Monday, 31 December 2012

New Year's Eve!!

Last blog post of the year, mayhaps?? Possibly!! See you in 2013, folks, with some reflections and thoughts on how this year has been. Right now it's time for a na na nap, LOL... then dinner and chillin' with Terry and Debs as we usher in the New Year! See ya later!!!

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Nick, Terry, Debs and Chrisse at Ben's!

Pics from our dinner prior to the movie last night at Ben's, this makan place at Publika in KL. Thanks to Chrisse for the pics!

Me and Chrisse
Terry poses. Debra doesn't.
Lovely ladies.
Terry really wanted a photo of him next to this sign. Go feeger.
Me with my Moleskin, a Christmas gift!
With a Peanuts theme??? AWESUMMMM!!!!

Spot the Dog



Did You Hear That Idiot Leave? / Do You Hear That Person Sing?

Saw Les Mis again tonight with Terry, Debs and Chrisse. Enjoyed it immensely still the second time around, although I was more tired tonight than I was the first time... and Russell Crowe still sucked, and not in a good way. At one point during the movie, some moron decided to leave and commented out loud that it was "dull", to which one of us retorted loudly: "Then just leave and shut up!", which likely surprised the idiotic viewer who surely couldn't have been expecting a response. Foo'.

Speaking of Les Mis, here's a video that's a thousand kinds of awesome. I wanna marry this Nick Pitera guy... but I'll settle for him singing one of my songs someday, or being a character or ten in my show(s). (Incidentally, I'm also currently on a mission to have the lovely guy who played Marius in the movie sing one of my songs, any song, some day. No idea how, when, where, why, etc, but hey, it's nice to dream a dream, isn't it? I'm just putting that out there.) (Also incidentally, after the second viewing of the film I'm now torn between Marius and Enjolras. Hey, the heart is a fickle mother.) Where was I? Oh yeah. A thousand kinds of awesome... or at least nine:

   

Friday, 28 December 2012

Les Mis-sing the target just by a mere notch, thank you SO much, Mr Crowe

Hey all! Saw Les Miserables at the cinema yesterday with mum and bro. Liked it immensely and loved that it stayed (mostly) true to the stage musical, whaay-haaay! But, as everyone as commented, the movie was tarnished by the mediocrity that was Russell Crowe. What's with the big idea of casting big names who can merely carry a tune but can't perform the song? (I'm looking at you, Gerard Butler.) And also the fact that the new song, which they tend to include whenever a musical is translated for the big screen (so that they can enter it into the Best Original Song category at the Oscars) was less than compelling or memorable. Still, Hugh Jackman can do no wrong, and Anne Hathaway was stunning in her rawness. Kudos to the director for insisting they sing "live", instead of dubbing their voices in as they usually do; there is a noticeable difference, an intensity and naturality of emotion that would've otherwise been lacking. All in all, 4.5 out of 5 stars! I'm gonna see it again... who wants to join me??

 

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Christmas dinner at Marche!

A general view. Mum and Dad were befuddled by the concept.
Mah mixed grill!
The Curve in Christmas splendor!
... and a Happy New Year!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas Eve!

Hey all! Am back in PJ for Christmas, and today's Christmas Eve! Haven't been doing too much over the past couple of days since hopping on the bus back home on Friday; basically been hanging out with mah puppy, going for walks, sleeping in, watching telly and stuffing my face. Hey, it's the holidays!!! Have a great day before Christmas, everyone. Be back soon!! xx

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Movers and Shakers

Hey everyone. Whew, the past couple of days have been absolutely exhausting! First off, I moved out of my place in Block 11x and yesterday paid a bunch of movers more than $100 to transport my goods all of 1 full minute's drive to block 10x. However, I hadn't finished packing when the movers arrived, because my plan had been to come back early from work and deal with the little items that needed to be boxed up; unfortunately, I got stranded in the rain when I headed to collect my laptop from the service centre. So I found myself having lunch at some place called Dreamz Cafe in Henderson Road, making small talk with the guy who runs the place (nice chap, a fellow Malaysian, apparently) until the rain subsided. Then I got my lappietop back (YAAAY!!) with all the contents of the hard drive gone (NOOOO!!!), hopped into a cab and got back to Block 11x just in time to greet the movers. Oy.

Anyway, last night and today was spent unpacking, and as of right now, my room's pretty much as good as it's going to get for now, given how exhausted I am. Earlier today I headed to Clark Quay to pick up my renewed employment pass from the Ministry of Manpower, which was as exciting as it sounds, arf arf. Then it was a couple of hours of setting stuff up and arranging this and rearranging that; and now I'm waiting for Little Jo for dinner, and then zzzzz! Tomorrow's my last day at work for this year and then I'm off back to KL for the Christmas and New Year's break, God willing, if the world doesn't come to an end tomorrow. Can't wait! (To get back home, that is. Not for the Mayan apocalypse. Oy.)

Here's a pic of my new room. Sorry it's blurry; I was trying to do a panorama shot (obviously), but it didn't turn out entirely perfect, arf. It's the panoramic effect that makes the room look bigger than it really is, though it obviously is pretty big if I managed to fit my keyboard and white-elephant exercise machine into it with room enough to swing a cat or three! (And if you'd like to jog your memory of what my old room looked like, here it is.)

Click for bigger view!
Oh yeah, I was supposed to tell the story of why I moved out. Basically the owner of the Block 11x unit wanted to sell the place, but we were initially told we had probably until March next year before we had to move out. But recently an agent brought a couple of potential buyers over, and we were informed barely 24 hours in advance of this. Next thing you know, we're getting a pretty rude email from the apartment owner, ranting and raving about how the potential buyers had "left very quickly" because of the state of the place. Which struck me as rather ridiculous, because, as Joodi puts it, any logical buyer would see the potential of the property rather than be put off by people's personal belongings. And anyway, it's not like the place was dirty per se (well... that's a half-truth; certain parts of the apartment were dirty. Two words: three cats); it was, as one might expect, lived in. But apparently some Singaporeans are so uptight  that you're expected to keep a place immaculate, spic and span all of the time. Seriously. Learn. To. Unclench.

The worst part was that her email actually ended with the threat that if we didn't clean up, we would be evicted. What a cheek - the unit was being sublet illegally to begin. There were no contracts, no written agreements, no documents filed to the board of housing. With one call, we could easily have reported this. And yet said owner had the audacity to threaten us? Oy vey!! But never mind. The best part of the email was a statement about how the owner was "trying to get a clean break from my ex-husband and you lot are not helping!" Jeebus.

Once I found this new place and moved in, I opted to send the owner an email, which read as thus:

My decision was partially made by the fact that I would have to move out eventually, and I also came across a place that I liked and decided to take it before it was snatched up by somebody else. 

I have to admit, however, that your email last week helped to speed up my decision, and while I understand it was written while you were frustrated, I felt it was very inappropriate and unfair for you to bring your personal issues into the equation. I empathise regarding the ex-husband situation and hope you manage to get your clean break, but in all honesty and in full respect, that really does NOT have anything to do with your tenants and should not have been factored into your correspondence with us.


She subsequently apologised and said her frustration was not aimed directly at me but rather at some of the other tenants... which made me think wistfully that it would've been nice not to have CC'd me in the email in that case! ... But never mind laaaah, I guess that's over now.

So that's about it for now folks. Next I blog I should (God willing) be back in KL... so I'll update further later. And I've got more pics to share from Judi's whirlwind birthday weekend a few weeks ago, so stay tuned for that too!! Till then...! ;)

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Reunions, Romans and Rental Agreements

Hey all. Apologies for the lack of updates, but it's because my laptop is in the shop. Last week I had to hop on the bus and take a crazy road trip adventure to find the service centre 20 minutes away. Whooooo. That was a wild ride, I tell you. Arf. Anyway the good news is that I should be getting my lappie back today, so... I'm not sure if that necessarily means more frequent updates, but one can only hope, can't one?

Last Saturday was an interesting day (apart from the horrible development of the Connecticut shootings, which I've been editing stories on all this week thus far). My dear friend Helen was visiting from Missouri during a stopover on the way back to her Perth hometown. Her original plan was to stop over for a mere few hours, but at the last minute she decided to stay on for an additional day or so, and we managed to catch up for a lovely chat and coffee at Nex in Serangoon. She brought along her beautiful little baby boy Jonathan Connor, or Joco for short, and at one point he was so grumbly and cranky and was crying all throughout our chat that Helen passed him to me... and then he immediately snuggled up against my shoulder, burped (as he'd just been given an all-natural, nutritious feeding by Mommy) and fell asleep. So precious!


So what's interesting is that our conversation somehow shifted to God, and purpose, and ambition. Turns out that Helen and I have some mutual big dreams in mind: to make it to Broadway. Granted, she's closer to New York than I am, being in the same country at the very least (arf), but she said one thing in particular that really stuck with me. Not in verbatim, but here's the essence of what she said: "If you have a dream that you can't shake, like getting to Broadway, then I believe it's a dream that God has given you, and God will lead you there. But in His time, not ours. And I believe that when we get there, it will be after such a journey that the only way you could have possibly gotten there is not through people, not through your own self, but through God. And everything you do thereafter will be for His glory, in gratitude to Him for getting you there." Something like that. Pretty profound, no?

On Sunday I was lying in bed, thinking about Helen's suggestion that perhaps "I try to listen to what God is telling you", and at one point I thought, Eh what the heck, let's give it a go and pray. So I tried to pray, and found myself thinking, Romans... 26... 34. Immediately I thought, Don't be silly, there's no Romans Chapter 26, I'm sure! But I couldn't shake it, and eventually told myself, "Aiya! Just go Google it lah!" So I whipped out my trusty smartphone (a life-saver when you don't have a computer!!) and looked it up; and the first link I came across led me to this quote:

Romans 8:26-34

New International Version (NIV)
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

(Don't believe me? Google 'Romans 26 34' and see!)

So... yeaaaah. What's that about, eh?

Anyway, so I went to church on Sunday (twas okay; no more "durians being lobbed by God at me", as little Jo and her sis like to put it); and the past few days have been busy as I've decided to move out of my apartment and into a new place literally just blocks down the road (I was at block 11x, moving to 10x; digits hidden for quasi-privacy's sake!). The new place is nice and the landlord, who lives there, seems nice enough, although there are several rules that I've got to put up with, such as no using the stove (because the landlord's previous tenants set the kitchen on fire while cooking and busted the microwave while trying to boil an egg in it, I kid you not), and no regular guests who stay over. "Occasional visitors are okay," he tells me, so... all right then. This is just a temporary measure for the next couple of months or so until my plans for 2013 concretise anyway.

I'll come back soon to update more about this moving out, including what prompted me to make this decision. Check back in soon shortly, k! Till then...! :)

Friday, 14 December 2012

AAAAAARRRGH!!!

My laptop died. Hard disk failure. Looks like a looong weekend ahead, LOL. As if it wasn't bad enough that I might have lost several music scores I'd been working on, this tragedy also means I'VE LOST MY STASH OF PORN!!!! Nooo!! NOOO!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Okay, bye for now.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Saaay Cheeese!!!

More selections from Judi's 30th birthday whirlwind weekend in Singaypoo!

Rekindle the Jo!
Judi at Clarke Quay.
Clark Quay in the evening. 
Half-priced cocktails?? BRING IT.
Our Balinese feast!
Stay tuned, still more to come!!

Loopies.

What A Drip

Got caught in the rain on Monday after work. Oy.



Zombieeee!

So my supervisor at work gave me a gift for "good work". Hmm. Methinks he's on a guilt trip following our candid chat last week, arf arf. Either way, I'm not complainin'.

Grrr. Arrgh.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Joo-Joo's Whirlwind Singypoorean Adventure (Cont'd)

More photos from our little adventure with Judi over the weekend!

Elephant! "What did you call me?!"
At Marina Bay Sands. I like this pic lots.
This pic, not so much.

Nawwwwww!!
More pictorial selections to come!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Singaypoo Slung!

Today, Judi, Jo and I saw the Bond film Skyfall, and later on had Balinese food at Clark Quay. Here's a photo of Judi and me with our obligatory Singapore Slings!


More pics to come! Stay tuned!

Judi Judi Judi I Love You!

Well, folks, I'm now back in my room with Judi (in case you didn't realise, Judi's spending her holiday at my place, which I'm sure must be a source of great bemusement and/or speculation on the part of my housemates) after the long day of Garden visits, seafood face-stuffing, desserting and window-shopping at the 24-hour Mustafa's! But let's go back a little bit, shall we? 


So yesterday (Friday, really), Judi, Jo and I hung out at Ion Orchard for lunch, headed to Bugis for coffees at TCC and spent some money on (unnecessary) shopping (I bought meself a pair of pretty cool mini-speakers in the shape of apples, as well as more books!, including a Baby Blues two-decade special anthology); a quick return to my apartment to change and freshen up, and we were heading to Vivocity for dinner at a pubby restaurant called The Queen and the Mangosteen (eh?), where we had mixed grills and toasted our friendship with Pimms and cocktails and a quart of whiskey diluted with ice that made Little Jo totally red-faced stark ravin' drunk. Well, not really, but close enough. Arf.

Jo hiding at the TCC.
Judi sips her drink at the Queen & Mangosteen.
Ouch. Me head.
Pretty ladies... before the drinking commenced.
Today, as previously mentioned, we visited the Gardens, had lots of seafood, then returned to Bugis for dessert at two separate albeit neighbouring cafes, where we tried, like, a total of nine desserts, oy vey! One more full day of hanging out and having fun awaits us ... Judi leaves for Perth on Monday (boooooo), but regrettably I'll (probably) have to work then, so we'll have to make the most out of our Sunday. And with that in mind, I'm gonna end this blog post now as sleep beckons; I'll leave you with pic or two or three of our adventures over the past few days, and will return (of course!) to provide more updates soon. Sorry there's no real chronology to the photos anymore. That's what happens when overtiredness kicks in, hehhh.

On the train heading into town on Friday night.
Me and my self portrait.
Christmas is coming!!!
To be continued...!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Judi, Jo and Neek at the Gardens

Hey everyone! Right now I'm at the seafood restaurant with Judi, Jo and Ju waiting for dinner after a long, exhausting albeit very good day having lunch and visiting the Gardens By The Bay. This is just an abbreviated blog post as I'm experimenting with a blog app on my phone; I'll write in greater detail later (hopefully!). Anyhoo, Judi and I slept in til noon after hanging out last night at Vivocity for dinner and drinks. Then we had lunch at the food court at Marina Bay Sands before walking to the Gardens, a pretty awesome touristy place that's... well, filled with plants, arf. A key attraction was the Cloud Forest, a multi level conservatory with the world's highest manmade waterfall. Really cool, quite literally!! Then we cabbed it over to this restaurant and here we are!

Anyway, I'll come back to blog further in due course. Til then, I leave you with some pics of us at the Gardens. Enjoy!


Gratitude Blog #10 / Quote of the Week #2 (Even Though It's The Same Week)

Hey all!! It's been a great (although very long) day because Judi's in Singaypore!! Yaaay!! She arrived at 3:30am yesterday and I've pretty much been awake ever since! I'll do a proper recap later, but right now I'd just like to say that, for Friday's gratitude blog, I'm very grateful for the days at Pine Grove in Perth. Because Judi, Jo and I were hanging out just like old times, as we used to when we were housemates back in Kardinya. And also because we reminisced and I looked back on the blog entry from the first year of this blog, 2004, when, on 7 December, we were doing this:


I'm gonna end this here as I'm really tired, but before I go, here's a Quote of the Week, courtesy of Judi this afternoon as we had coffee at Bugis:

 "Nicko, you bring great joy and happiness into our lives—DID YOU JUST EAT MY COOKIE??!!!"


Thursday, 6 December 2012

Gratitude Blog #9

Today, I'm grateful for honesty. Why? Let me copy and paste this Facebook status update, in the spirit of pure laziness:

Took too long finishing a page because I'd wanted to learn how to handle a specific task properly. For my initiative, I got yelled at by snide superior. Later, I went up to him and said, "Could we talk?" Told him with full honesty about my lack of morale and job satisfaction. "In three months, I've not heard a SINGLE positive word come out of you. This work culture seems to be about meeting deadlines, rather than actual skills development and motivation," I said. He conceded it is true. "It's entirely not personal. If you weren't doing a good job, I wouldn't have kept you on this shift for this long," he said, admitting it is a back-handed compliment and acknowledging that as deadline approaches, he enters the "asshole zone". "I'll work on my managerial skills or lack of," he concluded, and I think we'll now be in a better place.

Oooh That's Right...!

Do you know what I've just remembered? A couple of years ago I'd embarked on a series of blog posts that were in the same vein as my Gratitude Blogs. Do any of you faithful readers (all two of you) remember #nickgivesthanks4 ??

Quote of the Week #1

Colleague: "Help yourself to a Christmas snack. It's stollen."
Me: "Ooo! Who did you steal it from??"

For those who don't know, this is a Christmas stollen.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Becky & Robin's Big Day: A Scandalous Affair

Sorry folks, no Gratitude Blog today because I'm starved for things to be thankful for (heh!). But to compensate, here are photos and commentary of last weekend's wedding reception for the lovely Becky and the awesome Robin.

You wanna know what stood out that night, apart from the festivities? The emcee of the evening, the fah-bulous Michelle Goh. Let me tell ya, this was the first time in my life that I've attended a wedding hosted by a drag queen. Michelle, one of Becky's relatives, was an absolute riot, stealing the show (sorry, Becks) each time she appeared on stage with one-liners and zingers at the ready, and making more costume changes than the bride herself, LOL. At one point Becky's dad-in-law began flirting with Michelle, prompting my friends at the table to wonder if he realised that Michelle wasn't really a lady!! Here are pics; don't forget you can click on 'em for bigger views if you wish.

Sorry the light ain't good - but that's Becky, Robin and Michelle!
(From left) Kahj, Alex, Jo, Jo's mum (a.k.a. my date, according to Michelle), and... that guy.
Terry gives the 'childhood best friend' speech, complete with
embarrassments galore. For Terry, that is, since he blundered and referred
to a 'century' as a 'decade: 'We've known each other for a quarter of a decade!'
Cake cutting! 
Pouring the champers.
Still pouring.
And toasting.
And smooching.
One of the highlights of the evening was Michelle's party game for the bride and groom, also known as the segment during which the groom is made a proper buffoon of. The game was simple enough: there were five questions on a sheet of paper that Robin had to write his answers for; then, Michelle asked Becky the same questions. For every question that matched correctly, they got to reward each other with a kiss. For every wrong answer that Robin had written, he had to wear an item of women's clothing. Now, let's let the photos tell the story, shall we?

Michelle (in new garb) explains the rules of the game to Becky while Robin watches nervously.
Two questions matched (darn!)... and then - the first mistake!
Robin has to wear the knickers!
Struggling to put the panties on.
Oh yeaaa, this feels comfyyyy...!
"Oh mah Gawd, dah-leeng, it fits you PURRfectly!"
Another correct answer, followed by another mistake leads to... the wig!
"Hee hee you see your husband so beautiful, no??"
Aaand... pose!
The other highlight of the evening was immediately after, when Michelle said: "Now that the bride and groom have entertained the guests, it's time for the guests to entertain the bride and groom!" And so Robin was instructed to choose three female guests from the crowd. As he did so, I began to get a sinking feeling... And next, it was Becky's turn to select three guys. She chose two dudes named Chris, and then, as I sank deeper and deeper into my chair and prayed long and hard "Please don't please don't please don't", she exclaimed: "Nick Choo!!!" And a roar went through the crowd of friends around me as I looked desperately at the ceiling, imploring, "Why?! Why????"

So it turned out it would be a dance off: each male-female pair would take turns performing a snippet from Gangnam Style. Groan. Naturally, Michelle demonstrated the steps first, in full choreographic mode, complete with sexay butt sways and hip jutts. Then it was our turn to one by one dance to that annoyingly ubiquitous song. Suffice it to say, I didn't know the moves well enough to do them properly, so I went into "entertainer" mode and decided to channel my inner male stripper:

I like to move it move it...!
Ohhh sexy laaay-deee...!
This was one of the Chrises who danced before me. Make no mistake,
the only reason his photo is here is because the guy was
ridiculously hot. Even Michelle thought so.
As for the result of the dance-off... there were only two prizes, and guess what? One of the Chrises (not Hot Chris above) and I won!! Whoo-hooooo!!! Yeaaah. You go, gurl!

Anyway, the night eventually drew to a close with the couple's first dance (with our dear friend Jo singing, I've got video of it which I'll post up sometime in the near future... if... she'll... let... me...), followed by table-by-table toasts (the traditional yam seng) and more dancing, performed by the terrific band (whose name I don't remember now. The High Fidelities? The Four Seasons? The High Tides? Something like that. Need to ask Becky.) All in all, it certainly was a wonderful little party, made even more entertaining by the crossdressing emcee, and we all had an absolute blast!!!

The lovely bride.
Raising our glasses!
I leave you now with this video of our group toast with the bride and groom, the Chinese yam seng, which, if you recall, is traditionally done by bellowing the words and dragging them out for as long as possible (the story being, the greater the yell, the greater the good wealth, health and fortune). I think we even beat the raucous toast from Alisa's wedding in early 2010 (sorry Alisa!), arf arf! Check out the video below (and keep your eyes peeled for Hot Chris!). Until my next update... see ya!!