Saturday, March 15, 2008

Torrential rain couldn't dampen our long-awaited Batam getaway. Typical of mostly all our escapes, the only item on our agenda was relaxation at all cost, and there was little to do but relax as the downpours on Days 1 and 2 kept us indoors.

I kicked off my vacation schedule nua-ing through a 3-hour spa session with a tiny but sturdily-built masseuse. As I relinquished my bathrobe to her, I knew I was in good hands... and good feet as she commenced her assault with a stroll along my legs and spine. That initial foray softened up the ground for a thorough ploughing using alternating hot and cold stones. Once I was sufficiently reduced to a compliant pastry dough, it was off to the steam room to stew, then a bubble bath after. I ended with a foot reflexology treatment that I barely felt as by then I had already shut down my higher order thinking and was operating on motor function alone.

There was only one thing left on my mind: me hungry...! Just like my travelling companions who so kindly waited for me to finish my treatment before proceeding to dinner. Dinner was part of our package: nine assorted dishes of fresh seafood and veggies served with rice. Hunger appeased at last, we hung out at the lounge where the lounge singer got friendly with us and got Mel, Ton-y, Amy, B-lo and NBS to each sing a duet with him in turn. The rest of us -- HP, Wayne and I -- didn't make it past the Lounge Idol auditions. :P

Day 2 was entirely memorable due to the massive amount of rain that fell the whole day. It was a good day for the rest to get their spa treatments done, so between shifts we entertained ourselves just hanging out in our villas chatting, watching TV (no cable!) and occasionally dozing off where we sat. So much for Wayne and Ton-y's ambitions for a banana boat ride, but even if the weather was good, few of us were enthused enough to muster the energy needed for that.

We reconvened as a group for another seafood dinner, this time at the Rezeki, apparently the next best seafood place in Batam to the "Golden Prawn" where we had planned to go at first, then decided was too far away. We rode in two cars to get there, weaving our way around the many potholes that gave the narrow streets their distinctive character. We ordered an assortment of shellfish, crustaceans, a sea-bass and broccoli (for Mel), all very fresh and remarkably economical after splitting the bill eight ways.

Day 2 ended with a raucous KTV session back at our resort. Most of the song selections qualified as 'elevator music', but what th' heck, it made for a silly two hours' worth of late evening entertainment.

Day 3 was the day Day 2 should have been. Gloriously bright, hot sunshine, which saw us frolicking in the resort pool for the better part of the day. Unfortunately, the tide was out at this time, dashing Wayne and Ton-y's banana boat hopes once and for all.

After check-out, there was little else to entertain ourselves with. Did a couple of hours browsing through the sole Mega Mall, spirits buoyed by A&W curly fries and root beer floats served in tall chilled glasses -- a rare treat for us. That, and the J.Co donuts that we both scoffed down and brought home as souvenirs of our latest escapade.

I think the most important thing we've learned is that we're not likely to kill each other on trips. As far as travelling companions go, you guys rock!

Friday, March 14, 2008


Just a few of our holiday snaps from an unnamed location in Batam. It's such a great little hideaway, with comfy beach front villas, decent food, warm, friendly staff, and a lovely spa staffed with confident, experienced masseuses.

While I'm too tired to do a proper review right now, check out what NBS has to say about it -- she was blogging on-site.

Day 2.

Day 3.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Monday, March 10, 2008

It may be spring break week, but it feels nothing like a break just yet. Between rehearsals in the morning and KI "chats" in the afternoon -- and more of the same tomorrow -- it looks like I need a vacation to recover from my vacation.

Today's sessions, while necessary, have been quite fruitful as well. The more I work Pao Kun's awkward script with my cast, the more I can sense the movement, the timing and the rhythms that'll make this show tick. Problem is, I have so little rehearsal time left I fear it's only going to be half-baked by showtime. And in any case, I'm only using the spoken text as a counterpoint to the movement, like background music to a piece of choreography (in the loosest definition of the word), that our rather literal audience is in for a head-scratcher of a performance.

In terms of real calendar time, minus the two-week block test period coming up, I have only one week left to curtain. Internally, I'm panicking. Thank goodness for the short getaway beginning Wednesday that's coming up...

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Wireless PowerPoint presenters are all the rage right now, with one staff member after another buying one of these handy little devices for themselves. They're fun to use in lectures as we can untether ourselves from our mouse or keyboard and interact eyeball-to-eyeball with our audience, or at least get as close as our microphone cord will let us, without having to run back and click a button every time we need to advance our slides. When I braved the crowds at the IT Show today, that was one item on my shopping list.

The Logitech one I had my eye on, unfortunately was not on display. But I found an iSmart one, a totally brand new model that looked a lot sleeker than any other I've seen before. It was slightly longer and fatter than a fountain pen with the control buttons all within easy reach of the thumb. It had the standard advance-back buttons, in-unit USB receiver storage, a laser pointer and a couple of additional features. It functioned as a remote mouse using an in-built joystick and it also had a 128Mb internal memory for storing ppt files so there's no need to lug around a separate portable hard drive unit.

A couple of quick phone calls later and I had two more orders (from Jane and Jon) to add to mine. And then it all went horribly wrong.

The first unit I tested worked fine, but the second, third and fourth units all refused to communicate with the demo tablet PC at all. No one could get the cursor to move with the remote joystick at all. What took the cake was when the increasingly flustered vendor tried out the fifth unit, the cursor on the OTHER demo laptop moved instead. By this time, June was tugging my sleeve and quite audibly suggesting that we "go have lunch first."

I'm curious to discover the cause of this unbelievable cascade failure. Since each remote has its unique receiver, could there have been some mix-up in the packing of the units? I kinda' felt bad for the vendor. While I'm quite used to experiencing such monumental embarrassments on a regular basis, most lesser mortals might actually take it to heart.

These things don't generally occur at a product fair like this, so there's only two explanations that I'll accept: 1) Murphy strikes again, and/or 2) gremlins. Shoulda' remembered to lock them up before I left the house this morning. Net result: no sale.