Monthly Archives: January 2008

Code Monkey

OK this post has nothing to do with parenting or kids or anything of that sort.

It’s just that I found this song so charming I wanted to share it with everyone. Jonathan Coulton is a software  programmer turned singer-songwriter. He composes music that is mostly under Creative Commons license, and one of his songs – Code Monkey, linked below – became a cult hit.

Listen and I think you might see why.

PS: YouTube has many versions of Jonathan Coulton performing the song, but I think this one is the best because of its sound quality and unplugged rawness.

Link to Jonathan Coulton performing Code Monkey at Pop!Tech 

Seeing Carbon Dioxide

I stumbled across this simple yet marvellous experiment that demonstrates that carbon dioxide is heavier than air. The science is probably a little too advanced for Athos and Porthos, but the metaphysics is not – that you don’t have to see something to believe it’s there 🙂

Rediscovering Singapore

The past few days at work have been extremely challenging, and I have not felt this stressed and anxious in a long time. But there were some wonderful highlights. One of which was the opportunity to bring a group of international visitors on a tour of Singapore.

The tour was organised by Journeys, a Singapore travel agency which does the Original Singapore Walks. I was thrilled when I found out, because I’ve been wanting to do one of their walks for a long time and have never found the time. Journeys is strongly history-based, which means their tours are stuffed with as much information as the knowledge-hungry tourist (and curious local) could possible want.

We started our journey at Continue reading

National Taps

As part of work this week, I had the very great pleasure of visiting the NEWater Visitor Centre. I hadn’t realised that the facility was open to the general public, and that it has even won tourism awards! The place is open from 9am to 5:30pm daily except Mondays, and admission is free. The tour was truly enlightening, suitable even for very young children (I’d say at least 4-5 years old) and I highly recommend it.

I was telling Athos and Porthos about the visit at bedtime tonight. I explained to them that NEWater was part of Singapore ‘s strategy of Four National Taps to ensure enough water for Singapore well into the future – the other three being imported water, rainwater and desalinated water.

Here’s what they had to say:

Porthos: If there are four National Taps, does that mean there are also four National Pipes?

Pilgrim Mom: Well, yes, I guess so!

Athos: And doesn’t that mean there are also four National Toilets?

PM: [laughs uncontrollably]

Athos: … and four National Poo-Poos and Wee-Wees too!

I wonder what the good people at our Public Utilities Board think about that!

Sex In The City

This morning on the way to school, Pilgrim Dad and Athos passed by a hotel out of which tumbled a group of prostitutes. Athos saw them, turning his body to follow them until he couldn’t see them anymore. Pilgrim Dad took a deep breath and decided to engage Athos:

Pilgrim Dad: What are you looking at?

Athos: Those people aren’t wearing a lot of clothes.

PD: They’re prostitutes.

Athos: What’s that?

PD: You pay them money to have sex.

Athos: What’s sex?

Pilgrim Dad gives a brief description.

Athos: So sex is bad?

PD: No. Sex is a good thing when mummies and daddies do it. But it’s bad if people charge money to do it.

Considering the sun hadn’t even come up yet, I was impressed by both Pilgrim Dad’s courage and cogency.


I encountered the term “freecycle” a few months back but never got round to looking it up. Thanks to Alternative Mom‘s comment on my previous post, I was reminded and went to look it up.

The Freecycle Network began a couple of years back in Arizona, USA and now has 4,221 groups and 4,335,000 members around the world. The idea is basically to connect the people who have things to give away, with people who want those things. I am completely sold on the idea.

And the great news, my friends, is that Singapore has its own Singapore Freecycle Network! An excerpt from its Yahoo Groups webpage:

Whether you’re looking to discard or acquire an item, you’ve come to the right place. Computers, furniture, clothing, magazines – no item is too big or too small. (That said, we request that you keep in mind that this is not intended to be a Christmas wish-list. Asking for LCD TVs, XBox’s, PS3s, etc., is a bit over-the-top.) Since this is a Freecycle list, ALL items must be 100% FREE and not subject to exchange or sale.

As of this writing, it has over 4200 members. I have just signed up as member #4211 – will you consider being #4212?

Join the Singapore Freecycle Network.

Too. Much. Stuff.

After hosting 6 multi-family garage sales, it’s become painfully clear to me that we are living in a consumer society in which we often buy things we don’t really need, or in quantities that we don’t require. (True of the Pilgrim family too, by the way.)

Which is why I was struck by what’s going In The Trenches of Motherhood. This mother of seven is taking one year off buying anything other than essentials, and writes some great posts about (non-)shopping at Target and Ikea. And then today, a friend sent me the link to The Story of Stuff, a compelling (though somewhat long) video about the crisis of our materialist economy. Watch it, if only for the superb graphics.

What will you do about it?