Thursday, January 31, 2008

Too much blood and deaths..

For once, the censor rating was right. Hours after watching this movie, I still could not erase those gruesome and bloody scenes from my mind!!

I must say that despite the amount of blood and gore Sweeney Todd contains, it's definitely a movie I don't regret watching. It's pretty ingenious and brilliant! Because there were songs (yep, it's a musical - a dark Gothic one) and the exaggerated engineered designs and colours of the set, it has made the slitting of throats and the free flowing of blood artistic and stylistic.. But even so, I could hear the audience, especially the girls squirming in their seats..I was one of them.

But you can't deny that Johnny Depp was simply brilliant. He is one actor that I truly admire. His singing wasn't too bad either. The other cast was also well chosen.

btw, if you haven't realised, I'm not posting a review of the movie. So there won't be spoilers. But rather, I just had to let it out of my chest of how this movie had `disturbed' me. Perhaps `disturb' is not an appropriate word.. more like how it startled and left an indelible impression in my mind, and heart..

To think of it, today, death seemed to have besieged me..

I woke up from a bad dream..I dreamt that my grandma, now bedridden and getting thinner and weaker, had died. It was such a vivid dream that I still remember it clearly now.. Then as I woke up, I actually received a news of death! My aunt, who had been battling cancer for more than a year, had passed away early morning. It was expected as her condition was deteriorating.. but I was hoping to visit her. It was all too late and I just returned from the wake when I paid her a final respect..

And yesterday, I had already planned to watch Sweeney Todd today since it's a discount day for movies and I've more or less finished my work. Some friends were watching it at night but I have choir practice so I decided to go to the cinema near my place and watched it by myself.. something I don't really mind doing, weirdly. (After all, you don't talk in the cinema do you?)

I had prepared myself for blood (read this off a friend's blog). But somehow it was still too bloody and morbid and for a while, the uncomfortable feeling began to numb me, especially the second half when Todd and Mrs Lovett were doing the unthinkable!!

But thank God it was just a story, a musical and given a fable-like treatment by the quirky Tim Burton. Yet it was definitely gripping. The music was good - not your happy-happy musical mill. The acting was spendid. And I love Johnny Depp even if in this film, he was a real demon/psychotic/monster.

Ok, now that I've gotten something out of my chest, perhaps I could go to bed and try not to think of the movie anymore, that's if I succeed...

p.s. to match the theme of the post.. I've put the fonts in red.
(apparently it was hard to read so I changed font colour..)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Two Js and a New Stairway - a pictorial story!

Oh dear, oh dear! I just scrolled through my previous posts and realised I've not updated on my two Js for more than THREE months! How could I!? :(

This following pix were taken around a month ago.. I had wanted to post it but was so busy with my social life then that I had postponed it.. and almost forgotten about it...until now!

So... *drum rolls*... Jess' Two Js presents a pictorial story named: `The Two Js and a New Stairway', featuring (who else but) Jojo the Coward and Jelly the Dare Devil! Enjoy :p

Once upon a time, there lives two dogs - a larger one called Jojo and a smaller but fatter one named Jelly. They love to run around the garden when the weather is good. But just a week before Christmas last year, they noticed some strangers `invading' their garden, and they made lots of noise. There was also weird smell. But finally one day when all was quiet, they went to investigate the place where the noises came from.. lo and behold! There is a NEW stairway that leads all the way down to.. and they wonder where

The steps look steeper than all the steps in and outside the house they live. Both of them were apprehensive..

Then one fine day, their mommy tries to lead both of them down..

Jojo takes a look down and immediately retreats away.. looks like he has a fear of heights..

Jelly hoirway and it leads her to the `park' which they love to go from another stairway which is normally locked!wever, takes a step down, and then two, and then three.. hey, she discovers it is just another sta

She pauses at the half way landing, stops and looks up and is obviously pleased with herself.

She even dares to walk up the stairs herself.. she walks up and then down, no problem! But poor Jojo just stares enviously from up there faraway..

Meanwhile, Kak Sinur tries to use a leash and guide Jojo. But no, he is not cooperative at all.. He is so scared.. he refuses to move

But Jojo has a good sense of direction! He decides to go through the inside of the house and comes out through the bamboo garden that leads to the half way landing!

`Heyyy!! i am here!" he is ecstatic. "But errrr.. i can't go down, nor go up now.. how?" Jojo is stuck!

In no time, he is joined by Jelly who runs to where he is.

"Lets go down together ok?" suggests Jelly to Jojo.. but the latter is very very hesitant.

Jelly tries to pass some tips and secrets to Jojo who instead is getting more and more afraid!

"I can't believe you're such a coward!" is probably what Jelly is thinking and she decides not to wait for him anymore.

"How did you do that?" mumbles Jojo when Jelly walks down one step.
"Come on, just follow me and do it, it's easy peesy!" says a proud Jelly.

"Bye! I am going down.!" Jelly loses her patience and begins walking all the way down where her mommy is waiting, at the park.

When she reaches, she enjoys the cool earth and smells the grass (actually she is smelling her pee!) But she remembers something so she turns around and look up..

Brother Jojo is still standing there, and he just looks enviously at Jelly for another long long time until he turns around and goes back into the house via the way he comes..

Epilogue: Their mommy and other humans give up. Till today, Jojo still would not go down the stairway. Sinur manages to coax him going UP once but that's it.. And because Jojo weon't go near the stairway, Jelly also never uses it herself unless there are humans to play with her there...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

He speaks through the thorn..

It has been a pretty lazy and tiring week.. lazy because I have not been productive in my work - doing just the bare minimum and slowly meeting the deadlines.. and tiring because I have not been sleeping enough, thus physically and emotionally quite lethargic.

Having said that, I thank God He is lifting me up spiritually.. I think it's at time when we're not in a rush or haste that we can hear His voice clearer. I am thankful for the awakening once again like how I experienced it last March and also August. Like the apostle Paul, I know the Lord is not removing my`thorn' so that I would remember Him and come back to Him when I stray away...

So, yes, I have lack of sleep. But I'm fine. I'm not ill for those of you who know me personally and may be concerned.. I am in fact joyful and at peace. I think 2008 had been a great start.. not because I have managed to accomplished one or two resolutions - well part if them.. eg FB and dieting.. but more importantly, I have rededicated my life once again back to God for Him to lead and guide, and not trying to run my own life.

I have recommitted myself to serve in a couple of ministries seriously, on top of that, to buck up my personal devotion with the Lord.. and most importantly, to have Him living on the throne of my heart..

Like what a preacher said last week: the more we obey and serve, the more blessed we are. Not in the sense of material and personal blessing but the fact that God can use a as great blessings to others. And that in turn, is a greatest blessing because our lives honour God.

And that's my top `resolution' this year and beyond..

Thursday, January 17, 2008

My Battle with Fat (part 2 - Now: the new and healthier way!)

Today will be the 7th day of my new slimming program. No no, God forbids I joined another slimming centre.. but I did `enrol' into a weight loss program of sort, with professional guidance. BUT, it is not a slimming center.. It is way cheaper and to me, healthier and make more sense.

Basically I'm on a meal replacement program - using the formula supplied by Herbalife. I just found out after I decided to try it that it is actually quite established and many people have heard of this, which is also a direct marketing business. But to me most importantly because the person who is selling me the products is someone I know and I am quite amazed how he managed to lose so much weight. On top of that, when he let me tried the product, it actually tasted pretty good! Not like some formula I have tried years ago which was quite yucky. It also has various flavour so not so monotonous.

Like I said in part 1, I knew on Jan 1 that I would need some kinda help to lose weight. Telling myself I'm on a diet (AGAIN!!) won't work. For I really lack the will power especially when it comes to food. So I know that if I `sign up' with my friend and get the product, which although still expensive, but much more affordable compared to other weight loss centre (ie. machine treatment type), my mindset would be different.

True enough, it has been working! I went for consultation last Thursday and began the program on Friday - actually had a test trial for Thurs itself and didn't feel hungry until much later in the evening. I was a bit amazed that the shake (which is less thick than a real milk shake) is very filling and can indeed be a supplement as a proper meal!

To start with, I was instructed to take the shake (which consists of all kinds of nutrition and vitamins) and whey protein (the accompaniment of the shake that gives you the extra protein) for breakfast and dinner. For lunch, I could still eat normal food - but non-fattening stuff and less in quantity. Throughout the day, I would also be taking a lemon tea - which function is to speed up the metabolism rate and helps to burn the fat in the body.

Only one normal meal a day.. but I am allowed to snack a little - healthy snack of course, in between meals. The key word is sensibility and moderation. But I find myself only needingi to snack a bit if I sleep late at night. For the shake does make you feel quite full. So yes, you can say for a week, I have succeeded in following through my new diet and slimming program

And it was also easier than I imagined.. I think it's very important if you start off with a positive mindset. Yes I do sometimes think of some yummy food and get a bit tempted seeing what my parents eat.. but I just tell myself it's ok, I've had been eating so much last year and I also try to not subject myself to temptation if possible!

That's not it. It is not just a diet thing. It is actually lifestyle changing - and for better too. You see, because I have to take all three meals, i am forced to get up by nine something in the morning to have (shake) breakfast! And that means I am `forced to' sleep around 1am the latest! Herbalife actually contributes to killing the owl!!

Unlike slimming centres, my friend did stress the importance of exercise. For this program it's advisable to sweat it out at least three times a week. The best would be around 20 mins of exercise daily! Of course daily is a bit unrealistic for me but I will be going to gym this afternoon which means in this week, I would have achieved exercising three times!

You see why I'm so excited and willing to `line my dirty laundry in public' so to speak and talk about my battle with fat and all the ups and downs of my weight loss ordeals? Because I am so thrilled to discover one that not only would help me lose weight - (but don't know how fast or effective yet on me) - but also help to CHANGE my rather unhealthy lifestyle or never eating breakfast and irregular exercise routine. AND of course CHANGE my over-indulging and unhealthy eating patterns too!!

So that's it. My new year resolutions had been pretty good in terms of personal lifestyle and discipline is concerned.. I also hope I can do so for my work, and more importantly for my spiritual life.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I am going to ditch TM!

The last post could have been up two days earlier if not of the erratic Internet connection I experienced at home. It's been really frustrating as I had some important emails to send and also compiling an advertorial based on a website! Mere 2 hours job stretched to maybe double the time or more..

The reason it's up now and I'm also posting this is because I'm at Starbucks which used its own network and not the infamous Streamyx by TM!

For my non-Malaysian readers, TM is Malaysia's national (foremost?) telecommunication service provider.. but so much for that!

As I rely heavily on Internet to do my work, I need a reliable network provider and I heard Maxis broadband wireless is better.. so that's it, I'm going to change after 13 years of using TM service (from TMNet to Streamyx)

In the mean time, stay tuned for Part 2 of `Battle with Fat'!

Monday, January 14, 2008

My Battle with Fat (part 1 - the history)

To be honest, Jan 1 did not start off well as far as resolutions is concerned. However, 10 days later on Jan 11, I began my NEW lifstyle.

And I'm glad that because of one resolution, it leads to 2 more resolutions going to be realised, ok, maybe not so soon but at least in progress!

What is it you may ask? Well, the `inspiration' came when I was working out in gym on new year's day and when I caught my reflection in the mirror when doing some leg press, I was horrified to see how FAT my tummy was! Sure i do look know I'm getting more overweight but the unsightly bulge resembling a five-month pregnant woman just hit me there and then!

So I told myself I just had to do something about it.. going on a diet and exercising on my own would not do because I know how difficult and also slow in effects that would be. My mind turned and I thought of getting professional help (again) but no, I have told myself I would not waste my money on joining slimming centres.

I decided on another method and I've embarked on it. But before I devulge the details, I need to put all this in context thus for the first time on a public blog, I'm exposing to you the history of `my battle with fat' since the early 1990s..

I am not big-built, and rather shortl.. yet I was never slender since my teens. But when I started working after graduation was the time my weight started to increase.. I love eating you see and I think those who know me know my poor self-control especially when it comes to food! But yet, I still care about my appearance... and I know I should loose some weight although I would like to term myself plump rather than fat.. but I was in self denial but the stats spoke for themselves although bulges could be hidden partly with clothings..

I'm not ashame to confess I have signed up (that means forked out A LOT of money) with no less than FOUR professional slimming centres in my life because I did need them - as I said, starting way back to 1992 when I ballooned after joing my first job. It was just a diet centre more than anything else, and although I succeeded to a certain extent, it was really miserable not be able to eat anything but tiny portions of steam/grilled meat, vege and certain fruits.. for weeks after weeks..

The seconed one I joined was a well known international chain that used the famous cold wrap methods. Well, the impetus to get professional help again was that I looked forward to slim down to be a bridesmaid for my good friend. That was at the turn of the millineum and I spent about eight months and a huge sum of money all in and manage to lose 10kg and more than 3 inch off my waist! Pretty good results and everyone noticed and commented how I lost weight but it wasn't without heavy price (literally speaking).

I felt good but that new image was short-lived too. After I stopped going there the following year, I gradually put back on, because I was eating back to normal portion and had no more treatments. So just slightly more than one year later I was almost back to my previous appearance..

Then a couple of years later, I decided to do it gradually and pay lesser.. This time using the Ultrasound method offered by another slimming center chain. Alas, it was slower and very gradual weight loss.. but the money aint cheap either. I decided to give up after just a few kg lighter and not a lot slimmer.

So I thought that would be the last time i ever `throw' my money and not mentioning time to lose weight... then I did it again! It started when I attended an assignment I think about 4 years or so back and it was on our advertiser - a newer slimming centre in town. By then slimming centres had mushroomed across the city giving you plenty of choice. Well, since I covered their event which also saw them recruit new clients there and then, I itchily asked about the program and then got persuaded to sign up as they promised to give me a good discount.

However, the result wasn't very good either after a few sessions.. And then I found out a journalist was offered a free trial package on their slimming course!! I thought I needed another series anyway and I was lucky that an editor I was writing for agreed for me to write about my slimming experience.

But things changed when I started that FOC course. The friendly and courteous treatment I enjoyed was changed to a more casual and even demanding! I mean they want me have result so i can write good things about them. So if missed one session (due to work normally) or come less frequent than I was told, I actually was admolished by this particular consultant! I felt as if I owed it to them.. I'm no longer their client but they are my`boss'!

People who know me know I won't succumb or bow down to such treatment - my nature and my `privilege' as the Media. I was a bit cheesed off and also I began to regret.. these treatments are taking too much of my time (no I couldn't claim OT cos i was moonlighting for this one actually) so one fine day I just decided I would stop it.. I just never went back again.

After this experience, I told myself `forget about slimming centres'! - if I need and want to loose weight, I will do it myself - with will power, disciplined and determination.

But all those qualities I still lacked and alas, although losing weight has always been one of my New Year resolutions in the past donkey years, I had never succeeded. I have gradually put on even and then in the whole of 2007, I didn't even ATTEMPT to go on a diet at all..

Thus I reached my all time high weight, and fat level (despite the gym which wasn't that regular as well) And when this new year dawned... suddenly I was slapped awaken!

to be continued...

Monday, January 07, 2008

One week into the new year and ...

It's one week into the new year.

Exactly a week ago this time I was jumping up and down at Wynners concert (refer to next post) but now I am already feeling the `heat' of a new year.

To be honest, I have not begun my hopefully resolute year that well. Well, I did one thing quite drastic though.. is that I'm almost completely off Facebook for the last week! Especially the last 2-3 days! And it was easier than i thought! Maybe i was already getting bored of it.. after all my addiction usually won't last that long.

But I'm still spending a lot of time on the Net - partly is for work and work-related things, and catching up with friends.. Time consuming but still less frivolous and time wasting than mindlessly `playing' Facebook.

Actually I'm only posting because I feel something's `missing' if I don't blog for almost a week! But deep inside I would like to spend less time blogging and use the time to do other things like say reading! After all, it's not the quantity but the quality that counts.. So after today's post, I decide that I would only post when I'm really inspired to, and not when I feel I should - just for the sake that I have something to show my readers (all 30 or so of them?!) I hope my readers will understand and support this decision...

Meanwhile, the week has been pretty interesting and eventful. Just two short updates..

Update 1:
Yesterday, I met up with my friend May from HK who is going to be based here for two years. It was great catching up as we have lost touch for many years after secondary school and somehow got connected again through a common friend a few years back.. After church, I decided to bring her to Pavillion, because I still hadn't seen its magnificent Christmas tree that I saw in pix and people told me! Half expecting that it would be down by now - yesterday was Jan 6th already..

Gosh, my fear was confirmed! Lo and behold! the grand mall has been immersed into a Chinese New Year mood!! Instead of Christmas tree, in place was some read, angpow-like decoration. Not very impressive if you ask me. Or maybe they're still in the process of decorating..

Sigh.. I know I was just too late! Now I have to wait another 11 months or so to see that big Christmas tree again.. or maybe they won't `recycle' it.. so no more chance :((

Ok, forget that freaking tree.. we did have a great time chitchatting, shopping (i only bought magazines) and eating. Then I came across the following. No prize for guessing what they were queuing up for. It's so many people! even more people than when I was there in late October. but I guess it was Sunday also.

Do you think their donuts are really so yummy worth queuing up like this for?

Update 2:
Last Wed, I watched Aladdin the Pantomime which had just concluded its three-week run at KLPac. it was pretty interesting - a bit childish but great fun and funny too. Although it was a small audience that night, the cast put up brilliant effort. I had a good time and I think my niece Laura and nephew Alistair enjoyed it too though their mom looked slightly bored :p

Well, I went mainly because I knew a few of the actors in it..I tried taking photos during the show but was stopped! It was very colourful - both props and costumes! After it finished, I stayed back to meet my friends. You should know at least some of them: Doreen Tang was so brilliantly annoying as the spoilt rich princess Paris, Joanna Bessey bravely cross-dressed to play Aladdin, and Douglas Lim as the hilarious Wishie Washie..

The only one missing on the photo was Nell Ng who was Wishie's side kick Wan Ton, because she already removed all her make up so refused to be photographed :p

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Winsome Wynners!!

What a blast! What a way to end 2007 and usher in a new year 2008!

Again (the last time was in 1999 in Genting Highland) I had the privilege of attending The Wynners concert. How could I miss it? If Alan Tam is in it? Haha, but honestly, having the five of them together in a concert is as good, if not better, than a solo show from my idol!!

This would be their 33rd anniversary concert and I had already attended the press conference early this month. Yep, I was so excited to catch it that I wanted to grab the best available seats at the media area. I was also given two comp tix but I was given the option to be at the VVIP area by the kind organiser Star Planet so I gave my two comp tix to my ex-colleague (whose wife is a big fan too!) And I asked Lynn - who nicknamed herself `Choo Ah Lian' - to accompany me.

We were so early that the VVIP area was practically empty and we got really good seats - 5th row from the front! But had to wait until 9:30pm before it started and the weather was very warm.. and threatening to rain. In fact, it did drizzle a while during the concert but good thing it didn't pour..

I tell you, watching the Wynners is both nostalgic and comedic! They were well known from the 1970s of course and so their average age is also mid-late 50s already.. But yet, these canto-pop stars really know how to put on a show! They don't let their `maturity' set any limitation in the way they put on their show! They still sing and dance like they are in their 20s! And then because the style is so 70s, and their costumes were pretty `old fashion' yet elaborate, it was as if we were sent back in a time warp.. only that the artistes have the face and body of a bunch of middle-age men..

Speaking of costumes - gosh, they really don't stinge! I've lost count of the number of changes in the 3-hour show. And they're all really flashy and pretty corny even! I read that this concert - the props, the costumes, the run-down and all - is exactly the same as the one they did in HK during CNY. And yes, it was `action-packed' and well executed, although some of them, namely Alan Tam himself, seemed to have forgotten bits and pieces of the dance choreography!! :p

There was this part when they brought the audience back to the time when the band was formed - the members of Wynners came from its predecessor Loosers, except for Kenny Bee. It was hilarious to see them all in shoulder-length wigs, school uniforms and then put up a mini skit of sort that really had us in stitches! Gosh, I never laughed so hard for a long-long time! It's true as they claim, where there's Wynners, there's always fun and laughters!

Because each of them have their unique expertise, yet they are also a unit, there were many different segments that showcase them as a band and as individual performer. Of course, just like how it was back then, Alan Tam is the unofficial leader/spokesperson while Kenny Bee comes a close second. And as arguably the most successful singer in the 1980s, Alan got the chance to sing more songs, followed by Kenny Bee, who both Lynn and I agreed looked the best among the lot. Alas, must admit my idol has piled on quite a bit of weight and is the most chubby among the five!

Drummer Anthony Chan seems like a man of few words but can still plays his drums fiercely! His solo presentation earned thunderous applause! Bennette Pang, who loves his dog and his guitar, is dubbed the happiest person of the lot. The most timid of them all as always is Danny Yip, who surprisingly did a hot rap number!

Having covered countless Canto/Mando pop concerts, it is only at one person's concert I would scream.. (no prize for guessing who!) And so I did - yelling and calling out his name - un-shamefully directed at one particular member! And the audience - whose age groups range from grandma to small kids - adored The Wynners too!

They were singing more English songs in those days. So at the concert, they also sang many - among them by the Bee Gees (Alan did such a comical imitation of Barry Gibb!) and The Beatles and their own brand of songs like L.O.V.E. and the ever cheerful Sha-la-la-la. There were also poignant moments when they presented their own reunion theme songs like `chin zoi bat bin' and the latest `33 chun' that sang of their unchanging friendship.

The countdown at midnight was a tad disappointing.. nothing to do with The Wynners but the organisers this time stinge on the fireworks!! There wasn't a proper firework display like last time at `Zor Lun Yau Li' countdown shows.. hmmmm.. but it's not really a damper because everyone was already so high with the highly energetic performance on stage. And it didn't matter too that they didn't know the lyrics of `Auld Lang Syne'!

So they sang on for another half and hour of so into the new year before calling it a night. It ended with Alan Tam's fast songs `Har Yat Hon Fung' - and I just can't help but be awed and amazed at their stamina. They must be boiling hot in those thick winter costumes (from HK's show) and they were still dancing and running across the stage, singing and talking and in Alan Tam's case, yelling as well! Yap, Alan was truly the charismatic lead who naturally shines on stage - never mind his protruding tummy :p

So I left the concert in an euphoria high, even had an urge to rush to the celebration party to see them (read: Alan) again. But common sense got hold of me. Traffic in city center at 12:30am on new year's day will be a nightmare! And I was kinda tired...

But once I reached home, I spent the next hour or so uploading all the (clearer) pix onto my Facebook! I've already deleted those bad ones and still I had like 140 pix from the concert!! Of course, the ones here are the best of the lot!

It goes without saying that I had such a memorable time.. So how was your New Year eve? ;)