Thursday, December 20, 2007

Home for the Holidays

Heading back to Malaysia...Truly Asia, tomorrow. Lots of logistics to arrange, cos we're landing in Singapore, staying a night to run some errands, then taking a cab to Malacca. A week or so later, we're driving to KL, staying there for a few days, then fly off to Kota Kinabalu for 8 days to see the in-laws. Have not been to KK in 2 years I think. We've booked a few nights at the Sutera Harbour Resort, and I'm still contemplating a 4D/3N stay with detox programme at a mountain resort.

I've been finding it hard psyching myself up for this trip. Don't ask me why. I don't know why. Year-end melancholy maybe, somebody slap me happy. The kids are mighty excited though.

I'm a little bummed that none of my buddies from Malacca will be back for Christmas. This group of Form 6 friends are about the only Malaccans I still keep in touch with and we're now emailing one another from all over the world; me in Moscow, Noel in Saigon, Chia Fong in Dubai, Yew Song in Shanghai, Andy in Singapore, Keng Kiong in Guangzhou, Chee Kong in KL but heading for Paris soon and Raymond in KL heading for Dubai permanently. That leaves my former partner-in-crime Lily the only one in Malaysia, and she's in KL building her dream bungalow.

Next year will be 20 years since we left school and in 2 years we all turn 40. Really strange where life has taken us.

Ommmm, think happy thoughts, Ommmmm....

In case I don't get online the next couple of weeks, I'd like to wish you, yes you, and you and you and you(yeah that's about right), a Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Kite Runner trailer...

...looks really good. From the director of Finding Neverland, another movie I really liked. I wonder if this will be screened in Malaysia, where I will be for more than 3 weeks starting 21st December.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Science at Home 8

Quick, make a guess, what's shown in this picture?

It's a piece of lego stuck inside a test-tube-like container, one of Sean's numerous daily stunts. There were other pieces blocked by this piece. See picture below.

Brian was given this container last week when he went on a field trip to Coca-Cola Factory, as part of this Unit of Inquiry titled "Made you Look!" which is about Advertising. The tube is about 6 inches tall, but when heated up to 240 deg celsius, it starts to melt; it's then blown at very high pressure, to become the 1 litre Coke plastic bottle we find in shops.

Sean was thus a bit panicky when he couldn't get his lego out of his korkor's precious bottle, and quickly came to me for help.

An opportunity to conduct a long overdue and simple experiment.

Objective: To show that solids expand when heated

1. The test-tube is heated up with hot boiling water.

2. Lego pieces come unstuck.

Conclusion: The heated test-tube expands, becomes bigger and hence looser, allowing the lego piece and its brothers to come unstuck.

And Mummy saves the day once again :)

Saturday, December 08, 2007

In case anyone doesn't know Xmas is approaching...

...we've got all these gigantic decorated trees to remind us.

This one taken outside the mall near our place (think suburb mall ala Tampines Mall).

And another one 15 steps away, inside the mall.

While I was taking this, this security fella came by and gestured Nyet with his hands; a little taste of KGB-Russia eh? Ceh, I have giant Christmas tree right in my backyard, big deal.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Dumbfounding Dimensions

For the past month or so, Sean has been fascinated with 2-dimensional vs 3-dimensional shapes. He's also been drawing tesselation of shapes. Brian was the one patiently teaching him about tesselation.

He's also asked numerous times for me to teach him to draw spheres, cones, cylinders, cubes, cuboids, pyramids and lately ellipsoid after he asked what a 3-d oval would look like.

Today I was stumped when he asked if a point was one-dimensional. We searched the net and I read that a point was zero-dimensional and lines are one-dimensional.

Brian explains to me what he understands about 1D, 2D and 3D:
"We are in a 3-dimensional world and everything, except shadows I think, is 3-D in our world, but what we view is just 2D. In a 2-dimensional world, what we can only see is a slit or a line, eg if you cut a very thin line on a piece of cardboard and look through it, that's how much you would see in a 2-dimensional world. For a one-dimensional view, you need to take a very very sharp pencil, and use it to make a hole in a piece of paper, that's how much you'll be able to see in a one-dimensional world. Basically, a point is what we see in a one-dimensional world, a line is what we see in 2-dimensional world and a plane is what we see in the 3-dimensional world."

I'll summarise if the above is true:
A point is zero-dimensional;
A line is one-dimensional;
A plane (any shape we draw) is two-dimensional;
And the stuff in our world are three-dimensional.

Please correct us if this is wrong. I think I'm gonna confuse my boys more and more with my incompetence in Science.

Sigh...I still have to find out how to answer Sean's other question, "What does 4-dimensional mean?"...Hellllpppp!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

From string theory to particle theory

After an hour of playing Marble Blast on the Mac, the boys came out running, and Sean was crying ( usual). Brian complained that he was merely trying to help Sean but Sean would make a horrible face after being helped.

Sean claimed that his korkor made him lose, but I explained that that wasn't true, and that korkor was helping him. He then volunteered a "Sorry korkor" without being asked, something that rarely happens. The boys hugged and made up.

I kissed Sean's head and said, "Mmmm, Mummy loves your big head. Your head is soooo huge." Btw, he loves it when I say his head is big :) cos I told him it meant he has a big brain (I'm his mother, I'm just exercising my right to tell him nonsense like this).

He looked at me and said, "When I do work my head becomes bigger, and when I watch TV my head becomes smaller."

I turned to him with a delighted face, "Yes....and when you do things for yourself, like brush your teeth, put on your clothes, wear your socks and shoes, your head grows too, cos you need to use your brain to do all these."

Brian jumps in with, "When you whine, it shrinks to negative! Yes, when you whine, it becomes so small, even smaller than a string, until it disappears and becomes negative."

Sean added, "When I cry, my brain becomes so small that it's smaller than a point particle."

Brian goes,"You don't even know what a point particle is!" (Actually, Brian's the one who didn't know.)

Sean said, "A point particle is nothing."

I think he's right. From Wikipedia: A point particle (or point-like, often spelt pointlike) is an idealized object heavily used in physics. Its defining feature is that it lacks spatial extension: being zero-dimensional, it does not take up space. A point particle is an appropriate representation of any object whose size, shape, and structure is irrelevant in a given context. For example, from far away an object of any shape will look and behave as a point-like object.

Don't look at me, I don't understand that either.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

It sure is looking a heckuva lot like Christmas

Check out the snow-covered Moscow River. This picture was taken from my neighbour Dewi's apartment. Gosh, I love her apartment, it has a fantastic view. Unfortunately for me, Dewi will be moving to Hanoi in a couple of weeks, her husband works for the Dutch Embassy. She's been here 2 years, long enough to see the river turn to ice that's hard enough to walk and skate on.

I only realised the other day that they've installed a huge Christmas tree in the development's football field. When I took this photo, it was afternoon, and the temperature was -9 Celsius I think, and yet there were people hanging around the tree, siao si bor. In the middle of the field is a Russian nanny trying to get her tot back home.

Anyway, Christmas decorations are out in full-force all over Moscow, and definitely very evident in our development. Lots of lights and big Christmas trees. Hmmm, so why don't I feel the cheer?

Monday, December 03, 2007


Sean told me a couple of stories tonight, the first titled The Cube and the Sphere, the second was The Pyramid and the Cuboid, which I typed onto my gmail as draft, cos I can't write fast enough. But when it came to his third story, he insisted, "WRITE IT ON THE BLOGGER, WRITE IT ON THE BLOGGER!!!" So I went to Blogger to type story No3.

The spinning cube and the tomato

Once upon a time, there was a tomato and then a spinning cube came and snipped the tomato into half. And then the spinning cube snipped it again to make 4 quarters of the tomato and then snipped it again to make 8 red triangles of the tomato. And then snipped it again and ate it and then spit out the seeds and then they grew into lots of tomatoes. And then they kept doing it again and again and again. The end.

I wanted to save this as draft, but there was no going past this little fella. After I typed "The end" up there, he immediately said,

"Put it on the other side, the wrong side of thirty. I want you to make this a Sean post."

So I'm clicking on Publish Post now.

After publishing, the page loads to this page, and I said, "Happy Now?!" He giggled, Yes! Then proceeded to read the entire post out loud and exclaimed, "I love this!" What do you love? "I love what you wrote, Write it on the blogger!", giggling away happily.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

A hippin' n a hoppin'

A friend of mine here (I'd better not mention names lest I embarrass her son) was relating to me just how very much into the hip-hop African-American culture her teenage boy is. They are Singaporean Indians. It immediately brought this rib-tickling Petronas advert to my mind. The advert is quite old so you may have seen it, but it's funny even after watching it many times.

ROFLMAO with Russel Peters

Nothing much happening here, there appears to be world-wide blogging malaise, my Google Reader hasn't been feeding much these few days.

I've been getting reacquainted with comedian extraordinaire Russell (Russel?) Peters on Youtube. Laugh until peng.

If that takes too long to load, watch at least this clip about whacking kids.