Thursday, November 27, 2008

Learning points

I've learnt that, when writing (or trying to write) a novel ...

1. one should not rush the story. It comes as it wants to.

2. writing in first person narrative is difficult.

3. 50 000 words is a killer. It's actually more than a hundred over pages. Was it two hundred? I forgot.

4. writing from existing characters is difficult. Because one has to keep to character, otherwise why write using existing characters?

5. I'm really bad at my tenses.

Posting here, because no face to go post in the LJ. Haha.

I'm that kind of person who writes a few lines then go and check the word count. Haha. I think I may not continue writing the story after November. No incentive. No motivation. As it is, I dunno why I'm even continuing to write, since there's no way I can magick up 40k words in 3 days, especially I have to work for the next few days.

I'm not even thinking of editing the story yet.

The other thing which I had been thinking about.

It takes a certain kind of person and age to like a gucci bag.


I've been shopping around with my mother, because she wants to get a bag. She said that 20 years ago, she bought a gucci bag for $300. She was shocked at the prices now. I said that a nice leather Tods bag cost over 2k. What does she expect? Duh.

So we went shopping at Gucci. I think I might start to like Gucci bags too. Heh. Wen already got one right? I want one too. :P Someday. Maybe when I'm slightly older. It takes a mature (aka taitai) look to carry a Gucci bag.

The last thing.

I was a bit irritated. No, very much irritated, when my mom told me that somebody said that in times of this economic crisis, people should dig out their savings and spend. Spend. Spend. Spend. To stimulate the economy. Go for spas, fine dining etc etc. Can't quite remember what exactly, mom told me that quite a while back.

I was quite pissed off because.

1. We don't really need you to tell us what to do, do we?

2. More importantly. Of all the things to say. It's true that we should spend money to stimulate the economy, but to tell us to dig into our savings is rather ridiculous right? After all, savings are for like old-age, health-care or for more important stuffs, and not frivolous stuffs. And what with all the increase in basic necessities, GST not even lowered, and the risk of retrenchment, or pay-cuts or people already losing money in shares (not for me, mind you), I think it's rather insensitive and ... well, it just doesn't go down well with me. I mean, after all, you aren't going to take care of us when we're old and enfeebled right? You'd rather agree to euthanasia and for everyone to work until we die. Do not fall sick. Do not pass goal. You are to work for the economy only. And work for our pay.

My NaNo

This is the prologue to my story which I'm writing for my NaNo. But because I'm so much into Skip Beat right now, it's kinda hard to get into the mood of Ghost Hunt again. So I haven't been writing much, and the deadline to the 50k words is this Sunday. I sure am not completing it. Anyway, since the two kids are finally knocked out, and I'm bored enough, I'm posting just the prologue here. Tell me what you think. :)

Actually as I continue into the story, my grammar and my tenses took a huge nosedive and ended up being very confused. Very very confused indeed.


The following story uses the characters from Ghost Hunt by Fuyumi Ono. Otherwise the story is written by me and whatever coincidences there are in real life are just coincidences.


1st November, Saturday

It has been almost a month since the Agawa case. I am Taniyama Mai, high school student, 17 years old. I work as a part-time investigator at SPR (Shibuya Psychic Research), the Japanese branch office of the British Society of Psychic Research. Our office is located at Shibuya Street, on a second story of a small building. If you do not know where to look, you may not be able to find it, as we are not popular or famous at all. The office investigates paranormal activities, and as suspicious as that may sound, we actually do have business … sometimes, that is.

What with the attitude of our young boss, Shibuya Kazuya, 18 years old, most would-be customers would be pissed off, if not, intimidated away. Shibuya Kazuya, as he is known in Japan, real name Dr Oliver Davis, is a paranormal researcher with the British Society of Psychic Research. I call him Naru, short for narcissistic. He is extremely good-looking, extremely intelligent, and extremely confident. And he knows it too. His personal assistant is Lin, full name Lin Koujo, a Chinese from Hong Kong, who practices the art of Taoist magic.

With both of them back in Japan after their trip from England, life in the office is back to normal.


It had been a gloomy morning today. The sky was overcast and the wind was beginning to be chilly. I pulled my sweater closer to me as I ran from the train station to the office. Yikes, I was already late. In such weather, the best place to be is to be in bed, with the warmest blanket possible. I was late not because I woke up late, but I wanted to lie in bed a little longer. Sigh, I can just hear Naru’s sarcastic response if he were to know my excuse.

“Mai, tea.”

I stepped into the office and those were the first words I heard. Don’t ask me how Naru knew it was me. He was covered by the screen, and I quickly pulled off my scarf and took off my sweater.

“Hai, hai,” I replied as I hanged my outer-clothes up.

I looked over the screen and was surprised to see a visitor. Both the visitor and Naru were sitting on the sofa in the reception area, the visitor’s back was to me. There was a forbidding air around Naru and I can feel animosity emitting out from his black figure. He was also frowning. Yep, definitely in a bad mood.

The visitor heard my step and he stood up and turned towards me. I stopped in surprise, a gasp escaping from my mouth.

“H .. Hirota-san.”

“Good morning, Taniyama-san. It’s been a while,” Hirota said, bowing politely.

“What brings you here?”

“I have something to discuss with Shibuya-san.”

“Mai, tea,” a rather irritated voice interrupted before I could question any further.

That certainly accounted for his bad mood. No tea and an unwelcome visitor so early in the morning. I hurried into the kitchen to prepare tea.

Hirota Seigi (aged twenty-four) is a detective with the Zero Investigation Squad of the Japan Police Force. The squad specialises in the investigation of paranormal stuffs or any unexplained stuffs which the normal police force cannot deal with. For someone working with supernatural stuffs, Hirota-san’s disbelieving attitude towards paranormal things sure is a paradox. I wonder how he survived so far in his department.

We met Hirota on the Agawa case. He was disguised as a client’s brother but was actually secretly investigating Naru over the death of his brother, Eugene. I’m not sure how convinced Hirota was, by the end of that case, of Naru’s innocence, or whether he is still in disbelief of the existence of ghosts, spirits and the likes.

Anyway …

“So what brings you here, Hirota-san,” Naru said as he sipped his tea slowly.

“As I said earlier, I had a case which seemed unusual and I would like to ask for your advice.”

Naru remained silent, as Hirota placed a piece of paper on the table.

“This is a photocopy of the original letter. Please take a look.”

I craned my neck forward to peer from behind Naru’s shoulder as he picked up the paper and read it:

“I have finally mastered the strength to write a letter. My body no longer exists in this world. I had died and was given a funeral. My death was neither suicide nor accident. I was murdered. Unfortunately I could not see who the killer was. Someone pushed me from behind. Desire to know and to have revenge is keeping me from passing on. Please help me.”

A chill ran down my spine. The last time the spirits have asked for help was in the Urado case, and that case was not pleasant at all.

I glanced down towards Naru as he placed the paper back on the table. He raised an eyebrow as he looked at Hirota.

“And you expect me to believe that this is not just a prank?”

“Here is a photocopy of the front and back of the envelope in which the letter arrived.”

The address on the envelope gave only the words: Police. Central Ward, Tokyo. Of course, it would be delivered. The envelope had the proper postage which was stamped with the date: 1st October, last month. The return address was Nishikawa Maiko, Itabashi Ward, Tokyo.

“This was the first of the letters which arrived. This letter was recovered from the corner of the room of the police officer who had thrown it away upon opening it. It was fortunate that this letter missed his wastepaper basket and ended up in a small corner. By the time the fifth letter arrived, the police officer started collecting all the subsequent letters and passed them to his superior. He also managed to find the first letter with the envelope, but unfortunately the rest were thrown away.

My department was given the case last week and I was assigned to be in charge. A letter with the same contents arrived everyday with the morning post. However, yesterday we received a different letter.”

Opening his briefcase, Hirota took out two more sheets of paper and placed them next to the first two papers.

The words on the letter were large, erratic.

“I am very tired. I will have my revenge. Someone must pay for this.”

The envelope was dated 30th October. The address and return address were the same.

“After I had received the case, I had done some enquires. This was what I have found of Nishikawa Maiko. She was seventeen at the time of her death. Her death was recorded as a suicide two years ago. Her body was found washed up along a river. She was an orphan who stayed and studied at a local boarding school which doubled up as an orphanage. According to the reports, her death was ruled as a suicide. There were evidences that she was depressed at that time, and a note was left behind, which indicated that suicide was the most likely cause, but now with these letters … ”

Hirota massaged his temples as he frowned towards the letters.

Naru cocked his head towards Hirota. “This appears to be more of a police case. I’m sure your department will be more than capable of re-opening the case and investigate the claims the letter has written.”

Hirota looked unhappy at what Naru said.

“I had gone down to the local boarding school to find out more from the staff. There had been some strange and unexplained occurrences in the school for a while. What I need to know is whether such a letter … is it really possible to be written by a spirit?”

“Does it matter? Whether the letter is written by a spirit or by a living person? You can still investigate the claims.”

Naru looked at the pained expression on Hirota’s face, and took pity on him.

“So what are these strange occurrences?”

Hirota opened his notepad.

“The teacher counsellor I spoke to mentioned that the school building has a history of being haunted. There have always been rumours and stories of students seeing ghosts, or hearing unexplained noises, and things moving by themselves when no one is around. However lately, such unexplained occurrences seem to be happening more frequently. She wasn’t sure when they start, but a student was hurt by broken glasses, another was pushed down the stairs, writings on walls appear mysteriously. Those were some things she heard but it seems that there were more.

Also, she had given me a sample of Nishikawa-san’s handwriting and I’m sending the documents for analysis. If the letter is written by a spirit as claimed, then not only do we have to re-open the case to investigate, we also have an angry spirit to contend with.

My department would like to humbly request your help as you are an authority in this area.”

Hearing that, I can’t help but burst out, “Does it mean that you now believe all these paranormal stuffs and ghosts and spirits and that Naru is not guilty of his brother’s death?”

“Mai,” Naru said sternly as Hirota winced from my outburst.

“But …” I looked at Naru as he shook his head almost unnoticeably.

I could see that Naru was curious about this case.

Hirota looked down at his shoes. “That is neither here nor there. However if …”

Just then, the doorbell chimed and a lady came in.

“Miyoshi-sensei …” Hirota was surprised.

If you have read up to here, please compliment me. Haha. I'm fishing for compliments. :P

Why I hate Lego x 100

At the end of the day, I had enough. All the stuff went back into the box and the box had been confiscated. He'll see it when he is six years old.

That was after I counted to make sure all the pieces were there, went hunting under bed and under the sofa for the missing pieces, and broke my back fixing up a 6 to 8 years old helicopter for him.

Which he then proceed to crash the 'copter and smashed it on the floor.

I don't care if there are any missing pieces.

They'll go into the vaccum cleaner tomorrow if the lousy maid is careless.

She can't even iron the curtains properly. I had to do them. And hang them up. Because she also can't hang them up properly.

The son is an expert blackmiller. He loves to ask if you are happy. And there can only be one right answer. Otherwise he'll cry. And he'll ask it when he knows you're angry with him.

Well, right now I'm angry with him. And he knows I'm angry with him.

So he's playing quite quietly by himself. I guess he's okay as long as I am not playing with his sister.

Thank god for my mother who came down after she heard both of them crying loudly over the phone today. Although she's glued to the TV most of the time.

Why I hate Lego

Buying a set of lego for 6 to 8 years old is a no-no.

On one side, the little one is screaming her head away just because.

On the other side, the big one is screaming his head away just because.

The little one wants to be carried? Wants to sleep? Is hungry? Is dirty?

The big one's 6-years-old Lego helicopter has its propeller dropped off again x 100 times.

Or the tail dropped off.

Or the propeller dropped off again x 100 times.

*sigh* x 100 times.

Maybe I should just indulge myself with retail therapy and buy that Tods bag.

Luckily I told the son that I dunno how to fix lego. Wait for the daddy to come home and fix for him. Otherwise, the 6-years-old lego helicopter set can change into a fighter jet plane or a propeller plane. And woe be me, if I have to change it for him x 100 times a day.

As it is, I'm fixing the propeller on the helicoper x 100 times already.

Maybe I should go and see what's nice at Tiffany too.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tempers a bit short

When one is with the kids all day long at home, one can eventually be driven up the wall.

Especially when the older is hyper-active and digs out toys after toys after toys, and the younger somehow just cries all day. And you want to do the spring cleaning.


My back hurts. I can't go for my massage cos' who is going to take care of both kids? Mom complains a lot when I leave both of them with her. My back hurts from carrying the younger one. Trust me. She's heavy. The difference between her and her brother is that she's so much softer (not so firm, muscles that is) at that age.

I need a haircut and a proper hair treatment. So I ended up cutting my fringe myself, and making a mess out of it, because the younger was crying at the same time. Did my aloe vera hair treatment though. Gosh, when was the last time I did that? I remember last time Wen and I were crazy enough to even buy candlenuts, fry them and put on hair. Heh. I missed a papaya wrap though. That was really good.

I missed a nice massage and a nice wrap and a nice hair treatment and a nice pedicure.

So two more medicated plasters for my poor back. I'm afraid to put more than two each time because the last time I did, my son developed some rashes after breastfeeding.

Am so not writing for my NaNo anymore, because by the time I'm free at night, I'm just brain dead and zombified, and all I want to do is to vegetate, read and watch animes.

Favourite anime is Skip Beat. I went to buy the manga. One volume only. In Japanese no less. Because I figured that since the mandarin version is in traditional Chinese characters, it's a bit hard to read anyway, so might as well get the original. I'm against getting the English version anymore, because it's simply too fake. I'll wait for the sale and get the whole series. Yeah, I'm that crazy about it.

But it's really funny.

I like Nodame too. It makes me want to play my piano. Started learning Schubert Sonata in A because the piece was played in the anime. Played really sweetly. Am still learning to play Sibelius Romance Op 24 No 9. It isn't really difficult, more like a Chopin rather than a Liszt. I was afraid it was going to be like a Liszt when I saw Anton Nel's Youtube recording. But the score didn't seem so difficult. I went down to the library to get the score and met Xel for tea. I wish I could get a new piano. Hubby told me to get it tuned, but it's not just the tuning part. *sigh*

It's going to be hard to stop work next year. I don't really want to, but then there's no one to take care of the kids. It's also scary not to be working. The money part, the freedom and expectations.

We got a new car. I'd love to have an audi. I'll miss this old Renault. It's so damn solid. People bang into us also no need to repair. Ha. I remember I banged someone's boot and her boot totally crumbled. My front hardly had a scratch. Hubby had the left back door banged up twice, and never got it repaired. Gosh, four years fly so fast. The car is now making funny noises, that's why hubby wants to get a new car. If it were me, I'll drive till the car is on its last legs.

I'm lucky both my kids sleep through the night.

I need to start losing weight.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A dismal world

You know your brain isn't functioning very well when you start keying in wrong userid and password. Hmmf.

NaNo has been quite dismal, since I haven't written anything since Sunday. Check out my synopsis here. I really ought to start to write even a bit, but have been busy with other things.

Met up with fellow blogger yesterday. Been a looong time since I've last saw her, except for her pics in MSN. Gosh. The last time I met her face to face was before I had my son! Waah. Talk about super long ago. Was talking about why I don't feel like blogging anymore. Mainly because no one reads my blog. Haha. Then again, another reason was the gag I enforce myself. Can't write about work, can't write about hubby's work, can't write too much about kids, can't post pics of kids, can't write about politics ... so basically there's nothing to write about. My interest blog is on my LJ. I hardly write anything there either. But if you're interested and you know me, drop me an email or MSN. :)

Caught up with the gossip of what other bloggers are doing. Stuffs I used to read last time. Which I don't now, only those links I have on my sidebar. Some of those links also needed to be updated. Well, perhaps when I have more time, I might change a few links over there.

Damn, I get more comments on my posts on my LJ than here. *mutter*

Heh heh.

Anyway ... just a thought ... perhaps what we really want is just an apology for losing the money, instead of a shove-in-your-mouth that you ought to be thankful that there is a profit. WTF.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Long time no post

Yep, long time no post. Been busy with work, the kids, work at the clinic, and finally a new project. Was influenced by some people in LJ and started on NaNo. That is actually a competition, sort-of .. I mean, to write a novel of 50 000 words in one month. In the month of November. That is. Now half the month has gone by, but I don't have 25 000 words yet. Arrgh. I'm way way behind, and I doubt I'll have the time to complete anything.

I'm posting stuffs over at my LJ. So if you wanna read my story, which is basically a fan-fiction, which means I'm using characters based on a published source. Of course credits are given duely to the author. People who know me might know which characters I'm using. Hahah.

I've got a new craze now. I love Skip Beat. :)