Saturday, 30 December 2006

FTL Promo!

May I present - my promo for a proposed 2007 restaging of my oft-mentioned Christmas musical Follow The Light, tentatively scheduled for December 2007 in Perth! Will keep you updated! Hope you enjoy, folks - turn up the volume for new musical arrangements! :) ~N

Quickie

Hey everyone! Gawsh, has the Internet been dodgy lately, what with disrupted service and earthquakes and new tsunamis and such! Oy, I swear the world's coming to an end soon. Eek.

Anyway, these past couple of days have been pretty good - my dear, dear friend Jo and her family were up from Singapore, so I met up with them in the brief time that we had to hang out, catch up, eat till we nearly exploded, buy pirated goods and paint the town red Jo-and-Nick style! Hehe! Next weekend is going to rock even more, because that's when I'll be heading down to Sgpore for the long-awaited reunion with the MUCC gang - isn't that right, folks?! Yes, it is!! Yaaaay!! *Dances!*

Anyway, this is just a quick posting for now while I've got a stable connection... time to head to bed now!! Until next time, take care!! ~N

Wednesday, 27 December 2006

Christmas: A Time for Dogfights, Caterpillars and Tear-jerkers

Hey hey everyone! Happy Boxing Day! (oy, even that's over now, LOL!) Hope everybody has had a great Christmas! Mine's been rather quiet, but in a good way - since I was away from home last year, I decided to spend my x'mas with my folks. That's the good (?) part. The bad part is that all of my mates have travelled north to Penang to be with their families this Christmas, which essentially means I'm virtually friendless here in good ol' KL. Awwww! But fret not, I'll be driving up to Penang later today (should really get some shut-eye, eh?) and joining them for a big Christmassy reunion, so that should be awesome!! Wish me safe journeying!

Christmas eve began with a bit of a shocker. Warning: the following might be a traumatising story, so be prepared! I woke up to the sounds of my dogs fighting once again, coupled with my mum's shrieks and the horrible rattling of the front door grille. I rushed down to see my younger dog, Chloe, viciously biting Jodie's cheek and refusing to let go, growling savagely while Jodie howled and growled and helped - and the most horrible part was that Chloe had bit Jodie by shoving her snout through the gaps in the closed front door gate and was basically holding on to her through the metal bars! Can you imagine, it's like two prisoners on either side of the prison cage, and one of them has stabbed the other in the face and is trying to 'pull' the victim to his side of the fence!! No matter how hard we tried, we couldn't get Chloe to let go - my dad splashed cold water on 'em, then warm water on 'em, but to no avail - and pulling Chloe wasn't an option because her fang had sunk deep into Jodie's face that it would basically only serve to pull and tear at her skin... Finally my mum had the brilliant idea of trying to get Chloe to open her jaws by forcing a tightly-rolled up piece of cloth between her teeth, and at the same time using the cloth to cover Chloe's nose, essentially rendering her breathless. With the need to breathe, Chloe finally let go, and poor Jodie stumbled away, beaten, traumatised and bloodied. And traumatised we all were, too. Horrible.

Well, suffice it to say for the rest of the day I was immensely angry at Chloe (gave her a hard but not unkind spanking immediately after the fight), who sensed my anger and hid until Christmas morning. As for Jodie, she was pampered and comforted and snuggled and medicated (the wound was/is pretty deep, but mum has this amazing antiseptic-antimaggot-antifungal cream that works wonders, and now it's already beginning to heal). Right now Jodie seems to be her old self again (ah, that lupine instinct that kicks in during/after a fight and keeps them spriteful and resilient), and Chloe's been semi-forgiven, although now we realise we have to take measures up a notch and even close the sliding glass door as well as the front grille. There is, obviously, a bigger issue here, which is what we're going to do long-term with regards to this increasingly savage rivalry between the two -- but that's a problem post-New Year's. It's the holiday season, folks!! :P

Anyway, Christmas Eve church service was pretty dull (which isn't the point, I know, I know), and afterwards my parents and I went for a seafood (mmhmm. That's Christmas Eve with the Choos, baby) dinner at this restaurant. The food was pretty good - until we ordered something called 'bamboo shells', which my mum thought was some other kind of shellfish. Turns out the sea creatures are long, their shells, indeed, like bamboo halves - and the creatures themselves, horrifyingly, look like white plump caterpillars with quasi-segmented bodies and what even looked like a head with an eye in it. Fear Factor, anybody?! In the end we couldn't eat 'em (they weren't prepared right, anyway, we subsequently discovered), and the little bit that I did try actually tasted quite good, in that scallopy-fishy-oystery kinda way. So that was a little bit of a shock too, LOL! Pity I didn't have my camera with me. Would've made a good blogging pic!!

Christmas Day was pretty quiet, like I said - just being home with the folks, pudding and coffee and homemade cake my mum baked using the gift I bought her, a portable (large) conventional oven! Yaaay! And I've pretty much been preparing for my trip to Penang, in between bursts of updating my myspace and working on a promo ad for a proposed 2007 restaging of Follow The Light (more on this as and when!). Oh, and our Christmas Day tear-jerker was the movie version of Rent (awww!! Judi-laaaah! Remember the trip to the cinema?!), which my mum loved (Dad was rather stoic through it, LOL!) and even cried over. Yay! :P

Well, that's about all for now. Will update from Penang next!!! Take care everyone, have a terrific remainder of festive season!! :))

Monday, 25 December 2006

Season's Greetings!!!

Hey everyone! Here's a hearty Merry Christmas to one and all!!!!!

It's been a rather interesting day. I'll tell you more about it a bit later, when I'm more awake and sober, LOL!

Much love, ~nick

Thursday, 21 December 2006

Birthdays and Myspace

Hey everybody!! Merry Christmas in four days! How thrilling! Yesterday was my brother's birthday, so the whole family went for lunch. That was *less* exciting, oy! Family. *grrr* Anyway. Went to work briefly, and then took off Christmas shopping and spent... well, a whole lotta money on presents (I bought my mum a conventional oven. Not the huge stove variety, but one of those microwave-sized ones that are portable. That cost a bit.) :P

Anyway, nothing new to add - although I've updated my Myspace page at long, long last, so please do check it out, and if you're on myspace, add me on yea? Tomorrow I've got the day off, and so I plan to finish up some more shopping and sort out the bus tickets for my trip to Singapore in January; I'm also driving up to Penang on Saturday for my long-awaited Christmas reunion with my Penan mates, so that's really exciting!! Okay, that's all for now - later!! :) ~N

Tuesday, 19 December 2006

Jokers and Hotel Tours

Hey all! Wow, what a day yesterday (it's Tuesday now) has been. First off, went to the office to finish off the rest of the magazine (yes, we didn't finish on Friday. Shite. I probably shouldn't be reporting all this. Erk. Oh well.) and realised I was the only one there out of the whole team... even the two graphic designers weren't around. And there was a whole page left to be done. So I had to get one of the other graphic designers (i.e. those who usually work on other publications within the company) to help out, and all in all it was a little bit nervous-making. To make things more interesting, my boss had scheduled a lunch meeting at 1pm. It was 1130am when we started working on the page. Suffice it to say we weren't done till about 3pm. LOL. By then we had to make multiple phone calls and SMS's of apology, and our colleague H was, like, comically seething, going, "What, man! Jokers!!!"

Anyhoo. So that was pretty interesting. Afterwards my boss drove my colleague Dan and me to the hotel in the city where the lunch meeting was being held, and by the time we got there it was just in time for tea, so we had a luvely meal in the snazzy little restaurant: I had a salmon steak foccacia with an iced coffee; we split a delicious pasta dish (with pasta imported specially from Italy, handmade and rare, we were told!) and shared an absolutely decadent dessert platter. So that was pretty awesome. Afterwards we were taken on a tour around the hotel, which, by the by, is a pretty impressive building (I won't mention which hotel just yet, lest my editor blames me for spilling the beans too soon) - but it had a rooftoop bar/pool area that was really cool, with a view overlooking KLCC Park - the twin towers and its surroundings, far as the eye can see from the top of a 34-storey building. Awesome.

So that was yesterday. We got back to the office in the evening; I drove home, and I've pretty much been watching telly for the rest of the night because, heh, let's face it, I think we all need some real time off every now and then, don't we? Hehehe. Yea we do. Okay, that's about all for now - until next time! ~N PS: For those who are interested, I've done some updating to my TV viewing list on the right! :) Hehe! Check 'em out!

Sunday, 17 December 2006

Bittersweet

Time for another preview! After having a concensus with a few mates as to which musical project I should be devoting all of my energies on (at the moment I'm fluctuating between three - The Other Person, The Edge and a curious Malaysian-themed musical entitled KaoKao), I've decided that I shall be focusing fully on the story of the man who's about to kill himself, and the impact that has on his closest friends and family. Yup... The Edge (ironically, for those who haven't heard, also the name of the company that I work for) is my New Project for 2007 (short of FTL) and I'm really excited because everyone says it sounds great albeit terribly complex, so here's hoping I pull it off.

Anyway, the preview - this is a song that's going to go into The Edge, and it's sung by Diana, ex-girlfriend of Suicidal Guy, on her feelings after dumping him. (Incidentally, after penning the song, I've decided to move it to another part of the show to be performed by all six members of the cast and not a solo, and therefore all the lyrics are going to change because it's not going to be the Breakup Song anymore. But never mind, this will do for now.) Lyrics below; click on the title to download, k? And please let me know what you think... bear in mind it's just a rough draft. ;)

from The Edge, music & lyrics by Nick Choo

Every time I close my eyes, I realise I'm
thinking of you; you invade my every thought now...
Weeks have gone, I should just let go and carry on
But no - no, it's not so easy...
Sitting here, on my bed back home, I feel alone, though
I have many friends and family, they don't mean so much to me,
not right now. I'm sick of crying. Tell me how
To go. God, this feels so crazy.

Bittersweet, that is what I'll call us.
Bittersweet, now that we're apart,
and with every beat of my broken heart
I'll say we're bittersweet...

On the way coming home that night, I couldn't fight my
every memory, every deep and dear emotion:
hurt, confusion, cold detachment, but the fact is clear -
I wish I didn't leave you...
Sometimes I just kneel and pray you'd go away, like
You were just a distant dream, a fantasy that never was,
you never were, we never met, forget us, disappear!
I should still be with you.

Bittersweet, that is what I'll call us.
Bittersweet, now that we're apart,
and with every beat of my broken heart
I'll say we're bittersweet...

Braindead

Hey everyone! Wow, it's been another crrrazzy week - the closing week of the magazine, and boy was it a killer, LOL. Hence why I haven't been updating the past few days. That and the fact that nothing much has happened, apart from trying to get things finished. We finally ended the work week at - get this - 630am on Saturday morning, after our having been in the office since 1130am on Friday. Gawd. So my entire weekend thus far has comprised doing nothing but sleeping, watching telly, eating, and sluggish, groggy walks around the neighbourhood, head stuffed with cotton wool that can't be removed...

Anyway, it's about eight days to Christmas, yaaay!!! *dances!* I still have great memories of Christmastime last year in Perth (awwww), and this time around I'll be heading up to Penang for a long-awaited reunion with my dearest, closest friends, so that should be pretty awesome! Can't wait!

Finally, I leave everyone with this funny moment that happened last week when my mates Dan and Christine were in town. We were in my car, and I happened to turn on the radio. Dan looked at the little radio display and said, "Hey!! 94.5 - we've got that station in Perth, too!" To which I looked at him and replied, "Um... that's the clock." 9.45.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Oh dear. ~N

Monday, 11 December 2006

Happy Birthday To You! Happy Birthday To You!

Happy Birthday dear Judi!!
Happy Birthday to you!!

(Erk. Deja vu. See previous post.)

Have a very, very happy birthday, Judi-lah and Alex-lah!
May you have a terrific one!
Wish I could be there! :)

xox! ~N

Happy Birthday To You! Happy Birthday To You!

Happy Birthday dear Alex!!
Happy Birthday to you!!!

:)

Dan & Christine, the Jazz Bar & the Egomaniac, and the Druggie with the Deprivation-Induced Stupor (oh, this is a Lengthy but Good One)

Hey everyone! Whoohoo, what a weekend. Friday was pretty tame - just the usual, going to work, being swamped up to my eyelids in stuff-to-do. Saturday was awesome, because my dear mates Dan and Christine from Perth were in town for a visit, and so I met up with them at about noon at the Megamall (read 1pm by the time I found a parking space!) and pretty much spent the entire day hanging out, catching up, gorging ourselves on food (oy!), chilling and drinking and shopping and just having a ton of fun. Brought 'em back home to check out the house (and jam a bit on the guitar and keyboard!), then had a scrumptious satay dinner (Kajang Sate in Uptown - check it out: chicken, beef, mutton, venison and rabbit. No kidding!); then went to SS2 and had desserts (both sweet and savoury, effectively amounting to another meal in itself); then we checked out the new Digital Mall (which is pretty dull), after which we went to 1-Utama for more shopping and drinks at a cool bar I'd never before stepped foot in. Finally, half-tipsy and totally knackered, I drove 'em into KL city and dropped 'em off at their hotel! Heee! Cool as!

Today I was also meant to hang out with the two of 'em, but I was doing some work at home till about 330pm when it started to storm; afterwards, I drove into KL city and Dan & Christine were out shopping, so I thought I'd make a quick diversion to spontaneously check out this jazz bar, The Top Room, where they have an open stage. Went there, had a coffee and a white wine, chatted with Lenn, the publicist dude who told me about the venue, and then hopped onstage to tinkle the ivories of a cool grand piano with three other musos, none of whom I'd previously met - a guy on the bass, a young dude on the clarinet (jazzzy!) and a drummer. Awesome fun, even though only the first song was tight because we all knew it (Girl from Ipanema, anyone?); songs two and three were increasingly haphazard as none of us knew 'em at the same time - so it was a whole lotta improv and fumbling had by all!! LOL! Afterwards, I buzzed Dan & Christine (cursing all the while the fact that I hadn't brought 'em to the bar with me - they would've had a blast too!) to hang out, but they were tired out from all that shopping (at 8pm!) - and so we're hopefully catching up again tomorrow night. Heh.

On the topic of the stage, I'm glad I got the chance to get out there and play in front of a room full of people. It's something I've decided to start doing - just get out there, make some music, get noticed (yes, yes, I can hear some of you saying, 'Jeez! More attention-seeking?! Really?!' LOL). The answer to that, my friends, is - yes, kinda. :P Only because for the past six months I've been making contacts and meeting new people but without really letting people know that there's more to me than being the journalist with Off The Edge - there's this whole musical side that I always said I'd prioritise but ended up being unable to thus far (see below songwriting-musical as Exhibit A). Well, that has made me realise: I can't sit back and get frustrated because nobody's noticing me when I'm not putting myself out there to be noticed. That's when I decided, enough. I'm going out there. I'm going to bars and music places and playing. I'm sending my music to producers, singers, recording artists. I'm going to sing my songs for people, or have other people sing 'em for other people - either way, as long as the songs are heard. I'm going to audition for some theatrical stuff and perform on top of continuing with my writing for the stage. Look out, world - Nick's on the prowl! And if some of these contacts just happen to be people I meet in the course of the Off The Edge job - well, then that's terrific, a bonus, and I'm grateful for that. But I'm not gonna rest on my haunches and wait for something to happen instead of making it happen -- proactive, not reactive. At the end of the day though, don't get me wrong and think I'm now gonna be abusing my journalistic authority to seek fame and fortune - that's hardly the point. What is the point is this: if you want to get somewhere, then you have to work towards that. If you want to be heard and seen, you have to make some noise and be seen. That's how it works; that's what I've learnt; and that's what I've been refraining from doing the past five months. That ends - from now. Jazz bar #1 infiltrated - more await. ;)

This weekend has been pretty self- and Perth-centric. Apart from Dan & Christine (and sorting out stuff for the much-awaited weekend with Judi and Justin, yaaaay!!!), last night was also a bit surreal because of phone conversations I had with a mate in Perth who contacted me after getting high from drugs and sleep deprivation and was having a major hallucinatory fest! Wot the fuk, LOL! So there we were, 2am (3am in Perth), and he was on the phone spouting all sorts of entertaining randomness, first time I'd spoken to him since, oh, April or thereabouts, and I'm going this is bizarre, and he was, like, did i call you or did you call me and are we really talking or are we fishing or what because i see all the dolphins and all the fish? and I'm like jeez mate, get a grip, do you even know who you're talking to and do you know where i am? and he's like, yea i know you're nick choochoo and you're at work right? and I'm like no, it's two in the morning on a Sunday and i'm in Malaysia and he's like yea but hey look there was this huge red mobile phone and it started to ring and there are all these officeworkers around me and they're not with me are they with you oh-oh I think I might have pissed them off now there are all these construction guys here and oh look they're renovating this office they've built a staircase at a forty-five degree angle to the wall jeezus for some reason there's a chick here and she's fukkin pissed off at me hey I don't know why maybe it's that movie being filmed with fukkin Bruce Willis in it do you know what the plot is well as long as it isn't outside i ain't going outside jeezus the windstorm there are all these trees blowing all over the fukkin place fukkit all they do is swab me and make me piss in the cup because of my missus and the producer says Bruce isn't going to do the project social responsibility and all that shit he thinks if he does it he's gonna get axed mate.

Rightyo. All along he was alone in his bedroom in front of his computer.

That (shockingly, in retrospect!) went on for about two hours. Then we continued chatting online ('chatting' used loosely), and later this morning (Sunday), dad wakes me up to say "hey you've got a call from Perth" and I pick up the home phone and my same mate's on the line going "mate you gotta fill me in on what happened aye, i was, like, bonkers last night, was I sleeping or dreaming or wot?" and I'm going "hahahahaah! You were bloody something last night, but I don't know what it is!" - and he was still hallucinating at the time (creatures were pouring out of his computer screen and a photo of Kate Bosworth was apparently laughing at him)... So all in all, it was a fest of drug-induced hysterical fun (more so for one of us, I suspect! LOL!). Ah, mate, if you read this, I just gotta say: you're fukkin gorgeous. Like we discussed - change your circumstances for the better, hey, but don't change who you are, 'cos you rock.

Gawsh. How warm and fuzzy. A Full House moment. :P

Well, that's it from me for now. Bedtime beckons, and it's a workday (even though it's meant to be a public holiday, oy! - deadlines and dreadlines!)... so I shall leave you here (do I hear a sigh of relief after this long entry? LOL) and will write more as and when yea? :) Yea. Bye for now. ~N

Thursday, 7 December 2006

Preview: The Edge

Aaaand now, for a short time only, an exclusive preview of the title song from my work-in-progress, upcoming musical The Edge - the story of a guy who's about to kill himself and the repercussions that his suicide attempt has on his closest friends and family.

I recorded this this morning at about 630am, drunk from lack of sleep (and beer) but feeling too wired to actually snooze -- so the vocals are pretty shite, especially this particular high note that was kinda flat as I couldn't belt it out, given that it was, like, 630am and all. So don't mind me. That aside, the music's rather poppy and light, which is so not how I intend for it to sound in the theatre version (this is more like a radio edit. Kinda). The stage version will be more complex (I hope), with weird rhythms and more acoustic/classical arrangements and a more sombre tone... but this is just for fun.

Alright, here we go - click on the title to download the excerpt (it's 4.77mb in size, sorry about that), and you've got the lyrics there too. Cheers, ~N

Music & Lyrics by Nick Choo (C) 2006
you make me smile
forget my troubles for a while
and when i turn to you, I find
you're all i want
you make me laugh
and for a moment and a half
i find my every wish come true
it's who you are
and now i know for sure that life's worth living
there's no knowing what lies in store
but how have we come this far?
that while i live, you find there's no forgiving
all the wrongs that we did before...
we've gone and pushed you to the edge
why are you standing on the edge?
why are you standing on the
edge?

Busk If You Musk, aka Huscle and Buskle

Heya all! Whew it's a crazy couple of days at work, with interviews and events galore and a rapidly encroaching deadline! (Did I say encroaching? I meant approaching. ... Well, no, I didn't. Encroaching.) Two days ago I had an interview with a couple of lovely people from the Instant Cafe Theatre Company on one of their writing programmes (during which time they also asked me about myself, the theatre-related info of which I happily volunteered, so here's hoping I get to work with them on a non-journalistic level in the near future!) ... Won't go too much into detail on the interview as, duh, I've got to write it for the magazine, LOL. But that was cool regardless.

And yesterday I headed to the nearby 1-Utama shopping centre for the KL International Buskers' Festival, where international buskers are brought into the city to perform at various locations to raise funds for charity. I got to interview two busking couples from Canada and Australia respectively (Adelaide, sorry Perthlings)... so that was pretty fun. Canadian dudes were pretty forthcoming; the Australia girls were lovely but slightly more restrained, which is fair enough, especially since my magazine does query on some financial matters, which aren't always for public knowledge. Still, they were both very entertaining, and there are some other terrific acts going on (which I don't have the time or energy to interview, heh!)...check out the above link for more details. This assignment is strangely reminiscent of one I did for my Project in Literary Journalism back in uni a couple of years ago, where I went out and interviewed a bunch of street performers in Perth city. Fun, fun, fun. Though it was a lot less draining then, LOL. And the Perthlings seemed to be more talkative... heh! Go Perthlings!

Anyway, today I was meant to have an interview with the CEO who organised the Busking Fest, but that has been postponed. And I was meant to have another interview at 530pm on a theatre production, but I'm postponing that due to lack of time and space in our upcoming edition (though their show sounds quite interesting -- an English-language horror play based on terrifying Japanese folklore. Hmmm!). And tonight there's a gathering (purportedly with lots of booze) that I've been invited to, a meet-and-greet, network-and-drink kinda thing - but depending on the weather (it's storming!!!) and how much work I get done before then, we'll see if I go to that (though yes, I'm fully aware I shouldn't waste any opportunites, hehe!)

So that's that for now. Until next time, take care, and I leave you with just a few pics from the Busking Fest. Nope, I lie - inadvertently left the USB cable for the digicam in the office (am working from home today). Oh well, a later post then! Bye for now!

Monday, 4 December 2006

How I Met Your Musical

Here's a fascinating, hilarious video clip for fans of How I Met Your Mother, musicals, Les Miserables and Will & Grace's Megan Mullally!!



Heheheheee!

On The Plus Side...

...I've been officially confirmed at work (yaay!), and in fact have been given a few more responsibilities (ummm yaaay?) - so that's pretty positive, I suppose! Was on probation, obviously, and it was meant to be for six months, but I guess my boss didn't see a need to wait the period out... so now it's official. Yay!

Hmmm.

*shudders for some reason*

:P

158

So on a slightly more disheartening note: today I just realised that I've written at least 150 songs in the past 12 years. Ouch.

This isn't meant to be a showing-off kinda thing - it just makes me wonder how I can have 150 songs (158, actually, and these are what I could recall at the time of typing up my list) and not really have had them go anywhere.

Makes me wonder what I'm doing, y'know? With my music, and with my goals of making it a professional thing?

158. Wow.

Time to throw in the towel? Or keep going...?

Anyway, for those who are really curious, here's a link to a document you can download to see the song titles. Note that most of the songs are church-related (and maybe therein lies a setback? Hmmm). No links to any of the actual songs, of course (though the Soundclick and my website links are on the right, wink-wink!) - but it's some sort of proof that I ain't kidding.

Man.

Nick Gets Back Onstage - And Off :)

Hi everyone. Wow, what a busy weekend. Yesterday was the finals for the MRSC Songwriting Competition, which saw yours truly onstage singing one of my songs, Brand New Beginning, for the judges. That was pretty fun, reminiscent of the days onstage I used to have in Perth, yaaaayy! (Sigh, nostalgia!) ... I didn't win, though, awwwww!! But those who won deserved it as their songs were good, and so congratulations to them, yaaay!! (That doesn't mean I'm not a little bit disappointed though, awwwww! The prizes included $3,000 cash, a recording deal, scholarships for audio engineering school and music lessons, and a range of other stuff... so... y'know... *sigh*, a little bit. Heh.) But all in all, it was a good, albeit tiring, experience, and like I said, it was certainly a thrill performing again (even if it was for all of two minutes). After the whole song-singing session by the finalist songwriters, a bunch of actors put on a musical formed around our aforementioned finalist songs, which was fun in itself, though a little bit overblown and juvenile in its overchoreographed sequences... And then we all gathered onstage for the final results, nervous and excited....

But I didn't win.

LOL.

Oh well, it was pretty grand, all in all, though I do wish I'd been able to have been more involved, especially with the arranging bits... the arrangements weren't bad (were pretty good actually), although a bit robotic and 'emotionless' in the sense that they were just... robotic and emotionless. Haha! Would've been nice to have included more emotive strings and brass and less of the synthetic drumbeats, but hey, given the limited timeframe, the music arranger did a pretty fine job regardless! Kudos!

Anyway, here are a few murky shots just to establish the general setting of the event. I shall leave you now to go focus on work and shoot off a couple of emails, and try not to dwell on the lingering sad thought that, *sniff*, I didn't win. Waaah!! ;)) Take care all, byebye! ~N



Sunday, 3 December 2006

Nick Gets Back Onstage... Almost

Hey all. Whew, I'm tired. Just got home from a rehearsal for a one-night-only musical that's running tonight (Sunday evening) - it's the end result of that songwriting competition I mentioned several blogs back (I can't be bothered linking to the archives, heh), wherein the finalist songs are used as musical numbers in this... um... musical. And since I have a song in there, I had to go for the rehearsal, which, in all honesty, made me emphatise belated with the hassles the poor FTL cast had to go through last year: all the waiting around, disorganisation, lack of communication and so forth. But y'know, having worked on FTL last year, it also makes me appreciate the difficulty this current organising team must face - so it's quite easy to forgive them for the delays that have resulted in me coming home at 3am. :)

Anyway, tonight I'll be part of the first act which sees the songwriters performing segments of their own songs; then act two revolves around a one-hour play with aforementioned songs. For those who have been paying attention, I was meant to be the musical arranger for this show, but I sadly had to pull out because of mind-numbing, skull-crushing time constraints. Oy. But here's hoping it all goes well tonight - and, God willing, I win something. Wish me luck!

The rest of the night, while waiting around, was spent hanging out with these guys from Melaka (hey dudes), most of 'em from high school and one of 'em in uni... made me feel a little bit old, but at the same time it was cool chilling with them because it made me remember high school days. Gave 'em a ride back to their hotel and had supper (mmmm roast duck!) before heading home. Prior to that, while waiting for 'em to finish their rehearsals, I sat in my car and had a long chat with little Jo in Singapore. Oy. We who have issues....

Ah well, I'm exhausted now, so I'm gonna hit the sack - purportedly I have to be back at the venue at 1pm tomorrow even though the event starts at 630pm... here's betting that, just like FTL, it will involve a lot more waiting around and thumb-twiddling - so I'll probably rock up a little later than expected, LOL. Alright then, until later... cya!

Monday, 27 November 2006

Back on the Mainland

Hey everyone! A brand new week and I'm back from my solo trip to Penang. Driving home last night was a bit of a bitch because it was storming - raining cats, dogs and hellhounds, so much so that traffic was basically at a standstill for most of the 347km journey. Ouchy ouchy. Didn't do much for my bad back, LOL! (No, I'm serious, I've just been to the doctor's to grab some painkillers and drowsy-making, high-inducing meds. Don't worry, doctor says it's nothing serious. Yay!)

Saturday was pretty fun... I met up (as belowmentioned) with my old friends Shaun and Sue, and we had a great time catching up and having lunch in one of the old coffeeshops my folks and I used to frequent back when I was, like, a little tyke. We walked in, and the first thing that caught my eye was the Fresh Home-Made Ice-Cream sign that hung on the wall, which has been there for about as long as I can remember - probably twenty years or more! Ah, the nostalgia. Anyway, we had a good lunch, then Sue (and their kid Daniel) and I had coffees and caught up further, and all in all it was a good afternoon.

Saturday night was even more interesting: I went for Heritage Heboh (that's a Malay word, meaning... 'ruckus', I suppose. Heh), an arts street festival that was held in one of (as suggested) Penang's 'heritage lanes'... i.e. a narrow street with old buildings and an even older history. There were 'shadow plays', staged shows and dance segments, mostly carried out by kids for the main purpose of teaching them (and the public, one presumes) the background of the locale. Not a terribly big crowd, but it was pretty cool regardless (actually, it was hot and humid, but you know what I mean).

At the end of the night, I went back to Kev's and Irinna's and spent some time with them; then on Sunday I hung out with my old mate Jason (yaay, heeey Jase! Check out his blog!) and had monster coffee, nachos and a huge steak before departing for the longwinded, way-too-tedious five-and-a-half-hour drive back to KL. Which isn't meant to put anybody off the notion of driving between the states: if you're a passenger going along the north-south highway for the first time, and if the weather's fine, it's quite an enthralling (to an extent) ride! (Hint hint hint to potential visitors!)

So that was my Penang trip - not terribly eventful, not boring either; a few eye-openers and many moments of eye-closing; and the best part had to be catching up with my old friends, many of whom I'd not seen in years. Strangely and stupidly, though I had my camera with me, I didn't take any snapshots of me and my mates. Even more strangely, I've got a shiteload of photos of the street fair, which I shall now proceed to share with all of you (do I hear rapturous applause?) hahahaha! Thus I shall end this post on my solo road trip with these few murky snapshots of the heritage arts fair on Armenian Lane, and all the colourful festivities that took place, and with a sense of satisfaction and eagerness for my next trip up to Penang. Until next time, byebye! ~N

Before the crowds
Kiddy craft table!
Flag
The crowds start to gather
Enthralled by the shadow play
Musicians in the stage show
Another stage show scene
Dancers in the night
Blurry dancers (I like this shot!)
More crowds!
Dancers rehearsing
Strange sign

Friday, 24 November 2006

Clearing Out The Clutter

Hey everyone! Am still in Penang, and am now doing some work at Starbucks, hahaha. What a terrific holiday this has been, huh?? Still, can't complain. There haven't been many people to catch up with, unfortunately, though I do have plans for lunch tomorrow with an old friend Shaun and his wife Sue (and their son!), and hopefully with another mate Jase on Sunday before I head back up to KL.

*thinks*

I've always said that after the four years of being away, I wanted to come home and have some stability. Six months down the track, I've got that, somewhat... but with a job that doesn't really have a strict timetable and that requires me to travel (oftentimes with little warning) or/and stay late nights in the office; with my keenness to live on my own rather than being at home; with theatre and music projects still being developed with no sure sign of production; with not-too-many friends and no prospects of any relationshippy developments on the horizon... I still feel like things aren't as stable as I'd have liked.

*thinks*

Yet -living with Kev and Irinna has sort of given me a bit of perspective. The two of them are so busy at work (they won't be home till 9ish tonite, hence why I'm alone at Starbucks) and raising their two adorable kids Dylan and Faustine, that to them life is a big routine of responsibility, where bedtime is 1030pm and meals consist of fast food as nobody has the time or energy to cook. In no way is this a criticism, of course - they're terrific friends and terrific parents, and I so admire them and the way they've grown up (I've known Kev for 19 years now), but now that I'm in the midst of their lives (so to speak), it makes me realise that maybe the slight unpredictability of my life is not a bad thing, either. And my work might make me tired and have too little time, but the unpredictability of that isn't something for me to disregard: I don't think I'm cut out for a 9 to 5 job, y'know? Going to bed by 11pm, waking up at 7am... it doesn't seem to gel with my personality and my lifestyle. And kids? Well, when one barely feels responsible enough for oneself, I think one shouldn't consider, at this time, being responsible for others. In that sense.

*thinks*

I don't know. Life seems to be rather complicated. But the question is: is life complicated, or am I making it complicated? Maybe a little bit of both. The point is... the more I plan, the more I try to achieve an equilibrium with my external world, the messier things seem to get. Coming to Penang on my spontaneous road trip was meant to make me feel more at peace, but I've only wound up contemplating more. Maybe the starting point towards lesser complication is trying to achieve an inner equilibirum, which, let's face it, I've yet to accomplish, before focusing on the outer. And if that starting point comes in trying to be happy with what I've got thus far and where I am at this point in my life, then que sera sera. Right?

*thinks*

Oh I've had enough of thinking. Time to stop these self-involved, faux-philosophical rants.

*thinks*

I said stop.

*thinks*

Stop, I said!

*thinks*

*thinks*

*thinks*

Oy.

Thursday, 23 November 2006

Nicky Ran Awaa-aay!

Hey all. I'm in Penang at the moment, following the belowmentioned five-hour road trip, which really took me four hours because I didn't stop for toilet breaks, hahahaha! Anyway, am now in a Coffee Bean surfing the net and having a cuppa. So what's the difference between being here and being in KL, you ask? Nothing, really... apart from the fact that I'm not in KL! :P My friends Kevin and Irinna, who're putting me up (and putting up with me) are both at work till tonite, so I've got a spare key and basically am killing time and doing some writing. The bliss, of course, is knowing that I'm here on my own, with the car, and basically am free and responsible (once again) for looking after myself, yay. Oy, I think I really oughta reevaluate my life. (Don't worry, this constant whingeing about my home life will stop soon, I promise.) :) Anyway that's about it for now. Will update more as and when things develop. Byebye. ~N

365 Days Later...

On this day one year ago, we were going curtain up on a certain Christmassy musical.

Good times.

~N

PS For those who've got your speakers on, a sneak preview of my latest churchy song. Hope you like. Okay, it would be better with a main melody line... but why spoil it entirely? :)

Wednesday, 22 November 2006

Zilch

Hey all. Whew. What a tedious week it's been... I've been doing absolutely nothing. HAHAHA. Yea, I've taken the whole week off, so coupled with the weekends it's nine days away from work altogether. And I must say that I think I needed this - just the chance to relax and unwind and do absolutely zilch and think absolutely zilch. Of course, I've yet to finish the scary stories for that book, and with a deadline in three weeks, I'm actually quite worried. But I think I shall leave those worries for another time.

The dogs are still around, both of them. Nope, following my near mental-emotional breakdown at the thought of giving 'em away, my folks thought, "Okay, let's switch tacks... let's just keep 'em separated instead." So now they're separated, and so far it's going pretty well, though it can get mildly inconvenient trying to get them to avoid running (and sinking fangs) into each other. But it's worth it to have 'em both here. Yay. Whew.

Tomorrow I'm going on an impromptu road trip by myself - a five hour drive up to Penang, hang out with some mates, do some ghostwriting (literally), relax and just take it easy, then have another five-hour drive back on Sunday. I'm really looking forward to this: just the chance to get away from home. I really do think I need to consider this moving out idea more seriously. It's getting terribly depressing... But more on this some other time. Right now I'm going to watch some downloaded TV shows, finish my cuppa coffee, pack my gear for the road trip, probably hit the gym for a little while, have a good dinner, and then go back to doing nothing until it's time to leave at 7am tomorrow morning. Yay! Good times! ~N

Sunday, 19 November 2006

Nick Contemplates The End

I think this is officially the end of me.

Today my folks say I'd better start thinking of which dog to give away.

How the fuck do you make a decision like that, when - as people who know me or who read my blog know - my dogs mean the world to me?

At the same time I understand the dilemma. They don't get along. Two agressively dominant personalities can't share the same space. (See my dad and me.)

Fuck.

I've been so depressed lately with all this shit that's been going on in my life, that I feel if this happens... I don't know what I'll do.

There's the option of muzzling or chaining 'em, but is that any fairer than giving one away?

I've thought of a third alternative. My folks own another house about 20 minutes away from here. I should move out, and bring one of the dogs with me. That way we save both dogs, I finally get my long-sought-after private space, and... I don't know.

The moment I suggested it, my parents flipped out in that fucking irritating way that they do. 'Fine! Just move out! Do whatever you want!' Bloody hell. Give me a break.

Let me just say something on this blog: they can keep their elder son tied to their apron strings for all they want, to the extent that he doesn't feel like he needs to grow up and get his own fucking life because everything he wants and everything he needs is provided for by Mummy and Daddy... but that won't be me. I won't be mothered and reduced to such a pathetic level. And if my folks had eyes that were more capable of seeing past their useless parental mypoic vision, then they'd see how damaging their ways are.

We once said we treat our pets like children.

When children fight, give one of them away. Go on.

Fuck.

It's so typical, isn't it? Solve the problem by letting one go. Yet when there are people who really should go, they hang on desperately, terrified of letting their kids be who they should have been years ago.

Okay, these are two separate issues, I realise. And they can't really be compared, I realise that too. And yes, there are worse things in life. And bloody hell yes, I'm being melodramatic - typical Nick. But I'm fucking angry right now, and fucking disappointed, and fucking upset, and fucking depressed. Just let me vent or go away.

Another Garfield Gem!

Classic!!

Click for bigger view

Saturday, 18 November 2006

Random Sitcom Quote #18

Randy: Have you ever said 'I love you' to your sister?
Darnell: Once, but that was only because I thought she was dead. Turned out she'd passed out from low blood sugar. But I'm glad I said it - God knows when I'll have another chance, now that she's on insulin.
- Made A Woman Think I Was God, My Name Is Earl, Season 2

Tuesday, 14 November 2006

That Possessive Ol' Primal Instinct

Y'know wot's odd? My doggies Jodie and Chloe have never truly liked each other since nearly two years ago when we brought Chloe back as a pup. Actually, that's not exactly true: Jodie has always been threatened by Chloe, so their doggy mateship has always been a little fragile and volatile. Case in point? This little tidbit of information last year. New case in point? Recent events of savagery between the two, usually sparked by posessiveness over food at dinnertime. Dogs, being dogs, tend to steal from the other if one of 'em has finished eating. Lately, their little food-pilfering sessions have exploded into full-on fights, complete with bared fangs and vicious bites, swiping claws and vicious growls: the two of them become this snarling, swirling ball of fur and rabidity that rolls mosterlike from the kitchen in the back of the house to the living room in the front.

Yesterday was the worst - I came home and Mum said they nearly killed each other (exaggeration? I dunno...) fighting, "so much so that one of them was yelping and screaming in pain," she said traumatically. True enough, Jodie had hard, bristled fur matted with dried blood from wounds in her neck, and Chloe had the same, except the wounds were from her ear, which apparently Jodie had grasped with her fangs with all her doggy might and tugged up and down and left and right, since she'd been unable to grab Chloe's neck due to an abundance of thick fur. Whatever the case, both dogs were incredibly subdued and miserable when I got home yesterday; Jodie was bleeding minutely onto her cardboard bed, and Chloe was flicking her head back and forth because of her injured ear which must've been causing her pain as it had a tiny little hole in it. Oy. We didn't have any antiseptic cream suitable for pets in the house yesterday, so first thing we did today was buy some.

The problem obviously stems from the fact that Chloe and Jodie are both, personalitywise, dominant dogs, both fighting their way to being alpha in the household. And Jodie probably deems herself at a disadvantage (sidebar: I do believe dogs are capable of deducing these things by themselves; they aren't stupid creatures!) because she sleeps outside while Chloe's an indoor dog - and Jodie was here first. So she's probably thinking that Chloe is (rising to be) top dog, and she's not happy. Hence the fights, especially if my mum were to feed Chloe first. Hence the growls and the ramming of Chloe aside when I stop to pet her (Chloe) - it's, like, Jodie growling, "Give me the attention, dammit!!" Hence Jodie's insistence that she stay indoors most of the time too, from being a totally outdoor dog before Chloe came along.

Don't get me wrong, though - for the most part, the two get along (probably in a state of self-suffering tolerance)... but now Mum and I are wondering how long this current truce is going to last, and what will set them off again. Oy. ~N

Monday, 13 November 2006

Venting

Arghle! Stress! Tomorrow's deadline day and we aren't ready! No! No! Noooo!!!

*end scene*
*nick bows*

Oy.

Sorry there's nothing substantial to say. Oh, I hurt my back and now it's throbbing like a bitch. How's that? Hahahaha!

Oh dear. See ya.

Sunday, 12 November 2006

Doggy-Woggies!

Since I haven't posted many pics of them lately, here are photos of my doggies Jodie (brown) and Chloe (black) - plus a couple of them fighting over a towel, LOL!






Plus awwwww, remember when...?


Saturday, 11 November 2006

Nick-Knack #23: Subway

I was walking about Uptown,
when out of the corner of my eye
a neon glow caught my attention:
white, green and yellow:
familiar,
beckoning,
delightful --
Oh my God! A Subway outlet,
down the road from my house!
Oh, the happiness that filled my soul,
and the yumminess that filled my tummy!
Since that moment of rapture,
I've been brimming with joy
and with veggies and meat

between two slices of bread.

Friday, 10 November 2006

How I Feel Right Now...

Oy.

Meds, Overexertion, Pressure & More Anniversaries

Hey all. How's it been going? Me, I'm tired. Stressed. Burned out, to be honest. But I'm okay. We're working on our thicker-than-usual edition of Off the Edge because it's the Christmas / end-of-year special, so work's been a little bit more hectic than normal. And I'm a little bit sicky, have a cough and am coming down with fluey symptoms, oy! Not good. The doctor gave me this cough medicine the other day, a bunch of tablets, and he said, "These have side effects." "Oh?" I said. "Yes," he replied. "What are they?" I asked. "They'll give you heart palpitations and shaky hands," he said. "Oh," I replied. "You want them?" he asked. "Hell, yes," I said.

So here I am in the office with an accelerated heartrate and trembly hands, feeling a little bit groggy from too much pressure and too little sleep. It's a fantastic feeling, honestly, haha! Mmm. I've sort of realised I've gone in way too deep with the commitments at this time of year. Just to recap: there's work, and then there was music for this documentary, and then there was musical arrangements for this churchy musical, and then there's Get Spooked!. Add to that the (admittedly terrific) news that this producer dude from Perth wants to stage Follow the Light in December '07 and wants me to get kickstarted in the whole revamping-revising-promoting process, and we have the reason why Nick is sleep-deprived and flickering. (Flickering? Yes, flickering.)

Well, the other day the documentary people told me that they needed the music by middle of November (which is, like, next week), and I told them sorry, I couldn't do it. So that's off the menu. Then today I had to make the absolutely saddening decision to back out of the musical project - mainly because with work and my Get Spooked! commitments, I don't have the time to listen to other people's songs, learn them and play them by ear, think of how to restructure and edit them, think of new musical arrangements so that they don't all sound alike, think of how one song would flow into another with original backing music, programme everything into my keyboard, convert the files into midi format, and record demos. Ain't going to happen. Oy. The saddening part is having to let the lovely person-in-charge down, which I felt awful about. But what choice did I have? A: the time factor was a bit too constricting. And 2: I'm feeling increasingly lethargic, even after a good night's sleep, which I'm not getting.

I realised last night, as I was hitting my head against the wall (figuratively and literally), that I've not actually stopped and just done nothing for a long, long, long time. I can't even remember when it last was. Let's see: probably December 2004 (and even then, we had tsunamis to preoccupy us) - then it was uni, preparing FTL, working on Captain Quokka and assignments, finishing up the first semester with exams; next it was actually producing FTL, all the way to the year-end, performing it... and then I had a brief xmas break followed by assignments taking me up to February this year; afterwards I was running about like a headless chicken trying to sort out my visa stuff; then it was the whole let's-go-home decision: the packing up, the getting things sorted out, the moving out and moving away, the flying home, the starting-anew; and immediately after it was the job hunt; the job interviews; the job... Throw in book contract and musical commitments and you pretty much end up where I am today.

I think I've taken many steps forward, which is great, but now it's time to stand still for a little while, if not take one or two steps back and just let things flow at their own time. I've been trying really hard, too hard, to keep the creativity going, trying to prove that just because I'm home it doesn't mean I have to stop working on creative projects. But now I'm exhausted. Worn out. Fizzled. Pfftt. The end.

So what's next? I still have to fulfill Get Spooked!. If I really want FTL going in Perth, I oughta get started. But I think that'll be the extent of it for now. Next year, I'll take it a little bit more slowly. Work on FTL. Work on my suicide musical The Edge, but with no pressure to bring it to the stage anytime soon. Hopefully something will happen with my book Bench, completed in 2002 and not really touched since. But I think I'll avoid setting deadlines, putting too many goals into place, and killing myself when I don't reach them. It doesn't have to be this hard, does it?

No, it doesn't.

Incidentally, Nov 20 will mark six months back home. And Nov 23rd will be one year since we opened Follow the Light in Perth.

Happy anniversary to all of us. Here's to much, much more -- but with less, less pressure.

Monday, 6 November 2006

Japanese Cars (Two Different Topics)...

Yo, whassup?! Just some quick recaps... Friday night, Phaik Leng and I went to see the belowmentioned Japanese play with "English dialogue bubbles", Yaji and Kita. We surprisingly thought it was a very, very enjoyable and intriguing play, despite the fact that it was fully in Japanese, and that the dialogue bubbles were sporadic throughout the piece, not a word-for-word translation! But the actors, who had great chemistry and a tremendous amount of energy to be yakking at rapid pace throughout and were running about left right and centre, were fantastic; the show was (apparently) hilarious (based on the frequent uproarious laughter of the Japanese-understanding audience); and the sets, props and projected effects were just bloody good. Kudos!

On Saturday I actually had an interview with the director of Yaji and Kita, which was interesting in itself because he doesn't speak English, and so we had to go through an interpretor, who was really very good at her job. Afterwards I was meant to meet Phaik Leng to see a one-woman play, but she couldn't make it in the end, so I wound up going by myself and having a coffee on my lonesome thereafter, effectively putting a slight dampener on my weekend, being alone on a Saturday night. Oh well.

Anyway, tomorrow (well, today) is Monday and I'm taking a day away from the office in replacement for the work I had to do on Saturday, and I'll be focusing a little bit of my time at home on both work-related stuff as well as some of the music I have yet to do due to time constraints, and which was, in all honestly, meant to be complete by Tuesday. It so ain't going to happen... :) So I leave you now with more piccies of my new car... none of which are in daylight as I'd planned, but which hopefully gives those of you who aren't in Malaysia a clearer idea of the package. Until next time... cheerio for now. ~N

Back view!

The spacious interior, front.

Close-up of the dashboard and CD player.

Closer-up of the CD player and a/c controls...

The spacious interior, rear, with obligatory tissue box.

Saturday, 4 November 2006

Nicky's Got Another New Toy!

GUESS WHAT, boys and girls?! I've got a new car!! WHOOHOO!!! Just got it yesterday (meaning Thursday, the day of the wine dinner... imagine, I had new wheels and I didn't even drive it due to the booze factor, LOL!) - and I've been waiting to grab a few snapshots of it before I happily shared the news, yaaaay!!!! It's an "Ozzie Orange" (really!!) Perodua MyVi, a Malaysian-made car that's really quite cool - comes with the expected works: central locking and alarm, power steering, a/c, CD player, cup holders (very, very important, those are!); and it's a manual transmission, which I prefer over autos. Oh, the joy of picking it up and then having my parents go crazy about whether I'm going to scratch it before it's even a day old! They've got weird rituals, my folks - they smashed a coconut in front of it (literally) because they believe it would help the registration number come out in the lottery. Um. Go figure. We are good God-trusting Catholics here. Oy.

Anyway, my MyVi's here, and I've been happily driving it about! For the most part it's a really smooth car, easy to manouevre and picks up speed really fast - the only thing is that I seem to be having a bit of a jolty transition from first gear into second (or any gear into second, for that matter). No big deal, and I'm thinking it's just a matter of getting used to the feel of it; but hopefully the slight jerk when it shifts into 2nd won't be a permanent 'defect'. Otherwise I'm absolutely thrilled! No more fights with mum and dad over car-sharing! Finally, I'm responsible for looking after (even though mum wanted to put protective car seats in already and even had a name for the vehicle, to which I promptly told her "Stopppitt!!!") and paying for my own car. That's RM500 a month from my pay for the next five years... but I'm not complaining!

I leave you with just a couple of pics of it -I'm waiting for tomorrow when I can finally take some shots of it in the daylight, but I think these should give you a rather good idea for now, hehee!! Enjoy! ~N


Friday, 3 November 2006

Proms, Wine, Trauma and Food

Whew! What a tiring week this has been. On Tuesday night, Phaik Leng and I went to the opening of the BBC Proms in Kuala Lumpur, prior to which I attend a press conference with the BBC Orchestra conductor and general manger. Was a pretty great nite with some fantastic classical music, including a thrilling, darkly cartoonish piece by Leos Janacek (1854-1928) called The Cunning Little Vixen - Suite, even though I was exhausted from too little sleep and a rather protracted seminar on business journalism that my company organised that morning. (Hopefully some of the information from that has stuck in my mind.) Anyway, I enjoyed myself.

Last night I went to a wine-tasting event and dinner, which was pretty cool... my first foray into "official" wine-tasting, i.e. actually analysing it instead of just gulping it down and getting pleasantly tipsy, LOL. There were - get this - eight different wine selections that we had to sip and sample and (the best part) just chuck back and swallow. A tad more nervous-making was the fact that my boss and editor accompanied me for the interview I had with the general manager of the wine producer d'Arenberg that was holding the event - eeek, performance anxiety, anybody? Haha! Nah, it was really rather cool, and a good learning experience. With booze to boot. How can you go wrong there?

Anyway, here are some photos of the rather delectable dinner that was served to accompany the wines. The beef, in particular, was delectable in its bizarreness -- beef cheek, so it looks like a chunk of steak but has the texture and chewability of jelly, an almost liquidlike quality that really made it the outstanding dish of the evening. Rumour has it, it costs a bomb, for just that small portion. Eeeek. Hope you enjoy the pics. Tonight Phaik Leng and I will be seeing a Japanese play "with English dialogue bubbles" (eh???), tomorrow I will be interviewing the director, and we'll be seeing another play in the nighttime. Whew! Sunday will be the only day of rest I've had this week, which is great as it allows me to work on some of the non-work music stuff I'm meant to have finished already. Egad! When it rains, it pours, cats and dogs!

Speaking of dogs, I was totally traumatised this afternoon when I saw a doggy body in the middle of the road, bloodied and run over -- and cars that were headed towards it didn't even bother attempting to avoid it! My God! It was, like, "Let's add insult to permanent lethal injury!" and run over the body over and over. I was screaming (mostly in my head), Swerve! SWERVE! Bastards! Poor thing. *Sigh*. Am in mourning now. Arghle. Hopefully a play with English dialogue bubbles will cheer me up. Nice topic to mention right before all these pictures of food, right? Yea. Heheh. Oy. Bye for now, more updates shortly!!! ~N

Prawns, fennel puree & chervil vinaigrette

Orrechiette pasta tossed with meat sauce

Roasted duck, mushrooms & parsley coulis

Lamb estouffade

Beef cheek, celeriac mash and red wine sauce,
with all the wines

Spiced poached pear with licorice and chocolate ice cream

Tuesday, 31 October 2006

WooooOOOO

Good heavens, it's strange what some people do for Halloween! The gym that I go to had two papier mache images of Death - the Grim Reaper himself - complete with grinning skull and scythe, greeting the members as they walked in to commence their workouts. Slightly inappropriate, I thought? What if somebody collapsed off the treadmill from overexertion and kicked the bucket? Oy. Then the other night Terry and I went to a family seafood restaurant, where each waiter and waitress was wearing a grinning skull mask or had unsightly make-up on their faces... and a huge projection of A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child was displayed on the wall in full gory glory, sounds and screams piercing forth from speakers placed in the corners of the restaurant. The poor parents had to turn their kids' faces away from the images: girls' bodies ripping apart and Freddy K. coming out of them with gleaming clawed glove, evil nuns in full habit, the dead souls of Freddy's victims frantically tearing their way out of his body....Terry and I were terribly entertained (we think Freddy rocks!) - though it was midlly perturbing, all in all. :P

Happy Halloween everybody!!

Sunday, 29 October 2006

Crash, Boom, Twang!

Hey all. Just got home from hanging out with Terry and Lay Hoon. It was Lay Hoon's birthday today, so Terry, Debra and her boyfriend Nick and I went out to a Japanese restaurant and treated her to a nice birthday lunch. Afterwards, Terry, LH and I went to see the much-overrated-but-nevertheless-entertaining-in-that-depressing-way movie World Trade Center. Eh. Five out of ten stars. Moving on...


Last night was pretty cool too. Got free tickets to see a comedy theatre-music show, Pluck: The Specialists, so Terry and I headed to check it out. Was a really hilarious show, performed by this trio from the UK, two dudes and a chick, who perform this comedy act while playing on the violin, viola and cello respectively. Some of their gags were quite physical - trying to play three string instruments between two people; trying to squeeze a folding chair between two potted plants while playing on the viola; trying to swap shoes while playing... all of which were carried out clumsily and riotously by the plucky performers. As comedians they were hilarious; as musicians, they were fantastic, not missing a beat, not going out of tune, as they performed all these crazy stunts. And not just classical music, either: the rib-splitting Act One closer had them performing, classical-style, Parton (pronounced with heavy French accent, par-TO'n)'s I Will Always Love You ... only to break into a cheesy karaoke-style croonfest to the accompaniment of a dodgy pop backing track and disco lights. Haha! A great night's entertainment.

That's about all for now. Today and yesterday my brain's been switched off, but tomorrow it's back to work and thinking about all the other stuff too. Until next time, thanks for checking in! Byebye for now! ~N

Saturday, 28 October 2006

Got My Work Cut Out For Me...

Hey all. What's new? Things have been not too bad for me. Monday till Wednesday I didn't do very much although I was on a break from work... actually, I was working on my proposed Christmas project, but as things turn out I'm probably going to shelve it for now because of time constraints. That and the fact that I'm currently working on three other projects (eeek) on top of work, so shelving the personal X'mas CD might be a good idea. In related news, I've begun work on a new Get Spooked! book (title forthcoming) and am creeping myself out; I'm arranging a church-based musical, the songs of which are the finalist entries from a songwriting competition held not too long ago; and I'm working on the soundtrack to a 20-minute local documentary that will hopefully (hopefully) be broadcast on telly. So... yay! It's gonna be busy for a while here. Which is great - I think I'm one of those people who thrive on pressure and overexhausting prolificity. Prolificness. Prolificiality. Wotever. Okay, I leave you now with a new audio clip, one of the songs from my good buddy Paul G (heeeey Paulll!)'s 2005 play 1927. Heh. Buhbye.

Tuesday, 24 October 2006

Stop Me If You've Heard This...

Today, I feel too lazy to type up a new post... so I shall copy-and-paste these rather terrible jokes that my friend Alex (heeey, Aleexxx!) emailed to me. Some of them are pretty good, actually, in that absolutely awful way. LOL. Enjoy!

1. Two antennas met on a roof, fell in love and got married. The ceremony wasn't much, but the reception was excellent.
2. A jumper cable walks into a bar. The bartender says, "I'll serve you, but don't start anything."
3. Two peanuts walk into a bar, and one was a salted.
4. A dyslexic man walks into a bra.
5. A man walks into a bar with a slab of asphalt under his arm and says: "A beer please, and one for the road."
6. Two cannibals are eating a clown. One says to the other: "Does this taste funny to you?"
7. "Doc, I can't stop singing The Green, Green Grass of Home." "That sounds like Tom Jones Syndrome." "Is it common?" "Well, It's Not Unusual."
8. Two cows are standing next to each other in a field.. Daisysays to Dolly, "I was artificially inseminated this morning." "I don't believe you," says Dolly. "It's true, no bull!" exclaims Daisy.
9. An invisible man marries an invisible woman. The kids were nothing to look at either.

10. Deja Moo: The feeling that you've heard this bull before.
11. I went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day but I couldn't see any.
12. A man woke up in a hospital after a serious accident. He shouted, "Doctor, doctor, I can't feel my legs!" The doctor replied, "I know you can't - I've cut off your arms!"
13. I went to a seafood disco last week... and pulled a mussel.

14. What do you call a fish with no eyes? A fsh.
15. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. The one turns to theother and says "Dam!"
16. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit afire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can't haveyour kayak and heat it too.
17. A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse. "But why?" they asked, as they moved off. "Because," he said, "I can't stand chess-nuts boasting in an open foyer."

18. A woman has twins and gives them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Egypt and is named Ahmal. The other goes to a family in Spain; they name him Juan. Years later, Juan sends a picture of himself to his birth mother. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wishes she also had a picture of Ahmal. Her husband responds,"They're twins! If you've seen Juan, you've seen Ahmal."
19. Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him a super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.
20. And finally, there was the person who sent twenty different puns to his friends, with the hope that at least ten of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.

Monday, 23 October 2006

Follow the... what?

Hey everybody, whassup? Nothing much with me... we finished our latest edition of the magazine on Friday morning, so I had Friday day off. Spent that day basically doing nothing... as well as Saturday... um... and... Sunday... Heh! Okay, it's been a pretty lazy weekend, and it's holidays for me right up until end of Wednesday, so... yay!

Actually, I didn't spend Friday doing nothing - at lunchtime I met up with Colin Kirton, a director/actor/singer, and we discussed the possibility of a new production of Follow the Light. The good news is, despite some constructive criticism, he likes the show and believes that with some tidying up and rejigging here and there, it could be better... and he says he's interested in directing a new production of it, yaaaay!! The bad news, if you can call it that, is that he's booked up all next year. And this being an Xmas show means.... oh dear... FTL 2008. Oy.

Still, I can't really call that bad news, can I? I mean, I have someone who's seriously experienced, knowledgable and interested in it - that's always good. And he says two years would be more than enough time to get it fixed up and workshopped - i.e. performed for critical review and fixing-up purposes - so that by the time it's finally performed on a big scale, critics would find very little to criticise about. I like that concept, LOL!

So there we have it. It's a bit of a wait, but I'm excited about it all. And hey, there's still the possibility of FTL '07 in Perth (cough cough!), as well as a funding grant that I applied for not too long ago which might make it compulsory for a new staging in Malaysia next year. So it's all up in the air right now, but regardless, I'm optimistic. And in the meantime I'm working on a new Get Spooked book, and there's an x'massy project I'm currently working on hopefully in time for Christmas this year, and there's also The Edge, my suicide-themed musical.... so there are a lot of balls in the air, hahaha! All this on top of work and play. How exciting!!

Anyway, I leave you with the new audio clip - a song from (hopefully) this year's Christmas project... it's just a backing track as I haven't yet recorded any vocals to it, but it's just a sneak preview of what I'm currently working on. Oh, and I've also updated the television viewing column (scroll downwards), for those who're interested. Until next time!!! ~N

Tuesday, 17 October 2006

Sound of Music Sing Sang Sung

Hey all, how's it going? Been busy at work because once again deadline week is upon us. But on the plus side, once we finish (probably by Thursday morning), there'll be some time to do other things as it'll be a loooong weekend ending next Wednesday due to festive holidays! Yay! Might still need to come in on Friday before the weekend starts, though. Boo! :P

Last night was pretty fun, in an extremely gay kinda way. My dear friend Phaik Leng and I went to the - get ready for this - Sound of Music singalong! AHAHAHA!! As they called it on Will & Grace, the "gay social event of the season". Though last night's event had a pretty mixed crowd and not just same-seekers: men, women, young, old, straight, gay, bi, tri - everyone was welcome for cocktails, a buffet dinner of some rather scrumptious Austrian food (chilli herb sausages, deep-fried mushrooms, calamari, some wonderful grilled salmon, pasta, meatballs, etc), and a rousing two-and-a-half-hour screening of the classic Christopher Plummer-Julie Andrews movie on glorious big-screen with the lyrics to the songs appearing karaoke-style at the bottom of the images.


Prior to the start of the movie, this dude came onstage and led the crowd with some vocal warm ups, some actions to the songs, some directions on "hissing at the Baroness", "booing at the Nazis", "awww-ing at little Gretl". Malaysians, being Malaysians, reluctantly gave it a go, everybody waiting for everybody else to start. Then the movie commenced, and as soon as Julie Andrews burst into song, the entire theatre was filled with the sound of silence. Well. Near-silence. Save for Phaik Leng and me, bouncing in our seats and singing our little hearts out to the music, wondering if were (in all humility) the only fun ones there.

So it was pretty fun for the two of us - singing, booing at the Nazis, barking at Rolf (spelling?), awwwing at the little one, waving our little plastic flowers during Edelweiss, carrying out all the silly little actions for doe, a deer, a female deer - ray, a drop, of golden sun... And gradually the woman on my right began to sing too, and as we looked around as the night progressed, a few other persons were joining in. But musical meyhem it certainly wasn't. I suppose it isn't unexpected, but the Malaysian audience (and I do apologise for generalising, but... it's true) doesn't really appreciate the concept of interactive cinema. Which is fair enough, though it would've certainly been a lot more fun if the whole crowd had been belting out the showtunes at the top of their lungs, y'know? Misery loves company, and all that. Still, if there was one exception, it was the hissing of the baroness. That was certainly a hit - everybody hissed and scratched and mewled each time the blonde with the perfectly-coiffed hair appeared on the screen! Meow! And everybody pulled their supplied party-poppers when the Captain and Maria smooched in that garden scene (after that long, boring song about here you are standing next to me) ... somebody even popped his party-popper halfway during the silent hiding-from-the-Nazi scene, which was perfect timing! Well played, my friend. Well played.

At the end of the night we were exhausted - it was a bloody long movie, and the songs towards the end of the film weren't as exciting or fun to sing as the beginning, but Phaik Leng and I (and undoubtedly a few others in the auditorium who hadn't simply sat there as if they were simply in a regular cinema) certainly had a good time. Now the tricky part is getting Climb Ev'ry Mountain out of my head. Not a great song, in my book. Not particularly fun to sing along to. But damn it if I can't stop hearing the infection strains repeating like a broken needle on a vinyl disc. Fooorrrrd evvvvverrryy streeeaaam!! Oh somebody shoot me. Oy. Goodbye, I leave you with a couple of pics I took of people who dressed up for the event - faces blurred for privacy. Take care! High on a hill was a lonely goatherd, lay odl lay odl lay heee hoooooooo!



Friday, 13 October 2006

Oh Yeah....

PS: How does everybody like the sound clip? Yay, my first audio embed on this site, should've thought of it a long, long time ago. Now the title of the blog is more relevant with its content! (Or should that be the other way round? Oh well. Wotever.) I'll change the clip every now and then or add more audio files... we'll see. :) Comments appreciated! Cheers, ~N

A Horror Story - Gore Warning!

Wow, I've just remembered today's Friday the 13th, eeeeek. Not like that's a big deal or anything, but maybe it explains my horrendous and yet absolutely fascinating nightmare last night. Readers who are easily nauseated or rattled, don't continue. I dreamt I was watching a horror movie - at least, it began as a horror movie; I was sitting in front of the telly - but then the events in the movie became the actual events of the dream, if y'know what I mean. So there are these young people in a car, guys and girls, and there's a guy and girl in the front seat - and suddenly the chick's face explodes into a bloody mass, and she begins to scream. As everyone else in the car starts freaking out like crazy, her face is suddenly gaping with bloody holes... and from each hole, a tiny demonoid head on the end of a branchlike neck oozes out and begins to screech in time to her frantic screams. So she's sitting there bloodied and shrieking while these tiny demon heads from various gaping wounds in her multilated face join in and the others panic and scream long and endless.

I woke up thinking Oh my God! and Wow, that was COOL! at the same time.

After all, it was just meant to be a movie in my mind... right?

Right?

Nick-Knack #22: Conference Room

I sit in the middle of this conference room
with my computer in front of me returning my gaze
and papers scattered about,
white and attention-seeking
in the glow of the flourescent lights.
On a large showcase, a stereo system
and a VCR stare at me; a TV set
hangs from the ceiling, its screen
blank like a flat, square, emotionless eye.
Empty chairs arranged around the table
watch me stoically, while
a lone thermos flask sits on a cabinet
and accuses me silently with its
gleaming, reflective skin.
I really should get back to my desk...
if only because it feels a little lonely in here.

Wednesday, 11 October 2006

Card Wars

Moving on to happier things! I've switched my web browser to Mozilla Firefox now, because I think it's so much better than IE. So that's pretty exciting.

Well, no it's not.

I'm going to have to return my laptop to Hewlett-Packard because, three months old and I've just realised it doesn't come with the right specifications for the PC Card Slot. Y'see, on the website for the particular model of my computer, it says it comes with "One Type I/One Type II PC Card Slot which support both 32-bit CardBus and 16-bit PC Cards". However, for some strange reason, my laptop comes with an ExpressCard slot, where the card sizes have a different shape. See the pics. The one on the left is a Type II PC Card, nice and rectangular. The one below right is an ExpressCard type. L-shaped and queer (the rectangular one is the width of the left side of the 'L').

Rightyo. When I was in Singapore, I bought a Type II PC Card, thinking (based on the information I'd already had) that my computer would have the right slot. Lo and behold, it turns out it doesn't, and the 500-ringgit PC Card I purchased doesn't fit. Before you ask: no, I didn't have my laptop with me when I bought the PC Card. Why would I have thought it wouldn't fit? The specifications say "Type II PC Card Slot", and I bought a Type II PC Card - so it was presumed it would all be fine and dandy! And before you ask, no, I didn't look at the card slot properly before. Not until I had to use it. That was my fault.

Anyway. So I hunt about the HP website and discover that when other laptops come with an ExpressCard slot, it specifically states 'one ExpressCard slot' in the list of the computer properties. Which leaves me with the conclusion, therefore, that somehow they've installed the wrong slot into my laptop!!! Grr, arrgh! So now I have to return to HP and get it sorted out. I swear, if they tell me it isn't a mistake and that they won't change it for free, I'm going to get really angry. If it's meant to be an ExpressCard slot, it should say ExpressCard slot, should it not? We could sue for misinformation!

So wish me luck, boys and girls. I'm going to fight for my rights. In the meantime, my 500-ringgit (AUD and SG$250) PC Card remains nice and secure in its little box, unopened, unusable. Sure, I could've returned it. But the point here is the principle of the thing: I didn't get what I wanted. And the fact that this laptop was supposed to have a Type II card slot played a part in my decision to buy it. The PC Card I bought isn't the problem, it's the slot.

I'm sure there's a sexual inference there somewhere. Oy.

Life Lessons 101

Sitting in my office, on three hours' of sleep. Feels bloody terrific, LOL!

Last night I learnt (or at least, re-learnt) a couple of things:

  • that everyone has issues;
  • that everybody who's creative is really crazy on some level;
  • that obsession can eat away at the psyche;
  • that denial is a state of mine;
  • that bluntness can sometimes be key;
  • that sometimes you wish too hard for something to be real;
  • that you can't end something that never really began;
  • that it hurts more to see someone else get hurt;
  • that it takes admittance, acceptance and forgiveness; and
  • that friendship is sacred.

Live and learn, boys and girls. Live and learn.

Sunday, 8 October 2006

SingaPics!

Photos! In an effort to avoid maxing out everybody's bandwidths, I've included 'em as thumbnails, as you can clearly see below. Hope you enjoy them! Only one thing I have to mention: you know the pics with Jo and the giant platter of meat and veggies, the one which was big enough to serve five but which the two of us overambitiously attempted to finish? Well, as we were fretting and sweating and tucking in, we turned to the next table and saw - to our mortification - five young ladies sharing a tiny plate of spaghetti among them. Oh, the humanity!!

All dressed up In robes and stuff, with mum and dad. Argh! Fat! With Carol Fountains Some weird freaky thing Poor tree has a bad infection... Bridge Trees. Ooh, pretty! Singapore Me and JO! Me with Jo and Kaighe Way too much food for two! Jo and food! Me and Kaighe Jo and Kaighe Don't we look like one happy family?