Saturday, July 25, 2009

Seeing It Is Enough...For Now

After months of promising a colleague that I'd come to visit her in KK, I finally made it yesterday. What I told her sometime last year was that I'd visit her and also do the Mt. Kinabalu thing. Unfortunately, before I made plans for the trip, another colleague of mine brought me on a hill-climbing expedition. It wasn't a really difficult climb (even old fogies did it) but the 20-30 foot drops on either side and relying solely on your grip on the rope just scared the hell out of me. She also said Kinabalu would be worse. So I vowed to never again climb a hill/mountain.

Thus, I ended up in Kota Kinabalu without any hiking gear and just planned to chill out.

And chill out we did. We arrived at Le Meridien around lunchtime and it was just too hot to look for lunch. So, room service it was. At first, it was a club sandwich. After that, English tea. All this done in a very nice room with a beautiful sea view. Yeah you can also see the f@t people swimming in the pool but what to do? I'm not really a fan of hotel food but I must say, the food was excellent. They even serve Illy coffee (boo hoo Onn).

At night we went for dinner with my colleague beside the sea and as usual, we over ordered. Ended up stuffed. Got back home, had Starbucks (I know, I'm addicted to frapps) and slept. Today, we didn't really have anything planned other than having a look at THE mountain. So took a drive to some lookout point and took a photo just to show that I actually went to see it and that was it. Bought some souvenirs for everyone at home too. AND GUESS WHAT? Whilst we were there, also met the very same couple I sat next to on the plane. And going off I thought I saw somebody I knew from work. After checking it out, yeah...turns out KIMIA also organised a trip to KK and there was a busload of people from work. KO-INKY-DINKY.

Anyway, after the lookout point. I managed to cheekily get my colleague to also drive us like an hour away to Kota Belud just to see some Bajau dude making parangs. Unfortunately, these Bajau people also happened to have some sorta sports day or something today and no parang was being made. So we made the dudes come back and sell us some. Bought 2 and was off back home. Slightly disappointed that I didn't get to see it being made but hey, there's always a next time.
Above is the photo of the parang Bajau which I bought. Tested it and it was sharp and well made. Definitely a user. The sheath and blade had intricate designs on it but I would have preferred they didn't do the g@y smiley face on the blade. Hell, it'll probably go away after some bushwhacking.

Anyway, gotta go research some seafood restaurants for tonights dinner and tomorrow will have to buy some biscuits and stuff for people.


Friday, July 24, 2009


I have so much to say but am just too lazy to blog. Facebook has been so much easier to satisfy my arguing addictions. But once in awhile I do have to update this bugger. But in a flash.

Shot more weddings, built a home-studio at my sis' house, watched zombie movies, went to Hong Kong, went to Singapore (last week), going to Kota Kinabalu tomorrow, bought a f*ckin' genuine la-z-boy (milestone of my life), had friends visit from the UK, had an uncle i've never met visit me from the UK, watched more zombie movies, went white water rafting (almost drowned), went hill-climbing (almost died...and never again), ran a 10km race, met friends I've not met since college...oh god, so many things have happened...

Looks like my 'Things To Do Before I Turn 30 List' is not gonna be completed. I've got fasting month next month and I've filled up my weekends so much that I won't be able to complete my 'visit 3 countries i've never been to' target. So i'm gonna try make it before end of the year. Other than that I think I can squeeze a camping trip somewhere before then.

Photos below...just random sh!t....

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dead Set

I have to admit, I didn't know anything about this show until by bro-in-law told me about it. And I'm very thankful that he decided to let me watch his copy of the show. At first I thought it was one of those crappy zombie movies he keeps buying for 10 bucks at the nearby DVD store (being a zombie connoisseur, I have high standards when it comes to zombie movies). It really doesn't matter if it's a low budget movie but it has to have that atmosphere and it has to be made with passion. You can see and feel it in the final product (even with crappy special effects). You can have all the budget and still come out with a dud e.g. Resident Evil 2 (Apocalypse). In comparison, you can have a movie like REC which was shot with an extremely tight budget in a real apartment block (to save cost) and come out with something really good (albeit not all that original). So...I'm really happy to say I was wrong this time. Dead Set is a good show for horror fans and zombie movies fans alike.

Since the very entertaining Shaun of the Dead and AWESOME (my favourite word) 28 Days Later, I've been anxious to see more Brit zombies. In this respect, Dead Set does not disappoint. It is very very British. And it's an authentic gory zombie movie. You'll be able to get it more if you actually lived in the UK at some point in time. Even better, if you actually watched and followed Big Brother UK.

The story starts out in the Big Brother house, and having been isolated from the population in a secure compound, the contestants have the honour of being the few survivors in the zombie outbreak. So for 5 episodes we can see how these people try to survive and get supplies in a country overun with zombies. There have been movies like REC and Diary of the Dead who used the 'through the eyes of the now dead cameraman' perspective, but Dead Set manages to find a different and a much more interesting angle of a true TV phenomenon (Big Brother). Makes it much more authentic that some scenes were filmed during an actual Big Brother event.

What makes this movie great is that the actors are spot on in their portrayal of Big Brother participants. You got the pansy, the slut, the brawns with no brains, the 'trying to be smart' dude, the chav etc. etc. All the actors played their parts perfectly. Props to Andy Nyman who plays Patrick, the pompous ar$ehole director of Big Brother.

The zombies in the movie are the running kind (think Dawn of the Dead Remake). Don't get me wrong, the slow-moving Lucio Fulci zombies are still the best, but the running zombies create a different atmosphere in the movie. The creator of Dead Set has given a good explanation in why he chose the running zombies instead. It's basically to make it realistic enough for the timeline. Running zombies spread the disease much much faster and goes well with the premise that the contestants didn't know what was happening till it was much too late and the whole country has gotten infected. long as they're zombies, I'm not complaining.

The violence is gruesome and the special effects realistic enough for a TV series. If you're a Big Brother fan, you'll recognise many faces in the show as a lot of past participants make a cameo appearance. You'll even see Davina McCall playing herself and her zombie self. If you're like me and a fan of zombie movies, you'll notice references to zombie movies like Night of the Living Dead. It's all very exciting for zombie movie fans who actually know their stuff to notice these things. It can become annoying for non-fans when we start telling them about it.

So, I'd rate this TV series a solid 3 1/2 stars out of 4. Would have been better if the ending was different. This is a must watch show that should be in every horror movie (or zombie) fan's collection. It's not often that someone comes up with a zombie TV series (if there ever was one). and the creator should be applauded for it.

Total run time for Dead Set is around 180 minutes and it's best to watch it all in one shot.


Monday, November 10, 2008

2 Weddings and A Missing Tripod

Two weddings in the past 2 weeks or so. That's a record for me this year, since I've been moving away from shooting weddings. However, it was a good refresher course since the last one I shot was sometime in June. Turns out taking a break really does get the creative juices going. I feel like I'm more daring nowadays. More experimentation in terms of exposure and posing and post-processing. I tended to do lots more daring crops as well (see above). I do like the results so far. And so far the clients do to (slideshow HERE).

Unfortunately, this relaxed attitude has also resulted in me leaving my bloody tripod at the hall last night. I didn't use the tripod at all but since it was late and I was tired I totally forgot about it. Since it was my first quality tripod and it ain't that cheap either, it kind of bummed me out that I might have to cough up cash for a new one. So today I decided to take time off work to try get my tripod back. When I arrived at the club I tried checking the hall and it wasn't there so I was getting a bit worried especially since they said that nothing was sent in to the Lost & Found. So someone either stole it or kept it for safekeeping somewhere else. Luckily it was the latter. It was in the F&B office which was also locked. I had to wait 2 freakin' hours before the dude arrived with the keys. They kept saying he was on the way. Plus there was the added problem of a member who was laying dead in the sauna room. So me and my missing tripod was not a big priority to them.

All in all it was a hectic Monday, with me having to finish loads of cases due to several months of laziness and lack of motivation. But I do have a feeling I've got my groove back so I'll be on top of the cases in a couple of weeks.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Got a wedding to shoot this Saturday 25th October 2008. Haven't shot a wedding in quite awhile, so have to re-check and revise a few things. Not that I haven't been shooting, in fact I've shot more stuff these past couple of months than I have ever done before. It's a lifestyle photography project to be used at a car launching and for websites and such, so it's totally different but so refreshing after having done so many weddings.

But, weddings require different skills and since it's usually the same thing over and over again, it gets mentally tiring to try shoot something different. Honestly, I hate the cookie-cutter approach where every wedding is shot almost the same. Bride & Groom throwing flowers in the air, B&G and friends lying in a circle on the ground, B&G doing the love thingy with their fingers, B&G jumping together etc. etc. I just cannot bring myself to shoot these shots. This is why I experiment a lot. Depending on the mood I'm in sometimes I do the manic photojournalistic style with wonky horizons and sometimes I shoot with a more traditional more calculative style. Sometimes I shoot in between.

If I'm in a daring mood and I know the couple won't do enlargements and such I also try to push the limits of my camera by shooting lots of high ISO shots without flash. Sometimes I go to a shoot with the intent of shooting for mostly a black & white final product. I just love black & white but I understand that the clients really need some colour especially if they've paid a lot for colourful clothing, flowers and decorations which really is best shown in colour photos.

However, whatever style I'm shooting or plan on shooting I always have this thing I have to do before a wedding to get some inspiration.

I watch a music video. A specific one actually.

Before almost any wedding I have to look for a video of Street Spirit (Fade Out) by Radiohead. It's the best song and video I've found to get me in the zone. Everything about it is perfect, from the lighting to the "so slow it might as well be a photograph" sequences. I have never seen a video that complemented a song better than this.

Anyway, here's the youtube version for those people who've never seen it before.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lost my iPod Touch today. For a few hours. Damn bloody thing slipped out of my pants whilst I was at a Forum/Seminar at Institut Integriti Malaysia. Couldn't find it anywhere. I sat in only 2 places the whole time I was there and I tried searching for it. No luck there. Decided that no one's gonna return it when they find it. And there's no address or any contact details in there either.

But lucky me, today...(after a terrible weekend when my dad broke my Macbook Pro power adapter which he still denies) it was a seminar about integrity or something like that. So there was this nice lady from 'Perpustakaan' in PJ who was sitting in the chair I was at who found it in between the cushions.

So now my baby's back with me. I don't have anything personal in there but it's the sentimental value of it being my first iPod. And it's so beat up and dented that it's cool.

Anyway, since I was so happy to have got it back, I just had to reward myself by having a T-Bone steak at Las Carretas on Jalan Semantan. I have been craving for steak for a few days now after several nights of having rice and rice and more rice.

So here I am after a good meal, and now enjoying a cappuccino with my baby. I am so happy there are still good, honest people in this country.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I can't believe it's been 8 months since I last posted something. This absolutely must be the lamest blog ever. I keep saying I'll post something tonight and that happens once every 2-3 weeks and now it's been 8 months. Procrastination is an evil diseasse.

Although the last post was about me moving into this house, I actually only just finished unpacking the last few boxes a couple of months ago. In fact, those boxes have been around since I came back from the UK in December 2005. So, again with the procrastinating.

Anyway, a hell of a lot of stuff has happened since my last post. I've photographed a few more weddings (slideshows are HERE), I joined a gym and got a personal trainer, bought myself a cool Cannondale mountain bike (which is severely underutilised), met a lot of old friends from university and college, and last but not least, last week I got diagnosed with scoliosis and a leg length discrepancy.

Overall it has been a superb year so far. 'Cept for the scoliosis thing which is a bummer. All this back pain 'cos my right leg decided to stop growing before the left one. How sucky is that?. So next week I'm getting my custom insoles from the podiatrist and I am also going to have to do some physio too.

I'm slowing down the photography stuff so that I can concentrate more on each client. I've come to the point where I'd rather take more time on each wedding and provide a better service than keep churning out stuff week in week out. This way I can also create more time for my new MISSION.

Got to thinking early this year that I'm going to be turning 30 soon and I haven't really accomplished much or done anything which could be classified as adventurous. So, an idea came to me to celebrate my 30th year by doing stuff I've never done before.

First thing I thought of was to climb Mt. Kinabalu. I heard it isn't a technically difficult climb so I put that on my list. Just need to up my fitness a bit. Which is why I've become a gym addict these past few months.

Next up is to enter a 10KM race. I don't really want to enter just to complete it. I'm sure I can complete it comfortably in like 2 hours or something like that. :-) But i'd really like a decent time. So I've started my training by going running. This is where I discovered that the short leg is causing my body to be out of sync.

Next on the list will be white water rafting. I've never done this and haven't found out anything about it but i'm sure it's doable.

So far, that's three things I'm definitely going to do next year. Have to think of a few more things 'cos 12 months is a long time.

Anyway, I do hope that I can post more stuff more often. But somehow I just find too many other things to do when I get home. Need to get more organised.