Friday, 31 October 2008

Home Sweet Home, plus True Quotes #18-#20

Hey all. Whew, back at last. Tired out, so this will be a quick post. Just to say it's been quite a week indeed, and I'm looking forward to a good rest this weekend before work and music resume.

That's it, really. LOL.

But I leave you with a couple of true quotes spouted by my parents in the car ride home. First off was Mum, talking about something she'd overheard:

"I swear, I heard it straight from the horse of the mouth."

And then Dad, intending to say "killing two birds with one stone", says: "It would be like two birds, kill one stone." A long pause, and then: "One bird, kill two stones."

True quotes, my friends. True quotes.

Bye for now!

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Stray Cats and Sombre Memories

Hi everyone. My cousin Andrew is here right now. Andrew says "hi". Actually, Andrew says "meow." He's fallen in love with this little stray feline that's been calling our grandmama's home its home. He thinks that the cat's tail has a particularly fond aura. Don't ask me what that means; it's just something Andrew only just said, which I quoted in verbatim. And he just meowed again. Andrew, not the cat. Oy vey. The whole family's talking about the cat now: everyone's wondering who it belongs to, and why it's been hanging around. I'm sure there's some lore somewhere about kitties and people who've moved on from this earth. Hmmmm. Anyway. Here are some pointless pics of de kitty:







So, today was the day of grandma's funeral, which was a rather... um... funereal affair. Funeral service was at 3pm, before which we had the traditional accompanying-the-hearse-to-the-church walk. Mass was held, with my cousin Andrew (of the meowing fame) and old friend Andre performing music. Halfway through I thought, "Hey, can't I play?" (trust me to bring on a self-involved moment), and thereafter threw Andre off the piano seat and played the thanksgiving hymn, LOL. ;)) So that was really good, and it made me feel a bit more involved in the whole ceremony. And it was good to catch up with Andre after so many years, so that was cool.

After church we accompanied the entourage (heh) up to the Catholic cemetery, which I didn't even know existed in this little old village. Prayers, tears, burial, and almost naturally given the sombre affair, it began to rain. And then it was over, and now we're back in grandma's old house, where the family is still squabbling like the crazy characters in tv's Brothers & Sisters; the mystery cat is causing chaos by getting between everyone's legs; I'm sitting on the old swing that used to provide hours of mindless entertainment back when I was a kid; and all seems OK again, with one person sadly but acceptably no longer in this world, put to peaceful and prayerful rest at last.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Like The First Mourning

Yo. Day two in Penang. So far it's been nothing much. Only due at grandma's in the night. Woke up late. Had lunch at an old coffee shop where the family and I used to frequent back when we were much younger. It hasn't changed much - still old, still somewhat rundown, still backdated, still comfortable. Food was still cheap and still yummy. After that bro and I decided to spend some time in Queensbay Mall. On the way, I took a wrong turn off the Penang Bridge and ended up back on the mainland, wasting 45 minutes in the process trying to get back. Oy vey. What a headache.

Anyway. That's about it for now. I leave you with more pointless photos, snapped randomly on me mobile phone. Ooo. Aah.

Ye olde coffee shoppe.

This sign's been on the wall forever. Only the prices have changed.


Brother, looking befuddled.

Wi-Fi Pil-Ferer

Well, it's the end of day one in Penang. Went back to grandma's and had the first night of prayers, and then caught up with me cousin Andrew, whom I've not spoken to since 2004. Was good to chat and catch up. Now brother and I are in Penang Club, where we're spending the nights since we don't have no other accommodation. The rooms in the Club aren't equipped with an internet connection, but we were given the room that's right next door to the library, and wouldn't you know it, the library has an unsecured wireless connection that's apparently been left on. So lo and behold, here I am, without the benefit of a USB portable modem thingy... pilfering the wi-fi from next door. Cool.

Oh well, tomorrow's another day (obviously), and we're going to be here until Thursday at least so that all the arrangements and ceremonies can be carried out fully. I'll keep updating as regularly as I can, though if today (or rather, Monday) was an indication, it's going to be very frequently, heh. Until later... byebye!

Monday, 27 October 2008

Wheeeeee

As is the norm when in Penang: grab Dad's car keys and take the car for a spin.

As if even more the norm when in Penang: end up sitting down at Starbucks and getting online.

(On the plus side, Dad's car rides like a dream.)

This is just a brief break away from the house and the relatives. We (my bro and I) gotta get back there by about 8pm for prayertime. Bracing myself for the tears... :'(

Anyway, here are a couple of (rather pointless) pics I took at random earlier:

View of the front yard of grandma's house, complete with canopy and neighbouring houses


Me blogging...

Nick-Knack #29: Village (Welcome Back, Nick-Knacks!)

This humble little place where both
sets of grandparents and both
my father and mother grew up,
and where I, myself, as a child
frequented every Sunday;
once a quiet little village up on a hillside
with just one road leading in and out,
winding, curvy, bumpy and difficult,
dusty, rough roads with smaller paths
branching off them to old-fashioned
wooden houses roofed with zinc sheets
and/or dead palm leaves,
is now a bustling little town with
way too many vehicles, a

brand spanking new bus depot
, and
fancy, new brick-and-concrete buildings

that treated the villagers to their
very first 7-Eleven
and KFC outlet.

Mourning Has Broken, Continued

I swear, technology is a blessing and a curse. Here I am sitting in the front yard of Grandma's house, with my older relatives sitting around chatting and laughing (laughing, yes. Everyone's in good spirits), and I'm on the lappietop connected to the Internet via USB broadband-modem, blogging. Heh. Don't worry, I ain't being (too) antisocial; true to typical family-reunion fashion, the conversation among the relatives doesn't really involve yours truly (cynics among you could argue that maybe yours truly could make an attempt to get involved in the conversation, in which case your argument would be truly valid, but anyway)... and there aren't any guests dropping in to pay their respects just yet... so it's the right time, methinks, to get online for a bit and write some updates on what's going on.

Y'know, it's funny. This is the house my cousins and brother and I have grown up visiting every weekend and on special occasions... and now it's bedecked with a large canopy in the front with the words Eternal Bliss painted across it, and a pair of white curtains around the front entrance, with the front room transformed into a parlour with a beautiful white casket in it. The house hasn't been a home for a while now, not since grandpa moved on in 2002, and grandma was sent to the old folks home... but now, somehow, it feels like she's come back home, as have we. Whoo. That was almost poetic. :)

Incidentally this is the first funeral I've attended since I was a kid and my great-grandma passed away (I was in Perth when grandpa left us). Apparently there needs to be someone present in the front of the house throughout the night in the event that people drop in at odd hours; methinks I shall try staying up, maybe tomorrow night, to keep vigil. Should be quite an interesting experience. Meanwhile, it's hot and humid, and everyone's fanning themselves, and there's Chinese dialects being spouted back and forth, and people are munching on little shelled groundnuts, and the air is buzzing with little gnats and tiny ants, and I'm on the internet. The juxtaposition of it all is quite uncanny.

Will be back soon. Bye for now.

Mourning Has Broken

Hello everyone. I'm halfway on a road trip to Penang right now, typing on my laptop in the car while Dad drives. In the back seat is Mum and brother and a distant grandaunt I've only just met today. This trip to Penang wasn't exactly planned, but it's necessary... unfortunately, my maternal grandmama just passed away. :( Yea, so we're off North now to attend to the proceedings and the funeral in the next few days. We're all sad, of course, but poor grandma had been suffering from Alzheimer's for a while and could never recognise any of us, and she'd been in an old folks' home for the past year or so. Which brings me to this interesting point:

Grandma passed away of pneumonia. Makes me wonder how the people at the old folks' home could have missed the fact that she was sick... wouldn't penumonia have started as a cold and cough, or at least general flu-ish symptoms? Wouldn't you be concerned if a 94-year-old woman was sniffling and coughing?? Wouldn't you send her for medical help as soon as the symptoms started??? Hmmmm.

But anyway, grandma was sent to the hospital on Friday night and last night we got the call that she'd moved on, so we all rushed to get packed, and early this morning we left. Sigh. C'est la vie. Ninety-four is a ripe old age to live to, no? God bless her soul. Rest in peace, Grandma. xx

Okay, I'll come back later for more updates. Bye for now.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Pork Chops

Couldn't help but to post this little story, which was first featured on my mate Chris's Facebook profile:

In a zoo in California, a mother tiger gave birth to a rare set of triplet tiger cubs. Unfortunately, due to complications in the pregnancy, the cubs were born prematurely, and due to their tiny size, they died shortly after birth.

The mother tiger, after recovering from the delivery, suddenly started to decline in health, although physically she was fine. The veterinarians felt that the loss of her litter had caused the tigress to fall into a depression. The doctors decided that if the tigress could surrogate another mother's cubs, perhaps she would improve.
After checking with many other zoos across the country, the depressing news was that there were no tiger cubs of the right age to introduce to the mourning mother.

The veterinarians decided to try something that had never been tried in a zoo environment.
Sometimes a mother of one species will take on the care of a different species. The only orphans that could be found quickly was a litter of weanling pigs. The zoo keepers and vets wrapped the piglets in tiger skin and placed the babies around the mother tiger. Would they become cubs or pork chops?

Monday, 20 October 2008

Like Sand In An Hourglass, So Are The Young and the Restless

Quickie update time! Can't believe it's Monday already - time is just flying! Flyeeeng!! On Saturday I went for the first readthrough of A Christmas Carol, which is the year-end production I'm writing the music for. The show's in less than two months, and I've only just begun to work on it (eeek!), so time's becoming sparser and sparser! I'm very, very concerned as to how I'm going to balance full-time work in TNG with Christmas Carol... I'm thinking I might need to work fewer days next month, which is allowed by the company. The only thing is, we're kinda understaffed at the moment, and if I work fewer than five days, who's gonna take over my role??? Eeek! Any subeditors out there? Anyone?? Anyone??! Apply within!

My plan to produce FTL year-end 2009 has encountered a slight hitch. My mate (who's interested in directing it) and I had a meeting with the KLPac VIPs on Friday to see if we might be able to pitch the show for 2009; and the suggestion that has been given to us is to produce a workshop of it next year and stage it proper in 2010. Not a negative proposal by any means, but not 100% ideal either, given that the show has already been "workshopped", as it were, in the Perth 2005 version. So... back to the drawing board.

Hope's not all lost yet! There's an acquaintance of mine who has experience in doing all the running-around tasks who might be interested in taking it on and finding the sponsors and investors and what-not; and another mate of mine has suggested maybe we should play the Christian card, given it is, after all, the Christmas story. In other words: get help from churches. (The Catholic church is very rich, no? Make it a joint multidenomination effort, and who knows? God willing, eh? God willing.) Oy vey. More on this as it develops, folks. What a headache.

Earlier tonight (well, on Sunday) I went to my friend Sam's house for his birthday party, which was pretty fun. Went there late and ended up coming home at around 3am (about an hour and a half ago). Lots of singers there, and I ended up playing the keyboard (though rather limitedly, given that my only memorised repertoire is... well... just my own music. There's only so much room in the ol' noggin, sad to say!)... and... um... well, that's really it. Parties are fun. Pity I had to come back home and continue subediting articles for the website. Osh kosh bgosh. What a life.

Ah well, best I hit the sack. Gotta get up soonish to go to work...

Bye for now!

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Jeepers

Hey all! I'm still alive, heh! The website I work for has increased its publishing days from thri-weekly to daily, so work's been full on (haven't I been saying this for ages? Along with the persistent declaration that I will write about new tv shows soon?!) This won't be a long post because I've got KFC waiting for me (and grease on my fingers; oy, it seems each time I update my blog I've got food at hand!).

On Friday I met up with an acquaintance - now friend - and we discussed plans for the theatrical future; then I met up with Chris, the director of The Edge fame, and one of the VIPs at KLPac and we discussed my pay for the year-end Christmas show. Let's just say I'm happy with the remuneration... now I've got to pull my weight and actually get the music done!! Which would be easier if I weren't so preoccupied by work, oy! On the plus side, Fridays and Saturdays are my days off from now on. It's a plus because Dad gets the same off days, so at least we're one big happy family (cue music here: Kar-di-nyaaaa...! Oh, only some of you would get that...)

Okay, I'm gonna go now because the coleslaw's getting warm and the whipped potatoes are getting cold. But before I go, here's a pic to make you go "wtf??" My mate Scott from Aussieland had to go for surgery because, as he put it, "My stomach went and leapt into my chesty." He's doing okay now, but here's a glimpse at his x-ray pre-op:

See it? Is that freaky-cool-scary or wot??? Glad you're okay Tiger!!!

Okay, back to da fried chickin. Buhbye.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Come and Knock On Our Door

You know you've soared to new heights of tv-show-obsession (or sunk to new depths, as the case may be) when you go out and buy merchandise for a programme that was over in the early-80s and that was first a huge success back in 1977. And then you soar even higher (or sink even deeper, as the case may be) when you realise you can't readily obtain the merchandise in stores, so you go on Ebay and bid on it, win it, pay for it, and receive it in your mail.

Lo and behold, the official companion to my latest classic-TV obsession:



Yes, you read that right (well, at least you would have, if the image above weren't so darn blurry): Three's Company, the hilarious sitcom starring the late, great John Ritter as Jack Tripper, who moves in with two gorgeous girls into an apartment. What's so odd about that, you ask? Well, this was 1977, and back then, the idea of a guy living with two girls was shocking!! Absolutely risque!! Totally unheard of!!! (and other such overdramatic proclamations with italics and too many exclamation marks).

To make matters worse, the landlord wouldn't let Jack stay with two girls, so Jack pretends — get this — to be gay. Ha!! Hence hilarity ensues as the three of them try to keep their masquerade while getting into comedic farce after comedic farce, in a sitcom world full of double entendres and misunderstandings.

The show wasn't/isn't just downright hilarious; it was considered the Friends of its day in terms of success: it was a phenomenon that lasted eight wonderfully hysterical seasons. But what really got me curious to know more about it (hence the book!) was the behind-the-scenes dramas that were taking place, filled with (and I quote from the book cover) "real-life tensions of fame and controversy, plus personal, financial and creative conflicts". There was the issue of advertisers pulling out because of the "controversialness" of the premise. Churches and religious groups boycotted, jeered, threatened. Oy vey.

Then at the end of season 3, two supporting characters were given a spin-off series, only to be handed the short end of the stick when the other show was cancelled and they couldn't return to Three's Company. At the end of season 4, the blond chick on the cover, Suzanne Somers, decided to pull a diva stunt and demand for more money, effectively threatening to ruin the show, and also effectively killing a four-year friendship with other members of the cast. Then there were new cast members, the last of whom, the beautiful Priscilla Barnes, was unable to deal with fame and fortune and was left sadly jaded and embittered by the whole experience (she even turned down interviews for this book). And the brunette in the picture, the lovely and talented Joyce DeWitt, actually had major falling-outs with the "archaic mentality and machismo" of the show's writers and turned her back on Hollywood since the series ended in 1983. See, it's not all fun and games.

So yes, here I am, about to read the full story in this biography of the series. Call me obsessive, but hey, the show remains one of the funniest of all time, and the backstage goings-on some of the most saddening. I'm hoping the book will shed more light and some closure on these characters and performers I used to watch back when I was a kid, and who now, thanks to illegal downloads DVDs, I've come (over the past three months in a marathon of all eight seasons, circa 180 episodes) to re-know and re-love and get heartbroken by.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Mmmbop! Doo wah daah dooo bop!

Yo everyone. Am sitting in a coffee shop having a quiet lunch on my own - lamb curry with some bready Indiany thingy, delicious! - so I just thought I'd provide some minor updates. Sorry I haven't been typing too much lately; been busy at work, and when you're sitting there staring at a computer screen all day, the enthusiasm needed to work on a blog post (i.e. more staring at a computer screen!) is really hard to dredge up! But anyhoo...

Gawsh, I wish I could say there's lot to update you guys about, but the truth is, there isn't. Well, that ain't exactly true. I'm several steps closer towards achieving my vision of restaging FTL in 2009, but since nothing's confirmed yet I won't go into detail now, heh! And I've already had discussions with Chris on this year's major Christmas production in KLPac, an adaptation of A Christmas Carol which will have original music, songs, arrangements and rearrangements of existing carols by yours truly (yay!). Plus, Chris and I have discussed the next step for The Edge in February... so yea, there's been progress!

Last weekend, Terry, Debs, Phaik Leng and Scary Nick and I went to celebrate Debs' birthday. Actually, Debs' birthday was spread out across two nights since Terry couldn't make it for the dinner the first time around, so we went out for dinner again the night after, LOL. That was pretty fun. I've got a couple of shots on my mobile phone but wouldn't you know it, this darn lappietop doesn't have bluetooth, so I can't transfer 'em over right now. Oh well. 

And the weekend prior, Debs, my friend Cat (designer of my website!) and I went to see this production at KLPac, Love & Beauty, which was a strange but entertaining show comprising scenes with Shakespeare's sonnets interspersed in sometimes cohesive, other times deliberately contradictory juxtapositions. The real plus for me, of course, was that I had two of my musicalised sonnets in there (evolutions of the pieces from the Shakespearean mini-productions staged in Murdoch Uni in 2003 and 2004) — one sung live, the other pre-recorded, and rumour has it the songs were well-accepted by the audience and the KLPac VIPs... (there was even a question as to why there weren't more songs in the show. La la la.) You can listen to the songs by going to my Shakespeare's Sonnets page on my website. (See how I've plugged my site twice already now? Not bad, eh?) ;))

Well, I guess that's about it for now. TV show reviews still to come; but I'd better leave this coffee shop and get to work now. Plus, the lamb-bread-thingy was oily, and now the keyboard's all greasy too. Fantastic. Oh well, at least it smells of fragrant lamb. *insert straight face here*

Bye for now!