Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Throwback - Back in My Day


- We had cassette tapes instead of CD’s or Itunes. When I wanted my own copy of a song but didn’t have enough money to buy the album, I would wait for it to play on the radio and record the song playing on a blank tape. I also did this with songs on my favorite cartoon show which happened to be a musical, Jem and the Holograms.

- If I wanted to watch a TV show, I had to know when exactly it was on by using the cable guide, clear my schedule for it, and make sure I had no other competition for the TV. I think 90% of my fights with my brother were over the remote.

- Pictures were usually reserved for special occasions, because film was expensive and not everyone owned a camera. When a picture was taken, we wouldn’t see it until days or even weeks later, after the camera owner had finished the entire 12 or 24 or 36 shots of the film and had it developed. Sometimes we’d discover to our chagrin that the photographer was terrible at taking pics and had cut off other people's heads, like this:

... or that the film had been exposed and ruined all the pictures. Usually the first shot of each roll would be part exposed and ruined, like this:

- When I wanted to use a computer, I had to go to the school’s computer lab or rent a PC in an internet cafe. There was no social media yet, so I wasted my time forwarding emails to Yahoo groups or chatting on MIRC.

- Cell phones were outrageously expensive. Only two of my classmates had one, and I wondered why they were constantly dialing. Turns out they were texting. *facepalm*

- We took down notes in class using pen and notebooks, and teachers wrote on a blackboard or manila paper for their lectures.

- When we had a project that needed research, such as a term paper, we went to the library and used the card catalogue to locate books. If the book we needed had been checked out by someone else, there was nothing we could do but cry. Actually it wasn't just school-related learning that was limited, but all kinds, like this comic aptly captures:

So... what was it like back in your day? Please share! :)

SMD's Blog

This post is part of the A to Z Challenge, a blog hop that goes through the alphabet for all the days of April except Sundays. You can check out all my posts through this tag.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Short Hair

My long hair was annoying. It was too thick and heavy and hot and I kept tying it to get it out of the way. One day I decided I had had enough and headed to a salon to have it chopped off. 

As the hairdresser snipped off my locks, I wished that all things in life were as easy to change as your hairstyle. Snip... goodbye, heartbreak. Snip... so long, failure. Snip. Snip. Snip. 

Now I understand why they say this is therapeutic. It's nice to imagine all your problems falling away with your old hair. 

New hair, new life. Maybe. Hopefully.

And Easter means new life too! Talk about perfect timing.

It feels great to have a lighter head of hair. The last time I had short hair was five years ago, when I first arrived in Singapore. 

I really hope I don't have regrets about this. But as the wise Sabrina the teenage witch once advised to her best friend, "Hair grows."

And that's it, I'm keeping this post as short as my hair.

This post is part of the A to Z Challenge, a blog hop that goes through the alphabet for all the days of April except Sundays. You can check out all my posts through this tag.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Revenge of the Best Kind

Revenge is something most of us will fantasize about at one point or another. Oh come now, don't pretend with me. Haven't you ever gotten so angry, felt so wronged, that you hatched and concocted a plan on how to avenge yourself?

I once sat down with a heartbroken friend and cooked up her perfect revenge for the ex boyfriend (let's call him Jack) and his best friend (let's call her Jill) whom he cheated on her with. It involved hiring a girl to seduce him and come between them, then after breaking them up, break his heart as well.

It should have ended there, but because I was involved in creating this story, naturally there was a plot twist. The hired girl in our story, let's call her Rita, ends up actually falling for Jack, and she gets pregnant.

Around this time, my friend falls in love with someone else and feels bad about the whole revenge thing, so she talks to Jack and confesses about the whole Rita scenario. Jack gets mad and hurt and breaks up with Rita, not knowing that she is pregnant. Rita tries to explain but he's so mad that he doesn't let her.

Months later, she dies upon giving birth to a son, let's call him Luke, who grows up hating the father who abandoned him and his mother.

When Luke is in his teens, he finds his father to tell him who he is and how much he loathes him, much to Jack's shock. Jack asks for his forgiveness, but Luke doesn't want to do so. He runs out the door in anger, and Jack runs after him, when a car comes out of nowhere and rams into Luke, killing him right in front of Jack.

I know. How morbid. Oops. Sorry?

But you know what the best kind of revenge is? The one like I wrote below. I wrote this story some time ago when I wanted to get revenge on someone and realised something.

Penelope was surprised when she heard a knock on her door, but even more so when she saw who was behind it. She wasn’t expecting any visitors, least of all the princess. Yes, that princess, the one who was married to the prince who was next in line to the throne. She was so shocked but managed to drop a curtsy. Wasn’t that what one was expected to do when faced with royalty? But Princess Ella blushed and said that it wasn’t necessary, and apologized for inconveniencing her, a mere commoner. Seriously?

"No need to apologize, your majesty," Penelope hurriedly assured her. "To what do I owe this honor? Oh I’m sorry, where are my manners? Please come in."

"I should have given advance notice," the princess said ruefully as she followed Penelope into her living room, a couple of her servants trailing at a respectable distance. "But it just happened on a whim. Christopher had to attend a convention in town and well, I just had to come visit." It was the first time Penelope ever heard that name mentioned without the usual preceding "Prince."

Now it was Penelope’s turn to apologize that the princess had inconvenienced herself to come all this way when her Aunt Carlotta no longer lived there. She was not surprised that the princess knew her, though, as she was all too familiar with the story of their connection. Ella’s father had married Carlotta after his wife had died so that his only daughter would have a mother to raise her. Carlotta had not treated Ella like a daughter though, had instead turned her into a slave when he died, mockingly calling her “Cinderella.”

"I know this is too much imposition on your kindness already but, could you please take me to her?" Ella asked.

"Of course, your majesty," Penelope replied. Next thing she knew, she was sitting in the back of a first class carriage, sipping champagne and resisting the urge to pinch herself. For the first time ever, thank you, Aunt Carlotta! she thought.

"I don’t actually remember when was the last time I saw Carlotta," Ella mused beside her.

"I do!" Penelope volunteered through a mouthful of chocolate truffle. "It was that time when she yelled at you for supposedly washing the curtains wrong, then she threw all your things at you and told you to get out of her house and never come back."

"Of course, now that you mention it, I remember now. Why do you know this?"

"Well I’ve read the book that’s going around."

"Oh you mean ‘Cinderella’? You must not believe that, more than half of it is not even true!" The princess was clearly amused. "Carlotta never had any daughters of her own and I didn’t even meet the prince at the ball. He already knew me then when he asked me to attend. He was the one who gave me the gown I wore then, not some fairy godmother. And as for the glass slipper, it slipped off while we were dancing, so the prince picked it up and jokingly went around the ballroom saying that he was searching for its owner. He even said, ‘She has my heart, and I have her shoe. Fair enough.’ I guess word of mouth turned the joke into truth."

Penelope laughed at the image of the prince walking around with the shoe. Who knew that he had such a sense of humor? “Actually, Mother told me about the curtain incident,” she confessed.

"Oh, how is she? Her name was also on the wedding invitation that I had sent to Carlotta, but I don’t know if they ever received it."

"Oh, Aunt Carlotta received it, all right."

"Did she attend? I honestly didn’t see her there. She must have thought I was ignoring her on purpose!"

"Of course you are expected not to have noticed all of your wedding guests. There were way too many. We’re talking about the entire kingdom! But you wouldn’t have seen her anyway because she didn’t go."

"Why not?"

"Well she thought that you just wanted to gloat, to rub your good fortune in her face, which she didn’t really need to see up close. She was also mostly afraid that you would use your new status to get your revenge on her. So she hid."

"Oh no, that was never my intention! I should have explained in a letter, at least. Oh now I feel so terrible."

"Really, it wasn’t? Then why did you invite her? She was horrible to you, she made your life miserable. If I had been in your place, the first thing on my to do list as a princess would have been to ask the royal secret service to give her a slow painful death. Really, why didn’t you exact revenge on her? You had the means. And the valid reasons."

"Well just between you and me, there were indeed moments when I wished I could cause her pain, or at least let her feel what she made me feel," the princess admitted somewhat reluctantly. "Nothing I did was ever good enough for her. When I did something right, I never got praised, but if I did something even a wee bit wrong, God help me. Even the people of the neighboring village would know about it because she never hesitated to yell at me in front of everyone. Not a week passed that I didn’t hide in the bathroom to cry because of her. I was so scared of her that I often wanted to get sick or run over by a carriage just so I would have an excuse not to face her and her demands." A cloud of gloom passed over Ella’s face as she said this.

"But later I realized, if she hadn’t been mean to me, I never would have left her house. And if I had not, then I would never have met the prince," she said, a blush creeping onto her cheeks.

"How did you meet him, your majesty?” Penelope asked just as their carriage came to a stop.

"Well I had nowhere else to go, so I went to the forest and made a makeshift tent for myself," the princess explained as they clambered out of the carriage. "I was crying when the prince happened to pass by. He felt sorry for me and gave me a job and a home at the palace."

"And fell in love with you and eventually married you."

"Well yes, that too. But you see, if not for your aunt, the prince would never have noticed an ordinary girl like me," the princess said with a smile. "So in effect, the worst thing that ever happened to me was the catalyst for the best thing that ever happened to me. Like I always tell Christopher, there are no such things as unlucky moments, just blessings in disguise."

Just then, they stopped walking. “Here you go, Aunt Carlotta’s new home,” Penelope said, gesturing towards a tombstone that looked as though it hadn’t been cleaned or visited in ages. Which it hadn’t been indeed.

"How did she die?" Ella asked quietly.

"She had a disease of the blood. She was apparently in a lot of pain before she died. And the worst part of it all was that she died alone. No one could stand her enough to want to be with her, even when she was dying." Penelope paused to look at the princess. "So you didn’t even need to sic the secret service on her. The universe got your revenge for you."

This story first appeared here.

This post is part of the A to Z Challenge, a blog hop that goes through the alphabet for all the days of April except Sundays. You can check out all my posts through this tag.

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