Thursday, November 30, 2006


Logos--but not in philosophical or religious sense. To avoid ambiguity, "logotypes" is a better term. Surely not "logoes".

The unedited logo was created using Serif PhotoPlus 5.5. Keywords: layers & positioning. I like it for its lack of subtlety & the meaning conveyed by the colours. Copy and paste from Merriam-Webster Online), "black and white" as in "sharply defined" and "red" as in "flushed especially with anger".

Of course I played with the design by applying Microsoft Photo Editor "watercolor" & "texturizer" effects. Nah, kinda messy. Did not find the results appealing.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I Did Wrote It My Way

A screenshot from my NaNoWriMo user profile.

Finally! 50,739 words. Done.

Although not according to my Game Plan--I should have completed the 50,000-word novel by 26/11/06--I still feel the similar soothing sense of satisfaction. Just like when I accomplished my first NaNoWriMo last year. Inebriating.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Apparently not the customer.

Happened to come across this board last Sunday morning & it reminded me about my recent article. The keyword: 'drugs'. Right, somebody was trying to tell me that I was being insensitive with what I wrote in that article?

Did a little search about 'drug free' campaign and I came across this site. The campaign of "If you take drugs, who really pays the price?" seemed to be the continuation of year 2005 drive. But I still like best the media campaign 1997/1998. Simple. Artful. Effective.

Of course I too admit the merit of the latest campaign. By having both parties behind the bars, the indirect consequence of the drug abuse was clearly shown. To the family. They're imprisoned by the fact that they fail raising their son properly.

Not to mean to adopt holier-than-thou kind of shitty mentality. (There must be reasons why people abuse drugs. To focus on the reasons--the root cause(s)--may help the offenders not to repeat their mistakes or prevent those who are considering to misuse the drugs for the first time. Again at the moment, I cannot think of any reasons.)

So let's just focus instead on the picture taken. The top right photo was not modified. You can still see the annoying reflection. The below image was that edited with Microsoft Photo Editor "watercolor" as it eliminated the reflection from the glass panel.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Discus this.

Took these pictures during Tetra World Discus Championship yesterday. True it's not much a challenge because the fish were confined. And subjected to blinding flashes of the camera (okay, now I feel bad).

1. Disabled flash when shooting this (no, not because I pitied the fish but because many photos before this one had the flash reflected back).

2. The same fish as above. The persistent me tried to shoot it with the flash on. The lights were still seen reflected. But it's interesting to notice how the color of the fish changed.

3. The fish & the color purple (or is it pink?)

4. Reflection. (Duh!)

5. By now, I realized I was more interested to capture the bubbles & how they hit the water surface.

6. Like the red & blue contrast. This fish didn't win any prize, though.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Fight or flight.

When I read this soon-to-be privatized blog, I just wonder why the hell those shameful copycats (assuming they are two different people, that is. You never know) do not set their blogs as private? Don’t these people read newspaper anymore?!

Like it or not, a blog—unless it’s set as private—is accessible by all. So if you are indeed committing that disgraceful act of plagiarism, shouldn’t you think to set your blog as private??? Think, you plagiarist, think!

But what if it’s not an act of copying? What if it’s a mere coincidence? (Watch “Lost” and you will see plenty coincidences there. Especially involving the numbers: 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42) Then shouldn’t the accused have the duty to explain? Shouldn’t he/she post a comment there & clarify?

That does not happen.

So if the accused did not fight back but instead chose to flight, what would the implication be? Your guess is as good as mine.

Not for sale in the UK - why?

I tried this medicine yesterday. Oh, yes. I am into drugs, alright. Only when I'm not well.

I must be seriously ill as I find myself disturbed with the label. Why is this Lemsip 'not for sale in the UK'? There must be perfectly valid reasons which I cannot think of any at the moment.

Not to gripe about the product--and put myself in a position to be sued for defamation?! No thanks.

In fact I especially like that the medicine does not cause drowsiness (I still could cruise through 3,472 words of productive writing last night).

Friday, November 24, 2006

You just have to love this guy (4)

Part 3: here.

Dear Author,

We've been through a lot together these past 21 days. We've laughed at our books. We've cried at our books. And, in the last three weeks, we've progressed steadily together through the five stages of novel-writing.

1. Denial
2. Anger
3. Bargaining
4. Depression
5. Acceptance

And together we've grown as---oh wait.

Those aren't the five stages of novel-writing. They're the five stages of grieving.

Well, there goes this week's pep talk.

But you know what? Those stages actually work pretty well for NaNoWriMo too.

Stage/Week One definitely had plenty of denial ("this isn't going to be that hard"). Stage/Week Two was full of anger ("why do I do this to myself every year?"). Then came Stage/Week Three's bargaining ("I'm spending Sunday in bed watching TV, but only because I'm going to get up at 4 AM Monday and write 18,000 words before I go to work.")

And now we reach Stage/Week Four. Depression.

Why depression? Shouldn't this be the all-out party point? What about the stuff in last week's email about 35K and the gravity changing and the Tibetan yak farmer with the superpowered writing totem? Isn't Week Four supposed to be the point when everything gets easier?

In a word: Yes.

This weekend, we'll hit the home stretch. Where our books leap into the 40,000s, and we bat out the last 10,000 words in an exuberant rush, crossing the 50k finish line with a few days (or minutes) to spare. A true storybook ending.

But there's also a certain bewilderment that comes with setting an impossible goal, working like mad, and then looking up to discover that you are on the verge of achieving it. Winning NaNoWriMo is something that you'll remember for the rest of your life, but winning means ending, and it's a little sad to accept (Stage Five!) the fact that the focus, productivity, and imaginative mayhem of these last 21 days will go away soon.

I'll talk about maintaining that momentum year-round in my final email, which will go out the first week of December. For now, though, we have a challenge to complete. And whatever your word count, know that you are on track for completing it. If that means you need to write 49,900 words this week, so be it. People do it every year. We'll have the wrist-icer, massage technician, and a gilded novelist crown ready for you when you come flying around the 50K bend.

The end is in sight! I'll see you at the finish line.

32,100 words and counting

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Plague of Sparrows Welcome the Kusu Pilgrims.

Missed Clifford Pier (with its strategic location), but its replacement, Marina South Pier was not really that bad. The pictures were taken on 20/11/06, the last day of Kusu Pilgrimage Season.

It was quite a sight to see many people go to take the ferry. Many of them were very old but determined. Some came with their children & grandchildren. A rare sight that put me in awe (and thus hopefully excuses me for not taking their photos) & shame as I felt that I failed my parents.

Never mind.

Let's talk about Kusu Island. I like the part about (quoted) "Legend has it that a magical tortoise turned itself into an island to save 2 shipwrecked sailors - a Malay & a Chinese." and the preceding sentence "From 2 tiny outcrops on a reef, the island was enlarged and transformed into an 8.5-hectare island holiday resort."

Poor tortoise.

Now ought to find some time to visit the Island. Next month, perhaps, to celebrate the completion of my 50,000-word novel. So I'd better accomplish it by the end of this month as per schedule.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Good/bad service charge

What ‘me’ commented in the previous post makes me wonder if ‘service charge’ is the culprit of the current dissatisfaction that some may experience, in particular in the F&B industry. Quoted:

in Singapore as tipping is not customary due to the service charge, many (but not all) in the service industry have this thinking that I'll get the same paycheck every month as long as I do my bare minimum.

I googled for ‘service charge’ & it led me to this Think Centre article by Tan Kim Chuan. An excerpt:
Restaurants get to keep the 10% service charge and only the tips will be distributed to the service staff. Good service should be rewarded with tips and not a mandatory fee. By doing away with the compulsory 10% service charge and encouraging a tipping culture, we may experience a better delivery of quality service.

That was in November 2002.

Was there any experiment done to get rid this mandatory service charge & was there any subsequent study conducted to examine whether the customer service did improve after that?

The thing is I am not sure whether this service charge was uniquely Singapore or whether other countries do have similar mandatory fee under different names.

Does Hongkong have it? Does Japan have it? Do the world’s top 25 service providing countries have it?

If they do, perhaps this service charge is not a factor to determine the quality of the service provided. Otherwise, why not getting rid of it? Let’s see how it affects the quality of the service.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Superior Customer Service.

No, I don't intend to further discuss about the word 'superior' & its meanings. I have had enough of it. Heh. But for the sake of being complete (also because I was too tired to elaborate about it), the below WordWeb screen capture may give you an idea what it is that the two linguists--spotlight to Ole'Wolvie & Sonic, please--were arguing last night. About the right usage of 'superior' in a sentence.

Click to enlarge.

Me? I prefer witnessing its implementation in real life. And I had seen it earlier that night. A superior customer service by one of the Surf 'N' Turf waitress. The following was an email that I sent to the email address found on the card. Why did I do this? Because I am still very tired & it's very easy to use 'blockquote'.

Oh, you meant why I posted the content of the email here? Because I believe the waitress deserves a recognition. Because I always have this suspicion that some companies do not let their employees know how much their service is truly valued by customers. Because I have no doubt that customers do play a role in a good or bad customer service.

Dear Sir / Mdm,

I'd like to higlight to you how impressed I am with your customer service. In particular, your waitress by the name of Catherine (or is it Katherine?).

She served us on Friday, 17/11/06 night.

It was my birthday celebration yesterday & we jokingly asked her whether there's any discount for me. She was very professional & friendly in handling our request. She even advised us patiently & with a smile which flavour of ice cream--that was given free of charge because of the celebration--to go with. She also waited & sang the "Happy Birthday" song with us.

I hope it can be let known to her and other staff of Surf 'N' Turf that we're very appreciative of the wonderful treatment. You guys do not need to do any "Go The Extra Miles" campaign. You are already doing it.

best rgds...(name omitted)

Friday, November 17, 2006

You just have to love this guy (3)

Part 2: here.

Third week & I too am lagging behind. So much for my Game Plan. Heh. The butterflies in my stomach must have been drowning in anxiety. Love the feeling. It will just make reaching the 50,000-word finish line a more satisfying experience. And I'd better remember this whenever I feel like giving up. ;-)

Here's another weekly email from Chris Baty.

Dear Author,

You remember those overachieving participants I talked about in last week's email? The ones speeding past us with word counts in the 20,000s, and "kick me" signs fluttering from their backs?

Most of them will be cruising into the 50,000-word winners' circle this week.


But you know what? I've been doing a little research. And I've discovered that thousands of participants haven't written word *one* of their books. Which makes those of us with more than 10,000 words to our name look pretty darn good by comparison. Not as far ahead as we'd like to be, maybe. But nowhere near out of contention.

And this is where I need to talk a little bit about 35K.

To me, there are two milestones in NaNoWriMo. The obvious one is 50k, when the champagne flows and the confetti falls, and your friends hoist you up on their shoulders and sing songs about your heroic novel-writing feat.

My favorite moment of the whole endeavor, though, comes at 35K. There's less singing, mind you, but when you hit 35k, you won't need a word-count tool to tell you you're there. If Week Two had a wall of fatigue at its core; Week Three is built around this glorious, chocolate-covered door called 35K. That portal opens into a wonderland of renewed energy, revived bookish enthusiasm, and serious happy-dances at the computer keyboard.

Because when you pass 35k, the gravity of the whole event changes. Writing is easier. Plotting is easier. And at 35K, you will see something in the distance that is both wonderful and bittersweet.

You'll see the end of this crazy noveling adventure.

We'll talk more about that next week. For now, the only important thing is getting to 35K. For those of us in the lower rungs of the word-count bracket, that may seem an impossible feat. But as NaNoWriMo participants, we eat the impossible for breakfast.

And just to make sure you have everything you need for this week's intense writing sessions, I've asked our technical overseer Russ to pack a little something extra into this email.

You see, eight years ago, while trekking across Tibet, I met an old yak farmer who lived alone in a small yurt filled with paperbacks. The older volumes were self-help guides to better living through topical applications of yak butter. But the more recent books included an array of detective fiction set in London, sci-fi tales about interplanetary wars between asparagus creatures, and a sassy series about a young woman just starting to make a name for herself in the publishing industry.

The farmer, it turns out, had written all of them.

When I asked him how he managed it, he explained that he'd found a secret totem on the steppe that endowed its possessor with superheroic noveling powers.

I excitedly told him about my idea for founding a project where everyone in the world would write a 50,000-word novel from scratch. He wept. Then he went and dug out the brown, wooden totem, and placed it in my hand. "Share it with your people," he said. "I don't need it anymore. Book contracts have ceased to have any meaning for me since Bertelsmann AG bought Random House."

He then lowered his sad eyes, and disappeared, leaving me with the curious object and keys to his yurt.

Thanks to that totem, I've managed to write a 50,000-word novel every year, overcoming dastardly word-count deficits and my own diabolical procrastinatory tendencies.

But now I think it's time to pass the torch. This morning, I ground up the totem, and asked Russ to carefully imbed a tiny portion of it into every Week Three pep talk email. You have it no w, and its magical writerly effects will last at least through the end of the month, and probably much longer.

All I ask in return is that you honor the last request the old man made to me before riding off into the yak-filled sunset.

"Please be at 35,000 words by the end of Week Three," he said. I nodded. I had no idea what he was talking about.

But I know now. As do you.

The challenge is mighty, but you are mightier still.

See you at 35K, writer!

18,400 words, 4 yaks, and 1 jumbo latte

Thursday, November 16, 2006

What's next is this...

To answer 'wei in the previous post. Both photos were taken in Chiang Mai.

I am not sure whether the above two places are used for NaNoWriMo write-in sessions. Like in Singapore, it is at Earshot Cafe. The place is cozy but their customer service has much to be improved as some commented (Source: NaNoWrimo Forum | Newbies. Click to enlarge).

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

“Thanks, so long & see you again!”

Preceded by a cue of “The customers are leaving” by one of the Breeks’ staff, the rest would greet in unison, “Thanks, so long & see you again!” Last night, I had this in mind to say, “No, we are not (leaving)!” & was curious to see how the chorus faltered.

That evil thought aside, I must acknowledge that their customers’ service was indeed superb. They were attentive (and full of smiles). They noticed I took a spoon from another table—not because I’m a kleptomaniac, my spoon was diving into the spicy gravy of some chicken patty—and the waiter (with a smile) hurried to give me one.

They were reasonable as well. They let us cancel an order because we apparently overestimated our ability to digest the meal. As I was in my writer’s mode yesterday, I weaved with dread a likely scenario whereby the waiter would speak louder announcing our cancellation to the other diners & earned us chuckles of disapproval, pity & disdain. Yes, that was unlike me who would usually not be bothered about how others’ thinking about me. I said I was in my writer’s mode, didn’t I? Sleep deprived & caffeine overdosed—the usual excuses. Cheer me up. Quick, buy the book “So You Think You Can Write A Novel?”. (At the Kinokuniya, Orchard outlet, it was located at the rack “A22-05” under a heading “Kinokuniya Bestsellers”, 5th row from the top.)

Anyway, get the book. Before the new upward revision of GST from 5% to 7% is applied.

Anyway (wth am I talking about? Oh, Breeks. Okay), I couldn't say that the food was fantastic. To be precise, I am not a qualified person to give such assessment. But one thing for sure, their customer service does make a difference.

Therefore, "Thanks, so long & see you again". This customer will very likely in the near future visit you again.

Friday, November 10, 2006

You just have to love this guy (2)

Another weekly email from Chris to share (Previous one: here).

Dear NaNoWriMo Participant,

Hi there! It's Chris Baty again. And if you accepted the challenge in last week's email, you opened a comfortable word-count lead right out of the gate, increased that lead in the first weekend, and are now sailing far ahead of pace, preparing to plunge because a crisis has brought some novel-eating turmoil into our lives.

Or because our stories are really, really bad, and we're wondering why we're sacrificing so much of our time to produce a consistently crappy book.

It all adds up to the fabled Week Two Wall---a low-point of energy, enthusiasm, and joie de novel that strikes most NaNoWriMo participants between days 7 and 14. This is when our inner editors, who largely turned a blind eye to our novel flailings in Week One, return to see how things are going. And their assessments are never kind.

The plot is draggy. The characters are boring. The dialogue is pointless, and the prose has all the panache of something dashed off by a distracted kindergartner.

If you're feeling any of these things---or find yourself starting to feel them this week---know that nothing is wrong. In fact, you're likely on track for a great NaNoWriMo. Just lower your head, pick up your pace, and write straight into the maw of your misgivings. If you are thinking about quitting, DO NOT DO IT IN WEEK TWO.

If you have to quit, do it in Week Three.

I'm serious.

Because if you quit in Week Two, you're going to miss an amazing moment---the moment when your novel begins to click. You'll miss a genius plot twist you can't foresee right now that will suddenly elevate your book from a distressing mess to a sort-of-tolerable mess. And then you'll miss the euphoric breakthrough that follows that twist, when your book improves itself all the way to not-half-bad.

Not-half-bad will make you scream, it feels so good.

And you know what? The more you write, the better it gets. So make it a priority to write in torrents this week. Allow your characters to change, and have change forced upon them. Follow your intuition, even if it leads away from where you thought your book was heading. And know that writing a novel is like building a car. Your only job this month is to create a clunky machine that will eventually move people from one place to another. If your beast rolls at all at this point, you're doing great. Pretty prose, snappy dialogue, brilliant metaphors---they're all part of the high-gloss paint job and finishing touches we put on *after* the body is built.

In December, we'll have nothing but time for adding flames to our hoods and airbrushing a majestic eagle or pair of sunrise stallions on the sides of our new rides. For now, the 20,000s are calling, and we can't get distracted by the small stuff if we're going to get there. In the challenging confines of Week Two, our books will truly be built. Characters will evolve. Plots will unfold. It's going to be difficult at times, but once we make it into (and out of) the 20,000s, everything gets much easier. And envious tales of our literary feat-in-the-making will begin circulating amongst our friends, family, and co-workers.

At which point, we'll probably find a note or two on our backs as well.

It'll be awesome.

Keep plowing onward, brave writer! Good things are coming. I'll be back next Wednesday for some thoughts on Week Three.

Dreaming about my airbrushed eagle,

8400 words and counting

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


David B. with his autobiographical graphic novel titled, Epileptic presents a gripping story about his life which had been strongly affected by his epileptic elder brother.

The artwork is simplistic, but the strength definitely lies in the plot. How do you cope when your sibling suffers epilepsy? How do your family handle the situation? How determined will they be in their search for the cure? They are all answered in Epileptic.

When I first browsed the book, I did not intend to borrow it. I did not understand about those men drawn with a cat’s face. I was confused with a man whose head was a bird’s. I did not get the meaning of the ghosts in the author’s garden that he visited regularly in the night.

I was wondering whether this was merely a wild fantasy that only a child could imagine. It was. However it was more than that. I realized it when I read the book from the beginning (So it was an autobiography! And in the form of a graphic novel? That idea appeals me). And I could not stop reading it till the last page.

The author narrated his dreams and as usual, dreams are often confusing & full of symbols. In this case, the dreams were very much touching & reflected the frustration that the author must have felt as he was growing up. For example, there was one about how he as a little boy operated on his late grandfather & saved him from his heart failure that killed him.

You will definitely want to read this book if you want to appreciate a heartwarming story--portrayed mostly from a little child’s point of view--about a family who never gave up their ailing family member.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Death of Cows.

This post should have been a cue that the next article ought to be about Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu, Mae Hong Son.

Still influenced by the Death Note show (no, they don't have the god of death for cows or Death of Cows, which makes me wonder--cannot recall at first [1]--why in the Terry Pratchett's discworld series only Death of Rats is allowed to exist) and perhaps The Imp's not-so-surprising comment about loving 'the green' in this particular article (Imp - elf - forest - green), I guess it makes a good point to post the following picture taken in Pai.

PS. [1] not for long, thanks to Wikipedia. About Death of Rats: here.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Jot A "Death Note"

Watched "Death Note" yesterday night. Day 2 NaNoWriMo and I was already disoriented due to the abuse of caffeine (stay clear from drugs, peeps).

I forgot where I kept the movie tickets. Yet I didn't care! As usual, when one doesn't even bother to find, the item will materialize by itself. In this case, the tickets were found inside my pocket nicely covered by my handkerchief. What the??? Yup, totally not me.

The show was cool. It's adapted from a manga series. Never read it or watch its anime. Thus, I can't compare how good / bad the movie version is. More or less, I was entertained. It's more a mystery than a horror (the death god, 'Ryuk' & his liking to apples lend a comic touch. Heh)

PS. the left image is the movie poster with Light at the left & "L" at the right. The right picture is the manga version of "L".

They're no Cujoes.

(By the way, what's a plural form of Cujo? Cujos or Cujoes?)

I wrote a little about dogs previously, specifically posted a photo of one of fierce ones. No, I'm not traumatized with canines. As I said, there could be indifferent and/or friendly too. For examples:

Taken in Pai, an indifferent family of dogs. The puppies were so endearing, but the mother eyed me warily. I kept my distance.

Also in Pai, on my way to revisit the temple on the hill. We both looked at each other cautiously as we passed on the road. No threatening growl. No wagging tail, either. Indifferent.

Still in Pai. Two indifferent dogs exchanged their morning greetings.

At Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu, Mae Hong Son. The dog might look as if it had some issues with the leaf. Nah, the dog was just busy chewing something.

On the way down from Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu. These puppies were friendly! They followed me down with their tails wagging.

And so was their mother. Friendly & I could sense her being proud of her two healthy, cute & well-mannered puppies. Kinda sorry that I didn't have any food with me (It's still rather early & I went to the temple to capture the 'sea of mist' that enveloped the city.)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

@Pai: Wat Phra That Mae Yen

To follow up on this article, these are stone steps that lead to the temple. A Lonely Planet book said altogether there are 353 steps. Went there twice, but I always forgot to count. Yeah, the fresh chill air of the morning & the scenery were such a welcome distraction.

The aforementioned scenery. (Note to self: this picture is not as good as the ones taken at Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu in Mae Hong Son)

The temple & a monk whose perfect timing managed to calm the dogs. I'm not a dog person, however I recognize the signs of a friendly dog, an indifferent one, and the "We bark furiously. True, we don't bite. But we might." type. No, they didn't bite. They merely looked down on me (literally speaking, because they were in the higher ground as I was just walking up towards the temple).

After the ruckus, one of the last type. I know what I felt was embarrassment--instead of fear--for being the one who caused all the noise.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

You just have to love this guy

Just received the motivational email from Chris. Heh. For the benefit of those who register late & thus, miss it, here's the content:

Dear Author,

Greetings! My name is Chris Baty, and I'm the director of National Novel Writing Month. Welcome to this year's noveling extravaganza! It's great to have you writing with us.

As impossible as it may seem standing here on the precipice overlooking a vast November, NaNoWriMo will be over before you know it. This month---like the book you started writing today---moves at a frightful pace. To help give you a heads-up on some of the spirit-lifting milestones and spleen-poking hazards we'll be flying past on our way to 50K, I'll be sending an email like this one to you every Wednesday of the month.

Which brings me neatly to the subject at hand: Week One.

Ah, sweet Week One.

Whether you're a first-timer or a NaNoWriMo veteran, Week One is epic. We step onto its stage clutching a few crumpled lines of dialogue, and bearing only the haziest notions of setting and story. And, when the curtain closes on the seventh day, we're improbably directing a strange and wonderful cast of characters, all of them eager to make their mark on the tale unfolding around them.

The keys to thriving in Week One are straightforward:

1) Surge early. To be on par for the month, you should be writing 1667 words per day. In Week One, try to get 2000 or 2500 a day, and beg, borrow, and steal as much of the first weekend as possible to write. You won't need to keep up this pace throughout the month, but nothing guarantees a NaNoWriMo victory (and a fun month) like opening up a hefty lead in the first week.

2) Know that you're not doing any of this alone. As you dive into your book, 70,000 other souls are going through the same ups and downs of the Great Sleep-Deprived Novel. Whenever you're feeling like hurling your laptop out the window or setting fire to your favorite noveling notebook, come to a local write-in or stop by the NaNoWriMo forums for encouragement and reassurance. Likewise, whenever you've had a ferociously productive writing day, celebrate by sending a pep talk or sports car or box of fantastically expensive Swiss chocolates to a writer in distress.

3) Embrace the fear. It's okay to be nervous. Nervous just means you're pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone---which is when great and magical things happen. Even if you have a complete story outline to serve as a map for the month, it's still terrifying to be stepping out into the frontier of your imagination. I blame this on a lifetime of exposure to the perplexing idea that art should be made by artists, and novels left to novelists.

As someone who has done NaNoWriMo for eight years now, I can tell you this: Novels are not written by novelists. Novels are written by everyday people who give themselves permission to write novels. Whatever your writing experience, you have a book in you that only you can write. And November is a beautiful month to get it written.

Have a great first week, everyone! I'll be writing like crazy until Wednesday the 8th, when I'll drop by your inbox again with some thoughts about the spleen-tastic adventures awaiting us in Week Two.

Write on!


Ok, ok...I got the message!

A street in Pai with a signboard that took my breath away--and this was after returning from the temple on the hill, Wat Phra That Mae Yen earlier in the morning & being barked at by the dogs. (Of course when they do that, they don't bite! But still...)

"Don't confuse coincidence with fate," I was repeatedly mumbling. Shamelessly copied that line from Lost.

This was taken at a tranquil garden at Wat Pra Singh, Chiang Mai. "Better is to apeak [sic] unpleasant truth than to tell lies". Truth, truth. Sigh.

Wrote about it once. And surely, at least in one of multiverses, there ought to be a version of me who told a lie on that certain incident. Things might have turned out better (or worse). Who knows?

I bet there is a part omitted. Something like in "Wear Sunscreen", this particular one: "Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how."

To forgive is all good & fine. But to forget, well, it is very much unlikely. Either the person who claims he/she can forget is a liar or suffers from a rare disease or injury which causes he/she to be continually unable to remember. A movie "Memento" comes to mind.

"The best revenge is to stop revenge." Not that revenge in any kind is possible. Yes, I do remember my promise. (I resent it, though.) Appreciate the timely reminder anyway.

Let the madness begin... the plot emerges from within.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) 2006 has started with 171 authors registered Singapore for their location. The numbers will definitely increase (madness is contagious) as more participants can register during this month. Welcome to the race against yourself!

I've been psyching myself by re-reading my past articles about NaNoWriMo.

My Game Plan is Day 1 for organizing the novel structure (plot & chapter breakdown), Day 2 to 26 for typing the story (2000 words/day. Hmm...) & the last 4 days for reviewing & editing.

Today is already Day 1. Dang! Should have included 'psyching myself by re-reading my past articles about NaNoWriMo' as part of the Plan.