Saturday, November 20, 2004

Connie's "N1 Synergy" thing was at the Library@Esplanade this afternoon. She had tapped me way in advance about this and I promised her a 10 minute mime demo and another 10 minutes of interactive talk time with the audience.

I intended to work on my demo as soon as the 'A's began but I didn't actually start rehearsing anything till this morning after June left for her follow-up eye exam at TTSH. It's not that I created something from scratch: these were a couple of skits that I've wanted to play for a long time, but never found an audience for them until today. No... actually, I have shown them during one of the JC1 GP lectures early this year, but in a completely unrehearsed, unpolished form to a captive audience. About 1+ hours' polishing went into the skits this morning then it had to do for the library's audience.

2 skits, one entitled, "Burglary," and the other, "Quality Time," debuted in front of a 'live' and mobile audience this afternoon. "Burglary," is quite straightforward. A pared-down version of a previous solo skit I devised a very long time ago. In this version, the burglary is carried out as the burglar finds solutions to opening various doors he finds placed as obstacles in front of him. "Quality Time," came out of an improv session also a long time ago and it deals with the complex relationship between a father and a son.

Both skits still feel rough and raw. What can you expect from only 1+ hours' rehearsal time? Tina would say that they are still full of "frou-frou" movements, meaning that there are still many incidental, unintended movements and gestures that mess up the story. Not pared-down minimally enough, in other words. Connie got it all on video, so I'd like to borrow the tape and see for myself just what the audience saw... and cringe.

The programme ended way earlier than expected. The poetry recitals lasted a fraction of the time that was budgeted for, so I had to extend my audience yak for far longer than the expected 10 minutes. I guessed this might happen, so I took the opportunity to give a rather reluctant audience a few pointers about "creating objects in space." Elements of shape, size, pliability (stiffness), and weight (or mass, or resistance) are essential to creating the believability of an invisible thing (ball, box, door, cup, etc.). So I got the audience slightly freaked out passing invisible objects among themselves.

If not for the enthusiasm of a little tourist boy and his Mom seated in the front row, my fellow performers in the back (Shan and entourage, Jane, and Anne) and a local kid who was watching though he wasn't even in the audience (he was seated in the cafe), I would have lost steam partway through my spiel. I still had to end the session earlier than budgeted 'cos I was running out of things to occupy the audience with, but I think at least I quit while I was ahead. That is, while I still had an audience.

Spent the rest of the evening wandering around Suntec City with June who came to support me. Bless her. Dinner at Kenny Roger's. June bought a clutch bag made of authentic kimono material in preparation for the prom. We also bought 2 Korean movie DVDs (2 for $30) at Blue Max. Teach Me English was playing on their plasma display and it looked quirky enough to catch our attention. I picked up Natural City to see how the Koreans interpret sci-fi. Also bought a bunch of fruit and vegetables from Carrefour 'cos they were cheap.

Oh yeah. Also Half-Life 2 is up and running. Once again, I'm feeling the effects of motion sickness so I'm sticking to Easy mode and playing only in small chunks at a time. 'scuse me, head crabs need my attention...

Friday, November 19, 2004

Had to swap out of invig duty today to attend the department meeting this morning. Invig has been so boring so far that it was a welcome break to meet everyone in the department again even though it was the same old meeting -- the kind that promises us that we're going to be even more busy than ever before. In business circles this is good news, but we aren't in that kind of business. Still, at least we can say we'll be safely employed for at least another year.

1000 students. 2 choices: to take 3 GP + 2 PW classes; or 4 GP + 1 PW and no CT. I opted for the latter. There are a few additional department duties to share out as well, like a committee to look into how to do up our GP "home" rooms properly, and a committee to improve our English language standards. Grammar Nazi Mei, how would you like to come back as a relief and help us out here?

We figured out our resource teams, our lecture teams and broke off by level (JC1, JC2) to discuss things in further detail. At JC1 level we did some brainstorming, mindmapping, big-picture scenario visualizing, then decided that Term 1 next year would be a good deadline to get all our resource packages done and disseminated. Simple, fast, efficient, decisive. Lunch and bowling to follow.

Lunch with Vince and Anthony was at the Roti Prata House on Thomson Road. Crispy prata, rich curry dip, though it took quite a long time for my order to arrive. They must have been timing it for Cara's arrival. Hurmph. Amy, Bee and HP joined us even later, after yet another short meeting following the Department one.

Finally got to use Anthony's cheap bowling coupon at Victor's Superbowl, Marina South. Average pinfall for me though I can't remember exact numbers now. We coached Bee (haven't bowled since 14) and HP (1st time bowler) and they made some good progress though they really need more practice. Our bowling "graduates" Amy and Cara maintained their form, Cara bowling impressively well, considering she hasn't bowled for months. Her 1st rolls are dead straight down-the-middle rockets which don't leave many pins standing for her next roll. She still needs to work on getting her spares, though.

Picked up Half-Life 2 on my way home. No time to load it up tonight but at least I know I have it, heh heh.

Oli is gone from Idol. A victim of the numbers game, and as June correctly predicted, she didn't lose out because she lacked talent. She lost out 'cos she didn't have the market support that Sly's xiao3 mei4 mei4 fanbase gave him. Oli appeals to a more mature taste, the kind that appreciates her music but is too mature to do anything trivial like, oh... maybe vote for her? Sly's fans are more in tune with SMS culture and think nothing of casting repeat votes on a whim. No surprise result tonight. Oli's good; she just won't sell as many records as the pretty-boy. Sad, but realistic.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Well, that's it. It's been about 24 hours since we repatriated Flirt. We thought the parting would be traumatic, as she has been accustomed to the good life over the last 3 weeks. But she seemed quite happy to go home. At first, she didn't know exactly where she was because of the upgrading being done to the Square where she lived. When she climbed out of her basket, things were looking familiar and she ran off to explore the rest of her environment without a look back to us. Her old boyfriend, Skull, was there to welcome her back along with the rest of her family, so it was something of a reunion.

Here, free at last, she can go search for a suitable place to deliver Girlfriend's grandchildren, and raise them, as she was meant to, in the wild. OK. That's a bit romanticized. Whatever. Her kittens have a better chance of survival now. If we had gone ahead with her spaying, we would have had to terminate her pregnancy too and I was really feeling uncomfortable about that. Now, I feel much better.

June's got her left eye lasiked, tomorrow, her right. Everything looks good so far, heh, literally speaking.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Chemistry invigilation. Invigilated for one (1) candidate, all alone in the classroom, everyone else being in the hall. For some reason, this one candidate has requested isolation. Perhaps she gets too distracted when other people are around her. I overheard that she's expected to do super well, so that's probably why they're entertaining her request.

Supposed to go bowling at Superbowl (Marina South) to make use of Anthony's cheap bowling coupon. Anthony suddenly became too busy, so we called it off.

Half-Life 2 is supposed to have been released today. Too lazy to go down to SL Square. What's the rush, anyway? Actually, I got annoyed because at the time I wanted to go into town there happened to be an unusual dearth of taxis, and people kept jumping in front of me to steal MY taxi. Got fed up and went home instead. Ah well, saved roughly $60 bucks today, not counting transport, so I'm not too unhappy about it.

Oh, and Happy Birthday, 'rah! Hope the day was memorable and eventful for you, exam notwithstanding!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Everytime I think Watson is finally running properly, something happens to quickly dispell that illusion. Sunday night I had just purchased a brand new yellow Hummer H2 and was happily driving it around town raising havok as usual when my screen suddenly went blank. On-off, on-off, and the only thing that Watson could do was spin his fans and light up his LEDs. Motherboard dead.

I wonder if all this is happening because I keep opening him up, messing around with his insides ever so often? But if he didn't crap out so much, I wouldn't have to, would I?

Brought him to my dealer yesterday but the service centre was closed for the holiday (oh yeah, happy Hari Raya!). Dealer confirmed this morning that the motherboard was at fault. Had to buy a new one with compatible memory and pay for service as well. This mon... week has been amazingly expensive. Please, no further expenses, ok?

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Multiple entries today. Let's start with Shark Tale and The Incredibles. Both animated movies are entertaining, coincidentally (or not) about the same theme: attempting to gain social acceptance by pretendng to be what one is not. In ST, Oscar makes himself out to be a superhero "Sharkslayer" when he is actually at the "bottom of the food chain, lower than whale poo." Mr Incredible and family are forced to live out their existence as ordinary folk, when in fact they are so much more.

Same theme different approach. ST offers hope that no matter how lowly we appear to be, we will always be "somebody" as long as we are true to ourselves. TI's hope is in that no matter how held back we feel, we are individually special and when we take the opportunity to use our gifts we can change our environment for the better.

Both movies acknowledge that it is in mutual acceptance of and cooperation with the people we are closest to (in ST, even if they are people we conflict with on a daily basis), that's when society actually begins to take notice of us. After all, if we don't acknowledge the ones who love us for who we are, who else in the world will acknowledge us?

One last thing: I wonder if the Incredibles are a tip of the hat to the first family of the superhero universe? They have almost the exact same powers as the Fantastic Four -- elasticity, superhuman strength, invisibility/psionic projection but in a different combination. Even the costume design and properties are similar to the FF's. Wonder how Marvel is going to react to this?

Does this look like a cat with liver problems to you? Posted by Hello

Flirt's condition hasn't improved, according to our vet. He recommends that it will be in her best interest to allow her pregnancy to come to term and then after she heals up we can consider spaying her. In the meantime, he has prescribed a special diet for her which we are to administer over the next two weeks. This is going to be a problem as our two existing cats seem to be increasingly hostile to Flirt and the fact that we will be in Oz around the time of her delivery means that we can't look after the new kittens when they come.

Possible solutions:
Anyone interested in offering a good home to a cute (though short tailed) young feline mother and her kittens, please apply immediately to me. Now. Or...
We will return Flirt to where she came from after a week of further treatment and let her deliver naturally, like in the way her mother delivered her.
Can there be any other viable alternatives?

Q-tip's new look Posted by Hello

This sad looking chihuahua is actully Q-tip shorn of all fluff. She's developed a skin allergy, to what the vet doesn't know except that there's some bacterium involved. Apparently it's a common problem amongst the maltese breed. He's prescribed her an antibiotics course and hopefully it'll clear up soon and she will have a new coat to wear come the New Year.

Pix courtesy of Naughty By Nature Posted by Hello

June "won" a $550 voucher for a makeover/glamour photoshoot from image consultants, Naughty by Nature. The voucher included makeover for spouse as well so since we didn't get our wedding shoot done we took the opportunuty to do a glamour shoot instead.

Quite obviously, most of the cosmetic retouching went to the wife whereas I had to content myself with a layer of foundation and a dash of lip gloss. It isn't usually a good idea to outshine the wife in a glam shoot, is it? It was her prize anyway.

We were in a quandry over what clothes to wear since we don't have anything "nice." So we went informally, hence the above.

Warm, friendly, chatty staff. Makeover and shoot were free, but to get the results in a professionally done package it cost quite a bit. $1,288 for a graphically enhanced (eyebags, blemishes removed, etc.) leather-bound damage-resistant album, 2 poster sized shots of our choice, 1 desktop shot of our choice, a CD-ROM containing all our shots (nice or not) and including a major discount if immediately paid for in full.

When it came time to pay, I discovered that my credit card had lost one corner and it was split all the way along the magnetic strip. Nestled in my wallet, it had unsuccessfully tried to take the shape of my butt and pathetically perished in the attempt. I had to max out my NETS and June came to the rescue with her credit card to pay off the balance. Must remember to reimburse her quickly as there is yet another major expense coming up soon. June's lasik treatment this coming weekend.

This year's AWS is going to be most welcome.