Saturday, June 25, 2005

Spent a pleasant evening catching up with 3A2 and Cara. Thanks for the pizza and chicken, and your company! Posted by Hello

Mimi and Q-tip enter a 'Best Dressed Dog' contest. Posted by Hello

Surprise results! Q-tip emerges 4th, and Mimi 'Gangster' Wong is the Champion! Posted by Hello

Friday, June 24, 2005

Anthony's stag event begins with a round of paintball! Posted by Hello

Slim as she is, Cheryl just can't find a way to slip through the grille. Posted by Hello

Invincible Vince, victor of the last-man-standing challenge. Posted by Hello

Early morning paintball began in dreary weather. A light rain kept things cool for us as we got to grips with a game requiring some of "us" to shoot at and kill some of "them" Some adapted faster than others, though our initial game was still a tentative affair. Objective: pop the opponents' balloon while guarding ours at the same time. Lesson 1: camping is no fun. Anthony made a very daring run and came very close to popping my team's balloon but he had no support and he was driven off in the nick of time. My team learned and through an overlapping maneuvre won the game.

A speeding Edward won the second game for Anthony's team. We had barely begun the game -- I was still fiddling with my safety switch -- when it was all over. Lesson 2: speed has the advantage over inaccurate firepower.

We also played a couple of other variations including one where it was Anthony vs the rest of the world, in honour that it was his special day.

Biggest lesson: we wouldn't have lasted 10 minutes in a real war. It took a lot out of us just trying to move and keep low at the same time. Very quickly our legs cramped up and our knees protested. So much for visualizing leaping over crates, rolling in a tuck somersault and catching the enemy off-guard and in shock. Visualize all you want, our bodies just wouldn't respond to such ludicrous commands. After an hour, though our hearts were still in the game, our bodies finally quit. Time to hit the beach.

Paintball practically drained our energy for pretty much the rest of the day. We settled at Club Bora Bora on Sentosa and sat around for a while staring blankly into space. Then we remembered we were here to play so we had something of a chuck-the-frisbee-around session. It was here that I was running after a bad throw and I tripped on a granite rock that someone had thoughtlessly left lying around on the beach. The skin on my big toe opened up in 2 places and started bleeding quite impressively. The lifeguard on duty did a good job of mummyfing my toe so I could go back to playing with the guys. Anthony got dunked into the lagoon chasing another bad throw then realized that his new mobile phone was still in his pocket. It got wet, it refused to function, so that was the end of our frisbee toss.

We had a pool (billiards, not swimming) challenge and insisted that Anthony had to win 3 games in a row because "it was his special day." He won 4 games in a row, and I don't think anyone made it easy for him either. Me, I discovered I could probably play a decent round of pool, though I could use a lot more practice.

We went to dinner at Hooters where the service staff are supposed to be the main attraction. Indeed, they were friendly and attentive and, I guess, cute too -- though I didn't notice any that were of knockout calibre, like those whose photos adorn the "wall of honour" in the toilet. I appreciate the service and the food was pretty good too. American-sized portions, tasty and very satisfying.

While the rest of the party was busy playing "The 12 Tasks of Anthony" involving him answering a series of questions of a personal nature, and also requiring him to make impertinent requests of strangers, June and I decided that our geriatric bodies needed rest. So we left the party while Anthony was still pondering how he could get a female stranger to reveal to him what kind of underwear she was wearing.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Booked tix on First Coach from SIN to KL for us and Vince and Amy. June and me return, Vince and Amy 1-way. Not that they've decided to defect to Malaysia but because Vince needs to be back early Sunday morning and Amy is too polite to share our room for 1 more night. She says sharing a room with us is like sharing a room with mommy and daddy. Youngsters. Huh.

Have to sleep early tonight. Early morning activities scheduled for tomorrow. It's Anthony's stag party and Weng is trying to arrange a memorable one for him. Should be fun!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

As the June break winds down, people are finding excuses to return to campus and continue working. Consultations for individual and small groups of students are in full swing, and I wonder if they had ever come to a halt at all? Everyone's anxious, particularly as the first day of the new term -- no, wait, make that this Friday (no kidding!) -- commences the mid-year exam period for the whole college.

Even I've found myself back on campus making preparations for the GP mid-year paper. And to pass Amy the fairy wings she's borrowing from June. Yup, she's been invited to the wedding as well. Right now we're making our travel arrangements and hopefully we'll get them settled soon. We're thinking of taking a coach up to KL rather than drive. Amy and Vince aren't confident that their cars can make the long drive and I'm not confident enough of my driving skills to brave Malaysian highway traffic.

Late afternoon I found myself alone again so I put in more time bowling at SAFRA. In a 6-game marathon I bowled my first 4-bagger and also managed to bowl my first clean game for a score of 186. Not bad. Average after 6 games: 158. Must continue to keep my focus and concentration for the competition. Grrr... *knits eyebrows, bares teeth.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Yay! Time to go shopping. For clothes this time, not what you think. Anthony's wedding dinner is a theme party. Weng's arranging for it to be 'Neverland,' which means anything related to the Peter Pan mythos. Just off the top of my head, the possibilities are: fairies, pirates, Red Indians, mermaids, Lost Boys, kids in pyjamas, assorted woodland animals and shrubbery, a crocodile and formally dressed parents. Did I miss anything out?

Looking at this list, I think the easiest and most economical option would be the pyjamas. But that's not quite my style so I chose the next best thing -- a pirate. Not the Captain, mind you, just a swab. Seems easy enough. I went to Bugis Village for a pair of drawstring pants (free size), and got a blue striped rugby jersey from Bossini. I was hoping for something slightly oversize, so I went for XL, but XL fitted me exactly. Sigh. Actually, I saw another jersey that I thought would have been ideal because of the lace-up front; unfortunately, it belonged to the ladies' section and I had no hope of being able to fit into it. Double sigh.

The army surplus stores on Beach Road provided the eye patch and my blue bandana should complete the ensemble. A baby blue pirate, howzat? Still having trouble considering footwear, though. Pirates usually go barefoot, though I guess my leather sandals should be quite acceptable.

Cost: for everything I bought today, $32.50. I'm also still looking for a respectable sword and maybe a large hoop earring. Too bad toy stores these days tend to sell stupid-looking Power Rangers inspired "hi-tech" flashing light swords. Rubbish. Oh well, if I really can't find a sword, I'll settle for a wood-handled mop for swabbing the deck with.

June wants to go formal, so it'll be pirate and captive lady. Now, where did I put my handcuffs? Kinky.
Batman Begins. Love the cool toys, the exploding/collapsing public infrastructure (probably all paid for by Wayne money anyway), the intro of Scarecrow -- an often underrated Batman villain, the emotiveness of the characters, and the attempt to make the Batman a swift, near-invisible predator who makes criminals quake in their boots. This Batman is a trained, disciplined, self- directed weapon against crime after overcoming his trauma and psychosis rather than just another nutjob in a costume. Under another title, he would have made a scary Sith lord, given the tutelage of a dark Qui-Gon Jinn.

Couple of things bothered me, cool as this Dark Knight tale has been. Fight sequences move too quickly, too close-up. If there was any fight choreography at all, it was lost in a blur of action quite wasting the effort. Also, the Batman mask -- way pointy ears and long pointy nose, not so much scary as it is comedic in a face-to-face encounter. Otherwise, it was a fun ride.

Got more bowling practice in the evening. I only had 1 game at the CSC because of some tournament being held there, so we adjourned to dinner then decided to go back to Plaza Bowl on Beach Road because it was convenient for Wendy to collect Anthony after our game. Amy joined us having returned from her Swiss holiday over the weekend.

It was quite a surprise to see that the old Plaza Bowl has undergone refurbishing and is now Star Bowl, a completely new bowling alley. Bright lighting, smooth polished boards and pins that go skidding around creating spectacular strikes with a well-thrown ball. Amy bowled her best game here so far: 128 I think it was. Anthony's elbow seems to be recovering, his scores climbing back to his regular game again.

Oh, and every Monday and Wednesday night is red-pin night. Occasionally, 1 red pin is placed in a random location amongst the other 9. If that red pin is the only pin standing after your first throw, you get a prize. I discovered this 'bonus' when I did inadvertently accomplish this task and the guy in the next lane informed me to approach the counter and show the counter guy what I'd done. I came back with a face cloth emblazoned with the "Star Bowl" logo. Just what I need to clean my ball with.

Now we have a new place to practice when the CSC lanes are closed for 2 weeks in July for its own servicing and maintenance.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

And Q-tip gets an airing at Upper Peirce Reservoir Posted by Hello

The Pitstop, Car Park B, Upper Seletar Reservoir Posted by Hello

This is the refreshment kiosk I referred to in my previous entry. It turned out to be an excellent spot to take Dad out to for his Father's Day lunch. Firstly, it was nostalgic for him to revisit an old landmark (the reservoir, not the car park) that we always drove past whenever he took me back to my army camp during my NSF days. He's not been back this way for nearly 20 years already.

Second, the food is really good. It's home cooked from scratch by the proprietor (Mike) and his wife (Angela). They have a nasi bryani set served with a tandoori chicken leg that unlike the dry, stringy texture you'd expect of a tandoori, it's moist and juicy under the firery red exterior. And they add a special pepper sauce that goes so well with the fragrant yellow rice. We ordered 2 sets to share amongst 4 of us.

We also ordered a chicken curry with french loaf. Nice to see a chicken curry in which the meat hasn't disintegrated into the curry but is still tender, yet integral unto itself. We had the nasi lemak as well which was more lemak than the overrated Chong Pang variety that Channel U has apparently endorsed. And the mee siam was from a recipe that I thought had gone extinct, that I knew mee siam to be, yet I could never recapture in present-day Singapore. It was a mee siam that brought me back to the old Indian man whose stall in my old school canteen still holds fond memories for me. The gravy is pinkish, a little thicker than the soupy stuff we get nowadays, more sweet than sour, and just a little bit lemak as well.

Mike explained that this was the original recipe that the Indian stevedores concocted when they wanted bee hoon but couldn't stomach the blandness of Chinese bee hoon soup. The recipe died out when they got themselves repatriated to India or heaven. The recipe was then revived by the nonyas, who reengineered it to their taste for hot and sour and today it's this version that lives on. Another interesting piece of info: mee siam is endemic to Singapore. No one else eats mee siam (historically speaking) in the region, so where the "siam" part of the name came from is a bit of a mystery.

We polished off 6 cans of Minute Maid lemonade and felt a bit bad when Mike was trying to promote this new label to his other customers and realized there was only 1 measly can left in his drinks fridge. A possible new addiction to substitute for Coke, my regular poison. Hope it catches on.

Unfortunately we were too full to end with dessert. June and I know they have a delicious, unusually light and fluffy chocolate brownie ala mode 'cos we actually recc'ed the place yesterday lunchtime after Belle's checkup with Dr Casey. Belle's still trying to regain the use of her right foot, BTW. But she's also adapting herself to move around on 3 legs in the meantime.

Third, Mike and Angela are not so much "service-oriented" as they are genuinely personable and friendly. They have stories to tell about their customers, their pets and their customers' pets as well. This is one place where the proprietors introduce their customers to each other because they know their regulars firsthand.

Fourth, economy. For everything that we ordered and stuffed ourselves with, total bill: $31.70. Not bad for a meal for 4.

An excellent date place, especially in the late afternoon, early evening. It's quiet, natural and romantic, especially when it gets a bit darker and you climb the lookout tower or just sit on the breakwater watching the sunset together with your date. Good place to think and write too, if my previous suggestion is too mushy for you.

This place is open from 1130 to 1900 every day except Thursdays and the 1st Saturday of every month. It's best to drive here as it's a bit out of the way, though there is a bus stop on Mandai Road from which you can walk in. Just head for the rocket and you're there.

Oh, Mike hinted that some big real estate players may be muscling their way in to take over the golf course under whose auspices his establishment operates under. That could cast a shadow over the long-term viability of the Pitstop as it is run today. Until then, it'll be let's take it easy and live one day at a time. Good philosophy.