Short snippets from the last few days:
1. lots of sadness from young hollywood (and I don't mean the never-ending strike) - deaths of two actors, Brad Renfro and Heath Ledger. Many don't remember the former, who made few films, but he was a young bright star when he first appeared in The Client. The latter was a heartthrob for many teens when he appeared in 10 Things I hate about You, and continued to make critical and box office hits for the next 9 years. His last role as the Joker will be his posthumous reward.
2. interacting with my school's board of trustees more often than normal these days with changes taking place in the upper reaches of the institution. I've come to see their many facets as individuals, not all of them positive, but for the most part they remain a group that I enjoy working with and for. They are, if nothing else, energetic and generous with their time. And full of stories.
3. there's a good thread over at blogger Anton's post over what school to send his kid to, the quality of education in the city these days, and other matters pedagogical. It's a good sign that choices in the city are no longer restricted to catholic boys/girls school or the extremely expensive international schools, but a range of providers (including my own institution) that offers the parents options, and the children a chance to find their fit. It's not one-size-fits all anymore. Yes, the majority will still end up in public schools, and one's family budget will dictate the eventual choice. Price doesn't always indicate the quality of an institution, and there's no guarantee that putting one's child in the most competitive school around will mean a chance at a Nobel prize or being the next gazillionaire. Parents do make some hard choices, education being one of them. It's fraught with stress, and it's an organic process for parents who are willing to work with the school. From a school's perspective, it would help to have transparency, and less defensiveness on the part of the parent. I also attended a legal and labor workshop last week for private schools; there are laws that provide a framework for the parent-school interaction. Too many laws in this country. How many of the parents out there have read the manuals and provisions? It was an intense workshop, condensing an entire semester's worth of educational law into one day.
4. The city where I work is making us and other services pay a ridiculous fee to work in the city. For each non-resident of the city, we have to pay a fee, and then we will be forced to get a city id, and "benefits" (I think it covers some medical and burial services). I feel insulted. When did cities start making non-residents feel unwelcome by charging fees to work in one city or the next? Is the place so in need of income that they have to start charging the employees of the company/organization, and not the company? Of course the companies end up paying for the employee, but shouldn't other cities then start fining this town's residents when they work elsewhere? Tit for tat. Or just scrap the idea and tax something else if they are so desperate.
5. A friend who was based in Africa is heading back home. After two years away, he'll be finishing up his contract working as the hospital administrator and regional manager for healthcare providers and settling back here. We never did get to see Ethiopia through his eyes...
6. Workmates are considering a trip to Batanes in May. As I have promised to attend a good friend's party in Zamboanga in May as well, there's the possibility I could do a proper Northernmost to Southernmost trip, all in one week. Zoom zoom
7. Movie marathon all weekend long, or channel surf and catch all episodes of the XFiles now showing on AXN Beyond and CS. I do have the complete XFiles DVD set, but there's something about catching a stray episode on tv that just keeps me watching the show.
8. Full, creamy moon last night ringed with reflective sunlight. Framed by the skyscrapers over the field.
9. My cousin has given birth to our family's first in-vitro twins, two boys. Hope the mama and her partner are prepared; must send diapers. Over the holidays, caught up with the 3rd generation of kids, or the kids of my cousins. We have a surplus of girls, and most of them in the 2 to 4 year old range. They all look alike, but behave so differently. There's the bossy one, who is the youngest at only 9 months. Holy terror. Then the mild, independent types; the nervous, stressed ones, and a couple of ditzes. The two boy cousins are overwhelmed.
10. Lori wrote about milkshakes at Cuilliere (Serendra) on Dessertcomesfirst; I had tried their chocolate milkshakes when the restaurant first opened last year and was not as taken with it as others had touted. But it did make me ponder on the idea of milkshakes. I noticed that McDonald's is bringing back their milkshakes (chocolate, vanilla, strawberry), and when I had one recently, was sadly disappointed. No chocolate depth, just milky. What would make a great chocolate shake? For thickness, at least 3 scoops of good ice cream (HD or maybe the triple chocolate ice cream from local producer Sebastians), milk - maybe carabao milk for that extra layer of fat, and a tall glass and straw. Don't you think that as you reach the end of a milkshake, the sound of the last drops sucked from the straw remind you of a deathrattle? But to make a good milkshake really out of this world to die for, I'd add a good couple of tablespoons of Nutella or peanut butter or grand marnier or kahlua/baileys. Not necessarily all at the same time, otherwise too many flavors will kill the shake. Going back to McDonald's my friend S and I would save up our highly valuable bottles of Baileys (gifts from friends bringing us succour) and bring a bottle of it to the first McDonald's that opened near our boondocky campus. I'd buy us two chocolate shakes, and we'd head up to the 2nd floor, pour a liberal dose of Bailey's into the shakes. Sip, sip, add more bailey's. Avoid showing the alcohol to the kiddies munching on fries nearby. Keep sipping, keep adding. Walk back carefully.