Saturday, February 22, 2014


At dawn
The lone satellite soaring
over a dark road
Only your breath and
the sudden muscular staccato
of swifts in flight
against the face of the waning moon
I am no Jaeger pilot
But no one knows different anyway

* It probably doesn't do to read a poem like a piece of prose, but.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Things to do when you're waiting for a package

  1. Clean your nails.
  2. Sort out the laundry.
  3. Work in the front of your house (if you're me).
  4. Watch TV.
  5. Write a blog.
  6. Trawl the social media networks.
  7. Go out for tea, and miss the delivery anyway.
It was nice of the delivery guy to call me 3 times, though I wasn't close enough that tearing home would've made a difference.

When you miss a Poslaju delivery, you have to collect your package from whichever Poslaju Center is stated on the card they leave.

It's all well and good, but if the information on the card hasn't been updated, then it's down to the sad-eyed policeman standing guard at the Kota Damansara Poslaju Center to tell you that the place isn't open from 8 AM to 6 PM on Saturdays, but that it is open from 10 AM to 3 PM on Saturdays and Sundays. He'd clearly done it so many times that he asked, "The card says it's open today, doesn't it? They didn't change it, I guess."

The least they could do is put that information on the gate outside the compound instead of decaling it on the office doors inside the gate.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Kinder Soaps Double Duty Balm

*TMI alert*

PMS can be unkind. Bloating, weight gain, blotchiness, breakouts, and dry skin beset a female whose endometrial layers are about to be shed, to say nothing of the cramps, insomnia, and gastrointestinal havoc that may or may not occur depending on whether any dairy has been ingested.

*end TMI*

On the bright side, I don't have premenstrual dysphoric disorder, a form of PMS so severe that it has been included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders V and for which anti-psychotics may be prescribed.

Moodiness aside, it's the dry itchy skin that bothers me most. Accompanied by PMS-cracked lips, it tends to be at its worst when I have to talk to people, leaving them wondering about my weird-ass beard fetish.

Remembering that the first principle of living a happy life is to be good to myself, I got the Double Duty Balm from Kinder Soaps.

(Left) Summer Fizz soap filling the room with effervescence; (right) Double Duty Balm about to be put to use.

Consumers accustomed to glossier packaging might not give the tube a second glance. The balm itself matches the wholly unassuming exterior. The balm is ultra-solid* and dark beige, by the way, and not even scented (it smells a bit like wood and paper and ointment), which may be a turnoff for some people.

If you ask me though, this is a plus, as it shows you that Michelle the Soap-making Maven doesn't have time to faff around with inconsequential fripperies like fragrance in her pursuit to create things that are just kind to you.

Without any exaggeration, this is the best skin balm I've ever used for the dry skin on my hands, which has become incredibly soft(er) and smooth(er) after 2-3 daily applications. It's a bit heavy for face use, so apply only when absolutely necessary.

As a lip balm, it lasts all through bedtime, which is when I use it. That said, it would probably last all day if you don't blot it away.

I fancy that the beeswax and cocoa butter confer longevity to the balm; the oils (apricot kernel, camellia, jojoba, macadamia nut) and rosemary oleoresin** likely work together to give you skin and lips as soft and smooth as Thranduil's hair. I love Lee Pace this stuff so much.

I am patient; I can wait. (Unggghrghh.) Image from Flickr

* It stays solid after a warm day, and I keep in my wardrobe.
** All listed on the tube.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Falling in love again: Addendum

Following up on this post, it would be remiss of me not to mention the mid-foot strike. As you would imagine, this is when the first part of the foot that hits the ground when running is the middle.

It's ironic to think that I have to learn how to run all over again, but the school of life is always in session, no?

In any case, mid-foot striking inflicts less impact on the knee compared to heel striking, and less on your toe joints compared to forefoot striking. This is of course based on my own experience, and shouldn't be considered the textbook form for running under any circumstances. In fact, just run using the form(s) with which you feel most comfortable. If it feels like too much strain, slow down, shorten your stride, or walk real fast.

As for me, I start out with heel striking before going on to mid-foot striking. The effect is that the pesky ankle twinges that made running such a pain in the ass have disappeared, as has the infuriating heavy calves feeling.*

I feel like I can clock up some serious mileage now that I've tweaked my running form. To think that I'd been putting this all down to advancing age.

* Some say it's due to lactic acid buildup, which is supposed to stem from anaerobic exertion and which you can train to overcome; others insist that it's compartment syndrome, which involves pain, is scary, and doesn't bear thinking about.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Coffee fast: Day 2


Up at 6 AM as usual and feeling drowsy. A throbbing headache develops soon after I get up. Is this a sign of caffeine withdrawal?

Let it stand for the record that advocates of warm lemon water ALL fail to mention the chalky feeling it leaves on your teeth, even after you mix the juice of half a lemon with a teaspoon of honey and a cup of warm water.


Headache becomes teeth-grittingly intense. Fie on your Panadol, you drug-touting artificialists.

Work is fast and furious. I'm grateful for the remote nature of my job, which allows me to swear loud and long each time I come across a writing error. Is this a sign of caffeine withdrawal?

Swear jar, what fucking swear jar?


My period starts.

I have lunch at the mall with Enfant Terrible and his parents. The lights are too bright. There are too many children and they're all running around like free-range animals. It's clear that I'm turning into Anthony Bourdain. All I need to do next is marry a Brazilian jujitsu exponent.

Enfant Terrible orders an iced latte and an iced cappuccino for his parents. They do not fancy the sugarless nature of the coffee drinks. Enfant Terrible looks at me pleadingly.

"Don't waste food," he says.

My period has started; all my data are inapplicable due to the presence of confounding factors, i.e., PMS and hormones and all those other period things.

I will try again some day.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Coffee fast: Day 1


I reach for my French press before remembering that coffee and I are taking a break from one another this week. Have 2 mugs of warm water instead.


Snoozy. Time for a cuppa---oh.


How do people even stay awake this long? Over lunch at my regular banana leaf haunt with Enfant Terrible, I find my gaze frequently wandering to other tables where mugs of frothy milky teh tarik abound. We manage to leave before embarrassing situations ensue.


I hear that warm lemon water is a nice pick-me-up in the mornings, so I head out to the grocery to get some. Narrowly avoid precarious traffic situations that are entirely unrelated to me.


Still sleepy, but it's time to sleep now so it's ok.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Falling in love all over again

Previously, I was certain that the "no pain, no gain" premise of exercise was not for me. (Cow milk is another thing that is not for me, but...)

Back then, I would rather watch a Rebecca Black video 5 times back to back than admit that maybe, possibly, my certainty that running as a fitness activity was not for me was because I was doing it wrong.

How is it possible for a former high school sprinter to get running wrong?

For one, sprinters and middle- to long-distance runners are taught to run differently. A sprinter tends to use a forefoot strike, landing on the ball of the foot before pushing off with the toes. The speed at which a sprinter has to run lends itself to this movement.

On the contrary, longer-distance runners tend to have a heel-to-toe foot motion (heel strike). You can't sprint 3 km (though the African runners ghosting past you very well look as if they are), so you don't need the sprinter-type footstrike.

(That said, some people forefoot strike naturally, though heel strikers outnumber them.)

The other thing is that I overstrode, which doesn't work out when you want to run farther than 400 m or longer than 5 minutes. I imagine that this occurred because I still had the idea of running like a sprinter even though I was moving much more slowly. 

Unfortunately, the effect of overstriding and forefoot striking is that you wind up with knee pain and back pain and the firm idea that running is not for you.

Following a heated discussion with Enfant Terrible ("You're running wrong!" "How can that be, I was a school runner!"), I went back to heel striking with a medium stride. Now I would say that running is for everyone as long as you do it right.

P.S. Mincing your steps can also lead to pain, as will shoes that don't fit correctly. Buy shoes that feel comfortable, not those that the salesperson promises will stretch with use.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A challenge

I would never profess to being addicted to anything *coughsocialmediacough* but the idea of going on any fast intrigues me. The easy correlation to make is that if you deprive yourself of something and feel the effects of that deprivation, it must mean that you're addicted to that something.

I don't think that's necessarily true, though some habits are certainly hard to break (I wish I could quit you, Cumberbatch). In any case, let's see what the ensuing 7-day caffeine fast does.

Starting tomorrow that is.

*commences furious caffeine-loading*