Saturday, October 23, 2004

The state of high drama in my household is over. Good thing neither I nor June are OTT performers, but as a result no one's going to make a movie of our lives. I guess we're not very entertaining to an audience.

Spent the morning at Border's with the current Drama Club advisors to plan possible storylines for our next production. Mel was early so we had time for a muffin and coffee before Yee and Cara finally arrived. Note to self: Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf's Cafe Vanilla is awfully sweet. Must ask for less sugar next time.

Yee was hungry so we adjourned to the Dome Cafe where we brunched and yakked over potential story elements. We've sort of got a rough set of ideas of the things we want to see in the story, but there's a lot of fleshing out to do. Another old classic (well, perhaps not as ancient as the "Odyssey") is about to get redone by the NYeDC, so after Halloween let's get cracking!

As I already had breakfast with June before meeting Mel for "second breakfast," I only ordered a Warm Portobello Salad at the Dome. I've always been curious about what the huge, flat, curcular fungus tasted like. I discovered that after cooking they aren't that huge after all. But they pack a substantial bite and are nice and juicy too. I didn't care much for the pine nuts and the beetroot that was in the salad so Cara took them over for me. The flavour of pine reminds me too much of my aunt's toilet cleaner.

Turned down Weng's offer of an outdoor movie at Fort Canning: a double bill of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and "The Howling" in celebration of Halloween. Am having a quiet evening instead with wife, TV and pets.

Friday, October 22, 2004

June's back. It isn't quite the homecoming we both expected, though. I honestly thought that before she left we had ascertained that she wasn't expecting me to pick her up from the Airport on her return. So I didn't. Big mistake. Lost an opportunity to play the hero and go against expectations, and now I am a villain of Hussein proportions.

When this happens, the aggrieved party will do everything it can to remind the transgressor of the Great Sin at every opportunity. Conversations invariably find their way back to square one regardless of topic. When conversation inevitably dries up, there's always The Look, and strategy #46: talk aloud to the pets.

Why didn't I listen to Lynette who, being a woman, is qualified to understand female psychology and had advised me to go to the airport regardless? I complied instead with a "prearranged agreement," which apparently was nothing more than a figment of my imagination. Providence had provided me with one last chance to avoid the doghouse, but I still blew it anyway.

I have had almost a day to think over what had transpired between us and to ascertain my degree of wrongness. Legally speaking, as I did what was within the bounds of a verbal agreement (even if I was the only one who remembers it) I should not be held liable. However, if you asked me what I should have done out of love, then I have to admit that the loving thing to do was to have shown her that I couldn't wait for her to return and to have been there to greet her as soon as she strolled through customs with her luggage. A little self-sacrifice and inconvenience always goes a long way in making relationships work.

This is Fido, reporting 'live' from the doghouse. Woof...!

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Stupid funny sized fonts in my previous entry. How do I fix 'em?

Anyway, got this Index of Learning Styles Questionnaire off Zhenlin's blog (Hi, Z, Halloween's coming!). Useful if you want to know what kind of learner you are and how to strategise your learning habits to match.
Stayed behind with the rest of the tutors taking year 1 classes next year for a sharing workshop on critical thinking and reasoning, an approach all subjects are supposed to be using to teach the college's 2005 batch. Doesn't sound like there's anything new to this idea, but perhaps today's course just showed that it can be formalized and structured such that it doesn't have to be an ad hoc, haphazard application but an actual discipline and technique for teaching.

Can't find an accurate link but here's a gist of what today's session hoped to convince us:
  • "All subjects have a logic to them. Each is a system of meanings that enables us to reason effectively. Yet, most students try to learn not by reason, but by rote memorization. They blindly memorize someone else’s answers. Even when they do well on tests, it isn’t because they truly understand. True understanding requires disciplined reasoning.... Dr. Richard Paul focuses on how to break out of the didactic mode, [moving] into a new paradigm for instruction that explicitly fosters reasoned learning; learning that accesses the inner logic of all substantive inquiry. [Paul] offers a penetrating, in-depth look at ways to cultivate intellectually powerful minds... to help you put reason, accountability, and power back into teaching and learning."
(quoted from the blurb on Paul's How to Teach video series)

Actually, there's really nothing new in the content. We covered material that was basic common-sense thinking strategies that we use instinctively, although we, in our own time never actually sat through a course specific to such training. We sort of picked the skill up as we went as part of our maturing(?) process. Kids these days, I guess, are expected to grow up much faster. Still, such an approach could mean more interesting tutorials for both students and tutor, assuming both agree to play the same game. That, I think, is the hardest part.

The workshop went from 2-5pm. By then we were so bombed out we proceeded to Rosyth Road for prata, beef steak goreng (for me), and kopiccino ice, and some totally non-intellectual discussion. Next year's problems can take care of themselves next year.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Just a quick note to record for posterity that I made history today at the Grassroots Club. Bowled my personal worst pinfall: 76! Managed to salvage some pride in my 3rd and final game with 131. Vince, however, bowled his personal best: 188! *stands stunned, jaw hanging open, making little inarticulate noises, bbbbbb...

Check out what we were wearing today. Me in Phoenix red, Vince in Pegasus blue. Must be wearing the wrong colours, that's why the scores look inverted. *desperately clutches at last straws before drowning in quicksand.

My vacation is almost over. June comes home from BKK tomorrow. Guess that means no more late nights. Thank God. I could use the sleep.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Ironic that Creative and I-pod machines are increasing their storage capacities and a headline like this one "Home users face fines or jail for illegal downloads" pops up in the local papers today. Have to wonder, what is all that storage space going to be used for now? Why should people pay for something so expensive when they are going to be criminalized for the content they carry around in it?

Let's do some math. Creative's new Zen Micro at a modest 5Gb holds 2,500 songs at CD quality. If 1 CD contains about 12-14 songs, it should be able to hold about 208 CDs worth of music. At about $18 per CD, a Zen will cost about $3,750 to load up fully with legally purchased music. If we downloaded legally off Soundbuzz at $1.99 a song, that's even worse for our budget, an amount worth $4,975! Looking at the figures, most people (especially young people, "Mom, can I have $3,750 to buy music with, please?") will be priced out of the market.

Once, we used our music to "stick it to The Man," now The Man has gotten smart is looking for ways to stick it to us with His music instead. Folks, we gotta find a more equitable alternative -- forget technology; buy cheap, buy unlimited capacity: buy an FM radio. >sigh< Economics has set our society back by 20 years.

Monday, October 18, 2004

I'm looking at my DVD collection and just realised how much horror and violence I've acquired in their full digital majesty. Within arm's reach I could grab "Kill Bill" (both vols), "Van Helsing," "Blade II" and slightly further away a bunch of other schlocky horror flicks too. Such graphic detail. Screams, shots, singing steel, so lovingly detailed in a 3-D surround soundscape. Why else would we buy DVDs if not to experience all the special effects that go into an action-packed adventure? And then I wonder why I get nervous washing my hair in the shower. Go figure!

This collection must have grown out of the need to find an appealing and appropriate movie to screen on Halloween, and I have always insisted on DVD quality. Hmm... speaking of which, I wonder what we're doing to mark the season this year? I haven't heard that anyone has had any inspiration yet. Now, THAT's scary.

Oh, June bought me "School of Rock" too, and I haven't opened it yet! A musical comedy for a change. I guess that takes care of this evening!

And sidebar calendar's been updated, if that's of any use to you!

Sunday, October 17, 2004

With all the excitement since Thursday, I haven't had the chance to note that I've been alone in the house over the past 3 nights. Well, there's Q-tip, Belle and Momo, but June's on vacation in Bangkok and I'm left here to hold the fort. She left me a small library of DVDs to keep me entertained while she's away, and I've been able to find company for the last few evenings. Tonight was quiet, though. Reloaded NFS:U and am now racing the night away until I'm too tired to continue.

There's nothing like being left to your own devices for a while, but it will get boring fast. Come home soon, June!