Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Terrible Punishment

My neighbors are punishing me, and I don't know why.

It could be because I write blog entries about them...


But whatever the reason, nobody deserves to be subjected to the head splitting, ear bleeding karaoke that permeates from the house across the street. Starting at about... I don't know... seven-o'clock-in-the-morning!

It started a couple months ago when school let out for the summer.

It was a typically peaceful Wednesday morning... sun shining... birds chirping... all that crap.

And then the screeching started...

I ran outside to see what animal lie dying in the middle of the street, only to find it was my neighbors and their new karaoke machine.

Me: Hmmm... well this is going to be an interesting morning...

That interesting morning... turned into an "interesting" day.

At one o'clock in the afternoon the karaoke was still going strong, and I had visited every room in the house hoping to seek a silent refuge. Nowhere was safe.

It was at this point I started wishing for a brown-out... and searching for sharp objects to stab in my ears.

And still the karaoke continued... You would think they would stop for lunch... bathroom breaks... hoarse voices... something! No luck.

Some of the stand out performances included:

- Frank Sinatra's, My Way... I was fortunate enough to hear five different versions... a performance by each member of the family... "Pitchy," to say the least.

- Simple Plan's, Perfect... the "perfect" song to be sung by a small child, "I'm saaaaawweeyyy I can't beee puuuuuwwwwfect." Awesome.

- Gloria Gaynor's, I Will Survive... a karaoke classic no matter which country you live.

- Jackson 5's, I'll Be There... a special Tagalog version, it just wasn't the same...

And the most bothersome song of all?

- Lady Gaga, Bad Romance... sung by a group of children ranging in ages from 7-13... Something about a seven-year-old screaming, " I want your psycho, your vertical stick... baby your sick... I want your loooove!" is very very disturbing.

I thought once school started back up again I would get some reprieve...

... And I will admit the week days are quieter now, except for when mom & dad belt out a love song or two. It appears now Saturdays and Sundays are now reserved for their family karaoke concert series. Which means you can find me locked up in my room, with my fancy orange ear plugs.

Only in the Philippines can your neighbors sentence you to "death by karaoke."

***UPDATED: Singapore: A Fine City****

I decided to get back in the writing mode...

... right before I went on vacation for a week. Which is why I didn't post at all last week.

This is typical... and just one more reason why my commitment level to writing and my commitment level to exercise appear to be one in the same.


***

Moving on...

I went to Singapore! Normally, I break up my vacations into several posts, but seeing as I haven't been writing much lately, I have a lot to say and I don't have time for a Singapore series. So I'm going to keep it short and sweet and tell you the things you need to know about Singapore.

First of all, Singapore is an amazing place, it ranks right up there with Tokyo for me. I find Singapore to be different from Tokyo, but sort of the same. It's like Tokyo is the 20-year-old wild and crazy version of you... full of energy and ready for a good time. And Singapore is you at 30... a little more relaxed... you have a career, possibly a family... priorities. I mean, don't get me wrong you're still the same old you... you still like to have fun... but you no longer wake up every Tuesday morning with a hangover.

And the food... oh... glorious food. One sure fire way to win me over? Feed me. I'll love you forever. Singapore even went as far as to introduce me to Chocolate-Whiskey flavored ice cream. It's like they knew what I wanted before I even knew it existed. God bless you Singapore.

A word from the wise... be wary of the escalators. And this is important. First trip down one of those bad boys and I almost fell flat on my ass. They travel at lightning speed. Greatest accomplishment of the trip? Successfully riding one in four inch heels.

Think you want to try the famous Singapore Sling? Think again. Now, I may be snobby about some things, but liquor is not one of them. I went to school in west texas, where when it comes to liquor it is about quantity... not quality. Needless to say, I know bad liquor. Not only was the Singapore sling the worst $25 drink I've ever had, it was the worst. drink. ever.

When having a day of Zoo fun, beware. Apparently, it's now safe to let animals wander freely about the zoo. The first sign we came across said,

Long-Tailed Macaque
... If you encounter macaques, keep a safe distance and avoid eye contact. Do not tease or feed them. They may turn aggressive and bite.

You have got to be kidding me. Animals that "may turn aggressive" are roaming the zoo, so don't look at them.. they may attack?!?

The only thing less comforting were the signs about the snakes that are also sans enclosure. They said something about how - they often disguise themselves as vines, they are usually docile, but if you have any problems with them find a zoo employee. -

Yeah. Freakin'. Right.

I hate snakes. And the thought of running into one, no matter how "docile" is terrifying.

This now means my whole zoo trip is ruined. I am now searching the vines for snakes, while trying to make sure I don't make eye contact with a monkey. How am I supposed to concentrate on the tigers, giraffes or elephants when I'm trying to leave the zoo without being traumatized by an aggressive monkey or a seemingly ordinary vine that turns out to be a snake.

Chinatown was quite possibly the best Chinatown I have been to in any big city. It was clean and the people were lovely. We asked one of the shop owners for a lunch recommendation and he walked us over 4 or 5 blocks to a restaurant, where he ordered for us because they didn't speak English. It was some of the best chinese food I've ever had.

Little India on the other hand was less impressive, which I found to be very disappointing because I was really looking forward to the visit. Not only were there less people and less to see, but unfortunately, I think I may be allergic to incense... I was there about an hour and left with itchy eyes, singed nose hairs and I felt like my head was swimming. I've never had this problem in Buddhist temples, so I thought perhaps it was a different form of incense.

Seeing as how I know nothing about incense and very little about Indian culture I went to Google for help.

WTF? These are Google's suggestions for "why"?

It was at this point, I got side tracked on a quest to own a Canadian and never learned anything further on Indian culture or incense.

Lastly, before going to Singapore it is important to know the rules.

There is a joke about Singapore being a "fine" city because there are a lot rules and if you break them it will cost you.

Here are just a few:

No eating or drinking on the MRT - Fine - $500.00

Not flushing a public toilet - Fine - $150.00

No smoking in air conditioned spaces - Fine - $1000.00

No littering - Fine - $1000.00

Importing Chewing Gum - Jail Time

Possession of fire works - Caning

Vandalism - Caning

Drug Possession - Death

Singapore doesn't mess around...

Airport security in the Singapore airport was like nothing I've ever seen. There were no men with guns, or drug sniffing dogs. I didn't have to take off my shoes or my jacket. I didn't have to put things in quart size plastic bag. I simply put my bag through the x-ray machine, and they gave it back to me.

It's like Singapore was saying, "We aren't going to put you through the typical airport B$^#*%!, but just know... if you screw up... we. will. kill. you."

Damn, I love that place.

***

***UPDATE***

Just came across this picture, and forgot to include it the first time I posted.

This is an ad outside a waxing salon...

Hilarious!


Up-size in 30 minutes with a "Boyzilian Wax"?!?!?

Now, that's good advertising.

Classic.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

That's Hot...

A couple weeks ago we attended our friends 50th birthday party. It was a huge event complete with buffets, bands and fire dancers.

***

Friends Daughter: We need a volunteer to dance with the fire dancers.

Me: Lee will do it!

Lee: No! I don't want to do it.

Me: Come on it will be hilarious! Do it!!

Friends Daughter: Are you sure you don't mind?

Me: Not at all... it will be great.

***

Now, I'm thinking...

Lee, dancing around in front of a couple hundred people? Hysterical!

Slightly embarrassing? Added bonus.

Plus, if his hair catches on fire... that will make for an excellent blog entry.


video


Well, that was unexpected...

Total. Backfire.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Singapore: A Fine City

I decided to get back in the writing mode...

... right before I went on vacation for a week. Which is why I didn't post at all last week.

This is typical... and just one more reason why my commitment level to writing and my commitment level to exercise appear to be one in the same.


***

Moving on...

I went to Singapore! Normally, I break up my vacations into several posts, but seeing as I haven't been writing much lately, I have a lot to say and I don't have time for a Singapore series. So I'm going to keep it short and sweet and tell you the things you need to know about Singapore.

First of all, Singapore is an amazing place, it ranks right up there with Tokyo for me. I find Singapore to be different from Tokyo, but sort of the same. It's like Tokyo is the 20-year-old wild and crazy version of you... full of energy and ready for a good time. And Singapore is you at 30... a little more relaxed... you have a career, possibly a family... priorities. I mean, don't get me wrong you're still the same old you... you still like to have fun... but you no longer wake up every Tuesday morning with a hangover.

And the food... oh... glorious food. One sure fire way to win me over? Feed me. I'll love you forever. Singapore even went as far as to introduce me to Chocolate-Whiskey flavored ice cream. It's like they knew what I wanted before I even knew it existed. God bless you Singapore.

A word from the wise... be wary of the escalators. And this is important. First trip down one of those bad boys and I almost fell flat on my ass. They travel at lightning speed. Greatest accomplishment of the trip? Successfully riding one in four inch heels.

Think you want to try the famous Singapore Sling? Think again. Now, I may be snobby about some things, but liquor is not one of them. I went to school in west texas, where when it comes to liquor it is about quantity... not quality. Needless to say, I know bad liquor. Not only was the Singapore sling the worst $25 drink I've ever had, it was the worst. drink. ever.

When having a day of Zoo fun, beware. Apparently, it's now safe to let animals wander freely about the zoo. The first sign we came across said,

Long-Tailed Macaque
... If you encounter macaques, keep a safe distance and avoid eye contact. Do not tease or feed them. They may turn aggressive and bite.

You have got to be kidding me. Animals that "may turn aggressive" are roaming the zoo, so don't look at them.. they may attack?!?

The only thing less comforting were the signs about the snakes that are also sans enclosure. They said something about how - they often disguise themselves as vines, they are usually docile, but if you have any problems with them find a zoo employee. -

Yeah. Freakin'. Right.

I hate snakes. And the thought of running into one, no matter how "docile" is terrifying.

This now means my whole zoo trip is ruined. I am now searching the vines for snakes, while trying to make sure I don't make eye contact with a monkey. How am I supposed to concentrate on the tigers, giraffes or elephants when I'm trying to leave the zoo without being traumatized by an aggressive monkey or a seemingly ordinary vine that turns out to be a snake.

Chinatown was quite possibly the best Chinatown I have been to in any big city. It was clean and the people were lovely. We asked one of the shop owners for a lunch recommendation and he walked us over 4 or 5 blocks to a restaurant, where he ordered for us because they didn't speak English. It was some of the best chinese food I've ever had.

Little India on the other hand was less impressive, which I found to be very disappointing because I was really looking forward to the visit. Not only were there less people and less to see, but unfortunately, I think I may be allergic to incense... I was there about an hour and left with itchy eyes, singed nose hairs and I felt like my head was swimming. I've never had this problem in Buddhist temples, so I thought perhaps it was a different form of incense.

Seeing as how I know nothing about incense and very little about Indian culture I went to Google for help.

WTF? These are Google's suggestions for "why"?

It was at this point, I got side tracked on a quest to own a Canadian and never learned anything further on Indian culture or incense.

Lastly, before going to Singapore it is important to know the rules.

There is a joke about Singapore being a "fine" city because there are a lot rules and if you break them it will cost you.

Here are just a few:

No eating or drinking on the MRT - Fine - $500.00

Not flushing a public toilet - Fine - $150.00

No smoking in air conditioned spaces - Fine - $1000.00

No littering - Fine - $1000.00

Importing Chewing Gum - Jail Time

Possession of fire works - Caning

Vandalism - Caning

Drug Possession - Death

Singapore doesn't mess around...

Airport security in the Singapore airport was like nothing I've ever seen. There were no men with guns, or drug sniffing dogs. I didn't have to take off my shoes or my jacket. I didn't have to put things in quart size plastic bag. I simply put my bag through the x-ray machine, and they gave it back to me.

It's like Singapore was saying, "We aren't going to put you through the typical airport B$^#*%!, but just know... if you screw up... we. will. kill. you."

Damn, I love that place.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

World Cup

Today is Lee's birthday.

And in honor of the guy who has given me much so to write about, today, I will post a story about me. (I guess he deserves a break... Also, I never say anything ridiculous... well, until yesterday.)

***

Lee has a World Cup application on his phone, and last night we were laying in bed looking at the upcoming games.

Well, he was looking at the games.

I was trying to figure out which flags represented which countries.

***



ENG

Me: England. Duh.
FRA

Me: France.
ITA

Me: Italy. I'm pretty good at this.

NZL

Me: Hmm... Nnnn...zzzzz.... I don't know. I see the N and the Z together and all I can think about are Nazis.

Lee: New Zealand.

Me: Ooohh! Yeah, that would make more sense.

CHI

Me: I have no idea, but the flag is almost identical to the Texas flag. They must be pretty cool.

Lee: Yeah, it's similar. But it's Chile.

Me: Yeah, they seem pretty cool. (I like their wines anyway.)

PAR

Me: Paaa....Paaarrrr... Ugh! I don't know. It has the same colors as the French flag... and the PAR just makes me think Paris. But it's not Paris! ...right?

Lee: Right.

Me: Paaarrrr! Paaaaaaaaarrr....

Lee: PARAGUAY.

Me: Oh.

GHA

Me: GHANA! Ha! And that's a hard one.

HON

Me: HONG KONG!

Lee: Hmmm... I don't think so.

Me: Really? Well, it has all those stars on it... it seems like something an Asian country would do.

Lee: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Me: What?!

Lee: An Asian country? Hahahaha! You do realize that we have 50 stars on our flag right?!?

Me: Oh yeah. Ha. Oops.

....

Me: I was probably just thinking of Japan's flag...

Lee: HAHAHAHAHA! Japan's flag doesn't have any stars at all!

Me: Oh yeah, I knew that.

....

Me: South Korea?


No. Way off.

Turns out, the flag I was picturing was Turkey.


And since Turkey is considered a Eurasian country I'm going to give myself half credit.

***

Happy Birthday Babe.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Peep Show

There is a 70% chance the gardener saw me naked...

Truly.

It was around one in the afternoon and I was taking a bath.

(And not because I had nothing better to do in the middle of the day... although that is true. But because the water pressure in the morning and in the evening is often a very slow trickle... which is not enough to activate the hot water heater... and there is nothing relaxing about soaking in frigid water.)

Around the same time the gardener was out in the front yard...

(And by yard I mean the 4' x 6' patch of grass in the front of our house.)

... mowing the grass.

(And by mowing the grass I mean, on his hands and knees with a pair of giant scissors.)

I had settled in the bath, opened my book and was in the middle of an intense Quidditch match... Gryffindor vs Slytherin... and a rogue bludger...

(And yes, I am reading Harry Potter. I have a tendency to jump on bandwagons long after it's cool.)

... when I heard the garden gate open.

(And by garden, I mean the 6' x 6' patch of grass in the back of the house. The same patch of grass that I can see from my ground floor 4' x 6' bathroom window. The same window that is directly next to the bath tub. The same bath tub I am now plastered against.)

Surely, Chat just needed to step outside for a bit to grab something.

I'll take a little peek.

Slowly, I slide across the bath tub and raise my eyeballs just above the window ledge to get a better look outside...

Just as the gardener comes striding through the glass door... giant scissors in hand.

$#&*#^(@^!!!

Now, usually I'm not super shy... but I would prefer to not have the reputation of, "The American girl that will flash you if you cut her grass."

I immediately grab my nose and plunge under the water...

(Because making a loud noise and then hiding under eight inches of water is an excellent disguise. A chameleon, I am. )

Ok... so maybe there is an 80% chance he saw me naked.

I lie there... under water... nose plugged... waiting for him to go back inside.

(Although... I don't know who I'm kidding... I can only hold my breath for about 15 seconds... so I need a new plan.)

Finally, it occurs to me that I could close the blinds.

Genius, I know.

Trying to be covert... I reach up to pull the string on the blinds... but as much as I try... the string is just out of reach.

I sit up... still out of reach.

I get to my feet... trying to keep all important parts covered with one arm... while reaching for the cord with the other.

Finally, within reach... I yank the cord...

... and watch in horror as the blinds shoot to the top of the window... leaving me completely exposed.

I screamed.

Fell on my bare bum.

Bath water went shooting across the bathroom.

And I went back to Plan A... hiding under eight inches of water.

90% chance? I'd say so.

It was at this point when I figured things couldn't get much worse.

With one hand over my eyes...

(Because if I can't see him, he can't see me right??)

I blindly reached for my towel...

jumped out of the bath tub...

slipped on the wet floor...

and almost killed myself...

while running out the bathroom door.

Smooth.

Twenty minutes later, I was in the kitchen sulking when the gardener walked in...

Gardener: Good afternoon Ma'am Keely!!! *Big Grin*

Yeah... I know...

100% chance.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Working My Writing Muscles

I've been in a bit of a writing rut. I can't tell if it's because I'm actually getting out of the house more, therefore I no longer have endless hours to sit and vent to the internets, or perhaps all that used to seem nonsensical is now just normal everyday life. (In which case these next eight and half months can't go by fast enough, if I am too leave this country with any shred of my former self.)

A writer whom I admire wrote that the best way to get back into the swing of writing is to write; "the ability to write is a muscle, and it's got to be worked daily."

Unfortunately, I've never been good at working any muscles daily... which my dusty P90X videos and my flabby thighs can attest too.

But in the spirit of getting back into what I truly love to do, I'm giving it a shot.

All I ask is that you bare with me... the following posts may be the equivalent of those miserable first few days when you commit to a new work out.

You know the ones... where you can only finish about half of the sets on the video, and you're huffing and puffing so loudly you can't even hear what you're supposed to do next. Then you lay on the floor afterwards in a puddle of your own sweat consumed with feelings of both victory and defeat, knowing that you will be so sore tomorrow you won't even be able to tie your own shoes.

(No? Only me? Great...)

Usually, I start off my very first workout on a lighter note... you know... first day back... I don't want to get too crazy... I could get hurt.

(I find it beneficial to start making excuses for myself on the first day...)

So after huffing and puffing through this entry, and in keeping with tradition, I'll end my first post back here... keeping it short and sweet.

I would hate to overexert myself... otherwise I would be useless for the rest of the week.


Monday, June 7, 2010

What were you thinking?

Well... this should be addressed....



Seriously Pringles...?

Soft Shell Crab??... Grilled Shrimp??... SEA-WEED?!?!

I mean...I've stood by you through the Guacamole and the Bacon Ranch.

Hell, even the Pizza wasn't horrible.

But this? This is too far.

It's obvious they were trying to find flavors for the Asian market, because no where else in the world would these flavors last.

Can't you just see the people at Pringles brainstorming about which flavors would go over well in Asia...

"Hmm... I don't think they know what Guacamole is... but I think they eat a lot of that sushi-seaweed crap... that's it!! Sea-weed flavored chips! Genius."

Because honestly no one was actually thinking... "Mmmm... soft shell crab flavored potato chips! Well that sounds delicious." NO.

Mixing seafood and potato chips is a bad idea. (Unless, you're a brit and the "chips" are actually french fries... because let's face it, fish and "chips" is scrumptious.)

I would say only in the Philippines... but I'm pretty sure Pringles sent these flavors to Japan.. and Japan said, "Well, this is crap..." and sent it to us.

So.. maybe by now, it's only in the Philippines...