Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Really cutting it close with this post. i'm just about to miss my once-a-calendar-month minimum updating frequency. it's actually been more than 30 days, if you're counting, but well, at least i have posts in both november and december. i can't really explain the lack of posts in these past 5 weeks. i guess that everything's been rather routine, with only a few exceptions. hence, i didn't really have enough substance built up to warrant a post. and i guess i do now.

following our one-year dating anniversary, the date and i have still been going out regularly. a few of the more notable dates include going to sentosa (because i couldn't filter in time to get to vivocity, and we missed the subsequent u-turn back to the mainland), going for a concert, meeting the chemistry guys for christmas celebrations, and spending christmas itself together. i think we'll talk about each of them in sequence.

as mentioned earlier, we ended up in sentosa by accident. i was a bit apprehensive, mainly because i didn't know what the parking rates were. turns out that they were surprisingly cheap! $3 entrance fee, and a further $2.20 per entry at the carpark. spending $5.50 total for about 5 hours is actually pretty reasonable. we took a walk along the beach, caught pokemon, and explored some of the attractions. prior to this, the last time i'd been to sentosa proper was in sec 3, for a CCA camp (USS doesn't count). a lot changed in the 13-year gap. it looks more modern and more touristy, for sure. and it also caters to a more affluent crowd, as the increase in beach bars and restaurants showed. it was one of the more memorable dates, i think.

the concert which we went for was the distant worlds: final fantasy one. it featured final fantasy music, but distant worlds isn't affiliated to square enix. quite messy, but at the end of the day, what mattered was that we were treated to about 2 to 3 hours of good music. this is literally like the second-ever concert i've attended in my life. the first one was back in secondary school, and was actually the school band's annual performance. i think that most concerts aren't really worth the money in general, since i can stream stuff off youtube or other sources. but the date already got the tickets for this one. and i'm happy that they did. although i'm not all that familiar with most of the titles (everything other than 7, 8, 10, and 14), i enjoyed the music. there was a good mix of slow, classical-sounding pieces, and more up-tempo ones as well. we also met one of my JC friends there...more on him later. despite saying that i'm typically not one for concerts, i'm scheduled for another one with the date. this one features this korean pianist/singer called yiruma. same venue - star vista, in february next year or so; i forget the exact date. the one thing that quite impressed me about the organization of the concert was that they had a super-strict "no photography" rule, and they really enforced it. like, there were ushers and other personnel keeping sharp eyes out for anyone taking photos. and when one of them spotted a rulebreaker, they'd swoop down and politely insist that the photo(s) be deleted, even going as far as to check the camera roll. while some may say that it's an invasion of privacy, i think that it's good enforcement.

christmas celebrations with the chemistry guys was done a week in advance. we went to one of their houses, as we did last year. the date said that they had came along with me last year too. funny thing was that i didn't remember it. looking back at the archives shows that it did happen, and that my memory sucks. the gathering was nice...i got to see some people whom i haven't seen in longer than i care to remember. in addition, my friend's kids are growing up! yes, captain obvious here. but what i mean is that there's noticeable progress in their development! like his elder daughter can now walk and (somewhat) talk, while at this time last year, his younger son didn't even exist! i noticed something quite funny, too. normally, i have very low tolerance/liking for kids. but i found myself being quite ok with my friend's daughter. i guess it's because she's, well, my friend's daughter, so i feel closer to her. and objectively speaking, she's also rather well-behaved. mostly quiet, and not at all annoying. hopefully that doesn't change as she grows up. while interacting with her, i had this awful flashback to/of myself, aged between 6 to 9. i seem to remember really wanting the attention of the older relatives when they came over for CNY. goodness. how lucky i outgrew that nonsense by about primary 5. reminder to self: be a little kinder to kids. most of them will go through the attention-seeking phase. i suppose it's part of their brains maturing.

by this time, i think christmas should be over, no matter what time zone you're in. so, i hope you enjoyed your christmas. i know i did. had more celebrations than usual this year. the aforementioned one with the chemistry guys, one with the lab, one with the extended family, and one with the date and mother. that's like 3 more than a typical year for me. the lab one was nice. plenty of food, nice atmosphere, and we even played secret santa! i got my giftee/recipient a grapefruit-scented candle for his house. not because i think he smells bad or anything, but if i'm not wrong, he just moved into his own place with his wife. so (the date and) i thought that it would add to the homely atmosphere. my secret santa was my professor(!), who got me a notebook, a pen, and some type of chocolate biscuit. practical, as expected. unfortunately, i'd already got myself a planner, so i don't foresee myself using his notebook all that much. well...maybe it'll just be another one for the collection.

for the extended family, we had lunch at long beach east coast. turns out my aunt (that's chemical engineer cousin's mother) was visiting. the last time i saw her was probably when i went to her place in new zealand as part of my grad trip. gosh, it's been 3 years and 6 months. anyway, it was pleasant enough, though i did recall a quote from a TV show, which goes something like, "christmas is when we all meet up, to remind ourselves why we don't do it for the rest of the year". in the asian context, christmas could probably be replaced by CNY, but you know what i mean. anyway, the reason i say that is because gatherings like this remind me that the maternal aunts can be a bit...overbearing. don't get me wrong, i know they mean well, and that that's their way of showing their concern. but sometimes, "no thanks" really means just that. i'm not refusing food because i'm shy or afraid to look greedy. i just don't want any more. reminder to self again: they mean well, although it can get repetitive and thus, annoying. we also went back to my other aunt's place, where i played with the dog for a bit, and discussed car matters with my cousin and uncle. more on that later, too.

lastly, with the date. we did our christmas present exchange earlier in the month. they got me 5 mini stuffed toys from our favourite series. at the time when they gave me the gift, that series of toys hadn't even been released in singapore yet. so that was rather special. i got them gloves, because i noticed that their hands were really cold after a day's work. the interesting thing is that these gloves can be used with touchscreen devices. i have no idea how they accomplished that. i get how it's possible with regular nitrile gloves, because the material's thin enough to not affect the capacitance that much. but those gloves are decently thick. it's probably the material. maybe metallic nanoparticles or fibres? we also both got together and gave the mother a phone. she likes it, which shows that the date is in tune with her tastes. since we had done the gift exchange earlier, christmas eve and christmas day itself were relatively quiet. we went to bugis on the eve, and the date picked up a PS4. no, not for me. i specifically told them that i had no space or time for one. the date seems to enjoy it, which is nice. on christmas day, we went out for dinner with the mother, followed by an evening at their place where we played some games, like guilty gear and divinity: original sin. guilty gear was a bit of a different experience. i'm a bit more used to street fighter style controls. we both went through the tutorial, but somehow it didn't help that much. thankfully, the game offered a "newbie mode", which allowed us to pull of amazing combos by button-mashing. we played a few bouts with different characters, and i wasn't really keeping track of win/loss. what i did notice was that the date accused me of bullying them again. in this case, i didn't mind that much, because we were at similar skill levels and had similar exposure to the game. if i wanted to be egotistic, i could probably say that i had a slight advantage. but well...i'm not sure if the date wanted me to give way or not. in the end, it didn't really matter, as they started a winning streak. funny how i didn't mind losing here at all. wonder why. divinity was interesting, but a little bit slow for my taste. the date enjoyed it though, said it was those kind of dungeons and dragons style RPG that they liked. i think i need some more exposure about it before i form my final verdict.

part 1 of this post will end here for now. part 2 will be where i talk about more feelings-related stuff, like about my JC friends, and analyze the car issue again.

-random thought of the day: Holiday inertia.-

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