Friday, April 16, 2010

Getting real with fitness

Sneaking off to the fitness club with Jojo wasn't such a big secret rendezvous thing after all. Kids caught us at the parking lot so our exit from campus wasn't as discreet as it could have been. Didn't want to spend the time explaining that we were trying to do something to rectify the state of our deteriorating health. Told them we were 'busy'. Let them start rumours if they want.

Didn't have as much trouble with our low-impact stretch-and-tone class after all. Working out on the Wii already taught me the basic movements and gave me enough flexibility and balance to keep up. But the class provided a social environment in which you can't be lazy and cut corners on movements, and a responsive instructor to make minor adjustments on form which the Wii is still technologically incapable of as yet.

June wants me to help her with what I've learned so far, but in the comfort of our own living room. Time to dust off the Wii and see if that helps her get started. I'll provide the social environment and let the virtual instructor conduct the workout.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Came home to one of the worst thunderstorms I've ever experienced. Lightning flashed continuously, thunder came in unending rolls. The cats were nowhere to be found, Q-tip ran back and forth across the floor in a panic, and all the electricity in the air tripped the fusebox, leaving us all in the dark. The video (above) is nothing more than a short sample of the thunderous noise driving Q-tip nuts. Just imagine all that going on for about 30 minutes at least, and me with nothing to do but marvel at nature's fury.

In the midst of the storm, I had to abandon Q-tip. Had an appointment with my fitness club instructor and finally got a full workout. No drama this time. I survived all his machines of torture and got rewarded with a great stretching cool down. As I stretched, he applied pressure. Together, we managed to pop my spine in several places -- something I hadn't been able to do for some weeks now. That felt great! Reason enough to make a return trip next week. Spinal alignment... mmm!

Have faith, World Cup viewers

S'poreans worried that they will miss out on televised 'live' World Cup matches this year need fret no more. The Acting Minister of ICA is confident FIFA will be reasonable about their demands because we offer such an important market for viewership in this region. As this Minister himself has said so, I absolutely believe it. His name, Lui Tuc kYew, (which translates as "money for football") practically guarantees it already.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Now we are 6

Off-Duty Ed is 6 years old today! 6 years soldiering on with a platform that's fast becoming passe. Micro-blogging's the in-thing now. Nobody reads longish posts any more. And there's less and less time being spent off-duty too.

So to celebrate today's milestone I've put aside lesson prep, essay grading, lecture research, and worries about drama "Sectionals" and Drama Night in favour of vegging out in front of the TV. NCIS:LA and CSI: woo-hoo! Rest of the evening spent collapsed, asleep on the floor. A pre-nap before bedtime.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Why attending assembly talks is compulsory

It's great that there are vendors who give assembly talks on current issues like "cyber-wellness". It's important that the kids learn to protect themselves online, where problems like privacy invasion, identity theft, viral infections and personal harassment are all too easily encountered and can be a real pain-in-the-a** to say the least.

These are 21st century skills we are talking about, dealing with a medium our society is increasingly becoming dependent upon, so by all means provide the necessary instruction to our kids. But for heaven's sake, can we please engage a vendor who actually knows -- and uses -- the Internet as a daily tool for life and not some obnoxious Luddite who sits longer on his moral high horse than at his keyboard, going tsk tsk, and shaking his head at the world passing him by?

His talk and the videos he showed were excruciating to sit through. The first was about moral choices we make in choosing subject matter to blog on. Fine, you know: don't insult others, be sensitive to their feelings... otherwise they will commit suicide and you'll get in trouble with the Principal. O_o The second was about how playing online games turns gamers into violent, obsessive mental patients with bad American accents. Honestly, the acting in these videos would make Bolo Santosi look like an Oscar contender.

Actually, considering the religious source behind this material, I'm not surprised by the quality of the message. The amount of demonizing going on in both the criticism of the medium and in the portrayal of its effects on its consumers was laughably unbelievable.

Herein lies the problem: I agree you have an important topic to broach with the kids, but if you're going to grab their attention, you'll have to respect them as an intelligent audience. Talk to them about real problems of an everyday nature, not try to frighten them with exceptional case studies (trust me, they aren't scared in the least). Show them practical skills for self-defence, not make them swear off the computer forever (trust me, they won't). And don't be a clown when you deliver your material. Humour is good, but only if it is the vehicle for the message and not for the messenger. As for today's speaker, if the medium was the message, we were sadly not impressed.