Friday, January 30

34 things to do before 35

seven candles

Now that I'm officially 34, I can start on my list (inspired by Andrea of hula seventy and driven by my list-making compulsion).

1. Complete Project 365

2. Read all the unread books I own before buying more

3. Learn to use Photoshop

4. Touch my toes

5. Sell a photo/print

6. Shoot one good photo on film

7. Watch Mayday in concert again, preferably in Taipei

8. Achieve glowing skin

9. Build a Lego house according to its original plan

10. Finish painting all the pictures in the Paint By Numbers kit

11. Buy a cow

12. Make one dish from every recipe book I own

13. Grow my hair until it is one length

14. Stop using eye cream

15. Add my own drawings to an old painting

16. String up garlands and fairy lights over my room

17. Go somewhere with snow

18. Teach Randolph to do Downward Dog

19. Reupholster my mannequin

20. Make a layer cake

21. Sew my own bathrobe

22. Fix the stopped cuckoo clock

23. Make a banner for the blog

24. Hold a picnic with balloons

25. Grow a succulent plant

26. Go to the dentist

27. Have my eyebrows professionally plucked

28. Type a letter on the cursive typewriter

29. Go on a road trip or train journey

30. Create PDFs of the Semi-Successful Social Experiment

31. Complete Tintin comic book collection

32. Keep a scrapbook of home decor and other inspirations

33. Use the words anachronism, quotidian and paradigm (not in the same sentence)

34. Type out this list and pin it somewhere prominent

stalk stalker stalkest

A Thousand Words from Ted Chung on Vimeo.
The romantic in me thinks this is beautiful, especially since I often wish to take photos of sleeping passengers on public transport. (I'm too chicken though.)

The cynic in me just thinks: "Stalker alert! Stalker alert!"

On a related note: One of the Swirl Girls (not me) has a secret admirer (in other words, stalker) who actually turned up at the shop and stealthily slipped a note expressing his ardent interest in being her friend. Too bad he didn't have the foresight to include his phone number.

Wednesday, January 28

love letters

This story about a crate of old love letters appeals to the nostalgic fool in me. The final paragraph at the end (read all three parts, it's a bit long-winded and could have used tighter editing, but oh well, still a good story) made me want to dig up my old love letters from under my bed and give them away.

Thursday, January 22

strictly for the mayday fan

One of the perks of converting from apathetic to rabid fan is that you discover old albums full of gems, like this one. This video makes me want to be back in high school (my school was really called a High School), except of course there weren't any boys in mine. Or typhoons. But I think we did play in the rain, loiter in school and rearrange the tables.

The making of the video, which was banned -- because of the nose-digging scene, perhaps?

Another behind the scenes snippet. How can grown men be so adorable?

Unrelated to the above, but hilarious if you know 志明與春嬌.

And of course, a blast from the past. You can barely tell who is who in the video.

Tuesday, January 20

let me eat cake

let me eat cake

"I was having this awful nightmare that I was 32. And then I woke up and I was 23. So relieved. And then I woke up for real, and I was 32."
~ Celine, Before Sunset (you have to imagine Julie Delpy saying it with a delicious French accent)

I know my birthday is fast approaching -- 10 more days! -- when I suddenly have a social life and weekends are all pre-booked for dinners and drinks.

And, no, I'm not going to be 32.

spring cleaning the blog

To my horror, I realise I have 45 blog posts which are still in draft mode, some as old as 2005. (To be fair, some are actually posts which I took down. You know, those of a textual nature.)

Anyway, I'm not sure why I never posted this one dated 10 Dec 2007, about my secret karaoke buddy (well, not so secret anymore).

Perhaps I wasn't sure if what I wrote would hold true, but now, with hindsight, I am convinced my observation was right.

I vaguely recalled writing this only because of the previous post. And then someone asked for his number today. So clearly it's time for this post to see the light of day.

Here's the cleaned-up version:

Last Saturday night, I did something which I'd only ever done with one other person.

I sang karaoke.

I've always resisted singing in front of other people, despite having a number of KTV queens as friends. The only exception is my sis, and even then she sings 70% of the time we go K together.

It's not that I'm tone deaf (do tone deaf people know they are tone deaf?) or my voice is horrible (do people with horrible voices know that their voices are horrible?), but I'm painfully self-conscious when faced with mikes or cameras or public speaking or, in this case, semi-public crooning. Heck, I get the jitters when I have to speak at meetings even. ("Errrrr...I agree with what so-and-so said...errrrrr...ya.")

Back to Saturday night.

An old friend was back in town after four months in Hong Kong and we met up.

Actually, he wanted to meet for kopi, but I was working as a salesgirl, he said let's do drinks, but I dragged him to a fashion show instead, we then had supper at his fave Tiong Bahru zichar, after which we had ran out of things to do.

He wanted to karaoke and he could be very persuasive if he wanted to. So Party World it was.

Curled up with my legs under me for warmth on the red vinyl bench, I clutched a cold mike in even colder hands.

Kindly, he picked songs which he guessed I would know. Jay Chou. Cheer Chen. Mayday. I tried my best to speed read the lyrics, breathe and sing, all at the same time.

Like one of those compartmentalised KTV rooms, our friendship is self-contained. Now and then, one of us would go out, to use the loo, to have a smoke, to take a call, to make contact with the outside. We only existed in the present, even though we had not seen each other for more than a year. We barely even looked at each other, concentrating as we were on the large fonts on the screen and tiny buttons on the remote.

He asked, what happened with the guy you were involved with, and I gave a bitter, oh he got married. He went, oh. And that was that.

There was no need for more explanations, just like there was no need for me to ask, where's your girlfriend tonight? How's she coping with you being based in Hong Kong? Are you going to get married?

Details seemed superfluous. They didn't exist within the room.

And when we part, we make vague plans -- yeah, let's meet up again next year, sure I'll let you know if I go to Hong Kong -- but nothing firm. No past, because that's too complicated. No future, because that's assuming too much. We are just happy to enjoy each other's company -- in the present.

Footnote: Since that night, we've karaoked together three times? Seven times? The number doesn't really matter because each time is not unlike the other. Yet, it's never dull or repetitive. Even though we even sing the same old songs.

Monday, January 19

donch mess with me*


眼淚鹹 哭到眼淚 不鹹 過一天 痛一天 一天親像 一冬
過一冬 你又找阮 開講 你說你 你想我 我的一冬 攏無採工

講你猶原思念 擱再給阮希望
最怕你 說你愛我 心擱破洞 我擱山崩

電話我也不接 找我我也不睬
麥來亂 無緣的人 麥擱來亂 去愛別人

真感謝 感謝你的 陪伴 自屏東 到基隆 走過這多 美夢
夢醒了 咱是無緣 的人 拜託你 麥回頭 麥擱問我 目眶怎紅

為怎樣 我奈這白目 我奈這飯桶 啊
明知影 你是這危險 啊擱學不會 閃
放著你 甲我的青春 甲我的生活 攏拆吃入腹

So. I'd been mulling over what, if anything, I should post about the Mayday concert, that super high open-air gig where we sang and screamed and waved and jumped for close to three hours without caring whether our old bones could take it. (The next day, we discovered they couldn't. But the aches were so worth it.) And did I mention the concert was free?

It was too memorable not to mention, yet all I had were random thoughts, with the above song as the soundtrack in my mind (and on repeat mode on my earphones).

1. I'm this close to transferring my allegiance from drummer Guan You to frontman Ashin, mainly because I realise the former is truly dispensable to the band. (He wasn't able to be at the concert because of his father-in-law's funeral, but I hardly missed him.)

2. While Ashin is charismatic and earnest and lanky, I still find him too glib. I have a natural distrust of sweet talkers and prefer those who fumble to express themselves (cf. Guan You and of course Jay the mumble king).

3. I am a disgrace to the entire Hokkien clan with my pathetic grasp of the dialect. Only now that I'm reading the lyrics to 《麥來亂》 closely that I realise it is 無緣的人, not 無的人. Oh, and they didn't sing this during the concert, or the previous one either.

4. I'm suddenly reminded of when I first heard this song, sung not by Ashin, but by one of the only two people who have ever heard me karaoke. It was just the two of us making a fool of ourselves at the KTV, fueled by an entire bucket of cheap Heinekens, on a very late night (or very early morning). Then, pressing random buttons, he stumbled upon an improbable Anita Mui-David Tao duet of 沙滩 that moved us to just listen in silence.

5. Midway through the concert, during the very emo 突然好想你, the merest thought of someone grazed my mind.

6. After the concert, I realised my phone had brrr-ed without me noticing. It was that someone. We haven't spoken in more than a year.

7. I didn't reply, but obviously, it's still on my mind, a fortnight later.
麥來亂 無緣的人 麥擱來亂 去愛別人!

Edited to add more random tangential thoughts:

8. I can be completely bowled over by a tender Hokkien love song. 好不好 will do just fine.

9. 溫柔 is still my fave Mayday song, after all these years.

10. I wish Jay's last album didn't suck so bad, because I want to love it as much as I do Mayday's. But I couldn't even listen to it more than twice.

11. Neon sticks are essential for future concerts. This is a note to self.

* "Donch mess with me" is my lame-ass translation of 麥來亂.

Sunday, January 18

foot fetishist alert

This is one of those posts I've had on the back burner since last year. Alas, just when I finished linking all the pix to Flickr, a new photo vaulted to the #1 position. (My very first Explore. Yay!)

Out of the top 10 most viewed photos on my Flickr, there are six which feature either my feet, my shoes or both (all not exactly my best work, just point down and shoot). The one with my bra is also wildly popular, as is, understandably, the "porn" one. Go figure.

first day of school
# 10 First day of school

#9 75A

basketball diaries
#8 Basketball Diaries

semi new converse
#7 Semi New Converse

looking for a puddle
#6 Looking For A Puddle

helter skelter
#5 Helter Skelter

stepping up
#4 Stepping Up

feet up take a break
#3 Feet Up Take A Break

camera gear porn
#2 Camera Gear Porn

tulle pretty
#1 Tulle Pretty

Friday, January 16

creative caption contest: empty pool

It's waters are gone but it won't be empty for ever, like the ebb and flow of tides, it will be full again once more, once again. That's is life.

Wednesday, January 14

creative caption contest

room service

One of my karma-decreasing habits (of which I have many) is mocking the captions of earnest-till-it-hurts photographers.

Here is a selection for your enjoyment, and may we burn together in hell for snorting so loudly with laughter. (Bad grammar and spelling not corrected to retain the original flavour.)

Pink flowers with sepia tinge: This is what my dream's all about, both beautiful inside and outside.

Park bench with black and white treatment: This bench is so lonely, it's standing alone all by itself, regardless of the surroundings, it still stands still.

Pair of headphones: Headphones, linked to a music player. Just like how our hearts are being linked together.

Lighted red candle: Everyone has a heart, just like a candle. It's flame in the center, is the only thing that has a life.

Flock of pigeons devouring bread: Birds of feather, flock together. All of them want to have a bite, just like us. All of us wouldn't want to live a life without food and water.

Dilapidated basketball board: How many basketball players it has helped to train? How much joy it has brought to the boys & girls all these years? Today, it lies abandoned.........wonder anybody still remember its existence?

Boys running in a race: Dashing toward the finishing line...........juz for this race only........for these 2 boys, there is still a long way to go for the race that we all have to participate in life.

Hand holding mini kueh (above): Join in the fun and lower your karma, too, by captioning my photo. May the worst caption win!

Tuesday, January 13

happy japanese family

On our last night in Osaka, we dined at a restaurant in this vast underground complex, dressed up to look like Edo-period Japan, with narrow streets, wooden facades, water pumps which sprouted water when you pumped them, old signboards, etc etc. It felt like a movie set. The food, though, was hardly artificial or touristy. In fact, it was so awesome we had epiphanies over a stewed tomato, I kid you not.

We took a photo at the end with our indefatigable tour guide (who speaks not-bad English) and her boss (who doesn't) -- she's the mother, he's the father, R's the son and I'm the daughter. It's almost criminal how much fun we had on a trip we didn't pay a yen for.

talk rock

Have I mentioned that Rockson Takumi Tan, the love of my life, is back? Swoon.

Saturday, January 10

more martha

Look what I just found! More behind-the-scene photos from Martha's studio. I think I want to reupholster my mannequin Jaime.

Thursday, January 8

le sigh

Two sites I pounce on whenever I see that they have new updates on Bloglines. Love them because they reveal a side which we seldom see.

Le Love, with pictures of love that you can never take yourself (unless you have your own in-house photographer).

PostSecret, with the deepest, darkest and sometimes funniest secrets.

Tuesday, January 6