Saturday, October 08, 2005

M2 almost became a complete Sports Utility Vehicle for today. In his trunk there were a bowling bag containing ball and shoes, 2 sets of petanque boules, and a pair of inline skates complete with protective gear.

Our day began in the rain. June and I met Amy and JY at Bishan Park. We were a little late and we missed HP, but we arrived in time for lunch. We felt like Japanese, so we drove off to Toa Payoh for sushi. As we hoped, the weather cleared up while we ate. Then back to Bishan Park to complete what we planned to do from last night: Amy to learn cycling, JY to try inline skating.

So while Amy sat on her rented bike trying to gain confidence to kick off and pedal, JY armoured up and took her first steps in the rink at the skate park. June rented a bike too and did her rounds while I accompanied JY, trying to encourage her and give her confidence as she orbited the rink staying within grabbing distance of the railing.

Within an hour, JY had begun to take several steps unsupported on her inlines, though she suffered a nasty fall at which she decided to call it quits. Amy was still struggling with her bike, even though June was dangling a cold, refreshing 100Plus some distance away as motivation. If we all do this again next week, I'm sure there'll be some major improvements in their respective new skills.

After we left Bishan Park, June and I went back to the Toa Payoh petanque courts to train with Anthony, the youth team and the Ladies' team. And to clear our debt with Vicki over our equipment purchase.

By 8pm Anthony joined us to meet Amy and JY again for bowling at the CSC. Very busy, athletic day. Of course, it would have been healthier if we didn't finally end up at Swenson's for dinner and dessert. All my calories burned today, I bet I replaced in just that 1 meal. Hic.

Friday, October 07, 2005

JY didn't disappoint me like I did her last Wednesday. I invited her out to lunch with us, promising her a ride back to Bishan after, but when she met up with us, I was nowhere to be found because some last minute stuff cropped up and I couldn't have lunch after all. Tonight, she showed up for bowling as promised. 2 thumbs up for you, girl!

Not that we had a great series of games. After a break of more than a week, you could see the rust forming as we seemed to inspire each other to bowl nonsense. Also, maybe since the pressure's off us now that the competition is over, there's no urgency to take things too seriously and we just enjoyed each other's company instead.
We've committed ourselves to petanque now. June and I purchased a set of boules each from the clubhouse, on credit, heh heh. We decided that if we came early for training and no one else was around to open the store for us, at least we would have our own equipment and we could play or run drills with each other while we wait.

Having our own boules also means we can practice anytime, anywhere we like. Beach, park, wherever we can find a piece of open ground, preferably flat and not too bumpy.

Training today wasn't too bad. Vicki taught me some shooter's techniques, but it'll be some time before I would have had enough practice to actually use the theory effectively. But, as with the pattern so far, when the Ladies (June and Vicki) paired up against the 3 guys (today Anthony, Weng and me) they still wiped our faces in the dirt, though we did chalk up more credible losing scores than the last time. We're learning too, though maybe not as quickly as the girls.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

June's gone pretty much into serious training with her new sport. She spent quite some time learning from Vicki, the local petanque Ladies' mainstay and shooting ace, and her form has improved quite impressively in just a couple of hours of practice.

Later, Vicki and June teamed up against Anthony, Vince and me for a couple of games. Sad to say, we guys sucked and got trashed by the 2 ladies in both games.

Now June wants her own set of "boules" so she can kick my butt every day. Oh well, guess that takes care of what to get her for Christmas!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Lunch came in 2 parts today. First P catered lunch for the staff, her treat. It was an all-vegetarian affair. Thankfully, the dishes were mostly oriental stir-fried or steamed fresh vegetables and not the fake meat gluten stuff. She also spared a thought for the carnivores amongst us and brought in a satay man to keep us happy. And as an afterthought to the younger staff of the fast-food generation, there were also a couple of boxes of pizza. Guess there was a little something for everybody.

Part 2 came around after 1 o'clock. A small convoy led by Anthony headed for Ambrosia on Arab Street for a snack, a drink and marking time. Unfortunately, Ambrosia was closed when we got there so we wandered around a bit before settling on Samar, a Middle Eastern F&B place. Interesting that the backs of the menu carried designs of posters calling for Palestinian freedom. They made me feel for just a little while like I was "there."

Despite having had lunch earlier, I was still peckish so I ordered a saltah. Apparently, it's a Yemeni recipe for a lamb stew soup. It came in a small soup bowl with bits of cabbage, some shreds of flat noodle-like things, and tiny pieces of lamb which were good to chew on. I had an almond flavoured laban (yoghurt drink) sprinkled with cinnamon and cardamon powder. It wasn't sweet like I thought it might have been, but was cold and tasted quite refreshing.

Amy and NBS left to pursue their own agenda soon after lunch, while Vince, Anthony and I stayed the rest of the afternoon to mark essay scripts. Quite a productive afternoon, I must say.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

flik... flik... flikflikaflik... flikaflik tak. tak flikaflikaflikaflik taktak. flikatak flikatak flikatak thump. tak flikatak flikatak thump. thump tikatikatikatika(flik) tikatikatikatika(flik) tika(flik) tika(flik) tika(flik) thumpthump....
shikaskikashikashika... tap tapitty... tap tappity tappitty tap tap... tappity tappity tapitty tappity tappity tappity... BOOM CRASH!!!

You get the idea. That's Amy, Vince, June and me at the Esplanade Theatre for "Stomp!", the art of turning noise into signal. It's therapeutic to whack dustbin lids, hubcaps, oil drums and metal buckets to transform your aggression and frustration into a sonic assault against all of humanity, but Stomp! takes it one step further by making music and dance out of it. So with a little rhythm, lots of high-energy movement and a touch of light comedy you can bash away on pretty much any household implement you can get your hands on and go on a world tour. If noise therapy catches on, I wanna sign up too!
We went to the TP petanque courts this afternoon where Anthony and the other 2 members of the Women's team coached June through her first petanque experience. June was such a serious student. I could see her really focusing hard on her targets and trying so hard to get the flow of her throw right. Later, they tried her out as a pointer in a couple of games where she did pretty well for a first timer.

Nice that June's learning a new sport that we can play with each other, one probably not as expensive as bowling either. Haha.

We were at the courts until quite late then eventually broke for dinner. Anthony and Wendy introduced us to Blooies, an essentially expat hangout place in Siglap. The place was full of Ang-mo types having a good time, most of whom were ignoring the Man U game on the TV, preferring to focus on their own conversations.

We were there for the food so June ordered the black pepper chicken as recommended by the rather frazzled-looking wait staff. From the fragments June offered me from her plate I could tell that the chicken was delightful. Tender and juicy and flavourful , and so fresh too. Likewise my mussel penne in tomato sauce. Lovely. I'd like to know which brand of ginger ale they served. It was sweet and not as dry as it usually is. That was a nice surprise 'cos given a choice I'd go for ginger beer (for the smoothness) rather than ale.

Celine and CW joined us a little later for coffee, chat and gossip. CW let us gawk at his Jazz in the parking lot. He'd recently installed a new grille, adding on to the other mods that supposedly "improve fuel consumption" -- aerodynamic fins and a bloated exhaust pipe, for example -- and other more cosmetic enhancements as well. He's a seriously "poisoned*" dude.

Blooies is one more dog-friendly place we can add to our list. Next time lah, ok, Q-tip?

*Term describing someone with car-upgrade mania.