Friday, 30 June 2006

Work, Watch, Read!

Heyhey all... how's it going? First off, the big news: I'm gainfully employed at last. Whoohoo! Yep, it's official: the interview was last Friday, and yesterday (Thursday) they said "would you like to start Monday?" and I was, like, "yes please." So yippeeee - the ball has begun to roll, as it were - although roll towards what is the big question. Still... full-time writer is the position, focusing (hopefully) on theatre-arts, entertainment and lifestyle in general for Off The Edge (the complementary magazine to the newspaper The Edge) - and there's purportedly the added task of proof-reading and minor editing, which is something I really enjoy as well. And there's pretty good pay and some nifty allowances, so I think, all in all, we're off to a good start. Now let's just see what happens once I'm actually in the workplace. This should be interesting. Updates as and when.

On Tuesday night, I had a taste of what might be to come by being part of the media (without intending to sound too pretentious about it): an invite to the preview of the much-hyped Superman Returns, "dress code formal", even though nobody bothered to pay attention to that. One of the rules of being part of the screening was that absolutely no electronic devices were allowed into the cinema, including mobile phones - obviously to foil people from recording the movie illegally and displaying it over the internet ahead of time, ahaha! We even had to go through a metal-detector scan before we entered the screening hall, which is always an interesting experience outside of an airport environment. And there was complimentary popcorn and drinks... woooot!

Anyway, so that was pretty fun... the movie itself was (highlight if you want to be spoiled) not all that good: Superman as a character kicks ass, but Superman as the movie was not too hot. If you go in there with expectations for a drama rather than an action-adventure, you'd probably have more of a good time. Too much character development and expression of forbidden emotion (yes, there's such a thing as overdoing it); too lacklustre and one-dimensional performances from the main leads; occasionally corny and overtly CGI'd flying scenes; main villains who just weren't threatening (i.e. convincing) enough, and a less than satisfying denouement equal a movie that, at the very most, deserves a generous 5.5 out of 10. It's the kind of two-and-a-half-hour movie that could very easily have been pruned to two hours. Fortunately, Kevin Spacey was pretty good as Lex Luthor in spite of the vapid material, and his sidekick Kitty, played by Parker Posey, was a riot. So there you go. That's just my professional opinion. Disclaimer: Opinion not to be viewed as my trademark reviewing style. Don't worry, I won't write like this in the magazine...

Am currently reading a pretty interesting book called The Swarm by German author Frank Schatzing... it's all about the oceans going mad with a malevolent life-form that threatens the ecological stability of the world and the survival of mankind on the whole. It's really interesting; my little summary there might make it sound far-fetched, but the book is so filled with factual exposition and elaborate true accounts and reports (including that of mysterious blobs that have been found in the ocean and have been identified as living tissue, from which the author creates the premise) that you start to wonder if it could all be quite plausible.

Click for full view

If you're interested, here's the Amazon.com review of the book:

For more than two years, one book has taken over Germany's hardcover and paperback bestseller lists, reaching number one in Der Spiegel and setting off a frenzy in bookstores: The Swarm. Whales begin sinking ships. Toxic, eyeless crabs poison Long Island's water supply. The North Sea shelf collapses, killing thousands in Europe. Around the world, countries are beginning to feel the effects of the ocean's revenge as the seas and their inhabitants begin a violent revolution against mankind.

In this riveting novel, full of twists, turns, and cliffhangers, a team of scientists discovers a strange, intelligent life force called the Yrr that takes form in marine animals, using them to wreak havoc on humanity for our ecological abuses. Soon a struggle between good and evil is in full swing, with both human and suboceanic forces battling for control of the waters. At stake is the survival of the Earth's fragile ecology -- and ultimately, the survival of the human race itself.

The apocalyptic catastrophes of The Day After Tomorrow meet the watery menace of The Abyss in this gripping, scientifically realistic, and utterly imaginative thriller. With 1.5 million copies sold in Germany - where it has been on the bestseller list without fail since its debut - and the author's skillfully executed blend of compelling story, vivid characters, and eerie locales, Frank Schatzing's The Swarm will keep you in tense anticipation until the last suspenseful page is turned.

OooOOooo. Anyway - 870 pages, this book is, and I'm only about a quarter-way through (and hooked!) ... so if you get a chance to get your hands on this book, read it! Gripping stuff.

Rightyo then, boys and girls, that's about all for now. Take care, and until next time... ~N

Sunday, 25 June 2006

Nick-Knack #5: Coffeeshop

I sat alone in a coffeeshop and sipped
a cold, ice-blended beverage, tasting the
creamy caramel and getting a boost from
the double shot of caffeine; and I
looked at those who sat at the other tables:
couples, and trios, and small groups of
smiling, laughing and chatting people -
and fretted that I was sitting alone in a coffeeshop,
sipping the cold, ice-blended beverage,
tasting the creamy caramel, and getting a boost
from the double shot of caffeine.

Churchiness & World Domination!

Hey everyone. How's it all going? Well, on my end of things, things have been picking up a little bit. Firstly, last Thursday I met up with some members of this church that produces pretty big Easter and Christmas shows annually to see if they would be keen on a revival of FTL. I won't go too much into details here, but I think they were quite impressed with the overall concept and are quite interested to see if it fits into their programme for this year, so...fingers crossed, let's see where this leads us. They are definitely keen on the idea of working with me on future productions though, so that's very exciting; naturally, being a church, I think they're looking more towards evangelistic productions, but I'm not opposed to that. So I'll be having a second meet with one of the dudes from the Creative Arts team this coming week, and we'll see what comes of it. Overall, though, the team seemed to think FTL would be great for their Youth section, and I'd love to see that come to fruition, wouldn't you? =)

On another note, yesterday I had a meeting with the editor for a certain Malaysian magazine concerning my first official full-time job after six years of being a tiertiary education student! Whoohoo! I think it went pretty well, and they are offering a pretty good starting salary, with allowances and pretty flexible working hours. They're looking at expanding their arts/theatre/music pages, which, just in case nobody knows, I'm just the slightest bit interested in, so I'm thinking this just might work. And they're also looking at someone who's able to make minor changes to the near-finished product before it goes into the publication phase - proof-reading and sub-editing, if you will... now, I'm not a grammatically-fussy person (I'm not! Honestly! Cross my heart!), but why not? ;) So yea, I'm in!! Now let's just hope I'm officially granted the job, LOL. If I am, it's from July 1st. Well, the 3rd, since the 1st is a Saturday. Five-day weeks with flexibility. You's gots to love it.

Today I went to a new Catholic church for mass (well, not new, but one I haven't been to in four years)... and when I listened to the band, I thought, ooh, now there's potential! So I went up there to introduce myself, and I saw a couple of people I'd met about four years back before I'd headed over to Perth; and, surprisingly enough, one of 'em saw me and went, "Nick!!!" So yay, if all goes well I'll be able to get into the music ministry here at this church, which is something that's pretty important to me. I mean, I was part of St Thomas More's band for the four years in Aussieland, and when I came back here I was pretty despondent by the lack of energy and enthusiasm at this one particular church my parents fancied; so to head to the church today and find 'em pretty enthusiastic and ambitious is a pretty great thing. That, and welcoming me back into the fold, as it were. I'm hoping to be able to be involved, contribute and help out as much as I can for the next few weeks/months/years that I'm here, depending on what unfolds in the near and not-so-near future.

So there you go. Prospects of FTL, more musical productions, a new job, a new church, new friends, new fun. It's all terribly exciting and nervous-making. Once I'm settled into these roles, the next goal shall be looked towards: making a ripple (if not a tidal-wave) in the theatre/music industry here before moving on to other countries and then, like the Brain of Pinky & The fame, taking over the world!! BWA-HAHAHAHA!!!!! Okay, that's enough of that. Baby steps, Nick. Baby steps.

Take care all, and I'll update more soon! Bye for now. ~N

Wednesday, 21 June 2006

Random Sitcom (well, Cartoon) Quote #15

Count Dracula (Jon): The villagers are coming bearing flaming torches! We must flee with our lives!
Count Lasagne (Garfield): We have no lives - but let's flee anyway!

- Garfield & Friends, "Count Lasagne"

Nick-Knack #4: Relocation

For the past four weeks, I've been
trying to locate the whereabouts of my
good friend JJ, who has seemingly disappeared
off the face of the earth.
Eventually I found out he might've moved to
a different country;
a nearby country;
a poorer country;
and we imagine going there one day,
and giving money to a religious person seeking
charitable donations,
and having him look at us and go, "hey."

Prizes, Jobs & Revivals

Well, you've read right - last weekend, Dad went on a golf game and, somehow, amazingly, by the grace of God or the universe or whatever you believe in, he walked away with miscellaneous athletic paraphernalia (ooo big words!), a trip to Dubai/Europe, and, shockingly to all of us, a Mercedes Benz !!! Whoohoo!! We're all really grateful for that stroke of luck (aahahaha! pun! I mean, it's golf. Golf... stroke... get it?) ... because Dad actually had quite a number o' debts which he had to pay off (including, cough, paying for my education in Aussieland, yikes!!), so he's obviously not planning on keeping the car. But still, how cool is that? Here's an article in the local paper The Sun (where he works, LOL). Check it out; click for full view.



It's a bit of a shame though - we haven't had a chance to see the actual car with our very own eyes. But still - what a prize, huh? :)

Anyway, apart from this - tomorrow I'm meeting with a church group who just might be interested in a possible revival (yes) of Follow the Light, so that's pretty exciting. Absolutely nothing confirmed yet, but they've called a meeting with me, so anything's possible, right? ;) And on Friday I'm having that meeting with the media corp who's offered me a job; so after that I can decide once and for all if I'll be accepting it...although given that I haven't receive any other offers at this time, I suppose I will accept. Plus, on reflection, it just might be a very good way to kickstart my career. So fingers crossed; will update you as and when things develop.

Well, that's about all for now - thanks for reading, take care, and see you soon! ~N

Sunday, 18 June 2006

Nick-Knack #3: Golf

Yesterday my dad hit a golf ball
into a little hole with just one swing,
and walked away with an astounding
array of prizes: a trendy sports bag,
some caps and towels, a trip to Europe,
and the big prize: a little something with
wheels, courtesy of the organisers,
Mercedes Benz.
It's funny: he'd been thinking -
"Oh, just to get the sports bag."

Saturday, 17 June 2006

Nick-Knack #2: Stamps

The other day I stood in line at the post office
to buy some stamps. I licked
the backs of them and slapped them onto
the envelopes. Then, having walked over to
the mail slots, I stopped
and gaped in dismay
at the little wet sponges they provide
for the lazier people who abhor the idea
of licking the backs of things.

Random Sitcom Quote #14

Dick learns that his girlfriend Mary has slept with his arch-nemesis Strudwick.

Dick: I can't get his face out of my mind!
Nina: Who, Strudwick's?
Dick: No, Nina. Little Davey Johnson, the boy who lived at the end of the block. You see, little Davey was a big baseball fan, and his one dream in life was to see his hero, nine-time homerun-scoring champion Mark McGuire in action. Unfortunately his father was too hard-up to make little Davey's dream come true. One day, as little Davey was playing baseball in the nearby park, he saw somebody approaching in the distance. When he looked up, who did he see but none other than his hero, Mark McGuire, big and strong like a mountain. McGuire gave little Davey four season passes to the latest Nix game, and to see little Davey's face light up in joy at the thought of seeing his hero in a baseball game... that is a sight that I will never forget. (Pauses beatifically, then yells:) Of course Strudwick's! Don't ask stupid questions!!

- 3rd Rock From the Sun, 'Dick Vs Strudwick', Season 5

Friday, 16 June 2006

Oh, Look: Something New...

Starting today:
NICK-KNACKS
101 Short Stories On the Randomness Of Nick's Life
------------------------------------------------------
Nick-Knack #1: Ceiling Fan
Today I woke and stared up at
the ceiling fan that spun round and round;
and I asked myself,
"Why is the ceiling fan switched on when I've got
the air-conditioner running?"
That said, I had to shut my eyes
and shake my head
and sigh quietly in silent wonderment
at the sheer indignity of it all.

Thursday, 15 June 2006

Finales, New Beginnings and Football

Heyheyhey! Whassup?? Ummmmm nothing much, actually. Ahahaha! No, that's not really true - World Cup fever has me hooked to the telly (I'm cheering for Australia... it's true! No, seriously! I am! Really! *winks*) ... and then there's the fact that, whoohoo, finally, three-point-five weeks after being back home, I've received an indication of a job offer in the media... so... yay! Won't mention too much yet since I don't know all the details, but it's rumoured that, if I accept, I'm slated to start from July and that they'll be having a nice chat with me soonish to work out all the important stuff like contract and pay and expectations and all that. So that's something to look forward to. Of course, this is the first offer that's been made, and... I... um... well.... never mind, I'd better not say too much just in case (just in case) they stumble across this blog (yea right, ahahahahaha!) ... but yea. Hopefully things are lookin' up! whoohoo!

Apart from this little piece of news, nothing much to report... I'm still computerless and hence am frequenting this cybercafe; I saw the first episode of Boston Legal today and quite liked it; I saw the final episodes ever of the longrunning Charmed and Will & Grace ... ummm.... what else? Terry and I are thinking of auditioning for more theatre stuff here in KL, so that should be exciting if and when it happens. And I've got this idea (read: goal) of staging an original musical dealing with life, friendships, relationships, drugs and death (no, it's not Rent) potentially entitled The Edge - which is, ironically enough, the name of the media corporation in question in my paragraph above... funny, that. We'll see if we stick to that name for the musical. If and when. I'll go with 'when'. When. *big smile*

Okay, that's all for now. Thanks for reading. God bless. Byebye.

Saturday, 10 June 2006

Saturday Night, 20 Days, and Time Travelling

Alllll riiiiight, it's a Saturday night! Whoohoo!! Now what? Ok, rundown of the day. Got up. Read a very interesting book, The Time Traveler's Wife, which I'm up to about page 250 right now, and it's a 520-paged novel that I only begun reading at about 230am this morning - which is supposed to indicate that it's definitely one of the most compelling works of fiction I've read in a long time, for me to get through so much of it so quickly. Anyway, read and read and read and then headed to the most boring, tedious and meaningless church service ever, and then had an even more tedious dinner with my folks, and now I'm in an internet cafe just...y'know. Killing time. On a Saturday night. What a life, huh? Heh.

Anyway, The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger ... it's got a really fascinating plot about this dude, Henry, who has this bizarre ability to travel through time thanks to a futuristic time-displacing genetic disease. And so he flashes to the future and to the past and pays many visits the present/future love of his life, Clare... and the story leaps back and forth between Henry's point of view and Clare's, in different eras of their lives. That's the very basic premise, which makes it sound like a sci-fi novel, but it's really a romance-drama-type novel. The idea is terrific and highly original if a little confusing initially...though once you get the hang of it, it's really quite a lot of fun, and funny, and humorous, and moving to boot. If you'd like to read a more detailed (and favourable) review, check this out. And if you get the chance to get your hands on a copy, do have a read... like I said, I'm about halfway through and it's great stuff so far; so if all goes well, it could well become one of my favourite books. Whooo! That's...not really an honour. But y'know...go hunt for it. Now.



Apart from this, what's been going on? Yesterday sent out another buttload of job application letters and resumes to several magazine companies, but I'm optimistic that sometime this coming week I'll be hearing from someone regarding something. God willing. Meanwhile, I've only been back 20 days, but it feels like a fuckin' lifetime. Amazing, isn't it? I'm getting accustomed to being back in town - I guess the reality that I'm not leaving for a while has finally sunk in and become, well, real - but it's no less tedious and no less stifling than when I first returned... if anything, it's growing increasingly so. But I know it'll be better soon; it's just that right now, with nothing moving forward in my life, I'm feeling really unmotivated and uninspired and dispassionate about...oh, just about everything. Still, I'll get over it. And oh, whaddya know, that officially wraps up my Whinge Quota for this blog (although I think the poem below should've been the official one) - no more complaints! No more glass-half-empty points of view! Time to look forward to things with a positive attitude! Here's to the future! Here's to good times! Here's to -

oh bite me.

.... Take care, boys and girls. Will write more soon, I'm very sure. Meanwhile, I need some alcohol, and quick. Time to hit a bar or something. Against my head. Hahahaha. Pfft. See ya.

Friday, 9 June 2006

Broken

Sitting here
Broke and
spirit Broken
In a stuffy Internet cafe
Barely able to breathe
or Blink
In the Heat -
I wonder, When will it all
Begin?
In my head: Music,
Horror Stories,
Tales of Imagination and Fantasy,
Scores for short Films,
and Documentaries,
A New Version of an Xmas Favourite,
the dream of being
the Youngest Songwriter
(theatrical)
with the
Ledge,
and the
Name
and the
Networks
and the
Contacts -
But How? when I'm
only trapped
Sitting here
Broke and
spirit Broken
In a stuffy Internet cafe
Barely able to breathe
or Blink
In the Heat?

Wednesday, 7 June 2006

Har De Har Har Harrr. Aiyoh!

Hey hey everyone.

Nothing much to say today. Got a shiteload of magazine addresses and will be sending out resumes & application letters tomorrow.

However: let's have a joke or two just to cheer us up. These are courtesy of my good mate Terry (heeeey Terrry!!) who regaled me with 'em while we were sweltering over bowls of hot soup at the local coffeeshop.

Joke #1: one of those witty 'Confucius says' oneliners. Here we go - "Confucius says...believe in rabbit's foot if you must - but remember: it didn't work for the rabbit."

*bah-dah-boom-tsssh!*

Joke #2: Adam and Mark were in a safari park when they unfortunately came face-to-face with a tiger. Terrified, they both took off running with the tiger in hot pursuit - and in desperation, Adam threw off his backpack. "How is that going to help?!" Mark shrieked at him. Adam replied, "It'll help me run faster!" "But faster than the tiger?" Mark cried incredulously. And Adam replied, "No - but I only need to be faster than you!"

*bah-dah-boom-tsssh!*

Ahahahaahaha! HAHAHAAHHAAHA!!!

Oh please yourselves. Check out the radio station where Terry works by clicking here.

Buhbye.

Tuesday, 6 June 2006

Madness, Malay, Motorvehicles & Movie Mania!

Hey everyone. How's it all going? Wow, I'm on the verge of going mad here. Between not having a job, waiting for job offers, seeking a part-time one to fill my time and provide me with a little cash, not having a computer at home, not having the opportunity to watch television because of mum's tuition classes, and not having many friends except for those who have to work anyway....life's a little boring and nutso-driving right now. Nothing much to add, except that Terry's been given this cool task of test-driving a number of cool cars as part of his job on the radio show... so he's been picking me up and taking us on wild rides (heh) in the latest Suzuki Swift, Honda Civic, ummmm some other car I don't remember the make of, and.... another car I don't remember the make of. I really ought to make fuller use of the digicam my Perth mates gave me (sniff!! Hiiii guuuyss!) and take a few photos of these cars, but...it's one of those things that only cross my mind after I've gone on the wild ride and have been dropped back home again. Then I tell myself "next time", only to forget the next time, and so on and so forth.

The funniest conversation happened between me and Terry just a couple of days ago. Aussie mates, I'm sorry to say at this point is where you tune out and focus on some other task, because this conversation took place while we were driving and involves conversation in Malay. So... I'd translate, but it would lose its funniness. Plus, that'd be too much effort, heheh. Anyways. So Terry was driving, and he was pushing way past the speed limit, and so he wondered offhandedly if he'd be able to get away with it if the cops were to pull him over. I suggested, "You could always say 'aku ini wartawan tau, test-driving ni bagi assignment aku!'" To which Terry laughed gleefully and said, "Yeah! That's a good idea! Wow, this job gives me so much tenaga!"

At which point there was a pause before I said carefully, "Um...don't you mean kuasa?"

And we, having realised Terry's rather silly linguistic error, proceeded to burst out into uproarious peals of laughter. "To think you're the one who's been away!" he wheezed amidst hysterical giggles, which is true, very true. Heh. It really was rather funny. But I suppose you have to be there. And now, rereading this lengthy paragraph, I realise it doesn't sound that amusing...but it was. It really was. Honestly.

*sigh*

Anyways, today was the alleged Apocalypse Day as they call it (6/6/06 - get it? Oy.) ... but as far as I know nothing's happened, right...? Apart from the world premiere of The Omen remake, the launch of which was quite deliberately set for this date. Hope it's been a good, safe day for everyone. Until next time, take care, buhbye and God bless... ~N

Friday, 2 June 2006

Computers, Prospects, Codes and Overpriced Consumption

Hey everyone - just a quick update today... the computer at home has finally died on me (bloody 'ell!), which means that right now I'm at an internet cafe, 1030pm on a Friday night. How exciting, huh?? But that's one of the "positive" things about being home - it's never too late to pop into a cybercafe and surf yer brains out. But yea, the computer at home went kaput, which bodes badly for me because it means it jeapordises the Perth projects I've got to write music for. It's not so much the music writing that's a problem now, but how to edit it all (with which I require the computer) and how to send it over without lugging my entire keyboard to this 'net cafe. Oy. Life's a dick sometimes. Moving on.

So what's new? Since my previous outburst (see below) which basically was caused by, once again, overannoying family members - ummmm I've been rushing about getting some documentation organised for what might hopefully be job interviews, including resorting my portfolio, the documents of which finally reached me from Perth. Yikes. But yea, about two weeks since my return and I'll finally be able to get started on the job material. I know I've mentioned I've got interviews and stuff already lined up (see sidebar chatterbox)...well, it's kinda true: two companies (no names yet, don't wanna jinx it) are interested in having me join the team, which is why they've asked me to compile my portfolio and submit my CV and hopefully it'll lead to interviews. So... yeah. Prospects. Fingers crossed and all that. More on this as and when it happens.

What else have happened? Today I went to see the most overhyped movie ever made, the infamous Da Vinci Code, which all in all was pretty much a dud if you ask me. They should've let nations see the bloody show first before these countries decided whether or not to screen it. I hardly think it's the sort of material that will sway the mindset of any believer - or non-, for that matter. Anyways. Tom Hanks was boring and seemed to be more of an incidental character than a lead, and if it weren't for Paul Bettany's rather convincing performance as Silas, it wouldn't have garnered the generous 2.5 stars out of 5 on my "Nick's Rating" system. So see it, don't see it... wotever. I really don't think it'd make a difference in your lives on the grand scale of things. Although non-Malaysians beware: don't watch it on our screens...when the characters start speaking in languages apart from English, the only subtitles you see on the screen are Malay and Chinese. Wot a pain in the butt, even for us. :P

Well, that's about all for now, I suppose. Oh, have recently rejoined a gym and am now returning to exercising, whoohoooooo. (insert blank face here). Tomorrow Terry and Debs are heading to the city for a Japanese buffet that costs a whopping RM102 per person (yikes!), which is, for Aussie readers, about $40 (but if you don't convert the currency, imagine paying $102 per person for a buffet! Yikes!) .... but it's not as bad as the time Debs ran up a shocker RM800 bill for a dinner for two. (Again, don't convert it: $800 for a dinner for two?? Shit aye!) ..... good times, I say. Good times. Okay, byebye for now. xxox