Archive for July, 2007

A dash of ‘Stolen’

July 31, 2007

Stolen (Dashboard Confessional)
We watch the season
Pull up it’s own stakes
And catch the last weekend
of the last week
Before the gold and the glimmer have been replaced
Another sun soaked season fades away

You have stolen my heart
You have stolen my heart

Invitation only
grant farewells
Crash the best one
Of the best ones
Clear liquor and cloudy-eyed
Too early to say goodnight

You have stolen my heart
You have stolen my heart

And from the bar room floor
We are in celebration
One good stretch before our hibernation
Our dreams assured and we all
Will sleep well

Sleep well
Sleep well
Sleep well
Sleep well

you have stolen
you have stolen
you have stolen my heart

Watch you spin around
In your highest heels
You are the best one
Of the best ones
We
All
Look
Like
We
Feel

you have stolen my
you have stolen my
you have stolen my heart

I fell in love with this song, last Saturday, while reading Longitudes at the Coke Red Corner and waiting for Jack to come out of Knocked Up.  Imagine my surprise when I realised that the video version of the song is faster than on the album.  Then there was another one, ostensibly’s Mika’s Love Today, but when I tracked down the song on the Internet it didn’t sound like anything I’d heard, which had a trancey-like feel to it. Damn now I have to prolong the search.  

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the correlation between counsel and self-confidence

July 31, 2007

Meeting YH and some of the others for dinner tonight.  And then a thought struck me this morning as I was going to work:  I miss their counsel, the security that it brings, whenever I have doubts or issues, of just going up to any of them and buzzing them for their thoughts.  It’s not quite the same here.  Perhaps it’s just me – but somehow I feel that if you show doubt here, you’re either quite dumb or haven’t thought through things enough.  And the last thing you want to do is appear to lack confidence.  Ok, it’s just me. 

Here’s Ooky the Penguin, keeper of my handphone. A table-warming gift from LL; so sweet of her 🙂

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CIC Briefing #2: Coincidence?

July 29, 2007

Ares, Artemis, Athena and Apollo.  All Lords of Kobol in the BSG universe.  All names of the Facs where I’m at.  Maybe I should get a BSG-themed event going. Now that I’m in SD-SE with JY, CA, BM, KC. Haha.

kickin’ in the burn

July 29, 2007

A little Kara-ism (that’s Kara Thrace from RDM’s Battlestar Galactica, in case you missed the reference), I feel, is in order, now that Week 3 (for me only; in actuality, Week 5 of the term)  is truly over and done with, and the fun really starts as we race towards getting the CAs done and preparing for the Promos, which looms over us like a dark and nebulous shadow.  Yesterday, I figured out and typed out the AQ answer key (damn those things are tough!), and now am in the midst the reading through 2 classes’ worth of essay outlines.  Why do we keep doing this to ourselves, I ask myself every time.  Oh yeah, to get as good an education as we need, so that we can go out and there and do it to others in the future.  How could I forget?

Saturday, wanted to watch Simpsons the Movie while Jack went off to see Knocked Up, but tickets were all sold out and so spent the time reading Longitudes and Attitudes at Cathay Cineleisure’s Coke Red Corner.  Now I can’t seem to put it down.  Forget all the things that I don’t agree with Friedman over – what’s really scary is that the man starts off all optimistic that the US has it all correct and after 9/11, gets increasingly frustrated because the White House policymaking peeps can’t (or maybe won’t) GET IT RIGHT.  I’m feeling kinda sympathetic for Friedman at this point – I’m almost halfway through the book – perhaps because he laid out such a suave case for globalisation in Lexus.  And OBL and the Posse of 19 just had to throw a monkey into the wrench (okay, so it was more like 3 planes into 3 buildings).  But it doesn’t change the fact that the world has only gotten more screwy 4 years after the end of Longitudes. At this point I’m not sure if I want to continue on to The World Is Flat.  Maybe I need a break.  I could use one.

Elsewhere significant this week, the Noobs said bye to Pam over lunch, and got some basic insights into counselling and dealing with parents.  And I sorta “conned” YS and LL to scrounge me up some table-warming gifts (actually they were cubicle magnets, but who’s complaining?).  Cos I finally moved down to be with the rest of civilisation.  Only to find my LAN point wasn’t working.  It’ll take invitations to quote, a wait time for at least 3 quotations to come in, then evaluation of those quotations, before appointing the preferred vendor, who will then come in to fix the LAN points. Which will be – quite a while.  In the meantime, I’m surviving on wireless.  YS and LL tell me to go on a decorating spree, but I don’t feel like it just yet.  Maybe when the obs are over and I can breathe a little easier.  Come to think of it, I have never really gone the whole nine yards decorating any of my workspaces, and I don’t know if I want to start now.  Maybe a couple of choice items, but that’ll be it. I’ve already tacked up my spare Starfleet chevron at the front of my cubicle, and maybe I’ll bring my Ops jacket from home, and put up some Above and Beyond or trance paraphernalia, but that should be it. 

On trance, the iShop at Cineleisure is hoping to start a DJing workshop which lets you select from either working with turntables or the Ableton software. Initial details put the package as 8 sessions for $800. I’ve left my name and hopefully it gets off the ground. Have been wanting to call a couple of places to ask about classes but never did get round to it. So now maybe I have a shot at learning a new skill that should take the grind out of the routine.  Stay tuned for updates.

early day

July 23, 2007

Wadda ya know, they let us off early to celebrate our sporting achievements. So after 7D it was time for lunch 🙂 The noobs (and some not-so-noobs) were brought to RTC and we had a Viet-Thai spread….nice all around but kinda heavy on the tummy so I was knocked out for several hours! Now I need to begin work and procure some dinner. Bleah but haha.

PS: If you’re wondering if spending $80 on a Häagen-Dazs ice-cream cake is worth it, go ahead and do it. It is! WS and I were knocking ourselves out on a Macadamia Nut Ribbon cake that I’d bought for her birthday – abs fabs delight people!

goodbye week 2, bring it on week 3 (and Friedman rush)

July 23, 2007

Another week just flew by. Wow. Time really does fly.

The highlight of last week was really the return and debrief of the Block Test papers.  While some were pretty subdued, others seem to take it well in their stride.  I must say despite having had 3 different people (on average) share the work, standards have been pretty uniform.  Am reading through all the essays myself too, to get a sense of what they lack and then devise ways of how to get them to improve. Was surprised to find SVA errors – had thought they would be banished over here already. Precisely because they do not appear often, they become harder to detect because they are sprinkled sparingly among the 2 or 3 pages.  I guess that’s the challenge – to read closely AND quickly. 

Another surprising find was the unnecessary use of the definite article; now this is frankly scary.  One wonders how much drill and practice they actually had from P1-6; not a lot, most likely.

Then comes what is arguably the greatest challenge of all – how to get them to think through and construct well-thought-out arguments that answer the question, instead of focusing on indirect inessentials or, worse, embedding narratives into their arguments.  The lack of examples can also be plausibly worrying.  Observing that some choose to write in an informal, conversational, journalistic style, I’m reminded of how much influence the media and the views it purports has on the minds of all of us, especially impressionable adolescents.  It’s scary when you think about just how much we take for granted as received wisdom, instead of seriously asking ourselves what is the agenda behind the supposedly objective propagation of certain ‘normative’ views by the media.  I’m not gonna quote examples here at this time, because I still have essays to read and I don’t think I’ll be able to do a good job of it without my brain fully engaged on the issue. But I’m sure there’re lots of sites and blogs out there that one could refer to to get a deeper and better insight into the issues.

On another note, I did a little impulse buying on Friday and Saturday. I was at Kino on Friday, having originally decided to pick up Updike’s Terrorist and check out Friedman’s Longitudes and Attitudes to see if it was really worth buying, when I picked up The Lexus and the Olive Tree and really got into it after a few pages. So, when it was time to meet AC for dinner, I – get this – actually grabbed not only Lexus and Longitudes, but decided to make a go of it as well and get The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century too.  (As of today, I’m close to halfway through Lexus; it’s been a battle to concentrate on getting through the essay and just ploughing through the entire book.)  Needless to say, this Friedman rush set me back close to a hundred bucks, but that’s not all.  On Saturday, while WS browsed at Popular Orchard for assessment books, I went over to the bargains section (the whole place is going at 20% by the way, a storewide firehouse sale as it is closing at year’s end) and picked up Chris Cleave’s Incendiary for $8. Not too bad a deal actually. Celebrated WS’ birthday and the dinner set me back a little bit, but it was worth it because the food was great.  Too bad I didn’t have a go at everything and actually got a little sick just looking at the obscene amounts of food available.  Then again, I really should have passed on the gamberoni bistro for lunch had I known I was going to a buffet in three hours’ time.  Oh well.  I plan to go there again, though, and this time, be well-prepared for a gastronomic experience.

Okay, I’m gonna stop here and get back to my essay-reading. Tomorrow the mentors are taking the noobs (YS, LL, SL and myself, most probably) to lunch, so that’ll be a highlight. I just hope it won’t be a buffet though.

CIC Briefing #1: BSG ‘Razor’ trailer released

July 18, 2007

Here you go, people.  The first look RDM and Co has deigned us to have of the direct-to-DVD movie scheduled to air this November.  No surprises Michelle Forbes returns as the suitably bad-ass Cain; wonder who plays the civvie lady who presumably gets drafted into the Pegasus crew at the start of the trailer.  I hope she’s a new character to be introduced in Season 4.  BTW they still haven’t released the Season 3 DVD boxset which they’d better do before Season 4 airs in Jan 2008 in the US.  Of course, you can view all the episodes on the Internet (sorry I won’t divulge URLs), but what I’m really looking forward to are the special features – the bloopers/outtakes, featurettes, and (please, please!) the Webisodes.  It’s a real shame that RDM and Universal are disputing on ownership rights; given that people outside the US probably haven’t even viewed the webisodes, they really should release them in their entirety on the Season 3 boxset.  As it is, Season 3 airs soon on cable.  If you’re intending to follow the season, do try to get your hands on the webisodes from the Internet (again, I won’t divulge URLs, though I must say it’s notoriously difficult for me to find them) before getting into Season 3. You won’t regret it, I promise.  The show really comes into its own in Season 3. Pity Season 4’s gonna be the last. But there’s nothing quite like going out with a bang. Smart move, Mr RDM.

end of the first week

July 14, 2007

ok, I have to be at the AAC in a couple of minutes so I have to make this quick.

Overall, it’s been a great week.  Every which way.  Going forward, the major concerns will be to plan effective lessons that keep things interesting while still being able to provide valuable guidance to each and everyone of my charges.  Relationships-wise, things have had a promising start and I’ll need to continue building on the good start.  The last thing is having to quickly build up my knowledge of the subject which isn’t too bad but I feel could be better. We don’t have that much time left to the end of the term so things are going to move very very fast and I have to keep my eye on the ball.

Going into next week, it’s going into my buddy’s classes and getting the Boss into mine as well, so I think there’ll be lots of learning opportunities then. Also, the test papers should be coming in so that’ll give me a greater understanding of where we stand and how far we need to go by the promos.

Day 3: How to get the quiet ones to respond?

July 11, 2007

Have 2 entire piles of files to go through.  Okay my bad, since I called for them, but really, it’s painful but also the fastest way I can get a handle on their language ability and dedication to the work – one was so bereft of material that I politely quipped to its owner – “your file seems to have gone on a diet” – love it when you can say such things and you get a wry smile instead of blank stares of utter bewilderment.  But most since to have their stuff in order, so it shouldn’t be too painful.  How do you come up with AFIs when there – generally – aren’t any?  Haha.

On the nitty-gritty side of things, it’s going okay so far.  Honestly I haven’t come across a situation when you’ve run over and people are not more concerned about packing bags and tables and they actually don’t mind that extra five minutes because they’re so into it.  Or at least, I hope they are.  It’s been some time since I’ve had people come up to me after it’s over to thank me or chat a bit – so I hope it’s a sign I’m doing something right.  Though sometimes I’m like waiting for the proverbial skeleton in the closet to pop out,  in the back of my mind thinking when will the dream be over?

Okay, over-thinking things again. I guess it’s better to take things a day at a time.  One of the perennial issues I’m mulling hard about is how to get the quiet ones to respond, so that you don’t lose them in the quickening fog of discussion (why is it that I’m so taken with ‘fog’ – used it twice already).  Short of asking them to respond.  I need to find some way that will self-incentivise them to respond.  Easier said than done, obviously. If anyone has any ideas, drop me a line. Much appreciated.

Still, it goes on.  Seeing the last batch tomorrow and Friday, naturally a little apprehensive, but reasonably hopeful.  So now I have to go back to file-checking, or start work on a couple of scripts.

first day

July 9, 2007

just a couple of thoughts before it gets so crazy days bleed into each other and things get lost in the fog of memory.

Day 1 was, all things considered, ok. Met up with 7D and 7A and had 2 distinctly different responses. It all boils down to motivation – motivating them to speak up, express their opinions, encourage them by creating a non-threatening environment that spurs them to want to contribute. Being open to new ideas and suggestions and being very conscious of not putting anyone down, but rather rationally showing how the arguments/opinions can be improved. At the same time, making sure the others are following the discussion and benefiting from it. It’s walking a delicate line.

That being said, I feel things look promising because there’s definitely a high when your charges respond and more importantly, seem to be thinking and considering your suggestions. It makes you feel valuable and simultaneously, lays down an awesome sense of responsibility on your feet to make sure you’re adequately prepared and know where you’re driving. Because they know.

Admin-wise, managed to get the basics up and running – computer access, desk (actually personal) copies of texts, preliminary discussions with mentor and LH. Inaugural choice of canteen food seems correct; wonder if there are any gastronomic mysteries that await my accquaintance. Content-wise, there are lots of materials available – it all boils down to how to use them fruitfully. It’s mentally exhausting and draining but I guess worth it.

Going to end this and continue my reading before turning in.