html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" ""> I Need an Invention, Intention, to stop Temptation to Scream...: August 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Updates. . .

Well nothing much, except that my deferment for the reservist next month have been rejected (for those who still don't know) despite multiple appeals and a letter from school and MP. So I don't bother anymore and will dutifully check in come September 9, for my 3 free meals a day. And secondly that the princess has started working already at the hospital as an OT.

That's why I'm rushing to finish all the major group and individual projects almost a month before the deadlines in anticipation that my 18 days reservist stint will totally whreck my schedule. Don't ask me why I'm not deferred or how I'm going to cope with missing the back 10 or so crucial lectures. Don't ask me why students in other full time institutions are granted deferment but not for those in private schools. Don't ask me why some of my course mates manage to defer and I don't. Don't even ask me how I'm going to finish my EG (Ethics and Governance) individual essay in 3 days when others have more than 3 weeks, or how I'm going to catch up when I'm back. I'm as clueless but I'm sure I'll pull through it somehow.

So I'll treat the reservist as a 18 day holiday. Will be a nice change from the hours I spend daily facing the screen. And for those privilege enough to know. . . SLACK LOH (Shhh. *wink wink. Wait some people not happy then go poh mah ta)!!!

Yup so anyway pardon us if we have not been blogging so religiously as we would like. But I'm sure nightstar would have something to say as soon as she's settled down in her job. The schedules are a lamentable fact. I've been working till late at night for goodness know how many nights. But I'm thankful that God has seen me through everything so far. And all's well on the school side and for the princess in her work.

Because of the crazy schedules, we'll also be missing great times like this:

This new kitty on the block has been affectionately called 'Chase' by the princess. Well watch the video to find out why! Hahaha. Its darn cute and it so so resembles the kitty on the blog tool bar. And the princess loves Chase so much (ahem almost more than me). BOO. But we sure miss giving it headrubs.

Heh. That's it for now! Night folks!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Almost Halfway-fallout Marathon

The AHM is finally here! But gone as soon as it arrived. Contary to the title the run was rather smooth sailing and I survived the run much better than I expected. There was a point where I almost fell out though. Hahaha.

I woke up at 430am to the ringing of my phone from Desmond calling. Somehow the alarm I set at 4am failed to wake me up from my deep slumber. Slept only at around 1145 the night before. Looking back I am really thankful for the uneventful and safe run! Hahaha. There's my 'blessed' number tag on my running singlet resting on my increasingly protruding belly.

After 3 slices of plain bread and a cup of milo, I was off! Am really thankful for the lift that Cheers gave. His dad picked me up from the mrt and drove us right to the venue. Neat. Saved me at least $20 I reckon. Thanks Cheers! The area surrounding Esplanade and the Padang was already full of people by that time. Cheers deposited his belongings and there was just enough time to do a quick warm up and join the crowd at the starting point.

It was drizzling ever so slightly and the grounds were wet. Hahaha. One of my many excuses for not stretching adequately.

A candid picture of Cheers standing up after securing his shoe laces. Not sure if you guys can see the 'batman' electronic tag woven between his shoe laces.

After a quick stretch we pushed our way to the starting line and this is about as close as I could get. I supppose I was about 20-30m from the front. I didn't manage to catch Desmond and Kang. But I heard they were way infront, no more than 5m from the start! Hahaha. But it was not as bad as last time when I was stuck right at the back and had to walk for the first 3km.

The pre-run photo.

Yup. Check out the people behind me. Stretches as far as the eye can see. I heard its a record turnout this year but I'm not too sure about that.

The emcee was shouting himself hoarse to get us really excited and high. Well at least I think we woke the residents of Fullerton. Way before 630am. Hehehe.

And the air horn shouted and we're off!

Its the usual crawl at the first part of the run as there was not enough room for so many people to run off at the same time.

The usual route led us to the Benjamin Shears Bridge and I took a blurry photo of the Singapore Flyer along the way.

If you're thinking I must be crazy running and shooting photos at the same time you are right! Hahaha. Apparently the other guyzos thought so too. Along with many others along the way that gave me weird stares whenever I whipped out my camera to take a photo or two. Well the total tally? I took about 60 pictures that day for the event. Of which about 10 are super blurry and another 10 are usable-fuzzy. Hahaha. The nike pouch at the front was irritating and was extra weight. Furthermore the taking of pictures slowed down my timing. However I felt that having something to laugh back on next time would be priceless!

Ok back to the run. After hitting the ECP and cutting through Fort road area, we turned into East Coast Park and it was then that I saw the first runner running back from the mid point. He was probably about 13km by then while I was a mere 7km? Madness! I don't know about this year but I heard that last year's winner came back under 1hr and 10 mins.

I felt that the water points set up by the different units this year were pretty boring. Except for the water point set up by the Support unit. They had those distributing waters decked out in mismatched and hilarious superheroes suit! Those that resembles 'Flash' (doubt many watched Flash last time) the most but in many colours. Neat! Wanted to take a photo with them but I think I'll probably block the way on the narrow running tracks of the park. So rather than risked being stampeded I thought its wiser to just take the drink and carry on running.

And the amatuer band invited by the AHM committee to play at East Coast to encourage us were really good! For the short performance I was able to hear enough skills from the drummer and the lead singer/guitarist. Amazing! Sure would like to know which bar they play at or something.

Thats Cheers running like a hyena. I almost could not keep up and lagged at many times. WHY YOU RUN SO FAST???!!!

I stepped across the electronic mat at the 10.5km mark and 'u-turned' at about 1hr and 5 mins. Decent timing by my yardstick.

The sign reads '14KM' and tells us that we entered the area of the run carved out by our combat engineers. We ran towards the end of the part and based through the jungle through a path created by the engineers.

They call it the 'Expedition trail'.

Super ulu area. I was amazed by the pains the committee took to create this new route. It was really a scenic run and the trees provided a cool morning jog and plenty of fresh air.

We ran towards the end of the jungle and towards the Marina barrage. And the lovely sea view welcomed us.

Thank God for the wonderful cloudy and windy run and for holding back the rain just for the run. The weather was excellent.

The city is in sight! Here I come!

I see the barrage!

We're the first to run across it!

The entrance to the barrage that will lead us straight to DXO. Amazing route!

The views from the barrage!
I was having a jolly good run till about this point when fatigue starts to really set in. Worse still I suffered from a muscle cramp and had to walk for about a kilometre or so. Hahaha. But I was still trying to get a decent timing so I endured the pain and went as fast as I could. At about 17km I told Cheers to carry on without me though he was really kind to slow down his pace. At least I can take photos and jog slowly without slowing him down. The run really brings out the best in Singaporeans. You're constantly encouraged by those who overtake you, egging you on. I also see some Singaporeans stopping to help those who have fell or offer their muscle ointments. One man even stopped and gave an NSF who was suffering from severe muscle cramps a stretching and a massage on top of providing cooling gel.

At about the 19km mark, this lady in red and white singlet in the middle of the picture overtook me. And the back of her singlet read 'Follow me to complete the race in 2hrs 30mins'. It was the time I set for myself for this run. I was shocked at how much time I spent lagging behind and was determined to complete the run under that time. So I overtook her and made sure I was infront till the end of the race. Heh.

Finally the end is in sight!

Here's my unofficial timing, counted from the moment the airhorn sounded, not when the chip registered our commencement time at the start line. The official certificate with the final time will be sent to me. So I suppose it will be 2hrs 27mins??? Hahah. Almost 20 mins slower than my last time but who cares? I'm just pleased that I did it within the timing I set for myself.

A very tired me with Cheers after the race. We were totally soaked in pespiration. HAHAHA. I took the mrt home after that. And NO I didnt bring a change of clothes. WAHAHA!!! K la i'm not a public menace everyday. Just that day only. Honest! And there were probably thousands who did the same thing. I wonder if they disinfect the trains and City Hall Station after services that day. Haha.

The tons of NSF, forced, erm I mean 'highly encouraged' to take part in the run that day.

Cheers sure had a good first AHM I reckon! Very decent timing too! Good job bro!

I finally get the finisher medal this time, and not just a lousy certificate. Curses! If not I'd had two! Hahaha.

I managed to catch up with the SIM guyzos too! Kang was the fastest at just above 2 hours, followed by Desmond not too far away.

Good job guys! Our multiple training runs paid off! Hahaha. Though I wished I had the chance to run the 16km prep before this.

My muddy Old Balance and sweat soaked pouch. Had a crazy time washing those 2 back at home.

So that concludes the coverage for the AHM. And I'm just really pleased that I didn't fallout. Woohoo!
God is good!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Catch of the day!!

It would be so cool if it's true!! =))

Laundry Day

The sudden downpour led to the clothes being placed in my living room to dry.

I suddenly miss the dryer in Perth.....

Monday, August 18, 2008

My Crazy Schedule

You have probably heard me complaining about the avalanche of school work this semester. And its not even half way through yet. So while we take a short breather from work (after submission of 2 projects), I finally had time to do some catching up with other activities that I have neglected. It seems that playing my guitar or reading the newspapers for an hour each day has became a privilege, more so than a usual activity. Nonetheless I'm thankful for such small pleasures.

This weekend I was busy down at Invest Fair 2008. Was helping my cousin and her bank run their booth. I also happened to be their 'official' event photographer for the past 2 days. Hahaha. Well the crowd has thinned significantly compared to last year. An expected result given the current bear run and declining economies globally. The director joked that when the economy is good, Invest Fair would be bursting with people, on the other hand, in a period of economic slowdown, the partner concurrent event (Job Fair) would be full of people. And that was the case for the past 2 days. With the snaking queues outside the Suntec Convention Hall its hard to believe that we're at 'full employment' currently, as our economists claim.

I had a good time speaking to lots of people, from self proclaimed investment gurus, to those who don't know the difference between a stock and a warrant. It was fun meeting lots of people of all ages and seeing them take an interest in investment products. Because frankly speaking, I don't see how anyone can live comfortably in Singapore on wages and savings alone now or the future. I also had the pleasure of bumping into SIM friends and also old friends like Andy and Farhan at the event. We must catch up some time guys!

By walking around the past 2 days and sneaking a peak into the huge seminar booths and hearing experts like Ray Barros speak, I gathered that the experts have only 2 words for us. GOOD LUCK. Well that would be the 'optimistic' approach. Some conservative others would have heard it as 'Si Liao' or 'die already'. Hahaha. But the general concensus is not good, with some experts predicting the slowdown to last till 2012-2013. Imagine that! It has certainly got me worried about the prospects of finding a job in the next year. But its not surprising. The money section resembles the orbituaries these days with more reports of companies closing down or share prices tumbling. Hahaha.

Enough of the melancholic events. On a totally unrelated topic, my preparations for the Army Half Marathon (AHM) is going downhill. My last ditch attempt at running the 16km today was marred by the sudden downpour in the evening. Our crazy schedules have not allowed us (mainly myself, Desmond and Kang) to run together so we decided to change the 16km cadance run to an individual attempt. Well there's only 5 days to the run and it would be crazy to do any runs above 10km during this time. So I am offcially renaming my 2008 AHM attempt to "Anyhow Humtum Marathon".

Poor diet + Poor training = Ji Pai Siao Liao (This time crazy already)

I'm reconsidering my wise decision in enrolling in this race now. Hahaha. Who ask me nothing better to do itchy backside act garang go sign up for the run. Who am I kidding?! I'm no longer 21 man. Still, I truged down to Safra at Toa Payoh to collect the race pack with the other guyzos last Friday. And here are some pictures.

My AHM competitive tag and the batman insignia look alike electronic chip (to be tied on shoelace and keeps track of distance and duration covered). GO BUY MY NUMBER! 4D sure tio!!! Hahaha.

The shirt gets more hideous by the year in my opinion.

No doubt a first and a welcomed refreshing change of route, but the barrage is at the last stage of the race probably after 15km. Hmmm. Still I may make history as the first runner to be crawling across the marina barrage. WAHAHAH!

Ok that's a short update for now. Off to bed and then off to another week of crazy schedules!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

8th August 2008 - My birthday

After an afternoon of moping over past events, Shaun brought me to the games arcade to try to lift my spirit. There is nothing like a game of old school puzzle bobble, fighting down airplanes to fight the cloud hanging overhead. We then headed to Absolute Haven for dinner.

They had square plates which I was so tempted to steal home. Too bad my bag wasn't big enough.

We decided to do away with starters as we wanted to head over to Timbre for some drinks later.

My Seafood Risotto Rice - Risotto rice served with king prawns, scallops, fish and squids. This is yummers, but a little to salty most probably due to the seafood stock used. Generous servings of scallops and squids. My only gripe is that there is only ONE prawn!! Definitely not enough for the queen killer of the crustaceans.

Shaun went for the Oven-roasted Yorkshire Pork Rack - Oven-roasted Yorkshire pork rack served with herb new potato, vegetables ratatouille, drizzle with coffee chocolate sauce, and top with fresh mesclun salad. The coffee chocolate sauce and the potatoes are my favourite!! The pork is tender but may be too fatty for me growing tummy.

As the portions were rather small, and we were craving for it, we ordered a starter.

Soft Shell Crab with Beetroot Aioli. The crab was soft and crispy and I like the sauces dripped at the side. I can only recognise balsamic vinegar though, heh.

Then while waiting for dinner, we took lotsa pictures. Here are some...

My version of see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil.

Shaun's version.

Our dessert, which was the Chef's Special dessert of the day: Dragonfruit Mousse with Bacardi Jelly and raspberry sauce. Definitely one of the more special desserts tried.

Overall, I really like the restaurant. The waitstaff were friendly and helpful. And one of them had a really nice deep voice which I was so mesmerised with. The manager (I guess) took time to recommend us the dishes and the way to eat them. The songs played were Olivia Ong's and it made the overall ambience so laidback and romantic. Food was yummy and creative. Even the iced water is special. Instead of the usual lemon slices, they put strawberry slices, so the water is slightly sweet. It's one of those restaurants that pay attention to tiny details. Too bad we were seated too near the door and could not see much of the rest of the restaurant.

After that, we walked to Timbre, but decided to give up queueing because there were simply too many people, and it was too hot to be in the open air, especially with people smoking too. So we decided to ditch out plans for Timbre and go to Starbucks for some air-con loving.

Then we played a variation of one of our favourite word games, in chinese!

We think of a word, for example, cai, and try to form as many chinese words as possible. 菜,才,蔡 and so on. It was so difficult considering the standard of our mandarin!

This is my paper.

Shaun concentrating really really hard!

And Shaun's attempt to tell you why his mandarin is so poor!

29 July 2008 - Garden Exhibition in Suntec.

Being unemployed at the moment, I had plenty of spare time and so, went with dad to the garden exhibition held in Suntec. Took over 70plus pictures using my handphone and these are some of my favourites.

Huge giant ball of roses!

I really like the upside down hanging umbrellas over the souvenir shop.

Marilyn Monroe!! And cute seating areas!

Themed gardens....

There were fairy-tale looking ones....

Ermm.. modern looking one.


I like this!! It is made such that it looks like it is underwater. Especially the reflection of the water from the glass panels on top, and bubbles.


Oriental ones...

Pitcher plants! Lotsa them, from the tiny ones that are the size of the little finger to huge ones that I can probably put my foot in.

A great chill out point.

The platform to.....

Bubble chairs!

After which, we got a OK stamp so that we can go to the exhibition on the other level.

The exhibits on this level are mostly competition pieces from schools and potted plants.

Part of an exhibition from one of the schools.

Rows and rows of orchids.

I thought this was a really cute picture. The little girl was pretending to cry as her sister was trying to steal her balloon!

The little boy entrigued by the merlion which is about the same size as him.

Then there were orchids,


and more orchids!

Other random pictures

My totoro finally found the catbus!! It looks a little distorted though.

A new found craving: DONUTS!!

P.S. I'm no longer unemployed!! I'm starting work on the 25th!! Excited and scared at the same time!! I'm so gonna make full use of my last free week.