Saturday, September 25, 2004

We mark the passing of John Burb, who was paid a visit by the Reaper only hours after his retirement. The family was in a shambles, his wife, Jennifer, had to be consoled by the psychaiatrist, then spent the rest of the evening practicing on the piano. Daughter, Judy, simply couldn't get the hang of raising her son, Marco, properly. Everytime she wanted to bond with him, he wanted to sleep. When he wanted her attention, she was too tired. Marco spent much of his time playing with the water in the toilet and making puddle after puddle on the bathroom floor.

On Marco's birthday, Judy invited a number of guests over to celebrate, but only 3 of her friends showed up. Sad. But just as the party was getting good, the Party Mood Indicator suddenly declared the party a "Disaster" for no explicable reason. Then it became clear. In full sight of everyone, the Reaper visited again and took Jennifer with him. Everyone burst into tears and Marco was traumatized. Poor kid.

Anyway, the good news is, Judy tracked down Marco's father and it was a good thing they were still crazy about each other. So Brandon has moved in to take up the slack left by the now absent grandparents.

Potential problems for the family: Judy and Brandon are both Slackers and both Romantics, which means that they are not likely to remain faithful to each other. Judy is also a couple of days away from becoming Elderly, while Brandon is still young and virile. And Jennifer's ghost haunts the house every now and then...

Stay tuned to the next installment of The Sims 2: The Burbs in Pleasantville, QEV version.

Friday, September 24, 2004

The marking's over for me, but now there's the marker's report to put up and the feedback session to plan. Amidst all this, the ill-timed J1 Security Seminar is also scheduled for next Wed, and I have yet to finalize the arrangements. The AV, the furniture, the students' briefing, the Civics Tutors' briefing. Well, I've sort of done it before, so I dare say I'll live through it again.

But at least I got the Security info books distributed to the J1 Civics Tutors today. I batched over 800 books by CT strength and I personally delivered them by hand to the respective CTs. I made use of one of the office chairs we had salvaged from the old building as makeshift trolley, wheeling the piles of books around the staff room and making a mega racket as the chair wasn't about to take the abuse quietly. Kim Seng stopped to ask if I had found a new way to amuse myself. I assured her that I was in no way amused even if everyone else was. Think I pulled a muscle in my right leg what with all the lifting and pulling, fetching and carrying that was going on. This old man better take care of himself too.

Lunch was at Casurina Road. Small Japanese place, reasonable set lunch, especially good on Friday because there's a selection of Japanese-style fish for the main course (cost: $7.50 per set). Vince and I had the salmon sashimi, Boon Sin the grilled salmon, Amy the unagi set and we ordered another grilled salmon for Cara who whirled in to join us late (stuck in traffic), gobbled everything down in record time and whirled out again even before we realized that there was dessert still pending. She was on an invig break which meant she only had less than an hour to drive out, eat and drive back before Pete, whom she was going to be relieving, would start making noise. Or explode. Or end the paper early out of sheer boredom. Or something drastic.

We had also ordered an "ika mayo," which turned out to be steamed squid nesting under a thick blanket of Japanese mayo. It made for a gorgeous little appetizer while we waited for the main course to arrive. Dessert was a generous scoop of macha or green-tea ice-cream which had a satsfyingly, erm... full flavour is the best I can describe it. Since I offered to pay for Cara's meal as she had already disappeared, I devoured her dessert in partial compensation. Yummy.

So much for KTV, everyone seems to be busy this evening. We've tentatively postponed it to next Wed, subject to further confirmation. Oh, yeah, better call Fran and set up a dinner date for tomorrow night. We're inheriting all his Amazing Race videos from Season 1 onwards since he won't be bringing them back with him when he returns to Winnipeg next month.

Edit 01:
Got this off free_spirit's blog:

eXpressive: 2/10
Practical: 7/10
Physical: 5/10
Giver: 1/10
You are a RPYT--Reserved Practical Physical Taker. This makes you a Stoic.

You are intelligent, rugged, disciplined and profound. Even if you're saddled with a desk job, you are starving for the outdoors. You are very slow to warm up to people, and people are slow to warm up to you, but once they know you they never forget you.
You do not get much attention from your target sex, and this means you can feel unloved or unwanted. This is not the case! You are just a hard nut to crack, and your social anxiety leaves you overlooked or outside the frame altogether. What is good for you is increments of low-interaction group activity, like sports or outdoor work. The person who can chop wood with you will melt your heart.
In a long term relationship, you are loving and devoted. You are calm in a conflict until your partner presses your buttons -- it's never the problem at hand that gets under your skin, but how your partner handles it. Don't take offense! Sometimes it's just the only way your partner knows how to express things.
You would never cheat, and your approach to sex is conventional and almost prudish. But sex for you is a release and a necessity of life, and you have a sense of entitlement about it that can be trouble. Make sure your partner is comfortable and satisfied -- by communicating both in and out of the bedroom -- and you will be more satisfied yourself.
You may take a lot of what your partner does for granted. Make a special effort to reward and validate him/her, and you will be repaid in spades.
You have nice legs. *ahem*

Of the 103202 people who have taken this quiz, 4.2 % are this type.

Not a bad description, I must say. If you want to take this personality test, here's the link.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

P is taking great pains to spruce up the professional image of the college. She reminded us staff of all the rules and regs relating to our proper dress code during this afternoon's contact time. No flip-flops or sandals, fine; no bermudas, fine; no sleeveless and/or belly-button revealing tops, fine; no round-necked t-shirts, fine; we didn't really see the problem as no one wears this stuff on a working day anyway. She clarified: on dress-down Fridays too. Oh. On dress-down Friday, collared polo shirts only, not even house t-shirts or CCA t-shirts, or CT t-shirts. Oh... These rules and regs apply to staff returning to college during holiday time as well. Oh! During holiday time we are to dress in smart office wear, no casual days at all. Doh!

Interesting that this item is on the same agenda as the item about how our annual performance ranking is going to be calculated. Apparently there's a significant component from our perceived professionalism of conduct.

Fine. I'll do my part to enhance the professional image of the college. Since the concept of dress-down Friday is illusory at best, it's back to normal working dress as usual. Sorry, folks, you'll never see me in our CT t-shirt. I hear good things about the design, though. As for the hols, I'll stay away from campus unless absolutely necessary. No need for thanks, it's the least I could do.

And dinner was just fine, thank you. 1st Aunt's birthday, and we celebrated it at the Keppel Club's Kippo of the Tung Luk group of restaurants. Mom is gallivanting along the Silk Road (yeah, she took off straight after she returned from Alaska), so the empty space at the table meant June and I got a temporary promotion to the "uncles and aunties" table. Most of the food came my way as the elders don't eat much, 8-courses worth, I think.

I was most impressed with the cold starter; cold lobster fruit salad served in two halves of a gutted cantaloupe topped with a lattice of mayonnaise. Everything else that followed was as one would normally expect from a formal Chinese dinner, excpet that I didn't detect much MSG useage, and the dishes were quite light and tasty without being overstated. Let me see... pre-starter birthday buns (peach shaped), hot & sour soup, steamed garoupa, scallops in a deep-fried potato basket, a venison dish, noodles and red bean soup for dessert.

I was substantially full after dinner, but not uncomfortably stuffed, considering that I had seconds and thirds while everyone else practically pecked 'round the platters. The birthday cake was a white cake with mint cream between the layers. An unusual flavour, not unpleasent like it might have been, but also nothing I would crave any time soon.

And then I wonder why I've been gaining weight. Hope I can fit into my dress pants tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

It's over for the prelims (for mostly everyone I know) and for my prelim marking as well! I breathe again. It feels good to have done something before the deadline for once. Even when I received a "bonus" essay from Nirmala who discovered one of my questions mixed up in her pile, it was little effort for me to work on it as I was already in a pretty good mood.

Lunched at Gardens market to follow up from yesterday's lunch. The noodle stall guy who so looks like a surfer dude had closed his stall early today (or maybe we were late) but we were there for the satay. After Gerald's few sticks of beef satay yesterday that we shared, we were instantly hooked and just had to go for more. Waited for Mel to finish class at 1:40 then we were off, me, Amy, Mel, Bhagia. Cara joined us later.

The Hokkien mee stall auntie knows Mel pretty well -- yeah, they go waaay back -- and her Hokkien mee isn't bad either. Not clumpy or mushy but each individual strand integral to itself, and the gravy has a slight hint of seafood, which was nice. Unfortunately I couldn't finish my plate as our table got precision-bombed by a flock of mynahs arguing amongst themselves overhead. When the lime seeds I neatly piled up on the side of my plate suddenly scattered themselves around the table, I knew I'd been hit. Cara likewise had to abandon her mee pok due to the high possibility of fallout or at least splash damage. We'll be back though! No birdbrain is going to come between us and our lunch again!

There's a Karaoke contest organized by the CCS for the LEAP carnival and Jong Yann is madly signing staff up for it. I was game (JY can be quite pursuasive) but the catch is that it must be a Mandarin song. Right. Ah. I promised her a rendition of 'ke1 ren2 lai3' just to keep Team Pegasus' house points riding high (we're running 2nd overall, btw, despite our disastrous track & field showing). Regardless, JY is organizing us staff who badly need remedial lessons to have a karaoke session on Friday. Sounds like fun, so wth, unexplored territory we go! Life on the edge, yeah!

Taking a break from Simming. Must re-look my priorities for the Burbs and their soap-opera of a life. Instead, I vegged out this evening in front of the TV again. Channel 8 OTT drama serial and the season finale of The Amazing Race 5. Way ta go, Chip and Kim!

And at last, the final score:

> Today's tally = 7
> Cumulative total = 104 + 1

Oh, the blood. The carnage. And the survivors, who will pick up the pieces of their shattered egos, learn from their mistakes and move onward to the bigger battle ahead. Gentle[people], lock and load. Prepare to rock 'n roll!

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

I'll be done with the marking tomorrow, I just know it! That'll give me time to do the other stuff I've been neglecting -- arranging S3 Seminar next week (my next biggest headache), bunch of admin including testimonials and performance review updates, and whatever else I don't remember but i'm sure other staff will help remind me. Oh, and maybe get some teaching done on the side.

And of course, time to look after the exploits of my little Sim family, although I'm a bit apprehensive of current developments at this time. I've taken Jennifer to the top of her career as a business tycoon and she now goes to work in a helicopter. John is a medical specialist but he looks forward to retirement, which I think I will reward him with ASAP. It's Judy, the daughter that's the main crisis right now. Well, none of her family thinks it's a crisis but I'm personally getting a little freaked out.

Judy's aspiration is Romance and that means she wants to string along as many lovers as she possibly can as her main purpose in life. I've had to balance her social life with her career on the Slacker track (Hint: if you want quick cash early on this path, choose the bunnies). I managed to hitch her up with 6 other Sims though she wants to go for 10. I made the mistake of inviting most of her lovers to a house party and 2 of them caught her Flirting with yet another Sim. The 2 smacked Judy around for a while and now their relationships look irreparable. That's not the problem.

Next, in an effort to preserve the Burbs' DNA, I "encouraged" Judy to do a public WooHoo with two different lovers on separate occasions in the family hot tub and now she's an unwed mother whose child, Marco, is of indeterminate lineage. The mystery will be cleared up once I can access his family tree, but until then we're shrugging our shoulders. That's not the problem.

The problem is, now that there's a baby in the family I'm at a loss as to how to proceed! How do I make sure the baby is well taken care of? That there's someone around to look after him when his mom's out working or fulfilling her ambition to WooHoo as many times as she possibly can during her lifetime? Having John retire is the best thing, since looking after his grandbrat is now his current goal, but it's not going to be a permanent solution because he doesn't have much longer to live! It's not in Judy's aspirations to get married so once the 2 grandparents have met the Reaper, Judy's on her own. Juggling time between career, lovers, life partner(?), baby, now that's stress. Hmm... if anything, what this game has taught me is that I am a confirmed infantophobiac. Everything was peachy fine until the baby came and now it's ruined everything. It's all chaos now, then again, it was an important step to preserve the family line. Aaarrrggghhh!!!

And from real life, here's the penultimate scoreboard:

> Today's tally = 7
> Cumulative total = 98

*Sings* Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow...

Monday, September 20, 2004

Not much happening. Everyone's caught up in the last week of marking and getting the curriculum going again for the last couple of weeks before Farewell Assembly. While I stay at my desk to mark, everyone else has a favourite hiding spot for a little peace and quiet while they concentrate on clearing their piles of prelim papers. Even organizing lunch is difficult now as everyone scrapes together the time needed to complete their tasks.

Still, I went for lunch with Vince and Cara, who brought her Mom along. Close family bonds, what can I say? Apparently we were at her Mom's fave chicken rice place down along Braddell Road, so it was her turf.

Chicken's ok, I guess, considering it's frozen and flown in from Brazil or wherever, but this is the one place where I can't get liver to go with my chicken rice. I'm usually fine with gizzard to substitute for liver, but the first time accepting gizzard here was also my last. It had a suspicious pinkish tinge to it and it chewed like galvanized rubber, so never again. Someday, we're going to have to arrive early enough to get some real chicken liver. It must be good since it sells out so fast.... Yes, someday.

The scoreboard reads:

> Today's tally: 8
> Cumulative total:

So close now!

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Must be the weekend syndrome. Can't seem to get much work done, it's just too painful. Mostly vegged out in front of the TV, catching the tail-end of CSI: Miami (AXN), A Cook's Tour (Discovery T&A), Superstructure (Discovery), and back to AXN for The Amazing Race 5.

Anthony Bourdain, in A Cook's Tour, showed off some of the good eats here in Singapore, though I sensed that he was holding back his enthusiasm a bit. Apparently there's a Chinese restaurant that prepares food for the customer only after a consultation with and diagnosis from the in-house Sinseh. Must be somewhere deep in Chinatown as the lady translator spoke a strange form of Singlish. Bourdain tried the Malay food in Geylang Serai Market and although he wasn't impressed with the food-court style set-up he declared the food, once served, to be delicious. He also sampled murtabak from Tekka Market ("awesome"), and the Makansutra guy brought him to Sin Huat Eating House in red-light district Geylang. The name of the restaurant is quite appropriate, don't you think? Here, Bourdain overcame his revulsion of frog legs and went to foodie nirvana over the signature dish, Sri Lankan crab bee hoon ("crab the size of your head"). Kinda makes me think, why don't we ever go to these places to eat; just what are we missing confining ourselves to all plastic, all hygenic, assembly line food that we usually eat?

TV addict did get a little marking done. Here's the score:

> Today's tally = 6
> Cumulative total = 83

Can anyone say, jia1 you3?

Edit 01:
Wow! A link to Chef Bourdain's own description of his dining experience at Sin Huat! Here.