Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Jelly in a T-shirt! :)

Bought Jelly a new t-shirt today!!

I always thought she's too big for those cutie dog clothes but i actually found her size in Jusco supermarket. It was a tad bit expensive (RM31.90) but i think she looks good in this colour - and the style is simple too!!
At the beginning after I put it on, she was twitching and rolling on the floor.. After all, she was not used to it as she only had two pieces of clothings - a santa suit when she was a pup, and a apron dress which she hardly wears and outgrows it already..
But after 5-10 mins or so, she got used to it.. After all, its such comfortable cotton fabric and it's a cool night.. So ya, she is now sound asleep wearing her new t-shirt. hehe..
Now I need to send her for grooming soon.. her fur is getting too long!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Thank You For the Memories.. and Laughter!

I just returned from a wonderful long weekend at Port Dickson - from an occasion that can be considered `historic'

It's the first alumni retreat of the College and Career Fellowship (fondly known as CCF) of my church - the peer group I've joined for close to 15 years!

In the mid to late 90s, a group of swinging youngsters - then in their 20s and early 30s - not only came together on Friday night for Bible Studies but had built up deep friendship and fellowship between them. At those `hay years' of CCF, there were so many activities going on - from putting up evangelistic events like camps and variety shows to outstation trips, casual outings and gatherings.

Fast forward one-and-a-half decade on or so..

Many of the CCFers of those days had got married and started their family. So naturally, they had left our peer group and either set up or joined cell groups that are home-based. But most of them had never lost touch with their old friends, in fact, most of them are still in the same cell groups. And then there are also a fraction of us - the singles - who are still with CCF among the younger generation..

I know it's unfair to compare but the peer group today is unalike that of yesteryears'.. not only the numbers have depleted, but somehow it's not as close knit nor united, and besides the clock-work Friday meeting for Bible study, the social events of any kind are few and far in between.. In fact, we all who are still there have to face the fact that it's underdoing a crisis.. and we just have to pray for wisdom and ask God for wisdom..

But back to the retreat..

The idea of a reunion/alumni retreat had been suggested since early last year but no one cam out to organise it, until our dear former `first lady' and welfare coordinator Koots decided to spearhead this to reality. A few more people came on board to take various tasks and in two months or so, this alumni retreat was happening!

It was held at the Golden Sand Baptist Assembly - the familiar camp site of most of our church camps. Most of us went without any expectation.. but I dare to say each and everyone was truly blessed and happy to have gone!

We were honoured to have our former pastor Soo Inn, who also played apart in the formation of CCF in the early 1990s, as the speaker. And indeed what a great and charismatic speaker he is. He just recently turned 54.

It was a really fun, wonderful and unforgettable weekend. In just 48-hours or so, we did so much! The theme of the retreat was Abiding in the Vine and there were three sermon sessions, followed by group sharing. They were all very relevant and practical topics - trusting God in tough times, mariage and singleness and about work. Although many of us had heard these topics before but it was a fresh and timely reminder and there were new things I took home.

Yesterday afternoon was dedicated to personal sharing. So many came forward to attest of how CCF had became an intergral part of their spiritual life and many talked about the precious friendship formed here and how their life had been changed.

All of the sharing was interesting, encouraging and yes, nostalgic. Some of them were so funny (yes, we have a number of really humorous characters around) while a few were truly moving and caused me to have tears welded in my eyes.

The schedule was rather relaxing, understandably so as most of us are no longer young.. and also many parents brought their young kids. There were 25 kids in our midst! Our smart organiser even `imported' an experienced Sunday school teacher couple to help give the kids their own program during the talks.

The highlight of the retreat must be the fun variety show last night. True to the spirit of CCF where we had put up so many skits and shows in the past in our evangelism programs, last night's `show' was a blast!!

You know what, I bet I laughed more and harder last night than I did in a year!!

First we had the return of the Pantai Boys - and I was even `planted' to go for the audition but of course, I'm not a guy thus `lost'. But gosh, my `competitor' was really a riot with his dance that combined break-dancing and strip tease! I laughed till I could not even dance anymore.. Today, remaining members of the Pantai Boys, who are now much older men, were still in their elements and gave us a string of songs.

And then we re-staged a skit that CCF did in 1996 - which was totally unrehearsed. Somehow I also got roped in to play a small role. Basically it was acting out the creation story in Genesis 1&2. It was quite amazing that the main cast of were all there to re-enact their roles! We got to see the original version too on video but I think last night's version was even better - and funnier too!!

Finally, there was the award-presenation - of course it was just for a laugh. Imagine award titles like the `Best Nip and Tuck' , `The Drama Queen Award', `The Rojak Mixed Up' and many other long and hilarious titles!

But the night did not end there. A camper, also a keen party host, created his version of a game - ACTS - combining Articulate with Charades, Trivial and Serenade. Well, it became the battle of the sexes and finally the fairer sex won by two points! It was really a fun and quite challenging game indeed.

It was really great to see the former CCFers who are now dads and moms still so full of vigour and energy.. and after so many years, the bond between all of us are still strong. I didn't manage to talk to everyone but at least I caught up with a few especially my roommate Jenny who has immigrated to Australia for many years.

But like what Koots said, we did not come to this retreat for a feel-good time and to reminisce about the good old days.. rather, it is meant to encourage and spur us on to continue to walk with the Lord and serve Him and others which ever phase of life we're in.

Indeed, personally I have benefitted from the talks and encouraged tremendously by the sharings. Ithank God that I'm part of a family whereby I've grown in the Word, as a person, and also having good friends whom I can count on.

So, thanks Koots and all those who have put in much effort to make this retreat a reality. And thanks CCF for the fond memories!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Amazing (Gruesome) Magic Up Close!!

Barry Jones & Stuart McLeod look like your regular British blokes.. they're two magicians-comedians that could pull the most wicked, dark and gory tricks! And most of the time, funny and hilarious too!

They brilliantly combined amazing illusions with side-splitting comedy that make their show really entertaining. True, some may say they aint David Copperfield.. but the duo had crafted their uniqueness in every sense.

I have not watched magic show for a long long time. I had the privilege to catch David Copperfield when he came to KL many years ago.. and also watched him on TV before. I never thought I was a fan of magic.

However I was quite bowed over by what I saw in `Wicked Wizards: Barry & Stuart's Part-Time Warlocks'. Twice actually.. and I will get to watch it again, since I'm helping out Gardner & Wife Theatre on a part-time basis.

A word of warning to those who are squeamish.. you'll witness live lots of gross and gory acts to with the body parts - like cutting throat with a string, swallowing and spitting out razor blades, tube inserted into the nose, needle in the eye etc.. ya, you get the picture. Oh, not to mention (fake) blood oozing out everywhere!

I was sitting right on top of the opening night. But since tonight there were quite a lot of empty seats, I decided to have a closer view, and sat at seventh row from the front. I had to use my bag to half cover my eyes when Barry tried to cut his tongue with a razor blade!!

And then the unexpected happened.. Stuart skipped the first few rows and walked up to pick me to join them on stage. I knew what trick that was.. it's supposed to be teaching the audience some `after-dinner tricks' to impress their dates - but it was a gross one!!

Of course, it was mean to be funny.. and gruesome. After some silly pick-up lines like `Oh, do you like sharp objects like knife, needles.. etc. etc..' to which I said `yes', he took out a huge pin (looked more like a nail) and then proceeded to drill it through his tongue!! And he dragged me very close to him, forcing me to see it! Knowing that it's not real is one thing, but I was still squeamish. He then used a string to loop around the needle and made me pull it.. and then the tongue fell out!! yes, it's a fake tongue..

The next trick was not better. Stuart took a needle and poke it into the edge of his right eye and then pushed the needle underneath his skin and then squeezed it out from the left eye! He even took my hand to feel the hard needle beneath the skin... and as it (pretend to) push and squeeze, (fake) blood oozed out of his nostril.. Eeek! I didn't want to look!! It was pretty disgusting - though thank goodness I knew what to expect since I've watched it.

There were many more interesting tricks and almost all of them involved audience participation. Which made their magic more `real'. There was a real funny one where a `victim' became the curse of the voodoo doll.. pain was inflicted on him when the magician tried to do something to a doll! I spoke to that `victim' later and he just didn't know what happened but felt like he was `zap' at his butt!

Their illusions were so seamless, the props were minimal and many times, they had audience just right next to them as they did magic. It really got me wondreing how on earth did they do it?? But again, if I could figure out, then they won't be putting up the show!

Some of their tricks include: throwing a bottle of water in the air and when you catch it, it turns into wine - tasted by audience as well; a `miracle rope' which can be broken and then joined back at different places; a hand that goes through the body. But they also throw in some silly jokes and antics that had the audience in stitches. Even second time watching, I still laughed.

But I'm going to sit right at the back if I were watching it again...

Ya, off stage, they're just like any regular blokes.. very friendly and unassuming too! Oh, and Stuart said he picked me because he saw me hiding behind my bag! Wicked indeed!! :p

Click here for more info on the show, or check out Barry & Stuart's official website

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Just an update of loose thoughts..

It's weird how you always feel time has stretched when you're going through out-of-ordinary eventful happenings.. The week when Ah Nei fell critically ill leading up to her demise and funeral seemed so long..

It's been a week since her funeral. And time just zooms by again.. it feels quite scary.

At least things are getting back to normal, or routine one shall say.

But even though the last couple of years Ah Nei's movement was restricted mostly to her room, I still could feel the odd emptiness especially when I passed her room. Her hospital bed had been cleared, her wardrobe emptied and now given to one of the maids.. Her left over pampers, food and medical stuff have also been given away, though not all. A photo of her (the one we used for obituary and funeral rites) is now placed on the desk..

Sometimes, it feels weird to think that she is no longer around.. she's gone. For good...

As for myself, writing work has not really picked up well since end of last year.. I sometimes fear that I'm gradually losing it.. that if I can't even write a post in my blog, how bad a writer I am.. I hope to be more proactive and have some luck in this area.. but in the meantime, I'm also thankful that I have a retainer job helping out a theatre company as publicist/ press officer of sort. And now the first show of this year is opening this week.. so things are getting more busy.

Met up with my accompanist this afternoon - a pretty brilliant pianist who could sight-read brilliantly. Yes, I'll be sitting for my first vocal exam in June and I really need to work quite hard on the pieces! At the same time, after four Italian lessons, I still think I've remembered very little.. :( I have bought some dictionaries and notebooks for vocabs and grammars - similarly to how I learned French years back.. So you can't say I'm idle after all..

Oh, to think of it, I have not posted on my slimming endeavour this time! Without divulging too much, just say that it's a serious one. As in I paid quite a bit and so far.. in just two-and-a-half week, I have managed to lose about 3.8kg already - and inches off the body of course..

(But at the moment, I won't disclose much details.. perhaps later!)

Will be going for the CCF alumni camp this weekend! It should be fun and nostalgic, and hopefully fodder for more interesting posting!