Friday, April 28, 2006

The Grand Challenge

28th April 2006, Friday

The end of the work month of April which had been quite eventful to say the least.
I was forced to witness the depature of my newly-wedded wife who is off to Italy for 3 months of training stint.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the amount of performance bonus I was rewarded and soon seen it profligated into nothing as my renovation cost continues to accumulate.
I had to moved into the master bedroom and had to bid goodbye to my room of the past 9 years.
And now I am on the verge of proceeding with my very first career move...

Anyway the itinery this morning would be attending the annual corporate planning seminar for my main parent company when it is a great opportunity for the various staff members of this huge umbrella of research organization to huddle together while the chairman (fishmonger) proudly goes through the achievements the company has attained over the past work year and what would be projected for the next 5 years or so.
It was a really professional presentation of our government funded organiization to try to justify that we had been utiilizing the taxpayers' money to the fullest.
Over the course of his presentation, beside some unknown facts and enthralled by the new Fusionpolis bound to appear a few kilometers away from here (which even have a swimming pool and underground subway system in the blueprint), our chairman had focused a lot on increasing the talent pool for the local scientific scene which we all know that he had such high standards to select his esprit de corps suitable to be a scholar here.
Like me in my imaginative football managing realm, he has decided to groom scientists as young as 10..hmm definitely something in common there.

After the break when I advised the 2 naive female colleagues of mine to gather as much food in such circumstances as a 2nd round would be difficult, we have the managing director of the company talking about selling the products of the company actually.
Then introducing a "Grand Challenge" which is to put the research community of various institutes on their toes to solve & conquer a massive scientific problem which could both be high commericial value and put Singapore in the map of the scientific scene.
Easier said than done and they had been cracking their heads to come out with that ideal challenge which would encompass all the values they felt correct to grant up to $10 million bucks for.
They then threw the challenge to come out with the "Grand Challenge" to all the staff under the company and the winner of the winning challenge would given a nice kitty of..... a measly $2010...
But then you just need to come out with that question to be tackled on and now with the world in a mess surely someone needed something in life science or defense science to welfare the mankind..
Then again that inferior side of me felt that who am I to challenge those great minds we had within our vicinity....

Perhaps something to ponder for the long weekend...
Japanese word of the day: 挑戦(Challenge) It sure is challenging to even come out with the right challenge

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Deciding Factor

27th April 2006, Thursday

What a soggy morning for the supposedly Nomination Day for the residents of various constituencies to check out more importantly who are the gutsy opposition parties dared to face an uphill task against our ruling party. It was rumoured that mine would be contested by a lady from the party who's emblem is characterized by a mallet and should be a fresh face for many... but in terms of politics, the physical appeal means almost nothing but surely beats that wretched-looking old fag running as the opposition 5 years back.

I braved through the relentless rain to work, my mind still much perplexed by what decision I am gonna make for my career but seriously I already had the answer, just wanted to convince myself I am making the correct one that's all...

The deciding factor as the title implied is perhaps a change in working environment...
3 and the half years in the same place despite a change in location but the system and culture remains can be suffocating for some while others strive on it.
For me, I am very used to it but at recent times, got the curiosity to explore new grounds which was what I told the French manager when I just met her to tell her my decision.
However nothing is solid thus far as I still have to meet the head of the department who had been notified and graced my CV and felt I would be the right person for the job as well...
Will meet him after lunch and we'll see how.
If everything goes as planned and they are certain that I am the right person for them, they would notify the HR department who would be contacting next week about the contract signing.

Then comes the catchy part, the 3 referances I would need and one hopefully be my current supervisor.
That would be the hardest task and to even break the news to her that I am leaving can be a hard pill to swallow.
As I had mentioned one time too many that unlike the case of the girls when their departures are imminent, mine would be a blow caught totally unexpectedly.
To further aggravate the situation, it seems like the whole place would be buzzing with a lot of new projects and manpower would be in dire needs.

Most importantly I want to let my supervisor and hopefully Old Hag, our admin deputy director know that I am leaving in a amicable notion with the least bit of discontentment or disgruntle, just have to watch how I phrase everything when I break the news once it's finalized.
I'm already having butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it.

Anyway back to something less vexing, finally my room is halfway completed with the arrival and installation of the LCD TV which thus far has managed to fansinate me with its capability though the "wide" view and toned down color tone don't really go down well with me, below are some pictures I took of my new furnishing and the TV:

The Wardrobe

An Overview of the Wardrobe, the skin is known as light colored zebra-print which really matches the lavender mist color of my wall.

First Column

For the folded clothings with 2 lockabled drawers for something important like old reciepts, brochoures etc.

Next ColumnColumn

For the clothings on the hangers, got a feeling this column would be void of my clothing in months time.

FMy Workstation

I know it's a bit sqeeuzy with the PC's monitor and speakers and I even placed a display casing but should be good enough to do my photoshoot.

Side Cabinets

Some shelvings and cabinet on the left of the workstation to hold some regularly used items such as nail-clipper, back-scratcher and ear-digger.

Top Cabinets

To put extra pillows, bedsheets, luggaes and dismembered corpses.

TV Console

Never look within the hollow space unless you wanna be tangled in the web of wires.


Luckily the Best Denki never sent this to my neighbour if not like the TV commerical, I will never get it back.

The Whole Stretch

Please bear with the mess.

Top Cabinets

The huge gap in between, ready to spend more money for a customised book shelf.

Speaking of which, as expected I was quoted a rather high price of $850 for that bookshelf which some mean bargaining need to be done when the couple are here once more.

Anyway just got back to a chat session (less formal than an official interview) with the 3 P.I.s of the group I would be joining (well most probably at this point) and they gave me an insight on what to expect of their "manufacturing production" style of work which I should take note but the 3 (a Chinese guy with American accent simply known as J.J., a stocky Caucasian named Martin with a room as messy as mine and a more eccentrice guy named Mark whom I had met before when they came seeking for our service sometime back and he still can recall meeting me before) are really nice guys who are passionate about their job and looking for capable people to join their team...
Evrything looks rosy and the contract and other paper work should be processed by next week which would be an ordeal for me, breaking the news to my supervisor.

By the way, she is in a very precaious mood at this instance as a lady from the admin whom she had known for years just passed on after been battling with breast cancer for a while now...
So ladies please go for regular mammogram check!
Japanese word of the day: 環境 (Environment) Got a change of both living and working environments at one go...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Should I Go or Should I Stay

26th April 2006, Wednesday

In a stealth "GGSS(鬼鬼祟祟)" mode, I sneaked up to the 6th level of my institute,cross the skybridge, lightfooted waltzed across the still-precariously dangerous passage-way and rendenzvous BY over at her work place.
Her French supervisor had been high on the idea to talk to me early yesterday morning despite the fact that I am still in the middle of my office hours.

The 20 minutes face-to-face chat (rather than a formal interview) had been more of how I am selling myself as an individual suitable for their "production" style jobscope while she is selling the appeal of their routine work. It was highlighted that they are in chronic state of needing manpower urgently as projects are piling up till the end of the year, which is why they would need my answer on whether I am interested.

Once more I am in douldrum as unlike BY, I did not had a bad taste in my mouth with my current job at this very instance. Of course it is true the morale and overall benefit package pales in comparison with this greener pasture (literally since the building had a predominant green facade) but my current supervisor has been a top class to me since the day I stepped into this lab back in September 2002.

BY had stressed one time too many that she is rather "fake" when come to deal with certain issues which I don't deny as well but she had been my benefactor in more time than once over the past 4 years and it was with utmost pleasure working for her despite her strong allegiance to JxMMy...
I had wanted to consult her whether I should make the move but BY staunchly snubbed that idea as she felt I should hold my stand on whether to go or to stay and not been swayed by some honey-coated persuasion or even monetary carrot on the stick (meaning raise in pay).

The dilemma is definitely a burden for a happy-go-lucky guy like myself and I need some confidantes to drop me some aptly supports.
My lass duely called from Italy which was on public holiday yesterday for their own version of Independance day called and is supportive of the idea for a move as she felt I should garner all sorts of working experiences at my prime.
My mom, being more realistic, looks at which side can offer me more benefits and then share the sentiments as my lass about seeking new opportunites when I am still at the right age...
BY SMSed later on the evening once more overzealous to entice me over by listing out the amenities they had over there and how good the personnel I would be working day in day out with.
All I could reply is I am only 75% sure I would want to make the move and need to ponder some more before finding the last 25%...

I endured these 2 days of uncertainties with half day off from work each.
Yesterday was a last-minute urgent one as the furnishing contractor came and there were some problem with accomodating my workstation table with the collection of electrical points there and they would need to shift the whole thing while I also had to confirm the position I would want them to secure my table lamp.
So I came back home at around 2 plus and all the work is almost done with the TV console for the living room as well as my wardrobe been fixed up to my amazement as I always thought they would need to return today to finish their job.
Then I was taken aback how little space my working table and TV console took in my room, leaving enough space in between towards the toilet to park a 4X4 wheel drive in...
My sister felt she should be there when we spread out the blueprints and the measurements as my family members always suspicious of my judgement.
In the end with the inclusion of that huge bed frame due to arrive I was certain it was a good choice to keep the other furniture short.
Once more we are pleased with how everything turn out and once more we felt it would be right to ask the contractor to do the last piece of the jigsaw which is a book shelf cum cabinet supposedly at the end of the console which he had suggested us to get elsewhere as it would be much cheaper.
However with that large gap right now and it is highly unlikely that we would find the right sized one in retail shop as well as the same tone to match that nice rustic color of my whole get-up.
Then of course the price would be a limiting factor but we suggested him to work it out the quotations and let us decide to see whether it would be feasible (more like affordable) to enlist his help once more.

I had a hard time getting Best Denki to confirm the delivery of the LCD TV for this afternoon and even much tougher for them to liaise with the Samsung people for the feel wall mounting installation. However by early evening, they managed to confirm the request which is why I would still need to take leave for this afternoon.
Surely looking forward to get one treasured piece of electronic for the room up and I will sure post some pictures of the completed room (almost) here.

While fixing all the electronics as well as my PC, meticulously sorting up that entangled & messy labyrinth of wires to hide the hideous wire laying as much as we could, I was flabbergasted by the inavailability of my internet connection and quickly pointed out that by shifting the cable point outwards, they had disrupted the actual cable setup. I pleaded with my sister to get our friendly electrician who had laid the cables for us a fornight back to come to check out the problem with his professional knowledge but it was my mom who was able to coaxed him here.
Dad who at this point piqued (as usual) for how badly done the furnishing work has been, not meeting up his expectation, kept suggesting we should deduct money from the quoted price.
We had not check the cable TV availability to begin with; and it was working perfectly when the electrician, Keong was here but the internet connection was begin to baffle him as much as us.
I even dialled Starhub to enquire about the issue and from my description about the condition of the cable and modem, everything seems fine unless it was down to my PC.
I was incensed over the fact that I was still surrfing leisurely the night before and now this and we tried connecting via my sis' room's network point which worked fine.
The last straw came when she used her laptop to get connected over in my room and managed to nail it yet my PC could not get the same positive result...
We were running out of ideas and solutions and my mind was quite set that my the ethernet card in my CPU could surely been faulty despite there were not obvious spoilage done to it.
Then miraculously, when I rigged the whole thing up via the wireless router, the connection came back to my undescribable ecstacy...
In the end, we should had done "trial and error" by ourselves instead of jumping the gun to summon Keong who was already knocking off and also save some money we had to award him for his service.
But in the end we felt we made a family friend and treated him dinner to show the hospitality tagged with my household and overall it is best to make a friend with such expertise.

Back to work this morning, feeling totally indifferent with the prospect of jumping ship imminently, I tried to assimilate into my usual job professionally.
Queer as it is, I actually felt some zest in working and even had some light-hearted chat with Iris and Triana over the other side and my supervisor whom I had only informed about my urgent leave application via e-mail lunchtime yesterday came and shown concern about how the renovation had went since I had put it down as the reason.
Once more I am a sentimental and nostalgic person, leaving this place which had treated me and groomed me well over the years is a thought had to visualize but all good thing must come to an end as some might say.
Japanese word of the day: 不確か (Uncertain) Wish I could be more decisive as a person but I cannot stop being worrisome of whether I would make a wrong decision and live to regret it...

Monday, April 24, 2006


24th April 2006, Monday

A wonderful Monday afternoon's tranquility and peace was thoroughly shattered by the appearance of JxMMy D and his selection of 1980s "Xin Yao (新摇)" songs which made my muscles twitched as if suffering from epilepsy after prolong exposure of listening to those awful tracks...
The day started so well with him on leave in the morning... My "black eye-masked" colleague definitely and certainly would be the catalyst of me leaving this place....

The weekend has been a madhouse shifting of rooms between me and my parents as we tried to accomodate for the furnishing to be done mid this week.
The entire process of moving things in and out including 2 huge wardrobes as well as painting was shrouded with a despotic behavior only my old man can be proud to show.
He is no doubt a great talent in terms of his handimanship and without him, we would need to seek professional help which involves truckload of money with comparatively inferior job from what my dad could conjured.
However what was uncalled for would be his "artisan-prima-donna" tantrums he would threw when he hurled mincing words that was not even bearable for a bystander like myself.
I had grew up witnessing his temperament and was adamant a leopard would never change its spots, but I just could not justify why he had to berate at Mom when she has to be at his beck & call while packing most of the stuff around the house.
He could had summon for me and sis who aren't idling around with some packing of our stuff, but it is very certain he just loves to piqued like a spoiled brat in front of Mom and she was magnimous enough to cower and tolerate so that the entire process can be done in a whiff...
And it did by evening on Sunday when both the master bedroom and my old room was nicely painted and the lavendar mist shade we had chosen for the master bedroom seems like a purplish brown shade which made the room even darker when the main ceiling light was very much shaded with the cover.

We reused a old tabletop lamp I got ages back from Ikea , shorten the movable neck and a more energy-saving white bulb from Philips and I got the lighting I need for my photo-shooting for my figurines.
Nonetheless I am getting used to a bigger room which size would be cut down with the impending installation of the wardrobe and other pieces of furniture.
The king size bed frame would have to wait as superstitious sayings felt that the newly-weds' bed should be off limits till the off limits, meaning I would have to draw any space left after the bed arrives to lay a teenie mattress to sleep on, which is an idea I don't fancy at all.
Somehow the air conditioning unit in the master bedroom is performing so much better than my old room. Situated like on my left now when I am on my PC, when tuned at 24 degrees celsius I could feel myself shivering and eventually a running nose came along....which is so contrasting with my old unit when 24 means I better prepare to perspire...
Then again the master bedroom shared the same motor system with my sister's room just beside it, so if both units operating at the same time, perhaps it would not be as strong as I had experienced last night...

I did not had problem sleeping on my same old bed despite the different positioning of the bed and the actual space it was occupying as I struggled to wake up as of any Monday morning...

Fortunately I completed the full application cover letter and the resume which BY hounded me with SMS on Friday to make it attractive and eye-catching enough to sell myself as she seems to be rooting hard that I would join her there.
With the e-mail sent to her supervisor on Sunday, I came to work with mix feeling this morning much like Michael Ballack of Bayern Munich with future uncertain as who would be the employer in matter of weeks.
In such speedy fashion I received the call from the French lady in charge of BY's department and mentioned that she could not read the file I had sent her...doh!
It was because I tried to print the word document as pdf distiller but I did not have that in my Windows which was why I printed it as Microsoft Imaging file format or something which I thought all Word processor could read... Obviously I was wrong.
Fortunately my sis enjoying her days at home after her final semester assesment sent the documents to me via e-mail, so that I could follow up her request despite stating that I would do it later in the evening as she seems rather urgent about the whole thing.

I'm caught in a dilemma at the moment as I am not totally hating my current job and my boss is top draw as many could verified except the 3 witches who had crossed her path.
But the lack of caramederie among colleagues and the dwindling morale of the entire company sure makes the rival institute a much better place to work in.
Of course there are some other perks like free beverages and better supplement package ($500 as compared to the $300 per annum I am fetching here)...
Which was why I mentioned in the first paragraph, the only potent trigger to send me over with be JxMMy...
Although we had established some chemistry in terms of work into our 4th years as colleagues working side by side, I still hated his guts thoroughly..I don't know why but the detest towards him is just there...Then again he had so many gimmicks to pull over his "domain" which is our workplace and my supervisor who simply adores him and kisses the very bowl he shits in gives him full autonomy to rule the land, the only way was to follow the rest and leave... not that I would really miss Bobby and the rest as well...we'll see and let destiny decides...

Japanese word of the day: 部屋~he-ya~(Room) No matter what room I am staying in, "Sin Yao" is definitely not the music genre to be played

Friday, April 21, 2006

No Wonder Friday is known as "Golden Day" in Japanese...

21st April 2006, Friday

With exception of the typical lack of quality sleep over the course of the week which see me dozing on the train from the start of the journey and barely keeping myself awake to alight at the destination station, I have bounce under my feet for the first time in a long while.

It's Friday and in matter of hours, I can rest and relax for at least 48 hours which most probably would be occupied by some cleaning up and more time on the internet.
Mom informed me that Dad has intended to take some time off from work tomorrow to start painting the bedrooms so that the furnishing (Brokeback Mountain) contractor could proceed with their next phase of the project. Therefore we could be bracing for more tantrums thrown by my old man which is his forte when come to work at home.

At work, felt more focused to get everything done in time, greeted colleagues morning (which usually I would not be the one initiating) and even felt comfortable to start a conversation with a jack@$$ known as JxMMy...certainly a total contrast to my true self...

Got a SMS from my lass just as I was stepping into my house from work enquiriing which Italian Football club (she used the collective term "group" which shows that she knows nuts about professional sports) I like most. Seriously over the years it has to be AC Milan and the red & black striped jersey looks the best among the rest (though Roma, Fiorentina and perhaps Lecce looks good as well) since I got a feeling she wants to get me one while taking time off from work yesterday to go down to the local police station to extend her stay permit...
Seriously have thought of telling her to save the money unless she would be heading down to Spain and into Catalonia capital of Barcelona to get the one jersey I really would like to have and customised it with the number 16 on the back and the name "van de Heinz" to fulfill that lame FM dream of mine....

Got the groove back last evening to bask in the photo-taking of my figurine collection for new reviews on my webpage.
Haven't had that kind of luxury since the house is under renovation as well as just lack that urge to proceed with it during the sparsely spread free time over the past month.
I know nuts about photography and amateur in that field, but my main aim is to take sharp pictures to justify the time spent on the photo-shoot.
Perhaps I should invest on a better camera than my 2 years old Canon ixus 400 which serves me impeccably over the years as well as some good lighting..then again even with the best equipments around, my photography still need ample improvements...

After lamenting on wasting quality time on weekday nights (though many would argued to just rest for the next day) a couple of days back, I felt last night was certainly one to cherish in terms of things been done as I also managed to finish almost all the new anime episodes I had added recently which had been stacking up (which I also refer as the "Ferris syndrome" because he is famous for accomplishing that feat of stacking endless amount of anime and not watched them)
And the amazing thing is that I don't just skim through the show but truely concentrating on the storyline which can be so thin it is sleep-inducing at times....

Got an offer from Samsung 2 days back regarding the fact that our local free-to-air TV station would be putting the High Definition TV (HDTV) technology on trial and since I had got that LCD Tv recently the vendor had my records and check whether we would be interested to participate...
The HDTV techonlogy has been so overutilised in the States and Japan and only now making its presence felt locally and you will basically watch series like "Lost" and some Japanese dorama (as of those I had got online) in such high definition current standards cannot be compared.
I am quite keen but then the obstacle is a really long questionaire which put some of the examination papers I had taken in University to shame. I sort of felt well probed for participating in this trial and they might check on what I am doing online and unveiled some skeletons in the closet.
However I am still on to fill the questionaire so that I could send in the following day since the closing date was Sunday...
Before I could carry on, they would require a ID number which I supposed would be that of my TV set... great...except my TV is still housed in Best Denki Ngee Ann City....bummer

My recent handphone bill arrived which left me fuming on how come I was charged so much when my usage is not justified by the bill.
I don't know but everything just points to changing a new provider especially one that my company has been offered a corporate package which I heard would be as low as $14 a month!
I've been kind of wanting a new phone as well not that my current 4 year-old Samsung is not serving me well enough...
Thinking of passing it to my Mom since that free one I gave her 2 years back is now hanging on a thread in terms of lifespan...once again shows you that free stuff is not always good...

This afternoon had to bring a group of United World College students for a tour of our facilities.
This group looked really listless and I was bracing for a barrage of question of inquisitive overseas students. With the exception of a skeletal Caucasian guy and a stocky Chinese girl (looks Singaporean to me) who seems a bit more enthusiastic to hurl questions, the rest seemed very subdued and mooted, some were eveb yawning and a Vietnamese looking chap got that classic "blank" expression all the time as if he was psyched out from reality.
Perhaps it was good that the group is least bit interested if not I would be dumbfounded after a while.

Got a call from BY while briefing them as she hushed me to send her boss my CV and cover letter as soon as I can as the job opening we had talked about is finally been released and some prospective employees had went for interview.
I was quite caught back by this as I had done up my CV, least say the cover letter.
I'm rather vexed at this moment whether I should go all out for this new job opportunity as the same "safe zone" effect I am experiencing with my current job plus the company is putting some effort to make me stay...or at least what I preceive from the current performance bonus and pay restructure.
Well I would still send my application in with a "bo heng suay (gambling)" paradigm to see whether a new job could see more pay coming in each month which is the top priority for the last 27 years of my life anyway....
Japanese word of the day: 賭け(Gamble) Have to take a gamble with your life at times...but not in the "Unbeatables (双天至尊)" kind of way...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Trailing Da Vinci

20th April 2006, Thursday

Just a short quip today...

My lass called me using a international call card yesterday just after her lunch hours within her work vicinity which means dinner time over in Singapore.
2nd day into her work, I guess she is getting used to how the system works and the culture. She mentioned that her company lunch menu is something I would fall for and I am salivating over the thought of authentic Italian cuisine such as pasta or lasagna been served.
With the amount of cheese they addes, there would always be the fear of gaining extra pounds which is blasphemous with the wedding just around the corner.
Fortunately she had a gym within her apartment building to let her burn off some unwanted calories.
She mentioned that with the premiering of the blockbuster feature based on the bestselling Dan Brown's novel, "The Da Vinci Code", being the country where Da Vinci is from, the Italian authorities have been gussing up the streets of Milan to laureate their prodigal son, the famous artist known as Leonardo Da Vinci with some of his famous art pieces or related doucments or replicas been put on display...And it was raining when she and her friends were there to view it, so she only managed to take the behind of a sculpture of I presumed is his "Renaissance Man".

She also mentioned she is put in charge of one of trhe company's car thus she would have to drive some of her male colleagues to work in their Fiat Fiesta which she found quite easily to handle since the gear system is automatic. However in the land where parallel parking reigns, she just had to refresh her practical lessons or enlist the help from colleagues who have better driving skill or simply find a larger parking space to manuveur.

With the car, her group had contemplated of travelling to neighbouring European cities and this weekend, their destination would be Germany and she informed me that she would be calling me by then...just hope they have a safe driver at the helms...

Yikes, I have became so paranoid out of the sudden...
Japanese word of the day: パラノイア ~pa-ra-no-i-a~(Paranoid) You would be when you have someone so dear to your heart thousand of miles away...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Shit in Serenity, Anyone?

19th April 2006, Wednesday

Barcelona edged Milan at San Siro in the 1st leg of the UEFA Champions League Semi-finals with a goal from their French winger, Ludovic Giuly surely would fulfill Frank Rikjaard's men's dream of hauling the double this season but should left the Milan fans on the edge of their seats, biting their fingernails, sweating over the bleak possibility of their team overhauling the mighty Catalans back in Nou Camp next week... Hope they don't get too fustrated with the results and vent their anger upon innocent parties as of their aggressive Inter counterparts recently, especially with the fact that my lass lives so near to the famous stadium now....

Haven't heard from her yet today, but there was a missed call on my mobile while I was immersing in my run at the gym but since that tell would reflect an unearthly time of 6.30 am from her side, I kind of dismissed the call with no identification given to be from her. Well do hope she does give me a buzz real soon....

The weather been getting really soggy this couple of weeks which is fantastic if you planned to stay home/office bound all day long but preferably not schedule any outdoor activities 'cos you might been thrown a "wet blanket"...literally...
Local news these days been harping over the forthcoming General Election which would most probably be held on the 6th of May (lucky my buddy is coming back a week after, if not he gotta vote as well when he knew nuts about local politics).
Meanwhile everyone's favorite villain, T.T. Dulan (shamed CEO of a bogus charitable organisation) has been put on trial and rightfully so...
There was a huge article blazing the front page of the "Home" section of Straits Times today regarding the fact that educational institute should magnify the importance of sex education locally as it could be the root of the suicide of a JC2 boy who decided to end his truncated life due to the fact that his private parts is way too minute for his liking... hey wait a minute.... this fellow got a girlfriend at his age and yet he was more concerned about his urinary appendage been too pathetic as compared to other boys (that is if he had seen the other boys')...man what is this world getting to...

Anyway had shot some pictures of our revamp toilets to send to my lass and thought might as well post it here as someone did made a request to do so (yes Cheryl it's you, don't hide from reality):

New Foldable Door

There's a small possibility of the silhouette of someone bathing inside could be seen but hey we like the shade...

Master Bedroom Toilet Revamped

Not 6 star hotel standard, but sure beats what Grand Central Hotel can offer for their best suite...

The Famous Mirror

The final piece of the puzzle arrived the day before and it was actually present all along in their warehouse yet the lady boss failed to check properly and drew our irk over her arrogant way of handling customers.

Bowl-shaped Basin

Well my characters in "The Sims 2" had a nice bowl-shaped basin, so I want one too!

The Tap

State of the art tap which kind of hinder my head movement while washing my face.

New Toilet Seat

Same old toilet bowl but a more sturdy seat which could not crack when my huge behind squashed upon it.

Toilet Paper Holder

Stainless steel toilet paper roll holder which is more stylish and convenient than the porcelain ones that was embedded on the wall.

Golden Rush of Water

The water heater system which promised greater jet of water for shower and yes we find gold elegant, don't instigate further.

Fat Switches

New switches as well which is easier to handle and locate even when it's dark and you are barely awake.

Towel Stand

Foldable stand to hold our towels which is slightly space saving yet we need not fear the possibility of our towels and clothing accidentally dropped on the wet floor due to poor grip on the rods.

Soap Dispenser

Elegant soap dispenser as requested by my sister.

Toiletries Stand

Complimenting the whole "glass & steel" theme of the toilet but Mom chastises us all day to keep it spotlessly clean.

Commom Mirror

The new mirror for the common toilet, now can even see my belly button while I am showring...ok ok, I know you guys don't want to hear about that.

Gillette Shaver

Not really part of the revamp toilet but just to highlight how sucker I am. For the first time ever I actually invested on a shaver (been using the same one which was a free gift for like 5 years) and this cool green one from Gillette with electronic parts which could massage your pores to enable smoother shaving experience. So far I don't feel it and I actually intended to buy a cheaper version at $17 but in the end the not-so-good people from the supermarket actually put this piece which cost $4 more expensive on the wrong stand...To add salt to my wound, all of the shavers should come with a spare battery but not mine....see this is something to lament about rather than "small penises"...

The Famous Mirror

A gift from my lass for the family, a water purifier unit selling at her sideline company which actually pass your water through U.V. radiations which is much safer for consumption straight from the tap, rust-free ones of course.
Japanese word of the day: 満足する (Satisfied) Everyone in the household is satisfied with the outcome of the revamp despite all the hardship, inconveniences and tantrums threw my Dad during the whole process...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Better Usage of Time

18th April 2006, Tuesday

As the sky got overcast from the window beside my workstation, I am in a rather calm mood with JxMMy hitting playing some bossanova/ Latin guitar tunes on his PC which is 1975684645764574 times better than rabid techno tunes that should not be even considered music to begin with.
While I am composing this post, my good ol' partner at work is busy fondling himself as well as the equipments like there is no tomorrow...sick bastard!

My lass failed to call this afternoon which perhaps is my only salvation everyday now but did sent a SMS, telling me she is heading for work....any form of update is good enough for me...

I feel that now she has embarked on her 3 month stint, I should have more time to concentrate on myself and of course shoulder some responsibilities for the renovation phase 3 of the house which concern the furnishing of the master bedroom and ultimately transit to the shifting of the rooms altogether for the household. However my ego-headed Dad is still very much in charge which rightfully so as I am as useful as a some weed growing out of nowhere...
So back to what I do best, loaf around or perhaps should continue packing my collection to the display cabinet..

That was what I supposed to do last evening while watching a huge aggregation of anime episodes I had gathered over the past week but either too busy to watch it or just couldn't be bothered.
But last evening I was basically wasting away precious minutes watching Man Utd beating Tottenham at White Hart Lane to prevent Chelsea from lifting their successive title on Easter Monday which is a fault of the free viewing of the channels SCV dished out (or is it free to begin with?); while indulging in my own football management enjoyment on Football Manager 2006 which basically eaten straight to midnight when I was too drowsy to keep me eyelids open...

Then of course my mother-in-laws dropped by to pass me some money to help my lass settles her credit card bill since I hold an account to the bank of that specific credit card...
She was all so secretive, trying to keep it hidden from knowledge by her husband (or soon-to-be ex-husband) who sent her here as if the money belongs to him...
Seriously I really knew as little about her family affair especially the relationship her dad is maintaining with her mom as perhaps the Bangladesh cleaner of her block; but I felt if my mother-in-laws is so disenchanted by the infidelity of her husband who still keep a close relationship with the vamp, she should had severe all ties with him...but it is blatant that she could never let go...sigh...

Anyway back to my time management issue...I felt I should really start square up the remaining collection I had as well as clearing those junks (or supposedly to be junks) from my room but I am always affixed in a situation like everything is so disorganised that it seems like a tall order to find a way out of this myriad of items lying about in my room.
Then I would very much get back to doing more reviews of my collections as procrastination is a sin (should the 8th one after lust, wrath, greed, gluttony, pride, envy and sloth)... well with that in mind, I hope I could get at least something done this evening...
Japanese word of the day: 罪(Sin) I think "Relentless Entangle with people you dunno whether to hate or love" should be the ninth sin...

Monday, April 17, 2006

Live from Milan

17th April 2006, Monday

It's Easter Monday, over here in Singapore it's work as usual as I loathe at the prospect of yet another 5 days week.
Over at Agrate, Milan, Northern Italy where my lass is based now, the locals are basking in the festive season which perhaps is even more important than X'mas for the predominant Catholic population.
She managed to call yesterday afternoon in the midst of her 6 hours transit in Paris Charles de Gualle International Airport which really puts my mind at peace, knowing that she is safe and sound.
This was followed by a heartwarming update from her lodging apartment via the e-mail stating that she was fine and taken aback by how big her apartment is as well as amazed by the magnificence of the San Siro stadium as well as smitten by the snow capped mountains of Alphines and had her taste buds triggering to savour that candy floss like clouds while transiting to Milan.

She gave me a call while I was having lunch just a while back at around 1 plus while it was only 7 in the morning as she just crept out of bed, suffering a slight bout of jet-laggedness.
She had planned to go down to the main city area of Milan despite the fact that the streets are basically deserted for this public holiday and now they might had problem getting a place for a bite.

It was great to hear her voice which amplified how much I miss her only 2 days after she has left...
Well hope her stint there would be truly enriching both career-wise as well as an eye-opener in terms of difference in cultures of the Europeans and the sights and sound around.
But most importantly, hope she is free from any mishaps and does not even contemplate to attempt any event that could be putting her at the brunt of danger...
Perhaps I worry too much..perhaps I should just starting counting the remaining 83 days before her return.

It was a Sunday which I thoroughly felt unproductive...
I didn't get almost all of the allocated collections onto the display cabinet, only the Square-Enix corner was done.
I didn't clean up my room as much as I should now that our toilets are properly done and the attention would be shifted to painting my room and perhaps starting to do some shifting of my parents' properties and pocessions over to their future room.
I just rot in front of the PC as well as kept my eyes glued to the sports channels on the cable TV network which once again came with the change of my box unit to the digital one..(might be an enticing strategy to make you addicted to some of the channels they had to offer and than removed it duly so that you would have no choice but to sign the other tiers)
The new digital features are quite pleasing to the eyes at first with enough information of the screening listing and information of the show that is showing but the box lacks one crucial feature which at least 3 people other than myself felt sorely miss.
The digital red glowing clock feature on the previous box set was an omnipresent tool for almost the entire household when they are in my room.
I constantly used that to keep track of time because it is accurate and visible at any angle of the room even in the dark.
Now it is gones, I really need to replace it with a real digital reading clock and situate it ideally on top of the box unit to suit our requirements once again.

Had a chat with my buddy over at Osaka via the MSN messenger as we walked down that memory lane (the now extinct road along Ang Mo Kio Ave 5) after knowing each other for majority of our lives.
He then ponders about whether he had fulfilled the role of a son or a brother during this long period that he has been away from the family.
Seriously even with the fact that I had been living with mine day in day out, I doubt I had fulfilled that role myself...
But surely it would be something to look forward as he would be flying back by early next month for his elder sister's solemnization ceremony and once more we can paint the town red or whatever color people would disguise themselves with to hide from our existence...like the ominous aura returns!!

Japanese word of the day: 独立した (Independent) Gotta grow accustomed to the absence of her and be independent enough to scratch my own back..literally

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Alone again, Naturally...

15th April 2006, Saturday

Never visualise myself as a sentimental animal, but the truth is that I am...
This very day marks the day my lass who now I am certain is quintessential to my everyday living flying off to her 3 months Italian stint.. quite a fracas at Changi Airport Terminal One..more on that later...

Today also sees the expedited end to the renovation project for the 2 toilets and despite it sure was better to drag till Monday, and the overall tiling was done to exact precision, my family wasn't too please with the wasy the new door opens for the common toilet.
However we had no qualms about the color we had encouraged to choose which is of light blue tint which is soothing to the eyes.
The cable for the cable TV was well laid as well and we highly endorsed the same cable guy cum electrician to fix the multi-mode lighting we got for our master bedroom and he and his Indian sidekick got it fixed without even breaking a sweat, with time to savour a banana Mom offered them.

The Good Friday was spent majority at Z Weddiing D'sign where my lass wanted to try the few outfits she would select for our album shoot.
She actually got the date wrong as it should be today for our appointment, however the staff was prepared for us to jump our guns as they dished out the selections after a significant of waiting for the lady in charge, Susan to be free to entertain us.
We also met our original coordinator, Kate there cajoling a gold mine aka a bride-to-be from Indonesia to sign up a package with them and through her persuasion we sense the seasoned quality in this wedding coordinator which definitely holds an edge over the novices in this market.

A full day of itinery began for us this morning as we headed forthe pharmacy at the nearby polyclinic where my lass stocked up on glucosamine for her weak knees and boy it doesn't come cheap with a bottle of 60 selling at close $40, so with 3 months of a pill daily demands at least 2 bottles, she had spent $80 just on that to top off the other health supplements and vitamins she had to consume daily, when has my love became such a pills-freak?

We then took a cab down to Bukit Merah where we paid regards to her late grandpa with the crawling traffic on CTE nearly caused us to be late for the gathering with her brood at the monastery. Once there and made our presence known to grandma, we said our word of blessing to the deceased by notifying our marriage and I sincerely hope he would look over in the heavens for her well-being once she is at far away lands...
As usual the attention was showered to the baby Ashley and boy she has grown quite a lot since we last seen her during the Lunar New Year period.

We then board bus 16 down to Suntec City for our lunch appointment with my Japanese clique and I wasn't surprised to have on Cheryl on time.
It was an outing that had a nice roll call including the first meeting with Howe whom we had not seen in ages and looks really well and ready to face the brunt of the working society but still possess those straight-up candid nature that makes him stand out among us despite being the youngest amongst us.
Then there was the big news that sort of left me shell-shock as Selina revealed she had been suffering from nervous breakdown months ago and now on the route to recovery and because of that due to some religious sources felt that this year was not very suited for her to tie the knot with her beau, so they had to postone till next year the earliest.
However the cause of her psycological unwell was constituted to a period of constant stress from work which catapulted to a state of fraility and she just snapped one day which bewildered everyone near her and it was kept it well under the dark from some peripheral friends like us and the last time we seen her she was facing the full effect of the illness which left her with dwindling appetite and many sleepless night.
Which is why she was decimated to a skeletal frame this time we seen her but she seems to be jolly once more and ready to put away the demons that had terrorized her behind for now.
Her therapy would include many overseas vacation which this seasoned globetrotter has always filled her yearly calendars with.
This year she has planned for a free & easy Japan escapade and seek advises from the likes of me and Foo which basically takes much of the conversation during the meal before we decided to call it a day as time was running out for us to get back home for my lass to do a last minute packing.
That didn't deter her to scout on a Zen-style legless chair she aimed for her workstation in our room in the future.

After getting her stuff from my place, she bidded my family farewell as it would be 90 days or so later when they would meet again.
Back at her place, time was a luxury she doesn't possess as she transferred some items from a carrier bag to the haversack she borrowed from my sister.
However she overlooked some secret compartments of the original bag where her staff pass and thumb drive resides which she only realized when she was been briefed with her colleagues joining her for the stint.
Frantically my future mother-in-laws tried to locate her husband who was apparently indulged in the company of his mistress and refused to respond (claims stated by my lass' mother).
We contemplated of taking a cab back and forth to retrieve that important document before she managed to contact with her brother who had personal transport and was willing to make the faithful trip to deliver the items for her.
All these while, I had to juggle with my mother-in-laws' nagging about my lass' carelessness as well as her husband's obvious aloofness as well as my lass' paranoia which she suspected that she had secure her check-in luggage and the staff might rummage through her poessessions, and I tried my best to keep her positive before her flight.
As time passed, inching close to her check in time, she was reluctant to make an early entrance and started clinging on to me...
It didn't get to me at first but as she proceeded into the check in counter and bidded us goodbye with embraces, I was overwhelmed with a sense of unwillingness as my throat stiffens and my eyes started welling...Moments before at her place while she was showering, I looked through the photos, souveniors and other ornaments on her table which rekindled memories we shared for the past 6 years and not once we had been seperated from each other for so long...
I of course would be worry-stricken about her well being thousand of miles away and felt her absence is a hard pill to swallow.
As I led my mother in laws to the taxi stand, I could feel I was about to break down yet holding on in front of her as well as the taxi driver the entire journey...
It was only mere hours and I am already missing perhaps the person I treasured dearly...perhaps inaugural in my life, I really feel what love for someone truly felt...
Counting down the days we meet again and faithfully hope she would be ok in the strange land..
Japanese word of the day: 感情~kan-jou~(Emotions) Haven't been so overwhelmed with emotions for such long time now...surely need time to adjust my life without her for a while.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Till the Dust Settles... Day 3

13th April 2006, Thursday

Just a quick note before I call it a day from work and falling into the embrace of a long weekend though not too chirpy since my lass is leaving in 2 days time...
Ok enough of whiny melancholy.

Yesterday evening wasn't a too fantastic one for my entire household...
Dad was really cranky as the contractor really delayed the progress of the renovation as we had all anticipated a fully done bathroom for the master bedroom.
But for a cocktail of unfavorable reasons such as insufficient hands and poor leadership, the progress was left dangling in mid air as we endured on more day of showering nightmare and they even wrecked the water cistern of the common bathroom which incensed Dad who spent a good amount of time fixing it when I returned.

Mom was totally exhausted after squaring up the place while Sis was getting edgy about the slow progress of the renovation as well as worrisome about her last examination today which was critical. Then there will be the cable guy who will install the cable network for the 2 rooms which we hope would not be too ordeal a task.

I remained pretty solemn the entire evening as I was also quite irritated and afraid I would say the wrong things but they considered that as simply ignorant to the surroundings.
Then the internet connection got abit haywire which really ticks me off as well...

It's been a waiting game all day long for that sacred letter which always left us bewildered in a guessing game on how good or bad our performance bonus was..Last year was a pleasant surprise and I was crossing my fingers, hoping a dejavu or at least what I had expected so as I could keep within budget for all the expenses for the wedding...
In the morning Siti was prompt to query about how much I had expected for the bonus as well as keeping tabs of each others' movement in the coming month.
She also made known to me that Old Hag had requested LF to tender her resignation only in May so as be valid for the bonus package which she promised "would be better than last year"

As JxMMy left for a half day leave and Bobby very much cooped at the Histology side as of everyday of the past fornight, I was left waiting with a long neck for the entire afternoon for an sight of a white envelope to bring in the good news while taking charge of the service which seen a hike in demands as of eves of all long weekends.
Finally the envelope with the company's logo arrived duly from the hands of my supervisor and I ensured that I was free from any chores and be seated to absorb any bad news while prayinig fervently for better ones....
So prising open the loosely sealed envelope, I was rubbing my eyes to check on the figures which had no indication of the percentage of the bonus...
I don't want to reveal too much but all I can say is that the sum comes very handy for all the bills and extra expense which I surely savour.
It seemed like LF has been receiving the amount promised by Hag at the end of the day, more like a parting gift before she leaves in forseeable future...

I left for La Tendo after work since I won't be going in the weekend and my late return brought about animosity from my family....who thought I didn't bother with all the ongoings at home...maybe had to seek some redemptions in the next couple of days...sigh
Japanese word of the day: キリン~ki-rin~ (Giraffe) I am surprise my neck is stick short enough not to be that tallest mammal on earth after such a long wait today.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Till the Dust Settles...Day 2

12th April 2006, Wednesday

Day two of the bathrooms renovations ended with the tiles in the common toilet been hacked clean and now as bare as Paris Hilton in her sex tape (not that I have watched it before, or have I?)...
Meanwhile the retiling of the bathroom of the master bedroom is close to 90% completion and it seems like our dull greenish floor tiles actually match the wooden shades my lass and I had selected.
With the removal of the tiles of the common bathroom, the sink and eventually the toilet bowl and water cistern would be removed to accomodate the re-tiling process and thus we had to transit comfortably to ensure you had at least one point of sanitation in the house, meaning the toilet bowl of the master bedroom had to be upped today if not we would be looking at large mineral water with pee ..a thought to be nauseated about but it did happened when my ship was high and dry at the dock for overhaul back in my Navy days.
Without the sink, we had to wash up in the morning at the kitchen sink which was inaugural and pretty unhygenic; well for the short run, we just had to do with it.
With the removal of water heater and shower head in the common toilet, we had to go prehistoric with scooping water from a pail for a wash-up and Mom even had to pour boiling water to adjust the temperature tolerant by us in the early morning as we preparing for work.

Cooking is also been hindered with the dust around, thus Mom bought a couple of rice dumplings for my lunch today which basically returns that same level of calories I had burnt on the threadmill moments before.

As the contractors hastened their pace with the renovation project which I sincerely hope would be before the Good Friday, my family and I just had to stand united and braced ourselves for the inconveniences in various aspects of our everyday living.

I think the doors of the toilets had to be up today but as of now we are still very much vexed by the color to choose from as the sample the contractor provided seems a bit tarnished in original color.

My display cabinet should be promoted to 100% status with the fixing up of the final glass door as well as the arrival of the remaining glass plates.
However with the chaos state of my living room at the moment where Dad pasted a layer of protective sheet on the glass doors to prohibit the workers from blemishing the nice facade of the cabinet, I guessed the remainder of the display would only be up in the weekends which is fine by me.
I returned to be surprised by all my outer boxes for my trading figures are been burrowed out of the chasm underneath my super single bed and placed neatly on the various shelves recently cleared of figurines. I was actually glad Mom had done that on her own initiative as she nearly choked at the amount of dust ball accumulated around my room. She wouldn't want to be embarrassed by the ridiculous state when the cable contractor came in to extend and install the cable points of the other rooms.

All in all, Dad's original plan to paint the bedrooms had to be adjourned to a later dates, most probably next week and then the furnishing could be processed and the moving which I project to be in mid or late May... Let's hope things proceed as smooth as velvet...sorry about that lame analogy...
Japanese word of the day: お風呂~O-fu-ro~(Bath) Surely not used to the prehistoric scooping water from the pail. It is highly inefficient to wash those hard to reach areas of the body for sure.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Till The Dust Settles...

11th April 2006, Tuesday

As you would know by now, my house is undergoing the 2nd phase of overhaul which involves the retiling the walls of the 2 toilets.
As planned the contractors came in and started hacking off the original tiles in the toilet of the master bedroom while mending the ceiling of the common bathroom which had huge chunks dissociating from the main spine of the ceiling and falling in shambles, which is fortunate no one got hurt.

So basically the entire place is in total disarray with the marble floor of the living room and the kitchen's flooring to allow the regular transport of tools and cartons of tiles in and out of the house.
There was no lack of dust engulfing the usually pristine condition of our home which really drives Mom to the wall.
We basically had to put on flip-flops or other form of footwear to manuveour around the place.
The state of sanitation at home is also not the most ideal with the lighting of the common bathroom hanging by the wires literally to accomodate to the mending of the ceiling.
My sister even had to go over her pal's place to shower as our family starting to adjust to 5 days of living in a state of renovation which is almost not advisable.

Remember the domineering lady boss of the retailing shop in Chong Pang where we pre-ordered for the sink, the bathroom mirror, water heater and other sanitation needs.
After her insolent boast about fulfilling all our sanitation needs while bullying his mouse-deer like husband around, she went on to sell away that mirror we had listed in our order with the notion of greed for profit.
My Dad who made the call in the afternoon to beckon them to send over all the stuff we had reserved claimed that she was apologising profusely for not able to fulfill the order and mentioned the next shipment would only arrive in late May.
My lass wasn't too pleased with such precedings as she had hope to see the mirror and sink been fixed up before flying off; and ultimately disgusted by the way the lady boss does her business which is appalling in the service and retailing line...what you promised, you will have to deliver...
Mom was more worried that they would not be able to deliver the exact replica of the mirror we had wanted; and asked if we should find an alternative.
I would actually forgive such retailers if they were honest-looking (hey come on, in this time and age honest-looking business man are extremely rare and those that existed might had their business dwindling into nothing by now) and had wonderful track record. But this lady boss is way too domineering for my liking and she gives people the impression that even customers should conform to her sayings.
Well I am just glad we need not patronise them often to see her face again.

At the meantime we just had to tolerate with the dust scattered around due to the renovation and the disarray of our living conditions for the next few days.
Japanese word of the day:塵 (Dust) Enough to make my figuriones which I had meticulously wiped clean over the days dirty once more.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Entering Phase 2

10th April 2006, Monday

Hasn't been the most ideal start to a week when everyone's hopes of a fat bonus is pinned on the generosity of an Old Hag while it would be make or break for yours truly who had been rooting from a slightly less than last year's portion.
The morning weather was sweltering and at moments as I squirmed my through the manic Monday human traffic, I felt a tinge of suffocation at times...
I was really grateful that the air conditioning in my lab was on full blast to help cool me down and dry me from the profuse perspiration I was soaked in.

Had a terrible stomachache for the morning perhaps due to some junk I had eaten over the weekends (perhaps some canned lychee which was in the fridge for far too long and started tasting sour when I tried to finish last evening).

Finally was groggy to start with after sleeping less than 5 hours after watching the 3 hour special of Hey Hey Hey Music Champ to commemorate their 500th episode on air while clearing the dustballs and mildews off my figurines I had displayed in my room some for a good 2 years now without being touched before (not even for spring cleaning).

Bobby came in to work, trying to make conversation about the Miss Universe Singapore pageant televised last evening which I intentionally ignored as the batch this year was hideous and I was been nice when I say that...
Bobby had a special liking for the runner-up, Jade which was a campus mate of my sister, well like her name implies, jade could never gain the most adoration as compared to diamond, thus she had to settle for 2nd place...

Anyway this would be the final weekend I could spend quality time with my lass before her flight off to Italy on the 15th although she promised to spend the Good Friday with me...
Basically the whole household is locking onto the next gear as we entered the more labor-intensive (in terms of shifting the pieces of furniture) painting of the rooms as well as the overhaul of the toilets starting today as Dad applied leave for an entire week to embark on his personal proxy to ensure things are done in place...

On Friday evening a lot of niggling issues that shrouded the household including the extra cost incurred for more glass plates to be catered from the contractor.
Dad frowned upon the extra cost as he was adamant that it was stated before hand about the need for more glass plates; while I felt the cost was justifiable because my request wasn't just 1 or 2 which he could have forgo in his overall budget but 8 pieces which don't come cheap.
In the end, Dad managed to halve the requested price from the wife who has the ultimate say in the accounts.

Then there is the installation of the SCV cables to the master bedroom as well as my sister's room.
The original quoted price from Starhub was too steep for our liking and my sis was prompt to dismiss the idea to install in her room.
We then realised that Starhub would eventually enlist the help of external contractor to do the installation so why not we contact our own contractor which eventually we got hold of one source from my sis' bosom buddy who charges a good $60 less than the Starhub's quotation after bargaining,
Thus the project would be embedded in the midst of the whole renovation for this week which makes logical sense to me.

Finally we have to beckon the lighting company as well the sanitation amenities retailers to send those items we had ordered and in total I would be looking at drawing a huge sum out to cover the bill..
That would be compounded by the king's ransom my credit card bill had been reminding me to settle for a while now...
I would be in tears to see my bank account been depleted into smitereens...*sob*

Just as I assumed that my budget for the whole wedding bonanza would come to an end, my family who insisted to revamp the TV console for the living room to match my display cabinet as well as the shoe rack got the contractor down to discuss on the design which meet Mom's requirements as well as stamp of approval from Sis and dad.. Myself was pretty much oblivious to the proceedings as I felt it would be beyond my scope as I focused on transferring my collection all along.
Then came in crux of the discussion when we enquired on how the pricing would be like... If it was 1K, then we felt unjustiable to change.
The quotation of $750 (after somemore bargaining) was reached which pleases everyone except me as Mom suddenly demanded me to foot half the bill...
Hey wait, I did agree on sharing the burden of the newly-incurred cost of renovation but I would look at maybe around $200...
I was really gutted by all these impromptu additions to my budget, firstly was the bathroom sink and now this...they don't come cheap by the way...
So I was piqued enough to start a petty tiff with Mom in front of the contractors as I later regretted on doing so as it wasn't gracious enough...but I could get really defensive and dogmatic when come to money...
In the end to mitigate the situation, my lass jumped in to say she would foot the bill on by behalf..which later became my burden once more...urgh... as she had spent far too much already.

A couple of items she had spent a fortune on was the water purifier units which Dad spent a good amount of the Sunday morning to rig up and after explaination and demonstration from my lass in terms of operation and the quality of pristine water the unit had generated which got my family abuzzed about the fact that the purifiers are really great tools...cool but not worth the price she had to pay...

Saturday was gloomy in terms of weather for the early part of the afternoon making us rather reluctant to leave the comfort of our house but with the notion and perhaps the penultimate purpose of getting some money owed to me from the good people of La Tendo, we had to make the trip.
We hit Bugis Junction before the hobby shop where spent sometime for her to do her usual magazine hunting....
As we passed by the Neo-Print machines or whatever it's called now blaring its colorful lightning and irritating Japanese-style jingles, we raised an eyebrow to each other as she just caught a Taiwanese infotainment show where they implore into the latest fab from the Japanese youths when they actually engaged in some promiscuous acts or bare themselves to their birthday suits while taking a photo shoot in these machines.
We headed to the rejuvenated Bugis Village to grab a bite from this Taiwanese eatery store which took ages to fried some chicken pieces.
Managed to contact CS to make known to him that Foo would like to enlist his help to rig up a powerful computer to support his film production aspiration; while some SMS from Sel informed me that she had delayed her wedding and thus would be available to come to my wedding...

At La Tendo, the crowd pales in comparison to the week before which could be down to the fact that there was no shipment this week.
Matthew left early, leaving the money with Chan who after such long wait was placed in my hands. Not a huge sum but enough to pay for my outstanding bill from the huge haul the weekend before.
Karen came in quite late after spending time with her friends a while ago and was glad the money came in time for a proposed Lasik operation and buy buy to PSP which she had intended to get with that sum of money.
My lass then asked the Taiwan-bound Karen to get some pop idol stuff back for her while they had a great time over some jokes the capricious and most of the time, senseless Chan had made...
We then bid them goodbye by around 8 and stopped by at the newly-opened Cathay Building just across the road. The original Cathay cinema and Picturehouse which did was a haunt for movie-goers from the 1970s to early 1990s was now a facade with delightful lightings and supposed to equip with the best movie-watching facilities despite some dismay complains I spotted on the newspapers days back...
We had intended to watch "Shinobi" which I thought should be ready when we came back but the transfer rate was creeping to my irk... However once I lie on my bed after a nice shower, I just fell into slumber without any hesistation which was rare for me on a Saturday evening.

The large part of Sunday was spent on packing up my room in terms of the figurines littering the entire place, either to be transferred to the living room or just packed up for storage; and I got an abled assistant in my lass who did a splendid job ensuring my storage cupboard below the display cabinets are utilised efficiently without any space wasted. She managed to stuff most of the packaging boxes I wanted though at times was puzzled why I even keep some items which many considered junks...but to a true-blue collectors, those items are quinessential to the value of the figurines.
The entire cleaning up went on till dinner afterwhich she left for home to begin packing up for her overseas stint...man I think I would really miss her presence in all aspects of my life for the next 3 months...

Oh yeah, last but now least, this post marked this blog's 1st anniversary...well it was incredible how I managed to find interesting aspects of my routine life to rant about...but on to the 2nd year in operation!

Japanese word of the day: 援助 (Assistance) At this juncture I can reassure myself with the fact that my wife is perhaps the only one that could provde me the assistance at all aspects and at anytime I need...I really feel glad and blessed

Friday, April 07, 2006

Time to Cut Down

7th April 2006, Friday

So Part 1 of the furnishing project has been done...well almost...
Took time off from work yesterday to "supervise" the Brokeback Mountain contractor of mine and his lads who remotely resemble those from the same gay haven... Dressed in checkered shirt and jeans, he surely seems straight out of a cowboy model, but much softer and subdued version especially from the way he communicate with his subordinates.
They came in by 9 am and slogged it through till around 5pm to intricately assembled the parts of the display cabinet and the shoe rack into place and did a splendid job in terms of worksmanship as well as a sturdy one which I hope would last as long as it looks to be.
I did much of my supervising job in my room as I really doubt I would be of much help standing there whole day long and checking whether the Indian worker that accompanied the contractor would be slacking off somewhere.

main skeleton
The 2 halves of the cabinet joining up; that's the Brokeback mountain dude at the bottom right corner.

When I mentioned almost done, it was due to the fact that the door hinge for the last glass panel (the L shaped side) was duplicated when you need a set of different hinges for the top and bottom, which was down to the supplier's mistake and he would need to come back again to finish up the work.
In addition to that, the original blueprint for the number of glass plates to hold the figurines are too little to suffice that large quantity I possess which was an issue I had addressed to his wife cum decision-maker and she had snubbed my request by insisting I relate it to the contractor himself. Well so Mom and I set up the plates in accordance to the right measurement on just one column of the display cabinet and it was noted that I still need another 8 plates or so.

I was quick to call him up about my request this morning and he said the soonest the glass factory could cut that dimension for him would be mid next week and thus I had to endure the weekend not able to finish up with my displaying.
It's by no mean an easy task when I had to wipe the mildews and dust away from the figurines that had been housed in my room for a year or more now.
A couple of the PVC-made figurines got really sticky which was a common problem when you kept in under intense heat for prolong period (my room is been blasted by great heat from the setting sun on daily basis).
Some diorama ones I need to put them through running water to totally rid of the dust in unreachable regions.
By end of the evening I guess I am barely 10% done with the transfer of the figurines from my room to the cabinet:

Partly Finished Product
The 1/8 scale Saber from "Fate/stay night" is a benchmark for my glass panel since it is the biggest figurine in my collection, thank goodness I refrain from large figurines

Uncompleted Portion
This is the L-shaped region devoid of the right hinge thus need to wait a bit longer to be completed.

Transfer Uncompleted
Partial shifting, and you might say the display seems to crowded but when you are facing the same space restriction as I am; every inch is god sent and had to be utilized

Useless Cupboards
Good enough to put those looses ones which I want to exclude from the display as well as flattened packaging boxes and catalogue slips etc. And maybe some useless stuffed monkeys.

Well the display cabinet aside, the shoe rack was done impeccably and perhaps took a lot of shine away from the cabinet itself. It definitely looks easier than actually been conjured. The arch-way which seperates the living room from the front porch is slightly slanted and the carpenter had to assimilate the slanting by adjusting the structure which was supposed to be straight. There are several water pipes and a circuit box at that region and he had to cut at precise positions to house each and everyone of them.

The result is a simple yet elegant shoe rack which really seems to be in synchrony with the display cabinet which in turn truly matches the color of the supporting wall.

The Dark Horse
The shoe rack/cabinet was a surprise hit among the family including yours truly.

Tissue Rack?!
Er... Aren't it supposed to house shoes rather than tissue paper boxes?

Overall a job well done and we were glad we picked the right man to do it and now I am salivating over the prospect of how the furnishing of my master bedroom would turn out.

Of course Dad seems to be basking in personal glory that he had got everything in place nicely..well let him enjoy the moment.

Well as the title of this post implied, it is evident that I am already running out of space for my current collection and with the prospect of new additions coming in like waves along the beach, I better try to scrutinize my rampant collecting habit and surely has to buy the ones that I truky want most and fit to be put in the display case...

But then been a hardcore collector for 2 years now, it is easier to be said and done...

The major news yesterday would be the confirmation of my lass' depature to Italy which was carved in the stone tablet to be on the 15th which is a Saturday and she would be taking Air France to be transit in Paris I think.
So I had seriously less than 2 weeks to spend quality time with her and despite the fact that 90 days seem like a short span and would passes before you notice it, I am sure I would dearly miss her presence.
I might become distraught which might lead me to be binge-collecting of figurines which truly contradict what I just mentioned...Perhaps I will seek professional help by then.
She mentioned the stated return date would be on 8th July but I would have to brace for perhaps end July when I see her again perhaps carrying with her some "Italiano" aura.

Been reprising Tom Hanks and Meg Ryans' roles in "You Got Mail" with Foo today as we had exchanged e-mails almost every hour much like chatting without using a Messenger or ICQ. Not the most effective and rapid way to chat but ideal median to rekindle that lost closeness we had before been in sparse contact for the last couple of years.
Foo even took the initiative to organise a lunch outing on next Saturday (the day my lass is flying) and almost everyone can make it for that.
Well with the World Cup drawing near and with my lass' absence perhaps a rekindled friendship with one of the Wreckers buddies is a great buffer for me to pass the days by.

On the work front, Bobby came in the morning stating LF had tendered her resignation and would be leaving for supposedly NUS research laboratory soon.
It would void her performance bonus which is a pity at this juncture as we are like a week away from receiving it; but I am sure she had valid reason to make that decision as the other side could be wanting her help badly.
By contrast, a more astonishing discovery would be the depature of an old NUS mate of mine, KJ who had been a staple staff of my workplace even before I entered the company.
He had been headhunted by the equipment vendor company which offers him better wage package obviously and his departure surely undermine the fact that everyone is indeed dispensable.
Once again with more and more older staff leaving, it surely does not goes well with me in terms of morale of the entire place and surely things are pointing to a my inaugural job-hopping.
Japanese word of the day: 買い過ぎて~Ka-i-su-gi-te~ (Bought too Much)I am definitely reaping the seed that I had sow in terms of getting too many figurines of late.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Frightening Thoughts

5th April 2006, Wednesday

Beginning to get into petty tiffs with my spouse this early morning when she was adamant that she had reminded me to remind her to pass a piece of clothing she had intended to pass to my mom for some spiritual blessing to ensure her safety and well-beings for her forthcoming trip, on Sunday evening.

It could fatigue that had been eating into my conscious or just blatant forgetfulness, I didn't recall her mentioning that which drew her irritation, perhaps for my inattentiveness.
While on the phone with me, it would be minutes to her actual working hours and yet she was still boarding a train in Yishun.
It was no wonder she had to sprint towards her workplace and soon I got a SMS from her that reads:
"I have broken my heels, now I'm crippled.. :-("

Of course I would assume is a sprain and she would struggling to walk to her workplace...
Showing concern I immediately gave her the buzz and even called her office but just couldn't reach her to verify her condition till I dropped her a SMS to ask her to come over my place this evening so that we could apply an effective traditional ointment for sprains.
This was when she called and said she is perfectly fine and it was literally the heel of one of her shoe that came off which, crippling her movements as she had to balance herself while been elevated at different levels on both feet...
Seriously my wife ain't too eloquent with the English language but this time I think her message was quite hit to the point only that I interpreted it wrongly.

Eileen or "The Girl that We Thought Learnt Japanese But Didn't" (phew..that's a long one) sent a mass SMS to me and some of our SRJC 1st 3 months mates to cordially invite us to her wedding (I supposed is the banquet) in June.
Ah..finally my original major crush is going to walk the aisle which I would be soon to follow suit mere 4 months after....A frightening thought would be us walking down that aisle together...NAH! I had got over that ages back,...
Anyway her banquet would be held on the 6th of June which decodes as "06/06/06"...It's a special date indeed but isn't "666" associated with the devil or something?
It would be on a Tuesday which got me a bit reluctant before replying her that I would be attending.

Been on a working day is an obstacle, but the fact that the date is so close to the sporting spectacular of the year I had been craving for, the World Cup...
The epitome of all footballing competition where 32 of the best nations slug it out in around 5 weeks to be crowned the footballing champion of the world actually begins on the 9th, leaving Eileen's wedding a safe distance away.
With my lass in Italy and no viable company around that time, I am hoping to soak myself in the excitement and euphoria of the entire competition.
However our free local network would only be showing the 1st match and perhaps from quarterfinals onwards as they did for the last World Cup and European Cup in 2004.
Thus the only option would be signing up the package from Starhub Cable TV.
Knowing that they would be the single available choice for fanatics to catch every single match, they made the whole extravaganza a "Pay-per-View" package, meaning you had to pay like $27 to enjoy the whole thing and even as a current subscriber of the sports tier, you need to pay a discounted price of $11 or something...
I would feel been gipped by the cable network if I was to be a subscriber to the sports tier as I would have paid almost the same price since the additional fee for that tier is already $15 (I had stopped since the unruly price hike 2 years back).
Since it's a one-off fee and I really to dabble myself into the World Cup frenzy, I most probably would sign up.
I sought a second opinion from Foo via SMS and it seems like he was relentless about the cost the network provider has slapped is way too unreasonable and since this year game is held in Germany which is like 7-8hours time difference from us, you would have to stay awake to like 3 in the morning to catch some highly-raved matches.
Which was I had been contemplating in doing the unthinkable, applying leave just to catch some important matches.. the first of which would be the volatile but potentially entertaining clash between my favorite Oranje, Holland with Argentina for a group match on the 22nd of June and most probably any other matches involving them if they managed to progress from the round robin phase...
Man I would really out of my mind....we'll see

On the way to work, my thoughts were on my display cabinet arriving and installing tomorrow morning and how I would want to display my figurines..which then a rather rude awakening about the fact that despite maximising the space available in my living room, I really doubt the cabinet could even hold 75% of my collection.
I knew I had went overboard with my indulgence over the past 3 years but I am sure almost all that i had I would proudly want to display them to be put under the spotlight for all to admire...
But now I would be just sweating over the fact that I had to choose the crème de la crème in terms of overall quality and personal biased and sacrificed those that do not make the cut...but all are my babies, I really hope I would not be put in that spot...
I am very sure I would need more glass plates than originally agreed but too many would also make the display seems too congested and defeats the ultimate purpose to getting the cabinet....

Well all would be revealed in hours time I guess...
Japanese word of the day: 決定(Decisions) A lot of decisions had to be made for the day including whether I should attend my former love interest's wedding; should I pay the obscene fee just to catch the entire World Cup and the most frightening of all, which of my figurines would never see the day in my cabinet...