Saturday, 24 July 2010

Oooo! Ahhhh!

And once again it's time for a new blog design change! Here it is, boys and girls! Let me know what you think! Comments in sidebar appreciated. Cheers!

(Oh bugger, just realised I never saved the previous design as a file on my hard drive for memory's sake. I've got the one before that, the rather gaudy blue one - see below - but not the most recent yellow/brown one. Oh well. Can't be stuffed reverting to the old coding now. Arf.)

Erk. Tacky. What was I thinking?

Friday, 23 July 2010

Malaysian Signage Fail

Saw this at Jusco supermarket in Mid Valley:

Free ice available for sale??Awesome!

Monday, 19 July 2010

Soul Selling, Short+Sweet, Screenings and Stuffing!

Hey everyone. Whew, busy weekend! FTL is kicking into fuller gear, with me preparing contracts, photocopying scripts and burning copies of demo CDs so that everyone who's committed to the project is able to start learning the songs and sign their souls away to us for the next six months or so, arf arf. So that's pretty exciting!

In other news, I've officially been informed that my entry for Short+Sweet Musical has been accepted, yippee! So it's going to be produced by end of September, and I'll be musical director for the project. Incidentally, the festival's artistic director remarked, "Nick, I think it's very wise of you to not direct your own piece... but I think it's even wiser for you to musical direct it." I think it's a reflection on (if I may say so) the complexity of the music. It might not sound terribly complex in the demos I posted below (just scroll downwards if you'd like to revisit!), but... let's just say, when you look at the written scores, you'd probably go, "Wat da phuck???" Arf! Anyway.

Auditions for performers are coming up this Tuesday, which is also when I'll meet the director I'll be working with. Yup, it's all a bit of a lottery: I submit my entry; the festival directors decide whether or not to accept it; then they let all the people who've submitted their names as potential directors read every accepted script and bid for the project they'd like to direct. Finally, we, the scriptwriters/ composers, get to meet the respective director who's been assigned to us. In other words, we, the scriptwriters/ composers, don't get a say in who we work with. Which is all part of the fun, I suppose!

On Thursday evening I met with the other people who've managed to get their ten-minute musical scripts accepted, and it's not a large number of us... just four in all. Which really isn't surprising, since, as the festival's artistic director said, it is a very difficult category. After all, we're combining scriptwriting with lyric writing and musical composition, with considerations required for choreography, musical staging etc... all condensed into a ten-minute script! So out of all the entries they received (and we have no idea how many there are!), ours were the best four. Gosh.

Thus there'll be four nights of performances late September, each night comprising all four of our ten-minute shows one after the other, which equates to less than an hour for each night's entertainment. And on the final night of the performances, the results will be announced as to the winners — this is a competition, after all! There are various categories, such as Best Script; Best Compositions; Best Lyrics; Best Musical Director; Best Actor; Best Actress; Best Director, etc. So fingers crossed, eh?? ;)

Apart from all these musical developments, this weekend has also been quite a social one. Well, kinda. On Friday night, Terry, Debra and I went to the movies to watch Inception, which we really enjoyed (Chan Ghee, who saw it tonight, wasn't terribly impressed, oy!). I thought it was clever and very entertaining! Heh! Then today (Sunday), Terry, Debs and I saw Despicable Me, which was very funny and enjoyable also, though the overall score I'd give it would be 6.5 out of 10. But don't just take my word for it, arf.

Anyway, for a guy who doesn't really go to the movies often (that's me!), twice in one weekend is impressive, LOL. I dunno why this is, though... I mean, I like going to the movies, and I used to go more frequently in the past. But prior to this weekend, the last movie I saw was probably Avatar. And before that... good lord, I don't remember. Anyway. I'll probably make it a point to go to the cinema more often from now on. Yay!

Today has also been a really "bad" day food-wise! Terry, Chan Ghee and I went to my folks' place for a laksa lunch, where we had two bowls of steaming hot noodles in curried gravy each! Mmmm, oy! Then Terry and I went to Mid Valley and had gelato before the movie. And then we sampled various foods and snacks at the supermarket. And then it was dinnertime, and we had more laksa at my folks' place. And then we went to Wondermilk, this coffee shop down the road, and had coffees, cupcakes and fries. And I just ate a curry puff right before typing this blog, which accounts for the greasy keyboard right now, arf arf. I think it's time to go back on the diet!! Gah, majorly bloated!!

Anyway, that's about it for now. Here's wishing everyone (all two of you who read this blog!) a good week ahead. I'll be back soon, I'm sure! Till then...!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The Sydney Chronicles: A Teaser

Yesterday was an interesting day. I did some research online and finally managed to trace down my old friend Jackie from Sydney, who was my piano teacher in 1998/99. I saw her contact details on a music teachers' website, zapped over an email, and later on she contacted me. We had a nice chat on MSN and managed to catch up (as much as one can over MSN in a short period of time), and it's amazing that it's been 11 years since we last spoke.

See, this, to me, gives me a sense of closure about my time in Sydney, because there were many things about my years there that were left unresolved. I've previously made references to Sydney on this blog (such as here and here!), but for the most part, the stories haven't been told. Well, Jackie was a part of those stories. Before anyone jumps to any conclusions, we were just friends (arf!) - though the assumptions one could make about the fact that I stayed with her for a better part of a year are just a small part of the story, heh.

Without going into too much detail, let's see... there was the continuous disciplinary action taken against me by the school, one after another. And there were the school sergeants, two retired military personnel who would skulk around the school in their fatigues barking army-like orders at you for a single hair out of place. Then, outside of school, there was the elements of dark magic, and the kittens that died, and the visit by the angels. I kid you not. Intrigued?? It certainly was intriguing. And scary. And traumatising. Hence my continued dreams about the school to this day.

The point is, I left Sydney with none of these things unresolved; angry and bitter at the school and eagerly waiting to get away from it; weirded out by the events at Jackie's house (which involved the abovementioned dark magic and dead kittens and angel visits). And when I left, Jackie was still quite upset by all that was going on. And I had no idea what happened after, because I was home and I was trying to put it all behind me. I wrote to Jackie (in the days before she had email, arf!) a couple of months later, and the mail was sent back to me with "No such resident" stamped on it. And that, my friends, was the last I heard of her, eleven years ago. Until last night, when we got in touch, and really, in ten years, we're both doing fine and have thankfully moved on (though my psychology, apparently, hasn't)... and it's another moment of resolution for me, because it closes the door on one of the "plotlines" that was left hanging from my Sydney days.

So I just wanted to share that with ya, boys and girls. Closure. Very important. One day I'll dig up my old journals of those days and share word-for-word what I'd gone through. It's probably not as dramatic as I'm making it out to be right now, but hey, I'm not a theatre lover for nothing, heheh. But in the meantime, here's a little reminder of the institution that I went to: the school photograph, comprising all 2,000-plus stuff and students, piled up on scaffolding for one awesome group shot. The school was superimposed into the background. Try to spot me. Arf!

Sunday, 11 July 2010

The Worst Ten Minutes

Here's another demo from Little Girl Lost, my entry for Short+Sweet Musical 2010. The context: a mother has just had a glimpse of a little girl who was reported missing in a public place. This causes her to reflect on her experience of having once lost her own daughter. Lyrics below. Enjoy!

The Worst Ten Minutes by NickChoo

She looked just like my daughter. Yes, she did. My Allison.
Who always loved to wander… One day she disappeared.
It was the worst ten minutes of my life.
So I swore that she would never leave my sight.

Today she’s twenty-nine and getting married.
Twenty-nine, but I can’t let her go… I can’t let her go.
She was only seven when she hurried
Away from me, and I just let her go… I just let her go.
So I swore that she would never leave my sight.
It was the worst ten minutes of my life.

She’s twenty-nine and getting married.
Twenty-nine, and how she hates me so, for I can’t let her go.
She was only seven when I carried her in my arms.
She said, “Mum, let me go.”
Well, how was I to know…?

So I swore that I would always hold her tight.
Because of those ten minutes of my life.

© 2010 by Nick Choo; all rights reserved.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Calamities, Last-Minuteness and Lollypops

Hey, everyone! Long silence, as usual. Let's see, what's new... Umm... been having a bit of a clumsy week, unfortunately. First, my laptop went wonky. Well, that's not really due to my clumsiness; it was just on its last legs. So I had to send it in for a tune-up, which... um.... isn't all that exciting, is it? LOL.

The more exciting (and scary) thing happened today, when I was boiling the kettle. Wait, that's not the exciting bit. Before I filled the kettle, I decided to heat something up in the microwave oven. Wait, that's not the exciting bit. Then I filled the kettle - one of those electric plastic jug types - and set it down on the counter, next to the microwave, which is where it usually sits. Only this time, my clumsiness made me accidentally spill some water on the side of the microwave oven. To which I thought, "Oh well, no biggie, just wipe it up..."

Only I didn't get a chance, because suddenly there was a bright spark and a loud bzzzzaaap!!! from inside the microwave, followed by a bright orange flash and the smell of burning. In a panic I turned the microwave off, shut off the power and nervously looked inside. One side of the oven was charred black - the side where I'd spilled the water on the outside. Gaaaah!!

Like the fool that I was, I wondered if I could leave it for a bit and try it again. So I left it for a bit, and tried it again. Conclusion? Nope, you can't leave it for a bit and try it again. Bzzzzaaap!!!

So now I've got no microwave oven at home, gosh durn it. And to rub salt into the wound, after the whole fiasco, I broke my favourite glass - just nudged it off the table with my elbow, and smash it went. What a life, eh?? Arf arf. (Edited to add: Just broke a bowl, too. What's going on with me?! Oy!)

Anyway, that's about it for now. Oh, no, it's not! Let me tell you about the day I submitted my entry for the 10-minute musical thingy, Short+Sweet. The closing date was 11.59pm on Monday, 5 July, and typical of me, I pushed everything to the very last minute and just managed to finish it off by the skin of my teeth: 11pm, 5 July. Talk about cutting it close, eh?? No worries; they'd told me I could just email everything over: entry form, scores, libretto and all. So I attached it all to an email, clicked send, and smiled smugly, knowing it was all done.

Cut to: MAILER-DAEMON alert. Oy!

Turned out the recipient's inbox was full. Full. Gaaah!! So I did all the alternatives: sending attachments individually, emailing without attachments just to notify them, uploading the attachments to a server and emailing them the links for them to download, sending a Facebook message, sending SMSes, and making a phone call to the recipient's office on the off-chance she might be there at 11:30pm (oddly enough, a colleague of hers was, so I left a message). Short of a midnight run to the theatre to drop off my entry personally, I think I'd satisfactorily covered all my bases. I even called the recipient the following morning to follow up on the whole thing and explain what had happened. Thankfully this story has a happy ending, and a day or so later it was confirmed that they had received my entry in full. Whew!!

So that's that, and now I'm waiting for the next steps: interview with the festival directors, and then, hopefully, preparations to stage this ten-minute performance. And on that note, I would like to leave you with this demo of one of the songs (five songs in all) from the show. It's meant to be sung by a woman who has just found out that a little girl has gone lost in a crowded public place. And now this woman reflects on her own experience of having been lost as a child... but with a slightly darker undertone to her story. Check out the demo (by yours truly) below. Lyrics included. Enjoy!

When I was young, I turned around
And then I found that my mum was gone.
Amidst the crowd, among the strangers, I began to cry.
And then this guy from the corner store...
He asked me why, what I was crying for.
But I was scared; I could not reply. And he asked me,

"Would you like a lollypop?" "Would you like a lollypop?"
This stranger from the corner shop.
And I said okay, against my better judgment.

Now this girl, Emma. She can't be found,
And I'm afraid he might still be around.
Amidst the crowd, among the strangers...

"Would you like a lollypop?" I can't make the memory stop!
"Yes please."
Against my better judgment.
Against my better judgment. Against my...

(C) 2010 by Nick Choo; all rights reserved