So total defence

I drove the dad’s car to work yesterday so I could pack and bring home most of my stuff from camp. Having lost my duffel bag to one of the OCs who borrowed it for an overseas exercise last year and never returned it, I had to move my gear to the car separately, with the help of some colleagues.

Upon returning home, however, I had way too much crap to carry upstairs by myself, so I left my SBO, helmet and boots in the trunk. It struck me that this was just like the military defence bit in the recent Total Defence TV ads, where the guy was mobilised and had his gear all ready in his car trunk (with, oddly enough, nothing else in there). (Quote from a regular watching that ad: “Har? Where got people so operationally ready one? I don’t even know where my SBO is!” — at which point we stared at him and questioned his effectiveness as a regular combat platoon commander.)

I think I’ll leave them there to amuse myself whenever I open the trunk.

Ahh, operational readiness, here I come.

Do something worthwhile

There have been recent reports on trainee teachers failing NIE, inadvertently breaking their bonds, then having to repay their entire tuition and allowances owed with interest. The total amount for repayment was a non-trivial $70,000 for a four-year diploma course. In one report, the trainee in question failed her practicum course twice — I can’t remember the exact reasons reported, but they were something along the lines of her having deviated from class material and not submitting her lesson plans on time.

Great, that doesn’t bode too well for my upcoming NIE PGDE course. When I was teaching as a graduate course assistant in school, I had the habit of making up lesson plans while walking to class, among other random stupid shit I tried to get away with. Which I realise I shouldn’t talk about now that I know one of the people who used to manage the course staff reads this blog. Ah, what the hell.

My favourite was when I got my friend Kirk to pretend to be me for the first class while I sat in as a student (the class had students from all levels, so it wasn’t too difficult to blend in). I then proceeded to behave like the obnoxious know-it-all I’d always dreamed I was capable of being, attempting to correct everything Kirk said, until he got all annoyed and yelled “If you think you’re so smart, why don’t you teach this class, then?!”, and left. At which point I took over the class, having earned the, umm, trust and respect of my students. Mwa ha ha! I don’t know how they were so easily convinced a white guy could be called “YJ” (full name undisclosed) though (they knew the course assistants’ names beforehand).

I’d also managed to sleep through a couple of 9am classes after either sleeping too late programming or getting horribly drunk the night before. On the occasions I did wake up on time, though, often after four hours of sleep or so, I received feedback that I was very much unintentionally funny attempting to teach while half-awake. At least they got some entertainment out of it.

The one prank I never managed was getting Luis to show up to class in his Batman outfit and just sit there throughout, while I pretended nothing was going on. It would’ve been hilarious, especially considering his costume:

A primitive Batmobile Oh, Batman, you should never have gone eco-friendly with your Batmobile

To my credit, though, I did stuff my students full of snacks, ensuring they left the class enriched with much potential towards developing coronary diseases (though not as much in education).

Alright, back to work. Three and a half more days before I clear leave!!

Sketches This Week

Maybe I should archive my (more presentable) sketches instead of throwing them away…

Anyway, yesterday I was at the SAF Wargaming Centre to play the world’s most boring Real-Time Strategy game. This was mainly because it took “Real-Time” to new levels of realism; the bloody icons took an hour to move a few pixels. Aaargh! Mind-numbing boredom!

Thank goodness for the sketchbook (and a two-hour canteen break with TTK, coincidentally in the opposing force). However, only one sketch interested me enough to keep it, other than sketches for the community service logo I’m designing (ML, do you know how embarrassing it is to draw hearts all over my sketchbook for ideas?! In public, among Army people?! Stupid design requirements).


Various (very rough) concept sketches for a possible comic strip, done in a half-working pen because my boss stole my good one. Hmph.

The ancient not-yet-a-blog

I looked at my old website (carefully archived/hidden in the depths of my laptop), and read through the blog-like entries I used to write periodically from 11 April 1998 to 14 July 2000. A few things struck me:

  • I used to hand-code and hand-archive these entries in Dreamweaver. After writing each entry as a separate HTML page, I’d insert the code into the combo-box selector for my entries and upload everything to the server using FTP. Was I ever this patient?! What the fuck.
  • Perhaps as a result of the hassle, I only uploaded an average of 12 entries a year. However, these entries tended to be a lot more reflective than my current nonsense — my previous post was on USB takoyaki, for goodness’ sake — and I only actually wrote when I had something to write, not when something amused me and I wanted to point it out to my friends and other random visitors (hello!).
  • Without a comments or referrer system (such dark, dark ages), I had no clue who was actually reading my stuff; occasionally, someone would surprise me by telling me “That sounds a lot like what you last wrote on your website” and I would go “You mean you actually read that shit?! WHY WHY WHY?!”. (No, really.)
  • Nobody called it a “blog” back then, but we’re all tired of hearing about “blogging before the term was even in use”, aren’t we.
  • I wrote in a far less restrained manner than I do now. All that youthful exuberance has drained away over the years. Or maybe I’ve started to care about what people think when they read this, given that I know this time that people actually do, umm, read this. And see all my terrible grammar and sentence structures on display, for all to see my terrible sentence grammar. On display. Structure?
  • I do like this one line I found, even though I find it very hard to believe I wrote it five years ago: “I still claim very often that my head hurts, because it doesn’t, but I’m sure it should.”

I really won’t post any of my old entries on this site, because… I don’t know why, but I’ll think of a suitably poor reason and neglect to tell anyone. Sorry. Here’s the silly little Photoshop graphic header I made for the old site, though.

old rants title

I don’t know where I got those random words from. I don’t know where they went, either.

Happy new month

The countdown timer’s almost at double digits…!

I got an email from my exceedingly hardworking scholarship officer at 11.30pm on Monday night — I hope she was doing VPN or something, because that’s not a very good way to inspire someone on the verge of joining the civil service. Anyway, the email was to inform us that NIE term had been brought forward to June 20: “From 20 June – 22 July 05, you will partake in subjects registration, compulsory orientation programme and other preparatory programmes.”

Hmm. Joining NIE on 20 June won’t be a problem (ORD is 24 June), though it does mildly screw up my vacation plans. While I’m curious about what orientation and preparatory programmes could be like for a bunch of deadbeat graduate teacher trainees who couldn’t find better jobs, what I really want to know is: will those 33 extra days count toward my bond?

It matters, it really does. Feel free to despair at the Commission’s scholarship selection process.