Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Foretaste of Retirement Life?

Today is the fifth straight day on a stretch that I have been away from work since last Saturday, Monday being a public holiday (Memorial day) and the next two, my own leave. The two off days were not planned, but just kind of being carried along by the momentum of the holiday mood, perhaps a foretaste of what a retired life would feel like.

I would have to say it's a nice, relaxed feeling, one not burdened by work but entirely driven by one's volition. We spent the first two days on Dharma matters, attending two Dharma talks on consecutive days. Both have been Dharma bliss-filled occasions, granting us serenity and uplifting us spiritually. The next two were more mundane affairs, but physically soothing nonetheless.

We watched the latest Indy's flick that deals with crystal skulls. Harrison Ford is, well, Harrison Ford, a vintage performance. And we were introduced to Shia LaBeouf, the pretender to the maverick archaeologist's crown. He made a grand entrance reminiscent of the young Marlo Brando, a prompt we learned in today's movie review. But some of the scenes remind me of the Raiders of the Lost Ark, if one were to replace the mysterious forces of the remains in the gold casket with those wielded by alien beings. While the first Indy movie stopped at Area 51, this one started from there, with a ten-year hiatus. But that's as much as I would say about the movie.

Personally, and entertainment-wise, I would rate Iron Man a better cinematic experience. Somehow a human superhero aided by human ingenuity is more believable than the supernatural forces whose provenance would need more than a leap of faith to comprehend.

Then yesterday, we watched the first DVD (out of seven) of a Taiwan-made TV series entitled It Started with a Kiss. It was adapted from a Manga series involving the evolution of puppy love between two teens that blossoms into a lasting marital relationship, preceded as always by the infatuation stage that is decidedly one-sided. It may be an old theme but I would grant the cast for some refreshing angles that involve nothing more than good old fun, nothing in the league of the back-stabbing, blood curdling sagas of the daytime soap operas that thrive on scheming protagonists and carnal knowledge. According to CE, this is the Taiwan edition, which is cheaper than the Japanese edition that has better packaging. Incidentally, CE has served as an English consultant to provide the English subtitles for an online group, with occasional tips from us, rendered gratis. We are proud of her initiative, kind of taking after the father, don't you think?

It lasted three hours into the wee hours of the morning, a luxury that I have not indulged since maybe watching the Japanese series GTO (Great Teacher Onizuka) starring Sorimachi Takashi several years back while we were still in Malaysia, a record yet to be beaten. But these days there seem to be more kissing scenes, perhaps a reflection of the more liberating atmosphere in Asia, but nothing bordering on indecency.

Talking about the DVD set, it was delivered by USPS, supposedly a birthday gift for CE, but self-ordered online and self-paid, with our blessing. It came wrapped in a cardboard box that is just small enough to fit into our pigeon hole mail box placed outdoor at a central location typical of apartment complexes.

If you are not familiar with the mail box system here (or perhaps they are the same everywhere), just bear with me. Now, these mail boxes are arranged in a regular array of regular openings that span vertically and across. Each is accessed through an individual door opened by a key that is unique for each resident. But the postman would access the individual boxes differently. He/she would open a single panel large door that comprises all these individual mail-box doors to expose the mail boxes all at once. Then all he/she would need to do is to slot the mails into individual boxes, bypassing the trouble of opening individual doors and closing them after each delivery.

So the box went snugly into our mail box. But little did the postman realize that an individual door is actually crafted slightly smaller than the mail box itself to allow for side hinges on one side and for the bar lock on the other. That's where the trouble started, I simply could not slide the box package out, and being of cardboard construction, it can't be squeeze either. This is actually our second experience of the same whence we had to use a pair of scissors to cut open the box side so that it could be bent to offer a smaller sectional area for extraction. And that worked, but at the expense of the scissors the handle of which broke due to the brute force approach.

This time, though, we were better prepared. So I used a paper cut knife, you know, the sliding type, and sawed open the end of the box, revealing the DVD box set within. Luckily, the actual DVD box is smaller than the door dimension (but not much) and I was able to slide it ot. The rest was easy, the cardboard, minus the contents, was then easily collapsed and removed.

I'm not sure when the postman will learn about this size disparity and do the right thing, i.e., place such boxes in another larger common mail box (not assigned to anybody) specially designed for these odd-sized packages. The postman would then leave the key to that common mail box in the mail box of the resident concerned for later retrieval. I guess we may have to tell him/her one day. But we will give him/her another chance.

So that brought us to today, which we have not yet decided how the holiday mood should continue. Perhaps the second DVD, so that we could continue to laugh heartily at the silly antics therein, which at times would bring a chuckle or two as we were young and possessed with the same impulsive tendencies once.

Anyway, it is good to relive some old fond memories, vicariously notwithstanding, especially with wify by my side. A mere squeeze of her hand would bring up a knowing smile and a loving gaze from her. Such is the experience shared by two who have traveled this far in life together whereby a lot can be exchanged without having to say anything.


Lee Wei Joo said...

Bravo dad! I sure wish that you all will return to your home soil soon.

Kitty Girl said...

Ah, Dad, you big ol' cornball. Brian & I saw Indy as well, and we both really enjoyed it! We were both skeptical of Shia LeBouf in the movie (neither of us are big fans of his), but we agreed that he was actually really good in that role. I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. So--looks like you will enjoy retirement, eh?? Perhaps do some traveling with Mom? Pick up a new hobby? About the mail box for larger packages---yes, a note should be left for the postman. Here, we have two large mail boxes that are separate from the rest of the boxes just for this occasion.

Movies we saw that we really enjoyed: 3:10 to Yuma, Romance & Cigarettes (a bit of a musical, you might not like it as much), No Country for Old Men... We sort of liked There Will Be Blood. It was a strange movie, pretty violent. I really liked Sweeney Todd, but don't think either you nor Mom will.

As for tv, since we have no cable (luckily), I don't really watch much... Actually I actively stay away, since I know that once I start watching a tv show I can get hooked and absolutely have to watch it every week. Not that it's such hard work because I work nights mostly, anyway. I tease Mabes endlessly about her Taiwanese and Japanese dramas (the fact that I used to like watching Japanese dramas notwithstanding). I would like to have channels like Discovery, Food Network and Animal Planet, though.

Anyhow, I am happy you enjoyed your taste of retired life! Would you return to Malaysia, or stay here? Or perhaps a mixture of both?

Say Lee said...

Hi Children,

The present sentiments, based largely on Mom's, seem to indicate that we would likely retire in Malaysia. A compromise could perhaps be spending part of the time in US. But that would depend very much on where your two younger brother and sister work in a couple of years' time.

As for your movie list, we have only watched No Country for Old Men, courtesy of the 40% coupon from Borders. I think the only redeeming feature of the whole movie is Tommy Lee Jones. And to think that the movie won the best supporting actor award is just too much to stomach.

We finished the last of the 7 DVDs of It Started with A Kiss yesterday. And today we rewatched the last DVD and the bonus features. Because we were so caught up in the emotions of the moment that we missed some of the scenes. It showed up best in Mom's face: puffy eyes.

We should be receiving the 2nd season DVDs in about 3 weeks' time (they have to be restocked) whence another marathon viewing session will commence.