Thursday, October 28, 2010

Busy Week... Sort Of

We have been pretty busy this last week, by my new standards of things anyway. Friday night we had dinner at Kudeta, on the 57th floor of the Marina Bay Sands. The view was amazing, even if there was a ton of smoke in the air from the fires in Indonesia. The restaurant has apparently only been open for a few weeks now. The food was great, and the company was as well. I ordinarily do not enjoy getting dishes for the whole table to share, but our de facto host suggested that we do this, and I was glad that we did. We got to try a lot of different dishes, things I might not necessarily have ordered, and enjoyed nearly all of them.
This is the view. Pretty amazing, right?

Here is a picture I took one afternoon this week:
Partners in crime, these two are.

Tuesday, Erin and I went to see Vampire Weekend at the the Esplanade Theater. They put on a great show, and played almost every song from both of their albums. Musically, they are as good as their studio stuff, which is impressive, and the vibe of the show was nice. There were a lot of well behaved teenagers their (for the most part), and it brought a really good energy to the show. Lots of kids from the international schools.
Other highlights from the last few days: Last night for dinner, I made a Boyce family favorite... Crunchy Meat. It probably goes by other names, but it involves boneless pork loin, pounded flat with a mallet, breaded, and cooked. I was pretty nervous making this, as I have never breaded anything in my life. I had to confirm with Skip three or four times the exact order of things, and some of the specifics. In the end, it turned out well. And it was delicious.
And finally, Benson got a bath today.
As I said, busy by my standards, but not all that exciting.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sumatra is Burning

Since saturday, there has been a smokey haze over the city. This happened once before, just for a day or so, and we were told that it was due to fires in Indonesia. This time there was no question as to the cause. Not only does the air look hazy, it actually smells like smoke. And its only gotten worse. I have tried to take pictures, using my phone, but t never does the haze justice. Here is the best one that I have gotten, taken five stories above ground from the pool at my gym.

Its hard to even tell that those are buildings in the background. I saw a newspaper today that said this was the worst air quality the city has experienced in years. Its probably the worst air quality I have ever seen, with the exception of being in Florida once, very near some forest fires, and there was actually ash visibly floating in the air. Erin tells me that people at her office have been sick all this week. That can't be good for any one. 
I was thinking earlier today that this would not be good marathon weather. Hot, humid, and the air literally thick. 
Tomorrow we are having dinner at the top of the Marina Bay Sands, so we are hoping that there might be some improvement in the conditions between now and then. The big draw there, in addition to the food, is the view. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Personal Training

I know that I am not in the very best shape of my life. I do, however, like to assume that I am in at least relatively good shape. I am not running as much as I would like. The heat is a bit stifling, and the humidity makes me feel as though I am running in soup. I do run though. I think that should count for something.
When Erin and I joined the gym recently, we also purchased three personal training sessions each. We thought, "we are paying for the gym, it would be good to know how to use all of the equipment, and do it right." The first session began with a fitness assessment. Think middle school gym class... One minute of sit ups, one minute of push ups, sit and reach, chin ups, running, balance, and my favorite, the body fat percentage. Mercifully, unlike middle school gum class, our gym does not use the fat calipers to take a pinch of the arm and leg to make the calculation. You simply stand on a scale and as though by magic, it spits out a number. All of these various components are added up. The total score for the entire assessment is out of a possible 24 points. Mine... Well, not so good.
And then the real work began. Legs, arms, chest, shoulders, abs, back...
I woke up the next day in pain. Terrrible, awful pain. That was Sunday. Friends helpfully reminded me that Monday the pain would likely be worse. It was. On Tuesday I returned for my second session. This morning the pain is only kind of bad. I think that is likely due to me spending as much time as I could in yesterday's session stalling. I took a little longer at the water fountain than was necessary. If that didn't work, then I just laid on the floor with my towel over my face in between sets and grunted at my trainer if he suggested we move on. I will surely be in perfect shape in no time.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I wish I was cooler than I am

When I was back in the States, I went through my CDs and imported a bunch of songs that I did not previously have on my computer. When we moved here, I had to leave the CDs, and I missed some of the music. So when I come back to Singapore, I am listening to some of the music on the computer, and playing some of it for Erin. A lot of it was stuff that I haven't listened to for a long time, and in many cases, music I thought I was simply too cool or too sophisticated for these days (not that I think that my current tastes are all that sophisticated). I want to believe that I am too cool to listen to Jimmy Buffett, but as I was playing it for Erin, and thinking about how I still know every word, I realize that I am not as cool as I think I am. When I was younger, I would listen to music for hours at a time, usually late at night while playing video games. I would listen to Jimmy Buffett's boxed set, or Peter Gabriel's greatest hits, or a handful of others... and I knew every word to every song. Twelve or fifteen years later, I still do. And I still love it. Its maybe not as much who I am anymore, but its still part of who I am. And thats okay. I would probably rather not admit that I have seen Jimmy Buffett in concert 5 times, but I have, and there was a reason. I loved that stuff. I do have to wonder, though, if I might not have done better in college or graduate school if my brain were not filled with song lyrics and other facts and information that I filled my head with in those days and still can recite today.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Benson and the red poodles

We took Benson for a walk this afternoon, and he met yet another red miniature poodle. I don't know what it is about them, but he attracts them, and he has the best time with them. We let him off his leash, and instantly this little guy charges towards us. It is such a great sight to watch B run around and have a great time with another dog.
The weekend has been uneventful otherwise. We had a nice dinner last night at Boomerang, the Australian restaurant on the river where we took Benson and ate kangaroo. Benson had other plans last night, so it was just Erin and me. When we visited there previously, there was a mother cat living in the bushes with two kittens. Three months later, we saw one of the kittens wandering around, significantly larger than the last time we saw it.
Erin had a slightly more eventful weekend, taking part in a walking relay that her company sponsored for charity. Her leg was from 3am to 6am Saturday morning. Erin did discover where the transgendered ladies of the night hang out at the that hour of the night. In case anyone wants to know, just ask my lovely wife.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Back in Singapore... Again

We arrived home from Hong Kong yesterday afternoon, and took it pretty easy last night. Well, Erin took it easy. My life is all about taking it easy right now, so it was mostly a normal evening for me. Benson was thrilled to see us and get bailed out of the kennel. He is becoming quite used to riding in taxis. The cats were starving when we got home, but they always act like that.
When I was back in town earlier this week for a couple of days, I went to a gym with a friend to check it out. Exercise was one of those things that I have been doing, but not to the extent that I really should considering the amount of time on my hands. So I met with a membership person on Monday, and Erin and I have 3 day trial passes starting today. This gym has 9 locations around town. So this morning, after my usual coffee with friends I went to another location to scope it out. I know that my simple observations are probably wearing thin, but its little differences that I find fascinating between my life in the states and my life here. So at the gym, they provide clothes in which to exercise (you can bring your own if you choose, thankfully). In context of the pace of life here, it makes since (I am still not wearing them). People take the MRT into the city in the morning from some corner of the island. Not far, but time consuming. They bring lots of stuff with them every day, and most people do not have a car in which to store all of this stuff. So they have to carry it all on their back in bags and briefcases. In that context, I doubt they want to carry clothes they sweated in at the gym for an hour in the morning around with them the rest of the day. Also, I will never make use of these loaner clothes for fear that an employee will see me exercising, and sweating gallons, and say that I am far too sweaty and stinky to be allowed to borrow clothes.
Another great benefit that they provide at the gym (albeit a strange one) is free sodas, coffee and tea. That alone is enough to sell me on the place. If they had wifi, I would probably never leave.