Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Snail hunter

Spent an afternoon with friends wading through lichen-encrusted rocks in shin-deep water clearing invasive apple snails from what has become something like a river flowing through Bishan Park.

Instead of uprooting trees, as we usually do every year as part of our collaboration with NParks helping to maintain our natural reserves, this year it's snails. Too many, and non-native to our local environment, they've become a pest and we have to [I don't really want to know what their eventual fate is] but our job was to remove them from their unnatural habitat by collecting as many of them as our buckets would hold before dumping them into a black trash bag... and then who knows what after that?

I was initially reluctant to go snail-picking on the principle that I don't harm animals, but the apple snail website even tells us that they shouldn't have been released back into the wild in the first place. Inert and innocuous as they look, they are still clogging up the waterways and generally messing up the existing ecosystem as they have no natural predators to keep their numbers viable.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Thoughts ascending

Overheard conversation this morning...
J and M are discussing how the kids seem to stratify into higher level critical thinkers, mid-level thinkers, and an unfortunate bottom few for whom higher-order thinking seems to fly far above their heads. Then out of the blue, the following improvised dialogue emerges:

J: Me hungry.
M: That's the lizard brain functioning.
J: Me want eat meat!
M: That's the brain starting to make rudimentary decisions.
J: Meat taste good!
M: Now the brain is making value judgments.
J: Me think me have headache!
M: Ah, now you're thinking about thinking. Your brain is becoming metacognitive.
J: That just blows my mind!
M: And now you're able to appreciate aesthetics and abstractions.

J and M dissolve into laughing fits at that point (yes, GP tutors have a very strange sense of humour), but I'd like to add the next line to the conversation, just to round things out:

J: Wow! Wait till I tell mommy!
M: And now you're finally living outside of yourself! Sharing information is probably the highest level thinking ability of all.

So, is it true that each of us maxes out at a particular intellectual potential, or are all of us capable of thinking more than a penny's worth of thoughts?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Just what the chef ordered

New fave eating place for Japanese: Senki. Have heard of places where the thing to do is sit at the bar, shut up and let the chef serve whatever he feels like serving, and finally got to experience what that kind of service is like.

First to arrive was a sashimi platter featuring the usual salmon, tuna, yellowtail, swordfish and sweet shrimp, and also a hunk of salmon belly, fresh as anything. Then the dishes kept coming in: baby tako; agadeshi tofu; deep fried mackerel and a salmon cheek (gotta love the fish oil flavours these give off); a plate of dragon maki (house specialty made with mango, avacado and crispy prawns); shrimp and sweet potato tempura; tuna belly sushi lightly fried in oil (awesome!); bean sprouts fried in garlic; mango salad on the side. Sake we turned down, opting for green tea which I was really grateful for as it was the perfect counter to all the richness of the food.

I believe that was it, but shared among only three -- we had lunch company -- it took quite some effort to finish everything placed in front of us. So. much. good. stuff. Lunch company was a bit formal, hence the lack of pictures which would have brightened up this entry gorgeously. You'll just have to take my word for it.

Cost? Since lunch company paid, I assume we went with the buffet... though he said the chef reserves the best stuff for regular customers like himself.