Saturday, March 21, 2009

A pile of croc

We must be in serious denial. Here, we're getting news to expect industry-wide pay cuts, and we're still spending money anyway. We got 50% storewide off Crocs through an "inside source" so although the chunky, rubbery footwear was never on our shopping list before, today we bought a couple of pairs each, and for the in-laws too.

While we had an exclusive discount source, the other shoppers were paying normal store prices and they just kept coming towards the cashier with their own selections. I guess recession or not, life and shopping must still go on.

Friday, March 20, 2009

A treat for the censors

The Board of Film Censors would have us know that it is no longer in the business of censorship. No. It now takes a 3-C approach: Classification, co-regulation and consultation by which the Board restricts access to the media according to age discrimination, rather than making a hatchet job on a roll of film with scissors and Scotch (TM) tape.

We know this because the BFC opened its screening room to us and talked us through the different processes and procedures our mainstream media undergo from submission for classification to final public release. I suppose it's a good approach because it seeks to please some people but not everybody, whereas the other more heavy-handed way pleases no one and pisses everyone off.

Kids did well discussing the sensitive issues in "Little Miss Sunshine" which they got to watch in its entirety, they had an animated Q&A session in which they showed off what they had learned in the session, and they grilled the staff there properly too. Quite a fun morning, actually.

Apologies to NBS whom we stood up for lunch even after making plans at the beginning of the week. We ended our BFC visit late and couldn't make our appointment after all. :(

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Witch Mountain all over again

Disney's "Witch Mountain" movies of the 70s' were a major influence on my formative years. They were among the first movies I watched focused on paranormal themes. They fed me with fantasies of ESP abilities, aliens and spacecraft; but it was because of these fantasies that I began reading the newspapers, looking out for articles on such topics.

Somehow, Witch Mountain made a believer out of me and I suppose I was looking for corroborating evidence that such things were real. If they could be real for other people -- so my logic went -- they could turn out to be real for me too. After expending much effort on fruitless mental levitation, my teenage mind decided that if ESP wasn't my gift, then I had to be an alien. Perhaps that above all effectively ended my teenage social life, and turned me into the warped and twisted middle-ageing adult I am today.

Not surprisingly, I made a bee-line for the latest Witch Mountain tale to spin out of the Disney Studio... and realised how much I've grown up in 30-plus years. I mean the basic plot is the same: two young aliens wielding extraordinary powers get chased around for pretty much the whole movie by an evil, obsessive character, and are aided by some uncle-ly dude who promises to get them home, wherever home may be. But I've lost the magic of the first movie and I spent most of the time spotting plot loopholes big enough for a taxi, an RV and a flying saucer to transit through -- abreast.

"Race to Witch Mountain" is a pastiche of many sci-fi plots -- "Enemy of the State", "Terminator", and "Alien", for example -- woven together so loosely it's easy to slip into seen-it-all-before mode. There's a little humour, some action sequences, some big explosions, and the pursuers are by no means benign, but the thrills tend to be short-lived, never sustained.

Oh, well, jaded forty-something talking. I think the biggest thrill for me was to see Ike and Kim (who played the original alien kids) making cameo appearances as a sheriff and a diner waitress respectively. To me, they're old friends whom I haven't seen in decades, and it was a brief vicarious reunion that we shared in a greasy spoon in Stony Creek, small-town USA. It's assuring to see that even as I have grown up, they have too. Tony and Tia, it's good to see you again!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Momentum builds for Drama Night 09

I find it hard to reconcile the notation on my calendar that claims it's the March hols with my 9-hour work day today. I must say that it was a very productive day, and a not at all unenjoyable one 'cos most of the day I spent with the Drama Club, but still I wouldn't call this week a "vacation", like how the rest of the world might consider it. 

Interesting that our scripts this year have rather adult themes and rather, um... adult language, but the kids who are auditioning today seem a little young and naive to be playing such roles. And my intrepid crew of inexperienced student directors themselves haven't quite yet understood the nuances of their chosen scripts yet.

Which brings the club smack into the issue of censorship, or at least toning down of the more squeamish bits so as to play at a level our audience can accept. I realize I'm pushing the envelope here, but it's important that my charges experience the issues of real theater production and its role in the community so that they can see the bigger picture rather than just a romanticized "school-play" version of it.

I'm going to have my hands full with this year's Drama Night. It'll be interesting, but I can only say that I brought it upon myself. Thankfully, I have Tina's expertise and Sha's extra pair of hands to help out.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ooo... cake!

Happy birthday, June! Hope I haven't hidden your gift too well. It's in a place I thought you'd look at, but so far, you haven't. Hee hee. Keep looking!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Focus, people, focus...

This morning's session with Prof Mo on critical thinking in GP would have been interesting and useful as he was supposed to help us figure out how we could use the subject to train our kids to enter uni more as thinking sceptics than as smart parrots. Unfortunately, our discourse was sidetracked and eventually derailed by a certain inquisitive student who was more interested in picking apart the examples rather than follow the main argument. Like trying to catch the Prof out on some technicality, or something. Typical.

As much as I prefer an interactive class, this one simply couldn't meet its objectives, proving once again that some teachers make the worst students. In times like these, it's best to let go of our previous expectations and just go with the flow. We may not have achieved our goal, but we did get a mildly interesting dialogue out of it anyway.

So the highlight of the day has to be the generous lunch Cynth and Mojo provided from Fassler. We feasted on mounds of sashimi and antipasto, with canapes from Delifrance. And The Daily Scoop ice-cream in assorted flavours for dessert. A big thank you to our bosses for feeding us so well!

Sunday, March 15, 2009