Skip to main content

Resolutions for Singapore visit

T minus 36 hours or so.

Suitcases are packed, other than this laptop + power cord + hair brush. Printed out invitations letters, copied map to apartment, etc. Finally finished moving all files over to my new laptop.

One friend had a really great idea: wear a shirt for customs. I'm taking this a step further and wearing my best clothes (well, best apart from full orchestra dress). Shirt, dress pants, braid, make-up... ok, not the last one. I won't be as comfortable when traveling, but anything that makes government officials easier to deal with is worth it.

I'm also making a few resolutions. New Year's resolutions are a big thing in North America, but I've never bothered with them. And I'm still not -- these are strictly aimed at Singapore, not life in general.

  • Work from 9 to 5, unless it's obvious that the research group behaves otherwise. Yes, it's totally unnatural to wake up at the same time every day, but I'm going to try to do it for the five months.
  • Do one touristy thing every week (probably on Sunday). I've glanced at a few tourist guides, and the only thing that remotely caught my eye was the crocodilarium (a zoo, just for crocodiles, with over a thousand beasts). But I'll force myself to stop working and go visit something. And with my superior cheapness, I'll do my best to enjoy whatever I pay money to see.
  • Impose a strict "1 week and you're out" email policy. I have the evening for catching up on emails, so this shouldn't be difficult, but I'll find some time (maybe Sunday evening?) to do my final replies and then delete whatever's left.
  • Never refuse to try any vegetarian non-alcoholic dish. I don't have my PhD so I still won't touch alcohol, and I'm extremely cautious about stuff that came from animals (seafood included). Fortunately, Singapore seems to really push multiculturalism and there's a good fraction of Buddhists, so I can probably ask for vegetarian food without offending anybody.

Preparing for SIN

T minus three and a half days.

Getting ready for this trip has almost been a job unto itself. There was the proposal. Then forms for the university and forms for the government. Approval, then more forms. Finding a place to stay. More forms and sending an international money order to put a deposit on the place.

Oh goody, time to get my suitcases ready... oh wait, each airline has their own baggage regulations. And even though all flights were booked through Air Canada (and all tickets are under an AC number), I need to look through each airline's websites to find the info. Air Canada lets you take 2 bags of up to 23 kg each. Most Asian airlines let you take any number of bags, with a total weight of 20 kg. I've narrowed the luggage requirements down to: 1 bag of checked luggage (up to 20 kg), and 1 bag of carry-on luggage (up to 10kg).

I have the checked luggage bag packed. OK, it's a bit early, but I wanted to see what clothes I had, and once I had them all together, I figured that I should keep them together. It's a good thing I investigated, since I only have 6 pairs of white socks that don't have holes (or almost-holes) in them. I'm going shopping tomorrow.

In the interests of soliciting advice from anybody who's traveled more than me (i.e. more than once in the past eight years), here's my tentative list of what I'm taking:

  • Clothes, hairbrush, hair ties, shaver, toothpaste, etc.
  • Laptop (eee pc), power converter.
  • Camera (an old digital camera with a 64-meg mini-SD card. For reference, I bought a 4-gig micro-SD card for my laptop last week for $9.99)
  • Travel documents, copy of Master's degree, passport-sized photos for government documents, etc.

Of course I'm not bringing my interesting t-shirts, like my De-CSS or the FreeBSD Daemon one. People often ask me about books, but I'm not planning on bringing any. Academic papers are on my laptop in pdf form, and any fiction books would only last for half the plane trip over. I'm not taking any musical instruments, since I don't have any musical things lined up and that would make luggage exponentially more difficult.

I keep on thinking that I'm forgetting something, but whenever I look around my room for anything I'm missing, I come up blank. I think it's just that I have no idea what I'm getting myself into -- I think the farthest East I've gone has been Italy (for about five days), and now I'm flying off to live in Asia for five months.

Fall Review

All the cool kids are doing reviews of the past year, so I figured that I should do some kind of a review too. Of course, lots of un-cool people are also doing reviews, but we all know that I'm one of the cool ones.

At the beginning of Nov, I started accompanying a musical on the cello. I wouldn't normally play a musical -- there's too many performances, so I'm generally bored with the music by opening night, let alone by the end! -- but it had been two years since I'd done any semi-serious music, so I thought it would be a good exercise. I'm happy to report that I've still "got it going on". Yes, the first two weeks hurt a bit -- playing the cello takes a lot more muscle than violin -- but I was still able to keep track of everybody in the ensemble, and could often pinpoint mistakes before the music director could.

I wanted to get all my old compositions in a publishable state, but that didn't happen. This wasn't entirely my fault -- I was waiting for lilypond 2.12 to be released -- but I could have done more prep work so that it would have been faster to finalize them. Oh well; at least that will give me something relaxing to work on in Singapore.

In other news, I've been accepted to the University of Glasgow for the PhD. I still need to work out the funding; the tuition is over 12,000 pounds per year. But apparently in the UK one has to get accepted by the university before one applies for scholarships, so this means I'm one step closer.

I'm not really certain what to do about MEWER now. I'm hesitant to start advertizing it, because if there's any problems I can't fix them while I'm in Singapore. On the other hand, it's probably good enough to help some people, so it'd be a shame not to mention it to them.

Finally, I'm becoming the next release manager of lilypond, and starting up a Grand Organization Project for lilypond. The Grand Documentation Project was a great success, so I'm hoping to do the same thing on a larger scale.