Saturday, April 24, 2010

Uncle Baba and Auntie Bibik go to dinner

Jen’s "Tok Panjang"
We got an invite to Jen's Peranakan themed fund raiser. June went all out to get an appropriate kebaya for the occasion, while I made do with a borrowed batik shirt.

Jen created a "museum" out of her collection of Peranakan paraphernalia and even had spare garb for guests that did not dress according to theme.

It was quite a sociable evening. Apart from the Nyonya feast that awaited us, we were also entertained with a round of singing Peranakan songs, including a song that taught us how to address relatives by their proper titles, and we got a sampling of some traditional games as well -- some strange hand-pinching game and a nostalgic impromptu session of five-stones.

Amazing to see how traditional and modern fit so well together. For the sing-along, iPhone owners whipped out their devices and downloaded lyrics for the rest of us primitives to share.

And dinner... Jen outdid herself with her offering of so many homemade dishes, some you can see from the slideshow above.

Must say, Jen throws great parties!

Mel opens house

Today's episode of "Teachers Behaving Badly" didn't quite go off as anticipated. Amy had filial duties to perform at short notice, effectively eliminating our venue and the Wii that goes with it in one fell swoop. That meant no raucous, embarrassing, uncoordinated flailing of limbs and other appendages in front of friends and family, though we'd been looking forward to this occasion for a week since we planned it.

But Mel came to the rescue, opening up her home to us social refugees. She fed us homemade pasta and mashed potatoes, a tastier, heartier and more substantial meal than she feared. She may not have been able to provide a Wii -- given the number of fragile things within too easy reach of a careless nanchuk swing -- but the company was good as always. Just put us all together and we entertain ourselves with or without external aids.

Poor Amy. I bet she was looking forward to today more than any of us. We must do a make-up or remedial session for her real soon.

Also, poor Jojo. Her rabbit took a turn for the worse and today, after weeks of palliative care, she and Derek finally made the decision to let him go. For pet owners, that's always a tough choice to make.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Money's worth in sweat and pain

Found a free afternoon to run solo at the fitness club. It's almost like my second home already. Campus is still first. Why have I been spending so much time at a place of torture? One, I spent a lot on it already so I feel like I have to milk my money's worth in sweat and pain. Two, I'm scared. A few breathless nights weeks ago reminded me how much I enjoyed breathing. It's an activity I would like to be able to continue doing for a while more yet. If building up my cardio-vascular endurance is going to help (as per doctor's advice), then I'm all for it. Mmmm... breathing.

A new age

I'm quite convinced the new age of information is already upon us. Had a little research exercise for my class. Broke them up into little groups and assigned each group to look up one item from a list of concepts and philosophies related to environmental sustainability. Once in a while we've got to let them go and forage material for themselves.

I was all prepared to send them off to our traditional hunting grounds: the campus library and Computer Labs. Instead, out pop iPhones, Blackberries, Nokias and every imaginable sort of wi-fi enabled handheld device. Nobody needs to go anywhere. Information comes flowing in where they're seated.

No need to worry any more that there aren't enough terminals to share among kids these days. Welcome to the age of mobile computing... in the classroom!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Only time for tech run

On site rehearsal for Drama Club "Sectionals" went reasonably well, considering how late we arrived thanks to morning rush hour traffic and a brief stop over at the wrong location. Too many schools share similar names. Grr.

Having only two hours to rehearse was good for running tech cues. The tech guys surprised us with their selection of music because I've never heard any of it during our regular rehearsals. Once RodO got into the theatre space, he lost his usual hesitancy and dictated everything like he was on home territory, which probably it was. That worked really well for the efficiency of the rehearsal as we ran cue-to-cue rather than going for a full run. That means we only ran light and sound transitions while the actors just provided their bodies and a couple of lines for cues.

Our transport company was very professional, bringing a couple of extra hands for loading and unloading our stuff onto the truck. They even secured our more fragile bits of set to prevent damage enroute. But the service was quite expensive, though. It would have been so much cheaper to rent a self-drive pick-up, but I'm not confident of driving one of those, accustomed as I am to driving a compact.

Bumped into Wendy A at the fitness club in the evening. I was on the machines, she was bodypumping. Whoa. The place is becoming like a recreation centre for our staff.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bath day for cats

Bath day for the three cats. Kaiser is developing some nasty bald patches in his coat. At first we thought he and his best buddy, Maui, had a serious altercation. But we've been observing them interact over several days now and though Maui has a tendency to play rough, he isn't showing any particular signs of violence; at least not of the kind that would result in this degree of damage.

Kaiser's condition has to be some kind of mange. So this morning we took the cats one-by-one into the shower for a good scrub-down with tea-tree oil shampoo. Kaiser was first and though he was quite freaked out at the water and suds he mostly maintained his composure. A good beginning.

Momo was next. She yowled and kept yowling all through her bath. If the neighbours didn't know we had a cat, there's no keeping it a secret from them now. Not only that, they'll think we're cat abusers going by the noise Momo was making. Real drama queen, that one.

As for Maui, bathing him was like bathing a wildly animated rose bush. He was constantly growling and randomly slashing at us with his sharpened talons. My "loose hands" technique of holding him didn't guarantee I would be scratch-proof but my damage has already faded away. June was not so lucky, getting some nasty gouges in her extremities. Ouch.

Finally, all three cats are clean. Have to keep monitoring Kaiser, though. If this doesn't work, we'll have to take him to Doc Kasey as the next step.