Sunday, 31 October 2004

Mehhh ... and Happy Halloween!

So yesterday was a real blast! I spent the whole day working on the aforementioned shitload-of-assignments, and then, halfway through the night, I remembered I'd been invited to my friend Chelsea's 21st birthday! Hence the predicament began: keep working on assignments, or go and party and get pissed off my face? :P It didn't take long to juggle the dilemma - obviously the answer would be go to the party! Only by the time I remembered, prepared a homemade but hopefully heartfelt gift, got myself changed and ready to go, and drove 15 minutes to the destination, it was already half past midnight and the party was over because it was being held in a community centre, which meant, of course, they had a curfew.

Gaah!

Anyway...if Chelsea reads this, I'm sorry for missing out (although I hope you enjoy the gift!) :P ... and may you have had a very happy 21st! And oooh! She and her partner Matt have got engaged! Whoo-hoo! Congratulations to both of them, and may they be happy and healthy all the days of their lives.

:)))
_____________

Post script: It's Halloweeeeeen today!! whooooooooo! Have a good one, boys and girls. It's not celebrated much in Malaysia due to oversuperstition and a general instilled fear of the supernatural :P, but those who are going to Halloween parties tonight, have a great time and be safe! Boys and girls in Oz... well, the same :) Remember, never walk alone in the dark, and never put anything into your mouth that isn't wrapped.

Hehehe.

Buhbye!

Friday, 29 October 2004

Whinge, Whinge, Moan, Moan

Whew! I don't think anyone knows exactly how tedious it is to be writing music when you don't have the appropriate technology to be doing it properly. I'm currently in the process of converting eight of Shakespeare's sonnets into song, and then writing it all out for the cello, piano, keyboard and clarinet - and believe you me, it's tiring. The work is done on this music programme called Finale, and I'm pretty sure that if I knew how, I could hook my keyboard up to the computer so that when I press on a key, the note immediatley appears on the screen. However, I'm nowhere near that techno-savvy (techno...music...hahaha, I made a funny!) ... and so I have to sit there, moving the mouse to click and calculate each and every note...so much so that it takes 4-5 hours to finish what could've been a 1-hour score. Sigh.

Incidentally, I have an assignment due on Monday which I was granted an extension for by my tutor, and she wrote (in verbatim):

Normally, I say a blanket no to such requests, but devising a musical score based on Shakespeare's sonnets is quite possibly the most original grounds cited for an extension request, ever.

Okay, back to work I go. Tired, frustrated and feeling like a mental breakdown is on the way. Heh. Who would give up the joy of studying for anything else? :)))

~N

Execute Me, Did You Say You Want Good Theatre?

Hello all! Today I thought I'd provide a bit of free advertising for my mates in uni who are putting on a show next week.

It's called Scenes from an Execution, by British playwright Howard Barker, and tells the tale of a female painter who is commissioned by the Venician government to paint a 100ft canvas of the much-revered Battle of Lepanto. However, when her vision differs from that of the government's, she gets into a little bit of a pickle.

Scenes is a powerful, thought-provoking piece of theatre that questions the integrity of artists as well as the rights of women, and deals greatly with the theme of power-play and ambition. Definitely a must-see for those who are looking for a bit of provocative theatre! With powerful visuals projected onstage and a thrilling soundtrack, it's a guaranteed enjoyable night out. Tickets are available at $12 by calling the number below, or by booking online via the official website www.scenesfromanexecution.com.



And below: some promotional photos for the show. Dude on the left is my good buddy Paul Grabovac. Yo Paul!



And in the lead roles, the beautiful Zara Raffan (hi Zara!) and Kita Iqbal.





And last but not least, here's a mockup of the set design, with visual projection involved. Design (C) by Chris McLay.



I'm not actually part of this show, although I've been contributing to the publicity side of things, which explains this little promo. So don't delay, get your tickets today! :)

Wednesday, 27 October 2004

What's Goin' On?!

My internet connection has been acting weird lately, with a normal 150Kbps bandwidth (ADSL) abruptly and inexplicably reducing to 32Kbps, even though my volume usage stats in my ISP account states "bandwidth currently unshaped", meaning it should be at the aforementioned 150. Have contacted the Net dudes, have yet to hear from them. Does anyone have an idea of why this could be happening? I don't know much about computers, but for some reason I imagine a hacker using my bandwidth for his own downloading and stuff, thereby reducing mine by heaps. Is that even remotely possible? Or is that something I've just conjured in my imagination? LOL. Hmm. Kinda not too funny. Ah well, at least I'm still online. But just barely. Someone help! Quick!

:S

Monday, 25 October 2004

Feeling Chatty?

Oh, cool! This might be old news for some, but MSN Messenger is currently testing its new web-based version, where you don't have to install the programme in order to chat with people! For more information, check out this page. It's kinda like ICQ (which I don't use anymore) - which has had its web-based version for quite a while now. In case some of you didn't know that, the link to that one is here. Okay. That's my free advertising deed for the day. Incidentally, if anyone wants to add me on to MSN, it's nickmaniac@hotmail.com. Buhbye now!

Canine Get More Sentimental?

I love dogs.

Dunno why I do, but I'm a sucker for dogs. And before anyone thinks this is a metaphor for something -- it's not. I'm talking about the furry, four-legged, barking variety. Dogs rule. Puppies rock. No question.

I just got home from a friend's place, and she had this most adorable black cocker spaniel named Charlie. Made me all sad, missing my doggy from back home in Malaysia. Just to regale you guys with some rather pointless information, up to about fifteen months ago I used to have three dogs at home - all of them cross-bred mongrels, but the most beautiful bitches you could ever meet (again, no double entendres there). The oldest was Wendy - had her for about 11 years. The second dog was Jodie, who's been with us for four years now. And the third, sometime around Sept 11 2001 (oddly enough), I picked up from the roadside with a skeletal frame and broken hip -- little Jessie, who my family and I nursed back to relative good health, given that her broken hip had healed unfixed and left her with a permanent crooked rear and weak back legs.

Sadly, Wendy died middle of last year, and almost exactly a year later, Jessie upped and left us abruptly sometime around this past July. Wendy had fallen ill, so it wasn't so bad when she moved on, given that she was pretty old; Jessie just closed her eyes and didn't wake up. I think the broken hip had affected her more deeply than the vet had realised. I dunno. Anyway, we're left with good ol' Jodie, who, being alone for the first time in her doggy life, had to get accustomed to being the solo pet.

Haven't seen the dog in nearly ten months (it's a little saddening when you realise you miss your pets more than you miss your family members; but it's true, and I suppose it's only because the pets don't nag and don't judge you). I can't wait to go home and call out, "Jodie!" and get into a crouch with arms open wide ready for her to come running on all fours, anticipating her to barrel right into me in her canine exhilaration, only to have her go dashing past, leaving me all alone with said arms open wide, ignored and feeling like a total buffoon.

It's gonna happen. :)

Saturday, 23 October 2004

Goodbye

Just the other day I was informed that a friend of mine from uni passed away unexpectedly; she was only 21. I didn't know her very well, but we'd worked together in a production last year. It's a very saddening and close-to-home thing to hear of someone so young and bright moving on without any warning. May she be happy, wherever she is, and may her family and friends who are in grief be comforted during this difficult time. Amen.

The Return of The Nick!

Whoo-hoo! At long last, I finally have returned with a new post for this blog. As you can tell, the blog has gone through a refurbishing, and now has a different look altogether, thank heavens for ready-made templates! :)

Well, what's been new? I've been neglecting writing for a while because, as usual, of heaps of work to do. On November 11th, my mates and I will be putting a one-night only show comprising scenes and sonnets by Shakespeare, which might sound kinda dull, but it really... um... might be. Heheh. I've converted some of the sonnets into songs, so I've gotten a few mates to help me out with the music, creating an ambient band with a grand piano, cello, clarinet, classical guitar and keyboard for additional sounds. Should be pretty cool. More on this when it happens. Incidentally, if anyone in Perth wishes to come see the show, let me know.

On another note, my book Eerie Tales has not come out in Malaysia as of this point, even though the publisher says it will be "very soon". Finger crossed. Thanks to everyone who has been going to bookstores looking for it. Please continue to do so, hehehe. :)

Only three more weeks of uni left for this year! Haven't been home since January, can hardly wait! Although until the end of term, the work keeps piling up, and afterwards I've got to try and find a new place to live since I wanna change of scenery. I've been here in this house in Perth for two and a half years now; since I've got a car, I figure it might be good to try living on my own for a change. We'll see how this goes.

Alright, thanks for reading, boys and girls. Until later!

Monday, 11 October 2004

A Short One Today

Hello boys and girls. Just some quick updates. Nothing much been going on lately, what with uni work piling up (again) and life being kinda dullishly repetitive. :) heheh. A quick note on the status of Eerie Tales: apparently as of this time of writing the book isn't yet available in Malaysia, so those back home, be patient it will be out soon! Meanwhile, those of you who are overseas and are keen on obtaining a copy, please check out the link in my previous post, or check out Amazon.com and type in Get Spooked! :)

Okay, that's all for now. More later!

Take care, all!

Wednesday, 6 October 2004

Eerie Tales by the Freaky Dude!

And the time has come at last for me to announce (in full egocentricity!) ... the availability of my new book! Yaaay! Eerie Tales to Chill Your Bones, written under the rather dubious non-de-plume Freaky Nick, bwahahaaa! (See my previous post for a glimpse at the front cover.)

For those of you who are in Malaysia, it should be available in bookstores now. For those overseas, you may obtain a copy at Amazon.com, or by clicking on the link below:

Eerie Tales!

I apologise if I'm coming across as self-absorbed, but this is such an exciting thing for me, and I hope you guys will be able to support me by getting a copy. I can guarantee you'll be getting goosebumps from at least one of the eight short stories contained therein, hehehehe. And each tale is dedicated to particular people who I consider good and dear friends - you'll see what I mean... :)

So please, if you can, check the book out. I'd be much obliged. Thanks to all my friends who have been encouraging me and supporting me through my years of writing. I couldn't have reached this far without your proof-reading and editing and opinions and critiques.

Y'know who you are.

Sunday, 3 October 2004

Getting Spooked!

Some time ago I mentioned that I had a publishing deal with a book company (see archives)... well, at the risk of sounding totally self-absorbed, may I please present some information on this new project! :)

Times Publishing-Marshall Cavendish is a publishing house in Malaysia with subsidiaries globally, and in January this year they asked me to contribute a compilation of eight to ten short horror stories for their new young adult series Get Spooked! So over the past half a year I've worked on these tales, and finally, in October 2004, the book Eerie Tales to Chill Your Bones (um...the publisher's title, not mine, hahahaah) will be released! :) I'm not sure if I'm breaking any confidentiality clauses by announcing this, but the publisher has sent me the cover of the book, and I was so excited by this that I have to put it up online! :)

The other books in the series were written by other authors. And as you can see, the publisher has come up with this idea of hiding the authors' real names behind some rather... interesting ... monikers. I initially came up with Nick Maniac (which has been my online non-de-plume for years), but my editor thought Freaky Nick sounded cooler, so... *grins*. Who am I to argue with the professionals?

Anyway, I'll be posting more on Eerie Tales once it is actually released. I think they're planning a Malaysian release initially, with the option for overseas readers to buy it over the Net via Amazon.com. Will let you know. Cheers.


My book!

Others in the series!

Tying the Knot and Fondue Pots

Woohoo! Just got home from my friends Chris and Jade's engagement party - it seems as if many couples I know are tying the knot soon! It's scary! Chris and Jade, and the other day I had dinner with my pals Leonard and Louise, who are also planning their wedding; and at the party, we hung out with Phil and Geri, who have also gotten engaged! Aiiieee! In all seriousness, though, it's really exciting to know that these friends of mine are ready to take the next step in their relationships, and it's particularly exciting for yours truly because it means getting invited to the ceremonies and organising the music for them. But enough about me. Back to them. Yaay, engagements! Yaay, weddings!

My friends Jo, Judi, Josie, Berni, Beatty and I got Chris and Jade some pretty cool gifts, if I may say so: an ice-cream maker, milkshake machine (to use after making all that ice-cream), and a fondue maker. Wuh? Wot? Fondue? you sputter. Yup! Fondue. Y'know. Cheese and bits of toast. Or hot chocolate sauce and bits of toast. Whatever's your fancy.

Chris and Jade's engagement party was really cool, and me and Berni got a little tipsy on white wine and started laughing at everything and nothing, which really isn't a very proud thing for me to mention, so let me scrap that. :P But there was great food, great company, and great fun, although methinks me and Berni's drunken antics freaked our friend Phil a little bit. Sorry Phil! Hahahaha! Are there too many names to keep track of? Ah well. *shrugs* :)

I think I shall leave it at this point for now. Oh, by the way, obviously I've got my computer back (or maybe it hasn't been obvious, in which case I happily announce that I've got my computer back)...thanks to Adam for helping me out with it, and for Jon who generously lended a helping hand as well. Ok, that's it for now! We're on a one-week uni break, so it's time for me to get started on music commitments, journal entries, missed lectures, and exam preparations! Byebye!