Thursday, 31 March 2011


Family, And a good evening to you from across the globe after another GREAT DAY in the Lion City. Okay, so first off - ANNOUNCEMENT: there will be NO BLOG until next Monday. Why, you ask? Because, getting back into the AOC rhythm, Team Taylor is back on the road for a second straight weekend, this time going to MALAYSIA, BABY!!!! We're heading to some place called Pulau Sibu, which is about 3 hours from the Sing. We're staying at the "Sea Gypsy Village," so I'm pretty sure I'll be locking our doors at night. So Sammy the Bull had a rather odd wake up call today. Actually, it was the wake up call for my poor Muffin Puffin. You see, for only the third time he can remember (and yet the second time in the Sing), Four Leaf woke up WAILING from a dream. Yep - the last one was something out of a horror movie (no need to repeat here), and this one I only have flashes from. Basically I was in a backyard, and there was radiation coming toward me. I could see it, and I remember running around the yard (white fence and a red dog house) toward the basement. Only then I saw it coming at me from the basement door as well. I took off running, yelling "Detection!!!!!" at the top of my lungs - in the dream at least. Outside the Matrix, I was apparently wailing like a BANSHEE without making any discernable word. It woke muffin, which is something that GUNFIRE can't even do (hence it must have been serious). Given all the news has been about Japan lately, I have to think that's where it's come from. I think I'll give the BBC a rest tomorrow... And in another classic moment, I'm not sure if I mentioned all the FIVE BILLION RED BUMPS now on my body after the massage in the Balinese torture chamber on Sunday. Well, they are finally healing, yet a different cluster tends to pop up every day. Well, today Sarah (the one who passed out on the table) emailed Jenny and I and asked: "Do you guys have any red spots on you? I've suddenly got about 20 on my legs..." Good times at teh $7 goat rodeo - that's all I'm sayin'... In other news, the Bull and Perfect Pumpkin both hit the gym today, with Sammy logging 50+ minutes (and 25 KM) and JT doing both the treadmill (25 min) and the elliptical (30 min). We were tired when the day started, and we're EXHAUSTED now. Hopefully that will mean some DEEP sleep (minus the disaster dreams, of course). Other than that, not a whole lot else to print. And since I won't actually get to blog before her birthday, let me say a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOMMA!!!!!!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Make Steve take you out to the Chop House or somewhere very expensive. I would say have a beer for me, but, well...we both know that's not going to happen. Steve - I'm counting on you to pick up the slack. Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat next week! Love, Sam and Jenny

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

HR Townhalls get my blood pumping...literally...


And a good evening to you from across the globe after another GREAT DAY in the Lion City. So the Bull and the Striker both popped up out of bed at 6:15 this morning to run, and I'm happy to report that we were successful on both counts. Muffin Puffin logged 4.5, and the Bull got about 6.5 logged in just over 56 minutes. I will say that it was HOTTER THAN 40 HELLS about halfway through, and this time I didn't take a salt tablet. That was a mistake, as the headache definitely started building about 40 minutes into the run. I'm starting to believe all the cats that say Singapore really DOES have a summer - and that is NOT exactly what you want to hear when planning for a marathon.

Lunch was good today, as Pumpkin and I discovered a new spot in Vivo City - some unpronouncable (but tasty!) Taiwanese joint at the tail end of the mall. I can HIGHLY recommend the Rock Salt Chicken - it was FAAAAANTASTIC (if not necessarily good for BP).

So all good things are at work until I get to today's featured work event - the HR Townhall. This is a monthly shindig where some very important people lay out strategy across the region and the enterprise, and today's speaker was the Big Dog - the head of HR. She was a great speaker, and after she'd delivered the formal piece, she opened it up for questions. Never being a shy one, I threw up my and for the mike to ask my question. That was...well, where the wheels started to come off.

So I start talking, and suddenly my heart starts thundering like speakers at a KISS concert. 2 seconds later, I've got blood flowing through my ears like the Colorado blasting through the Hoover Dam, more head is coming out of my head than a solar panel in the Mojave, and I'm actually tearing up. It got so bad that I actually had to STOP mid-question (which looked REALLY AWESOME, for the record - I'm pretty sure I'm in line for an immediate promotion), but I did "cowboy up" and finish (and got a very good answer, for the record). All the same, since I'd grabbed my chest halfway through, I'm pretty sure about 100 folks thought I was about to keel over. Don't worry Mum and Dad - I'm totally fine and feeling better. I have NO IDEA what happened, but I honestly think that, perhaps for the first time in my life, I was genuinely nervous. My body's never been nervous before, so I think it just started going into shutdown. Oh well, more lisinopril for me!

I took a few calls from home in the evening before heading out for din-din with Muffin, Money, and Dan. Where did we hit, you ask? For the 3rd time in a week - WINE CONNECTION, BABY!!! I took it easy - just a glass of red to help this old guy relax. :-)

Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!


Sam and Jenny

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

After a 20 month hiatus, it's time to welcome some old friends back to the blog!!!


And a good evening to you from across the globe after another GREAT DAY in the Lion City. Ladies and gentlemen, after a 20 month hiatus taking them to the British Virgin Islands (the land of poisonous reefs, cheap rum, and VERY professional consulting), I now present the perennial nomads (props to O-vino for that moniker), back in action - LISA AND DAN!!!

That's right, folks - Lisa and Dan are in the Sing for some job interviews, and they are staying with us at casa de Typhoon Taylor. They arrived last night, at which point we rolled down to Hog's Breath (to spend the last three Hoggster Dollar coupons, baby!!!!) for a brewski before heading over to Boat Quay for our first ever meal in that locale. The classic moment was when Dan said, "My only rule is that we don't eat in a restaurant with pictures of the food." I couldn't help but chuckle, as you can't actually FIND a restaurant in Boat Quay THAT DOESN'T HAVE PICTURES on the menu. However, we found a GREAT place (free first drink and black pepper venison - oh yeah, baby), and so all was right with the world.

Muffin Puffin actually took today off to hang with them, and they had a GREAT day. For starters, they hit up McRitchie, where they logged the 7 mile "rainforest romp" in about 3 hours before heading over to Raffles place and hitting up one of the "famous top 5" Hawker stalls. Apparently this place is pimped out, unless Seah Im (the local hawker stall by the office).

It should be noted that they saw TONS of monkeys, and apparently they saw a T-Rex as well (I think they used the phrase "really big lizard," so I'm just going with it). Paula - you would have absolutely LOVED it - apparently Big D was taking more photos than Muffin Puffin - it would pretty much have been your own personal hell. But hey, at least the weather was nice!

After galavanting around Singapore, they hit the pool for a bit before I got home, at which point we rolled down to Sailors for some AMAZING Italian. I had Italian for lunch as well, which means a) I feel fat as a damn bear, and b) I should have PLENTY of fuel tomorrow morning during my run. The Bull's actually worked out both days this week, getting up at 6:30 to jog on Monday (as did Perfect Pumpkin!) and 6:45 this morning to log 30 (SLOW) minutes in the pool.

Other than that, not a whole lot else to report. It's SO GREAT to finally have visitors in the Sing, and I need to get back to them!

Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!


Sam and Jenny (and Lisa and Dan)

Monday, 28 March 2011

Exploring 'the mythical land of the gods" - an amazing weekend in Bali...

Family, And a good evening to you from across the globe after another GREAT DAY in the Lion City. Folks, this weekend Team Taylor discovered an absolute paradise. This weekend we discovered "the land between Heaven and Earth" as referenced by local tradition. This weekend, The Bull and the Striker skipped the "eating" and "praying" parts and fell instantly in "love" with Bali. In a word - WOW. Vietnam was good, but 5 days in Vietnam really don't compare to a weekend in this place. It all started on Friday with a pair of Dunkin Donuts (I KNOW what healthy is) upon arrival at the terminal. I selected a banana cream filled donut which almost make Muffin hurl. However, she did love her double oreo selection. We were traveling with Sarah and Lily (yes - the other two thirds of Sam's Angels - Asian Edition), and given the departure times from work they'd both given us, we fully expected to be teh first cats there. Therefore imagine our surprise when Sarah said, "Oh, hello," and shocked us near Duty Free (yes - Absolut Berry Acai, baby...). As it turns out, the lovely Ms. Smith had a rather bad salad for lunch, resulting in sickness that we all hoped would be a passing fad. Lily joined shortly thereafter, and we rolled over to our gate, where we boarded Team Taylor's first ever Jetstar flight, bound for Denpasar. We arrived around 9 PM, where we (ONCE AGAIN) paid $25 USD for a FULL PAGE VISA. Now granted, this one looks cooler, but it's still money that my cheap ass doesn't like throwing around. The hotel sent a shuttle for us and drove us straight to the "Bali Dream Villa 2," and LET ME TELL YOU - EPIC, BABY, EPIC!!!!! Yet again, I will make Hitman shake his head and say "this was probably the nicest place we've ever stayed." Seriously - the living room and kitchen are outdoors (as well as a pool shower), not to mention that we had our own private pool. When you factor in our SUPER COMFY king size bed and shower filled with rocks, slate, and sculpture, I felt like a KING. Full marks to MUFFIN PUFFIN!!! Way to go, darling bear! You do so guuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuud!!! That night we just chilled, having a few drinks and relaxing until about 2 AM. We then passed out for a scant 7 hours before rallying for what was, quite possibly, one of the 20 best days of my life. On Saturday I awoke to find Sarah already chillin' in the pool. The sun was out, the sky was an AMAZING blue, and 5 minutes later I was in the drink for a dip. We got the whole gang in the water for about 30 minutes before heading to breakfast (a rather minimal but tasty buffet included in the cost of the room). The coffee was utter DONKEY TRASH, but the omelets were good, as was the view (the main pool was WICKED AWESOME). We then headed back to the room and changed before taking the shuttle to the local town - Seminyak. This town was REALLY cool and had a GREAT feel to it. One of the coolest things I noticed? You've got a TON of motorbikes (but NOTHING like Saigon), and rather than go to gas stations, people literally SELL LITERS OF PETROL BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. And what do they use to store the petrol in? EMPTY BOTTLES OF ABSOLUT, BABY!!!! I think Sarah said it best: "Nothing like I guy riding up with no funnel and a smoking engine to watch another guy pour petrol into the tank whilst smoking." Looking back, that town's lucky the whole place doesn't go up in flames 57 times a day. We hit the street HARD, shopping like maniacs and buying ALL kinds of goodies (I can't tell you what any of them are, however, as most are Christmas gifts). We then turned our attention to another GREAT aspect of life in Bali - the beach. A perfect day. Gorgeous waves. 85 degree water. Surfers catching waves like they're the ex-Presidents from Point Break (100% Pure Adrenaline). We wandered along the shore for a bit before stopping for a drink at this SUPER CUTE place called the sand pit. Now a few things of note about this experience: 1. When Four Leaf says, "Let's get a drink," he means "Somebody pour me something with alcohol in it, because that's what you do at the beach." However, Lily and Sarah do NOT roll like the Taylors. No, no - instead of asking for "2 Bintang beers, please," they both say, "Can we please have the drink with the shot of wheatgrass, please?" WHEAT GRASS? What the hell IS THAT? Actually, I can confirm - they literally PUT SHREDS OF GRASS IN A BLENDER ALONG WITH SOME COCONUT JUICE. That being said, they seemed to enjoy it - but I'll stick with my Bintangs, baby (just $2 a bottle - SO CHEEEEEEEAP). And for the record - they ordered SECOND SHOTS OF WHEATGRASS. Mom - I really, really, really, really promise you I'm not an alcoholic. I mean COME ON! How can I compete with wheat grass shakes? 2. The spot was right beside the "A.J. Hackett Bungy Bar." A.J., incidentally, is the cat who "founded" bungy jumping in 1984 in New Zealand (T-Bone - tell me you don't remember the Kawaru Bridge, brother) as a recognized "sport." And whilst his facilities in NZD are AWESOME, this placed looks like something from the Tennessee Valley Fair (Miller - that comment's fair game - tear it up). In a word - SKETCH. 3. Lily, Muffin, and I all spent the better part of 30-45 minutes in the ocean (which felt AMAZING and had some KILLER waves - Rice, please sing "I'm the King of the Wave" now, please), even though neither of us had bathing suits. YES - let's just say that was one REALLY wet shuttle home. Sarah, however, did NOT make it to the ocean. Instead, she PASSED OUT FACE DOWN on the table. Do you see what this means? STICK TO BEER - organic food will kill you. Just sayin'... We headed back to the villa around 4:30, jumping back into the pool and enjoying our complementary ginger lemonade drinks whilst waiting for the other featured event of the evening - the Balinese massage, baby! Now granted, I'll confess that I was TERRIFIED as to what was going to happen to me, but I am happy to report that it was RELIGIOUS. Seriously - it was a GREAT rub down that didn't leave me limping for the next 3 days and crying in pain as though my muscles and joints had just been ripped apart.

And so, uber relaxed and freshly rubbed, we rolled into Seminyak for dinner at a GREAT place called Warung (I think it was the old train station). We ate like KINGS, splitting some great Indonesian and Balinese dishes before going for a wander around Seminyak in search of a night cap.

It was interesting - when we got in the shuttle to go to dinner, we asked to go to the "nice section of Kuta" (another town just past Seminyak). The drive looked at us as though we'd just said "Would you please take us to the part of North Korea that LOVES Westerners?" Seriously - he just shook his head and said, "No. No Kuta." When I followed up with "How about just the main square," he replied, "I think is no. Is no good. You no do. Not good restaurant. Just crazy people." Now THAT's a rousing endorsement - make that guy the minister of tourism...

So we're wandering around thinking that Seminyak will be low on bars, but we actually found a couple that looked good. The winner, however, was OBVIOUS when we walked past it and saw this Indonesian cat in a BEANIE screaming "Killin' in the NAME of!!!!!" I mean, if an Asian band is gonna cover Rage Against the Machine (AND the drinks are cheap), you've got me.

The girls got into the mix as well, but here they're dancing to "I Gotta Feelin'." Fizzy - where WERE you?!?!?!?

We then rolled back to the flat, where we passed OUT about 12:30 and slept like the dead once again.

The next morning we rolled out of bed about 9:30, caught brekkie again (still rubbish coffee), and then threw caution to the wind by visiting the leper colony of Kuta. About 35 seconds into arrival, we understood why home boy had tried to warn us off it - IT WAS A @#$# HOLE. WOW. Seriously - the DIRTIEST BEACH I have EVER seen. I got into the water twice, and both times trash just covered me and wrapped around me. I'm lucky I didn't get a syringe to the achilles or something. However, there was this REALLY sweet entry way to the beach, so that was cool.

We stopped for a coffee (flat white, baby), and we just sat for about an hour because a) there was nothing better to do and b) because it was POURING. Seriously - you realize the beauty of a drainage system when you're in a country that doesn't have one - WOW. It was a MEGA MONSOON for about an hour, and the water was inches deep in the road. It did lighten up eventually, however, at which point we wandered down the street to kill some time via - what else - ANOTHER MASSAGE!

So here's the deal - the goal was "a 1 hour massage for less than $10 USD." In terms of the "What," I can confirm that we exceeded expectations ($7, baby). In terms of the how, well...let's just say that I'm still paying for it.

We had planned to hit this place advertising $9.50 massages, but then Sarah got a flyer from a gal offering 1 hour for $7. This was a GREAT deal we thought, and so we all said yes. Only then did I realize that something might be sliiiiiiightly amiss. For starters, we were lead INTO THEIR APARTMENT, which a) had 2 SKUZZY lookin' dudes smoking out side and b) had been converted into a rather less than steller looking massage parlor. Wanted to keep an eye on things, I changed my massage to a foot massage vs. body. JT and Sarah stuck with body massages, with the consequence being that Jenny had to flip her pillow over due to the amount of hair on the side facing up - QUALITY.

So we kick off this massage, and the first thing this gal does is try to "cross sell" me a manicure. Lady, I haven't shaved in 4 days (although you can't tell since I can't grow a beard) - do I LOOK like I want trim nails? Be glad I'm not STABBING you with these claws. They also tried to give me a pedicure as well - WTF. Seriously - just rub my damn feet. Well, they did - as well as my calf muscles. HOLY @#$@#$@#$!!!!

For the record - I now have a SERIOUS internal bruise from where that demon rubbed so hard. In addition, she pressed so long in 1 spot that my leg hair and skin is INFLAMED. Plus I have this weird itch in my toe and calf...these red spots are normal, right?

The weirdest part (other than the fact that the massage ladies were talking the ENTIRE TIME) was the fact that, when I open my eyes about 10 minutes into the rub, I realize that, of the 2 curtains that were CLOSED when I started, Sarah's curtain is now open. Now I just assumed that, because it was closest to the door, they needed it out of the way (most of her is covered, for the record, so SHUT IT). I think nothing of it, until they tell both her and Jenny to "turn over," at which point I realize that they think she and I are together and apparently I MUST WANT TO WATCH HER MASSAGE. My eyes go shut and then the girls figure it out - "OOOOOOOOOH - he's with the OTHER one." So what do they do? They close Sarah's curtain and OPEN JENNY'S. Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Do dudes normally WANT to watch? SKETCH.

Bottom line:

1. I was hassled for a tip, so I gave 50 cents. I think I gave too much.

2. My leg hair may never grow back. Oh well, at least T-Rowe and I will have that in common.

3. My calf is STILL tight and hurts to touch it.

4. I am pretty sure that, in 2 months time, I'll have some new immunities to show off to the World Health Organization.

We then got a final drink in a coffee shop before heading to the airport, where we SCARFED down food and got to our gate EXACTLY as it closed. We had an easy flight back in, and then it was farewell to the girls before rolling home and hitting up Wine Connection for some EXTRA AWESOME cheese and even a few glasses of vino (Cab Sauv for Muffin; Rioja for the Bull).

Ladies - it was a GREAT trip - already looking forward to the next one!

And last but not least - Good job, Heels. I know it's not the Final Four, but it was a HELL of a season - overachievers this year in my book.

Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!


Sam and Jenny (and Lily and Sarah)

Thursday, 24 March 2011

The longest day in the office since we realized Arinso didn't have test scripts...


And a good evening to you from across the globe after a LONG but EXCELLENT day in the Lion City. I have no lie to tell, as I type this at MIDNIGHT, having just gotten home at 11, the Bull is tired. I didn't get to work out today, but it was a very productive day at work, and all in all I'm pleased. Let's just say I'm looking forward to the weekend, which brings me to the following ANNOUNCEMENT: there will be NO BLOG until Monday night. Why, you ask? Because Team Taylor is skipping eating and praying to head straight for the love as we head to BALI, BABY!!!! All I can think of is Puma's comment: "It's really nothin' but trailer trash Australians with no shirt on" - can't wait. :-) I do have some surprises for folks next week, so stay tuned. I'd say that, given the expected schedule, I probably won't post the Bali recap until the following week, but only because I'll (hopefully) have plenty of other stories to keep you interested.

I really don't have ANYTHING new to bring to the table tonight, as I didn't even eat a pineapple. All I had was a BOATLOAD of marmite, some overpriced turkey, and some EXCELLENT French's honey mustard. Add in some dragon fruit and New Zealand aged cheddar (all at 11:15 PM), and you have a recipe for keeping the Dunlap will secured for the next little bit.

Ovino - thank you SO MUCH for the story today. I haven't laughed that hard since I found out that some idiot actually gave Miller a new role and continued to pay him a salary.

Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat on Monday!


Sam and Jenny

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Godspeed, P-Dawg!!!!


And a good evening to you from across the globe after another GREAT DAY in the Lion City. So first off - apologies for no bliggy bloggy last night, but Team Taylor was chillin' with the one, the only, the incomparable - Paula McHugh. That's right, sports fans - fresh from her travels throughout Cambodia and New Zealand (and ESPECIALLY that brewery in Greymouth), we were able to catch a final meal with P-Dawg. I am happy to report that she looks tan, rested, and ready for the next great adventure.

We didn't work out yesterday, but we DID FINALLY DISCOVER WINE CONNECTION!!! So here's the thing - this place is IN OUR BUILDING. Seriously - it's the store CLOSEST TO OUR CONDO, and it is ALWAYS rammed. We'd heard great things, and especially when you consider that a) we poured out an ENTIRE BOTTLE of wine on Sunday night because it was vinegar (Jackie - yep, it was THAT bottle) and b) Perfect Pumpkin is in red vino withdrawals, well, we were DESPERATE to check this place out.

The wine? GOOD AND CHEAP. The cheese? EGGGGGSELLENT. The Squid Ink Pasta? SOOOOOO GUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUD (peppy cheekies). And is this an appropriate point to remind folks that it's black going in...and REAL black going out. Yes, yes - you're welcome for that.

Tonight was a quiet one, as we both worked late. I managed to log 5 miles on the treadmill (8:09 pace, so I can't complain), and it felt good to get some middle distance logged in the middle of the week.

Other than that, not a whole lot else to report except to say that KJ and Matt - I hope you guys are having a blast in the land of gelatto, gnocchi, and chianti!

Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!


Sam and Jenny

Monday, 21 March 2011

"The Shufflers will run unless there's thunder and lightning" - Oh, really...


And a good evening to you from across the globe after another GREAT DAY in the Lion City. VICTORY TONIGHT, my friends, as Sammy the Bull FINALLY completed a track workout! It was a doozy, and I kept the exertion to 75-85% throughout the workout. We did a pair of pyramids (200-300-400-300-200, with a 30 second break between each one), as well as a relay to end the evening. It was a GREAT workout, and I am bloody exhausted now. And the coolest part (don't panic, mum) was that we had CRAZY LIGHTNING the entire time. Seriously - picture huge flashes illuminating the night sky, followed by INSANE streaks across the sky. It was EXTRA AWESOME - I hadn't seen a good electrical storm in a while! We did find it funny because the Shuffler website reads "We'll run unless there's lightning!" Riiiiiiiight - some false advertising right there. :-)

The work day was good - another steadily busy one, but we did get a break for lunch. Muffin Puffin and I hit up "Brotzeit," which is the German place that serves...wait for it...wait for it...FLAMMEKUCHE!!!! Bring on the the open faced sandwich, baby!!!! Oh, wait...Ash, admit it - that was a CLASSIC moment.

Other than that, not a whole lot else to report. The cab home from the track was filled with plenty of 80's music, and I learned that the #4 hit on this day in 1983 was Culture Club's "Do you really want to hurt me?" Let me go ahead and say it for the record - THAT SONG REALLY SUCKS. And the #1 song on this day 28 years ago? "Billie Jean." I can see a single tear rollin' down VA's cheek as she pours some vino out to the King of Pop. Blood - set down that wine glass and go rock the Cubby Bear or Goose Island for a proper pint, yo!

Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!


Sam and Jenny

Sunday, 20 March 2011

A Walk on the wild side - visiting Singapore's Night Safari...


And a good evening to you from across the globe after another GREAT Sunday in the Lion City. I know that I've got 2 days to catch you up on, so let's kick off with Saturday's lunch at a GREAT spot - Indochine.

So Indochine is a chain in Singapore, and they've recently expanded to Thailand, the Philippines, and (randomly enough) Hamburg, Germany. It's a restaurant, bar, supperclub (but I don't think in the San Fran sense), and disco, but we obviously opted for the restaurant component only.

The food was great - venison fillets for me and duck green curry for Muffin, but the price of drinks (and we're talking any KIND of drinks) was REDONKULOUS. Seriously - $8 for a diet pepsi, and $10 for lime juice? I THINK NOT. Consequently, we had water only (which was fine and dandy, especially for my cheap ass).

Lunch was great, and just as we were about to leave, THE SKIES OPENED. Consequently, we spent the next 40 minutes sitting by the river, enjoying the downpour (complete with thunder and lightning) and watching the world go by.

On the way home we did something that, well, I honestly NEVER thought I'd do (at least not in the Sing). We're walking through a mall en route to McDonald's (it's all about the $2 McFlurry, baby!) when Pumpkin randomly says, "Look - pillows!" I'm having trouble processing WTH she's talking about until I turn around and see this "pillow and shoe sale" in the middle of the mall. Seriously - those were the ONLY TWO items available, and they had EVERY KIND OF PILLOW YOU COULD EVER WANT. Ultimately, JT selected the memory foam pillow (KJ - you'd be so proud), and I simply couldn't resist taking this photo. That is one happy red head right there, and husband bear is happy because it says that "this will reduce tossing and turning." I mean, I'm so happy for Jenny -now, instead of falling asleep in 6.7 seconds, it will be more like 2.9.

After that, we headed to the next activity of the day: massages at the Balinese Massage House. Now T-Rowe, I'm sure you're rolling your eyes again at our D.I.N.K. asses, but TRUST ME - you get the last laugh in this story.

So here's the deal - we'd booked in for a 90 minute massage, with Jenny selecting the balinese massage and Four Leaf selecting the much bally-hooed "Hot Rocks Massage." I had planned to get this last weekend in Indonesia, but when the description said, "Not for people who do not like intense heat and pain, as the rocks will be extremely hot, causing discomfort and leaving red marks on your back for hours." Seriously - does that really ENTICE anyone?

On the walk there, I told Jenny, "I can't believe I'm FINALLY crossing off a hot rocks massage. Mom will be so proud." 30 seconds later, I'm kicking off my shoes at the massage parlor when the gal tells me that hot rocks isn't available today. I politely ask why I wasn't informed of this during the booking I made THREE HOURS EARLIER, and she announced to me that "Oh, it just broke, sir." For the record - I thought AND STILL THINK she was lying, but since I was there and had loved previous balinese massages in times previous, I just nodded and switched to the "house signature." And THAT, sports fans, is where it gets interesting.

So we strip down (except paper drawers, of course), get under the covers, and then get settled. So far, all good things. But then, the unnamed woman who from this point forward will only be known as "the white boned demon" (reference for your historians there) entered the room - I can confortably say that my muscles, joints, bones, or fragile psyche will NEVER be the same EVER again.

Let me give you the quick recap:

Minute #2: My lady starts out working my back reasonably good.

Minute #4 Conversation:

White boned demon (WBD): "How is pressure, sir?"

Trying to Relax Sammy (TtRS): "You can press a bit harder."

WBD: "You want harder, sir?"

TtRS: "A wee bit is fine, please."

WBD: (I'm sure there was a smile on her evil face as she replied here) "Okay, sir."



This continued (rise-repeat) for about 45 minutes, at which point I was pretty sure that we were headed to Raffles Hospital if I survived the "treatment." I will say that, periodically, I would look over at Muffin Puffin, and each time I was amazed at the loving treatment she was receiving from her saint of a massage lady. I mean seriously, at one point whilst my gal was purposely trying to SLIP MY DISKS, Jenny's gal was rubbing her scalp, almost playing with her hair. WE ORDERED THE SAME BLOODY MASSAGE. How do you explain that?

Let me cut through it - if I thought the first 45 were bad, when she hit my legs, I almost blacked out from pain. I actually CRIED OUT once, and another 4 times I BEGGED (seriously - I BEGGED) her to go easier. The conversation ALWAYS went like this:

Now Broken Sammy (NBS): "OUCH. That hurts and is too hard."

WBD: "Pain, sir?"

NBS: "YES. Pain. Lots of it. It's like a bloody Texas Chili Cook-off." (Okay, I didn't say that last sentence, but Jay Powell - I know you're out there and know what I'm talking about).

WBD: "That hurt, sir?"

NBS: "YES. Please don't rub so hard."

WBD: "Okay, sir. I do long stroke."


Seriously - I have no words. I could BARELY WALK when we left there. Next time it's "Hot Rocks" or bust, and if that's as painful, then it's foot massages from now on. Hairless, admit it - you're CACKLING right now and forwarding this to Mandy.

After that, we went back to the house and rinsed off before heading to the featured event of the evening, which TOTALLY redeemed the day - the Singapore Night Safari. We don't have many pictures because, well a) it's really dark and b) you can't use your flash, but trust us - IT WAS AWESOME. Seriously, there are 4 trails and a tram ride, and it was ALL spectacular. This was a true highlight of Singapore, and we were VERY impressed. We saw CRAZY critters like the serval, mouse deer (smallest hoofed animal in the world - Brisson, that was another "Phoenix Park" fact for you), and flying squirrel, as well as hyenas, giraffes, hippos, and a host of others. We spent just under 4 hours there, and we're both really, REALLY glad that we did it on a separate date from the Zoo, as this way we appreciated it much more.

We got home around midnight, watched a couple of CSI (VEGAS, BABY) episodes, and then called it a night. I should mention that I also saw an episode of "Blue Bloods," which I thought was really solid. We passed out around 2 AM, meaning the Bull had been awake for 20 straight hours and had logged a) 7 miles in the rainforest, b) another 4-5 walking, and c) lost 12 years off his life in pain and suffering at the hands of a reincarnation of the Spanish Inquisition.
We set the alarm clock for 10 AM today, but I will be honestly, I just COULD NOT do it. I reset it for 10:30, but STILL no go. I laid there to doze a bit longer, thinking I'd be out about 5 more minutes. As it turns out, I was out 95, as we woke up around noon (sorry, Pumpkin!). We rolled out of the house and went down to Hog's Breath, where we had a GREAT brekkie (at 1 in the afternoon). We then went for a wander down Esplanade, stopping at the Archipelago Brewery. This place, sports fans, was EXTRA AWESOME, and best of all - THE PRICE WAS RIGHT.
Seriously - Archipelago (Singapore's oldest brewery, beating Tiger by 1 year) was founded in 1931, and they had 4 beers on offer. We tried the sampler platter first, progressing then to each try another. I found the wheat beer to be my fave (I'm not a big wheat guy, but this puppy tasted like Corona on steroids with a calamansi lime infusion - it was SOOOOOOOOOOO GUUUUUUUUUUUUD...peppy cheekies). Muffin went for a pint of Summer Ale, which was also MOST excellent. Best of all - pints were only $8!!! GOOD JOB Muffin finding this place!

And side note - I'm sure that you can't tell, but the logo is a lion (it's just above the word "archipelago" on the glass). It should be noted that it's the EXACT SAME FONT, CIRCLE, AND STYLE as the Tiger beer logo, but since this was founded first, one can't help but wonder who stole from whom...just sayin'...
On the walk home, we chanced upon a GREAT random fine. As those loyal followers of the blog know, I have been FURIOUS about the recent blockading of the Merlion for the "Merlion Hotel." However, today we learned out why, and my hatred is burning much less bright.
So as it turns out, this "hotel" is part of an art exhibit throughout the city, and this is the "featured" exhibit. Folks get to go to the hotel room during the day to "experience the position shift of the observer to a landmark, discovering how views and perceptions can change when one is transported to eye level with a landmark that traditionally towers overhead." Now, all I could think of was a) Wu Wi Wi's sunflowers seeds (in other words - "MORE DONKEY TRASH, JUST ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD") and b) the thing is only 20 feet tall, "towers" isn't the word I would choose. All the same, we hopped in the queue for our "quick check-in" at the Merlion Hotel (for the record, a couple of night actually DOES sleep there - the check-in is 8:30 PM to 8:30 AM - I would LOVE to know the cost of that. It's fully booked in case you're curious). The wait was about 30 minutes, but it was DEFINITELY worth it.
For starters, I FINALLY got to see my Merlion again! Secondly, the view from the balcony (YES - there is a balcony, as well as a bloody BATHTUB) was STUNNING. Third, it was just SO RANDOM, how could you NOT experience this? It was SO ridiculous, but hey, I got to get up close and personal with my Merlion, so now I'm calm and can wait until mid-May when they tear this foolishness down. Good times...
On the way home we crossed off another to-do: DURIAN ICE CREAM, BABY!!! Now I've gotta be honest, the taste really wasn't as bad as I was expecting. The smell juuuuuuust before you bite into it, however, was nothing shy of a 3rd world sewer. I know that Muffin Puffin disagrees with this, but I have been burping all afternoon, and each time I get the "essense of fresh cest pool" aroma in my nostrils. Let's just say it will be awhile before Sammy dances with the real thing.
And speaking of eating, Muffin Puffin just finished some pasta, so it's time to settle in for some din din.
Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!
Sam and Jenny

Friday, 18 March 2011

The acclimatization continues - 2 outdoor runs in 2 days...


And a good Saturday morning to you from across the globe after another GREAT DAY in the Lion City. IT'S THE WEEKEND!!!!! For my family and friends back in the states, PLEASE ENJOY SOME MARCH MADNESS FOR US. I saw that the Heels advanced, so that's a good thing. I had Vandy in my Final Four, however, and it seems as though they've already left for an early shower. Oh well, boys - stick to the MBA's - it will serve you better in the long run anyway.

So yesterday was great. For starters, the Bull actually got out of bed early, rising at 6:45 to log 3.5 miles before work. Normally we take Fridays off, but since we'd skipped on Thursday for St. Patty's Day, I needed to log some miles. It was HOT but felt good, and I was certainly glad I "got up and got after it" (you're welcome for that one, Dad - I can confirm the pavement was sufficiently pounded).

The work day was good, and I even got a chance to go over to visit a vendor site, which is always a good thing. I knocked off work about 6 PM, rolling back home to find Wife Muffin settling into her first Absolut Raspberri and Sprite. It took me all of 7 seconds to join her, and we took it easy for a bit before rolling down to dinner.

We hit a spot that we'd been wanting to try for awhile, especially given that it's RIGHT beside the condo and we've walked past it EVERY NIGHT for the last three months. It's called "The Sailor's," and it's an Italian Seafood restaurant which is so guuuuuuuuuuuuud (peppy cheekies). We absolutely TORE UP some black risotto (the sauce was SO THICK - my fingernails are STILL black from the festivities), followed by seafood linguine and...wait for it...wait for it...FOUR CHEESE GNOCCHI, BABY!!!!!! Who can eat 14,000 calories of Gorgonzola in a sitting? THIS GUY. Bring back the Dunlap, baby - Four Leaf's got some carbs to store.

After dinner we rolled home, where we did something we haven't done in a long time - sat on the couch and watched TV. CSI (VEGAS, BABY - the ONLY one that really counts) Season 11 was showing on AXN, and so we settled in for back-to-back episodes, which was really nice. Jenny said it well on St. Patty's Day - watching a movie and just relaxing last weekend was really nice and truly felt like a bit of home, which is something we haven't had a lot of lately. Singapore life is VERY easy, but if you don't make the effort, you can easily forget to include some of the things you've always enjoyed doing together as routines of the "new normal."

In true Taylor fashion, we sacked out around 11 PM, meaning that, once again, OUR EARLIEST NIGHT OF THE WEEK WAS FRIDAY. Face it - we are some WILD and crazy people.

The Bull actually got up early again this morning, rising at 6 and leaving the house (hydration belt in tow) about 6:30 to head for McRitchie park. The Singapore Shufflers do a 7 mile "Rainforest Romp" every Saturday at 7:15 AM, and I was flat DETERMINED not to be the gimp for the third straight workout.

I figured I'd be able to flag down a cab (we literally live RIGHT IN FRONT of a taxi stand), but no joy. I did manage to call and book one, but when I got in and said, "Hi, headin' to McRitchie Park," home boy was CLUELESS as to what I was talking about. Finally I said "McRitchie Reservoir Park," at which point he repeated, "Ah, Magriiiiikee Reservar Pok" and took off like a bat out of hell. Now come on, people, I simply HAVE to ask this question - why did "Reservoir" trigger something that "McRitchie Park" did not? There are only TWO PARKS IN THE WHOLE COUNTRY, and the other one is "Jurong Bird Park." Seriously? Seriously? Anyhoo...

The run was great, but DAMN was it tough. Honestly, I simply must tip my cap to Matt Miller (and YES - this is killin' me). MattPa - how you managed to run another NINE MILES in the heat of the day after that loop is simply beyond me. I was DEAD. Between your endurance and the fact that your boys lost to Bill Cosby and the wicked stepchildren yesterday, I hate you now more than ever. Seriously - I had your boys in the Sweet 16 - NTAC...

I logged the 6.8 miles in 1:01:46, which I was pleased with considering that it was a) truly a trail run with a LOT of rocks and branches, b) HOTTER THAN 40 HELLS, and c) my second straight day running. It was good practice for Sundown, which is still more than 2 months away. The next big outdoor run will be this week (prob Thurs), where I'm gonna shoot for 8-10 again.

My cab ride home was another classic, as my driver SANG the entire ride. And LBRC - he was NOT Sinatra. I thought for a bit I had to be on a gag show, as the dude was either humming in about 97 different keys or breathing into his armpit (LOUDLY, I might add) the entire ride. Good times at the goat rodeo.

Okay, it's 11 AM, and it's time to start the day. Chat tomorrow!


Sam amd Jenny

Thursday, 17 March 2011

St. Patty's Day - Sing style (in other words - SILENT LIKE THE GRAVE)...

And a good evening to you from across the globe after another GREAT DAY in the Lion City. HAPPY ST. PATTY'S DAY!!!! You'll notice that Team Taylor is ROCKIN' the Green - not just the clothes, but also the beer. For those ardent blog followers, you'll know where we were tonight - RED DOT, BABY!!!!
It's truly been a great day, and in preparation for the Hitman's visit next week, I'm doing what I can to drive my tolerance up quickly. Hitman - I think you should take it as a testament to how excited I am for your visit that I threw back a whopping THREE WHOLE PINTS tonight. When you consider Muffin Puffin did the same (bringing us to $70 spent on beer this evening), I think you should take it as a compliment.
In other news, today was the coolest day in the Sing yet, with temperatures reaching a frigid 77 Fahrenheit. It was actually below 75% humidity for the first time as well, and I figured folks would be out in parkas and beanies. It was just a normal day, however, save for Sammy the Bull soaking up the "cool weather" prior to pick-up this morning.
Other than that, not a whole lot else to report. Lunch was Subway, and dinner was Red Dot, where we watched the International Cricket Cup Group B match-up between England and the West Indies. Seriously, I have really, REALLY tried to get into Cricket, but I have no lie to tell - IT IS UTTER DONKEY TRASH TASTIC. SERENITY NOW!!!! England was up when I left, and the only cat in the whole joint watching the match was this cat who'd been nursing a HALF PINT since before we got there. Seriously - We spent 2 hours at this place, and he'd consumed about 1/2 of that beer - THAT'S A QUARTER PINT. I wanted to smack this guy upside the head and tell him to order a Coke next time.

I realize it's short, but hey - it's actually before 11 PM for a change, and Team Taylor's gonna read a bit and then hit the sack. Mom - still no Kindle, but I'm sure that it's in flight. It's probably stuck in customs right now, as they have to check any and all packages destined for "Expat Caning Candidate #1" - I know that you're so proud.
And finally:
1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NANNY!!!!! Trust me - 79 is the new 25 - you're gonna LOVE it.
2. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BOB!!!! Here's hoping you and Jan paint the town, ending up at the Breakfast Club at 3 AM.
3. CONGRATS, MICHELLE BURCHAM!!!! SO excited for you about the new addition. VERY cool.
4. Lovely Lynda - tonight's an Amarula night - to you goes all the credit for introducing us to this ambrosia.
Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!
Sam and Jenny

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

How's this for Asia warping my mind - I LOVE MY STANDING 7 PM WEDNESDAY MEETING...


And a good evening to you from across the globe after another GREAT DAY in the Lion City. Today was another busy one for the Bull and his gang, but I did get time with Muffin Puffin for lunch. We hit Han's again, mainly because a) Jenny LOVES their spicy tuna on Focaccia and b) I love the fact that it's $2 a sandwich and in the air conditioning. I will say that she was less than impressed by the amount of tuna placed on the sandwich, but the 11 pounds of watery coleslaw more than made up for it. I had a fried egg and cheese (even though I asked for fried egg and bacon; I mean let's be honest, the fact that they can understand ANYTHING I've said is a small miracle), which was tasty.

The workout was the pool for perfect pumpkin and the gym for me, where I cycled for 50 minutes. Oh, and the BIGGEST news? I heard "I CANTS GETS NO SLEEP" at the gym!!!! That's right, sports fans - home boy was back to "makin' mad luv on 'da heath, tearin' off tights wid 'mah teef" - those are some quality lyrics right there. Now if I can just hear "klepto insane," I'll truly feel as though I've come full circle.

Tonight comes with a single, completely random observation. As I dialed in for my weekly 7 PM (8 PM until this week) call (Optimal Governance) tonight, an insane thought occurred to me - I am actually EXCITED about this call. Why, you ask? Well, a couple of reasons. First off all, I LOVE most of the cats on there (Des-X, All-Pro, Havana, Fantabulous, C-Web, etc - the list goes on and on), and this call is the only time I get to chat with them. Secondly, when you're this far away from the folks you've worked with for years, it really is WONDERFUL to hear their voices, get some of the old camraderie, and feel like you're a bit more connected to them again. But perhaps most important - ALL OF THE OLD NICKNAMES, JOKES, AND PHRASES GET THROWN AROUND WITH RECKLESS ABANDON. On that call, I AM the Siberian Snow Leopard. On that call, I CAN fire people mercilessly. And on that call, threatening to burn down everyone's house WON'T get me caned. Honestly, it's the little things in life, isn't it? But Yazz - I'd still like to gut you like a fish...just sayin'...

Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!


The Siberian Snow Leopard and the Body Combat Princess

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

A weekend for the books - chillin' at Tempat Senang in Indonesia...

And a good evening to you from across the globe after another GREAT DAY in the Lion City. The Bull awoke to some quad pain this morning (shocking, I know), so he settled for 1200m in the pool. I felt pretty good for the duration, and tomorrow I'll go with cycling to keep the impact low (although it will burn the quads). As I type this, Muffin Puffin is goin' full throttle at "Body Pump," which is another one of those "Navy SEALS are afraid to do this much physical activity in a month, but we'll pack it into 60 minutes and set it to Katy Perry" classes. And speaking of, I think it's time to turn on some "Teenage Dream" - after all, I KNOW what manly is...

So tonight I thought I'd give everyone the recap of this weekend. We left work just after 6 PM (so YES, it WAS a half day), stopping over at Harry's Bar and Grille so that Muffin Puffin could cross another brewski off the list - Harry's Premium Lager (HPL as it's known in these parts). It was nice and light, and it made for a GREAT start to the weekend.

30 minutes later we've cleared customs, made a purchase at Duty Free (Absolut Vanilla, baby - WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER), and are boarding the ASEAN Raider II bound for Batam. This island, just 45 minutes from Singapore, has been labeled everything from "Singapore's little brother" to "the weekend getaway for Singaporean men in search of cheap hookers." Honestly, there's quite a bit of "gray area" between those 2, and so I was quite keen to check this place out (Puma, that doesn't mean that I was truly searching for a "grass roots" experience).

The boat over was great - nice view of the Sing, nice breeze on the water, and the novelty factor of being THE ONLY CRACKERS ON THE BOAT. To quote Fizzy: "One of these things is not like the other." And yes, we did get a few odd looks.

We landed before we arrived (Indonesia is 1 hour behind Singapore) and marched straight to the VOA (visa on arrival) counter. So here's the deal, despite being in a place where Rupiah is the local currency, you have to drop $25 bones USD to get a 30 day visa. We go to the counter, and I ask home boy whether or not it's multiple entry. He says, "Yes, you come go many time." Sammy the Bull thinks SWEET! But OH NO - NOT IF YOU HOLD AN AMERICAN PASSPORT, BABY. Instead, there's a HUGE note in the middle of the visa (which uses a FULL BLOODY PAGE) that says: "AMERICAN - good for single entry ONLY." And to make it better, when you go through customs, they stamp the word "USED" in 17,000 Font across the visa - JUST to ram the point home. Good times.

All the same, we were met at the terminal and driven straight to the resort, at which point we DISCOVERED NIRVANA. Seriously, the reviews said that this place was "paradise" and that you'd "feel like the only people on earth." I am happy to report it was bang on.

There are only 7 rooms (it's a converted Balinese villa), and each room is themed. We went with the "Indonesian room," complete with a 4 poster bed (which was THE MOST COMFORTABLE BED EVER, for the record), an outdoor shower, a balcony, and a 50 inch plasma. :-) We arrived to find dinner (Kaffir Lime Chicken and Vegetable Lasagna) waiting for us at the outdoor balcony restaurant, where we dined like kings and even tried a new beer (Bintang - the local Indonesian brew). Prices were GREAT, and the food was eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeven better.

This place really was perfect. We showed up with our bottle of vodka, and their first comment was "we'll bring some ice up." They followed up by knowing our name whenever we went to the restaurant, and the service was GREAT. There was even a pool table, so Pumpkin and I showed off our MAD SKILLZ DAT KILLZ for the staff (T-bone, I want the Pool Shark. After all, he's never shot a game in his life). Seriously, you should have seen Jenny - she played like something out of "The Color of Money" (Mom and Dad - STILL one of the worst movies I've ever seen).
Another fun feature is that they have TONS of movies for rent. The catch is that ALL OF THEM ARE BOOTLEGS FROM DUDES SITTING IN THEATERS VIDEO-TAPING. Seriously, we watched "The Proposal," and throughout you could see people walking the aisles, stretching, and sometimes even talking. Hilarious! (the movie was cute, btw. And work peeps, when it started, Muffin looked at Ryan Reynolds and said "Isn't that Onisick?" I about wet my pants.)

Saturday morning we awoke (after a 10 hour slumber) and had a GREAT breakfast overlooking the neighboring golf course. We then chilled at the pool for about 2 hours (we had the whole place to ourselves!) before heading to the main event of the weekend - the 3 hour couples massage. Seriously - to quote my aunt Pange - I was a limberneck when that was over.

So here's the deal - when we booked this joint, it was a package deal complete with 3 spa treatments apiece for 1 hour. Hour #1 was a massage, followed by any 2 treatments of your choosing. We both elected the full body Balinese massage (SO GUUUUUUUUUUUUUD), and then we both opted for the "hot compress" massage. And whilst I enjoyed scalding cloth being rubbed all over my body until I was covered in 2nd degree burns, Muffin was LESS than enthused. I'm pretty sure she said "ouch" about 471 times during that hour. The response was always "I sorry miss," but instead of letting the towels cooled, she WENT AND GET FRESH ONES FROM THE COOKER. I mean, did she think that Jenny was screaming because the towel was like sandpaper? It was BOILING - how rough could it be?

Treatment #3 was a scrub (in honey oatmeal or something like that) for JT and reflexology (translation - let's try to break every bone in your foot) for Four Leaf. There were no complaints from either of us on that go around, but I am pretty sure she dislocated at least 3 of my toes. Details...

We dozed and lounged by the pool after that before heading up to dinner, which was RELIGIOUS. We then went back to the room to watch another movie, selecting "Knight and Day." However, as it was a) illegal and b) scratched to HELL, it didn't play. However, we then learned that all movies were ALSO available on...wait for it...wait for it...memory sticks! That's right, why buy bootleg copies when you can just DOWNLOAD them illegally on the internet! Consequently, Muffin and I spent the next 2.5 hours watching a dubbed version of 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" (C-Web - they left a TON out. Honestly, if you hadn't read the book, I don't think you would have found this movie that entertaining. That being said, we did enjoy it).

Sunday was brekkie again, followed by a final outdoor shower (SO EXTRA AWESOME) before heading to Batam Centre. You see, we changed out departure point because we'd been told that there was this AMAZING shopping center in Batam Centre called "The Mega Mall." Given the hype, we booked at 5:30 ferry and caught a cab to this place, expecting to be wowed.

Well, as it turns out, "mega" must mean something different in Indonesia. I think it must mean "slightly better than Haiti during the 1791 revolution but still quite a bit less than anything you'd shop in regularly." Seriously - it was 20 stores of UTTER DONKEY TRASH, 10 coffee shops, and a LOT of "coming soon"signs.

Luckily we were able to get on the 12:40 ferry back, and we arrived back in the Sing just before 3 PM. That let us chill by the pool for an hour before heading over to Brewerkz for Happy Hour and BURGERS, BABY! We then came home, where I chatted with both my folks before calling it a night.

I'm SO glad that we've been to Batam, but I don't think we'll go back. That being said, we've got BALI AND BINTAN TO GO, which means there's plenty more of Indonesia in our future (and plenty more full page visas, while I'm at it).

Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!


Sam and Jenny

Monday, 14 March 2011

When you can never have too much pain, stick with the 3 C's: call-in's, cleanings, and cramps (not that kind)...


And a good evening to you from across the globe after another GREAT DAY in the Lion City. Team Taylor is now back from a WONDERFUL break in Indonesia, but that story's gonna have to keep until tomorrow, otherwise you'll have another "I ate a pineapple" evening (Shogun - you've created a new term - take a bow).

So I arrived at work today, fired up the laptop, and started work the way I always do (and NO, it's not "check Skyscanner for cheap flights") - checking email. And in true "Monday" fashion, I found out that 3 people were off sick. Now normally in a team of 10+, this isn't a disaster, but it is rather unfortunately when they are the primary, secondary, and tertiary cover of a geographic region. Again, with Payroll cutoff WAY behind us, I wasn't concerned. That was, at least, until the first "ASAP: TRUE EMERGENCY!!!! NEED TODAY!!!!!" email came through. AWESOME.

As it turned out, it was NOT a true emergency, but it WAS one of FOUR emails I received with basically the exact same subject line. Hitman - you would have KILLED someone for these injustices. But me being the pacifist that I am, I just taught the folks in the cubes around me the meaning of "NTAC" and went about my business.

Things rolled on through until noon, at which point I went for my first dental cleaning in 16 MONTHS. Now I know, I know - this is the part where you all chide me for not going every six months and Jenny's chimes in about how chubby hubby doesn't floss. But I felt I was fine in Britain, as a) alcohol kills all germs, I so assumed that it was killing plaque as well, and b) well, British teeth. I mean really - do I need to say anything more? I felt I was safer at home (Sorry O-vino - you have very lovely teeth - the Welsh bloodlines are strong).

The featured spot for the cleaning was "Dental on the Bay," and I must say that it was a unique experience. Some key points:

1. I made the appointment LAST WEEK. That's right, sports fans - no 6 month wait in this place. When I scheduled, they said, "Is this afternoon good for you?" After I picked my jaw off the floor and said no, they said, "How about tomorrow morning then? Or evening? We're open until 7:30." Really? REALLY?

2. When I told them what I needed, there was SILENCE on the phone. You see, apparently (as I discovered from checking the web after making the appointment) "Dental on the Bay" specializes in "cosmetics and lifestyle design choices for the busy" (whatever the @#$# that means). They had 10 items on their "featured menu," including Invisalign, braces, whitening, etc. What they did NOT have was stuff like "fillings, cleanings, check-ups, etc." DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!!!

3. The place bills itself as "a spa like experience, both inside your mouth and out." Seriously - tell me that isn't code for "Happy Ending." I showed up at this place thinking it was going to end up like the movie "Hostel."

4. I rocked into the cleaning room, and the dentist was ACTUALLY THERE FOR THE ENTIRE PROCEEDING. He was the dude that did the cleaning, and LET ME TELL YOU - I AM NOW CLEANER THAN THE SING. It was a SURREAL experience.

Step 1: Put HUGE glasses over your face like you're about to weld the hull of a FREIGHTER together.

Step 2: A light that could have been used to spotlight PLUTO is put about 2 millimeters from your face. Good thing you've got the glasses that could repel a Supernova.

Step 3: The dentist puts a mirror and a MASSIVE scraper in your well as ALL his fingers.

Step 4: Ezmerelda, his evil mistress and hygiene assistant, puts a FIRE HOSE OF WATER and a suction cup that could swallow your intestines in your well as all HER fingers.

Step 5: For the next 15 minutes, your gums are ripped to shreds whilst you choke on the 16,000 gallons of water that are poured into you. You wet your pants 37 times just to get rid of all the excess fluid.

Step 6: The doctor covers your in enough flouride so that you could go spelunking until 2018 and never require a flashlight.

Step 7: Still in a daze, blinded, and in pain, you are shown to reception, where they give you a hot towel and try to convince you that you're on Sing Air in Business Class.

Step 8: You try to smile, realize your face muscles don't work anymore, and mumble, "See you in six months!" Good times...

But hey, I got a good lunch with Muffin Puffin at Modesto's (Italian, but T-Rowe, their Carbonara had nuthin' on Schottie), and we were fueled up for this evening's track practice. And THAT, dear reader, is where the wheels truly fell off the bus.

On-time arrival? Check. Plenty of stretching? Check. Speedwork on the docket? Check. 2 warm-up laps? Check. Strides to loosen up? Nooooooooot quite.

So I take off on the first 25 yard jog, and I notice this BIZARRE pain in my right quad. I do another quick stretch, walk it off, and then go for #2. The pain is worse, and I pull up just before finishing. On #3, I make it about 3 steps before I have to walk off, and I can't even do the last two. And when the actual practice starts, I make it about 40 meters before I'm pretty sure someone's planted a bomb in my leg that's in process of erupting. So YES - I was PISSED.

However, Hop-a-long didn't quite, and I stayed to the outside of the track to do my own thing. I ended up logging 5 miles, and the leg did loosen up enough so that I could do some speed work towards the end. Only problem was that, at that point, I was DEAD TO THE WORLD. Oh well - I'm currently icing it with a bottle of Absolut Raspberri (our newest Duty Free purchase), and that's helping (even if it's cryogenically freezing my leg hair). Next week I'll be BACK, and BETTER than ever!

Muffin ended up getting hurt as well, and she's currently icing her left hamstring. I hate to ask it, but are we getting too old for this? NOT A CHANCE, BABY!!!! BRING 'DA PAIN!!!!!!

Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!


Hop-a-long Sammy and Blitzkrieg Striker Jenny

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Observations and limits...


And a good evening to you from across the globe after another GREAT DAY in the Lion City (see, T-Rowe - I'm back to form). So first off, ANNOUNCEMENT - there will be NO BLOG until Monday, 14 March. Why, you ask? Because Team Taylor (armed with a new passport - I'M LEGAL AGAIN, BABY!!!!) is takin' their show back on the road again for a weekend away. OSC and Megs, all I'm sayin' is that tomorrow we'll be ON A BOAT, SHORTAAAAAAH headin' to Batam, Indonesia! And best of all, we're are bloody MILLIONAIRES. $158 USD bought us 1.6 million Indonesia Rupiah. And in case you're curious on that conversion rate, it's just under 800 TO 1. Yeah, much like Iceland, we're pretty much gonna have NO IDEA what anything costs. Oh well, details. The solution is always simple - order 2 more beers.

So tonight was a milestone for Sammy the Bull (as it was for Muffin Puffin, who logged over 1.5 miles in the pool in well under an hour!). Tonight I logged 10 miles outside, which is the longest distance I've run in 1 go since March 29, 2009, when I ran the Knoxville Covenant Health 1/2 Marathon (incidentally, I'm faaaaaaaairly confident - OSC, that was a little Dave Thompson for you - that I got my stress fracture from this race, althought I didn't actually feel it until May when running past Fizzy on Trade Street). It took 1 hour and 26 minutes on the nose, and I'm a) very satisfied with the effort and b) bloody EXHAUSTED. I realize this post will probably only be of interest to MattPa and my family, but here are my observations after my first true training run in the Sing.

1. Salt tablets DO make a huge difference. Granted, I am sure some of it is psychological, but there's no question those minerals and salts help. I only took 1 on this run, but next time I'll take a second one for the 1:05:00 mark, as it would have definitely given me fuel for another mile at least.

2. Even if I do continue to improve my conditioning, I am firmly of the opinion that you simply CANNOT do a half marathon in this heat without augmentation. Tonight I had a salt tablet, a packet of Goo (watermelon flavored, for the record), and 32 ounces of fluid (8 Gatorade, the rest water). I used a fuel belt for the first time EVER tonight, and I gotta tell ya - it was ALL THE DIFFERENCE.

3. The good news is that I felt strong. The better news is that I never felt close to overheating and my pulse was good. The best news was that, at about 8.5-9 miles, the old mental attitude kicked in and I felt stronger and knew I could go at least another mile on heart. That being said, I really doubt that I could have finished 13.1 running the whole time tonight. But hey, the race is still 2.5 miles away, and the pace tonight was about 8:40, which I can't complain about given the heat (and it was actually fairly cool tonight).

All in all, I was very pleased, and I KNOW that I'll sleep good tonight (knock on wood). We are SO excited about a weekend away, and it's time to go pack!

Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat Monday!


Sam and Jenny

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Things you just never imagine growin' up in the 'ville...


And a good evening to you from across the globe after another GREAT DAY in the Mother Country. Today was a long one for Sammy the Bull and Muffin Puffin, as JT left the office at 8:15 with chubby hubby following behind about 8:45. But hey - I got to party with my peeps on the Optimal4HR Governance Call, so truly all was right with the world. All the same, Wild Card - we should talk about mixing up that time slot...just sayin'...

So today I had 2 of those moments where I just couldn't help but think "how did I get from 1087 (now 1095) Cain Mill Rd to here?" Let's tackle each in turn...

1. Let's be honest - every single person reading this blog is SHOCKED that I haven't been fired from Corporate America yet. For that matter, 98% of you are shocked that I haven't been caned yet, and 96% can't believe I've actually managed to shave more than once a week since moving to Asia. I will say that around 99.7% of you expected the wrinkly clothes, so at least I'm meeting expectations there.

In all that time pretending I know what the hell I'm talking about, I've been given many a business card to distribute bearing my "credentials" and title. However, never in my WILDEST DREAMS did I ever think the kid who recited Rikki-Tikki Tavi a million times or practiced the "Old Fashioned Values" speech for Modern Woodmen until his mom's ears bled would ever have a business card WRITTEN IN MANDARIN. Seriously - I CAN'T READ MY OWN BUSINESS CARD. This is a new pinnacle of Boondoggedness. Hitman, Wild Card, Old School Cool - someone please notify the Deuce that he's been trumped.

2. We had our Asia Pacific HR town hall today. Now I will confess that I'm not normally one to attend these functions. However, as the REST OF THE FLOOR attended this one, I would have been rather conspicuously absent. So we go to sit down, and the teleconference screen has about 12 window open, each with a city name below it. And then it hits me that I am sitting on a call with people from Sydney (Fizzy, I saw a conference room THAT I WILL SIT IN BEFORE IT'S ALL SAID AND DONE), Toyko, Beijing, Jakarta, Manila, Hong Kong, Taipei, Bangkock, and several other destinations. I couldn't help but laugh and think "This is a long way from learning to type semicolons in Mrs. Cobb's 6th grade related arts class." Funny ole' world, ain't it? All the same, I'd still kill for a Skidz pizza with a Mountain Dew and a few quarters to play Rygar. Ahhh, the memories...

In sporting news, Sammy the Bull logged 50 minutes on the bike tonight, covering 24 KM's amidst continued (and perhaps even more painful) soreness. I'm doing a long run tomorrow, and I think my skeletal frame might actually collapse. Who's excited for 15K on either a treadmill or in 100% humidity? THIS GUY...

Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!


Sam and Jenny

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Life in recovery...trying to maintain homeostatis after a Michael Johnson style workout...


And a good evening to you from across the globe after another GREAT DAY in the Lion City. I have no lie to tell - Team Taylor is SORE AS HELL today. Seriously, I can certify the following statements as fact:

1. My shins wouldn't hurt this much if a Mack truck had run over them, backed up, and run over them again...with NAILS IN THE TIRES.

2. My hip flexors can no longer flex. All the can do is continue contracting into my body, crushing every bone they pass.

3. Oddly enough, I still don't have a 6 pack. My dunlap is just as big as ever. Scratch that - when you wear running shorts, it looks EVEN BIGGER.

To balance all this out, Sammy the Bull went for a swim in the pool tonight. I logged probably 1100 meters or so, but I was going at a SNAIL'S pace. There were people sitting out by the pool, and I imagine they found me HILARIOUS. After all, considering I move just like Snooty, I want to be enjoyed on my "day out" as well.

Muffin Puffin was again the featured striker of the Kandy Kickers United Football Club. The Red She-devils were once again too much for their opponent, and JT even broke one of their faces with an error shot attempt. You can't stop her - you can only hope to contain her.

In other "I ate a pineapple" news, I shopped at a Japanese grocery store for the first time ever. Things I observed:

1. Things are written in Japanese. I don't speak Japanese, so this made shopping a little bit difficult. However, most things (the dead ones, at least), are fairly recognizable.

2. Just like in Japan, Japanese things ARE A FORTUNE. 4 slices of deli turkey? $3. 1 single serving of lettuce? $8. Oh yes - we can't WAIT until we rock Tokyo.

3. If it's flown in from Japan, it will be a) organic, b) tiny, and c) BE PRICED AT $4 MILLION DOLLARS. They have a UK section as well - items there were priced at just under $3 Million.

Other than that, not a whole lot else to report. I am just hoping that the soreness goes away in advance of my long run this week, scheduled for Thursday. Fingers (and salt tablets) crossed.

Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!


Hopalong Sam and Fleetfooted Jenny

Monday, 7 March 2011

Team Taylor joins the Singapore Shufflers...


And a good evening to you from across the globe after another GREAT DAY in the Lion City. So first off, apologies for no blog last night. However, as Team Taylor was EXHAUSTED from the day's activities, we came home after dinner and promptly PASSED OUT. And since the exertions dovetail (yes, I just said dovetail) nicely into this evening's blog, I think you'll find the story line continues nicely (Dinger - that was for you).

Now most of you probably won't recognize the gal with the great smile to the right of Jenny. However, if you've ever a) worked at a law firm in Sydney, or b) worked at Enron and are now trekking through the wilds of Patagonia, she might ring a bell. :-) Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the newest character in The Adventures of Mr. and Mrs. Assignee 47 - Fiona Phillips!

So we met Fiona through our friend Sergeant Sarah Brown, whom we met through Lady Catherine. As fate would have it, Lady Catherine knew Fiona from Sydney, as they all worked there. And so, a few email introductions later, we met up at 3 PM yesterday for an "easy walk" through McRitchie Park Reservoir.

The easy walk, for the record, was an 11KM SPRINT through mud, rocks, and monkeys (Paula, you would have LOVED it), complete with a monsoon and enough mud to build another 3 Gorges Dam. At the end of it we looked as though we'd just completed a "muddy buddy" race, but it was GREAT fun. And somehow, in my exhausted state, Muffin Puffin convinced me to attend tonight's activity, but more on that later.

After the 7 mile hike, we grabbed a brewski (including a sampler - FINALLY!) FROM Brewerkz before wandering over to Jumbo Seafood for a FEAST FOR KINGS. Seriously, it was SO GOOD, complete with the XO Scallops and...wait for it...wait for it...the pear stuffed scallops, baby!!!! WOO-HOO!!!! Terrier - it should be noted that Muffin had your same reaction. Translation - more for is guuuuuuuuuuud.

On to tonight. After work, Team Taylor caught a cab and rolled over to the local University track, where we did something that Four Leaf and Perfect Pumpkin haven't done in a decade and a half - SPEEDWORK AT A TRACK! That's right, folks, tonight Team Taylor officially joined "the Singapore Shufflers," a running group that meets every Monday. Tonight's practice involved TWELVE, COUNT THEM TWELVE 200's, with some 400's mixed in, FOLLOWED BY SOME 100M RELAYS!!!! I held up reasonably well, but I flat BONKED on the last 200. Seriously - I was THAT GUY, sucking all the air of the island into my lungs. Luckily it was a "cool" night (about 78), and so it made things bearable.

Fiona is one of the 2 coaches, and she was great to push us along. And whilst I am bloody EXHAUSTED, it was great, and I really do think it will pay dividends as I continue training for Sundown. Dinger - I'm chasin' you, baby - don't run from this. Literally.

After practice we decided to make the "short walk" home, which turned out to be 75 minutes at a good clip. However, we thought, "Oh, that's FINE, we'll eat on the way." Well, after we found all restaurants to be closed, we fell back on the thought of "at least there's a grocery store." But when THAT was closed, Muffin Puffin won the homemaker of the year award by whipping up some cheese and cucumber sandwiches on cracker - actually VERY tasty.

Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!


Sam the Sprinter and Jenny the Speed Demon

Saturday, 5 March 2011

In the footsteps of Jack Hanna - discovering the Singapore Zoo...


And a good Sunday morning to you from across the globe after another GREAT DAY in the Lion City. Bob - you would have been proud of us yesterday, as we sallied forth into terrain that you helped to acquaint us with - the Singapore Zoo.

But before we get to that, I should just comment briefly on Friday night's dinner. Craving Indian (and I mean GOOD Indian - not the crap that's located in the basement of our place), Team Taylor rolled over to Little India to hit up the other spot on Race Course Road that had been recommended to us: Anjapaar. And whilst it was tasty, it was NO spice junction (but I will say taht the garlic chili chicken was EXCEPTIONAL). I did get a chance to try goat for only the second time in my life, and Puma - I can confirm that it was NOT up to Chutney Mary's standards. Tell Player that he's a lucky man. Also, I had a chance to try Japanese quail, which, like ANY OTHER QUAIL, is really just ALL BONES MARINATED IN BLISTERINGLY HOT SPICES. That was my first and last ever quail experience, as it was pretty much donkey trash.

The reason that we won't go back to anjapaar, however, lies with the bathroom. You see, when we arrived, the sat us down at a table COVERED with rice and curry. The dude came buy, did the fake "let me spray this table and make it 100% totally hygenic"thing where he sprays in 2 places and then takes a FILTHY rag and just knocks the rice into the floor. I can forgive this, as that gives it an authentic vibe. However, the bathroom, well...THAT is another story.

So I get to the door of the bathroom, and it has a sign that says "Press here to enter." I do this, and sure enough the door swings open automatically. I'm thinking "this is better than Japan!," and so I walk inside. Sure enough, there's another computer controlled door to get in the stall. All good things so far.

But then I step up to the bowl to notice that the cat before me a) clearly had some digestive problems, b) didn't actually sit on the can, and c) DEFINITELY didn't use toilet paper. The consequence - ABOUT 20 PIECES OF @#$# FLOATING IN THE FLOOR AROUND ME, HOSED DOWN IN A FASHION THAT LOOKED LIKE THE DUDE WAS PUTTING OUT A HOUSE FIRE. Let's just say it was a LOT to take in BEFORE dinner.

But I digress - let's get to the featured event of Saturday - THE SINGAPORE ZOO!!!!! So seriously, I've been to a lot of zoos in my life, but this one was EASILY the most amazing. There are very few bars and cages - this is basically an open air zoo where critters can crawl around ALL OVER THE PLACE. Seriously - we were inches away from critters most of the day. The result of this is quite profound, as the animals are very active and behave in a more similar fashion to their cousins in the wild. For my part, it was like I was 5 years old again.

Getting there is a bit of an adventure, as you have to take the metro and then a bus. The metro stop is "Ang Mo Kio," which, in true Singaporean PC fashion, literally translates to "White Guy Island." It's funny, really, because I WAS THE ONLY WHITE GUY FOR MILES AROUND. Does that make me the King of "White Guy Land?" Methinks yes...

As (not so) short bus ride takes you to the Zoo, where we started the day out right - LUNCH AT KFC, BABY!!!! FRANK THE TANK! FRANK THE TANK!!!! HE GONNA DO ONE!!!!! After a delicious KFC lunch (with some MOUNTAIN DEW, BABY), we hit the zoo, and 5 minutes in I was hooked.

Seriously - this place was just incredible. Monkeys of all sorts EVERYWHERE (P-Mac, not sure if you went here, but this was probably your own personal hell), and there were some BIG CATS (Woest style) running around. Case in point - check out these White Tigers! We actually showed up just in time for feeding, so MAD PROPS to Tiffanie(TAAAAAAAN Ching Ching!) for telling us to show up during meal time.

The white tigers were catching HUGE hunks of raw meat - it was EPIC to watch. The size of their paws! Let's just say I was really glad I was about 25 feet above them, as those boys were huge and HUNGRY.

From there we wandered over to one of the monkey enclosures (there were SO MANY, including...wait for it...wait for it...SPIDER MONKEYS!!!!! "I'm gonna beat your ass, Chip! I'm all hopped up on Mountain Dew and gonna come at you like a Spider Monkey!"). It was feeding time for the Hydramas monkeys (aka red-assed baboons), and it was AMAZING. These dudes were doing tricks to attract attention, including flipping, jumping, and shouting. Oh, and it should be noted that the dude on the right (with the mad hair) also though he was Don Juan, as at 1 point he found a lady he was interested in and, well, just started giving her the business (Muffin got a GREAT shot of that one). Also, I simply must comment how similar these cats are to humans, especially the males. A few points I noticed:

1. All the guys LOVE to scratch know. And much like humans, they have NO IDEA ANYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD EXISTS AND MIGHT BE WATCHING WHEN THEY DO IT.

2. They can pee ANYWHERE.

3. You can tell that they LOVE being naked...AND spread eagle. Wait, I mean...

After that, we wandered into the Australian Outback section, where, for the first time in my life, I actually BACKED UP from a zoo animal. It was an emu, and I just didn't have a good feeling about the kangaroo protecting me if this guy jumped me. Seriously - those boys are scary lookin'...just sayin'...

We then hit another highlight - the orangutan open enclosure. This was AMAZING! There were literally ALL OVER THE PLACE, and watching them move is just spectacular. They really might be the sweetest, most peaceful critters on earth, and it was just AWESOME to watch them. We took about 40 photos here - you should have seen muffin with the long lens taking shots - we got some great ones!

We then wandered into "Cat Country," where we saw lions, cheetahs (we actually got to watch them run a bit!), leopards, PUMAS!, and even jaguars. All were amazing, but the cheetah was DEFINITELY my favorite. Did you know that the cheetah can cover 20 feet with each stride! You should have just watched that cat (literally) move - it was SPECTACULAR. Glad there was a huge canyon between us!

The cat photo here is a leopard - he was a big boy as well. That's the first one I'd ever seen, so it was really cool (same with the Puma and the jaguar - to see them so close was just NUTS). Other highlights in turn (below) include the giant tortoise (those jokers can live to be 175 years old!) and the lemurs (they got so close we could have petted them...and then been infected with rabies, of course...details...)

The zoo closed at 6, and whilst we'd contemplated (and originally planned on) doing the night safari as well, we were pretty much "zooed out," and we were hungry. I'd run 4.5 outside that morning as well, so I was bloody exhausted. Conseqently, we hopped a cab (thinking that it would save time since the ride TO the zoo was 1.25 hours) - THAT was a mistake.
You see, in the Sing, one way to dodge road and parking taxes is to obtain a "red license plate." This means that, rather than being able to drive all the time, you can only drive from 7 PM-7 AM during the week and on weekends. And whilst this keeps pollution and traffic down during the work week, the consequence is that YOU GET ABOUT 4 MILLION DONKEYS WHO ONLY DRIVE 8 DAYS A MONTH ON THE INTERSTATE AT THE SAME TIME. When you add in the fact that a) no one really knows how to drive, b) everyone's car is brand new AND cost 70K in taxes to obtain ABOVE the prices, it makes for a SLOW commute home. Case in point, we had an AMBULANCE WITH LIGHTS ON in front of us and topped out at about 40 miles per hour. CLASSIC...

All the same, we FINALLY arrived at Dempsey Hill, where my perfect pumpkin guided us to Block 26, which was the site of dinner for the evening - the Tawandang Brewery, baby!!!! We'd been here with P-Mac before, but I'd honestly forgotten how good the beer was. Check us out throwing back some Thai cuisine with some German lager in a lube tube!

It should be noted that, prior to dinner, we stopped at this place called Overtime for a pint. The brewmaster there does only 2 brews, called Starker aromatic and Starker lager. We ordered a lager, and whilst it was very good (brewed in accordance with the Germany purity law of 1516), it was also...wait for it...wait for it...$22 A PINT (sold under the Singapore RIP YOU OFF law of 2011). Seriously - I didn't check the menu - I just ordered. To quote the Hitman - SERIOUS TACTICAL ERROR IN JUDGEMENT.
We decided to walk home from Dempsey Hill, which was great because it gave us a chance to do one more thing we'd been wanting to try - A BLIZZARD FROM DQ, BABY!!!!! OH YES, that's right - they have EVERYTHING in this city. We went with the "Brownie Temptation," and it was so guuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuud (peppy cheekies).

We then got home and chatted with Mum and Rice before calling it a night.
Two more things:
2. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SAM STONE (Private Eye)! As Jenny's telling you right now on Facebook - YOU'AH MEN'AL!!!!!! Tell MKD we said hi.
Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat later this evening!
Sam and Jenny