Thursday, September 27, 2007

Gearing up for this weekend - a `N' post :p

When you can't think of anything interesting to write about but feel the need to update your blog.. you can do a `narcissist post'!

This Sat, our family will be hosting a `Double celebration' dinner to celebrate grandma's 90th birthday and my uncle's wedding together! Yeah the same uncle who registered some months earlier but only now throwing a reception!

Yours truly will be the emcee, and instructed to speak in Mandarin (who although is my mother-tongue, I would be more comfortable speaking in English actually..)

So partly because of the function and partly because it WAS time anyway (since I last had my long hair chopped off in early July), I badly needed a hair-do. Not just to trim it back in style but also to colour the front as a patch of white hair was growing very conspicuously around the parting! So much so that friends (including guys) also noticed!:(

Although you can't see it in the photo but the white was really pretty obvious!

As two of my deadlines were clear.. (one more to go!), today I went back to my trusted hairstylist and even managed to do some work on my laptop. Grace Salon has free WiFi service even! how cool is that! ;)

Basically I just had those front bit coloured, did a treatment and had my hair cut.. and while doing all that, also had my nails done :p (time saving, no need to find another time to do them!)

Actually I quite like the length and style of my hair now! It's considered shoulder length and quite easy to style and maintain.. But today, because of the problem of white hair appearing at the parting, my hairstylist did something different (to salvage the problem)..

So, besides the colour and the trim, anyone notices what's different about my NEW hair? ;p

Ok. not like I haven't warned you this is a narcissist and plain frivolous post. But it sure is a good stress reliever!! ;)

p.s. This Sat is really eventful.. starting off the day with a group of friends for brunch.. and then there will basically be a huge Chow clan reunion at the dinner! sis, bro-in-laws and many cousins will all be back! then the next day, got to get up early to sing in church - am in the choir again.. Busy busy, but am looking forward to an exciting weekend!

Friday, September 21, 2007

It's that time of the month again...

No, it's not what you're thinking!

Ever since like a few months back where work has been coming in quite regularly, the end of the month is always the BUSIEST!! That's because most publications esp magazines have end of the month as deadlines..

So as usual, I have procrastinated for a while.. and now realised that the deadlines are SO near.. and I still have SO much to do.. HELP!!

It didn't help that I didn't feel well since last night. Guess I caught the flu bug but thankfully it's nothing very serious except that I'm just feeling so tired and sleepy.. This afternoon I was in bed for more than 4 hours in between doing things.. and not much work was done :(

I wasn't up to it to attend CCF tonight but I need to work too.. so here i am at the PC. But before I settled into work, I thought I better just update this blog. I can't bear to neglect it for more than 4-5 days somehow. Though I have nothing interesting to say.

Oh, I'm actually writing a story on women bloggers! Featuring a few interesting bloggers who blog on various topics from serious to `frivolous'.. :p Well too bad I can't publicise my own blog.. hehe, or can I?

Ok, this is supposed to be a filler only and I have over-ranted again...

Hope tomorrow is a better day..

Monday, September 17, 2007

Big Jin and me

I met a Great Dane when went for an interview assignment last week. I've never touched nor played with a Great Dane before. He is huge.. but quite mild manner and mellow.. unlike my two hyper dogs!

His name is Jin - short for `Gui Jin' - from Hokkien (there's a story behind how he came about but too long to tell here :p) He is 3 plus, a well-travel dog as he gets to go with his master everywhere!

During the photo shoot, we requested that Jin would be in the photograph together with my interviewees, who are a family; and he ended up upstaging his owners and became the centre of attention!

I believe the photos will look good with such a handsome dog in it. Even I couldn't resist taking photos with him!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

`Not really there' at Jacky's concert

I was at Jacky Cheung's concert Friday night.

But I was so distracted that I probably only absorbed in about 60 per cent of the show..

It's a long story... basically I was `ditched' by a publication which earlier verbally had said I could cover. it And then just a day before the concert, I got a call saying that they would send an in-house person to go. I was actually quite upset about it.. although they have the right to send whoever they want.. but the fact that they had said ok to me first and then last minute `ditched' me was really not nice nor professional!

Well at least I still got to watch.. since I did get comp tix from the organiser. But this means for the first time in more than 10 years, I actually watched a Chinese concert without covering. Also, I didn't get to sit at the media seats.

I took mom along as she was quite game for it. After all, she is only attracted by few artistes.

It wasn't a good start for us. I had under-estimated how jam packed the road leading to the stadium was! And also how difficult it was to find a parking at Bukit Jalil! It actually started on time! So we were late.. I think Jacky had sung at least 3-4 songs already when we finally got to our seats.. I was a bit blur and ended up parking so far away from our gate!

It was quite a HUGE concert..close to 40,000 people I think. And unlike the last concert (Lee Hom's) I went to there.. the stage was placed right at the far end of the field - in order to allow more seats on the field. Which means those of us seating at the stand, even the best of those seats, were like miles away from the stage. Jacky was tinier than an ant! We couldn't see at all and had to look at the screens to know what what happening on stage.

Even then.. it was not really very easy to watch.. so already that was like a damper.

How the stage looked like and the amount of people (dark foreground) on the field!

A zoomed (and blurish) shot of the stage from my seat. You can't even see Jacky!

Then, in order to find a better view, we changed seats three times! (since ours were already taken although it was numbered seating) From quite high up at the block, we moved to the first row. It was a bit nearer and clearer or so we thought, but the view was being blocked most of the time by those people at the last few rows on the field - cos they were standing!! :X

Jacky sang most of his most popular numbers - in both Cantonese and Mandarin. What I remembered most was the musical segment which saw he delivered songs from the movie `Perhaps Love' and his musical `Snow Wolf Lake' in a medley fashion complete with acting. He was very expressive and engrossed..

About 2/3 of the show, mom wanted to move back towards the back and from then on, I think I was hardly concentrating! First mom went to the toilet for the longest time and I got so worried (actually she was just standing outside to get fresh air!) And then the smell of thos `luk luk' was so tempting that I ended up going out twice to get some supper for mom and me!

Mmm.. it was quite nice enjoying food and nice music..and then there was a bit of breeze finally!

Knowing the impending horrendous traffic condition, I intended to leave before it ended. But having no run-down list, I didn't know which would be the last few songs. So when the time was almost midnight, I think the concert was more or less ending (unless he generously decided to oblige a second encore - which he didn't).

Just as we walked out of the stadium, Jacky sang his classic Mandarin hit `zhu fu'. Mom exclaimed that that was the only song she knew! And seeing that she was quite keen to listen to it, we went in again and stood at the back, and saw a sea of chorus joining Jacky in that familiar number.

Actually THAT was the very last song.

So even we had a head start then the crowd that stayed till the very end, we had a very long walk back to the car and almost couldn't find it! Finally, when we were inside the car, it was madness and just couldn't move at all.. after we managed to leave the stadium, the road outside was totally congested. Sigh...

It took us more than an hour to reach home. It was already 1:20am. The journey would have taken us 15 mins normally..

So, how was the concert? Did I enjoy it? Well, to be fair I think Jacky sang well.. his vocal prowess was undeniable and his performance and showmanship was captivating. The stage, the sound system was good, so was the whole flow of the concert..There were some fireworks too! A Jacky Cheung's fan would have been more than appeased and satisfied I think.

But for me, because I was too distracted by so many external factors.. I was physically there but my mind was somewhere else. So I didn't manage to enjoy it much :( Well, in a way it is still memorable, but for all the wrong reasons..

What a shame. Actually I had been looking forward to watching AND covering this concert since it was first announced.

Oh well, at least I still got to go.. and for free too.

Friday, September 14, 2007

an owl's rant..

Lately I've run out of inspiration to blog.. or maybe I should rephrase it. I don't know what I should blog about..

Normally this blog is like a journal of sorts - chronicling some of the happenings in my life as well as some of my thoughts and views. But the irony is, it can't be an honest diary for I know people - friends, acquaintances, strangers - are reading it (not to say I have that many readers but it's public!)

So there are many things I rather not blog about though it can be on my mind.. Maybe I'm not that open after all.. I choose in what areas I would like to reveal myself. I don't mind having my face up here, or telling you where I went for holidays or some celebs I met.. or even my work journey and some personal reflections.

Oh, I have just digressed!!

I started off this post with just ranting in mind. Yeah, I just want to publicly confess of my `problem' - I am turning more `owl-like' than ever!

This is not good. For the last week or, except for two nights when I knew I had to wake up relatively early next morning, I had been sleeping around 4am. Although this is not the first time I sleep at such unearthly hours, but I had been hoping and trying to have a more healthy and normal sleep pattern..

Somehow I've failed again :(

I can blame the Internet, blogs and Facebook in particular.. but the truth is I have no one to blame but myself! I just don't have the self-control and discipline when it comes to going to bed - but in particularly in my own room!

I mean I can sleep rather early when I'm in hotel or another place.. it's the distraction here..

Ok, so I went to bed at 4:15am this morning.. (I did work a bit but the latter hours were not work!) When I sorta woke up at 11:30am.. I felt so tired and groggy.. so I laid in bed till 12-ish. I am up now but I feel so totally lousy! I feel I need to sleep and my eyes are reddish.. I can't even wear my contacts. :(

The many late nights must have taken a toll on me.. and looks like I'll be wasting almost the whole day away.. till the concert tonight. For I just feel too lousy to step out of my house.. Originally I was thinking of going to gym, have my hair cut etc..

Oh, the latest group i joined on Facebook is entitled: `People who don't sleep enough because they stay up late for no reason' Hmm... how uncanny!

Sorry for such a crappy and senseless post. Hopefully there's better `news' in my next post.

I'm going to lie in bed again..

Monday, September 10, 2007

Hairspray is a blast!

What a movie to start a Monday morning! :)

When I received the invite from GSC for the preview of Hairspray! I just glanced at the cast and the poster and thought it should be quite nice..

I know it's set in the 1960s and thought it was a romantic comedy of sort.. but I didn't expect it to be a musical! And although it appears to be a teenage flick, but it's actually really fun and entertaining.. it's really a blast!!

John Travolta was amazing and almost unrecognisable in his role.. I know I was slow but i thought i remembered wrongly that he was in the show.. until during the end credit that I found out who he was!! And I was shocked! Yes, it was really wicked!

Oh, there's lots and lots of singing AND dancing.. real high energy stuff as well as some more moving moments. The music, reminiscent of the 1960s (think Grease) is really pretty catchy and melodious. I think I'll be going to get a copy of the soundtrack.

But what I love most about it is that they do away with the stereotypical. Instead of having a good-looking babe as the protagonist (which show does not do that?) our leading lady is this short and big girl but with a big heart. And boy, could she dance! Then there is her really huge mother and she's simply a gem.. and that you have to see for yourself ;)

It was really entertaining and fun - a comedy with wits. Besides the many amusiing antics, the dialogues were really hilarious too. I haven't had such a good laugh in a long time! (sorry, Rush Hour 3 was simply slapstick more than anything!)

And looking beyond all the fluff of dance and entertainment and beauty pageant and romance that make up the plot of the story, Hairspray is a tale to champion the underdogs and how one's dream can come true if you believe in it..

Anyway, without giving too much away, lets just say I thoroughly enjoy the movie and make me feel kinda young again.. :p

You see, it is one of those movies that after watching, immediately I know I don't mind catching it again!! The last one was Ratatouille though I wasn't compelled to write about it like this one.. perhaps it's just quite unexpected

Finally, wondering why the movie is called Hairspray? You have to watch it to find out!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The passing of a legend..

Luciano Pavarotti (1935-2007)

I spent Saturday night in my room, watching the live broadcast of Luciano Pavarotti's funeral service..

It was held at a cathedral at his home town Modena, where he died of pancreatic cancer on Thursday. The funeral was a solemn affair, very elegant and beautiful, filled with heart-stirring music and exquisite voices (soloists and choir).

It's still going on as I started this post.. the funeral service took about 1 hours 40 minutes. Since it's conducted in Italian, we got a bit of translation.. including the sermon. But what's unique is the music. A few classical singers, including a emotional Soprano (I forgot the name) and Andrea Brocelli performed. Bono of U2 was among the guests.. so were a hosts of invited guests including the prime minister of Italy, who gave wonderful praises to Paravotti in his eulogy.

CNN has dedicated 2 hours in the live coverage of his funeral.. that says a lot about his importance and popularity. I think most music lovers would feel a sense of sadness and loss hearing his demise - yes, what a loss!! Watching his funeral would put you into an even more sombre mood..

Pavarotti has always been my favourite opera singer.. his voice and his skills was a class of its own.. no one comes close to him! Definitely not those young, pop-ish good-looking tenors that are more well-packaged than having any substance! I can say that as far as Pavarotti is concerned, some may not regard him as one of the greatest tenors but THE greatest of our time.

But it's not just the voice and how far he has taken operatic music to the world. I read of his personality, his charisma and his spirit.. how he has always been so generous and charitable, and always a joy to be with. Although he's died at 71 - considered not very young, but learning how courageously he fought his cancer and his hoped to resume his world tour, somehow I feel his life was cut short.. maybe by a year or two.

As his casket was being carried out, his amazing and powerful rendition of `Nessun Dorma' was played. This really created such a poignant and surreal atmosphere that could send chills down your spine. Even if it's on TV.. I can imagine how people would e feeling at the cathedral.

But later, as the commentator noted, the overall atmosphere on the street wasn't that much of grief or sadness, but the thousand of fans broke into applause to pay tribute to Pavarotti, someone they're extremely proud of. They were there to celebrate the life of this great singer and great man.

It was a fitting conclusion for someone who has always people to rejoice rather than to grieve, even in his own death..

Thank you Pavarotti for your voice.

p.s. Since my digital cam was just in my hand, I tested it out by taking the television screen and the results weren't that bad.. Here are some of the shots i took of the funeral.

For further reading, check out this article from New York Times

Monday, September 03, 2007

Jojo is unwell :(

Jojo is ill.. :(

It's the first time he has fallen ill.. He has been having diarrhoea since Friday and yesterday evening, I brought him to the vet near our place which takes care of all his vaccines etc..

It was a new vet (a young Malay lady) who was on duty.. Jojo was given an anti-diarrhoea medicine - she asked whether we want her to give anti-biotic and dad and I thought probably no need yet. The vet also took a blood test and said there was no bad infection or virus..

She said we were not to give him any food last night.. supposedly to cleanse the system.

But then, Jojo didn't seem to get any better! He vomitted twice last night and again twice this morning!! And according to my maid, he was so weak that he didn't even bark at the newspaper man like usual..

In fact, my maid was so worried for Jojo (yes she loves the two Js) that she was crying.. and I had to console her!!

I was getting quite worried too.. But soon I realised I think his weakness was more to do with hunger than illness.. We fed him this morning and he ate with not bad an appetite..In fact he was longing for food! At first I was contemplating to bring him to another vet (cos I didn't really trust that vet who seemed inexperienced!) but then Jojo seemed to have build up more energy.

He barked at the postman just now and also ran around the garden a bit when I ran.. and he could also jump onto his favourite bench!

Well, he still looks a bit pathetic and lethargic but I guess I will observe him for the day and continue with the diarrhoea medicine. At least he is able to eat..

Meanwhile, I need to bring a messy Jelly for grooming. It has been a LONG time since she was last groomed.. Cos I Was thinking of letting her to grow her fur long as she looks cute.

But I think it's not a good idea after's unhygienic as she is always scratching and appears itchy all the time.

In fact, she looks like a fur ball now!! :p

Update (10:45pm) - The RM100 Make-over!

Normally the charge of full-set grooming was RM90, but today the groomer said he had to spend extra time to detangle all the knots in her fur! yeah, i think I was a bit lazy in grooming her :( anyway, now Jelly is all neat and clean and trim!

p.s. Feeling relief that Jojo is now much better.. he managed to smile and play with Jelly as well.. so I believe he's on the road to full recovery :)

Saturday, September 01, 2007

A gem that is Tjampuhan

A bit lazy to write today.. but decided i should get on with the Bali post before I get busy again..

One of the highlights of this trip is our stay in Ubud - the cultural centre of Bali. I've chosen a rather quaint and special hotel that's set amidst nature.. yep, everything is back to nature. The rooms are all wooden huts with atap roof, and each with its character.. we have a lovely view of greeneries from the balcony. Originally we've been put at a room that takes some walking to do so for my mom's sake, we requested one nearer.. and it's still very nice.

You can hear stream running - there are two streams down the hill and also birds chirping.. very very nice especially you're one that appreciates nature!

Lest you think that it's very costly, actually it's pretty affordable - booked on the Internet, it cost something like US$255 for three nights. We needed one room and it's very big and roomy. It's just a few minutes away from the town centre and we have free shuttle service daily..

Anyway, will let the photos do the `talking'..