Saturday, October 22, 2005

Things to drool over in anticipation:

Doom (opening 3 November in Singapore though it's already screening in the US).
Quake 4 (released 18 October)
New graphics card so that I can play Quake 4 (my current Radeon 9800 Pro has tragically crapped out on me, rmb? Well, maybe I should bring it back to the dealer 1st to see if they can help, though my warranty has probably expired by now.)

Time to bring the year to a vicariously violent end! Heh heh!

Friday, October 21, 2005

I started the day feeling anxious about M2, though initially I couldn't think why I should be. Then I remembered my dream from last night. I was driving along a busy road when the lights changed. A truck stopped in front of me and I did the same. Except that my leg went weak and couldn't step on the brake hard enough. M2's front coasted into the truck's rear fender and I could only watch as my hood crumpled inwards in slow motion. I remember being upset at the damage in my dream -- the huge dent and exposed wiring dangling out of it -- but when I woke up I had temporarily forgotten everything.

The nasty scratch M2 sustained for real yesterday morning must have been more upsetting to me than I thought. My parking lot at home faces a row of market stalls that take delivery of supplies early in the morning. For their convenience, delivery trucks double park leaving a narrow gap for legally parked cars to squeeze out of. Yesterday, I found myself squeezed too tightly and as I was maneuvering out of my lot I grazed against my (legally-parked) neighbour's fender and got stuck. My neighbour was a beat-up looking pickup BTW so no harm done to it.

I had to wait until 2 delivery trucks moved out of my way while in the meantime being verbally pressured by the uncle who owns the orange March to get out of his way 'cos he was late for work [like I wasn't?]. When the uncle exhausted his patience he resorted to hand signals (no, not the impolite ones) to guide me out of my predicament, but the damage was already done. M2 has a lovely scratch along the rear-left passenger door and a long indentation where the pickup's fender had made contact with him. Fiddlesticks.

Poor M2. He's beginning to look like a bumper car!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

"The 40 Year-Old Virgin" is a laugh-aloud take on how difficult the human mating ritual can be. A couple of memorably unpleasant experiences with the opposite sex causes Andy to withdraw contact from womenfolk, until his misguided but well-meaning colleagues discover his "condition." Observing how reserved Andy is with people, they enthusiastically share their individual and collective "wisdom" with him while pushing him in the path of different women, anxious to make a man out of him.

The trouble with Andy is that he's locked himself into permanent boyhood. He surrounds himself with "collectible" toys, cycles to work ("bicycles are for 6 year-olds!"), and is reluctant to take on more responsible roles in his workplace, especially if such roles entail meeting and talking to people, including eligible women.

The trouble with his friends is that while they're sexually experienced, they prioritize sex over their relationships. Hence, they themselves have difficulty holding on to their mates over the long-term, which tears them up inside.

I love the portrayal of comradeship amongst co-workers in this movie. They may initially appear intimidatingly full of male bravado and enjoy somewhat perverted activities, but below the surface they are nice guys at heart and really do look out for each other. Though their initial intention is to have a lark at Andy's expense, his colleagues prove to be a strong support group that keeps him encouraged and motivated in his quest for a mate. And it's all not just focused on Andy either; the guys also help each other out in times of personal crisis. Ya gotta' have friends amongst your colleagues. It gets sad and lonely otherwise.

Thanks to his friends, Andy, the 40 year-old man-boy learns to grow up and put away his childish things. When he does, a whole new world of adventure in adult relationships opens up for him. He may be a late bloomer, but better late than never.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Tag-teamed today's essay review lecture with Avril using the material I uploaded in the previous post. I went on talking as usual, leaving Avril with about half the time she had been allocated to cover her section. Good thing she doesn't panic easily. Hope the audience got the answers they were looking for, though I also hope we didn't scare them too badly seeing as how high our expectations were of their essays. Oh well, pitch 'em high so they'll reach higher next time.

Had a late lunch with a slightly different crowd. There were Vince, Josh, Joanna and Baggy, all sharing Indian Rojak and prata variants at Rosyth. The place is under new management and the pratas are slightly bigger, firmer and chewier. Nice.

Joanna and Baggy both had thosai. Joanna's looked like it had an unfortunate accident. Instead of the long roll it's supposed to be, it had collapsed into itself and lay on its tray flattened and full of shards. Baggy's came out looking OK so it had probably won the Thosai Rumble in the kitchen. Josh couldn't get enough of the chutney dip the thosai came with -- maybe he'll get his own one day.

Nice, quiet evening with June at home. Watched another couple more episodes of 'Lost,' and later 'CSI:Miami' on AXN. And another 2 PW Written Reports to look at before bed, so maybe I should get back to work.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I've been tasked with drafting a couple of essay outlines from the GP promo paper for the review lecture tomorrow. I just finished one and already the outline is longer than the minimum word limit for the paper. I wonder, then, if my expectations for the kids are unrealistic when I'm marking their papers? The question reads: "How important is censorship in today's world?" If you're interested, check it out.

Do 16-17 year-olds think like this?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Not much happenin' today. We're down to the final consultations for the PW groups about their written reports, though the time is so short till Friday's deadline. Somehow, after seeing only 3 groups today, I have to squeeze in time to see my 8 other groups by -- OMG -- tomorrow! Else there won't be enough time for the groups to make my final comments worth anything. I have another 3 confirmed appointments for tomorrow, but the remaining 5 groups... better see them 1st thing tomorrow and find out when they're available to talk.

JC1s are freakin' out. They got back their promo papers this afternoon, and now they're worrying if they've done well enough to be promoted next year. I'm familiar with this feeling. Every year I spent in secondary school there'd be a couple of weeks like this one. Only for me, there really was a chance that I wouldn't make it. Such a terrible student I was then. Thankfully, that period is just a memory now, only occasionally resurrecting itself in a nightmare or some other manifestation of Post-Traumatic Exam Stress Disorder.

Not much else to report. Threw another few crappy games on the SAFRA lanes, then stopped by Jalan Kayu for supper. Mmmm... prata.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Rain, rain, go away...

Stuck at home pretty much all day, no thanks to our capricious weather. Well, we did give Q-tip an outing to West Coast Park's McD's, just in time for breakfast. Must remember that June wants Egg McMuffin, not Sausage McMuffin with Cheese and not order wrongly again (repeat 100 times).

This side of the park is a kid's paradise of things to climb, dangle and swing from. The park was just crawling with hordes of little ones, parents in tow. And dogs tend to be in the tiniest minority. June has the idea of bringing the nephews here at the next opportunity. Guess it will be fun for them, and a good excuse for me to test out the facilities for "safety" reasons. Heh.

But the dark clouds gathered very quickly, so immediately after our hot beverage, we left off our recce of the area before the South China Sea got dumped on our heads.

Back home I checked my correspondence with my contemporaries from the Class of '81. They held an informal meeting last Friday evening. It was the first time in years that they had seen each other. Judging by the 3rd person perspective, obviously I wasn't there, already too tired from the college Open House. Let's see if the lo-res pix they uploaded into our Yahoo! group can be seen at all here:

Hmm... just enough to be unrecognizable. It'll do. I only remember 3 of these good ol' boys: Alex (standing 2nd from left), my best friend in Sec 1-2; "Cherry-ann" George (standing 2nd from right), political commentator and the guy I blame for the permanent scar on my right shin in a soccer-related incident; and Mark (seated extreme right) whom Alex and I used to bully all those long years ago.

The others, well, either I have no memory of, or I never really had any contact with them at all 'cos I was never put in the smart classes :P

Don't they all look like responsible, prosperous chaps with families and important careers? And I have to wonder, what the heck have I done with my own life?

Reading through the forum messages, I noticed the guys were also discussing those of us who didn't make it to 40 years old. I hadn't realized that there were quite a number of us already deceased. Accidents, automotive and industrial; disease; and suicide have already taken some of us along the way, leaving the rest of us to raise a glass in their name as we vaguely recall who they were and what they did whilst we were still young.

Being alive at 40, and of reasonably sound mind and body: guess that's enough to be thankful for, eh?
Another weekend day out in the fresh air and bright sunshine. Back to Bishan Park continuing JY's training on her in-lines and Amy on her bike. NBS joined us today as well, so I had 1 other experienced skater in the rink to help keep an eye on JY. June took a bike out again, but once she gets her courage back up in the next couple of weeks, she'll want to resume training on in-lines as well.

It was fun having NBS around. She added on some of her figure-skating insight to JY's training and got her moving better, though JY is still pretty dependent on the railing. Next time, like it or not, JY has to come off the railing else her progress will be stunted. NBS also showed me some "pre-alpha" moves like the "cross-over" which I spent some time practicing.

After the in-line and bike rentals expired, we chilled out in the al fresco area in front of the bike rental store while watching on enviously at the kids who had come for afternoon in-line lessons and who could already do so much more fun stuff that kinda' put us all to shame.

Later, June went for more petanque practice. Today, Eddie put her to work with her new little friend, Geraldine, running pointer drills. Me? I found a nice shady spot to sit and relax, while watching the progress of the exercises and sipping orange-flavoured 100Plus.

June and I joined Adrian, Jen and Mary at Blooie's in the evening to celebrate Jen's birthday. It was odd giving Adrian a lift to the restaurant. Many years ago, Adrian was one of the lucky few people I knew who owned a car, and as such, drove us around wherever. Today, the roles were reversed, though perhaps not for long. Adrian is now considering getting his own car again. Hmm... make that still considering. A white 5-door 2.4l RAV4 maybe? We'll see.

Though it wasn't my birthday, the drinks were on me. That is, my drink was on me -- a whole glass of ginger ale which I accidentally backhanded off the table, the entire contents of which (including ice cubes, brrr!) landed on my lap. The staff was nice and presented me with a new glass FOC. Fortunately, June had the foresight to bring a change of clothes for us, so my evening wasn't as uncomfortable as it might have been.

Happy Birthday, Jen!