Monday, June 30, 2008

a fortnight of suffering to be followed by five days of bliss..

In Chinese there is a saying that is roughly translated to `suffering precedes bliss'. And that's the mindset I'm holding onto now.

I REALLY don't know how I'm going to finish all my stories in the next fortnight.. but by hook and by crook I just have to! I admitted I have been distracted by many things in the last couple of weeks and have not been productive although i seem to be `working' quite a lot!

And it didn't help that I've gotten some rather tricky and `problematic' assignments - that require LOTS of planning and coordinating. Ok, I think I did mention it in earlier post..

Normally I don't really pray about my work unless it's like major things but now I really need some divine intervention for I still have problem even starting one major story.. nor getting all the stories in from interviewees..

But like they say.. at the end of the tunnel is light. Yeah, have prebooked a holiday since March - I'll be going to Krabi, Thailand from July 14-18! I love the sea and the beach, so really looking forward to visit Phi Phi island and the others.. And I am NOT bringing any work with me. Anyway, out of the five deadlines, only one can be stretch till later part of July. But I still have to do the bulk of it first..

So, instead of tearing my hair and wallow in self-pity.. I just have to grit my teeth and be focussed. Real focussed and disciplined from today onwards. After all, I'm having my last `fling' watching Spain vs Germany in Euro 2008 Final in about two hours time.

And pls be my witness as I vouch to NOT waste any more time doing leisure stuff like Facebooking, reading blogs and even writing my blog in the next two weeks. These are the things that have taken most of my real work time.

Till then..

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Birthday boy with an amputated tail!

Happy 5th Birthday to my Jojo Darling! :)

Time flies.. Jojo turns five-year-old today!!

Thank God his tail has healed quite well and he has not been wearing e-collar for three days already. So he is back to normal except there's some cosmetic defect at his tail end.. no thanks to bad mommy.. (background story here)

He has been very happy the last few days but don't know why i could not get him to smile for camera today! He was in a melancholic mood so far...hmmm.. does he know he's getting older and resents it? Or he doesn't like how his tail looks like on his birthday? :p

Anyways, here are pix fresh out of the oven - taken after lunch today - showing the pensive and manja side of Jojo..and a bit of Jelly.

My maid wants to clean Jelly's ears but Jojo gets jealous and all manja!

Jojo's tail at the moment..

and now, the best pix of the lot...
the two Js' back sides!!! ;D

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

overdose of work + computer + football + coffee + lack of exercise and sleep = an unhealthy, tired and grumpy owl

This is the longest post title yet for my blog of three years..

I really ought to be taking a break from my PC screen.. my left eye is red again and my thinking incoherent. But I just need to rant - whether it's self-pity or self-reproach. :(

Ok, on one hand, I'm feeling pretty stressed with work - and had put in my Facebook status that I have 5 stories to write in 3 weeks (now one more!). A few of these articles are really not easy - as in I really need to plan, contact many interviewees and organise the whole story within limited time. I can tell you the `getting the story' part would be far tougher and much more time consuming than actual writing. Well, it's so for most story I guess but now I have a few of these TOGETHER! And the more I started on them the more I discover there is to research and do and there's one particular lead story that probably needs re-angling.. thank God I haven't actually written anything but...

(I shan't dwell into work stuff cos I can't and won't reveal much and don't want to bore my readers!)

So yeah, you would imagine I'm slogging away with work.. But thanks to the Euro 2008 championship (which is almost the whole month of June) I have turned into a true-blue owl. The matches are all played starting at 2:45am - though some of the first round matches started at midnight. Those who know me know I'm quite a fan of International football - ie country against country - especially huge ones like World Cup and Euro Championship. And now having the luxury of not needing to wake up for work, I have been sleeping at the crack of dawn the last fortnight. When it came to the Quarter finals where three out of four matches ended up in extra-time.. u could imagine my sleeping patterns. I now get up about 1-ish.. but even like last nite there was no match, I still slept after 4am but woke up a bit earlier cos thought of work. And my daily mug (or more) of Starbucks coffee become an essential as a `pick-me up'

Since I had no specific things on today, I originally planned to go to gym this afternoon after working a bit more in Starbucks. For I hadn't gone for 2 weeks now (before that I took even longer a break!) Exercise would make me feel better I know. But guess what, I ended up sitting in Starbucks - doing some work (not actually writing but drafting questions and discussing things with editors) and other leisure things on the Internet - for close to five hours! Time just flew and by that time, too tired and hungry to consider gym.

When I drove home, I felt quite angry with myself.. and with things. I felt unproductive and lousy basically..

But of course not everything is gloomy. Like when I realised I forgot to bring my wallet out today, it just happened that a friend was waiting to meet me at Starbucks. So she passed me some money.. phew! And then the organiser of Gary Chaw's concert has kindly given me two comp tix for the concert this Sat which I'm not covering and was wanting to go!

So I know I should stop complaining. I should just tell myself to buck-up!!

And thank goodness only three matches left!

p.s. pardon this lousy, uninspiring post

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Where, O death, is thy sting?

Never had I understood this verse in 1 Corinthian 15:55 more clearly..

A dear friend of us from church succumbed to lung cancer yesterday morning. It has been one-and-a-half year since Michael was diagnosed with stage four of lung cancer. I remembered we were shell-shocked and sad to receive the sms his wife Elaine sent during our fellowship Christmas party in 2006. We never expected that.. end stage lung cancer!? He was not even a smoker at all. There was so much to look forward to in his life - Elaine was then pregnant with their first son. And they were one of the most loving couples, and such nice and friendly people I know.

For the last 18 months or so - we saw how they battled cancer through medical treatment, also prayers and supports from church and friends.. At one stage after chemotherapy, the tumor had actually reduced in size and there was some optimism. But unfortunately not long later, his condition got worse and cancer has spread to other parts of his body.

All along, Elaine has been a wonderful and supportive wife - she constantly updated us of Michael's condition through SMSes so that we could pray for him. She also had quit her job especially after baby Brian arrived - and to take care of her husband and baby full-time. On the other hand, I am encouraged and amazed by Michael as well. Whenever I saw him, he had never once complained of his illness or pain if he was suffering any. He was still the same cheerful, smiling guy I knew since day one.

Usually we would see them during Sunday service and sometimes have lunch together. But for the last two months or so, due to his worsening condition, they couldn't come out much. Then about two weeks ago when I got a SMS from Elaine saying that Michael has been warded at Pantai due to breathing difficulty, I decided to pay them a visit. And I'm glad I went although that was the crazy evening - the eve of fuel price rise. That was the first time I saw Michael totally bald but he seemed still in good spirit. He didn't talk much because he was given the oxygen mask then so Elaine and I talked for a while.. and I was very encouraged by what she shared with me., with Michael nodding his head. Indeed their faith was strong and the Lord has been very close to Michael during his final days on earth and filled him with His Spirit. Unfortunately I couldn't stay too long and said a short prayer for Michael and bid goodbye.

That was the last time I saw Michael. The news of his demise was equally if not more shocking than the news of him diagnosed with cancer. Although to be realistic, we have mentally prepared for a day that he might not make it. But the night before, I just got an sms from Elaine asking us to pray for him as he has got an infection and was warded again. I was thinking of following up the next day. Then when I woke up (very late), I got the news. Elaine herself also sent out sms to inform..I decided just text her rather than call as I know she must be very worn out and distraught.

I was in a melancholic mood the whole day.. on one hand I know Michael has gone to be with the Lord and is at a better place..but I really feel for Elaine, Brian and Michael's family. Especially Elaine - I prayed that she would be strong and her faith not shaken..

I was really encouraged by her sharing at the wake service tonight.. yes, I could see she had cried buckets but last minute she decided to go on stage to share about what happened to Michael before he left. It was similar to what she had told me in the hospital and although being filled with the Spirit may be something a little `foreign' to Baptists (we are all from a baptist church), but I know it's true and I know that the Lord had been with Michael and sustaining him to the last hour. Although like what pastor said, we don't understand why God did not heal him and let him die, but we know God never left Michael alone and he is now with Jesus..

I song led for a bereavement occasion for the first time. I wanted to do it when I was asked because that was something I could do for my friends. I was quite worried at first for I had never done it before - what should I say? what songs to pick? it would be far easier to lead songs for wedding (which I have done a few times) I was asked to choose only four songs. Since yesterday I was praying that the Lord gave me the right songs - those that can comfort and give hope to the family. Elaine also called me last evening and told me a song that Michael liked so I incorporated that.. which was actually very appropriate too.

Praise and thank God that the songs had touched many people - for I had some positive comments.. Actually as late as today I didn't know how to choose two out of three songs (the other two - the opening and Michael's song - were fixed) Finally I was so glad that I had `Because He Lives' as closing.. I had to forgo `It is Well With My Soul' for `In Christ Alone' because I felt the latter has a more powerful and hopeful meaning.. `It is Well' is quite a popular hymn for bereavement I guess but it would be a bit too sad.. somehow I thought.

It was a meaningful memorial service for Michael - a number of his friends went on stage impromptu to give mini eulogy. The amount of people who turned out also said a lot about his personality. And Elaine's own speech was very touching and inspiring.. though I saw her broke down after she spoke.. :(

Just to digress from this a bit.. but also in related topic - last evening I interviewed a couple who lost their teenage son to cancer. Already affected by Michael's death, that was not something I really looked forward to hear and talk about but deadline was looming so I just had to go ahead. It turned out to be another amazing testimony. Their son had so much faith in God that he became the inspirations to the parents and now that the parents, who had led lukewarm Christian lives had turned back to God and active in serving too. The way that the parents talked about their son (who died less than a year ago) was quite amazing - to me it really opened up my eyes on how powerful `death' can be. Because for a person who has found Christ, there is no fear in death. Death has lost its sting.

The last verse in the closing hymn we sang goes:

"And then one day I'll cross the river
I'll fight life's final war with pain
and then as death gives way to victory
I'll see the lights of glory and I'll know He lives"

Of course, we know for the loved ones left behind, it's sad and I can really empathise with Elaine and their young boy. She will no doubt miss her hubby dearly. But I also believe that with time, she will come out of it because the Lord is there with her at all time.

Farewell Michael, you have fought a good fight! We shall miss you..

Take care and be strong, Elaine. We love you and God bless..

Monday, June 16, 2008

pop-over at HOT's 100th issue party!

Last Wednesday, HOT Magazine - one of the publications I contribute to - threw a big bash to celebrate their 100th issue!

I wasn't sure whether I could make it at first - since that evening I also had choir practice. But after knowing that they would start at 7pm, I thought I would just pop by for a short while. But I wasn't really dressed for the occasion..

The party took up the whole of Pulse at Grand Millennium Hotel. The only faces I recognised there were the pretty and hot lasses from the Hot Potato (publisher of Hot and Hello!) - look how hot and sexy they looked and how casual and `out' I was!

Then not long after, I saw Kimberlycun the blogger and Shaolin Tiger walking in - have been reading their blogs but first time meeting them! So I made myself know and found the smart `Narcissist' to be a real sweet girl.. and she asked to take photos with me - and even do a plug on her famous blog. ;)

Then all is forgotten about taking more photos as I got distracted by the various interesting cocktails as I bumped into some old friends from the media circle. Busy sipping and munching on the very slow moving finger food, I realised I was already late for my choir practice. So yeah, I missed the more interesting part of the evening!

But after that, I also had a good time singing at Cantus Musicus practice - so much more to learn and our final performance at the German Ambassador's house will be this coming Saturday!

And like our last concert there, that means more alcohol and food!! *hics* ;)

disclaimer: lest you think that I'm an alcoholic, well, just says I enjoy my drinks and I hold them well.. (thanks to my grandfather's genes, i don't get drunk easily!)

Hopping Hot!!

What a blast!! It's been something like 15 years or so since my last Grasshopper concert.. and now, even though they're already in their 40s, these guys are still hopping hot than ever!

But what really amazed me during their concert in Genting on Saturday night was how passionate the audience were! I have been to many Canto and Mando pop concerts and I could say the response of this Genting crowd was unprecedented! Besides the two planned encores.. after the light came on and announcement that the concert was finished, the audience refused to barge and cheered till Grasshopper came out again.. and it happened again AND again, till my friend and I had to leave the stadium cos it was really late..

Of course, Grasshopper - consists of brothers Calvin and Remus Choy and Edmond So - are known for their hot dance and extravagant showcase. And I tell you, it was quite funny to see their many male fans screaming for them too.. here are three men who are not afraid to flaunt it - with their sexy and rather suggestive dance move! The highlight was when they decided to give their fans eye-candy and stripped off their already skimpy tops - with some teasers thrown in! Just say that they keep themselves fit and toned ;) Remus in fact is a qualified fitness instructor and the most muscular of the trio. So you can imagine the screaming and yelling that came from some very excited fans!

No matter what you think of their style, you have to give it to them for putting up a hyper-energetic and entertaining show. And their stamina was just amazing! The second half of the concert was like a marathon dance showcase with a medley of all their fast songs. And they did not let it stop. And if they're tired, they did no show it... and their vocals were still intact.

They didn't even have to urge the audience but most of them were on their feet clapping and dancing away. I was glad I wasn't right in front because Grasshopper got so high that they kept throwing and splashing water towards the audience.. and they had many bottles and even got their dancers to do that! The atmosphere was sizzling hot - even non-fans like me and my friend thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

I was slightly disappointed that our seats were way up but it also gave an interesting perspective of the whole stadium. Took some photos towards the end of the concert but because of where I was seated, Grasshopper appeared very small, and sometimes blur. But better than nothing I guess..

look carefully above and you can see a topless Grasshopper! :p

The above was one of the photos after the many encores after the whole thing supposedly have ended. So they were singing without any lighting. Some audience had left.. but most wanted more and more. After like two more encores, we were already at the side waiting to leave. But even after we left Arena of Stars at 11pm, we could still hear roars of cheering and yelling.

It was simply crazy..!!

Anyways, since we're on Grasshopper, following are just a few of the photos I took during my interview with Grasshopper last month when they came to promote the concert. They were quite candid and fun to interview.. and when it comes to photography, they are like natural models.. and yeah, they admitted that they're vain!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Jess' two Js Makeover - again! ;)

Yes, as you (those of you who are regulars) would have noticed.. I've just changed my blog template and layout again!

I think the last time I changed was barely a year ago when i decided to go dark for tha background.. but the more I looked I it the more I disliked it so here is my new layout!

Again, i have to rely on Blogger's template (cos I still don't know how to design my own) and merely play with the colour and font a bit.. And I must say I am quite pleased with this one... :)

However, the only problem was I had to spend like 2 hours to change the font colours of close to 300 posts!! Because my earlier layout had a dark background, I was using very light colour font and even converted some of the earlier ones as well..

Thus, I had to post by post manually changed everything back to dark colour font! Talk about tedious and time-wasting!!

I've decided from now on, I will stick to light background.. it's really a pain to go through what I had done again!

Anyways.. let me know what you think of this design, k? ;)

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Me - a `Sofisticat'?

Youniverse Personality TestYouniverse Personality Test

How time flies - Jelly turns 4!

Today is a public holiday - it's the official birthday of our King or Yang Di Pertuan Agong. AND... it also happens to be the birthday of my beloved Jelly! She turns four today!

How time flies! This blog - which started off as a doggie blog of my two Js (Jojo & Jelly) but then evolved to a personal blog - would not leave out their birthday posts of course. You can see how Jelly looked like when she was two and three. And here's a dedication to her on her 1st birthday but somehow I didn't put any pix then!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JELLY!! You could see how she has grown - especially side ways! :p

This is how she looks like this morning - still a sleepy head . She has a weird habit of waking up at 6-7am and is active till about 9am and then sleeps again- usually in my room till noon!

For her dinner tonight, I gave her a treat - added in some yummy meat chunks to her normal dry meal.. and she loved it!! Included also a close-up of her yummy meal :p

Of course, I won't leave out poor Jojo who is still nursing a wounded tail.. But with his big-size E-collar on, he does look quite amusing while having his yummy meal..

Hopefully by Jojo's birthday later this month, his tail would have healed and he would be back to normal..

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Steep petrol increase - what a farce!!

I know millions of motorists around the country share the same sentiment as me..

But thought I would just blog for the record - an increase of 78 cent/ litre of petrol over night is really pretty HEFTY! If my memory serves me right.. past increase has never been that drastic.

So.. for me personally, I've changed my car rejoicing that now my 1400cc car would help me to save in petrol price! So instead of say RM93 for full tank for my old car, I pumped a full tank for my new car and it came to RM63! BUT didn't know that it was more a delusion because as of midnight last nite, I would need to fork out RM90 for a full tank for my little new car!! ARGH!! So it's like back to square one?

For the record, petrol price is now RM2.70 per litre - taking in the earning powers of Malaysians I think that is pretty steep!

But of course it was good timing too to change car for a full tank for my RAV4 now with the increase will be RM130!!! This is just absurd!

Speaking of absurdity.. last night the roads were real madness! Already I was stuck in massive jam (quite rare these days but maybe the rain contributed as well) at Mid Valley ring road.. which made me miss my choir practice. But when I headed home about 9pm, the earlier stretch of Connaught Highway was sardine pack and I found out later that it was be because of petrol station pile up! Even on the Grand Saga highway, I could see cars queuing up a few hundred meters spilling onto the highway just to pump up their petrol tanks!

I guess I was kinda fortunate as i already pumped up the night before since my tank was empty. But even then, I wouldn't go through the hassle and patience of queuing easily up to one hour to save maybe RM10 or RM20. It really shows the kiasu mentality of Malaysians too. Don't tell me all of them have empty or near empty tank at the same time?!!

I got even more angry as the road turning into my housing community was also jammed up because about 500 m down that road was a petrol station! At one point I felt like going down to scream at those kiasu motorists..!

Ok, enough ranting. Now we all just have to grit our teeth and bear with the harsh new reality of it all. OR we could all boycott driving and cycle to work! hahaha or if you can make do with the lousy public transports! And that's another story!!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

It's a DOG's life!

The problem now has shifted - from Jojo's tail to Jelly's ear..!!

We didn't know that Jojo's stitches had already come off! The vet said now we just need to just apply iodine once a day to the wound.. and yes, still need to wear his e-collar (which is too small for him actually) and the muzzle.. but other than that, he is doing fine!

I also brought Jelly along to the vet because her left ear canal has been getting more and more dirty, despite cleaning it everyday! I suspected she might have ear might or yeast..

So it's confirmed.. and even more serious that I thought! The vet said her ear canal has an infection and really needs to clean it. But it would be too painful for Jelly and she also could not stay still so the vet needs to put her on under anesthetic to do that!

Poor Jelly.. already she was put under G.A. last year when she had a swollen ear! It's quite strange cos we cleaned both dog's ears together with the same stuff and yet only Jelly developed that infection.. but yeah Jojo had his poor accident too.

As she could not bathe for at least 3 days after the cleaning, I decided I will bring her for grooming first today and then back to the Vet tomorrow.. And hopefully she will recover well enough for her birthday!

Yeah, Jelly turns four this Saturday - June 7th. Whereas Jojo will be five on June 26th.

Monday, June 02, 2008

My poor pathetic Jojo - and it's my fault!! :(

This is how Jojo looks like these days.

It's not enough just to let him wear the E-collar because he mouth could still reach his tail end!

And believe it or not, since his tail amputation operation 12 days ago, we had gone back to the Vet twice for re-bandage and to bandage it DIY many times since - sometimes even twice a day!

It's really like a battle to bandage his tail. Because his wound is still raw and it must be pretty painful. Jojo would struggle and not allow us to do it so each time it takes at least three of us, sometimes four of us to hold him and keep him still..

Some of us even got scratched and kicked by Jojo and sustained bruises..

He is also more manja and I let him sleep inside the house..

The Vet had said remove the stitches tomorrow (Tues) but looking at his condition, the tail end looks still raw. I think we would need to wait another few days.

The delay in healing also means Jojo is getting more smelly...

Poor poor thing - I'll be making up to him. :((