Saturday, December 03, 2005

Picked up JY and met Chewy for blading again. But although the weather had cleared up from last night's downpour, the pathways were still wet and slippery, no condition to blade in. So we ended up occupying a couple of park benches while the girls scared themselves silly swapping "real-life" ghost stories. Hope for better weather tomorrow.

Continued our scavenger quest in the afternoon. We've moved on to clue 3 already and it's a toughie too. The earlier clues only hinted at the names and locations of the places we needed to find. This clue is very clear about what we're looking for, but the challenge is a needle-in-a-haystack one. There are so many of these things around, the trick is to identify the right one.

We parked at Marina Square to begin our hunt. Moved on to CityLink Mall, the Capitol, Peninsula Plaza and Shopping Centre, some of the shophouses on North Bridge Road, caught the 190 to Orchard Road where we went pounding mall after mall searching for an outlet matching the description given in our clue. Zip. Nada. Zilch. Again, maybe it's the way we're interpreting the clue that's throwing us off. I dunno.

Had to give up by about 5 to prepare for dinner at MJ's. Pot-luck involving 2 generations of Drama Club kids. Nice to see everyone together one last time before we all scatter to the 4 winds next year. The guys, especially, who are fretting over their army enlistment in the next few days.

Good luck and God bless, everyone!
Began the first of many discussions to come about the future, in particular, the changes I'm going to face in 2006. Everything changes. New subject, new CCA, everything I've become familiar with over the last few years has become new again. New P, new syllabus even. So much uncertainty is grounds for much apprehension, but there is an equal amount of excitement as well because there will likewise be room for experimentation and improvisation along the new learning curve.

Questions I'm asking myself are:
How might curricular and co-curricular activities run concurrently and seamlessly with one another?
How much learning-by-doing, learning-by-experience am I capable of planning and executing for next year's kids?
How might I work effectively with a new grouping of friends and colleagues on next year's upcoming projects?
How much of the programmes, systems and learning that I've developed and acquired so far do I want to relinquish to those replacing me in my previous portfolio, and how much do I take with me as I take up my new portfolio?

Regardless, the key to dealing with change is to get organized. Know what resources I have on hand, what resources I need to acquire and by when. Learn to see what's coming up on the horizon, give whatever system sufficient lead time to effectively deal with it; and remember that I'm not working alone but with others who share my goals too.

My biggest problem is in estimating lead-time, procrastinator that I am. Sounds like someone needs an organizer for Christmas. Then the other thing is, hope he actually uses it next year. Heh.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Working on a new clue now. The previous one -- the one we spent 3 days on -- we had already solved on Day 1, but we didn't notice the checkpoint marker though we were in the right location. Doh. But clue 2 has me stymied. The riddle is so cryptic, I don't have an idea what kind of thing we're supposed to be looking for. Lots of theories, but a dead end every time. *scratches head making sparks fly.

Spent the day driving around. Let's see... Goldhill Square, Chinatown, Holland V, Serene Centre, Vanilla Pod (got firmly kicked out 'cos we refused to pay the $3 entry fee into the Orchid Garden), Orchidville, Catholic Church in Yishun, Jalan Kayu, Millennia Walk. See? Chasing down every lead, no matter how tenuous.

We gave up at Marina Square where we had dinner at Wakaru. At this Japanese restaurant, all the staff shout their welcome at every new walk-in. Must be a Jap custom, but we're not all that used to it, having our meal constantly interrupted by a chorus of "irrashaimase" every short interval. But the staff are very friendly, always smiling and attentive people. Foodwise it's nothing to rave about. My sushi-udon combo came in larger portions than I expected, so there's quantity for the price; but the maguro, salmon and yellowtail were chewy -- I've had better.

Over at Serene Centre, I found a copy of Civ IV! Police chases are now passe. It's time to build Empires! But I had a problem loading the game the first few attempts. Apparently, there's a problem working the game out-of-box with ATi video-cards. Thankfully, the latest 1.09 patch solves this annoying glitch so I got to start indulging my megalomaniacal tendencies after all.


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Has it already been 5 years? Then here's to the end of one P's "reign," whilst we await the beginning of another. The P's been in the business nearly the whole of my lifetime. That's a lot of memory to recap in the couple of hours the college spent in a tribute concert to her this evening.

Not sure how many other Ps get a send-off like this one, but there are lots of people who have fond memories of her, so I suppose this concert's for them too, to express their gratitude and honour her contribution in the service of education.

The P probably wants to be most remembered for her passion in promoting Chinese culture in a society that seems to be fast forgetting its roots. That our multi-ethnic department put together a Chinese-y item that actually looked well-rehearsed and one that we didn't play for laughs like we usually do must have tickled her a bit, at least. 10 EL Dept tutors bashing away on Chinese drums in unison to a Chinese beat, shows that even we (many of whom claim to be the bane of our Chinese teachers' lives) can find something good about Chinese culture to train in and put up for public display.

Let me register my appreciation to the 2 Pugi kids who coached us, and to my 9 colleagues who kept rehearsals fun and lighthearted even though we were all stressed out learning the rhythms on top of everything else we had to juggle over the last couple of weeks. You're the best!

But the most heartfelt sincerity must have come from CL Dept's GML who made an unexpected, unscheduled appearance right at the end of the concert. GML only returned from Taiwan late today and rushed down from Changi just in time before the closing item of the concert. She presented the P with a gift from the students and staff involved in the Taiwan expedition, then became all teary as she and the P shared a parting embrace. The P, after all, had been GML's teacher way back when.

So farewell, Mrs H! Knowing you, I doubt you're just going to fade away into the background, but you'll find new challenges to conquer in your post-retirement. Just like our previous P before you did and is still doing today.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Spent a crazy weekend hunting down clues to a scavenger quest we've got ourselves involved in. Make that "clue" 'cos by today, we haven't solved it yet! We've pretty much run around much of the island looking at some wonderful sites with NE possibilities; but no joy on finding our treasure. The location of our next clue -- the one we've been searching for for the last 3 days -- must be damned obscure. This evening, we declared a break and maybe by tomorrow, one of us will have a new brainwave and actually piece our first riddle clue together correctly. Otherwise it's just an exercise in frustration. >__<

Meantime, fitting my life around scavenger questing, from the previous week till today, Ive been learning something I've wanted to do for a long time: whack those barrel-like Chinese drums -- the ones they use for lion and dragon dancing. So the Department got a couple of Pugi kids to string us a few rhythms together, show us their drumming techniques, then cast us in front of a live audience and hope for the best.

The audience packs the Hall Wednesday evening, gathering on the occasion of our P's farewell tribute; a sort of "This is Your Life" kind of variety show with the EL Dept demonstrating that we can keep a beat in some rousing tub-thumpery, despite what we think of ourselves. Hope people won't see our effort as an attempt to drum the P out of college. The pun wasn't intentional. Heh. 7 simple, repeating sequences for a 150 sec performance, then I can rule one more ambition off my list as "fulfilled."

All that and I'm still slowly working my way up the "Most Wanted" list too. Hence some very late nights... like tonight.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

We're at Kranji War Memorial this morning. Could this be the right place to solve our 1st scavenger quest clue? Posted by Picasa

June and Q-tip find it hard to smile in a place as sombre as this. Posted by Picasa

A little bird finds a perch. Posted by Picasa

Another gorgeous sunset at... where else? Posted by Picasa

Can you people please wait until after we sing, "Happy Birthday," before declaring how big you want your slice of cake to be? Posted by Picasa

Kaiser looks regal in his new blue collar. Or he will, once he grows into it. Posted by Picasa