Thursday, May 24, 2007

Pictorial Update.

The examinations are finally over and I'm back! I know, I've got to get the momentum of blogging back but as I've mentioned, wedding arrangements are a pain in the butt for me currently. Anyway, here are some pictorial update about a few stuff that happened in the duration of the three weeks when I was away. Chew on them.

Yeah, as you can see, dad's car's window got smashed as a failed attempt of robbery. Some bastard tried breaking in into the car after we left the goldsmith. Dad's guess was that we were unaware of being trailed since we left the goldsmith's and went for lunch, instead of going home straightaway. That Saturday, we were at the goldsmith shopping for wedding rings and wedding gifts of bracelets, bangles, rings and necklaces as the Chinese see gold items as auspicious items to have during weddings and such. We spent the entire morning there with the soon-to-be-wed couple and it wouldn't be any surprise that robbers might have their eyes on us, seeing that mom and dad did make quite a number of trips in and out of the shop "depositing" their valuables in the car. There was about RM9k worth of gold, if I'm not mistaken and we'd thought it would be safer leaving it in the car rather than taking it with us and risk it being snatched. Silly us.

Of course, dad was pissed when I alerted him that his window was smashed upon entering the vehicle while mom was more frantic checking that everything was still in place. Fortunately, the thief didn't succeed in breaking in (dad credits his security alarm!) and we didn't lose anything, except another few hundred bucks to replace the window. Dad immediately proceeded to the mechanic to get it fixed while we got a ride home with ah chiu was was still around town at that time. For me, seeing the car window cracked into a million pieces was a pretty new sight that I had to take pictures. I won't deny it either, that I was terrified that things like that could really happen. I've always thought it only happens in chain-mails circulating around locals. Kinda got mom and me thinking about the possibilities of us being followed into the home and so on. Wouldn't that be scary? Either way, that definitely got us alerter in future trips to the goldsmith. Preys are all over the place.

As I've said, most of the weekends that are left before the big day arrives are dedicated to any unfinished business in preparation for the wedding. That weekend after the horrifying visit to the goldsmith, on Sunday, mom and I got to tag along with the couple to their wedding album photoshoot. There were the studio and outdoor sessions, both of which I was there for, resulting me in skipping the school's annual Sport's Day. Spent the entire morning in the studio, helping ah chiu put on various costumes and didn't dare taking any photos. I mean, I didn't want to face the awkward moment in a confined place when the people in the studio tells me to put the camera away. I did manage to pull the camera out when we went outdoor. Three locations were all that was offered in the package that the couple chose, the beach, the church and the temple. Ah chiu's Catholic while the wife isn't, thus the contrasting locations.

Nonetheless, it was a lovely experience. It was easy shooting models that already have make-up on and didn't require me telling them how to pose (the real photographer did that already!). Still, the lighting and the angling was a bit of a challenge since I wasn't keen on getting in the way of the photographer. All I did was shoot from any points I could grab on. Though, I have to say, I thought the photographer was a little flat.
I wasn't expecting KidChan Studios material but personally, I still felt the whole shoot was a little blunt - the locations, the poses, the backdrops and the outfits. A little dead, I thought, almost routine-like. I won't elaborate further but I wouldn't recommend it to any couple who don't mind spending that little extra for their wedding album. Understandably, ah chiu is on a rather tight budget. However, being on the set with working photographers as such definitely sparked ideas of my own. Imagine me having my own studio and doing what I love best. Well, I have my hopes up.

Later that week too, the family attended Carina and Adrian's birthday party by the beach on Labour Day. Grace came back on that day and we were just in time to pick her up from the bus depot and headed down to the beach. They decided to share the cake at the last minute, despite the fact that their actual birthdays are actually a month a part. I guess I was wrong about Adrian, he couldn't resist the lavish celebration after all. They both had their friends over (for the night as well, I suppose) and they threw a barbecue, cooked spaghetti and ordered extra food. As I've heard, their grandma rented two separate rooms for the both of them! Definitely nothing like the modest beach party I had, celebrating my 16th birthday last year! My, they sure do know how to be impressive. By the way, the baby in the pictures is Amelia, the youngest cousin of the family. Certainly have grown bigger since the last time we saw her in October!

Before I finish this up, here is a picture of Twitty, as I've promised huiwen7 a few weeks back (sorry this is a little late, Hui Wen!). If I'm not wrong, this was Twitty during the 2nd week it was with us. That's akak's hand balancing the bird on the ball. That time, Twitty was only beginning to learn to curve its feet around circular poles like a mop stick. This time, we were actually quite successful in keeping a pet. I mean, we managed to kept it alive and witnessed it grow. By the end of the 3rd week, Twitty was beginning to flap its wings. Entering the 4th week, it was already flying (literally!) out of the cardboard box whenever we opened it to feed it. It really developed black beautiful wings and was already able to have a firm grip around my finger. Everything was fine until one day when mom decided to give Twitty a bath by sprinkling water over it, seeing that its feet and feathers were filthy with dropping stains. Mom left it out on the balcony for it to shake itself dry before discovering that the bird's already flown away! LOL.

Initially, it did cause a mini search party with mom and akak searching for the bird high and low around the vicinity but they gave up not before long, realising the fact that birds do need their freedom after all. It was also uneasy at first to adjust to the silence in the house, without the chirping and all but that's easily replaced with music. Akak and mom refused to remove the empty cardboard box and the used containers on the first few days, hoping that it'll one day fly back to its loft. It never happened and no one knows where is it now. Thankfully, we haven't reached the investment period yet, where we buy bird cage and bird foods. Dad has already started mentioning a few days before it flew away.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Usual Updates.

Whoa! Would you look at the last time I since blogged! It's been a while hasn't it? I've never taken such a long break/hiatus before and it's pretty scary to me. There's this inexplicable weight over my shoulder that just seems to can't go away. what with knowing the rest of the world's been updating their blogs daily while mine remains dormant without any notice. But it definitely surprised me that there were a couple of people who still visited the blog even without updates or anything and leaving little notes on the tagbox. That's nice to know. That's not all. I've been pretty much inactive at Flickr too. No pictorial updates or whatsoever and it kills me to take a few minutes of every day to browse through the amazing shots of my Flickr contacts.

Well, ever since my last post, things were pretty chaotic in my life. With the long-awaited wedding coming by just around the corner, I was really busy with the wedding mass booklet cover and arrangements. Dedicated all of my time fiddling with Photoshop and Microsoft Word - and you know how slow it gets with my computer running these two programs simultaneously! Work didn't speed up much even with Grace's laptop around as she didn't have a printer and only I had extra fonts on my computer. We were practically transferring files from my computer to hers and vice versa. I bore with it, though, having ah chiu and the parish priest himself approve of the cover I "designed". Weekends were usually reserved for the soon-to-wed couple, running them through the updates of the wedding. As the official wedding planner's son, I get to go along with them on their bridal photoshoot and stuff like that. Which could get pretty interesting, if you ask me, not to mention, sparking ideas of my own studio in the future.

Ooh, this is such a mess!

Although, credit goes to mom and Grace for the contents of the booklet, which both of them took the time to type out and arranged it for a proper printing. Mom is still busy with last minute arrangements like the church organist, florist, caterers and the wedding day agenda. Practically don't have time to go shopping to look for a decent dress for the occasion herself. Of course, that haven't included all the yells and screams of disapproval on all sorts of things from various parties that mom had to counter all by herself. In layman's terms, the feared catfights are already taking place sooner than I thought it would among her siblings already. Virtual misconceptions, misunderstandings and wrong judgements are just a few causes that can spark the well-kept fire inside of everyone. Thank God there was still a decent amount of toleration in the family. I wonder what would happen when the siblings actually meet up in person. Hair-pulling and bitch-slapping, maybe?

Anyway, this weekend, mom, Grace and apoh will be accompanying the couple down to Pahang, the hometown of the bride for wedding dowries. Yeap, it's still a well practiced tradition here, complete with traditional baskets and various types of delicacies, one of each bearing their own significance to the Chinese wedding. The couple wanted to keep the ceremony at a low-down as it was only a small occasion with no frivolous celebration with kegs of beer till the wee hours. It was basically carried out due to the importance it had in Chinese customs and as much as I've heard, the bride's family would only be holding a small buffet with close friends and families. They'll be spending a couple of nights there before embarking on a cruel 8hours journey home. Initially, I wanted to go but since I still have my exams going on, the spot goes to Grace. I'd happily skip exams but mom forbade. No surprise there. Dad, Edmund and me? What's the worst that could happen?

Speaking of which, exams were dropped on me like a bomb. It started last Thursday and you can pretty easily guess how busy I am juggling between exams and wedding works. Oh, the exams are the usual blank-paper hand-ups and head-tucked-in-folded-arms-on-the-table routine. Nothing out of the ordinary since I barely threw in any effort before the exams. I mean, this examination was kinda screwed up anyway. Just imagine, things were so messed up that the school couldn't decide on one simple timetable for the exams, thus having it changed for 5 ridiculous times, leaving students like me in a daze of when the exams were actually going to start. There were days where the timetable says the 1st paper for the day will start at 7.30am but when I get to school, I get people telling it to my face that it doesn't start till 8.10am, which really sucks.

Which is why I can't be less than bothered about this mid-term examinations. Yea, I get it, that there are going to be prizes for the highest scorer at the end of the year but that's just not me. Walking up the stage receiving prizes can be scary after all. Undoubtedly, I still do get cold feet every single day before exams start. It's inevitable. It's just practical for me to suck up as much as I could a few minutes before exams start, mindlessly flipping through the pages and scanning them through at the speed of light. Not like that's going to help in the exams but at least it calms me down a little and saves me from the ache of watching the others answer steadily while I doodle on the blank areas of the paper and the table. Pathetic ain't it? I don't think any other teenager my age goes through the same shit I do. Either way, another one of the many screwed up exams to add to my string of bad achievements. Not like the near-permanent mess in the room doesnt give me enough headache already.

So, there you have it, me explaining my absence for the past 3 weeks. Even as I'm posting this, I'm still busy meddling about the booklet's content placing and getting it ready for print. Of course, I'm using Grace's laptop side by side with my computer, multi-tasking my hands off, or God knows when I'll be able to finish! For now, I can't really say if things are going to get any better - any less chaotic, that is. There's still a lot more to be done in preparation for the wedding and I'm guessing that things will probably get more tensed as the date approaches. Grace has been back for a 2 months varsity break since 1st May and with her around, there'll be more shopping and mall-roaming, hunting down for the best bargains and possibly shopping for the big day. The woman needs her shoes, her accessories, her dresses and her bags! I don't think she'll let me off easily, considering that my mid-term holidays are just around the corner as well (oh, some good news at last!).

Still, not that I'm complaining that it's a pain in the butt to go shopping. Damn, it can be a relief, to say the least.