outside, and no shade. About halfway through the homily, which is generally between 20-30 minutes into the mass, I started getting dizzy and light-headed and nearly passed out.

Clearly, whoever decided that palm trees equal paradise didn't spend very much time standing outside in the heat. I took a shower as soon as I got home just so I could feel somewhat decent again.

Last night, I had the great pleasure to attend a live Cantonese opera, The Scholar and the Maid. It didn't even cost very much. Anyway, it was absolutely fantastic. I loved the music, the costumes, the dancing - even the singing, which can be a little overwhelming at times. The company that did it provided Chinese (Mandarin) and English subtitles, and some of the translations were hilarious because they used the very proper Latin-derived word instead of the words normal people would use. My favorite line was, "I love your petite lips and your charismatic glance." The story was about as stupid as any other opera/musical comedic love story, but it was brilliantly done, and a great pleasure to watch.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Mountain

My mom took this picture from the ferry dock a few minutes away from her house. I always loved growing up so close to such a beautiful, breathtaking mountain. I hope I can visit when I go back, there wasn't time in June. I wish Kitsap weren't so empty of decent job opportunities - other than working for the government - because it really has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth.

And... it was hot today

Today began with finishing the second Lord of the Rings movie and ended with the third movie. And thus is the trilogy at an end after three days. I liked how Peter Jackson passed off Eowyn to Faramir, though - I don't remember that being in the book.

I mailed my one and only purchase off today to my UK buyer. She's apparently wearing them to a tearoom party for a design thingy. Sounds fascinating! Anyway, I really, really hope they fit. Gloves can be tricky. The unfortunate part about mailing anything here is that I didn't see a single mailbox. So, we had to track down a post office - which is easier said than done.

The post office is really weird, as it is in nearly every other country. Okay, so maybe the US Postal system is the weird one. Anyway, in Austria, the Post was a bank, it developed film, you could buy piles of stuff there, all in addition to being a post office. Here, the post does all this, and offers loans. There were ads for Singapore Post realty loans. Rather odd, if you ask me. But then, airmail costs were about half what it costs in the US, and regular stamps are cheaper too. Perhaps if the USPS got into the real estate business, they wouldn't have to keep raising the cost of the mail every year. I couldn't believe it when it cost 41 cents to mail a letter! Since when is it 41 cents? Last I checked, it was 39 cents, which still seems like highway robbery to me.

Tomorrow is Friday, and I have no plans. I have no idea what I'm going to do, but I'm certainly not going to sit rusticating in this eensy weensy apartment like I did last Friday night (well, we watched the Corpse Bride, which is a good movie). I'm very much looking forward to Saturday night, though - I've been wanting to watch a real Chinese opera since I saw it on film during my World Music course. That and Japanese Kabuki, but I'm in Singapore right now, so I'll take what I can get. Oddly enough, I got to see a qin being played live (a Chinese stringed instrument similar to a hammered dulcimer) in Great Falls, Montana, of all places.

But, the overarching theme of every day is the heat. As soon as I step outside, it assails me. When we forget to turn back on the AC, it slowly heats the apartment. Sweat is a fact of life. And I really, really hate having to put on sunscreen so often. I will be SO happy to get back to the land of rain and rainclouds. But for now, I will enjoy my little adventure.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Today's list

Things done today:
  • Supervised boys' Kumon work - not as much fun as it sounds. As it doesn't sound like any fun either, one can imagine how it feels to be asked for help dividing 55 by 9 for the millionth time. The most annoying part is walking one through 55 divided by 9, then getting asked for help on 56 divided by 9.
  • Went to Chinatown. It is a wallet sucking area - I'm not going to go back to that particular part until I leave, IF I have any money left to spend. There's some gorgeous silk pillowcases that would be lovely on a nice couch. If I had one.
  • Made dinner - half was leftovers from last night, the other half was salad and some spinach spaghetti I made. I made it with alfredo sauce - but there is no flour or cornstarch where I am, so I mashed Cheerios for a sauce thickener instead. Be resourceful!
  • Watched over half of Lord of the Rings: the Two Towers (Special Extended Edition). I kept wondering why I was seeing parts of the movie that I didn't remember from when I saw it in the theater, then realized it was the special extended version. Oops.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Fourth of July Celebration

According to the US presence in Singapore, yesterday, June 30, was the 4th of July. For those who know me, you know I don't really go in for most of the "America is so great!" stuff that most of us were fed since we were kids. Yes, I live in a reasonably nice country. Yes, I have a reasonably nice life. But somehow celebrating the fact that I have plenty and others don't is rather stupid to me. Kind of like when your mom used to say, "Clean your plate! There are starving kids in Africa!" and you'd think, "So? I'M not a starving kid in Africa, and I don't WANT to eat these vegetables!"

Anyway, I do sincerely enjoy Independence Day celebrations, especially the bad food and fireworks. I kept the bad food to a minimum - had root beer, a corn dog and corn on the cob - but the fireworks were quite nice. A little too short of a show, but nice. The best part of it was how close they were. A. kept collecting bits of the cardboard shells and I got bonked on the head with bits of firework debris on multiple occasions.

Today I went to St. Andrew's Cathedral for service, as I was under the impression that it was a Catholic church. In actuality, it's Anglican. My first clue was when half the words to the prayers were from a different translation, but what really convinced me I wasn't in a Catholic church is when the visiting speaker mentioned his wife and granddaughter. Last I checked, that wasn't allowed. Nice church, though, and a fun praise band. Next week, I'll check out the actual Catholic church, which is across from an old convent. The convent has now been turned into shops and restaurants and bars. Kind of ironic.

Today I went exploring in Singapore, as Sunday seems to be a good day for me to have off for all of us. I went to Orchard Rd, the shopping artery through the "old" part of Singapore (there's maybe two or three old buildings left, all the rest are new high rises), and bought some nice stuff. I'm most pleased with my new silk pillow covers. Very classy, very simple yet elegant design. And they were cheap! Then I spent lots of time reading a book seated in the courtyard at the Raffles hotel. It's still a hotel, but it also has a gift shop, a Tiffany's and some other stuff. The main thing I learned today is that Singapore is, by and large, a shopping tourists haven. Not much else happening here other than the nature preserves and zoo, which I also intend to visit.

Side note: I have seen MANY, MANY mixed couples with a white dude and an Asian (here meaning anywhere in Asia plus the Indian subcontinent) woman. I saw so many, in fact, that I began to wonder why I saw no white women with an Asian dude. Today, I saw one such couple, and he looked half Indian, half white. There were lots of single white women walking around, though. I have a couple hypotheses as to why this is:
  • there are more male expats than female expats, so men turn to local populations of women rather than fight for the limited quantity available of "their own kind"
  • women are more capable of being alone for long periods of time than are men and thus do not feel this need to turn to the local populations
  • women are more racist in their choice of partner/men are more sexist in their choice of partner - I'm going for hamburger B, having heard enough comments about Western women not acting like "real" women
  • women care more about scent - meaning the Asian women will probably smell fine to the Western man, but the Asian man may not smell so great to the Western woman. Here, I am referring mostly to laborers, but this was true even of nicely dressed men in Myanmar. They ALL smelled. A lot.
  • I just haven't been searching in the right places
I also found it interesting that there are almost no Americans to be found on an average day in Singapore. Nearly all of the white people I've seen so far have been non-English speaking, non-language-I-know-speaking, meaning that they're more than likely Scandinavians of some variety. Apparently, I have to be satisfied with my helping of American culture and food from last night's celebration. Somehow, I'm not too sad at the prospect of not running into very many Americans for the next couple of months.