Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Registration for 18 Oct ReefWalk @ Kusu is now open!

It's the last day of September and unfortunately, our lovely Blue Water Volunteers website is currently down due to some IP issues. However that does mean that we're not having our usual activities! Intertidal ReefWalks @ Kusu island and Reef Check surveys with ReefFriends are still ongoing!
IMG_1624 IMG_0308 almost done...
Sign up details are under the cut ^_^

1. Kusu ReefWalks on 18 Oct


The evening Kusu Island ReefWALKs are back. The next walk will be on 18 Oct 08 (Sat) 5.30pm - 9pm and it cost $15 per participant. To register, please email reefwalk@bluewatervolunteers.org and provide the following details:

Contact Number:
Number of participants:
Ages of children (if any):
Emergency contact details:

Should you have any queries (or would like to join us as volunteers), please email reefwalk@bluewatervolunteers.org.

ReefWALK Team

The last two walks for 2008 would be on 15 Nov 08 (Sat), and 14 Dec 08 (Sun). Registration details would be posted up nearer the dates.

EDIT: if you have problems contacting us with the above email, try reefwalk@gmail.com

2. ReefFriends surveys

IMG_1157 Jas n Cas

For those of you who dive, and would like to lend a hand in collecting scientific data for the monitoring of our local reefs, please email reeffriends@bluewatervolunteers.org for more details on joining. We would be glad to have you onboard the team!

EDIT: if you have problems contacting us with the above email, try reeffriends@gmail.com

p/s. Three cheers for blogs and RSS feeds that can act as our backup(s) when things go wrong with the main site ^_^
Click for the rambling...

Friday, 26 September 2008

Woodpecker feathers?

Would probably need some help from the local birders here. Was finding these feathers (one at a time) at the Botanic Gardens yesterday, at the base of one of the stairs. Our in house bird conservationist says that it's from some woodpecker, and a quick Google search seems to agree (at least to a noob like me, where the distinctive white spots seem characteristic)...
P1040205 four pretty feathers

Three of the four feather found have the nice yellow colouration on the left side of the feather, and I'm hoping that it won't fade over time. All four also have a slightest blue tinge on the mid-rib(?) section. They're all about 7cm or so in length. The stairs that I kept finding them is situated under a rather tall tree (which unfortunately I cannot identify either...). Could these be from the Sunda woodpecker?
P1040208 close-up of one

Unfortunately, when I looked up the tree, I wasn't able to spot any birds. Didn't hear any bird calls either. I know that there are resident magpie robins in the vicinity (besides the usual assortment of crows and mynahs and pigeons) but these mysterious feathers don't seem to have come from them. Don't quite fit the colouring of the Sunda woodpecker either (though I could be wrong)... And it's unlikely that somebody dropped these "specimens" (no signs of breakages on any of the feathers) since I found them throughout the day, and only one feather each time I walked past those stairs.... Strange isn't it?
Click for the rambling...

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Arashi [嵐] - One Love

So after the ABBA madness (I know I didn't post about Mamma Mia!, actually I did but at the forums instead of here), now it's on to Arashi ^_^ Only the third Japanese "boyband" that I'm actually interested in (after SMAP and KAT-TUN)... Orange Range doesn't count since they're more rap in nature (plus Wikipedia puts them as alternative-rock) so I don't categorise them as a boyband, and the other groups I go for specific songs rather than the group... Anyways, this song is the theme for the Hana Yori Dango. Have yet to watch the movie but have heard this a number of times over Japanese section of 96.3FM, and it's one of those songs that just grow on you..... Lyrics are under the cut.

伝えたくて 伝わらなくて
I wanted to tell you, but I couldn't
Occasionally, before I became meek
泣いた季節を 越えた僕らは
The us that passed the season of crying
Now are really shining

それぞれ描く 幸せのかたちは重なり
Each of the forms of happiness we'd painted are overlapping
今 大きな愛になる
Now they've become a big love
ずっと二人で 生きてゆこう
Let's go on living together, always

百年先も 愛を誓うよ
Even if it were a hundred years past, I swear my love
You are my everything
信じている ただ信じてる
I believe, I just believe
In the person with whom I carve out a common time
どんな君も どんな僕でも
No matter what you're like, or even what I'm like
Every little thing is loved
君がいれば 何もいらない
With you around I don't need anything
Because we'll surely be happy

I waited for you in the rain
Without even knowing the meaning of kindness
The wounded night where we passed each other by
Even then, we've come this far

かけがえのない 出逢いは奇跡を繋いでく
Our irreplaceable chance meeting, I connect it with a miracle
思い出 重なりあう
Our memories overlap
はじまりの歌 鳴り響いて
The song from our beginning reverberates

どんなときも 支えてくれた 笑い泣いた仲間へ
To the friends who have supported us through thick and thin, and laughed and cried with us
心を込めて ただひとつだけ 贈る言葉はありがとう
I put just one thing into my heart, the words I send are "thank you"

百年先も 愛を誓うよ
Even if it were a hundred years past, I swear my love
You are my everything
愛している ただ愛してる
I love you, I just love you
Let's make a vow on the same tomorrow
世界中に ただ一人だけ 僕は君を選んだ
Just one person in the entire world, the you I have chosen
君といれば どんな未来も
Because if I'm with you, no matter what the future is like
It'll be shining always

ラララ 〜
La la la ~
Click for the rambling...

Friday, 12 September 2008

"Make It Happen" so did NOT happen.....

Back from JP, and Make It Happen was a bit of a disappointment as compared to the trailer... think the trailer just about showed most of the best bits.... The ending dance sequence, assumed to be the best that Lauryn can showcase, didn't pack the *oomph* that I expected it too. Largely due to it being a mishmash of moves she picked up from Ruby's and the street breakdancing.... Only cool bits was how she made use of props all over the stage, which is a bit unbelievable since her audition's like the first time she's hearing the music Russ rus(s)tled up for her, plus she didn't exactly prepare an audition piece.... Plus, monkey, MS and I kept wondering what happened to the articles of clothing that were "carelessly" thrown off the stage since the actors/actresses showed no sign of collecting them as the scene(s) end with them like heading off... Was even telling them that Lauryn probably forgot all abt the iPhone too! The burlesque theme was nice, though its influence could have been played up more.... To sum it all up, this is pretty much a dance version of Coyote Ugly (all down to the country-girl-goes-to-big-city-to-fulfil-dream-that-is-also-mum's-not-quite-fulfilled-dream idea) but minus the character chemistry that made everything have that extra razz... Plus, since it's already been a tried and tested plot, no real "high" points for me.... Guess I'll just stick to hiphop-ish dance movies from now on. At least I know I would probably enjoy the music and the sassy attitude, and likely the dancing... Wonder if I'm too old to pick up hiphop? Hmmm....

Non-MiH stuff....
Great hanging out with fellow "Westie" volunteers ^.^ We had a great time chatting and laughing over dinner and expensive kopi. All 3 of us had a great abs workout by taking turns cracking each other up... Mainly through talking nonsense! Can't remember half the things we crapped about but yar, nice relaxing, despite MS trying to confuse both monkey and fish at times.... Speaking of which, we realised that MS probably has the most number of monikers amongst the buncha us.... From MS to orang asli to stonefish (and for awhile, mola) to tree to "kool khoo" (in all the various styles of pronunciation) to lego (so he claims some basketball girl called him) etc... Too many to count!!! This fella simply has way too many names!

dj-fish here also splurged a whole bunch on DVDs. Ghibli stuff and a couple of english movies. Pretty sure that only ONE of them is an official DVD while the other 3 are BOOTLEGS!!! Especially since I do have an official Ghibli DVD (Howl's Moving Castle aka Hauru no Ugoku Shiro) to compare! *sigh* but they're rather cheap, so what to do?

Click for the rambling...

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Yet another dance flick to watch! ^^

So after checking out Step Up and Save the Last Dance, mainly after urchin_kaka's recommendation, it seems like I've gotten hooked on this particular genre of movies. So when I found out that Make It Happen's currently showing, dj here got rather excited. Probably be catching it this week with monkey. Interestingly enough, the show's co-written by the same person who brought us SU and StLD! Should be somewhat interesting despite the lukewarm reviews online. Seems that this movie's gonna deviate from the previous hip-hop themed ones, but I do hope that it would still deliver!
Click for the rambling...

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Wild Ocean @ Omni-Theatre

September is generally the "slack" month for the intertidal volunteers in general, with the tides not being quite low enough for decent guided walks, so September's generally our training month so to speak. But what else do the volunteer guides do when off the shores? We party, of course! And watch movies! So this fish found herself back at our Science Centre with sunflower and lizard of our local wildlife menagerie to catch the latest IMAX movie.
The catchphrase of Wild Ocean, "where Africa meets the sea", sums the show up nicely. The focus of the film is the annual sardine run that occurs on the south-western coast of Africa (around the Wild Coast) during their winter months. Nice amount of info and outreach/awareness packaged into a 40min show for the general public, including family groups with young children. We get a quick 101 course on ecology and the food chain, on how the combined interactions of warm and cold currents push the sardine shoals further up north along the east coast of South Africa, as well as closer to shore.

The film starts off by a quick overview of fisheries all over the world, about the decrease in catches, and how this part of Africa is still rich in sardines. Also leads to the point about how much more land have been delegated nature reserve status as compared to marine protected areas. The film doesn't bring up the more complex issues of regulating and enforcing laws and all in the protected areas but I guess the first issue to address would be to actually increase the protected marine environments on paper before even tackling the problem of managing the protected area. The closest that Singapore has to a "marine" protected area would be Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and Chek Jawa, but these are more intertidal in nature than being actual marine environments....

My heart goes out to those many many many sardines as it seems that every year during their sardine run, there are just SOOOOooooooo many predators coming from all directions to feed on them. Hundreds of dolphins, sharks, fur seals, penguins, and gannets all lying in wait for the appearance of humongous shoal of sardines. *shudder* Just glad this particular fish ain't a sardine.... The chaos is somewhat felt as I watched predators sweeping into the bait ball, and the shoal behaviour just reminds me of my undergrad days when we were discussing modelling and herd "intelligence". To put it simply, this "intelligence" arises from the collective behaviour of each individual sardine, each reacting to the movement of it's neighbour, each trying to get to the "safest" place of the shoal (which is assumed to be the centre), in a strategy to avoid predators. This chain effect is surprisingly good and, to a certain extent, result in some sort of collective intelligence!

Since these super large shoals of sardines are being pushed into shallower waters, the communities living along the eastern coast of S.Africa also benefit from the abundance, so the show's not just about wildlife. There's also some inter-dispersion of the human effects along the coast. How the fishermen look out for gatherings of dolphins and gannets that indicate the arrival of the sardine, meaning a feast for the two-legged ones as well. I particularly like the ending portion when there's a sand sculpture of a sardine can, and kids lying inside, just like little sardines! The film ends on a note that there is hope yet since NZ and S.Africa seem to be leading the way when it comes to designating marine protected areas, and that if each country is able to set aside a portion of their sea(s) to be protected, we might still be able to the immense action and numbers that are still seen at Wild Coast.

My Thoughts
(Man, why am I making this sound like some school reflection thing?!) Firstly, I am just so glad that I have never really liked to eat sardine. After seeing the poor little fellas being chased by so many natural predators, seeing them squished into a teeny can ain't really that appetizing..... However, I would have to be more conscious of my seafood choices. I do love seafood, sashimi and sushi, so I am definitely part of the cycle that is causing the depletion of global fisheries. I am unlikely to stop eating seafood altogether but I will definitely cut down on eating roe and some of the more "exotic" seafood (spider crab, lobster, marlin....), and as far as possible fish in general. You may think this is not much, but if everybody does the same, the demand for seafood (especially the rarer marine critters) would decrease, and with a decrease in demand, the stress on fisheries can be lessened a lot. Won't say that this movie impacted my life greatly since I have already been exposed to many more in-depth documentaries, as well as the fact that marine conservation and related stuff has been pretty much part of my life since uni. What I actually took home with me is the sheer scale of the bait balling and the marine life just off the African coast. To me, the mention of Africa has always brought to mind savannahs and lions, pretty much a Lion King kinda thing. Nice visuals that try to sneak in little take-home messages, and rather enjoyable, especially in view of some of the exhibitions at the Science Centre itself. Do give it a try, especially since there is a promo bundle price for the Omni-Theatre and Science Centre entry! The 3 of us have certainly enjoyed ourselves there, and we were there the entire day!
Click for the rambling...

Monday, 1 September 2008

Some randomness to start Sept ^_^

It seems to have been a while since I have done any online quizzes, so here'a a series of them ^^ Still on some random high after slacking the weekend away ^^ Skip the post if you're not interested... all quizzes under the cut...

(1) Commonly Confused Words

Your result for The Commonly Confused Words Test...

English Genius

You did so extremely well, even I can't find a word to describe your excellence! You have the uncommon intelligence necessary to understand things that most people don't. You have an extensive vocabulary, and you're not afraid to use it properly! Way to go!

Thank you so much for taking my test. I hope you enjoyed it!

For the complete Answer Key, visit my blog: http://shortredhead78.blogspot.com/.

Take The Commonly Confused Words Test at HelloQuizzy

(2) Geekiness

Your result for How geeky are you?...

Laboratory Geek

You scored 63% Geeky, 86% Cranial and 43% Introverted. You are quirky, intelligent, and like to fly solo. You're too curious to live a hermit's life and would much rather be working on some sort of interesting project though be it alone.

You might find it hard to connect with other people or you might have anxiety in social situations. It may be easier to avoid people as much as possible, but this will only limit the possibilities in your life. The world needs the contribution of people with brains like yours! So what to do? Baby steps. Whenever something feel uncomfortable socially, it's usually the right thing to do. Step outside your comfort zone a bit, take a deep breath and don't be afraid to ask the people around you for help.

Take How geeky are you? at HelloQuizzy

(3) Left/Right Brained-ness

Your result for The Right Brain vs Left Brain Test...

Center Brained!

Much like Goldilocks, you have gone the middle way.

Slighlty less typical, you could consider yourself center brained. Center brained people are neither left nor right dominant, but rather exhibit equal qualities of both. If you are center brained, you are likely both logical and creative, excel in the maths and sciences, and also art and philosophy.

Take The Right Brain vs Left Brain Test at HelloQuizzy

(4) Funny Test

Your result for The 3 Variable Funny Test...

the Comic

(43% dark, 31% spontaneous, 47% vulgar)

your humor style:

Yours is the most versatile and also the most popular kind of humor. You'll crack a joke about just about anything, but you're not
mean-spirited or intimidating, so you can get away with it--even when, for example, you bust on Mexicans.

You appreciate a good dirty joke as much as next person, but, over all, you've got a brainier approach to humor than most. Now just go out there and write up a routine; it's likely you'd be good at it.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Dave Chappelle - Rodney Dangerfield

The 3-Variable Funny Test!

- it rules -

Take The 3 Variable Funny Test at HelloQuizzy

Click for the rambling...