Saturday, February 04, 2006

Went with June to recce ECP as a possible blading venue. As long as we stay away from the central area where the McD's is, it's a long stretch of beach and it isn't as crowded as we thought, even on a Saturday morning. All along the way there are soft drink and ice-cream vendors, so as long as we bring some cash with us, we'll always be well provided for. A 100 Plus, btw, only costs $1.

There is one major snag, however. We encountered another slope (just 1 significant one), and for June, it was pretty much the same story. June + slope = disaster. My intention was to take the slope first to assess the risk factor for her, and I judged it to be unsuitable for her skill level. But when I turned to go back to advise her, I saw she was already on her decent and there was nothing to do but see how things played out.

Actually, she took the slope pretty well. She stayed on her feet all the way down, so the safest thing for her to do was to simply ride it out and slowly decelerate once she reached level ground. Instead, when it looked like she had arrived safely, she did an equivalent of jamming her brake. Given her velocity, the sudden stop was the very worst thing she could have done. She twisted herself around her injured knee and, well... She's hobbling around again.

I'm now quite convinced that for everybody, there are certain skills that we will never be able to learn beyond a certain level. For me, it's lower primary mathematics and pre-school conversational Mandarin. For June, it's confined-to-the-rink in-line skating.

Celebrated M-i-L's birthday at Jumbo, Gardens. Dumb Chinese seafood restaurant waiter joke of the day: "If you're in a hurry, you can order the Soon Hock. If you can take your time, you can order the Later Hock." Right.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The campus newspaper can be quite a painful balancing act. It's role is to be the platform for student voices to give their thoughts on things happening around them an airing. Yet, since the publication is also a reflection of the college that is accessible to all and sundry, we also have to be aware of our Admin's sensitivities and not air dirty linen in public view.

Our current feature story, based on the information our assigned reporters have amassed so far, put them in a difficult position. It looked like that there was a lot of negativity towards a major event that took place just recently. Our reporters had a dilemma: report "the truth" and face the cancellation of our fledgling news agency by a wrathful Admin; or embellish and pretty up the story and claim that it was an unqualified success, and lose all credibility with our readership who will view us as yet another "propaganda" tool of the powers-that-be.

We discussed the issue and came to the conclusion that neither was an acceptable option. Tracing further, we discovered that what our reporters took as "truth" was information provided from only one particular point of view. The issue hadn't been examined from sufficient counter-perspectives to be given a fair public hearing. So immediately one reporter took off to interview another source, who happened to be available, cooperative, forthcoming and honest in providing an alternative viewpoint.

For the last few weeks, we've been struggling with the identity of our 'paper. Should it be a sensational tabloid, a boring event-by-event scribe, a critical commentary, or what? After today's discussion, it looks like we're trying to make every opinion count. To see from multiple angles. To broaden perspectives on issues. To point out where improvement is needed. And to initiate dialogue that will facilitate such change for the better.

Noble words. Let's hope they aren't also famous last words.

Hmm... would this entry count as the NY Connexions manifesto?

Hmm(2)... I don't think every single story we write needs this level of nobility. That would also be nuts unrealistic. But when there is a need to take an editorial decision, then perhaps this should be our guide.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Our lunch circle seems to have expanded a little this year. Though we've lost Anthony due to staff movement, we're getting to see more of NBS, HP, Dee and Josh, and our culture of picking on one another over food still continues.

Today, we carried out our character assasinating, aspersion casting multilogue at Friends (how ironically ironic) at Gardens. Good food, good company.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Now back from a nice, long break over the CNY period. Apart from visitations to kin (though I must admit, not as many as I might have made), I've also been revisiting the worlds of KOTOR2 in a determined effort to make it as a Dark Side Force user for once. The story plays out differently depending on your avatar's alignment and I want to see the Dark Side version now.

Playing Dark is tough, well, for me, anyway. It's not that the game gets any harder -- in fact, some Dark powers are incredibly effective and spectacular to use -- but the choices one has to make in order to be Dark so rubs me the wrong way. For the moment I'm sort of playing mildly Dim (alignment, not IQ) because I can't stand to see people suffer without wanting to help them somehow, given the powers at my disposal. To be properly Dark though, you've got to abuse your powers as you take advantage of the situation, and if the suffering increases or you end up directly or indirectly causing the sufferer's death, well, them's the breaks, honey.

I'm such a lousy Dark Sider that I've been barred from a major plot juncture in the Shyrack Cave on Korriban. Apparently, only those strongly aligned either way can enter and experience further plot development; whereas those less committed to either cause might have to bypass this rewarding side quest and continue with the main story. I also lose out on character bonuses (special powers or attributes) simply because I'm so half-past-Sith. Where I am now in the plot, there doesn't seem to be any more opportunities to push my alignment any further as it seems to be almost an all-out straight fight to the finish from this point -- no need to make psychotic decisions anymore because "psychotic" will now be the automatic decision, regardless.

I like KOTOR because it allows me to explore my personal values. Yes, it's just a game, but precisely because it is a game that's why whatever decisions I make shouldn't matter, but they do. Even though my limited, virtual decisions affect only virtual puppets that follow a set of scripted responses, I still feel terrible when I steal from them, or cheat them, or hack them into little bits with my supercharged lightsabre just for some paltry personal gain -- some credits here, a useable item there, or some small increase in experience and/or Dark alignment points. If you had the power of the Force, what would YOU do with it?

And on a side note: after many, many attempts, I finally hunted down and captured Latios this evening. 'nuff said.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Heh. Posting pix while brain is still on vacation. This is Kaiser taking a break from all his naughtiness. Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 30, 2006

And one for the Wong family album. Q-tip and I look like we're doing a Bart and Homer impression! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 29, 2006

A very happy and prosperous new year, everyone! Now, can somebody please help me off the sofa? Posted by Picasa
Happy Lunar New Year!

After last year's MSG poisoning incident, and the near-altercation between Uncle and some pushy lady-patron of the year before, this year we decided to ring in the Year of the Dog with a home-cooked clan reunion dinner instead of a restaurant-do. After tonight, we all agree that we had the right idea. No fuss, no pressure, no MSG, no unwelcome guests at our table. Here, everyone is family and in this assurance we can rest easy.

The occasion didn't call for carol-singing, but we got out the trusty keyboard anyway, and with cousin Lyn thumping on the keys, we sang croaked through a selection of oldies (from the '20s!) to keep ourselves occupied until the final countdown.

In 3... 2... 1...
Had quite a decent time immediately after Friday's X-country run. For us, whenever we can manage the time, we like to lunch at Tomoko, Casuarina Road, on Friday afternoons because of their osakana special. We get a light set meal involving some form of fish. Usually for me, it's salmon sashimi. With miso and a couple of other side dishes thrown in, it's a pretty good buy for only $7.90.

This time, there were 12 of us in 4 cars -- a much larger group than what we're used to, but then, most of us were also there to catch Memoirs at Lido later.

On the way to the movie, I tailed Amy's Swift as closely as I could thinking she knew the best route into town, and possibly the best parking as well. Discovered she's not infalliable after all: we both took a wrong turn, making a wide detour Westwards. As a result, by the time we arrived, we very nearly missed the movie's opening. Guess it's time I learned to trust my own instincts and not rely on her so much for driving advice any more. Haha.

Memoirs was quite stylo. Lavish sets, costumes, quite eye-catching cinematography, rich in production values. But the storyline was disappointingly simplistic and predictable. Here, I was hoping Zhang Ziyi would turn into some psycho-ninja-warrior and end up kicking half of Tokyo's ass in increasingly creative ways for her childhood mistreatment, but it was more like a Cinderella story instead. I felt the conclusion was abrupt; grinding to a halt rather than ending with >ahem< a bang. Maybe I just have the wrong idea about Geisha?

After our group parted ways after the movie, June and I had dinner at Tonkatsu. Seemed appropriate ending to the day's All-Japan fest.