Philip Brewer's Writing Progress


Friday, 02 August 2002

It's nearly dawn in Singapore, a little before 6:00 in the morning. I woke up at 3:30. Actually, I've been waking up at 3:30 every morning I've been here, but all the previous mornings I went back to sleep and slept until my alarm went off at 7:00. But today I woke with my mind full of things.

I had remembered a bit of information I hadn't included in the summary of the day's testing that I sent to the office. I also thought I had figured out a bit more of how the story I was last working on should go. I knew I wasn't going to be able to get back to sleep while trying to remember those thing, so I got up. I wrote about a page of my story. And I logged in to work and sent email with the bit of useful info.

I also checked my email for news from my family. It was early afternoon yesterday in the US. I had several messages from Jackie and a few from my mom, dad, and brother. I read them and sent replies.

Then I tried to go back to sleep.

Around 5:30 I gave up.

Now I'm showered and have my clothes laid out to wear today. In a while I'll go down and have breakfast, but I thought I'd write a journal entry first.

My hotel room has a little room that is almost, but not quite, a balcony. It's almost more like a solarium, having big glass windows on two sides. There's a glass-topped table and two cane chairs with cushioned seats.

To the right there's an apartment building with real balconies No one who lives there seems to be up this early. Directly ahead there's a taller building that shows the same, even light from every window. Maybe it's an office building, and that's the security lighting inside.

Most of the rest of my view is buildings as well, broken up only by some back streets and some parking. There aren't many people about; the few I see seem to be parking lot attendants, although just new I see someone walking a dog.

They've left a copy of the local newspaper, The Straits Times at my door each day. It has an odd, small-town feel to it, with lots of boosterism for Singapore in it. There are a couple of top international stories, Singapore's medals in the Commonwealth Games, and some sex scandals. The rest of it is mostly business news. In fact, the TV news here seems to be mostly business news as well. I'm as in-touch with the US stock market performance as I would be at home, except that all the action takes place while I'm asleep.

I went shopping yesterday, to buy Jackie some batik fabric. That was quite an experience.

It was familiar, in a way, because it was just like eastern markets always are in stories. Shop-keepers catch your eye, strike up conversations, and quickly turn them to trying to sell their wares. There seems to be no way end an interaction politely. I didn't think of it at the time, but now as I write this, I realize that it is just like the sort of conversation one might have with a telemarketer. I found it stressful--I don't usually just ignore and walk away from people I'm talking to, but I really didn't want to buy a suit. But (I should have realized more quickly) it's pointless to try to convince them that I don't need a suit--they don't care, they want me to buy a suit anyway.

I did find some fabric to get Jackie. I'm sure I paid vastly more for it than necessary, but I'm not too unhappy about that (as long as it really is batik and not just some print).

I was going to describe the sunrise, but the sky is only now starting to lighten. The buildings, which had seemed light against the nighttime sky, now loom as dark shapes against the lighter sky.

It is time for my day to begin. I will watch the business news (markets in the US just closed a couple hours ago). Then I'll go have breakfast. In just two hours I need to be at the testing venue for our final day of testing.

I'll probably go ahead and post this early (there are network connections in the testing lab). I just realized that there may be a bug in the code that links journal entries--it may not be able to handle entries posted for a future day (which it will still be the timezone where my server is for another few hours). Well, we'll see.


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