Friday, January 27, 2006

College annual x-country run. Participants form up at the starting line. Posted by Picasa

Focused and determined, Dot keeps her eyes on the prize. Posted by Picasa

And they're off! With Dot leading the pack. Posted by Picasa

No stray goes hungry when June's around. Posted by Picasa

HP and Shah practice posing for product endorsements after their award-winning run. Posted by Picasa

The last stragglers get wheeled across the finish line. Posted by Picasa

'Blading with us pays off for JY -- 2nd placing in the Staff Race (Women). Posted by Picasa

We're behind all runners in spirit, honest! Posted by Picasa

Congrats to HP and Shah, 2 more EL Dept staff who have a trophy to display on their desks. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 26, 2006

OMG. Sorted through a pile of mail sitting on the shoe-rack and discovered a number of unopened bills that totaled up to quite a horrifying figure. These are bills over and above those I've arranged to pay through monthly GIRO deductions...

and over and above the bill I had to pay today from the contractor who did my bathroom renovation months ago. This evening, he came to see us in person to collect -- though the fault for the delay in payment lay in his administrative inefficiency and not in our tardiness. Good thing June remembered that our agreed-upon amount was actually less that the remuneration he was convinced he needed to collect. We showed him our bathroom to remind him what kind of work he actually did for us, and eventually he agreed on the lower price, thus saving us over a hundred bucks. At this time, every penny counts.

Well, thankfully, these bills mostly came from annual expenses and not monthly disbursements. It was just that when you let them accrue for a while, then open them all up at once, you're just asking for a heart attack, lor.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The 2nd issue of NY Connexions is now online!

Still working on improving the design and layout of the site, and still considering whether to migrate (repatriate?) back to the campus server when the contract for our current commercial server expires, but at least we have some new content.

Be nice and leave some constructive comments for our budding journalists, ok?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Yay! Got June a non-crappy V-day gift for a change. I know it's too early for the occasion, but when she actually does look longingly at something for herself -- which isn't often -- and reaches for her wallet, you know it's a good bet that it's something that she really wants. Best to strike when the opportunity stares you in the face.

So now June has a brand new Sony discman CD player, which I know she'll be using every day to listen to her CD collection. Though I tried talking her into accepting an MP3 player, she decided on the more retro option instead. Rebel.

Edit 01:
Hmm... it's morning now and on reading this entry again, I notice that it may possibly be misconstrued that I've made June appear like an unappreciative person, but that wasn't my intention. I really am a buyer of crappy gifts (usually due to last-minute panic shopping), if anyone's lucky enough to get a gift from me at all. It's a warm feeling to match the recipient with the right gift, and this time I think I did good.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Received my car loan statement from the bank in the mail today. After nearly a year's continuous monthly deductions from my financial pool puddle, I can proudly claim that I have nearly paid off my interest and in a couple of months' time I can start chipping away at my principle. Ouch.

When I look at COE and car prices today, I think of what I could have bought at the amount I paid a year ago for M2. Today, I could buy a Mazda 3, or just save $5k or more on the same car. If I was financially rational, I would reason that having a car is just money down the drain in terms of taxes, insurance, service and maintenance, fuel, parking, and, uh... anything else I might have missed out; while its asset value continues to depreciate day after day. Oh, and parking and traffic violation fines too. Nuts.

But I don't really care about all that. The experience of owning a car over the last year alone is worth more than the money I would have saved without one. All the adventures, all the friendship bonds made and strengthened would not have been possible without a set of wheels to call my own. From beach jaunts with the dogs, to bowling with the Boyz, to never eating alone, to the odd shopping trip or two, to blading at Bishan, to the mad scavenger quest... I couldn't put a price tag on how radically my life changed because I decided to become a car owner in the last year.

More importantly, I got to see people on a social basis; not just as work colleagues but as friends, and that -- as MasterCard would say -- is priceless.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

A small, manageable group went blading today: June and me, JY and Tonny; Chewy dropped in on us a little later just to say, "hi!" Chewy's giving her injured knee another 2 weeks to rest and then she'll join us proper again.

Today we made 7 orbits around the park (Tonny blading backwards for most of the way) and the girls would want me to note that neither fell even once today. The obligatory splat came from myself, thanks to a twig that got lodged in my wheels while I was going at speed. No damage to my person, though my wristguard did pick up a sizeable chunk of Bishan turf.

Jen might be annoyed that we parked within a few steps of her front door but we didn't visit her [so we won't tell her, right?]. We were actually on our way to buy CNY cookies from the auntie at Katong Antique House who has become good friends with June ever since the scavenger quest of last month. We even had to buy our pineapple tarts and I'm sure there'll be lots of disappointed people this year who were looking forward to June's homemade variety.

Lunched at Glory Cafe. June ordered so much -- lodeh, beef rendang, chicken curry, sambal kangkong, sambal sotong -- I couldn't believe we polished the lot off between the both of us. But I was grateful for the Bundaberg Peachee. I was thirsty.
Mimi's come over for the weekend. We took her and Kaizer to the vet yesterday for their shots. For an 11-year old, Mimi is in very good health, according to her blood test results. Except for her teeth which seriously need some treatment. Old lady's gonna need dentures soon or something. We'll fix an appointment for her after CNY.

Took both Mimi and Q-tip to Sentosa (this place seems like my regular weekend hangout, doesn't it?). This time, it was to snap some shots of our Art kids as they painted their hearts out over some Sentosa-sponsored art contest. The shots will be for the college newspaper, the latest issue we hope will be published by Tuesday.

I found it was difficult to take pix of artists as they paint. If you want to frame the painting, you get a brilliant view of the artist's butt. If you want the face, the artist has to pose but then you lose the candor of the moment. What to do? I still have a lot to learn about photography.

Vince bought June and me an early dinner at Sunset Bay. I had a pretty decent lamb stew, but June's mixed grill came from the Neanderthal School of Culinary Arts -- Burn. Meat. Regardless, thanks, Vince!