Monday, 31 January 2005

A New Site, And A Short Story

Hi all!

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. Have been busy working on a new website to help promote some of my work, and at long last, it's ready! Those of you who are interested in checking it out, I'd be very grateful. Click here to visit the site!

That's about all for now. I shall end with this silly anecdote.

I was taking a swim at the nearby public swimming pool when it started to rain. While resting in the shallow end, it started to rain, and this dude floating by turned to his partner and said, "Shit, rain. We'll get wet."

....

True story. I swear.

bye for now!

Sunday, 23 January 2005

Sick & Shitty...

Today we had to take poor little Chloe to the vet's because she isn't feeling well. The vet pokes, prods, listens, grunts, shrugs and says, "Upset tummy", and then proceeds to charge us $80 just because the little puppy has been eating dirt and grass from the garden and is now under da weather because of it. Ah well. I wonder what makes little dogs, like babies, want to put things in their mouths that they shouldn't. I once knew of a baby who actually ate his own poo. Sorry if that's gross. Hope you weren't eating while you read that. But it's a true story. Then the baby's mommy had to run out and shriek, "STOP IT, THAT'S NOT MEANT TO BE EATE---" but it was too late. Non-fiction. I swear.

Byebye.

Wednesday, 19 January 2005

Puppy Madness!

In the spirit of obsession for the adorable, here are some more pictures of our latest doggy, little Chloe! Poor Jodie is currently being neglected photowise, but fear not: we are giving her as much attention as we do the little one! The great thing about having an older dog, I've realised, is the amount of training we don't have to do. Following Jodie's footsteps, little Chloe has learnt the ropes of living in our household: when to go in, when to go out, where to relieve herself, how to look after the home, etc etc etc. So cute! Two days ago, Chloe was terrified of Jodie; now, she growls and attacks poor, traumatised, superpatient and hypertolerant Jodie. You go, girl! Okay, enough of that. Here are the pics.

Chloe and her toys. We've spoilt her already, we have indeed.

A closer view of the puppy and her toys.

Peekaboo!

I love this shot. I call it Chloe's celebrity mugshot. Okay, I need to get a life. Incidentally, that's not a snake, it's a garden hose. Just in case some of you thought it was a snake. I mean, logically it wouldn't be a snake, of course, but you never know, some people....



Monday, 17 January 2005

A New Addition to the Family!

Guess what, guess what, guess what? My family and I just adopted a new doggy! Yaay! I'm beside myself with excitement (which is a scary thought, someone being "beside himself", when you think about it literally, but I digress...) We've decided to name her Chloe (pronounced Chlo-eeeee), and before any of you comment that it's a strange or too-human name to be giving a dog, let me firstly cut thee off by informing thee that all our pets (of late, at least) have had humanish names... we've had Wendy, and Jamie, and Jodie, and Jessie, and Jacques (because my mom was heavily into speaking French at the time), and Smokey - although the latter is, of course, clearly a dog's name (or a bear's), so my point doesn't stand there...

Chloe's so cute! She's still pretty small, about 40cm from nose to posterior, and she's this beautiful sleek black with a tuft of white under her chin. Her mommy was a German Shepherd/Spitz mix, and her daddy was a Labrador, so she's got the look of a Lab with the colour of a dark German Shepherd, which is really cool. We think she's gonna grow up to be a big dog, even bigger than our resident dog Jodie, who isn't that big to begin with. Jodie and Chloe seem to be getting along (based on two hours of observation) - although when we first introduced the two, poor Chloe was so terrified that she yelped and peed in fright, which might sound funny, but it really isn't. Luckily Jodie's not the agressive type, and they seem quite amicable, if a bit standoffish. Then again, put two strangers in the same place, and they would take a while to bond, wouldn't they? Yeah. So it might be a while yet.

So let me finish this entry, the first on Chloe, with a few photos that I took with my mate Quentin's digital camera (heeey, Quent!)....um. Quentin doesn't know I took the camera back home to Malaysia with me, so if anyone runs into him, mum's the word, k??? Heheheh. Byebye for now.

Chloe!



So small! And below: Jodie!



~N

Saturday, 15 January 2005

And For What I Hope Will Be The Last Time: This Announcement!

My dear friends and family who read this blog - this has been a long time coming, but may I, at long last, please announce the availability of my new book. I've mentioned this a long long long long time ago somewhere in the deep dark archival crevices of this blog, but due to some publicatory complications (publicatory isn't a word, but what the hell), it was deferred and delayed. Well, as of mid-January 2005, it's officially available in the bookstores in Malaysia (well, it's officially available in the bookstores I've been to in PJ, at least) - and should penetrate most, if not all, stores by the end of the month.

Once again, to refresh your memory, here's the front cover:



Now that it's actually out, allow me to present a list of contents and summary for the stories contained therein. There are eight horror tales in all, and they are:

i) Darkness of the Heart - A young writer working alone in the woods encounters two children on the run from a madman hell-bent on killing them...

ii) Hanging Out - The story of a young man, Pat, who one day confides in his friend Scott that he is a ghost. But is Pat just kidding around, or is he for real...?

iii) Impish Behaviour - Babysitter Dana Lisman discovers that the home of her latest charge is infested with creatures from the depths of the nastiest nightmare...

iv) Berni's Playmate - Little Bernadette Ware meets a new best friend in the playroom of her family's new home. But her friend, imaginary or otherwise, turns out to be much more malevolent than anyone had imagined...

v) She Told Me To - Bookstore employee Chelsea is cast into a nightmarish predicament when a former classmate holds her hostage, insisting that he's possessed by a demon and has to do its every will...


vi) Six Feet Under & Several Feet Away - A frightening apparition is stalking Judith, maintaining an exact distance from her no matter where she goes. What does it want, and why is it making Judith's first days at university a living hell...?

vii) The Passenger - Clinton Bell's life is thrown into a hellish chaos when his roommate Paul insists there's an invisible creature clinging on to Clinton, piggybacking him.... and

viii) The Stalking - Out of hate for the species, Daniel kills a cat -- only to be the target of a vicious vengeance by a pack of savage animals.

So there we have it. If all goes well, this will be my final announcement (okay, okay, advertisement) of my book on this blog, so as to avoid being repetitious. (What? So as to avoid being repetitious?) Yes, so as to avoid being repetitious. It should be out in all good Malaysian bookstores by the end of January, is already available at First Edition Books in Damansara Uptown, PJ, and will most likely be found in Popular, Times and MPH outlets nation- and regionwide. Just to summarise:

Title: GET SPOOKED - EERIE
TALES TO CHILL
YOUR BONES

Author: FREAKY NICK (uh-huh)

Publisher: Times Editions
Marshall-Cavendish
(Malaysia)

Price: RM17.90 (approx AUS$7)

ISBN: 9833001068

For those overseas (i.e. Australia and elsewhere) who might be interested in obtaining a copy, drop me an email at nick_cmkit@lycos.com, or check out Amazon.com for ordering details. Okay, t-t-that's all folks!



Shopping Sprees and Shopping Spats!

It's been a while since I've posted, which, of course, signifies that nothing of great significance has happened since, haha! Well, not true. I have, over the past few days, done heaps more reading, have embarked on writing a new batch of stories, and have gone shopping for stuff that I really can't afford and really don't need but figured I could learn to live with anyway.

Well, actually, I spent my pocket money on just this one item - a new CD player/micro hi-fi that set me back RM399 (that's 399 Malaysian Ringgit for those outside of Malaysia) - which is a real steal at the price (RM399 for a surround-sound stereo system with sleep and timer functions and remote control? Come on! It's a bargain!)... if you think of it in Aussie dollars, that only amounts to about $133.33! Good heavens!

Anyway, yes. I hooked two additional stereo speakers to the main unit of the system (which apparently you shouldn't do, but wot the heck), and placed all four speakers in each corner of my bedroom for a fuller surround-sound effect. It doesn't work 100% well, but 95-99% is cool enough, given the price! :) If you're interested in knowing more, I couldn't find many websites about it, but a list of specs is given here.

_________________________

On another note, yesterday I went to a certain store in the Atria Shopping Centre in PJ (Malaysia) to buy a small table lamp that I thought would be cool to brighten up a particularly dim corner of my room. Anyway, went to the store, checked out a funky lamp, asked a saleswoman if I could check it out, and she brusquely and rudely told me, "There! Check it out!", gesturing to a power point and implying, not so subtly, that I should do it myself. Fine. So I checked out the lamp, and then I discovered a piece of plastic underneath the bulb socket. So I asked the lady what it was for, and she snapped, "It's just plastic!" Given that the lampshade was also wrapped in plastic, I figured, ok. What the hell. Paid RM20 for it and left.

When I got home, I removed all pieces of plastic - and the top half of the lamp fell over. Y'see, the second piece of plastic, under the bulb, was there to keep the top half in place. So I stuck it back together, seethed, and today stormed back to the store to get a replacement or refund. When I got there, I told a dude about what had happened, and he rasped ill-manneredly, "Receipt!" I gave him the receipt, and without a word, he stormed away, dug out a replacement, made sure it worked, and handed it to me without a single statement of apology. I took the lamp, said, "Thank you for your courteous service!", and he walked away without a second glance.

Now I don't know what your opinions are, but at any point I'm in a shopping centre as a customer, I expect good customer service from the staff. That's what the staff are there for, for crying out loud! It's all about public relations, you idiots! Anyway, just in case you think I'm going to refrain from mentioning the name of the store in case I upset the powers that be and get into trouble -- it was the Parkson ground-floor electrical department in Atria, Petaling Jaya. Terrible service, totally impolite staff, no apologies, no signs warning of damaged goods - and the audacity to leave these broken items out on display for people to buy. It's a travesty.

Okay, rant over.

Byebye!

Sunday, 2 January 2005

New Year Room Ramblings!

Well, well, well, it's a brand new year, and I have to say, it's been so strange that New Year's has been celebrated with such solemnity. It's surreal not having the countdowns and the fireworks and the brouhaha and the shebangs and the whatnots, but I concur that given the circumstances, it wouldn't really be appropriate to have such high festivities. Regardless, here's a nice big HAPPY NEW YEAR! I didn't do much for New Year's eve. Hung out with my close friend Terry and our mates LH and Leslie, and basically did nothing but sip from glasses of Baileys and milk while the clock counted down towards the end of 2004. That really was it. Afterwards, we headed back to my place to watch the telly. Wow.

Anyway...

Today, in a totally self-absorbed moment, I present to you the space that I'd been missing all year until I came back home around three weeks ago (drum roll, please!) ... my room!!! Yaaaay! The photo below features the one end of the room that I actually thought was presentable enough to feature on this blog (the other end was a mess, so I won't bother mentioning it here unless I specifically receive requests for me to do so...meaning I definitely won't be featuring it here on this blog, hahahaha!). Anyways. Here we go...click on the pic for a bigger view with numbered indicators for the notes below, if you're interested:



1) A glimpse of The Conversation, a painting I did when I was eight years old (below). My dad tells me he gave me a sheet of paper and some paints, and I came up with this weird work that's meant to show two people nose-to-nose in deep chat. Dad liked it so much that he framed it. :)



2) Tiny framed photographs of me and my mates hang on the back of the door.

3) A framed photo of the Chamber Choir that I was part of, back when I was studying at Newington College in Sydney in 1998 and 1999. Man, the Sydney story is one that must be told someday, preferably over a pitcher or two of cold beer!

4) The wall. Yes, not too exciting, but at one time it was filled with photographs and paintings and cartoons and other bits of shite that I thought was cool to put up. In the end it only made the room appear heaps smaller. Heh. Ah well.

5) Okay, this might not be too clear, but there are luminscent stars on the walls and the ceiling because at one point I thought it would be really cool to turn off the lights and have a glowing galaxy above my head. I was right. It was cool. It still is. *winks*

6) Being Roman Catholic, it's only apt that I have a holy picture or two on the walls. :)

7) Another Catholic item, a palm that was used to celebrate Palm Sunday, the start of the Catholic season of Lent, which leads up to Easter.

8) An off-balanced stereo speaker. This was part of my attempt at creating a "surround-sound" effect in my room by rewiring a stereo system and putting speakers in all four corners of the room. This speaker is aimed at the walls for a cooler echo of acoustics. I think.

9) A little teddy bear that my dear friend Becky gave me before I left for Sydney, as a goodbye and good luck gift. A little kitschy, perhaps, but the sentiment means well.

10) A stuffed kangaroo. Dunno where from, but from neither Perth nor Sydney. Odd, that. Oh well.

11) A busted guitar, one of two in my room, that serves as a space-filler and non-successful conversational piece.

12) Another framed cartoon, this one of my Beer Joke, painted when I was fourteen. Here it is:



13) A coloured rendition of the Church on Fire cartoon that is featured in one of my earlier posts below. Here it is:



14) The promotional poster for Richard III, A Bollywood Musical, which I have frequently mentioned in my earlier posts (see post Bollywood Madness here).

15) Random brochures for productions I have been involved in, including 1997's amusing rendition of Andrew Lloyd Webber's lesser-known musical By Jeeves, staged at my high school in Penang.

16) My Big Book Shelf, filled with myriad titles, most of which I have yet to read...

17) Ok, you can't really see it, but this is my Junk Box, filled with all sorts of miscellaneous junk, from playing cards to screwdrivers to those little plastic things that people stick into unused electrical sockets to prevent kiddies from sticking their fingers into the dangerous little holes.

18) A body of the stereo system that was mentioned with reference to #8. Includes a non-functional tape deck and CD player, and a radio tuner that doesn't really pick up any frequencies. Which, of course, makes this item nothing but a space-filler.

19) My violin! Woot! Okay, it's not a permanent part of the landscape, but I think it looks cool there.

20) Another off-beat speaker facing the wall for non-successful acoustic ambience. This computer speaker wears a cap. I don't know why. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

21) The other busted guitar that fills up space, gathers dust, and doesn't work as a conversation piece.

22) The violin's carry-case. Again, not part of the landscape, but at the moment I think it fills up that little corner pretty well, don't you? ;)

23) My Photo Album corner. At one point, the corner was filled by a large plastic baggie that contained a million unsorted photographs and film negatives. Now, I'm proud to say they've been put into little albums, for ease and convenience and viewing pleasure. Nobody has ever looked at them.

24) My Junk Boxes, mainly filled with old books and magazines that I in all likelihood never look at again for the rest of my life.

25) My Music Shelf, filled with various CDs and cassettes...most of which go unheard, because the stereo system is busted. Pfft.

26) Just to differentiate between the trashy novels and the quality ones (and to create an air of pretension), these bookshelves hold the good books, like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time (see sidebar), Sophie's World, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory...

27) Another series of Junk Boxes. Actually, it's mostly filled with my old stories, writings, cartoons and music work. It's really my treasure trove of old creations which might one day serve as refreshing inspirations. Dunno if that makes sense, but it sure sounds good, doesn't it? ;)

28) The nice, comfy sofa that sits in one corner of the room. Excellent for reading on, and for taking pleasant little naps. A survivor of my Dad's old Office days, when he used to own his own Public Relations firm. That's long gone now.

29) An Arsenal scarf hangs incongruously from a standing lamp. Why? Who knows?

30) A removable cushion from a furniture set that was long ago removed from our premises. Now it serves as a comfy appendage to the sofa.

31) My luggage or clothes-bag or suitcase or wotever-the-hell it's called, used when travelling back and forth between Malaysia and Australia. Slides nicely into the hole between the sofa and the bed, the way all good luggages or clothes-bags or suitcases or wotever-the-hell it's calleds should.

32) The warm patchwork blanket on my bed, which was made by my dear old Grandma. Um. The blanket was made by her, I mean, not the bed.

33) Um. Yeah. The floor.

34) A relic from my old home back in the northern island state of Penang (I now live in the state of Selangor, close to Kuala Lumpur): a mamasan chair. Heaven only knows why it's called a mamasan, although if memory serves me, the term mama san describes the female version of pimps. Y'know. Women who own other women and hand them over to men for sex in exchange for cash. Hmmm. Not too flattering, is it?

35) You can't see it because it's blocked by 36) the clothes cupboard, but 35) features the corner bookshelf that I now use to hold my old British comic magazines such as Buster, Whizzer & Chips and Whoopee! Click here for more information! Ahhhh. Good times.

Now for the best part of the room, the bit that draws the most gasps and cries of awe from people who visit (not that many people ever do). If you look above the door, you'll see a section of a large poster-sized photograph. This photo features more than 2,000 members of staff and students of the high school, grouped together in a terrifying mugshot. The way they set this up was interesting: we were directed to climb up these huge scaffoldings in a certain order, up many flights of stairs so that we were several metres suspended above the ground. Across from us, a photographer said "cheese!", and the snapshot was taken. Here's a look at it; click on the pic for a bigger view.



Freaky, huh?! Incidentally, the school wasn't in the background when the photo was taken; in a moment of photographic ingenuity, the photo people superimposed it onto the dull original background featuring nothing but pieces of sky amidst leaves and branches. Fascinating stuff.

Well, that's about all! I must say this is the lengthiest post I have put up so far; not a bad start for 2005!

Take care people, and keep smiling. Please do leave a message, I would love to hear what you think.

Cheers, ~N.