Saturday, April 30, 2005

2 day's worth of updates in 1 entry. Go!

Yesterday's rehearsal saw a bunch of special guests from The Odyssey cast dropping in to see how their juniors were doing in this year's production. Apparently, all came in without anyone making plans with anyone else to coordinate the visit. Nice to see them so supportive and encouraging to our current cast and crew.

Mel and I, with HT (thanks for the Black Forest cake!), 'sif, Sam, and Gid (who joined us later) and Cara gathered after rehearsal at Pastamania, J8, for dinner and a rousing good time. Vince, Amy and JY expanded our company later in the evening, so we had a strange mix of student alumni, staff alumni, 1 current student (Ben), and current staff. Given a little more time, I'm pretty sure we'd have been on first name basis with each other, and why not? Who cares for our formal titles, "Mr...," "Ms...," whatever, anyway?

June joined us after dinner when we staff abandoned our current and former students and, once the parking payment machines were working again, drove out to Tg Pagar where Anthony had got us a table at the Eskibar. He's been talking so much about it the past couple of weeks we had to experience it for ourselves. It's a bar with a gimmick that it's name suggests: air-conditioned to a temperature approximating a mild temperate winter. So cold you can borrow a parka from the bar so you can hear the techno beat instead of your chattering teeth.

Unfortunately for us, we chose to go on a Friday evening of a long weekend. It was so crowded, and the main door kept swinging open to allow a steady procession of patrons in and out, thus dissipating the chill into the muggy atmosphere of the outside world. Cheapskates that we are, June and I slipped outside to a coffee shop a couple of doors down for a can of coke ($1.20) then went back into the Eskibar just to cool off and yak with the guys some more.

Eventually, traffic thinned out enough for us to grab all the available stools at the bar to cluster around our table so that everyone could have a seat. But just when it was starting to get a little chilly, it was late and we decided to head on home and catch some rest before Parents' Day II this morning.

... Woke up early on a Saturday morning for the second Parents' Day of three this year. Yes, there will be another after the mid-year exam. Today, the heat was on the P, and her retinue of HODs as they fielded a Q&A session with concerned parents over the plight of their offspring in our college.

Parents as a whole can never agree whether their kids are too stressed out or not worked hard enough, so there the senior staff are in the spotlight assuring parents that we have programmes in place to cater to academic rigour, personal development, career guidance, confidence building, leadership training, ad infinitum so that boy-boy or ger-ger won't lose out to their peers in the "Top-Five." HODs take a lot of flak from parents, and I'm glad I wasn't up there on stage today giving those answers to those questions.

After all the parents, their kids and the rest of the staff left, I remained behind with a small crew of our backstage hands to meet with Yee and Wan Wen for some training on rigging and focusing of stage lighting and to get the stage ready for our big bump-in on Tuesday.

Right. Long weekend ahead. Brought back a bunch of PW preliminary submissions to peruse and comment on in case I get bored.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Hope Tina will like the modifications I made with our Scarecrow's movements in "Oz." Until today, JT's been playing a very grotesque scarecrow, and for a long while I've been puzzling over what was wrong with the shape she was delivering. Then I realized what it was: JT's Scarecrow looked like she was making an effort to sag, droop and be weak-kneed.

The problem, if we employ real-world physics, is that a stuffed humanoid caricature is naturally floppy, so there is no need to purposely make it look like it was going to fall over any second. Instead, where the effort should go is not downwards but upwards. The scarecrow should be fighting gravity all the time, should be the tallest and straightest character on stage during movement, and only at rest does the Scarecrow sag, just a little.

Now that I've thoroughly messed with JT's brains, she's now got to practice a completely different posture for her Scarecrow. A different motivation for her movement. Hope it will look more "correct" by next rehearsal. Tomorrow.

Shah came in to polish the opening dance number and worked the cast line-by-line with each dance movement. A painstaking workout for them but collectively they do look a little sharper now. Ended rehearsal early as today was supposed to be a rest day for the cast.

As it was early, I managed to have another bowling session with Vince and Amy at the CSC. Good decision! My average came up to 155 in a 5-game series. I hit a personal high of 184, and if I had converted that darned split on the 9th frame I could have surpassed 200 in that game. Where were these scores when I needed them during the tournament? Hope I can sustain this form in the next session.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Here I am right now, having already showered (in cold water 'cos the water heater's on strike), biting into a Wall's Magnum and for the first time in a long while feeling relaxed. It's only just past 2200 and there's the promise that if I really wanted, I could get an early night's sleep tonight. It's a temporary respite, I know, but it's a feeling that you get when a whole bunch of things you've been stressing over are indeed over and, though not exactly perfectly accomplished, the world didn't get destroyed by your incompetence.

72 kids went on tour to P Tekong; a little short of the 120 I was supposed to bring down. Make that a whole busload short, but people adapt to changing situations. NY short? SR short? So combine both groups to make the optimal number. No-fuss practicality at work and everyone's still happy.

The tour's pretty much standard from the last time I blogged about it last October, was it? The only difference, or rather, development is that the recruits' physical fitness tests are now conducted and scores recorded automatically by computer. Saves time, saves human resource, and the atmosphere is very much like a games arcade rather than a sweaty gym.

This time I managed to actually put some of the soldiers' combat rations in my mouth. I accepted a package of "corn and mixed beans dessert" which came chilled in a catering container. It was wet, sweet and cool, just the refresher I needed since it was a blazing hot day and none of us had time for any lunch before the tour began. Then I took a bite of some rice-based thing that came in a different green package. The instructor briefing us earlier had spoken true: "combat rations are not meant to suit your tastebuds..." You'd probably enjoy the stuff only if you were really hungry. Good thing they include Maggi mee, biscuits and fruit bars in the 24-hr pack as well. A guy's gotta have something to eat.

Aileen did manage to clear her schedule so I sent her to supervise the other of the 2 buses that left campus this afternoon. She's been such a great help, and she's not even considered a fully trained ed offr yet. She'll be leaving us to complete her training during the term break and I'm going to be so shorthanded then. I will miss her, though maybe since I have 40 NE reps from amongst the JC1s I can exploit employ them to my heart's content.

Returned to campus as scheduled and dropped by rehearsal again. The actors are off-script now and though still fluffing lines here and there, it is an indication of progress. The whole 3-piece band came together for the first time during this rehearsal and they're playing nicely with each other. Keyboard, sax, percussion... mmm. Lots of scenes and transitions to polish up, tighten up and energize, but at least now we have something to work with where once there was just a rough idea. Lighting designer came down today as well, so all the pieces are falling into place.

So tonight, I shall relax.
So darned tired last night. Today not much different. Military chief-of-staff paid the college a visit to answer whatever questions the JC2 kids might have. One of these questions showed the kid's faulty interpretation of our national pledge, a quibbling point around the word, "regardless..." which he took to mean, "despite..." But thankfully, the visit went well, generally speaking, and it's one more headache over.

Again, without Aileen's and Cikgu's help I might have fallen apart sometime this morning trying to coordinate all the small, unnoticed things that a visit such as this entails. Print attendance sheets, drape speaker's table, drinks, gifts, distribute attendance sheets, distribute feedback forms, arrange for an impromptu photo shoot; and collect attendance sheets and feedback forms after the dialogue session is over. Ok, listed like this it doesn't sound all that much, but still...

Tomorrow the JC2s are visiting the army boot camp on Tekong. A total of 120 invitations were sent out to our JC2s though I could only round up nearly 80 kids to go. Odd because last year there were so many respondents, I almost had to throw people off my buses. Learning point: don't plan for any major events to take place in the April-May period. Too many activities already happening including sports competitions, the SYF and other in-house matters. Kids and tutors are stretched so thin I was also having trouble rounding up a fellow tutor to help accompany the kids, 1 tutor per bus full of little monkeys. Once again, I'm counting on Aileen's help here. Hope she can get out of whatever she's involved with so that it's not just me with 80. I'd really go crazy then.

The bowling club announced the date for the annual college bowling challenge: 4 May. Great. The date of our tech and dress rehearsal for Drama Night. Don't think I can compete this year then. Wonder which Pegasii Anthony will have to partner? Boo hoo.

Oh, and the latest standings for the ministry's league are out. If you must, click the sidebar link to see how the Gutter Boys are doing.

Edit 01:
Hmm... I seem to have lost my comment service. I'll give it another day, then I switch over to Haloscan or something. How annoying.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Brought pizza for NYeDC kids who were busy making a huge banner advertising Drama Night. Yee's design: 7 long rolls of I-don't-know-what-kind-of heavy duty industrial paper, duct taped together to form the base ; then a patchwork quilt of coloured paper pasted on for the background colour. On top of that are the lettering announcing the title, "Oz," the date and declaring that everything had been done by ourselves, in-house. June and I delivered the motivational pizza at a little past 1400...

... and we only completed the banner after 2100. By then the janitor had gone home and we couldn't get access into the atrium area where we intended to hang the banner to greet the early Monday morning crowd. So, reluctantly, we had to roll up our "tapestry" and place it against the atrium staircase for safekeeping. Tomorrow at 0630hrs, we're calling all hands to help carry the banner up to the 5th storey where we will drape it over the top railing. Hopefully, we'll get it ready before the main student body arrives.

Just got home from taking a few of our willing hands home or wherever else they needed to go. Thanks have to go out to all our helpers today: Aaron, Faz, Grace, Jane, JT, Suzhen, Shan, Yit Han, Mel and, of course, Yee and June. NYeDC owes y'all one!

If I'm getting to college by 0630 tomorrow, what time do I have to wake up? OMG, time for bed!