Archive for October, 2006

Happy Hallowe’en

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

Hey, another happy Hallowe’en. Got Zen dressed up in his vampire costume and took him to school. Today was a pretty relaxed day at work – there have been a few recently, I’m happy – and I left at about 6:10, rushed home, got there at 7:00, just in time to take Zen to the playground for the rendezvous with the Japanese kids for the en-groupe trick-or-treating. Lots of kids dressed in black like devils, demons, and ghosts. The little girls were mainly vixens and she-demons. Lots of pitchforks and skulls. Scary! Here is Zen in his costume.

Zen cape
Zen cape 2

Kind of looks like Eddie Munster, doesn’t he?
Eddie Munster 1

Zen and Akane:
Zen and Akane

Eddie Munster and Woof Woof. See the resemblance?
Eddie Munster 2

We also played with cool sparklers!!
Zen Hallowe'en fireworks

Zen Grrr...

Two-month blog

Saturday, October 28th, 2006

Hey, it’s been a really long time since I’ve posted. I came to the end of a long busy period, over six weeks when I was travelling, working long hours, and rather stressed. I am only now finding the time to do things like tidy up my desk at the office and get through the trivial little things that I have at home.

Recent things first. This week was pretty busy, but we had national holidays last Saturday (Deepavali, the Hindu light festival) and also last Tuesday (Hari Raya Puasa, the end of the Muslim holy month). In Singapore, Saturday is a work day, so holidays that fall on a Saturday are not automatically carried over to a Monday, even in a company like ours where we don’t work Saturdays… so we get a day off in lieu that we can take off any time we want, so I took mone on Friday and gave myself a long weekend. Not that it was very relaxing – I spent most of Friday doing little chores, either on the computer or around the house. At 5:00 I picked Zen up and we went off to see the Malaysia train, picked up some groceries, ate dinner in the hawker centre, then went home to hang out and Zen went to sleep. Naoko had been out with friends, so she came home around 11:00, I fiddled around on the computer until 3:00 AM or so. Today we woke up early (?!?!), then had breakfast, Naoko went off to work, Zen and I got to work colouring a birthday card for Juno, Zen’s classmate who had invited him to a birthday party. Then Kai and Hana and Mattheiu came over to play, they stayed until 12:30, then we went off to the birthday party. I ran off to buy some groceries, picked up a kilo of ground coffee, then off home to eat my lunch. Not there long, I went back out to stop by the bicycle shop to see about a bicycle for Zen for his birthday – they have some nice ones. Funny – he’s been whining “when is my birthday? Can’t it come faster?” for so many months, now that his birthday is just around the corner he seems to have almost forgotten it. Took Zen home, then Kai and Hana came again. Kai threw a toy out the window, then they all went home to fetch it, and apparently Kai went home crying. But for the most part Zen had a lot of fun with his friends. After that, Zen and I went swimming, which was fun and relazing. Saw Australian dad Chris and his Aussie/Thai son there again, we practiced throwing our sons into the water, some Korean mothers were rather amazed. Came home, ate Naoko’s yummy homemade noodles, and then Zen fell asleep early. He’d played with other kids all day, hadn’t napped, naturally he was pooped. And so am I, on only four hours sleep last night.

Thursday night we had a huge surprise. I left work at 6:30 with my colleague Christopher, his last day at the office, then went home by train and bus. I was noticing on the bus that there were lots of unfamiliar faces – I almost never take a bus home that early these days. I saw someone on the bus that looked like my friend Patrick from Canada. But I knew it co couldn’t be him. Got home, there were Kai and Hana again, playing with Zen. After a while, someone knocked at the door. I thought it was Kai and Hana’s mother or father coming to collect them. But it wasn’t – it was Patrick!! He was in town on a business trip and hadn’t thought he’d have enough time to plan a meeting witht us, but something fell through and he thought he’d call on us after all. Surprise!! So we had a nice dinner, caught up, talked about guitars, drank gin and tonic, and he headed home early. Great fun.

So what have I been up to recently? Mmm…

Australia: went there for a really massive financial services industry conference in early September, my first time in Australia, and the last of my family (besides the kids) to go there. I thought Sydney would be more cosmpolitan, but really it was quite sleepy, and more similar to Aukland than I’d been expecting. The lack of a superhighway connecting the airport with the city might have had something to do it – the bus crawled along a road littered with fish and chips shops and industrial parks. The hotel was very nice, checked in and rushed off for an interview, got there only about 15 minutes late, did it, then checked out Darling Harbour where the convention centre was. Sparkling fine weather, great waterfront views, nice and fun, families with kids, tourists, pretty girls. Registered for the conference, then went off to a briefing session on a boat. Cool, interesting. Had a fantastic lunch, and the company was okay too. I probably should have had more to eat, because as it turned out my first meal in Australia was actually the last really good meal I was going to get. Went back to the hotel, showered, went out to three parties. The first one was in a nice restaurant with a small room crowded with very senior people from a large global bank. Amazing. Food wasn’t so great, though. I walked around the harbour and got to the opera house for the second party, which was very good indeed. In a park near the opera house, with a great view of the scenery there, the full moon coming out from behind silver clouds, the setting was perfect. Went off to another party by cab after that, but it was packed and not so great. Went home and slept. Second day, another 20 interviews and 2 parties at the end of it. The first was at the aquarium, which I had been looking forward to, but it was held in a lousy chamber in the place, not inspiring. But on the way out we spotted the platypus tank, and a littly platypus was swimming around like a madman. The crazy nocturnal creature, we were in the right time at the right place. Back to the opera house for another party, the tail end, which had been very good but we were wasting our time at the aquarium. Oh well, still saw a few people. Nice. The next day I went to all of my interviews but only one party, which I got to early, chowed down on cheese and crackers, drank vodka that had been shot through an ice slide, not bad. Vodka – yummy! Thursday was the wrap-up, and by that time I was pretty pooped. Went to the party at the end, but it was really lousy – terrible layout, terrible bands, terrible acoustics, terrible food. At least the company was good. Friday I woke up, got ready to check out, then had about two hours to find stuff for people. I couldn’t find anything for Zen, but at the airport I did find a nice inflatable airplane from Quantas, which I gave him when I was back, which he loved. Great!

Beijing: about five days after the Australia trip I was moving again, this time by night flight to Beijing for one of our conferences. This was good, but busy. Lots of senior people, very very very good. I spent 48 hours straight in the hotel, pooped and stressed out. It was nice, but I sure didn’t see anything in Beijing.

What else have I done recently? I saw some movies in the airplane, but I don’t remember what they were. Cars was one of them, I saw about two thirds of it, but it was uninspiring. Oh well.

Here are some recent pics:

Zen happy as can be to be near the Changi airport control tower
Zen control tower

Naoko and Zen in the airport
airport Naoko Zen

Peter and Zen in the airport
airport Peter Zen

Zen loves his new carry-on luggage!
Zen suitcase

Standing in front of the Jurong Bird Park internal train
bird park train Zen

Hana, Kai and Zen in their favorite position – watching Wallace and Gromit!
Hana Kai Zen

Patrick and Zen!!
Patrick Zen

Patrick, Zen and Peter !!!!
Patrick Zen Peter

Patrick, Peter and Naoko, shot taken by Zen!!!!!!
Patrick Peter Naoko