Wednesday, 30 August 2006

Independence

Heyhey. Well, it's Aug 30, and for us in this land of chicken rice and 'lah's, it's the eve of Independence Day. Forty-ninth year, in fact... so next year's event is gonna be the big golden jubilee bash. But back to 2006: 49 years. It's great, of course, and I'm glad that we live in peace and have a good life relative to many other developing nations... but I daresay that Merdeka, as we call it, isn't really a big deal to me as it would be to, say, those who are in their late 40s and 50s who were actually around in 1957. I don't believe I'm in the minority when I say that it's "not that big a deal"; I'm pretty sure that many young people my age realise and are grateful for what we have but don't really feel that deep, ingrained sense of pride and joy that others who lived through the day or who have a deeper connection to the significance of Merdeka might feel. I guess when one isn't that deeply interested in politics and history, preferring to stay out of it, events such as this don't rise to become the foremost source of emotional and patriotic expression. Which isn't to say we don't enjoy the festivities and the public holiday. :) At the end of the day, it is significant, it is important and it is a blessing - but my reasons for thinking this are surely different from those of other persons, as theirs would be different from others, and in turn theirs from others, and so on, and so forth. To each his own, right? Right.

Still, it's a bit of a bittersweet Merdeka for me this year - it's the first time I've been in the country for it in four years. Yup - 2001 was my last Independence 'celebration', and now... 2006. (I'm sure that's mathematically incorrect. But anyway.) So in that sense I'm happy to be on home ground to see the flags and the fireworks and the cheers and the late-night parties; on the other hand, it's, again, a stark reminder that... I'm... here. Not elsewhere. As has been clearly the theme of my recent posts, I've been going through a slight down time with being home and living with family again and with personal issues and shite... but tonight, on this eve of 49 years, I'm going to raise my glass of (overpr)iced caramel coffee, bite into my cheap 7-Eleven-bought pandan kaya bun, and put on a brave smile as the voices on the telly shout out Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!, hoping for continued peace here and elsewhere and within those who are troubled and within myself.

Here's to freedom.

Monday, 28 August 2006

Life. Oh life

Hey. Man have I been down lately. Pretty much since Friday. I don't know why... just feeling a deep sense of... something negative. Sadness, or loneliness, or desperation, or failure, or self-pity, or a horrid blend of all of the above. Anyway. I'll come back and post stuff when I feel up to it. Bye for now. *sighs*.

Saturday, 26 August 2006

Oh What A Night

Jeez what a day. Went to work as usual, and then my boss calls and says he's not coming in, so I was free to go home, yay! That was the positive part. So I head off, bearing in mind that I had an assignment at 730pm that evening (which was earlier this evening). Blah blah blah, spent some time at the shops getting a few things, blah blah, and then it's time to get ready to go this dinner affair, dress code elegant it says. As I was dressing up, it starts to drizzle...which then metamorphoses into a full-on stormlike deluge. I thought, ok then, I'll be delayed for a little bit. Try half an hour. Fine. So at twenty past seven, I decide I had no choice but to leave the house... only to realise that with the ongoing rain, the roads are jampacked with cars. In KL City, it would be much, much worse. Alrighty then: the next option would be to hop onto the train. Except that it would take two trains to get to the venue, at two different stations across the main road from each other. Well, okay, let's pray the rain stops enough for me to cross the street. So blah blah, dad says "if you're taking the train, we'll drop you off rather than you having to park", and he does; and when I go up to the ticketing section, I realise that all the ticket machines are down from the storm, and that there's a line of train-riders stretching from the ticketing booth about 30 people long. Bugger. Wish I'd brought along my Touch-and-Go card (which, for the uninitiated, is this little card filled with pre-paid credit that you literally touch to a pad and it deducts the fare and you just go through the turnstiles). So I line up, get my ticket, rush up to the waiting train... only to hear a voice say oleh kerana banjir kilat di Sri Wangi, keretapi akan berjalan lebih perlahan dan akan berhenti untuk tempoh yang lebih lama di stesen, kami memohon maaf atas sebarang kesulitan. Seething, I get onto the train as the distorted loudspeakers translate ladies and gentlemen, due to flashfloods at Sri Wangi, the trains will be running at a slower speed and will stop for longer durations at each station, we apologise for any inconvenience. Grr, argh. So eventually the train moves, and it's pretty packed, and it goes all the way to the first stop, and I get off and have to meander about looking for the other station (crossing a big busy main road in the process, fortunately the rain had let up some); and when I get to the other station I realise, with a sinkier feeling than before, that the line at the ticketing counter stretches from said counter all the way to the middle of the main road I'd had to cross to get to the station! Did that make any sense?? Ticketing booth faces main road separating the two stations. Crowd mills in terrifying throngs around ticketing booth. By this point it was about 845pm, and I thought f*ck, but I got in line anyway and just waited in annoyance. Eventually I got my ticket, headed to the waiting platform, and got a load of the six million people gathered there waiting for the same train... and when the train showed up, I gaped and gawked at the six million people filling it. Somehow, through some miracle, I managed to get onto sardine-packed train, and it took us on a long, bumpy, rollercoastery ride along its narrow mono-rail (hence the term 'monorail', as it's called), through the rain and the thunder and the abating storm, while below us, on the roads of Kuala Lumpur, bumper-to-bumper vehicles honked and hooted and filled the night with the harsh bright red of brakelights. I finally got to the venue at about 945, a good two and a quarter hours later than I'd wanted to... only to find out that they'd been nice enough to wait for me. Well, that and the fact that a lot of their other guests had been delayed too. So I sat down, frustrated but relieved, tired but happy to finally be there; and I mingled and chitchatted and did whatever I was supposed to do; ate, drank, got a little tipsy (thank God), was entertained by the brilliant jazz singer (you go, girl!), and then glanced at my watch: ooh, 11pm. Time to head back before I missed the final trains.

Oy.

Heading back wasn't as bad, though at one point a train guard yelled at me oi lu pergi mana?!?! and I told him where I was headed (as he had asked), and then he said ah ok! which made me think, that was a little odd, I'd just bought my ticket and paid for it and was headed in the right direction, so why the eff is he yelling at me?, only to realise that, being short of breath, wet from rain, red-faced from exertion and smelling of wine I'd drank during the dinner of scallop broth, half-shelled lobster, pasta, creme brulee and green tea ice cream, I must've seemed a little bit of a drunk. What the hell, worse mistakes have been made, I suppose.

So now here I am, back home. Tired, irritable and thinking that I really need to get laid.

So how was your day?

Thursday, 24 August 2006

NooooooOOOO!!!!!

I'm officially devastated. :'((

The future of Stargate is in question today, as SCI FI Channel has cancelled the long-running Stargate SG-1, Multichannel News reported today and a GateWorld source has confirmed. The news regrettably follows the airing of the show's milestone two-hundredth episode on Friday. Stargate Atlantis, meanwhile, has been renewed for a fourth season, with the network hoping to see that the spin-off series can stand alone. For the rest of the article, click here.

And it's been made definite:

In response to today's breaking news, SCI FI has issued a statement confirming that the cable network has not renewed Stargate SG-1 for an eleventh year.The network also confirmed that it has renewed spin-off Stargate Atlantis for Season Four. For the rest of the article, click here.

This is in spite of:

Stargate SG-1 is officially in the Guinness World Records .... for the Longest Consecutive Running Sci-Fi TV Show. Stargate SG-1 has run without a break for nearly 10 years, since its first episode premiered on July 27, 1997. As of the 203rd episode, SG-1 will beat the 202 episodes of The X-Files... Read the rest of the article here.

But apparently there's still hope:

Don't count Stargate SG-1 out just yet. Though SCI FI Channel has cancelled the long-running series, the show's producers are hard at work looking for a new outlet for the story to continue. "As far as the future goes, I can't comment yet because nothing has been confirmed," (executive producer) Robert Cooper said. "What we want to emphasise is that the franchise is not dying. SG-1 will go on in some way...." Read the rest here.

Fingers crossed. *sighs* ~N
Sources: http://www.gateworld.net

Wednesday, 23 August 2006

Complacent

Yo. Wednesday, and I'm back at work. It's so far been a bit of a lazy day, with me sitting here typing on my blog and sipping away at a rather putrid self-made cuppa coffee.

Today I've felt once again that deep-rooted fear of complacency in being a homeboy again. (A homeboy?! ahahahaa!!) By this I mean someone who lives at home. With parents. It's such a pain in the ass, and not in that purported good way. Firstly, putting up with folks who, meaning well most times, continue to believe that I'm not capable of looking after myself. Whenever they leave the house, they always have to knock on my door and ask if I'd like them to bring me home something. Sure, we could see that as a nice gesture on their part, and most times I do, but it's really quite okay for them to just go and trust that I'll be able to feed myself. Guess what, folks? I can rustle up something in the kitchen. Nothing in the house? I can go down to the shops and buy my own. It's fine. Even worse is when we've established I won't be joining them for a meal, and they call and say "you sure you don't want us to buy something? you okay for dinner?" and I'm, like, Garfield-half-eyelidded with irritation. To make matters worse, if it's my dad calling, it always sounds as if it's a chore for him to have to ask me if I want food, which in turns pisses me off and makes me think, then don't bother asking. Sheesh.

Part of the problem is this (hopefully-soon-to-be-rectified) situation with having only one car. Because I'm dependent on car-sharing to get to work and so forth, most times I end up needing to tag along with them, the good son in the back seat to his parents in the front. This usually winds up with me joining them for lunch (where they pay), and sometimes there'll be the case of me saying I want to eat this, and Mom saying I'm ordering mine, I'll order for you too, and she goes. One cannot help but feel like such a child when that happens. And yet, it's so easy and convenient to have Mommy doing stuff for you. Same thing with the new car situation - I love and am grateful for the fact that Dad is paying the down payment, but having to pass the phone to him whenever the car dealer calls because I'm not the one dealing with the concerns... it makes me feel less than independent and less than mature, having to tell the car chick, "Yea, hold on please, I'll pass you to my dad." Oy.

Of course, the source of the problem lies deeper than having only one car, and I think it's a two-way street here. On the one hand, being back at home means it's so easy to just fall into the secure trap of parental overprotection and overmothering. I mean, who doesn't like to be waited on every now and then? The danger comes when the waiting-on takes over from one's doing things for himself, which is what I fear is happening. Which beings me to the other hand - I, being the protectee, realise I have to take a stand and gradually detach, not from the family, but from the sense of being the child dependent on his parents. Gads, they're not going to be around forever. I have to act like a grown-up, demonstrate responsibility and independence, and maybe then will they see that I am old enough to make my own decisions, to do things on my own, to sort out my own problems and troubles. At some point (which should've been eight years ago), they have to stop trying to protect me from getting into trouble, from facing any problems... to let me make my own bloody decisions. And if I get into difficulty because of these decisions, then it's how I learn, it's how I grow. That's what happens with most other people. At four years away from 30, I feel like the spoiled kid who'll never be an adult, not as long as my parents keep treating me like a child. Their response would probably be that I still act like a child - which brings me back to that two-way-street dilemma, a perpetual circle of dependence and independence, of maturity and immaturity, and that I, too, need to demonstrate the ability of being a grown-up (which people my age are). Incidentally, I think there's a difference between child-like and childish... but never mind.

So there we have it. I fear for myself. I fear for my parents. I love my parents (some days more than others, oy), and I like being at home because it's comfortable, and it's precisely because of that comfort I feel like I need to get out. Or even if I don't get out, at least live a life on my own without them calling to check up on me, to ask me if I'm okay, to ask if I'm being fed, to ask if I've got enough money. I don't need them banging on the door to wake me up, I don't need them telling me when to go to bed, when not to go out because "it's late", when not to drive because "it's dark". I don't need them doing my laundry for me, hanging out my clothes for me, accompanying me to the doctor, making appointments for me, making work-related road-trips "a family affair", telling me not to eat too much, telling me not to drink, telling me to "save your money" every time I make a purchase, telling me not to buy a black-coloured car because "it's more dangerous", telling me not to buy a manual car because it's "so difficult to drive". And I certainly don't need them getting moody and upset when I make my own decisions. Not to sound terribly ungrateful, but I don't believe it's healthy for either party. And one of us, or both of us, has/have to take steps to rectify the situation, otherwise I fear I'll end up being a fifty-year-old man living at home under the crotchety control of ninety-year-old parents. That, indeed, is a scary thought. ~N

Monday, 21 August 2006

Vertigo

It's occurred to me that I've been home in Malaysia for three months as of Aug 20. Only three months. Sure, it's a quarter-year, but it's only been three months, and I've been working nearly two out of those. I guess things are going pretty well after all, considering. I once said it feels like I've never left - but upon deeper reflection, it isn't exactly true, because every so often something jars my mind and my memory and I actually stop and think, Oh my God, I'm not going back to Perth. To live, at least. Not anytime soon. Or if I'm standing in the middle of hustly-bustly KL city, especially in an unfamiliar but overwhelmingly populated area abuzz with activity, I sometimes get a sense of vertigo, like, I can't believe I'm here. And then I'm filled with that faint sense of longing, of missing people and places, of loss and being lost, not knowing if this is truly where I belong.

I guess my point is, after three months I'm still settling in. This laptop I'm using; the new car; the job... these are things that, superficially, help me settle into the idea of being back home; that this is, for the time being, (oximoronically) long-term. The truth is, I'm still adjusting. Shifting. Slowly. And some of the things I hoped would happen - some of the mental-psychological and emotional moving-on once mentioned in distant blog-posts of long ago - are still making the transition. It's a little frightening, but I suppose things don't happen overnight. Three months? It's a holiday period. Not nearly long enough to be ready; to feel, sincerely, confidently, that - after four years of being away - I'm home.

Nick-Knack #18: Lamp

A lamp sits on my table top, complete with
shade bedecked with the picture of a rose -
nay, two roses: pink of petal, green of leaf,
juxtaposed against a whitish background
of cracked pattern; and a body, ceramic-like,
of hourglass curvaceousness. At night,
the incandescence from the bulb
casts a warm, yellow light across my room:
soothing and comforting,
softening even the potential blow
of the thought prevalent in my mind:
crikey! - it sure is one girly lamp.

Sunday, 20 August 2006

Oranges & Legends

Hmm! What a cool day today has been. First of all, I've decided to opt for the orange MyVi. That's related to the post below, heh! Only because it's not as common a colour as the black, even though both cars are sweeeet! Then there's the other thing I mentioned earlier, which is Puteri Gunung Ledang, the musical. Well, I have to admit it certainly lived up to the hype, high expectations met. Indeed it's probably one of the best professional shows I've seen (which admittedly isn't saying that much, since I've only seen, like, a child's handful of professional productions), but it ranks up even among the international musicals (beating We Will Rock You hands down, sorry, Queens!). Songs and music were great (if a little repetitive); the sets, costuming and choreography awesome; the acting above par, and the singing ... well, ten thumbs up, especially from two main leads, Tiara Jacquelina and Stephen Rahman-Hughes. The fact that it was all in Malay (and classic Malay, most times, equatable to ye old-fashioned English of yore) didn't distract from the storyline at all (although the subtitles certainly did!). All in all, a terrific day's entertainment, and I'm certainly glad I caught it.

On a reflective note, if this is the future (or the present) of musical theatre in Malaysia, then I can breathe with some ease because there's hope for us yet. All the buzz about it being a local production and how fantastic it is...well, it's quite deserving. Only there's an all-too-evident lack of mention of the composer, who, in many cases of "locally-produced" theatre, is usually the focus, being the mastermind behind the more quintessential element in any musical. The fact that composer Dick Lee is not in the spotlight is glaring, from my point of view - could it have anything to do with him being Singaporean?? Oy. Instead we hype up the fact that it's produced and performed by Malaysians, significantly reducing the role of composer to being of comparatively lesser importance. Fair enough, I suppose, especially given that the story is based on Malaysian legend, but let's not belittle the role of the musicmaker, hey? They're bloody important, LOL! Anyway, these pics are stolen from the PGL website (click for bigger view), link in previous post. More online theft. Originality and initiative are severely overrated. :P

Well, that's about all for now.Tomorrow it's back to work to finish off the mag, and I'm still a little brainfuzzy right now, so methinks I shall go watch some mindless schlock on telly before hitting the sack. To one and all, selamat malam. ~N

Saturday, 19 August 2006

Brain Dead & Colour Confused

Saturday night. Whoohoo! What am I doing? I'm sitting at home typing on my blog, hahaha! Am just really poofed (no puns, people. No puns!)... tired out. Not so much physically, but mentally, because of a really late night last night. Or rather, this morning. Yea, once again it's deadline week for the mag, and so we had to stay back in the office to get the latest edition ready for publication. I was there in the office from about 1130am yesterday to (get this) 6:15am this morning. Good lord, practically an 18-hour workday!!! Need...a...day...off! Hahaha! And the funnily tragic (tragically funny?) thing is, we didn't even get the stuff completed because by that hour of the morning, our editor, graphic designer and I were, like, brain... not... working... can't... go... on... must.... stoooop... like an Energizer bunny running out of Energizer. So yea, Monday's back to work, and today I got up at about 4pm, went to the gym (see? not physically tired!), came home, cooked breakfast/lunch/dinner, and will now probably head out (all on my lonesome, all me mates are away!) for a coffee. Sniff. C-15 anyone? :'( waaaah! The Perthlings will understand that. Heeeee.

So what else is new? Ummm. Nothing much, honestly. Tomorrow am going to see a musical, Puteri Gunung Ledang (yes, that's in Malay), much-hyped, very very very popular, everyone's talking about it, it would be bad for a theatre-writer-fanatic to not see it, yes? Oy. But it should be a really good show, my expectations are high, so I hope it doesn't fall under that. And oh! I'm getting my own car!! Whoohoo!! Yes, it's true (yaaay!) - sharing one car with the family is becoming a major pain in the butt - even tomorrow's PGL trip caused some contention because dad wanted to go play golf. But yea, yesterday we made a trip to the dealer and... well, it's gonna be half my car, half my dad's, because's he's paying the down payment and I'm dealing with the rest for the next... few... years. Remind me that I've only been working less than a month and have only had one paycheck. Oy.

Anyway, we've decided to go for the "cheap" option, which is to get a local car. Just like PGL, it's been much-hyped, very very very popular, and everyone's talking about it - the MyVi. I'm opting for black. Why? Because it looks good, I reckon. Sleek. Shiny. Sporty. Sexy. All the asses. I mean 'S'es. But I also really like the orange, because it's hot and it's unusual. What to do, what to do?? Oh look here are some pics (I've stolen them from someone else's site, sorry dude, give me a yell if you aren't too pleased about it.)

or
?
Oh decisions, decisions. Let me know wot you guys reckon. But regardless - I'm getting a car! Yaaay!!!!!!!!! *dances jubilantly under the light of the fluorescent tube*!

Wednesday, 16 August 2006

A Long Day's Journey Into Nowt

Sitting at my desk in the office right now. Another long night of work. Not complaining, just stating a fact. It's 730pm and I'm still here, and I dunno when I'll be heading home. But it's all good. Tis part of the job. Yesterday was infuriating though - I had to attend a press conference scheduled for 4pm, so I left an hour earlier, hopped into a cab and headed into KL, setting me back $15. When I got there, I was told the band I was going to interview was running late, they were stuck at immigration at the airport. How daft, I thought, to schedule a P.C. right after flying in. Not like it's uncommon, it's just...daft. Anyway, so I waited for about half an hour (visited the rather dreary shopping centres at Ampang Park) and when I got back to the hotel where the P.C. was being held, we were told it would be postponed till tomorrow (i.e. today). Sheeeeesh! So there I'd wasted time and money for nothing. I left and hopped onto a train, thinking it would be easier and cheaper to get a cab from Bangsar Station to my workplace in Phileo Damansara. I thought wrong. Peak hour, and nobody wanted to head in the direction I needed to go in. So I walked to Mid-Valley Megamall, did some shopping, killed more time, and finally got into a taxi. "Peak hour," he said jubilantly, "I can only bring you to Phileo for $15." Which made me think, jeeeez. What a rip-off; my office was probably ten minutes away. Definitely not $15-worthy. But I was tired, irritated and had to get back to work, so I hopped in. $30 the whole trip cost me, and about three and a half hours... for nothing. Man! Fortunately I get to claim it back through travel expenses. Sheeeeesh.

Well, that's enough about me. How are you?

Sunday, 13 August 2006

Raw Fish & Feeding Frenzies!

Oh gosh. Somebody shoot me now. I've eaten way too much and have not been this uncomfortably full since ... oh, I don't know, Christmas lunch on Dean Road?? LOL. Tonight Terry, Becky, Alisa (our other dear childhood friend) and I went to Shogun, a Japanese restaurant that was having one of its much-talked-about Japanese buffets. OMG... so much food!! We all ate heaps (literally - we piled it all onto our plates). One section of the buffet was divided into just the sushis; another section for the teppanyaki, sukiyaki, teriyaki and other yakis; another section just for desserts... whooooooo!!! We were there for - get this - three and a half hours!! Hahaha! From 630pm til about 10pm!! By the end of the night, all four of us were at bursting point, and until now I'm still feeling oh-so-bloated but oh-so-content with it all. And with that, I take my leave for a good night of lounging about watching telly. Heh. Adieu! *Burps!*

Stargate SG1 Spoiler Alert!

Check out these pics from the upcoming 200th episode!!! :))) ~N



Click for bigger view!

Bloopers, Booze, Brass & Books

Jeepers, Sunday already! The time sure has flown. So what's been happening? With me, basically trying to meet our deadline for next month's edition of Off The Edge, the mag I work in... work at... work for... work under... wotever. Prepositions suck, and not in that good way. Anyway, meeting deadlines means lots of work. Boo. But I haven't become a dull boy yet. Yay. On Wednesday night, Terry, Becky (our dear childhood friend who's visiting), Phaik Leng and I went to a musical, Refugees: Images, and the funniest thing happened. Well, actually it was more embarrassing than funny - Terry and PL went off to sit in separate seats because I'd received two complimentary tickets and so I bought two extra for them. They reach their seats and realise people are sitting in it. So Terry goes, "Hi, sorry, I think you're in our seats" and they go, "No we're not" and Terry checks the tickets and starts to apologise profusely because - as he loudly pointed out, gesturing wildly towards me - "Nick, you bought tickets for the wrong night!!!!!" And all of us started blushing and laughing and grimacing all at the same time while the bemused and amused audience-members stared and giggled at us as if we were the ones onstage. Oy. So the four of us scamper out red-faced, but fortunately we manage to get it sorted out and they let Terry and PL watch that night's show. All in all, an interesting night out!

Thursday night after work I went for a Martell-VSOP-organised event, which had a freestyle dance troupe flown in from Sydney to perform in various clubs all around Malaysia. The norm with Malaysian media meant that when the emcee said, "They're now open to face-to-face interviews!", nobody bothered to go up. Feeling kinda bad for them (and totally ill-prepared), I grabbed my handy tape recorder (never leave home without it), went up to them and asked them a few questions off the cuff, Off The Edge style. Oh blessed evening, I got to use my faux Aussie accent! Whoohoo! I seem to notice that when I did that, they spoke more quickly (and hence naturally to them) and seemed to enjoy talking to me, which is great. "Aiyoh, finally someone with not-so-heavy-Asian-accentlaah!" one could imagine them thinking. Well, no, one could not. But anyway. The best part of that night is the free alcohol, of course. And the free small bottle of cognag they included with the press kit. Yay! Drunk like a beaver. Meanwhile, remember that gawd-awful coffee cola I mentioned not too long ago? Guess what? Add cognag to it, and it actually serves a purpose for its existence! Yummy!!! After all, cognac and cola go together. Cognag and coffee kinda go together. Coffee cola? You do the math.

Today was pretty cool, too. I've finally got back into the music-playing at church, so met up with some mates (well, acquaintances at this point) and had lunch with 'em, and then had music rehearsal till about five PM. In the evening I played for the first time (debut, hehe!) for the evening service (well, it sure wasn't the morning service in the evening), and then afterwards I had to rush into KL city to the Performing Arts Centre as I had work-related concert-viewing to do. They were having a Wind Festival (which isn't what it sounds like, LOL!)... basically wind and brass instruments in concert... y'know, oboes, clarinets, flutes, tubas, trombones, trumpets, saxes. Sounded terrific, I thought! Definitely impressive, considering it's a community band of young and mostly non-professional musicians. Great stuff, guys, if any of you happen to stumble upon this blog! (I doubt it.) ... Then I had pasta and coffee at Coffee Bean before heading home. Heh! A long, but not too bad, kinda day. Yay. :)

Finally, today I also received in the mail a copy of Careless, a novel by my former creative writing tutor from Murdoch University, Deborah Robertson! Way to go Deborah!! Great stuff, congratulations! Check out the link above for more info on the book (and shopping information; it's not on sale in Malaysia, folks, but whoohooo for international delivery!)... I haven't read it yet but it sounds interesting, the reviews have been very positive, and y'know wot, it's Deborah R., so Aussie people so check it out, will ya? No excuse, unless you're illegitimate illegible illegalised what's the word I'm looking for? Illiterate. Yes, that's it. Sometimes words fail me. ~N

Tuesday, 8 August 2006

Just For Old Times' Sake...

WEH!!

Nick-Knack #17: Savings

Today I learnt: no matter how much you try
to save from the money you've earned,
you always wind up staring blankly
at the stolid, emotionless screen
of the stolid, emotionless ATM,
dismally thinking,
where on earth has all my money gone?
Then you remember, and you either think,
Oh well, money well spent - or,
Crikey what a waste! ... And either way,
you make a promise to do better next time,
with ethereal fingers unknowingly crossed
in the depths of your subconscious.

I've Moved...

...up. Whoohoo! Five weeks into the new ('new') job and I've been relocated upstairs. Which makes sense, really, since I'm now with the rest of the Off The Edge team (all three of us!), and not a lone stickleback downstairs with the rest of the graphic designers. The reason I was there was because I needed to work with Lil, our mag's designer, when editing (or "subbing", as the term goes) the articles and stories. Now we both have a lot of running up and down to do. Oy. The cooler bit is that the eighth floor that I'm now on is known as the "executive floor". Oh, it just sounds better. It really isn't much. Heh.

Anyway, have lots of work to do so I'll stop here. Must diet, been gaining weight, all this fatty Malaysian food, oy.

Ok bye. :P ~N

Friday, 4 August 2006

Nick-Knack #16: Stirrer

I bought a cup of coffee for a staggering
ten ringgit, which equates to about
three-point-five Aussie dollars; but without conversion,
ten is ten is 10 - staggering. So I thought,
for this price, it'd better be good; and I took a sip
and promptly realised:
it wasn't.
'Quality coffee', the paper cup proudly proclaims,
to which I retort, loudly and indignantly,
"Liar! LIAR!" -
and now I sit seething in barely-concealed rage,
the cup in the trash, the only saving grace
the elegant plastic stirrer - white, gleaming, spotless -
that accompanied it.

Terrible Two: A Blogging Celebration!

So we've reached two years of Madcap Memoirs Of A Maniacal Musicmaker! Thanks to everyone who's been stopping by and keeping track of the self-inflicted melodrama that's been my life for the past 24 months. Can't believe I'm still going, LOL! Happy Anniversary to one and all! And yes, before anyone asks, this font is larger than usual. Just to create some emphasis - and to allow the text below to remain legible. Heh. Movin' on! :)

I shall keep the snowball rolling by doing what I did last year, which was to recap the post that started it all: the very first blog entry. What I shall also do is recap last year's post - and next year, I predict I'll be quoting this entry before going on to 2005's and 2004's. (Note how the blog was called something slightly different last year.) The best part is, I won't have to go a-hunting for each year's entry in the archives, since each subsequent post will already have the previous year's text contained therein! Heh! How convenient for lazy bums like yours truly. :P Anyway, without further adoodoo, here are are, from Aug 4, 2005, entitled - oddly enough - Happy Anniversary!!! (with three exclamation marks. I don't know if the links still work, but wot the hey, it's the sentiment wot counts):
_____________________________________________

Aaaaand it's officially ONE YEAR since the establishment of Memoirs of a Mad Malaysian Musicmaker! Whoohoo!! Thank you to everyone who's been checking in dilligently (much to my bewilderment as to why!) and who've been giving me constructive (and occasionally destructive) criticism on my blog, website, writing, music and other stuff.... it's all been very much appreciated, and I hope you guys keep on at it, hehe!

Just to mark this special day, I present two links to news articles online, for your reading interest. The first is something that I've always feared - my worst imaginations come to life - and here's
one version of this story. Before anyone asks, let me just assert: I'm oh so terrified of flying. Whenever people ask me why I won't visit places further than Australia, I tell 'em, "Are you kidding? Five hours on a flight to/from Perth, and I'm freaking out!" And then this happened (here's another variation of the story, from a more localised point of view): not helpful! When I first heard about this, it was the same day that the French airbus crashed in Canada; and while I don't wish to downplay that event (and the seriously incredible luckiness of the 300-plus people who escaped), I'm especially concerned with the first article(s) linked because of the obvious keywords: plane, plummeted, Perth, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Airlines. Wehhhh!! (not to be confused with the aforementioned duck-call). Thank God everyone was okay. Some people kept on going. I'm not sure I could've. Sigh. *Shudders*. So there you go. Scary.

Of course, stories like those aren't the greatest for celebrating this one-year milestone (word used loosely), so allow me to present this interesting little article that caught my eye on CNN.com -
So, Why DO Men Have Nipples?. Okay, it's a book review, but it's interesting, and I like books, and nipplage has been a source of consternation for many years, so there you go. Happy anniversary to me! :P

Finally, for anyone who's still on this post, I conclude in the spirit of true reminiscensing by reposting my very first blog post, dated August 4, 2004 (check out the archives if you don't believe me!) and entitled Sleeves Rolled Up and Here We Go...:

Welcome, boys and girls!

Having been inspired by many wonderful friends out there who are actively blogging away, I thought it might be cool for me to commence on a blog of my own. Rightaway I can see how this might be a fun/interesting/challenging/boring/dreary exercise, depending on what kind of mood I'm in, and how much the good ol' brain is willing to think up as I sit and stare glazed-eyed at the computer screen. Still, my cool friends out there who are actively blogging away somehow manage to actively blog away every night, churning out the most fascinating anecdotes on life, love and other disasters, and I see this as motivation to give this a go.

Right.

Now what?

Well, I guess first off I should say I'm extremely lacking in computer skills, which is news that should encourage lots of people to check out this blog, if only to make fun of all the errors that I'm bound to make. So nothing overly creative HTML-wise, folks, ok? For starters, at least. Heh.

Right now, I'm sitting in a cold room in a house that I share with three others in Perth, Australia, where I'm currently studying. Don't wish to bore anyone with the sordid details of my academic life (or lack of) right now, so I'll talk more about this later (lest people leave me messages pleading for me not to). I've entitled this blog Memoirs of a Mad Malaysian Musicmaker, but I'm not sure exactly how much I'll be talking about Malaysia (since I'm not there at the moment, although lots of retrospective and nostalgic reflections will be made, I figure); or musicmaking (since it's an aspiration, and not, y'know, my livelihood or anything). I probably will touch on madness though. Madness is good. Madness is fun, keeps life exciting, keeps ya on ya toes. Just ask any one of my cool friends who are actively blogging away. They're mad. All of 'em.

Yes, siree.

I think I'll stop here.

Thanks for reading, and if you'd like to read more exciting blogs, check out my buddy
Jase's ... he's one of those cool friends who are actively blogging away.

....

All right, all right, he's my only cool friend who is actively blogging away.

I need to read more blogs.

Buhbye!


Oy. One year on, and I still need to read more blogs... :P

Take care, everyone, and God speed! Peace out, Nick xxxox

_____________________________________________

Oy. Two years on, and I still need to read more blogs... :P

Take care, everyone, and God speed! Peace out, Nick xxxox

Thursday, 3 August 2006

When Coffee, Cola, Creativity & Commercialism Collide

Yes, it's resting on my laptop. It's become a serving tray.

Malaysians are a strange bunch (well - Asians in generalSorry for the blurriness!. Go ahead, tell me I'm wrong... or racist :P). Check out this latest product from Pepsi: coffee cola. Yikes. Innovative, sure, but it definitely sounds queer! And the taste? Not very coffee-ish; a tad too sweet for my liking (despite what appears to be a significant reduction in actual sugar content) and it only smells vaguely like coffee. I still need compare the caffeine count with that of regular cola though - it better provide more of a kick, LOL! Anyways, at the risk of sounding too much like an infomercial... it's definitely an interesting albeit bemusing venture. Carbonated coffee. The mind boggles. How long before it's tarik (which is Malay for 'pull')-ed off the shelves?? ~N

Wednesday, 2 August 2006

How Cute Is This?

From this:

Chloe!
...to this:

HEHEHEHEHEEE!!

Heheheheeheeeee!!

Foreign-ness and Where We Are

Food on the tableHey all! How's it going? Yesterday sure was interesting for me. I drove (for the first time unaccompanied) into KL City (yes, yes, it's not that big a deal, I know) and found my way to a Middle Eastern barbecue at Westin Hotel, where I was fed with kebabs, baklavas, salads and other yummy items galore as part of the hotel's Arabianesque initiative to lure more Middle-Eastern visitors to this part of the country. It was really rather yummy, and extremely filling. The chef was a dude brought in from Syria, and one specialty abFish!out him is that while we eat, he serenades us on the traditional middle-eastern musical instrument, the owd, The chef and friend on the owd and drum-thingwhich is kinda like a guitar, only more complex and more ethnic-sounding. He and his mate entertained us on said owd and the darbuka, a drum-like percussive instrument that together made us expect a brigade of midriffed belly-dancers to come sashaying out of the restaurant and into the pool area where the barbie was held. Heh. So that was pretty cool. Anyway, check out the photos, used to spice up (pun!) this little blog entry.

After the meal (which was complimentary since I was there to 'work'), I wandered about the Bukit Bintang stretch of KL and felt oddly out of sync with the locale and the culture. It's a little strange, isn't it, how one can live in a country and yet feel like such an outsider. For me, I suppose it's because the little time I've had in this part of Malaysia was mostly spent in the PJ area outside of KL, and two years (minus the four approximate years I was in Perth) isn't that large an amount of time to feel like part of a scene. Anyway, so I wandered up and down Bintang Walk, as it's called, and marvelled at the number of tourists and jubilantly arty locals painting portraits, busking and dancing, selling odds and ends and various bric-a-brac, blending in with the hookers (a gay prostitute asked me if I'd like 'room service'), dodgy masseurs and lame beggars lying motionless in the middle of the sidewalk. Strolling through the shopping centres (at 10pm, mind you) was similarly disconcerting, but not in a bad way - it just means that I have to spend a little more time in this part of town to feel like one of the people. And I think there is an urge for someone living in and around a vibrant hub of economic and social activity to want to feel like one of the people, no matter how eccentric or downright aberrant said people might be. At the end of the day, I live here. So I should feel like I live here. Right? Meanwhile, I was going to take some snapshots but I figured it would make me look and feel more like a tourist. Man, the need for identity and a place to belong! When did I become this person? Oy.

Tuesday, 1 August 2006