Saturday, December 04, 2010

Random pix post

Stealth cat assumes if she can't see you, you can't see her

One of the rudest snacks in the supermarket. Call the censorship board!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Clogged pipes

Odd that after six months, my respiratory condition seems to be returning. Not as seriously as it was earlier this year, but still noticeable. Regardless, I met Sully for another workout this morning though I didn't say anything to him about it. I was breathing hard only after a couple of stations and I was considering calling it quits already. Then it felt like I hit a figurative wall... and I could breathe again! Finished my session with no further difficulty.

Hard to say what's going on internally. One possibility is that there is an unknown allergen that makes contact with me twice a year. Another is that my lifestyle is too sedentary and that unless I'm actually exerting myself physically, my body has decided to cut down my air intake in case I pass out from inhaling too much oxygen.

I hope it's the second option. At least I can do something about that.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Hearts and other meat afire

Officially on vacation, being that duties ended this morning. It was partially to celebrate end-of-year freedom and also to commemorate another birthday that Wayne opened his house and his gas BBQ to us.

No clear summer skies for us, this was a burn-your-own-food occasion held under tropical monsoon conditions. But the weather couldn't dampen our spirits tonight. Unlike charcoal, propane cooks meat fast, keeping the flow of carnage constant. Major plus point there.

No more with our thoughts on work, conversation was mindless and easy. In general, there was the very fluid cluster around the BBQ as we took turns to burn something through the night; the mature cluster that engaged in polite, nostalgic conversation while they waited for compatible "spirits" to arrive; the TV cluster hooked on the evening serial; the butterflies that fluttered just about everywhere (as usual); and then there was the Dog who himself commanded lots of adoring attention. Turns out that lots of us are dog people so there was no shortage of hands to keep him happy all night.

Be that as it may, the Dog was also the victim of a love unrequited. His amorous advances were politely but firmly rebuffed by his one object of affection. Nothing personal, but the differences between them were irreconcilable: he was canis domesticus, she was homo sapiens. He was an old dog in winter, she a spring chicken. It would never have worked out.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Exam twit

On the eve of my last invigilation day, I'm thinking about that little twit that tweeted a photo of his exam paper before the exam officially started. (Yes, old news. Click the link for details if you must).

I'm not thinking of him, per se, but rather about the invigilators of that venue for that paper and the trouble they must have gotten into for not spotting his mischief and putting a stop to it before it became a national embarrassment. They have my sympathies, actually, because as an invigilator myself I know that especially in a large venue, it's nearly impossible to monitor every single candidate every second of the exam. And, honestly speaking, do we really want it to come to that?

The boy may not realize how big a deal his indiscretion was, though he's apologized for it. He claims his intention to continue his studies overseas as his mitigation, so I doubt the sincerity of his apology. Anyway, his one thoughtless act has put us on a very slippery slope.

It's true that what he did does not constitute cheating, but he possessed and activated the means to do so. The exam is based on the trust in the personal integrity of each candidate, but with this act of 'boredom' he has single-handedly cast doubt on the whole honour system. If one stupid boy could do it, it exposes a flaw in the monitoring system that can be exploited for future exams. But to see the flaw as a weakness is also incorrect because it is expected that every student is an honourable candidate. However, after this incident this assumption can not no longer be taken as automatically true.

In a more reactionary society, exam security systems will be reviewed and revamped to assume that every student is and harbours intentions to be dishonest. New measures for next year's exams could include anything from putting more invigilators on duty, to installing on site electronic monitoring systems and signal jammers (can you say, "increased school fees"?), to subjecting every candidate to pass a 'naked scanner' or pat-down before the paper commences.

Let's hope cooler heads prevail. Schools can't function if we start treating our kids like criminals. But for that boy, I'll leave this entry as yet another online indictment against him for putting our industry in jeopardy because he could think only of himself and his personal entertainment, but no further.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Breakfast with Q-tip

We promised Q-tip an outing, so here we are at Casa Verde (formerly known as Cafe Les Amis) at the Botanic Gardens. The name change is commensurate with the new focus on Italian cuisine, but I'm happy to report that the standard Western Set breakfast is still the way we remember. So hard to find real bacon these days, but this is one place that still serves it up in its delicious non-kosher, vegan-unfriendly, health-devastating glory.

Notice how the two rashers of bacon have surreptitiously migrated over to my plate? I admit, I'm the unabashed baconaholic of the family. Apart from my illicit gains, this dish is an Italian breakfast called Calzione del Mamma. Underneath all the green stuff is a thick omelette studded with bits of Italian sausage. No wonder Itie boys so love to live with their mothers. 

Spoke too soon. Meet the other baconaholic, sausageoholic and random-table-scraps-aholic of the family. Wonder if the fitness centre has a pet weight-loss programme we can sign her up for?