Friday, September 30, 2005

Finally got to see the inside of a doctor's consultation room after nearly 2 years of being in the pink of health. Well, a dirty-pinkish shade, anyway.

Smashed my knee on the lanes during training on Tuesday -- way harder than usual -- and by yesterday my already knobbly kneecap developed an additional contour that looked a bit alarming. Left alone, there wasn't much pain but when I pressed my finger into it, it felt mushy and it bloody well hurt. Time to get it looked at by a professional.

June's office covers spouse's medical claims so I took the opportunity to make use of this fringe benefit at least once before the policy expires permanently. This meant going to an approved company doctor, and there are 3 or 4 in the Yishun area alone. I found one just behind the MRT station, in block 744.

The GP is a slightly elderly gentleman who is very talkative and detailed in explaining all the possible injuries my knee could have sustained. After various leg extensions and rotations on the examination table, he confirmed that since I still had full movement in the joint, the injury was thankfully locallized to the patella and that the swelling and pain should subside within a week, given rest.

Got from him a painkiller, and anti-inflammatory and a gel-ointment (external application only). No permanent damage, then. Phew.

Edit 01:
Since I was on medical leave, I arranged to meet Vince to get my stack of essays to be marked over the weekend. At the same time, I took Mimi and Q-tip along for an afternoon outing. We met at East Coast Park, which Vince said was a good place to get an afternoon's quota of marking done.

And so it was that me, 2 dogs, Vince, Anthony, Weng and Amy ended up on the beach. First, we had lunch at the Beach Hut (sorry to say, but the food wasn't very good); then casting our cares and scripts aside, played petanque instead. Ahhh, rest... just what the doctor ordered.

Lovely, lazy afternoon. Thanks for the company, y'all!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Today's the day the promo papers begin. All the work we've been putting in this year now culminates in this one big push to the half-way mark. And another giant pile of marking awaits me now -- all essays -- and a slightly more than 2 week deadline hangs over my head. My best wishes to all my students, and I hope to see you all continuing the work in year 2.

Today's also the last day of the bowling league. Amy got blooded after all, Anthony deciding not to change the arrangement we made for last week and letting her bowl in his place. Because of this historic moment, NBS and HP came along ostensibly to form Amy's cheerleading squad. But the game became too long-drawn and repetitive for them, so eventually they disappeared to watch TV instead. Nevertheless, NBS did stay out with us past pumpkin-time, and this will be a fact Amy won't be letting us forget anytime soon. Yes, Amy, you win.

June was, of course, our most faithful supporter. She stayed through good throws and bad and even had to motivate Vince a bit during his execrable 1st game. Thankfully, he picked up in his subsequent games, as did Yee who was our best bowler tonight.

Me, I had a pretty decent 1st game, then slumped back down to average again, cock and lock notwithstanding. Bleh. So it wasn't quite the bang we were hoping to end the tournament with, but we had a great run and we've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. Next year the trophies are OURS!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Yahoo! news: Poor_Have_Difficulty_Eating_Healthy_Foods

Here's a strange turnaround of events. In today's world, it's the poor who have a problem with obesity, and the ill-effects inherent therein.

Amazing that processed foods: the convenient, fast-to-cook, additive-enhanced, attractively packaged concoctions of mass production have become more affordable than fresh fruits and vegetables. Economies of scale are to blame for this, I suppose.

Worse still that the poor have to work so hard and for such long hours that they have no time to cook for their families either.

No $$$ + no time = eating junk & crap.

It's just so ironic then that the poor are now developing health problems once associated with the rich. Fat, prosperous bodies and diabetes (caused by too much intake of sugar, once considered a luxury product) seem to have been discarded by the rich who can afford to take care of their dietary health. And it's left to the poor to pick up the refuse, as usual.

So, how are you treating your body today?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

"Cock" and "Lock." 2 words that I had all but forgotten over the last month in competition and in training. I had kept on diagnosing and re-diagnosing the problem I've been having with my wild throws: change standing position, change aiming point, change angle of attack, whatever... and almost every time, my throw will still go off in every which direction, and I have been pretty moody about it for a while already.

This evening's practice took me back to the basics. Pick standing position... centre self... focus eyes on target area... control breathing... COCK wrist... push-off (not too far)... walk up... swing back (also not too far)... genuflect... LOCK wrist on the downswing till release... point thumb at precise target area and follow through... let balancing arm do it's thing intuitively. 2 very simple steps in the procedure makes all the difference between a good throw and crap.

I followed this procedure on my last 2 practice games -- and scored a personal high of 209!!! Finally broke the 200 barrier, and earned a "clean game" and "high game" citation for my lane as well. Current mood: euphoric.

Team Manager, Amy, expressed concern about me peaking too early. The last game of the season is on Thursday and therefore a very bad time to slump again so, no. Must continue to focus, concentrate and not get complacent. Yes, ma'am, we'll end the season memorably!

Of course, the great tragedy about Thursday's game is that Amy won't be replacing Anthony after all. We thought the game was on last Thursday when Anthony was in Brussels, so Yee had got her all prepared with intensive training all week. But Anthony will be rejoining the team this week so the Gutter Boyz will still be together one last time this year. Amy's training hasn't been for nothing, though. She's since picked up her game to the 130s (give or take the occasional inconsistent 90+ games) and is still working hard to be a true contender. Maybe she'll consider joining us as a player next year? How 'bout it, ma'am?
We're in exam mode already. These 3 days are for the JC1's study break and the 1st paper begins Thursday. Between the JC1 and JC2 tutors, there's been a sudden role reversal since last week, and now we (JC1 tutors) have the more flexible timetable.

I'm taking the time between student consultations to read Phillips' "6 Questions of Socrates." It's slow going because it's a book I'm consuming in small chunks at a time. Though I haven't even made it past the 1st chapter so far, I find the duscussion groups Phillips organizes (and then writes about) to be quite fascinating. From culture to culture, people to people, he gathers a class-sized group together and asks them for their views on virtue/justice/moderation/good/courage/piety and lets the group just trash it out amongst themselves. Sometimes he asks for further clarification or some other leading question, but most of the time, the group members bounce ideas amongst themselves.

What's fascinating for me is that the participants range from the elderly wisened to the pimply teenaged, and so far it's been the younger crowd that seems the most vocal. 16-18 year-olds talking about the highest of human ideals, truly believing what they say and yet listening with open ears and hearts and minds in order to learn more from what the others have to say. Whether they're Greek or Navajo or Japanese the young have something to say about being human and aiming for the highest standards of human excellence, and they are neither afraid nor embarrased to say it.

The "lesson" goes in many different directions in quite an unstructured manner. The "teacher" (Phillips) doesn't actually control the discussion as much as he helps the group to uncover truth for themselves. Phillips doesn't have any answers to offer anyway.He's more interested in stimulating and sometimes provoking his discussion group to respond to the discussion.

Perhaps our biggest problem is in underestimating our kids. We don't actually engage them at this level. We feel they aren't "ready" to discuss such issues with us. Sometimes we don't even feel we're ready to discuss it with them either. Hope we get over our prejudices fast. Wonder what our kids might say, given such an opportunity?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

To the owner of the SUV parked so inconsiderately at the egress of the Empress Place slip road turning out into Connaught this morning:

You caused a minor traffic jam along Empress because a tour bus could not find an angle to exit into Connaught despite many back-and-forth attempts by the bus driver. Traffic backed up to the end of the Asian Civilizations Museum and everyone grew increasingly irate at the blockage.

One-by-one, drivers abandoned their vehicles and walked towards your car to see what the problem was and how they could help the bus driver with his situation.

When enough people got together, they decided that it was more expedient to do something about it rather than wait upon your good graces to show up and drive off.

I would never have imagined that human hands could actually lift and drag a whole SUV aside, but I guess when coupled with adrenaline, an angry mob is not to be underestimated. Dear owner, in case you're wondering how your vehicle ended up parked on the sidewalk instead of on the road where you left it, the explanation is right here.

Please give more thought to where you park next time. Thank you.