Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merry Christmas!!

Good grief, is it Christmas again already? Man, where does the time go... in a few days it's gonna be a whole new year.... and for the first time, I actually have a boyfriend to celebrate it with. :D Just so you know, Gerald and I are going to Singapore for new year's celebration. Should be fun...just hope that we won't get stuck forever in Johor coz' of all the floods. :( Well, I suppose I shouldn't be the one complaining if we do... lotsa poor Johoreans are struggling coz' the flood has ruined their homes. Man, the weather these days is insane. Must be coz' of all the global warming... Hope the floods clear up soon and the people there will be able to cope....

Anyway, before my topic starts straying into the black abyss of nothingness, sorry that I've been missing in action for the past couple of weeks. As you would all know by now if you've reading my blog (or noticing the lack of blog entries), I have been superbly busy coz' of school holiday camps...but the last camp was on Friday, after which I was literally jumping for joy! No more having to wake up at unearthly hours, working til late, carrying heave stuff all over the place and babysitting people's kids for half the day. *Whew!* I mean, I like kids... but when I have to deal with certain..... 'interesting characters' for six hours in one day, and then have to see those same 'interesting characters' at one or two more other camps... it kind of gets very da exasperating. Among some examples of interesting characters are:

- A brother and sister who will ask the instructor every single question they can think of once every 10 seconds. And they just don't stop talking. And when they ask questions and we try to explain it them, they say they don't understand, so we have to explain again.

- A kid who complained about the how green everything was, coz' we were outdoors in the Malaysian Agriculture Park, and facing a very green paddy field. He even complained that the plasticine we gave him was green. Truly a city kid, that one.

- A 6 year girl who laughs so loud that people could hear her from a mile away. And when we are taking a tour of the camp venue, she would just run off on her own, and ignore anyone calling her name. Not a good thing when having a camp at Sunway Lagoon!!! But coz' she was so cute and friendly, we all loved her anyway. And this one stuck to me quite a bit too...which was nice, but also a bit exasperating coz' every now and then she would jump up and hug me so hard, I could barely breathe... :P

And those are just some of the very many 'interesting characters' I had to deal with in the past month. Among other things, the new agong's children also joined us for two of the camps. The new agong has four kids, Tunku Nadhirah (aged 10), DYTM Tunku Muhd. Ismail (aged 8, and the next sultan of Terengganu), Tunku Muaaz (aged 6) and Tunku Zahra (aged 5).
They were really quiet and well-behaved on the first camp... and even though we were informed to address the eldest boy as 'Tuanku' and the others as 'Tunku', in the end, we realised they preferred to be called by their own names. And the younger ones were really cute. In the second camp they joined, which was at the National zoo, there was one activity where the kids got to eat some jelly worms and other sweets. The younger boy, Tunky Muaaz, liked the jelly worms so much, he grabbed all them, and after that he became so hyperactive, their caretakers were a bit peeved with us. :P The kids also had to have bodyguards and a few caretakers follow them wherever they went too. Once when Tunku Muaaz cut his hand slightly at the zoo, all his caretakers were crowding around him just to put a band-aid on him. I didn't even know what all the fuss was about til' my colleague told me later. The kid even had to make the oh-so-important decision of which cartoon band-aid he wanted on his hand. Deary me... now that's what I call pampering.

Anyway, even after all the camps, my work wasn't completely done, coz' yesterday was my church's Christmas eve dinner party, where I performed the High School musical dance with a bunch of kids, and I also emcee-ed...which is something I've never done before, and I don't think I was too good, so I think that might be my last time emcee-ing for anything. I'm much more comfortable doing a performance which I've rehearsed many times and know exactly what I need to do, instead of emcee-ing and trying to think of something interesting to say off the top of my head, other than superbly lame Christmas jokes. :P But people told me I did well, so I'll take that. I'm not quite sure how my dance went, coz' since I was dancing too, I couldn't exactly see how my kids behind me were doing. But from what I know, the older ones did well, but the youngers ones were pretty blur. Ah well, it's to be expected. As long as everyone enjoyed it, which they did, which is great. And given the dance is actually quite complicated, I'm proud that the kids managed to pull it off... And I'm certainly glad that I don't have to watch and rewind the High School musical vcd over and over again in order to get the dance moves down anymore. XÞ

Anyway, tomorrow will be busy AGAIN, but this time not for work. I'm going on a company trip with my colleagues to Tambun water park... it's a treat from our boss coz' we all worked so hard for the past couple of months coz' of all the camps. And we get two days of unrecorded leave too. Yay! And then when we return on Wednesday, I'll be going off to Malacca on Thursday to meet Gerald, hang out there for a couple of days then head off to Singapore for new year's eve. Bleh. I think I need a holiday from my holiday.

Anyway, Merry Christmas to everyone, and I probably won't get to say it later, so have a Happy New Year too! God bless!

Monday, December 04, 2006

A good day, a bad day and my first time changing a tyre!

Friday was a pretty fun day for me, coz' I taught another Mad Science camp at Taman Pertanian Malaysia (Malaysian Agricultrue Park), and there were only had 7 kids. After having to deal with 50-odd 4 to 6 year olds at the IBM camp just a few days before, trust me, a camp with only 7 kids was like a walk in the park for me. The most tiring thing about it was just shifting the equipment here and there, and the rest of the day was pretty fun for me and the kids coz' they were all well-behaved. The only problem was that one of the kid's tooth decided to pop out that day while we were having an activity where they got to eat some jelly worms and his little tooth got stuck on one. And one of the other kids had a bad tummy ache and had to poop several times, once on the way back in my colleague's car too (she had to go detox her car seat after that. Poor her!). And during one of the games where the we all had to chase each other, my two other colleagues who were there helping me out were almost ready to collapse coz' they never exercise, and chasing the kids around for a few minutes was too much for them! But other than that, it was a fun day... everything went well and the kids enjoyed it. We went to visit this Four Seasons house at TPM too, which is a building that simulates the same season that it is during ther time in the US. So right now, it simulates winter time, and when we went in there, we got to play with snow and freeze our tooshies off for a few minutes. It was seriously superbly cold in there, and I didn't have any extra clothes, so I wore my Mad Science lab coat in there. The other people in there must thought I was really mad! The really good thing was that it didn't rain the whole day until right after we all packed up and left, coz' our camp venue was this open air sheltered place, and I was a bit worried about what whether or not it would rain. Fortunately, it didn't. Whew!

After that camp was done though, it was back to the grind coz' the next day (which was yesterday), I and another colleague had to do a birthday party event for some 7 year old Japanese kid who had about 30 kids at her party and we didn't have the time to prepare for it before the camp. So we had to stay at office until 8pm to prepare for it, and even then we still didn't finish preparing everything, so yesterday I had to prepare some more stuff before we left for the party. And then, on the way there, I realised that I forgot something important and had to go back to office to get it. And coz' of that, we were late. Then, as there were only two of us doing the party event (all my other 4 colleagues were on leave yesterday for various reasons, so there was no one else to help us) and there were 30 kids, we were there longer than we expected. Two people trying to make slime, super science ball and cotton candy for 30 kids is no fun, I tell you that. And we also had to do some party games, where the 1st game was a major disaster coz' we had to get the kids to blow up some balloons, but the balloons kept popping. And then later, when we doing the cotton candy, smoke started coming out of the machine, which got me worried coz' I didn't know if that meant the machine's wires were frying. But fortunately, it still worked, so I just kept going. I really pray and hope that the cotton candy machine still works!

And if all that wasn't bad enough, after getting back from the party, I had another problem to deal with... my car had a flat tyre! I think it was flat since the day before coz' as I was driving home, my car kept going left when I let go of the steering wheel. At the time, I thought it was because my steering wheel was out of alignment, but on Saturday morning, on the way to work, I suspected something really wrong, so I got out of my car to check and sure enough, my front left tyre was flat. And since I had to rush to work for the party, the only thing I could do was drive to the nearest petrol station, pump it up with air and get to work first. So after the party was over, I had to figure out what to do with my flat tyre. My other colleague also had to rush off to pick up her relatives from the airport, so I had no colleagues to help me. It was a Saturday afternoon, so there was practically no one else around. So there I was, alone in my not-so-well-lit office parking basement, half dead after the party, and wondering if I could actually change a tyre on my own coz' I'd never done it myself before. If ever there was time I wished I could crawl up in a hole somewhere and disappear, that would've been it. :Þ

So anyway, I thought it can't be that hard. I learned this in driving school. So I rummage through my car boot (which has quite a bit of junk, which I must clean out one of these days...) and haul out the spare tyre, jack and other tools which I have no idea what their names are. Then I sat on the spare tyre while I looked at my jack and read the instructions to make sure I didn't screw anything up. And then I had the tiring task of turning the jack to lift up my car. I used one of those tools which I have no idea what the name is (I'll just call it the Jack Turning Thingy) to turn the jack, but I didn't know how to use it properly. So everytime I turned it, the long end would hit the floor, so I had to pull in through and push the other end round again. So it took a while just to get my car jacked up.

Then, I tried to unscrew the bolts using that other tool which I have no idea what it's name is (I'll just call it the Bolt Unscrewing Thingy). I tried to turn the first bolt one way. It didn't budge. I tried to turn it the other way. Still didn't budge. Then I remembered that the way to unscrew the bolts was to step hard onto the Bolt Unscrewing Thingy til the bolt came loose. But I also realised that if I tried to take the bolts off while the tyre was off the ground, I would probably break the tyre off my car! So I had to use the Jack Turning Thingy again lower the jack down so the tyre would be on the ground!! Argh!

Anyway, once I was done expending what little energy I had left on lowering the tyre again with the Jack Turning Thingy, I tried to unscrew the bolts again by stepping on the Bolt Unscrewing Thingy. And I didn't even know which direction to unscrew them. I certainly didn't want to make them any tighter! So it took me a few tries til I finally got the direction right, and got all the bolts off. Even carrying the tyre out was a pain. Do you know how dang heavy this chunk of rubber is? Well, the rim probably adds a lot to the weight. Anyway, I did manage to change the tyres, screw the bolts back on, lower the jack and throw everything back into my boot.

Then I drove back to Subang and got my car checked at the mechanic my dad usually sends the car too. That was also my first time sending my car to the workshop on my own, but at least the boss there recognises me coz' I'd been there with my dad before. The problem was that he can't speak English, so I had to explain in my half-past-six Cantonese that my tyre needed to be checked and fixed, if necessary. Turns out that there was a gigantic-O hole in my tyre, so it was beyond fixing. So the boss suggested that they change my spare tyre over to the rim, and I buy a second-hand spare tyre coz' new ones cost quite a bit. The new spare tyre would only cost RM50, so I thought that was ok to me. He says he didn't charge me worksmanship fee, which I dunno whether is true or not, but I hope it is. The really good thing is that nothing was wrong with my tyre rim, which I think it a miracle considering I was driving at normal speed on a flat tyre the day before. Buying a new rim costs a bomb, so I REALLY thank God that it was ok! So while, the guys are helping to change the tyre for me, the boss told me that my tyres have another 5000 km left in them, after which I have to replace all of them (which means more money...bleh...). He also told me that the Kelisa tyres can run for between 65000 to 70000 km.
He also told me a lot of other stuff, but I couldn't really understand what he was saying in Cantonese, so I just stood there and nodded my head every now and then. *grin*

Anyway, now my tyre problem is solved, and today, I finally had a good rest coz' after church, I came home and had a nice long nap in the afternoon. Tomorrow I have to wake up early AGAIN coz' of more school holiday camps. Dunno how much longer I can take of this, but the good news is that I complained to my boss about working such long hours, and my boss said he'll give us a few days break from work at the end of this month, and we won't have to claim for leave for it. Woo hoo! Thank God I have a nice boss! Anyway, it's time for more shut eye. Cheerio!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Carol's Busy Schedule

Several weeks before last Friday:
At work, I was busy preparing for upcoming Mad Science school holiday camps. This involved preparing materials for various camp activities, preparing timetable, preparing camp notes, and thinking what the heck I was gonna teach. I also went out shopping so often after work to buy stuff for camps that now I am quite sick of shopping.
At home after work, I was busy preparing for Discovery Days that was to be at my church on Friday and Saturday. I was in charge of getting people to help do carnival game booths, prepare my own carnival booth, prepare songs to sing along with the kids and think of actions for the songs (and remember all of them too, of course). I also had the bright idea of singing the High School Musical theme song (We're All In This Together) for DD, as this is like the Disney movie that all the kids are going nuts over these days. I also had the brighter idea of asking some of my church kids to dance along with me, and initially although I thought of having only 4 dancers, so many kids wanted to join in, I ended up with 8. So I also had to spend a few days to learn the dance. Which involved a lot of playing and rewinding of the movie vcd (which I borrowed from one of my church kids) in order for me to scrutinise all the dance moves. Then I had to teach the dance moves to my church kids. That in addition to learning the actions for the other songs I was gonna sing for DD. And then I had the even brighter idea of doing a Mad Science show for DD. Which meant more work.
During this time, I also came down with a bout of food poisoning, where I had to take MC half day, but went back to work the next day coz' there was too much stuff to do. Then I came down with colds a couples times over the past couple of weeks. And since my bout of food poisoning, I would every now and then feel like throwing up whenever I ate oily or dairy foods. I think it was also because I was so busy running around like a mad chicken doing stuff. Apparently, it wasn't just me, but one of my other colleagues felt it too. Fortunately, I never actually chucked up anything.

Last Friday:
Discovery Days was on, and I had to wake up at 7am or so to be at church by 7.45am. I spent the first half of the day doing the sing-a-long songs with the kids. And due to the actions, it involved a lot of jumping around on stage. By the end of the 3rd song, I was ready to konk out, but I couldn't coz' I had to help take care of the kids for some games. Then somehow or another, I also ended up having to keep about 30 of the kids busy by guiding them to complete their activity books. So I had to use the mike and talk to the kids for about half an hour, guiding them to find the answers for the activities, and of course had to deal with some noisy kids.
By the middle of the day, I was so zonked out, I took a time out after lunch and slept on the couch at the back room of the church. And then some of the kids found me and decided to amuse themselves by poking me here and there. And I was too zonked to bother to react. Fortunately one of my friends came in and chased them all out (Thank you, Kelvin!). After my short-lived break, I had to set up my booth for the carnival games, which turned out to be quite a popular game with the kids. Which also meant I was kept quite busy too.
Later on, there was some spare time, so I was asked to do song leading again to keep the kids busy. One of the church aunties also decided it would be nice to have the kids to do a small presentation for their parents the next day, and so I had to teach them the actions for one of the songs til they all got it. So there was more jumping around there for me.
Towards the end of the day, I started sneezing badly and came down with a bit of cold. So I went off home.

Last Saturday:
It was second day of Discovery Days, but I was not there in the morning as I had to go back to office to finish off some work. Fortunately, I had recovered from my cold. And the kids were going to the zoo in the morning, so as much as I wanted to go, I had to opt out. I did go back in the afternoon, once the kids got back, and I performed my Mad Science dry ice show. And at several points during the show, whenever I went off stage to show stuff up close to the kids, a bunch of them would crowd around me wanting to have the first try. And yes, I kept telling them to sit down and wait for me to come to them. Unfortunately, some kids fail to understand the meaning of obeying instructions. So essentially, I was mobbed by the kids quite a few times during the show. But they enjoyed it, and that's the important thing.
Later on, I practiced the song with the kids again, and before they went back, they performed it for their parents, who came for a tea party at the end of the event. After that, all the kids went off, and I had my own private dry ice show for the big kids, a.k.a. the youth and young adults, at the back room of the church. Apparently, even the big kids like to play with big carbon dioxide filled soap bubbles. :P
So all in all, for DD, it was a really busy but enjoyable time. I'm glad it went well, and a lot of non-Christian kids learned about the gospel. And I'm also glad it's over, so I can get some rest after work!

Last Sunday:
I was suppooooosed to perform a birthday party show at One Utama in the morning, but went there and it turned out that the show was moved to 4.30pm, and I dunno where the miscommunication came from. So I went shopping for camp stuff (again!) and then went to office to prepare more camp stuff before going to the birthday party later on, where I had to help make slime fore about 12 kids to take home. Yes, it's as messy as it sounds. After that, I went home, but not before taking 5 minutes out to play Para Para Sakura at the arcade (where I played two games and lost on the 3rd round each time. I think my arms were tired from waving around too much. :Þ)

Yesterday (Monday):
My company had our first school holiday science camp for kids at the National Science Centre. I had to wake up at 6am to be at office by 7am and help the instructor for the day pack things into the van for her camp, then go there and set up everything for the camp, then I was there til 5pm helping out. Fortunately, there were only 12 kids, and they were reasonably well behaved. And it was a simple and fun camp about flying machines, where the kids got to make their own paper aeroplanes, paper boomerangs, wooden planes and some other flying stuff. And the kids all decided to use me as target practice for their boomerangs at one point, so I also just let loose and had fun running around with them.
Once we were done, we packed up and headed back to office, where we had to prepare for our big day the next day (which was TODAY) coz' we were going to run 3 camps concurrently at the IBM tower. And there would be 50 kids at each camp. Which means we had to prepare a LOT of materials. So I was at office for quite a while to prepare stuff. And my colleagues wanted to go shopping again and asked me to go along, but in the end, I decided to 'fung fei kei' them. And this was because I had to go back and pluck flowers (in illegal places. Don't ask me where. Hehe) to be used for my camp. So I was busy up at night plucking flowers around my area, after which I went home and finalised the timetable for my camp before crashing into my lovely bed.

I had to wake up at 6am AGAIN to be at office my 7am and do all the packing and transporting and preparing for my camp at the IBM tower. At 9.30am (half an hour before the camp is supposed to start) the kids start coming into the area. Did I mention that the 50 kids I was teaching were all between 4 to 6 year olds? And some of their parents decided to 'kaypoh' and stay for the whole camp to help their kids (or maybe just had nothing else to do at work). So not only did I have to deal with controlling 50 little kids, but also dealing with noisy parents standing around. Ugh.
The first half of my camp went ok. The kids did their activities and sat quietly while my helpers and I went around helping them do stuff. But after lunch, I'm not sure exactly how much sugar their parents fed them, but they turned rather uncontrollable and were running all over the place. Didn't help when I had to do Plaster of Paris casts for them for one activity, and the plaster made a huge mess, so I couldn't watch the kids and that made them go even more haywire. I dunno what the other parents or IBM workers there were doing. But I was too zonked again to care, so I just finished off my plaster casts, finished off my camp, packed up everything and went off.
I thought after a hard day's work, we would all just chuck all our stuff at our office then go home to get a good night's rest. But for some reason, my supervisor who sometimes seems to get PMS (he's a guy, by the way) made us stay back at office to discuss who was going to do what for the next one week. And he was giving me a silly lecture on what things I had to do for another camp I am going to run this Friday at Malaysian Agriculture Park. I dunno why he was talking to me like I was retarded or something, but he said some stuff about making sure when the kids go to toilet, they need to follow an adult AND be with a partner. And also some stuff about giving them cleeaaar instructions on what to do and where to go and this and that, to make sure they didn't get lost. Right. And all this major security for a current grand total of 6 kids going for my upcoming camp. I suppose he was lecturing me because the kids of my camp today were running around a lot, and he thought I didn't give them cleeeaaaar instructions on what to do in order to keep them under control. He didn't seem to take into consideration that I was handling 50 small 4 to 6 year olds, and there were a bunch of 'kaypoh' adults in the room as well making as much noise as the kids. So when I did give them instructions, not all 50 kids would've heard everything I was saying.
Anyway, I was pretty annoyed with my supervisor for giving me such a dumb lecture, but was too tired to say anything. And my other colleagues were all also ticked off with him too for making us stay back to discuss stuff which we could've discussed tomorrow. We were all just waiting for him to let us off. And the funniest thing was that he then asked much longer we were planning to stay at office, and if we were staying, he would order pizza for dinner. All of us said goodbye, grabbed our stuff and ran outta there as fast as we could.

So yeah, after so many weeks of prepping for DD and camps and stuff, and finally having one night free to blog stuff, all I just wanna say now is "WOOOOOOOaaaOOOOOaaaaOOOOOOYAAY!".
Ok, stress relieved. Time for bed.

Friday, November 24, 2006

M.I.A. due to D.D. and I'm about to K.O.

Yesh I know I've been MIA a.k.a. Missing In Action. I wanted to continue my story about that super annoying colleague of mine who didn't want to come to work and diverted our office calls to my phone, but the day when I wanted to post my entry, Blogger went haywire and I couldn't post. And for the week after that, I have been so superbly busy at work and preparing for Discovery Days (which is tomorrow, so I should be asleep now!). But I did save my post on what happened with the guy on my laptop, but right now I'm using my desktop so I still can't post. So maybe later on, when I somehow or another find the time to waste time on the internet again, I'll post the continuation of that little drama.

As of now, it's off to bed for me. Tomorrow I have to wake up at the ungodly hour of 6.45am to prepare for Discovery Days, which is going on for the whole day. And considering the lack of sleep I've been getting due to lots of stuff to do at work as well as prepping for DD, I won't be surprised if I pengsan tomorrow. Do pray for my alertness and energy, and most importantly, my sanity as I help to on over 60 ruggamuffins at my church tomorrow for the whole. XÞ

Monday, November 13, 2006

An awful witness.... >:(

Things are getting superbly busy for me right now as my company's school holidays camps are coming up soon and we're still not all that prepared. In addition to having to run a booth at some kid's charity carnival at Bangsar Shopping Complex, and also having to conduct our usual classes, birthday party shows and workshops, I think all of us are being stretched pretty tight. And after office hours, my work still isn't done coz' I still have to prepare for upcoming Discovery Days at church. So if you guys don't hear a peep from me on my blog for while, no need to wonder whether I've fallen off the face of the earth.

It doesn't help that we recently had new colleague come into office last week, who really isn't much help at all... AND he did something so incredibly irresponsible. He's only 20 years with only SPM qualifications, and even though he seemed like a nice guy, he did his work superbly slow and annoyed everyone by asking lots of really silly things. Like once I told him to put a file anywhere in between some other files, and he kept asking me "Here ah? Here ah?". Like, duh, I already said put it ANYWHERE in between. Doink.

But that's not the reason I and my other colleagues are really ticked off with him. This weekend, my colleagues were supposed to help take care of a booth at this children's charity carnival at Bangsar Shopping Complex, and he was supposed to be there too. He should've already known that it is part of the job to work on weekends sometimes as required...but this smart aleck decided that he just wanted to go home during the weekend...just for the fun of it. Of course, when he told my supervisor that, he was pretty annoyed and told the new guy that he either had to find a replacement or work during the weekend and forget about going back to hometown. That happened on Friday.

The next morning, I wake up to go to work (we have to work half days on Saturdays) and I get an sms from the new guy that he's not coming to work on Saturday or Sunday, and he asked me to tell my supervisor for him. At this point, I'm appalled that the guy has the gall to refuse to even go to work half day and can't even tell the supervisor himself. So I sms-ed him back and told him that he had better go the office and tell my supervisor himself or else the supervisor AND our boss would blow their top. He didn't reply to me. When I tried to call him several times, he didn't pick up. And to top it off, when I was at office and my supervisor tried to call him, the call came back to me! Which means the idiot actually diverted the call from the office to my phone!!!!

Needless to say, I am soooo ticked off at the nerve of this guy, and I would fully support the firing of this idiot. There's no way I, or anyone else at the office, would be willing to work with someone can do such a thing. And the thing that really, really, REALLY bugs me is that this guy is actually a Jehovah's Witness! He has the nerve to call himself a 'Christian', and acts all holy holy... talking to some of my colleagues about his faith, saying grace before eating, and going to bible study classes on Tuesday and Thursday (or so he told me). Once last week, this financial advisor came to our office and tried to convince us to join some business workshop, and he went on to tell her that he's a Christian and Jesus teaches us to be contented with what we have... ah bla bla bla.... I was ok with him doing all that... but after his little stunt with ignoring our phone call and using MY phone to divert office calls... I really just feel like smacking him for acting like such a goody two-shoes Christian and then shirking his responsibiities like this. On his first week at work, no less. I doubt he will actually show up at office tomorrow morning, coz' obviously he doesn't care about the job enough to make some effort to keep it. But he's still holding onto our office keys, and if he doesn't at least show up tomorrow to return them, then it goes to show what a real jerk-off he is. Luckily, I even know where he stays coz' I carpooled with him on a few days last week. And if he really doesn't show up tomorrow, I go right over to his house, get the office keys back from him and really give him a good big piece of my mind. For all I know, he would give some Biblical reason to justify why he didn't go to work. Perhaps something along the lines of the Bible saying we are not to work on the Sabbath day (Sunday). By golly, if he did say something like that, I think I really would give him a good smack on the head. Sorry lah, I'm not the model Christian of the year myself, and much as try to be forgiving towards his behaviour, I don't think I can be when he knows what he did was wrong and inconvenienced everyone at work, but he did it anyway, and probably without any remorse. Ugh. Ick. How sickening.

Anyway, I REALLY hope he'll save me the trouble of sounding him at his house, and come to office tomorrow. For now, I'm off to bed. Ciow!

Monday, October 30, 2006

A couple of cute kitties

Well, I had a pretty good weekend. Gerald came to visit me on Saturday and went back today (Sunday) and we went to visit KLCC's Aquaria, which was a really nice place. I'm impressed coz' it seems as good or even better than Singapore's Underwater World. What a miracle! Of course, we took a ton of pics, and as usual, I dunno which century I will put them up coz'I'm not done editing them yet, and posting a ton of pics is always a hassle. Posting a few pics, on the other hand, isn't such a problem. And I'm posting some pics of a couple of super cute kitties I found just outside my apartment tonight after Gerald left. I was about to go out to wash my car and Sassy was sniffing around a garbage bag at the grill when I saw her looking at something inside our shoe rack. And since it was low, I couldn't see what was there at first, and I thought there was something in the garbage bag that caught her interest. Then I heard something hissing, and I looked at the shoe rack and saw a kitten hiding there. And then I saw another kitty hiding under the stools next to the shoe rack! The one in the shoe rack was grey and white in colour and was hissing at Sassy a lot, so I took her away just in case the cat decided to scratch her. The other kitty was orange and white in colour, and a lot less hissy. I guess the grey one is the big sister or something! Anyway, my mum shooed both of them out the door, so they both hid in my neighbour's shoe rack instead! And the neighbours weren't too happy either, and they shooed them out too. The poor little kitties ended up in the stairway next to my apartment, and I felt so sorry for them, I gave them some cooked fish to eat. And they were quite wary of me, especially the 'big sister' who kept hissing at me. But I moved slowly towards them and eventually, even hissy big sister kitty let me pet her and give her a nice scratch. So I decided to grab my camera and snap some pics of the two cuties!

Here's the hissy big sister kitty....not so hissy now, fortunately!

And here's the more good natured 'little' sis. :P

The two of them about to go to sleep...

And here's a cute pic of them sleeping!

Eventually I wanted to try and get them a home, so I called up some friends to see if anyone wanted them, but no one could keep them. But I know a girl staying at my apartment area who's so fond of cats, she keeps about 6 of them! So I called her and she offered to send them to PAWS for me as she is heading there tomorrow to send another cat for adoption. She asked if I was willing to donate RM40 per cat to them though, coz' they need the money to care for the animals. And I got my parents to sponsor one kitty each. :P So I took the kitties home for a while to watch them while I waited for my friend to come back from work, and here's a pic of them invading my territory a.k.a. my room!

It took me quite a while to coax the grey big sister out from under my desk, coz' she was hissing at me again and I didn't want to get scratched. But eventually I managed to grab her, and now they're both safe and sound and my friend's place. She says they're really pretty kittens and will most likely get adopted. I sure hope so. Would be such a waste if they had to be put down! Oh well, I did my bit for the animals today. :P

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

What happens to Carol's brain during long holidays...

Aaah! It's Wednesday morning already! I only have one more day of holiday left! NOOOoooOOOOoooOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

Oh well, all good things must come to an end. No more can I spend my whole afternoon playing Neopets games trying to earn as many neopoints as I can in a day. Right now I have over 1,310,000 neopoints, which gives me a yearly interest of 10.5%, so I can collect 377 neopoints a day. I'm hoping to get 10,000,000 neopoints one day so I get the highest interest level possible and become a Neopets Multi-Millionaire! Bwahahaha! Yes people, don't start playing on this website, coz' it will have you so hooked, it must be from the DEVIL, Devil, devil....!!! Hmmm, maybe it's a good thing I'll be going back to work soon....

Well, one thing I'll really miss is the luxury of waking up anytime I want, which is usually around 11am or noon. And the luxury of lazing around in bed for as long as I want. *Sigh* I recently read some interesting news about losing weight in your sleep. Apparently, sleeping less than 8 hours boosts our levels of ghrelin, a hormone thats makes us feel hungry, and suppresses the hormone leptin, which makes us feel full. So the more you sleep, the less hungry you will feel when you wake up and the less you will eat, thus you lose weight. It actually makes sense to me, coz' these past few days I've been sleeping like a pig and throughout the day, I'm not really that hungry. Whereas on a normal working day, where I get less than 8 hours sleep, I usually have quite hearthy appetite. Hmm...I wonder if I could ask my boss to let us come in later to work based on this new info. The conversation would probably go something like this:

Carol: Hi boss! Can we start coming into office after noon? Recent research shows that people can actually lose weight by sleeping more. As such, if everyone at office was allowed to sleep later, we would lose more weight and become healthier. And everyone knows a healthy worker is a more productive worker! So what say you?

Boss: Hmm....can't you just sleep earlier at night??

Carol: But all the good tv shows are on at night! Surely after a long day at work, the hard workers at the office need some time to enjoy some entertainment! Besides, the new season of Desperate Housewives is coming on soon and if I need to know what happened after poor Mike got run down by a car, or else I wouldn't be able to concentrate at work!

Boss: ....Ok, you come into office at 12pm and leave at 9pm. How's that?

Carol: But...but... it would be sooo dark out by the time I leave, and knowing how many sadistic rapists and murderers there are lurking around in lonely parking lots at night, it would be sooo dangerous for us to go back so late. It would be so much safer if we could go back by 6pm!

Boss: Fine. Work from 12pm to 6pm everyday, including Sundays.

Carol: But...but... God declared Sunday as a day of rest! You can't go against God's decree! That's blasphemous!

Boss: Alright, you fired! NEXT!

Carol: ........

Happy last day of holidays, people!

Disclaimer: Information in this post with regards to my interest in Neopets is merely an exaggeration for amusement purposes only, and not to be taken as sign of severe Neopets addiction. Also, while the information pertaining to the news on losing weight while sleeping is true, my intent to request my boss for longer sleeping hours is not (though I can't say the desire is not there). No Naeems were hurt in the posting of this post.

Monday, October 23, 2006


My toothache was gone for the past three days. Yay! But today it's sort of starting to ache again. Boo! But I'm on leave tomorrow. Yay! But I'd have to go see a dentist tomorrow to see get my tooth fixed. Boo! But then it's two days holiday for Hari Raya. Yay! But then I still have work to do at home. Boo! But knowing what I lazy bum I am, I won't do it all til Wednesday so I'll spend Monday and Tuesday enjoying my holidays. Yay! Or boo?

Ah well, hopefully I can get all of what I need to do done within the next few days. My company is going to be having a tonne of fun science camps for kids during the school holidays and I need to read up on what I need to teach during the camps as well as come up with timetables for each day. I also need to prepare for my church's upcoming Discovery Days, which is a two day event for kids as well being held on the 24th and 25th of November. I'm in charge of the Carnival Games on the 24th. And I have to choose some songs for them to sing along to, and also song-lead them on both the days. I just had to do the Hokey Pokey dance for the primary school students of Sri Bestari last Monday, in a demonstration to promote my company's school holiday camps... and it was NOT fun doing that silly dance while a bunch of middle-aged teachers are also looking on and probably thinking I'm really mad. I don't mind doing the funky science experiments, but dancing the Hokey Pokey just to get the kids all excited.... bleeaaaahhhh.... I tell you, if anyone else I knew was there, I'm sure they would've died laughing. And I would've died from embarassment. Oh well, such is the nature of my job as a Mad Scientist. And at least the kids there has fun (except the older primary 5 and 6, who were also too embarassed to even join in with the younger kiddies. I can't blame them!). So I hope I can find some less embarassing songs to song-lead for the kids at Discovery Days.... I don't mind doing hand actions.... but not anything that involves me sticking my butt in, sticking my butt out, sticking my butt in and shaking it all about. 'Nuff said.

Anyway, I'm glad I can finally get a good rest after quite a few weeks running around like a rabid chicken at work, preparing for our camps as well as teaching our normal classes. I still enjoy the challenge, but it does get tiring. Like last week, I had to go to so many different places with one of my colleagues to send camp registration forms and posters and bunting stands. One of the places is Sunway Lagoon, where we'll be having holiday camps on the 20th and 21st of November as well as the 7th and 8th of December. I'll be teaching the first camp there on the 20th... and the best part is that the press will be there for the event, to promote Sunway Lagoon, and of course, promote Mad Science at the same time. So don't be surprised to see Mad Scientist Carol's picture in the news sometime end of next month. Thank God I'm experience in performances, so I don't think I'll go blank in front of the press people. And if I do, I'll probably somehow or another think of something seemingly intelligent to say when in actual fact I won't have any idea what I'm talking about. :P I just really hope that the experiments and activities all go well, or else the publicity might not be such a good thing after all.

Anyway, my colleague and I had to go there on Tuesday, and he's the one who was always corresponding with the people there while I didn't know anyone he had talked to so it was my first time meeting them. We first met this guy named Gary, who's a really big-sized fella. Of course, my colleague and him said hi to each another, then when my colleague introduced me and Gary shook my hand, he looked at me for a while like he was totally smittened with me or something. AND he shook my hand so tightly, I thought it was going to fall off. Of course, I just grinned at him and said nothing. It was so obvious, even my colleague noticed the way that guy reacted towards me, and said it was as if he was zapped by something when he saw me! I dunno whether to be creeped out or flattered. I'm think I was both at the same time! And then, my colleague and I had to go back the next day again, and in the office I saw that guy again, but he was far off so, I turned away just before I think he waved at me. Dunno coz' I saw it out of the corner of my eye. But I didn't wave back and just continued doing what I was doing. Heh, I'm so mean! Oh well, it IS nice to get a little extra attention every now and then. LOL!

Anyway, me thinks I shall go enjoy my holidays my playing computer games all night until I'm bleary eyed and wake up at noon or later tomorrow. Good night!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Of big burps, sneezes and toothaches

Ok, life is much less dramatic these days, which is just the way I like it. On Sunday, me and my dad treated my eldest bro and his wife (and my mum too) to a buffet lunch to celebrate my bro's birthday. When we were almost done eating, my bro let out a superbly loud burp, which got my mum and his wife chiding him for being so disgusting, while he and I were both laughing. Yes I know it was gross, but gross in a funny sort of way, to me anyway! :P And then my mum said it wasn't as bad as when my dad once sneezed on a woman's head while we were watching a show at Mines Wonderland. I remember she and I were sooo embarassed about it coz' the woman turned around and scolded my dad, and he also dunno where to hide his face. But that was a long time ago, and now we all found it so funny, everyone including my dad was laughing over it for a full 5 minutes. And that was after we had all eaten our fill, so I think our tummies were ready to burst from all the laughing. :P Well, it was great to enjoy a light moment with family again, even though it WAS at my dad's expense, but he was laughing over it too. :D

The lack of drama still doesn't mean everything is all hunky dory in my world. I've been having a toothache these past few days and I just went to see a dentist today who told me that there is something like a cavity within my tooth and bacteria is in it, which is causing the pain. And she said I need to do a root canal, which for the uninformed, means that my tooth will be completed clean out and all the nerves removed as well, leaving behind a dead tooth, which is then filled. And then, to protect the tooth, I can opt to do a crowning. The root canal alone costs RM450 and the crowning is even worse at RM600! However, my mum tells me that all dentists these days suggest doing root canals for the slightest problems, when all they really need to do is to clean the tooth (not removing the nerves, but just cleaning the bacteria) and then fill it up, which costs much less. *Sigh* So sad that in the name of making money, people like dentists (who are meant to HELP other people) suggest doing the most expensive procedures even though it is not necessary. Anyway, I'll be getting some second opinions and hopefully, by the end of this week, I would've gotten a dentist to fix up my tooth, coz' I'm going to Malacca and I wanna enjoy my chicken rice balls!

Oh well, it's time for bed again. Catcha all later!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Yet another Bold and Beautiful dramatic episode...

Man, I dunno what has been going these past few weeks, but I've been getting into so many conflicts with people around me, I think I if I had another one soon I might end up admitting myself into tanjung rambutan to prevent a nervous breakdown. Some time ago, it with my colleagues but now that's ok. Then it was with my bf, and now that's ok. Then just a few days ago, it was my mum, and now it seems ok but can't really be sure. Then a couple of nights ago, an online discussion about our faith with my bro turned into another great big misunderstanding and now he's mad at me. I've never experienced so much emotional drama in such a short time, and I'm really getting sick of it.

I don't even know what the problem was this time coz' from how I see it, he was pointing out one extreme that Christians shouldn't follow, but many unfortunately do, which is the self-righteous "I-think-I'm-better-than-non-Christians" attitude. And I agreed with him that Christians shouldn't do that, but I pointed out that some Christians also go the other extreme of feeling so guilty all the time about all the bad stuff they've done, that they cannot accept that God can possibly forgive them, which is also the wrong attitude. And for some strange reason, he assumed I was disagreeing with his view and putting words in his mouth, which I wasn't. And one thing led to another... he kept asking me if I was implying things that I wasn't, and when I thought we had finally reached an agreement and I said let's move onto another topic, he thought I wanted to talk about something else because it's sooo hard for me to accept what he was saying... when all the time I kept saying I already agreed with him. Aaaargh! Good grief, it gives me a headache just thinking about it.

Of course, at that point, I'm so bugged that I said I would whack him if he was here, at which he promptly went offline. And then later on I find out that he thinks there is so much animosity between us that he doesn't feel he can talk to me. And he thinks I think he's such a terrible brother... which shocks me coz' I've never thought of him that way. For goodness sake, brothers and sisters argue all the time and say or do things they don't mean in the heat of the moment. And yeah, I have whacked him quite a lot before when he bugs me, but not to the point where I injure him so badly he can't use his limbs or anything like that. But it never meant that I actually hated him. After every argument, I'd cool down and just forgive and forget, and I thought things were ok between us. But now suddenly I hear all these funny things coming out, and I'm left wondering again if I really behave so badly that my own family can think that I hate them, or it's them who is overly sensitive and interpreting my actions the wrong way. My mum has said it. Now my bro says it. Right now, the only person who hasn't misunderstood me or thinks that I hate him is my dad, and he's the one I think I usually pick on the most. I know it was really bad of me, but I have gotten annoyed with him plenty of times and even misunderstood his actions too, but he takes it all in his stride and I don't think he believes I hate him or anything, which of course I don't. For me, I always thought it's quite normal for family members to argue, disagree and say dumb things every now and then... and I also always that the normal thing to do is just let it slide, forgive and forget and not hold grudges against each other. I dunno why some of my family people interpret the things I do to mean I hate them, when I've never said anything of the sort to them. *Sigh*

Obviously I haven't been the model daughter or sister all my life and I know it. I've made mistakes and hurt my family, sometimes not even realising that I hurt them that bad. And I really am sorry for it. At this point I'm thinking I must be seriously screwed up in some way that I keep on doing things that make the people around me think I hate them when I don't. I dunno why I keep doing it, but I do. And I'm so frustrated with myself that I think I understand why my mum acts the way she does now coz' I kinda feel like walling myself from everyone as well, just so I don't say or do things to hurt people anymore. But I haven't reached that extreme just yet, coz' the fact is that such conflicts with the people I care about are all part of life and as much as I hate having to deal with it, I can't just pack up and live on an island somewhere all alone. I have to deal with it and try to change for the better. Right now though, after so much drama going on in my life, I think throwing myself on an island somewhere for a few weeks so I can rest my brains for a while might not be such a bad idea. All this emotional drama can really zap my energy and make me a zombie at work. Anyone can sponsor me bus 3D 2n to Redang or Tioman? :P

Monday, October 09, 2006

Skies not clear yet....(not referring to the haze!)

Ok everyone, you can all come out from hiding now. The drama between me and Gerald is over, or at least, I hope it is. We took time out from talking to each other for one week, and during that time, he talked to other people to try and understand why I was so upset about certain things he said to me. I still don't understand why people even have to explain such things to him coz' far as I know, anybody can understand how I felt. *Sigh* Anyway, at the end of it, he did understand a bit more and apologized to me, and the fact that he made the effort to try and understand why I was so mad, even when it probably was embarassing for him to tell other people, it does speak for itself. I shall not go into the details here, but I'll just say now that we are ok and still together, and see how things go from here.

Anyway, I seem to be getting more than my fair share of conflicts these past few weeks. My mum just recently got into one of her fits on Saturday night while we were out for dinner at a nice restaurant with some relatives. Her brother had decided to give a treat to my parents and I, as well as another uncle's family, my brother and my sis-in-law. And my mum and her siblings all have, what my dad would call, 'strong' characters, such that every time we have two or more of them are in the same room, a heated and high volume discussion always breaks out between them. It's like a tradition during family gatherings with her three brothers and sister. It's bad enough if just two of them are together. Should all five of them be in the same room, everybody else will have little or no chance to say anything to them or to anyone else coz' the sound of their nonstop arguing will drown out any other conversation. Trust me, this is not an exaggeration.

Anyway, Saturday night, my mum's eldest bro and her sister wasn't around to join in the frays, but my mum and her other brothers were at it again as usual. This time, my uncle who was giving the treat (I call him 'Yee Kau Fu' or 2nd uncle) was saying that he might be going to Dubai to work coz' he's an engineer and there are more opportunities there compared to locally. Then my mum went on to say that it would be dangerous to go there coz' it is a Middle Eastern country and their neighbours are full of terrorists so the risk of terrorist attacks are high. But my uncle disagreed with her, saying that it would be like foreigners refusing to come to Malaysia because Thailand was hit by bombs. To him, Dubai is an advanced country, and even though he can't definitely guarantee that they won't be hit by terrorist attacks, it is relatively safe and mum does not need to be scared. And even though I didn't say anything, I actually agreed with my uncle coz' I don't see the point in refusing to go somewhere or doing certain things when the chances of something awful happening are actually quite slim. But my mum didn't seem to want to accept his logic and still said she would still never go to Dubai, just to be 'safe'. Anyway, to cut a long heated discussion short, both my uncles agreed with each other and was trying to convince my mum of to see their point of view, and when she still didn't, they said that she is so stubborn she refuses to accept knowledge from other people coz' she thinks she's always right. And they also said things like she is living under a coconut shell and she is stupid to think the way she does. The whole time, nobody else at the table said anything, we all just listened. But from the expression on everyone's face, I could see that most of my other relatives didn't agree with my mum either. And the discussion got so heated that I actually found it amusing at how they can blow up at each other over a small matter like this. But at one point, my other uncle (the one not giving the treat) called her selfish (which was the only thing I didn't agree with, coz' my mum is a lot of things, but I don't think it was fair to call her selfish) and that was the breaking point for my mum. She started crying and asking why they were 'attacking' her character instead of discussing the issue. She banged the table and almost wanted to walk off. Soon after that, we all went home, and she was still crying all the way home and didn't say a word.

The next day, I woke up to find her on the couch in the living room, and obviously still crying. And when I got her a cup of water, she suddenly said that I was the one who hurt her the most coz' I not only didn't support her last night, but I was also laughing to myself at some points. Which is true, I was laughing, because of the silliness of the whole argument, of my mum's reactions and because of some of the rather illogical things I thought she was saying. It's not that I am purposely disagreeing with my mum for the fun of it... I just don't agree with her and therefore how can I support her in such a situation? Especially whn everyone else sitting there also seemed to think she was being illogical. But to her, it was my job as her daughter to support her, but I didn't. I just don't get it. Even when I don't say anything, I can get scolded by my mum. I try to respect my elders and keep the peace by not taking part in their silly argument, but she expects me to openly tell my uncles off for saying such things to my mum. And then, after she was done scolding me and I had to go out to church, she went on to scold my dad for all sorts of other things. Basically, she ends up making it out like everyone did something wrong to her while she herself didn't say or do anything wrong at all. Good grief.

It's hard to explain the exact situation here, but this problem with my mum's behaviour has been going on for so long. She has a problem where if anybody tells her she is wrong, she won't even stop to think if they might be right and she needs to change. She will straight away get angry and fire the other person. And if it seems that the other person is actually talking sense and she might be 'losing' the discussion, she does extreme things like refusing to talk to them and cutting herself off from them. She's done that to my dad before, and after Saturday's dinner, she told him that she didn't want to go for dinner with her brother anymore ever again. That's not the worst of it. I've seen her get so miserable after a 'lost' argument, that she drank half a bottle of brandy at one shot, which is extremely bad for health. And according to my dad, once after an argument, she said she wanted to die and threatened to jump out the window. There's just so many abnormal things about her behaviour that hurts her and everyone around her, and now I think she reacts so extremely coz' of some psychological disorder. My dad has always tried to advise her, and I've tried to talk sense to her, but she refuses to listen, and she refuses to get counselling. Right now, all she wants to do is withdraw into her own little world and minimise her contact with the people around her, which includes her own family, just to avoid getting into conflict. My dad and I are at our wits end, and I think the only thing that can possibly help her now is divine intervention.

*Sigh*, sorry my blog entries have been so sad lately. I must try and blog a but more happy stuff now. But then I'm so busy at work, not much time to blog too, and that's another story. But through all the negative stuff, I'm glad I have lotsa people I can talk to and are willing to listen (or read) my sad crap and give me advice, and I'm so grateful for that. Seriously, if not for you guys, I think I might have gone bonkers long time ago. :P Oh well, tomorrow is a holiday, and as I have been superbly busy for so long, going out everyday... I think I will use tomorrow to try and do absolutely nothing... just so I can recharge. The only thing I might do is go to church and practice my drumming, since I'm starting to play drums at church, and so far I play 'ok' but not 'excellent' and my drumming skills still need a plenty of fine tuning. Plus, there's no better way to destress than to hit stuff, so yeah, it's a good plan. :D Happy holiday, all you people in Selangor. And for everyone who's not in Selangor and has to work, well, Hari raya and Deepavali holidays are coming soon, so don't be too sad. :D

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Irrational fears

Yes, I know I promised to put up those dang graduation pics of mine last week or so. But my internet wasn't working for a couple of nights, then I got busy... and then something else has been bothering me greatly which I kinda wanted to blog about, but kinda think it's not appropriate coz' it's issues with my boyfriend. So I won't go into the details, but it does kind of remind me of an episode of Desperate Housewives, where one of the housewives, Lynette Scavo has a domestic issue with her husband, Tom. The story behind these two is interesting, because in the show, before they got married, Tom was with another girl and cheated on that girl with Lynette. Of course, they eventually end up getting married, but in the marriage, Lynette eventually becomes so afraid of her husband doing the same thing by cheating on her with another woman (what goes around comes around, they say), that she demands that Tom goes to get a vasectomy so that he can't have anymore children with anybody else. Now Tom is a house-husband while Lynette goes out to work, so while he wants to make Lynette happy and agrees to do the vasectomy, in the end, he can't do it because he feels his virility is the only thing he had left that makes him a man. So he doesn't do it. And the thing I remember most about this episode is that when Lynette makes her demand to Tom, she says that people in a relationship should calm each others irrational fears. Her irrational fear was that Tom would cheat on her, so she demanded he get the chop. But then when Tom comes back and tells Lynette he couldn't do it, he throws it right back at her and tells her about his irrational fear of losing the only thing left that makes him a man.

Now my situation is nothing like that, but the similarity is that he and I both have our irrational fears. And of course, his fears seem ridiculous to me, but at the same time, I feel my fears are justified but he also poo poos them. But when I think of Lynette and Tom's situation, I believe that neither of them is right or wrong to have those fears.... so I don't think I should look down on my bf's insecurities. And neither should he look down on mine. But right now it boils down to the question of whether or not we are willing to change ourselves and the way we think to calm each other's 'irrational fears'. Quite frankly, if I had a friend in the same situation as me, I would advise her to leave and not take the risk of having her fears coming true. And indeed, a few people have agreed my fears are justified and have given me that very advice. And I was actually on the verge of taking that advice. After so many days of thinking and stressing about it to the point where my colleagues can see something is wrong with me (and I'm usually so good at keeping problems to myself such that no one will know unless I tell them. Yeah, not a healthy thing to do, I know, but such is Carol), I actually thought to myself that I knew exactly what I should do and I would do it. And I was going to do it.... til I met him online and we talked. And I was so angry and so hurt that I wanted him to see just how it felt, which I know is a silly thing to do, but that's just how bad it got. But it didn't work, and so I told him again how I felt (coz' I did tell him once before, but he just didn't get it) without trying to put things nicely to avoid hurting him feelings, coz' I'd had enough of being patient. And I thought, if he just says one thing wrong again.... just one thing.... that would be it. I'd be done with him. I wouldn't have to stress about this issue anymore. It would be such a relief.

But he didn't screw up. He didn't say anything wrong. This time, he actually said what I needed to hear. And now I'm left with the agonizing decision again. And I have sat here for a whole hour thinking about it and I still have no idea what I should do. And I just wanna go to sleep and make it go away, but I know tomorrow when I wake up, I will still have to make a decision. And it's a decision no one else can decide but me. I don't want to get hurt again.... but I know that pain is part of every loving relationship, and cutting it off is taking the easy way out. I don't want to commit to something I might regret later on in life.... but I also don't want to give up easily without trying to work things out.

Good grief, why on earth must relationships be such a pain in the butt? I'm just going to sleep now and let tomorrow be another day.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

My new camera, and pics of A Famosa Animal World

It's been another busy week for me, and I have some long overdue pics to post here, coz' of my little trip to Malacca last week to visit my darling Gerald and also coz' of my recent graduation (Woohoo!) last Wednesday. Also, I finally got sick of my Kodak camera which has gone pretty much haywire since I came back from Aus. Everytime I load it with fully charged batteries, it only lasts about 10 minutes before it shuts down as though it has run out of batteries. I think it's because the camera couldn't handle the snowy places I took it to in Aus, and it decided to go bonkers. So after putting up with my crazy camera for the past couple of years, I finally bought a nice new Canon Powershot A430 yesterday, and it's a hot hoochie mama in my fav colour, RED. Isn't it just hot?

And if the looks aren't hot enough, the price sure was! It's a 4 megapixel camera and it came with a 512 mb memory card, mini tripod and screen protector, all for only RM539, which is soooo superbly cheap! And even though it's got all the standard auto modes, some of the settings can be adjusted manually too, which I like coz' sometimes I like to take super closeup nature pics and other pics that require some fiddling around with the settings. Ok, so it's a old model and they've discontinued it to make way for the newer models, but I don't care. Me thinks I got a pretty good deal. And it has a mode to take pics in the snow, so I hope that means it won't go haywire like my Kodak did if I ever happen to go back to a snowy country. But that won't be anytime soon anyway. The only downside is that all the different modes are represented by icons that I have to memorize the meaning to. So it's not a camera I can just give to anyone and they can instantly figure out how to use it...which is a problem when I need someone like my dad, who was already hopeless around my old camera, to take pics for me coz' his head would spin just looking at all the icons! Oh well, nevermind. I just have to try and keep it simple for him. I still love my new camera. :)
Well anyway, as I was saying before I started ranting on about my new toy, I had some pics to put up of my trip to Malacca (which I took with my all annoying camera), and so I shall (my graduation pics, I shall save for tomorrow... or whenever I work up the energy to put up those pics). Well, all of the pics Gerald and I took were from A Famosa's animal world, which is where he and I went for a day trip. Some of the pics are from a multi-animal show, which is my opinion, wasn't all that good, though there were a few interesting things like a cat moving across a beam upside down, and a dog that jumped through a ring of fire!

Below is some pics of a poor malnourished-looking sunbear doing some stunts like balancing on a barrel and riding on a scooter. Made me wonder if they actually feed the bear properly, and if they even abuse it to get it to do their tricks. I sure hope not!

In my humble opinion, the bird show was considerably better, even though I'm not a big fan of our feathered friends. They had the usual silly things like birds riding on bicycles and playing basketball and doing somersaults on hoops (goes to show just how many animals shows I've seen in my life.... so much that I know what to expect!). The good parts were when they were collecting funds for their bird feeding program and they got a couple of birds to fly up to the audience and collect the money from people who wanted to donate. They also had a toucan that could catch food in midair, and they finished it off with a bunch of 'ssexy ladies' or flamingoes gracing the stage! Now that was pretty cool. :)

Here's some other miscellaneous pics of animals we saw around the zoo.

This elephant was very photogenic, coz' it stood right behind the rope for quite a while as people took pics with it and bought food to feed it. So Gerald and I had pics taken with the friendly elephant.

Here's a pic of me with a species of chicken that apparently has the longest tail in the world. I wonder how to poor blighter walks around with that tail. I also wonder how long the crazy people at the animal world keep the poor thing in that glas enclosure, coz' there's no space for it to move, and it's forced to stand there until they take it out! Nutty people....

Me and a camel!

And last but not least, me and Gerald waiting for the ferry to get us off Monkey Island...which was a pathetically small island with pathetically few monkeys.

To sum it up, I think the Malacca Zoo is definitely more value for money, even though it doesn't have any animals shows (which is good in a way, coz' you dunno if the animals are abused or not, and I don't quite trust locals to take care of our captive wildlife all that well). But Gerald and I also went to A Famosa's Water World, which in my opinion, was way more fun. It even had a 5 storey high slide where you go down on it with nothing but yourself! Gerald swears that it's actually 10 storeys high and didn't dare go on it. :) It's ok, I still love you. I'll just drag you to Sunway Lagoon one day to practice going more on these rides. Bwahaha! Kidding. Anyway, all in all, the rides there and some were different from Sunway Lagoons, though there wasn't as many.

So that's my Malacca trip in a nutshell. More pics coming soon!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A good bloke gone forever....

*Sigh* It is a sad day today for animal lovers everywhere. I'm sure anyone who doesn't live under a coconut shell would have heard the news.... Steve Irwin a.k.a. the Crocodile Hunter was killed in a freak accident when a stingray attacked him as he was shooting a documentary. The barb from the stingray's stinger went right through his heart and probably killed him instantly.
Actually, it probably wasn't a freak accident, I think the stingray meant very much to do that. Heh, lame joke. Well, he was a humourous guy, so I think he might appreciate a lame joke. It's kind of ironic that he faced all sorts of much more dangerous animals in his life like crocs and snakes and venomous spiders and whatnot.... and the one that got him was a usually harmless stingray. Apparently his death is only the third known fatality due to a stingray in the whole world! Their stings usually aren't fatal... but he had the bad luck of getting pierced right in his heart. What a bummer. Well, at least he died doing the very thing he was passionate about, instead of wasting away in his old age. The really sad thing is that he left behind his wife Teri and his two young kids, Bindi Sue and Bob, who are only 8 and 3 years old respectively. It's such a shame his son will be too young to remember much of his dad when he grows up. And Bindi Sue is so much like her dad already. I could tell when I went to visit Australia Zoo in 2004 and I saw her doing a commentary on how to feed Galapagos tortoises. She really sounded and acted just like her dad! And when I wanted to take a picture with her and her Teri Irwin, who was also there, Teri told me that Bindi just found out that a koala had died and she was crying so she couldn't be in the picture. Man, I can only imagine how much she must be crying now that her dad is gone. *Sigh*... such a shame.

I was in such a shock when I found out today at work. A colleague just came up to me and said "Do you know the Crocodile Hunter?" I said "Yeah." Then he said "He died already" And my jaw dropped and I was like "What????" I almost thought he was joking. And he couldn't explain to me exactly what had happened to Steve coz' his English ain't too good. He just told me that something went through his heart while he was diving, and I though a piece of wood from the boat fell off and pierced him or something. And my dang office doesn't have internet after 10am, so I couldn't check the news to see for myself. So I was itching to find out more, which I did as soon as I left the office. I heard it on the radio, and I saw the news on CNN as soon as I came home. And then my mum had to go and say that it bound to happen to him sooner or later, seeing how he always took such risks. Not that I disagree, and yeah, he probably did take a few too many risks, but he was one of the few brave people who actually had the guts to step out and do something to help the animals no one could care less about. And he was a guy with real passion. You gotta respect that, at least.

Well, the whole world is abuzz with this news, and a lot a lot of people are saddened by it, myself included. I even tried to get into his website but couldn't get into it, probably because it's flooded with other people trying to get onto the website. Then I went to visit wikipedia and was surprised to see that the article on Steve Irwin was already updated on his death, and his life was all described in past tense. Like, that was super fast. And I think at least 8 people on my MSN messenger list have a message next to their nick about Steve Irwin.....including one that said "That irritating Aussie is gone! I dunno whether to be happy or feel sympathy". Hrmpph... I shall deal with that fella when I see him! Oh well, love him or hate him, Steve Irwin definitely made an impact. He will be missed. Rest in peace, mate.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The charity carnival and the crazy cabby

Last Saturday was a completely full day and night for me and my colleagues as we had to work to set up and man a booth at the music/fun carnival at Bukit Kiara to raise funds for the Yogyakarta earthquake victims. It was a pretty large scale event with lots of local singers, DJ's and actors performing on 3 different stages (right next to each other too... don't ask me how). There were also more than 20 booths including paintball, hot air balloon rides, henna and glitter tattoo booths, face painting, magic shows, caricatures and of course, our very own Mad Scientists doing free slime, super bouncy science balls, cotton candy, hovercraft rides (for kids and adults who are young at heart and weigh less than 70kg!) and even putting on free shows. So everyone had to be at the office by 9am to throw all our equipment into the van and get over to the site to set up our stuff and decorate our booth. We were one of the few companies who needed two tents, one for the show, and one for all the other stuff we were giving away. By the time we were done, it was around 2 or 3 in the afternoon and still pretty early before the actual event started at 4pm, so we had a chance to relax a bit and even check out some other booths. I got myself some nice temporary glitter tattoos (one of a dolphin and one of a butterfly). And even though I had to work til midnight, it was a pretty fun day. I was in charge of the cotton candy machine, and by the end of it I think I turned into a cotton candy myself coz' I had sugar all over me and my shirt had yellow stains coz' of the sugar colouring (it was orange flavoured, but turned yellow once heated up). And of course, I was pretty sick of eating cotton candy by the end of it all. Someone had to clean up all the pieces that get stuck to the cotton candy bowl, you know. :P I shall not elaborate further. By the way, in case you're wondering what a mad scientist is doing making cotton candy, well, there IS a whole science to how the stuff is made. Something about how the machine head had a metal slits inside it that heat up to melt the sugar, and while the head is spinning, the melted sugar gets flung out through the slits to form cottony threads. The threads then resolidify and collect in the big metal bowl, where I twirl the paper cones around to catch the stuff. And voila, you have a treat to kill any diabetic. Yummy. Anyway, most people were more interested in eating the stuff than knowing the science behind it, but some people did want to know, and some even more adventurous people wanted to try and collect the cotton candy on the cone themselves, to which I obliged. When things were so busy, I went over to help make slime and super science balls for a couple of nice college kids. It was my first time making super science balls too, and it's pretty funky coz' it's actually a bunch of special coloured crystals which we have to pour into a mini round shaped container and then soak it water for a while. The water will then cause the crystals to polymerize and make a cool colourful bouncy ball. Slime is pretty fun too. Basically, it's polyvinyl alcohol plus some colouring and some Borax solution (or sodium borate) to make the wonderfully gooey stuff. The hovercraft rides were pretty fun too. It's just like a big round board with an air blower attached to it that blows towards the ground and causes it to lift up slightly above the ground. Then a couple of guys will push the things back and forth while the kid on top of it enjoys the ride. Sweet stuff!

The sad thing is that there weren't all that many people at the carnival... certainly not enough to cover the cost of the event, I think. Considering the organizers had to pay all the companies setting up booths, and also set up three performance stages, and pay the performers, as well as advertise the event over the radio (and possibly through other media, though I didn't notice any ads on tv or the newspapers)... the place certainly wasn't packed with people, so I don't know how they can cover the cost, let alone get much funds to help the Yogyakarta earthquake victims. I mean, the tickets were priced at RM80, which is pretty pricey, but for the stuff they have there and considering it was for charity, I think it was pretty ok. If I wasn't working there, I might've gone for it myself. But oh well...at least I didn't have to work my butt off making cotton candy for truckloads of people. :P I did have to make the effort to try and attract people to our booths by announcing our attractions over the PA system. None of my colleagues were really into making announcements except, so I took up the microphone and became a Mad Scientist emcee every now and then. And my boss's family was there too, including his mother (who is also a director of the company though she comes in only like every now and then), wife, and brother.... and his mother seemed to like that I was making the effort to get people to our booth. She even clapped for me and encouraged me on! I guess it's a good sign if the boss's mother is clapping for me. :D

All in all, it was a tiring but fun day. I had a good time, up until I was driving on the way home at 1am. Then I had a run in with one of the crazy drivers that come out at night. I had stoped at a toll booth and gave an RM10 note to pay for RM1 toll. So when I got back my change and I was trying to count it to make sure I got the right change before driving off, this crazy cab driver behind me blared his horn at me barely 3 seconds after I got my money back. Like geez, it's barely enough time for me to change gears, let alone check my change. So I was quite annoyed, but I moved my car forward anyway, driving a bit slowly so I could still count my change. Then the crazy cabbie came at me from behind and because there are traffic cones making lanes coming from the toll booth, he couldn't overtake me. So the nut started flashing at me from behind, and when the cones cleared up and he had the chance to overtake me, he drove past honking at me AGAIN. At this point, I was seriously ticked off, so I threw my hand up at him like I was scolding the bugger (usually I just let idiot drivers like that pass me by, but after working for 15 hours straight and being superbly pooped, I wasn't quite in the mood to have some impatient fella honking at me for wanting to count my money). And the fella saw what I did, and didn't like it, so he actually had the nerve to drive in front of me and stop his car, which forced me to stop as well. And while I'm honking the nut, he got out of his car and stood there yelling at me and looking like he was going to come over and beat me up or something. Of course, I was still in my car, and he was out of his, so I wasn't scared so much as I was superbly annoyed at the nerve of this guy. So I just reversed my car and zoomed past him. And honking at me and probably yelling at me in his car, but I couldn't care less what he was doing coz' I just looked straight ahead and ignored the nutty cabbie until he finally zoomed off in front. And of course, I didn't want to be following the fella for fear of him deciding to seriously do something crazy, so I turned off to a different road to get home, to make sure he couldn't follow me anymore.

Now that I think about it, I know it wasn't too smart of me to make any gestures to provoke the nut, especially since I'm driving alone at night. But I guess I wasn't thinking straight at the time after working so long. The nut could've gotten seriously violent and even tried to ram me off the road. Thank God that didn't happen. But anyhow, it's freaky to think that insane people like him having driver's licenses, let alone are cab drivers. I really wish I had remembered his license plate number so I can report the fella to the police. Though I doubt they would be much help either. Knowing the efficiency of our police force, they wouldn't do a thing unless the crazy cabby actually tried to kill me or something. Hmm... is it any wonder why there are so many crazy drivers around.

Well, a lesson to learn from that.... If I wanna scold a crazy driver, do it in when he's way ahead of me and can't see whatever hand gestures I make at him. Haha! I still wish someone would make that Fart-O-Matic I was talking about before. If it's powerful enough, the gas released from the back of my car would sicken the driver behind me so much, he wouldn't even think of trying to bully me. He would end up puking by the side of the road or something. :Þ *Sigh*...wishful thinking.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Emailing in the office and Adobe Intimidator

The other day at cell group, some of my working friends were mentioning about how their colleagues and bosses would prefer to be emailed rather than have face to face chats. Apparently it's because they may not necessarily be free when people want to talk to them, but they can read their emails at their own leisure anytime.... and also because some bosses want to have things in black and white so they can refer to the emails in case they need to clarify things (and potentially get their employees in trouble). And in my office, when anybody has any issues, instead of taking the person aside and talking to them about it, they send emails to each other....sometimes even to the whole office (which right now is only five people)! I guess it's kind of sad that people are so used to contacting each other through email these days that they would prefer it over personal human contact.... even within the same office where everyone is so close together, you just need to talk loudly a bit in order for everyone to hear you. At the same time, I know I myself have used email for the same purpose, to talk to people about certain issue without actually having to confront them and possibly get involved in a blowout. Also, I'm the kind of person who gets tongue-tied easily when it comes to fragile situations like that, so I prefer to really sit down and think about what I should or shouldn't say first before writing anything. Whereas in a conversation, once I say something I don't mean, that's it... there's no erase button to change what I said. So it does help to avoid unwanted misunderstandings and the tension of a face-to-face confrontation... and yet I still can't help but wonder whether people like me become a bit too reliant on technology, so much that we lose out learning how to build personal relationships. Perhaps one day in the future, everybody will be talking to each other only through computers. Wouldn't quite be the same as the real thing. But anyway, I just find it an interesting trend.

Anyway, one of the things I'm supposed to learn how to do at work is using Adobe Illustrator. We need to use this program to design posters and flyers or whatever that needs to go to print, and my supervisor lent me the cd to install in my comp. And since there's no one to teach me, I pretty much have to learn it up on my own. The thing is, the help topics in this program would make just as much sense to me as it would in Greek. The terms used are either completely alien to me (eg. opacity masks, rasturize, etc...) or I understand what they mean on their own, but not what they mean in the program (eg. vectors, slicing, knock-outs, etc...). And there are a billion and one things that can be done with this program. Just that it would take me a billion and one years to understand how they're all done. Right now, it's just so exasperating, I'm actually thinking of going out and buying 'Abobe Illustrator for Dummies'.

Ok, me needs to get to bed again!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Church anniversary and jobhunting pressure

My church had our 32nd church anniversary celebration today at the Sime Darby Convention Centre near Sri Hartamas. As always, the place was full of CBC-ers from all the different branches, and since some of the congregation are Mandarin-speaking only, we have some Mandarin worship songs where I just stand there clapping my hands and going "La dee daa..." . And there will always be a Mandarin translator who translates whatever the pastor says, and quite often they cut each other off during the sermon and I wonder why they can't be patient enough to wait for the other guy to finish talking first, but I suppose they are so gung ho about the sermon that they just can't wait to say it all out. And like last year's anniversary, the focus of the service was on missions, and we all prayed for the missionaries who are going out to different countries to minister to them and spread the gospel. We also launched the beginning of a 21 day period of 24 hour prayer, which confused me for a while coz' I was wondering how on earth people can pray for 24 hours... til I figured out that it's supposed to be that at every hour for the next 21 days, at least a few people are praying for something so that there is some continuous prayer day and night. So we only pray for a certain amount of time each day, not 24 hours! (Haha, it's the lack of sleep, I swear!) So of course, we'd need people who would be willing to pray at certain hours of the graveyard shift, and quite a number of people were willing to pray during the graveyard shift. Yay!

The pastor was also talking about missions and relating it back to the bible, but I dunno if it was because of the pastor having to pause ever so often to let the translator speak, or because the sermon was a bit too deep for me, or because I was still kinda sleepy, or maybe a combination of everything... but I had such a hard time concentrating on the sermon, let alone trying to understand it. Oh well, I kind of tried. :Þ I did remember after the sermon that another church elder was telling us that there would be ushers holding offering bags for the missionaries, and he said something like "I'm not asking for your money... I'm asking you to be a channel of blessing for God!" and I was thinking, errr... but you're asking us to bless the missionaries with funds to go their missions trips, so technically you are asking for money.... so just say that you are asking for money lor... Of course, I'm not complaining about giving... I know we need to give for the church to do God's work... just that it kinda irks me when they say things like that. Really reminds me of sales people, who try to put things in a better light in order to 'make a sale'. I'd much rather they be straight forward about it and say they need the money... I'm more than happy to give anyway and I'm sure most other people there today would've been to. Anyway, that's just my opinion. It is very encouraging to see that CBC is sending out so many missionaries to other countries. I hope I at least will have the willpower to pray at least half an hour every day... which is so little compared to what they are doing but more than what I have been doing so far as my prayer life has been pretty blah for quite some time. I know that I should pray more and I actually feel that I miss having that quiet time with God, but I always never get round to doing it coz' I'm a lazy bum... so....must....try..... harder....!!

Anyway, I also had a little nap today in the afternoon. I slept at 4pm and planned to wake up at 5pm to wash my car since I had to go out with my parents and elder bro and sis-in-law for dinner later.... but I ended up shutting off my alarm when it rang and sleeping til 7pm. Shows just how much I needed to catch up on my sleep. So now I'm pretty well rested, which is good. :)

At dinner, my mum was telling me that I should try looking for another job. She's been telling me to jobhunt several times now, coz' she seems to think my company is on the verge of shutting down or something, or that there's no prospect of promotions. Which irks me as well, coz' the company is pretty stable now, even though it's not making much profit yet but we are working on getting more business and as such, we need as much help as we can. If I leave now, just when I'm getting to know the ropes, they have to look for more staff again, and the company will take even longer to expand. And even though I agree there is a risk that a small company like this can shut down, I doubt it coz' the franchise has been superbly successful in so many other countries, so there's a lot of potential for it to grow here as well. Just that the boss is busy with other businesses that he can't focus on this company so much. And that the turnover of staff here is pretty high, so he needs to get permanent people. So I'd feel kinda bad leaving the company when I just started working here and they are in need of people who can do the job well, and I think I am pretty good with teaching the kids. But my mum and also my brother says that there's no point being loyal to a company coz' if the company losses money, the boss will just let me go like that. Which is also possible, I agree, but if I am REALLY good at the job, and I do a lot to help bring in more business, chances are that he would prefer to keep me over other staff. And I know I can do well in this job, rather than in research or management, coz' I don't have passion for research and I don't know nuts about management. At least in my job now, I know I'm doing something I'm good at, and at the same time I can pick up other skills, learn how to get in more business and possibly learn to manage other staff in the future when we start to expand. If I leave to work in a really big company, I'd just be another small fry in a big company where I might not be so good at what I do. I would be compared to other staff, so what would stop them from letting me go if they think I'm not as good as others? And if I simply simply change jobs, it wouldn't look good to prospective employers either to see that I have only a few months work experience in several places. To them, it would seem that I lack loyalty to one company, and that does not reflect well on me.

So my idea is to do my best here at Mad Science until at least the beginning of next year when they do the work appraisal. Then I can see how much my salary changes and what other perks I get. If we have better business by then but the salary increment is crap, then I will try and look for other jobs lor. I would only have worked here for slightly over half a year, so I can still get other jobs if I want to. But if the perks are pretty good and the company is expanding and I am promoted, then why should I leave? At the moment, of course I can't expect to get salary increment so soon, but my mum seems to worry that it will never happen, therefore I should just up and leave to a better job first chance I get. Good grief, as if going for job interviews is such a fun process. Plus I would have to take leave to go for interviews and I only get 8 days leave a year. And if I go for leave so often, my supervisor will start getting suspicious. It won't reflect well on me at all. And I don't even want to leave the company yet coz' I like what I'm doing! Yaaarrrggh! I wish my mum would just leave it alone and let me work for a few more months. I know she means well, but I don't need this pressure!!!!

Bleh, time to get to bed again. *Sigh*

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Clay colleague, scary sales, university after-effects and other miscellaneous nonsense

Once again, I'm sitting here feeling kinda braindead after another night of little sleep and having to wake up early for work (dang, I hate working Saturdays). I did have a reason for staying up late last night though. One of my colleagues is leaving to continue her studies and today was her last day at the office, and I thought since she's been pretty nice, I'd give her a little gift or something. I had recently bought some new special clay that's pretty good for making pretty much anything we can think of, and since I'm not really into buying gifts from a store coz' that's so impersonal, I thought I'd make a little clay figurine of a Mad Scientist....which is supposed to look like a cute little version of my colleague. Not quite sure if it came out that way, but it's the thought that counts. :P The rest of us were pretty prepared to take over her table and stuff after she packed up today, coz I decided I want her table (coz' now I'm sitting behind another colleague and there's not much space for us to move around without bumping into each other's chairs), so I was dumping some of my stuff on it. And another colleague wanted her drawer, which has little wheels on it to move around, so he took it. So we were pretty much vultures hanging around to salvage her stuff. Bwahahaha!

We also had to sit through a sales talk on how to approach and negotiate with schools about having our classes in their schools. So now I pretty much have to be one of those annoying sales people who have to talk crap about how good their 'product' is and all that stuff. Bleh, the irony of it all. I have to turn into one of my pet peeves! If only the company was bigger, then I could concentrate on doing a few things like classes and birthday parties, instead of having to do EVERYTHING. But oh well, if I do really well and get a lot of schools in, hopefully I get a good pay raise next time it's time for salary evaluation. Woo hoo!

Anyway, I was thinking about how sad it is that I kinda have so much I wanna blog about, yet everytime I come home, I feel too braindead to really blog about anything good. I miss the times when I would really think through and analyze stuff, and the times I could really write lots of poetry and even some good songs. Now I just don't have the time and energy. And all I wanna do when I come home is watch tv or surf the net or play games, then sleep. How sad. I think all those years in university has caused my brain cells to deteriorate to mush, and now my brain is programmed to just "Work, Eat, Sleep, Work, Eat, Sleep, Work, Eat, Sleep" to spare it the agony of having to think to much....just to make up for all those years at uni. No wonder I've been saying so many silly things at office. I don't even wanna go into that. It's embarassing.

So anyway, I was reading my big brother's blog today, and just wanted to share something interesting he wrote.... just coz' I'm too lazy to think of something interesting to write, myself:

While (my friends and I) sat and ate ice-cream waiting for the show to start, we started talking and eventually the conversation came round to how fast some people decide to get married. Rachel and Wisam had known each other for two months, and then he proposed to her. We compared that courtship to a drag race. Sometimes you just know where you need to go, and there's no sense taking corners, you just go in a straight line as fast as you can. Then Kevin said Roy had proposed pretty quickly too. I'd been subject to a few comments about my singleness of late, so I thought I'd ask Roy what the correct method of courtship was. He, being a pastor, surely wouldn't give me bad, worldly advice. You know, the sort you get from magazines.

He said "Well, first, you make a move. Then you wait for her to make a move. Then you respond with a move, and then she makes another move."

I blinked a couple times. "So it's like chess?"

"Yes, it's like chess. Then eventually, after a lot of moves, you ask her to marry you, and that's checkmate."

"Huh, ok."

"Yes, basically you're asking a girl if she'd like to play chess."

I thought about that for a bit, then I asked "Well, what happens if you make three moves in a row?"

He shook his head. "No you're not allowed to. Then you lose. However, while you're waiting for her to make a move, you can remind her that you made a move."

"Isn't that in itself considered a move?"

"No, it's just a reminder."

I thought about it a bit more, and then decided I was neither good at chess or courtship. Maybe someday she'll just fall in my lap when I'm not paying attention. I kicked back, finished my ice-cream, watched the fireworks, and looked around me from time to time at all the chessplayers, young and old, sitting on folding chairs, lying on the grass, gazing up at the sparkling, smoky sky.