Friday, 11 November 2011

The Bull charges (literally!) and birthday wishes...


And a good evening to you from across the globe after another GREAT DAY in the Lion City.  Today was a good one for the Bull and his merry band of BAML rogues, as a group of 330 of us left the Harbourfront office early today for the 8th annual SGX (Singapore Exchange) Bull Charge!!!  Now this is the point where the readership says "what the hell is the bull charge?" and Occupy Wall Street people say "THIS IS A GREAT CHANCE TO KILL BANKERS!!!!"  And whilst the OWS folks were a bit off, think of it as Pamplona for Humans on the Equator.

Here's the deal - the Bull Charge is a charity run that happens every year - a 5K through the heart of CBD.  It's free to enter and comes with a goodie bag (not virtual unlike that donkey trash of a race in Charlotte), a shirt, and best of all - THE GREATEST HAT EVER.  Now granted, I struggled a bit to capture it on film because a) all I've got at my disposal is the big camera and b) I have NO IDEA how to work the timer, but check out the hat.  I am now truly Sammy the Bull!  T-bone, if we ever actually run Cow Town, I am rockin' this puppy for 26.2.

What's scarier, really?  A) my face, b) the fact that I went into
the office today that unshaven, or c) the number of wrinkles
in the shirt behind me that I'm going to have to iron...
As to the race itself, I will say right now that it was EASILY the best organized race I've been part of in Sing Sing.  Very efficient (complete with an 18 page PDF/PPT deck filled with VOLUMES of instructions), well organized, and really entertaining.  The energy was pulsing through the office, as we had a LOT of folks signed up for this, many of whom don't run much if at all.  The highlight of the work day was a discussion of dressing as superman, at which point Han Yang says, "But he doesn't have the cape anymore."  Sophia, without missing a beat, says, "But he does have the red underwear!"  There was a STUNNED SILENCE in the room.  I had no response to that.  So many answers you are really interested in hearing...

At the event, I crossed off a TOTALLY unexpected to do - I GOT ON THE FLOAT, BABY!!!!!  So here's the deal, when you're looking down from the Sands, there is this soccer pitch floating in the Marina.  It is ALWAYS locked up or guarded, and during my 10.5 months here, for some reason I've ALWAYS wanted to run around on that thing.  Well, sure enough, that was tonight's assembly point, and I made a proper show of rolling around on the astroturf.

Hook 'em horns!  Wild Wallaby - this one's for you!
The race kicked off at 5:45 (yes - WITH A BLAZING SUN AND A GAZILLION DEGREES), and that was tough.  I hadn't really eaten today, as I'm still definitely off post the return from Railay.  Add in the fact that my arms are STILL SORE from rock climbing (seven, count 'em SEVEN days later), and you have a deck stacked against the Bull when the gun goes off.  However, I got a great deal of levity before hand when Fitness First (our gym) conducted the "initial warm-up."  Did they stretch?  No.  Did they medidate?  No.  Instead, they did some DISCO DANCING.  Picture 4,000 Singaporeans doing the hokey pokey on a soccer pitch.  Yes - that's the only way to describe it.  I'm pretty sure the only muscles that got warm were muscles that are NOT used during running.

The other GREAT line was when the MC is thanking the guests of honor and says (don't blink, you'll miss this):  "Thank you, Mr. Chew.  And thank you, Mr. Bacca."  Did you catch it?  Chew.  Bacca.  Chew.  Bacca.  (insert Owen Wilson saying, "Chewy?  Have you even seen Star Wars?).

After that, we were at the starting line when, in true SG fashion, we were told, "As a reminder from the Singapore police, participants are reminded that signs, placards, or banners of ANY kind are illegal and not permitted anywhere on the course."  These comment was repeated about 5011 times (that was for you, Nanny).  You see, this was a televised event, so the local government wanted no "Free Tibet" signs about.  Let's just say I don't see "Occupy Singapore" gaining a foothold anytime soon...

The race itself was fantastic - I really have no complaints.  Well, minus the folks who got IN FRONT OF THE CORRAL MARKED FAST RUNNERS AND THEN PROCEEDED TO WALK WHEN THE GUN WHEN OFF.  They were CACKLING as people on all sides knocked the hell out of them.  I seriously passed 800 people in the first half mile - I just have no words.  Well, except - thank GOODNESS it was daytime.

Oh, and the other bit - when finishing the race, the theme song of the event was on a loop.  It was a parody of the song "Who Let the Dogs Out," and this one was "Who Let the Bulls Charge?"  I mean, cute enough, but when you hear the following lyrics on repeat for THIRTY MINUTES, well, you start to want to set fire to something:

"We all are here because we care...
It's so much more fun when we share....
The Bull Charge is just a start (this verse was missing a syllable, for the record, and that drove me INSANE),
So get involved with all your heart.  DARE TO DO THE BULL CHARGE!!!!

Who let the bulls charge?  WHO?  WHO? WHO?

Rinse-repeat - a BILLION times.

The race was actually a wee bit short, coming in at 3 miles.  I hit 24:25, and I was (I think) in the top 10 of the 330 bank folks who ran the event.  I was definitely exhausted when I came through - the heat is just a killer.  In fact, I felt so bad that I...wait for, seriously, keep waiting....PASSED UP FREE BEER AT THE COMPANY SPONSORED BEER TENT!!!  Hoegarden on draft and I walked away!  Oh, the HUMANITY!!!!  Mom - chalk that up as AFD #4 this week.  And everyone else, chalk that up as the first time Sam Taylor has EVER passed up free booze.  Oh, well, it was a good run - had to close out some time.

But speaking of booze - Sister Emma:  I know that you've been trying to get a certain member of the team out for drinks for awhile now.  Well let me tell you - put 2 pints in that girl and LOOK OUT!!! I never thought I'd see that person pointing at the DJ and screaming "PLAY THE MUSIC!!!!  I'M READY TO DANCE!!!!"  Seriously - you missed something WAAAAAY more impressive than the temples of Angkor...just sayin'...

Team BAML - Nancy, May, Sophia, Jasmine, Huiqi, Mary, Tiffanie and the Bull - HOOK 'EM HORNS!!!!

I chatted with the gang for a bit longer before wandering around the float a final time and then heading home.  And now I'm going to order up some Boomerang pizza, shower, and curl up for some Hawaii Five-O.  Seriously - the show is GOOD.  I am impressed.  And Scott Caan is bloomin' HILARIOUS.

In other (and more important news):  good luck, Matt Miller.  Matt runs the Thunder Road Marathon tomorrow, which is probably the most miserable course in America.  However, as Matt is running about 6,000 miles a week, I'm thinking he's going to dominate this course and all the stray dogs and stray gunfire that will consume the second half of the course.

Next up:  HAPPY BIRTHDAY H-BOMB!!!!!  That's right - the "Real H," the fellow fossil, and one of the world's most talented musicians rolls the big 3-4 today.  Welcome to the club, girl! 

And last and MOST important:  HAPPY BIRTHDAY PATTIE RUTH TAYLOR!!!!!!  That's right, folks - Pattie hits the big 1-7 today, making her (finally) half my age.  Now I'm no longer the "really old guy" - I'm just the old guy. :-)  Happy birthday, sis!  Make it a great one!  Spend as much of Dad's cash as you POSSIBLY CAN!!!!! I love you!!!!!

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


 Sam and (having a farewell dinner with the Aussies whilst Dom's mum watches the wee ones) Jenny

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