Saturday, May 27, 2006

Edit 01

Today, 2 dogs, and a chance to hit Tanjong Beach. Unfortunately, 2 humans got an attack of the lazies and inadvertently fell asleep in front of the TV just after lunch. Fortunately, while we slept, the afternoon rains came again, so our beach trip would have been a washout anyway if we had made it.

What we did accomplish was a cursory exploration of the Pet Resort in Seletar Farmway. We need to find a nice place to board Q-tip when we go to Bali in a couple of weeks' time, and we thought maybe a change from her usual would be nice.

Just off Jalan Kayu, the Pet Resort looks like a farm from the outside. Inside, there is quite a bit of space for the different animal enclosures. Here, there are goats, ponies, a flock of weird-looking birds with what looks like a spray of fireworks on their heads, a flock of huge geese, and 1 awesome stork so large it had an entire enclosure all to itself overlooking a pond. Nice digs. The place is like a petting zoo, except there is a warning not to get too close to Woodstock, the stork. Frankly, he doesn't need the warning sign. If I ever encounter a bird that size in the wild, I'd give it a wide berth. You won't have to tell me twice.

They have puppies and rabbits for sale too. We saw the cutest jack russel on the POS counter, his new owner coughing up well over a grand for him. "His mother's a champion," declared the new owner proudly, and I suddenly thought of the fact that people used to be bought and sold like that too at one time, and in some parts of the world, still are.

What did the dogs think of the place? Q-tip doesn't seem to think much at all. She's just happy to have an outing, doesn't care where. Mimi, however, didn't like it at all. From the time we stepped into the place, Mimi became a portable fuzzy jelly, trembling at 5.1 on the Richter scale. I can only guess that she sensed this place was where owners left their animals, and she was afraid we were thinking of abandoning her there too. Ignorance is bliss, yes, Q-tip?

In the end, June decided this wasn't the place for Q-tip. Most of the boarders are large dogs, the kind that stress Q-tip out just by sniffing her behind. Doubt she'll be very happy having to stay there with them for the better part of a week. So it's back to Dominic's for her after all.
Today's date, 27 May. I looked through my previous 2 entries on this date in '05 and '04 and I just realized that I never did mention the significance of this date before. This was the date of our wedding dinner, held at the Art Museum, way back in 2000.

It was a free-and-easy buffet dinner, a pretty much do-it-yourself affair. With good friends coordinating the deco and proceedings, the only thing we had to worry about was the imminent thunderstorm about to break over our heads, threatening to wash out our OUTDOOR celebration. It all came down to prayer, and lo and behold, (according to our guests) the storm had broken all over the island, except for a tiny patch of clear sky over the Art Museum that evening. Our little wedding miracle.

The 22nd Council whom I invited also experienced a miracle that evening. The Councillors discovered our stash of red wine and they got busy conducting their own, um, communion service. And they were happy.

Wonder why I never mentioned this before?

Friday, May 26, 2006

We're back at the mid-year break again! What can I say? A short break, some unstructured time to myself. Time to rest and recharge, and to figure out my next step now that the JC2s are only half a year away from their 'A's. PUS begins full swing next week and there are still some niggly administrative details to solve -- like where the spare PUS t-shirts are, and what to do about a little boy who "wants to go home" already, even before summer camp starts. Holiday remedials and marking to catch up on, and a new set of holiday assignments to keep me going. Oh, and then there's a trip to Bali to look forward to.

Rambling again. My brain's already packed and gone on vacation... la, la, la...

Thursday, May 25, 2006

It's a conspiracy, I tell ya! All week I'd been looking forward to a free afternoon and I got one today, PUS kids deciding to postpone rehearsal in favour of SPA preparation. The plan was to drive out to the East coast and put in some 'blading time along the beach.

It was brilliantly hot and sunny in the morning and it looked like all systems were go! But just as I was about to get into M2 and drive off, the South China Sea picked up and dumped itself on our heads. Ironically, we happened to bring up Murphy's Law in today's KI tutorial. I couldn't have planned a better object lesson.

Free weekday afternoons go either one of two ways. Healthy, as in getting a sweaty cardio-vascular workout in the sun if the weather is good; or if the weather is inclement as it was today, unhealthy, as in sitting on my fat ass, clogging up my arteries with junk food. More often than not this year, it's been the latter option. Presenting today's choice menu:

You guessed it! This isn't the campus cafeteria. Posted by Picasa

"There is no spoon," but there are, however, a couple of sporks and the remains of my lunch. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I never thought I'd enjoy PUS much. When I began this year heading up NY conneX and PUS, I thought the former would be a challenge, the latter a chore.

After all, based on what I've observed of PUS in previous years, staff involvement has been focused on doing everything necessary to ensure that the College's presentation doesn't embarrass the College in the midst of all the other Colleges and the VIP in attendance. That's a lot of pressure to be under, and that tends to bring out the control freak in the person-in-charge. No one enjoys working under Hitler, and unless you're an innate fascist, you won't enjoy being Hitler either.

I personally wasn't relishing my turn on the throne this year. Becoming a despot involves too much work for these lazy bones to appreciate. Fortunately, I didn't have to go there. This bunch of PUS kids is the most animated, spontaneous, anarchistic, narcissistic set of students I've ever lost control over, and if anyone asks, they're running the show, not me.

In many ways, 'rol is at the core of our presentation. It was his vision that developed into the video shoot everyone ad-libbed their way through. No script, just a rough briefing, a couple of walk-through rehearsals, 2-3 takes in our 5-shot sequence, and that's a wrap in a 3-hour weekend shoot. Joining him on the presentation team are Mich and Shin, and that's it -- our comedy trio.

While the video forms the frame, our presentation is 'live' on stage and it's the 3 of them that carry our assigned topic -- how to make traditional businesses viable and relevant in the new knowledge and research intensive economy -- to our audience. The 3 of them together are a riot to watch as they improv their way through their rehearsals.

'rol and Mich play a couple of KBE savvy bimbos advising a manic depressive, slightly suicidal kaya toast seller (Shin) how to update his business in a presentation we call, "My Business is Toast!" Even today, during the preview presentation at Assembly period for the JC1s, the 3 were still doing improv on stage!

The 3 of them are a Dictator's nightmare, but I'm truly grateful that they are a bunch of kids willing to constantly put themselves on the line, constantly trying out fresh ideas regardless of how many times Mel and I have to tell them, "cut back/stoppit/NOOooo!"

I'm also grateful that my co-staff, Mel and Gerald aren't control freaks either. We're just waching our version of PUS take shape almost all by itself. This year, PUS really belongs to our kids, and that's something for them to be proud of.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Momo, my cat, can think inductively.

Inductive reasoning refers to the ability to predict an event through the repeated observation that under certain conditions the same event has occurred before, and therefore under the same conditions the event will happen again.

Momo has this irritating habit of following me out of the house when I leave for work in the morning. She loves to run out into the corridor and sprawl on the cement floor, rubbing her body on it for a couple of seconds (so embarrasing), and then running off to another spot where she repeats this silly behaviour. Eventually, I'll catch up to her and carry her back into the house, and she's contented.

Lately, Kaiser has noticed her behaviour and he's looking like he wants to copy what "big sister" is doing. I cannot handle 2 cats running around in my corridor unsupervised, so I prevent them both from going out, much to Momo's disappointment. This has happened several times already.

These last couple of days, when Momo sees Kaiser walking towards the front door where she's sitting waiting for me to open it, Momo makes an annoyed noise and stalks off back towards the kitchen to finish her breakfast. She doesn't even wait for him to come near the door any more, she just gives up. Poor girl.

Guess I shouldn't be surprised at Momo's intellectual prowess. Pavlov proved that dogs think inductively too.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

'blading again at Bish Park since... a long time ago, it seems. Only JY joining us today, but it was a pretty rushed 2 rounds before we had to part company. JY had her personal affairs to take care of, and June and a few of her colleagues wanted to drop in on another colleague of theirs who's feeling lousy this week.

June and I went to Toa Payoh in search of a stall that sells Japanese seaweed. It's supposed to be incredibly packed with vitamins and other health enhancing goodies, for a pretty good price too. We found the stall at the end of the Hub, near the POSB ATMs.

The vendor let us sample different recipes he concocted: 2 different varieties of seaweed in sesame oil, garlic, sliced chilli, can't remember what else. Despite my prejudices, it tasted quite good. Except I thought he had let his sample soak too long in the oil and it had got a bit soggy.

June. bought. a lot. of. seaweed. Fortunately, it wasn't all meant for us, but her colleagues as well.

We collected June's colleagues at the MRT station and I deposited them at their sickly colleagues' block. I declined to accompany them upstairs, taking the opportunity to sit in the quiet void deck and actually try to get some marking done. It felt a little anti-social doing that, but, y'know... marking.