Friday, August 20, 2004

Ooh... look at the date. It should mean something I guess, but nothing feels different.

I am still behind on certain obligations, but am accepting a few more regardless. Cara invited me to be one of the staff speakers at the Farewell Assembly to represent the Arts fac and I will most likely accept. For me it's an opportunity to remember and state for the record my memories of this year and have others share in them at the same time. Cara thinks I will be an entertaining presenter, but I have my doubts about that. It's hard to be cheery and light-hearted when the occasion is to say good-bye. I know my heart will be heavy even though I will probably be sporting a mad grin throughout the ceremony. Letting go of the familiar and facing the unknown -- next year's batch -- is a difficult thing. I will be a year older and they will be a year younger, and the gap widens. How will I relate then?

What's left as of today's date in terms of formal curriculum time numbers as four tutorial and two lecture slots. It's all countable on the fingers of one hand now (unless you count them all at the same time, duh. Well, I once had a classmate who had six fingers on his right hand...).

After the prelims, the next step for them is the free-for-all last few weeks where they work at their studies according to their own time-table as they negotiate for personal time with their respective tutors. This is where the true learning begins. These mad few weeks, students are really left to their own devices, to involve themselves in independent learning; not as an "educational initiative" but rather as a practical necessity because there really will be NO MORE LESSONS! The quantum leap in their learning at this time will be tremendous, as long as they fully engage in and take responsibility for their own success. Free from the formal curriculum, students will actually find time to study. Or slack-off. I hope for all their sakes that they choose wisely, and take the option that's right for themselves.

The Earth swings once more around the sun, and time marches relentlessly onward...

Thursday, August 19, 2004

It's so irritating! Must be my week to pick up viruses. Norton just discovered I downloaded a 'hacktool' from who knows where. Going offline again to kill the bloody thing! Damn it!

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Past few entries have been rather inward looking. My computer, my room, my (lack of) health. So many other things happening around me that are historic, spectacular and amazing, like LSL becoming PM, the nation turning 39 last week and the debut of Singapore Idol, but all I can think about is me, me, me. I must be losing my perspective.

Today, the countdown banner reads 79 days to 'A' levels. To the students it means 79 days left to work towards making their year-and-a-half in college as profitable as possible. Sometimes, the countdown can be a major discourager rather than a motivator. 79 days left, not enough time to study, might as well just give up and enjoy life before the end (now THAT's 'eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die'). I hope they don't adopt this view, though. That's the pessimist's half-empty glass. Of course, there will be the incorrigible optimist who sees 79 dys as 'plenty of time left to study,' which obviously isn't true either.Yup, let's all have a perspective check and make the best use of the time we have left together.

To me, 79 days left means just a few days left before my nest is empty again. I'll miss this brood a lot. I've probably learned more from them than they have from me, but then it's because I've discovered long ago that every encounter, on condition that there is full engagement, is a learning experience, and a fulfilling one at that. Anyone who learns this idea and appreciates it can claim to be properly educated. Anyone with academic achievement without learning this has learned nothing at all.

79 days to the parting of our ways. These last few days, let us walk together. Let's not let this happen, eh...?

This picture made me really upset. I hope it's a fake.
Posted by Hello

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

As I look around my room, it occurs to me that I have way too much stuff. Most of it is probably junk and needs to be thrown away, but it's all still here, hanging around me, not allowing me to move on with my life. I'd take a picture of my desk, but I'm too ashamed of the way it looks right now to let anyone see it. Take my word for it: I've got an accumulation of letters and old bills, flyers, brochures, tatty magazines, media disks, assorted packaging that used to contain PC peripherals or software, a nightmarish tangle of cables connecting Watson to everything he's supposed to be attached to, an empty snack container, scattered stationery and mainly, no place for me to do any actual work on. My little bookshelf is crammed with books, as it should be, but other er... things squat there as well, and the shelves are sagging under the weight.

I like a mess -- it has a 'lived-in' look but when I can't find a comfortable space to do what I need to do, I get the feeling enough is enough. Some drastic junking is going to have to take place soon. There is so much unnecessary blockage that must be cleared or all that inertia is just going to pull me down.

Jen commented last week that when she visited us when we had just moved in she was amazed at how neat and sparse our house was. At how little we had. It's not like we went on a campaign to acquire things, it's more like we got the things necessary for our daily needs but just couldn't be bothered enough to discard the packaging that came with them. What Jen said sparked a memory of our place back then. I liked it that way too. Can I now go back and embrace the freedom of having nothing again? Well, a large garbage bag or two would be a start, oh, and if I could find a way to get all this stuff recycled responsibly that would be nice too.

June, this is my war. I know you'd love to help, but the mess is my mess, the desk is my desk, and so the responsibility to dump the junk is mine too. Let's see... when would be a good time?

Monday, August 16, 2004

Ahh... it's great to be back online again. Back last week when everything seemed ok with Watson, little problems started cropping up over and over again eventually leading to a totally unstable OS, shutting down and restarting endlessly as soon as XP booted up.

In desperation, I reformatted my hard drive and reinstalled XP from scratch and *fingers crossed* things seem to have regained some normality again. Lost a lot of files in the process, but they were mostly junk files that I can live without. All my important files are in a separate disk altogether, though that disk needs some tidying up now.

Short entries this week. Marking deadline too close to play the fool now. Focus...

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Temporarily going offline. ADSL modem driver becoming unstable. Need fix...
Having an extremely boring weekend, which is good because I haven't had one in a while. Swamped with the marking of Term 3's common test and while we've got our deadline extended to Thursday, I'm stll hard pressed to make it. It'll take every ounce of discipline and determination to get it done, so wish me luck folks.

The one healthy thing I did today was to take a short walk around Yishun Park with the dogs. I'll take whatever exercise I can because my recent weight gain is quite worrying. Last night my weighing scale read 80kg, way over the limit for my height. I suspect I started gaining weight since I began having a regular 3 meals a day, and what I usually have for lunch now is almost, if not more substantial than dinner. It's weekday lunches at our unofficial canteen that's to blame for this. I've not eaten so well before we discovered GFC (a.k.a. Gerald's Favourite Coffee-shop, no, I don't know how that name came about). Must restrain myself from now: regardless of what the others order, I have to order much less for myself. Noodles then while they have rice. Still have to decide what I can do to exercise more. Hmm...

Anyway, while I'm geting these petty details sorted out in my life, here's a link to someone who is observing Hurricane Charley over in Florida. Hope she and her family will be ok.