Me No Shy About Me Birthday

Thanks for all your warm wishes!  It is the thought that counts.  So, text messages are same-same to me.

I have two traditions when it comes to my birthday.  One, it will be a holiday.  Look, if we have holidays to celebrate the birth of the kings and queens and anniversary of what not, why should I work on my birthday?   And two, during my birthday week, it will be my treat to all the friends who join me for lunch or dinner.  I mean, look at it this way, I feel so blessed to have friends turn up for my B day celebration.  It’s on me, gladly so.

I guess it is hard to contain the happiness and I find myself telling the people around me the coming of my birthday.  Maybe I am a natural exhibitionist.  Most people I know are more comfortable keeping it low profile, which is cool with me of course.  One time, the colleague behind me was on the phone and you know how kids are when they get onto the phone.  As usual, the faint high pitch voice reached my desk and I heard a birthday song!  It was my colleague’s birthday and I congratulated her after her call.  Wow, I would have missed that and I would feel quite bad had I known that someone’s birthday has gone underneath my radar.  She is my neighbor in the cube farm some more.  Bizarre to say – and those of you who know me in person would know how animated I can be once I get excited – despite my rather excited words of congratulation, everyone else was so absorbed with their work and none noticed this little event.  Oh well.

The other day, one friend of mine in the office told me that she doesn’t think writing “I wake up, I eat, I sleep” as her journal (or blog) is interesting at all.  Well, I don’t know.  I also write “I wake up, I eat, I sleep” too.  Maybe if one day 3am in the morning and you can’t sleep, you should try reading my blogs.

I woke up this morning after an amazing 8 hours of sleep, looked in the mirror, and didn’t notice any difference.  I mentally timed my pee and it took roughly the same time.  Great!  It’s my birthday and I feel one year younger.  I did some memory test and I passed, remembering all the schedule blog entries all the way till I fly out of town next Wednesday.  Superb!  Good as new.

Switched on my wireless phone and went through the bunch of entertaining text messages.  One friend told me that men age like fine wine.  Wow, my first time hearing it.  So I asked this wise man what do women age like?  Cheese, he replied, as the taste grows on you!  Ha ha ha … OK.  I don’t know why, I kept thinking of the “Sex and the City” movie.  Time for Botox – the miracle of eternal youth!

Spent a fair bit of the morning doing vocal exercise.  Vocal exercise?  Yes.  Vocalists do vocal exercise all the time and it helps a lot in the actual singing activity.  I must have driven Cynthia mad this morning.  Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-ohhhhhhh~

Another friend asked me to send a wild plant to her via Facebook after I told her that I was heading to the Botanic Gardens.  Sure I can do that.  I love the Botanic Gardens.  Always do, be it as in Hong Kong or Paris or Singapore.  It was sunny, it rained a bit, and we took some photos inside the lovely Botanic Gardens.

Time check!  OK, it 5-ish and I shall head to Orchard soon.  Catching up with my Movie Review Squad and I can’t wait to watch Hellboy 2!  I so have a big crush with Hellboy’s girlfriend.  Shhh, please don’t tell Cynthia.


Storyboarding at 24 Frames per Second – My First V-blog (Prelude) Episode 5

“There is no point in teaching a young one to choose his battle.  He is going to fight every single one, refuse to relinquish his power, and only experience can teach him such thing: There is no ultimate victory and there is no absolute righteousness.  As his eyes are cast upon the rain of fire, in this bloody ground of the many fallen, down to his last man …”

OK.  I am not that imaginative and I certainly can’t dream of stories with such depth.  My new story is going to be short and sweet.  Animals, lots of animals, from worm to whale, from human to elephant.  And there are brains too, lots of brains.  It is when technology meets biology, from my childhood to my adulthood, and onto my hood that says, “It’s my birthday tomorrow and I can write whatever I want!”.  Numbers, plenty of numbers.  But none is going to tell you how old I am, ha!

I want to challenge your senses in this multi-tasking, short attention span pop culture.  The theme is the same but what you are going to hear will be different from the words you read and will be different from the animations you see.

The first decision I made for my video blog was the number of frames per second.  The rest, is history.  I still need time to touch up on the video.  Time, we all need more time!

PS. Majority of the images you see above were taken in Taman Safari Indonesia back in January this year.  Then there was me, and my family’s dog in Hong Kong.

My 1st v-Blog Mini-Series:

It’s the Time of the Month … Do Check Out Other Reviews at McGraw-Hill’s Site Too

This is my second contribution to McGraw-Hill Education Asia’s website on the topic of Business and General Reference.  Do check out the reviews written by other established local organizations such as The Straits Times and TODAY.  Each month, they select a set of books to be featured.  If you are looking for inspiration on your next reading, it is a good place to start.

PS. This is not a sponsored post.

Related Entry: These Are the Days That Put a Smile to My Face

Woot?! Nominated for Best Review Post @ (And a Touch onto My Review Philosophy)

Best Review Post

I got shocked out of my socks when Sylv dropped me a comment that one of my reviews has been nominated for the Best Review Post.  Wow, how did that happen?  OK, please vote for me only if you think that I am worthy of the title and it’s not too much of a hassle for you.  I don’t wish this to be a popularity contest and I know some of you value privacy, not wanting to leave digital footprints in the Internet.  In this gigantic blogosphere of Singapore, I am certainly very humbled even by getting nominated especially by this lovely community called  And here is the post that you may have come across back in June.

I have been procrastinating for years when it comes down to writing a few paragraphs on “About Me”.  “About Me” is very commonly found in almost all the blogging sites.  I can write posts that consist thousands of words but yet when it comes down to “About Me”, I don’t know what to write.  Ever since I have created the “About Me” page temporarily with my email address and my mugshot, statistics tell me that more and more readers click onto that page.  It has become so significant that I have decided to write something about me over the weekend in under 250 words, which is kind of impossible if you know my style.  The final version has a 330 word count.  Quite an achievement for a start.

I reckon in recent years, one third of my posts are reviews of some sort, be it as books, or music, or movies.  And hence, I have been pondering if I shall include my review philosophy into “About Me”.  Right now, probably not as I wish to keep that low word count.

If you notice, I don’t give rating for all my recent reviews.  My philosophy is very simple: just because I give a perfect ten to a book or a movie or a music album doesn’t mean that you would love it.  Because I am me and you are you and you are not me.  What I can do though is to highlight the good and the not-too-good and you then decide if it is a zero or a ten, if the good works for you, and if the not-too-good is the deal breaker.  You rate it, not I rate it for you.  The most I can do is to categorize the reviews because I am aware that there are genres that some people may not be interested in.

And as careful as I can be, I try not to publish any spoilers for the movies.  Non-fictional book reviews are OK, I think, to read like book summaries because for those who may not have the time to read, it is good for them to learn something.  And if the readers have decided to read the non-fictional books I reviewed, I hope that my reviews act as a reinforcement to what they are going to read, a challenge for them to think ahead.  I personally am torn when it comes to fictional books.  On one hand, I shall not give out any spoilers.  On the other hand, some do visit my site to, as an illustration, research on how best to position a certain book to the students (such as “The Fifth Child By Doris Lessing – Horror Or Tragedy? You Decide”).  Hence, the for fictional books, my style is in as much as possible, highlight the themes and not too much on the storyline.

Writing music reviews is both easy and tough.  Easy in a sense that I have no holding back on what I can write.  Spoiler restriction does not apply to music albums.  Tough because it is hard to describe sound.  And more often than not, I have to hunt for music videos to complete my reviews and they are not easy to maintain either.

I learn that some reviews have hit rates far beyond my own domain’s hit rate.  Some topics are time sensitive, some are not.  Some are popular, some ain’t.  Till today, I am still learning on how to write a good review.

And I am so glad to have you readers to be with me on this journey of mine.  This nomination of mine is for you!

No Eye Candy’s 1st Female Guest Drummer (July 4)

Ever since our 2nd drummer has decided to spend more time with his new baby – which our band No Eye Candy fully understand and support – for the last two months, we scrambled to look for guest drummers to jam with us, to explore the possibility.  Guitarist Jason called in his friend for help and so did Bassist Cynthia.  Last evening, Cynthia’s friend Wieke who was born in the same country as her (i.e. Indonesia) joined us.  Time to pay our favorite studio Stone Jamz a visit.

It is hard to look for new members.  We don’t do cover songs or religious music (that is popular amongst the local community) and we work on the songs that I write.  Somehow there is a mutual respect and admiration on our domain specialty formed between the three of us – Cynthia, Jason, and I – since November 2004.  And we do have a certain practice tempo we commit, however infrequent it may be.

Before I go on, below are the captions for the pictures on the left.  Photos taken by Jason’s wife Selrol.  A big thanks to her as these pictures captured the essence of our session well (next time I must take some pictures of her).  Too bad, the battery of the camera went flat fast.  Lesson learnt: always buy original battery!

[1] Our cool bassist, Cynthia.  [2] Our 1st female guest drummer, Wieke, and she referred to her iPod during our break to look for some inspirations I guess.  [3] Our guitar god, Jason.  [4] That’s me.  Nice shirt eh?  My new shopping loot.  [5] OK.  Jason almost remembered the chords of our entire 5-song set.  Almost.  [6] We certainly are still amazed that such a petite lady can create such a deafening drumming sound!  Wieke is creatively amazing.  She has transformed some of our songs beyond our band’s recognition!  [7] Notice a huge white ring that Cynthia wore?  Well, while the boys were at Sim Lim side shopping for amplifiers and cables, she went shopping for accessories.  [8] I did look intense.  How did Selrol manage to capture this?!  I look scary.  I am a beast.

At times I would imagine how a new or guest member sees our band.  A band that is still finding its way, still full of rough edges?  A package of songs that are dark, at times gloomy but nevertheless radiates a sense of genuine emotion from the soul?  Songs and music arrangement with no defined structure and the same song never sounds the same every time we play it?  Perhaps all of the above and more.

I am personally unsure if someone will commit to our band in the near future (though I would certainly welcome that idea with open arms).  But in this transient beauty of being able to collaborate with different artists, different talents and be taken to a different height, it is one helluva journey that I’d love to take, any time.