Greetings and Salutations!

Welcome to the longest-running* yet least-read** blog on the internet! Here you'll find me writing about all the things that I write about, which strikes me, just now, as somewhat recursive. In any case, enjoy :)

* not true ** probably true

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Mt. Coolum

Mt. Coolum
Originally uploaded by MercerMachine.
I'm in Australia, and you're not! Unless of course you are. In which case, G'day, howyagoin?

Monday, August 22, 2005

I'm that guy

I’m the guy who’s 34 years old. I am a father, a husband, a son and a brother. I am a writer, and a slacker. I am by turns diligent and lazy, surly and kind. I am, to some, ‘that kwai ang mo’ and to others (a couple of exes) ‘that sonofabitch’. I’m that guy.

I am the one that stole your pen, and I am the one that left a bag of dog food next to you while you and your dog slept on the sidewalk outside the pharmacy. I am the guy that always orders the regular ice blend mocha from you, no whipped cream, then sits outside and reads and writes and chain smokes. I am the guy that buys one can of Dr Pepper at a time from you, because it’s a reward for small accomplishments.

I’m the guy who’s still waiting for you to apologize.

I am the guy that sat down in the parking lot and stared up at the full harvest moon, and you came up to me, jittery from the crystal meth, and asked me what I was doing. And when I told you, you said ‘Yeah, I’ve seen her up there, dancing like Stevie Nicks in pink chiffon’.

I’m the guy that ran over your dog, and what the hell was he doing out at one am? I am the guy that said your mother looked like a turtle, only I didn’t know it was your mother and I still feel bad about that. I am the guy that fell asleep during the philosophy final, and thanks for kicking my seat.

I’m the guy whose shirt you poured ink on.

I’m the one who threw up in (near, around) your recliner, and I’m the one who chopped down the evergreen in your front lawn. I’m also the one who changes your diapers at four in the morning, and the guy who sits with you while you take your shower for a month after you watch a scary movie.

I’m the guy who likes cheese.

I’m the guy you mocked in Geometry class, and I’m the guy you punched in the face for burning the tapioca pudding. I’m the guy who went to your funeral after you wrapped yourself around a tree on that stupid motorcycle, even though I never liked you. I’m the one who wouldn’t go down to the golf course to make out with you. I’m the one who stayed up all night waiting for you to call.

I’m the one who left.

I’m the one saw you come out of the womb, and wondered if your head would always be so pointy. I’m the guy who promised I’d be there, but wasn’t. I’m the one who didn’t stutter when it came time to say ‘comfort’.

Yeah, I’m that guy. Who are you?

Thursday, August 18, 2005


Human behavior never ceases to amaze me. Human behavior on the bus in particular.
There was the lady who told me she was carrying the baby Jesus inside her womb. And there was the balding guy with the Hitler moustache who professed his undying love for me, and the Vietnam vet who offered me a joint, and then who could forget the little old man who pulled down his pants and took a dump on the seat.… Now I have my Singapore bus story.

I am all for good foot hygiene. Let me be perfectly clear about that. I can even imagine instances where it would be necessary to conduct foot hygiene in public (though I have to stretch my imagination to do so). But when I saw a man clipping his toenails on the upper deck of the No. 7 bus, my mind just sorta seized up.

He had the front seats to himself, but the bus was far from empty. I was seated on the other row, but I didn’t even notice him until I heard that distinctive cleop sound of a toenail being forcibly shortened by nail clippers.


My head swiveled around from staring out the side window instinctively. Such a familiar sound, so very out of place…

He looked like any kopi stall assistant. He was wearing a droopy blue and white striped polo shirt, baggy gray shorts and sandals. Actually, the sandals were on the floor next to him. He was bent over his right foot, eyes inches from toes and head inches from the wall below the front windshield, and with every lurch of the bus, his bristly hair brushed that wall. His face, what I could see of it, was set in that sort of stony-blank mold of concentration.


We pulled into a stop with a shuddering lurch. I waited for blood to flow.

cleop cleop.

A dim part of my mind wondered if I should put on my glasses, just in case a clipping happened fly in my direction, but I couldn’t seem to tear my eyes away. I knew, knew that this was going to end badly. And I didn’t want to miss it.

We pulled out again, and I guess he was satisfied with his left foot. He moved on to the right. But the angle was wrong or he was finally, belatedly worried about smashing his head in, because he then put his left foot on the seat in order to finish his little mobile DIY pedicure.


It was at this point that my fear of being blinded really kicked in. Yes, it would end badly. For me. And still I couldn’t look away.


Destiny cheated me of my resolution. The bus pulled up to Dhoby Ghaut and I had to disembark. The cognitive dissonance, the catharsis denied is fading only slowly. But I know that somewhere in Singapore there is a kopi stall assistant walking around with 9 3/4 toes, who will never, ever attempt a mobile pedicure again.

Monday, August 15, 2005

T3: Rise of the MachineBoy

MachineBoy is increasingly sentient. This is not a good thing.

He wants things. He is interactive. Whether we like it or not. And he has no awareness or regard for concepts such as ‘an ungodly hour’.

He says ‘Mawah agoor! SCREE! Bloorve..’

This means ‘Play with me now, hairy one! It’s 4 am and I am no longer content to lay in bed gurgling and playing with my own hands. WAKE UP AND PLAY OR YOU’LL REGRET IT! I like that one game where you tickle my sides, hint hint.’

I think his first word will be unprintable.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

National Day vs Independence Day

Ok, so I finally saw Singapore’s National Day celebrations (on tv). Back home (the US) we have something vaguely similar for Independence Day (4th of July), but not so much with the military theme (who exactly was guarding the nation when everybody was in the parade? Also, not so much with the strange kindergarten dance routines (I’m a tree! I’m an orchid! I’m a monkey! We all dance!).

No, mostly we just make our decrepit veterans march down the street in the sweltering heat, trailing oxygen tanks and colostomy bags, along with high school marching bands in funny hats and scratchy wool or polyester uniforms, baton twirlers, and Shriners (old men wearing fezes and driving these teeny-tiny cars they build themselves, their knees up by their ears, performing precision maneuvers). And floats. Lots of pointless floats, from obscure groups. And then later we all get drunk and eat charred meat. And after the free professional fireworks are over, we blow ourselves up/burn our neighbor’s house down/ get a ticket from the cops using quasi-legal fireworks bought from roadside stands that sprout like mushrooms just outside the city limits a few weeks before.

Now THAT’s how you have a national celebration. But then, the US has 189 more years of experience at such things than Singapore.