Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Backstreet Boys Unbreakable Tour.

BSB ready to ‘bowl’ over fans

Gorgeous and cool: (From left) Dorough, Carter, McLean and Littrell posing for photographers at KLIA yesterday.
PETALING JAYA: The Backstreet Boys love sports, and they wasted no time hours ofter arrival here when they were seen bowling at the Mid-Valley Megamall last night.

Despite their tight schedule and with their concert tonight, they were scheduled to play a round of golf this morning.

Looking gorgeous and cool on arrival at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at 2pm yesterday from Jakarta, Indonesia, they were sporting enough to pose for a few pictures for The Star.

With a large entourage, the group, comprising members Brian Littrell, Howie Dorough, A.J. McLean and Nick Carter smiled and promised an excellent show at the Sunway Lagoon Surf Beach tonight.

“We are excited to be here and are looking forward to meeting our Malaysian fans,” Howie said. “It is good to be back.”

The concert is part of the foursome’s Unbreakable World Tour 2008 which follows the release of their sixth album Unbreakable.

Tickets are available at the Sunway Lagoon Ticketing Counters (Surf Beach and Main Entrance).

Sunway Lagoon Theme Park is the official venue while The Star is the official newspaper.

Are you going? Cause I am! See you there?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I Sleep Better With Chipster.

Ever get a sudden craving for something particular in the dead of the night? I do, most of the time. Especially recently, topped with my late night escapades on the computer or TV, I get hungrier as the night goes further, usually heightening as the hours go by when I'm still going to continue the next episode of Grey's Anatomy as the show gets more intense. Seriously, the cravings get crazier and crazier each night. One night, it could be pepperoni pizzas and the next it could be dairy milk chocolate bars or instant noodles the next. Talk about the epitome of bad health. Of course, given the ridiculous hours, I usually sleep it off and forget about my cravings, often downed with a bottle of plain water.

Lately though, there's been a gnawing at the back of my head, prompting me to get Chipster, whenever I stay up late and I realized that the later I stay awake, the more my mind will steer towards Chipster. I won't deny, I've been having this "Chipster Crave" for the past few nights now, only it has been growing stronger and stronger that it's beginning to turn into desire. More like a need, actually. You have to know though, I'm not the kind of guy who snacks on junk food every chance he gets. No way. As a kid, mom and dad has always monitored and limited our intake on junk food, contrary of what other people think. Which is why you won't be able to see a lot of chips, cookies or any other packeted food any children would go crazy for, lying around at home on ordinary days. Yet, the only reason we have a lifetime supply of chocolate in the fridge is because they come as gifts from visitors and relatives. Even that has become a favourite among my cousins whenever they come over. So till now, even when there's an enormous amount of junk food (courtesy of hampers and such) at home, my siblings and I just couldn't be bothered to snack on them.

I don't get my size from junk food, baby. It's real meat (if you know what I mean)!

Anyway, minus the occasional splurge on a packet or two of chips during grocery shopping, I've still been thinking about Chipster. Started the whole Chipster crave about two months ago, and now, I find myself unconsciously (and discreetly) purchasing packets of them at the oddest times. Twice already, I bought them when dad was filling up his tank and about a couple of times I've secretly stash them underneath the groceries. Even jie and Edmund likes it! Honestly, I don't know why I do that because it's not like mom would detest but it's one of those inexplicable thing you do, you know. Very strange. And I even have this odd habit of stocking them up. You know, reluctantly eating it because its so good. Almost like wanting to keep it till when I'm dying for it and not leisurely take it. Probably it's because I wanna heighten my enjoyment the best that I can.

Which is why I think that because I've only just finished my last packet of Chipster that this craving's been coming to haunt me in the night. The worse thing is that this particular craving just could not be put away with sleeps or countless bottles of plain water. In fact the craving's so strong that I've even been dreaming about it in my sleep, causing undesirable amount of drool to appear on the sheets the morning after. It's been clearing away my other cravings though. Seriously, no more pizzas, instant noodles or roadside burgers. Considering that, I let myself cave in to the craving and went out in the middle of the night, hunting for Chipster at the nearest 7-11 store without even bothering to change from my night clothes. Thinking that it'd be weird for one to go to 7-11 in his pajamas, jie dragged the camera along and shot me. Really weird situations, I tell you. It got me going so much that I can actually ignore the stares and bemusement of other late night shoppers.

Where is it?!

Hey, maybe we should just get instant noodles instead.

Oh wait! Hell yeah! Found them!!

Hold on, I need to pay first.

Of course, the above shot was a a posed one. None of us could retain our excitement to dig in into them. I only used the only sanity I have left just to visualize that I sleep better with Chipster before opening them. I couldn't resist or you'll probably notice saliva stains on this newly changed sheet. It gets ugly when I do though. Just imagine two hands in a bag of chips and crumbs all over the face. Funny though, how come I've never had such a craving for any other chips I've tried. Immense.

And naturally, I had a good night's sleep after that.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Chinese New Year '08 - Day 4 & 8

Come the fourth day, most relatives were already packing their bags to go home to their respective states, literally. As I can recall, the only reason why they were still here was because of the reported traffic congestion at the bridge which of course, resulted in their reluctance to return. Jie on the other hand has returned to KL the night before on a hitched ride with a friend. Most of us were still gathered at apoh's place, eating, chatting and of course, gossiping. Seeing that our mothers are in deep conversations, we children didn't do anything much than to play with fireworks. At least they did and I only recorded them.

At one point though, out of boredom and Carina's persistent, or shall I say, annoying whining, I did grab apoh's bicycle and took Carina out for a ride. In fact, we ended up hunting for a river which we both knew existed but just out of sight. We were literally, riding through the thick forestation and turning into every little road we could see and stopping at all the houses which they lead us into just to take a peak at their backyard for the hidden river, while Carina was meddling with my camera behind me. By the time we found it, we were both covered in grime and perspiration and almost out of breath, due to the burning sun (the trees didn't do much shading) and also spotting several bite marks from the mosquitoes. In the end, we found out the river was way too down below for us to even dream of climbing down and taking a dip.

Adventure. from matrianklw on Vimeo.

Road-show. from matrianklw on Vimeo.

We did however, on the way back, saw something grotesque on the road which made me turn the bike around to get a better view and a closer shot - and below was what we came across.

Oh, below is my favorite shot of the day.

4 days later, on the 8th day of Chinese New Year, I got them another gathering at apoh's place seeing that I still had a few bottles of sparkling juice (I can't tolerate alcohol!) stashed in my fridge since Christmas. I just needed another reason for toast and to finish the bottles of sparkling juice, since Chinese New Year was the only big occasion left till we don't know when. I picked the 8th day of Chinese New Year because the kids have no school the following day, coinciding with the 9th day where Buddhists and Taoists hold their religious ceremonies to appease their deities and gods. It's a big event for most Chinese people and therefore, most Chinese schools get an extra day of holiday. Being Catholics, I took the opportunity and hold a fake gathering to appease our hunger and thirst instead, and also because amah wasn't doing it this year.

Yam Seng. from matrianklw on Vimeo.

Cork Popping. from matrianklw on Vimeo.

Besides having fun toasting and later, posing with the wine bottle, I followed them outside to watch a display of fireworks again. At first, I was getting my hands dirty too considering how long it was since my days of spending near to a thousand ringgit on fireworks. By the way, I only have the guts to stand the kiddies bombs nowadays. I just seem to have lost the ability to withstand deafening explosives anymore. I reckon it must be the age that's to blame and all the years of being dormant from the fireworks. Kinda lost interest in risking my fingers to dynamites after 15, I think. After that, the lights and the motions only sparked interest in me with the camera again. Below, the biggest shot is our best attempt of drawing '2008' with the fireworks, which goes to show, the rest of my attempts were close to mud.

Firecrackers from matrianklw on Vimeo.

Having said that, surprisingly, I still have my favorite shot of the day below. =)

And that pretty much is my celebration for the year of the rat, in a nutshell.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Chinese New Year '08 - Day 3.

So, on day three of our celebrations, things were already toned down. Partly due to the overdose of carbonated drinks, cookies, extravagantly prepared home cooked meals, firecracker smoke and of course, sleep deprivation, we were all pretty bummed up to have to wake up at 10a.m. just to do more visiting again the next day. Plus, with the conscience that holidays were running out and school and work are setting back (for them) could pretty much dampen the celebratory mood. On a short note though, growing up in the family, I've never done anything else on such days except visiting. Really, can't think of any other "family" thing to do. Drinking, gambling and partying with friends like every other regular 18 year olds? Not my cup of tea. Don't have that many friends to start with and also, an idiot with cards. Well, a good boy, I am. Fulfilling filial piety and visiting the elderly seem more appropriate after all on Chinese New Year. 

Broadcasting. from matrianklw on Vimeo.

Anyway, Carina and Adrian, as usual spent the past two nights over at our place - just for the fun of it, in the name sake of 'holiday'. I should mention of course, they were more wrecked than I was when the night before this, both of them could barely keep their eyes peeled when Edmund wanted to watch Bee Movie - which was the only reason why I went to bed quite early too. It's not like we don't meet enough throughout the year, but still, their the closest cousins we can relate too. Besides, it's fun to be hurried up in the morning and queue for the bathroom and trying our very best to color co-ordinate our outfits, no doubt. It's not like we even try that much. It just so happens that all of us had the same color outfits and we just decide to put them on on the same day. We'd be walking out of the room and go, "Hey, ur wearing this color too! High five, man!". Except for one person, of course.

Basically, we only did one house together as both our families had our own plans to carry out and different people to visit. Plus, jie was going back to KL already. After that, not much cam-whoring for me with them. If you haven't noticed already, I barely cam-whore by myself, it's always with somebody and I'm not even hiding it on my drive. There really are no pictures of my smiling by myself. Still, I won't blame you if you're probably sick to your stomach already for seeing so many pictures of me. Oh well... below are some of my favourite shots of the day. 

The black gang!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Snake Spotted.

A little diversion from the Chinese New Year postings. Well, not exactly since this was spotted during one of our visitation to our near-forsaken relatives in the depths of thick forests amidst lush greeneries and unknown wilderness. Anyway, during one of our visits and while the cousins were busily blasting little plants with firecrackers, one of my uncles spotted a snake on a short palm tree, which, I should mention, I was standing dangerously close just moment before watching them blast a bowl. By the looks of it, a sudden appearance of a green serpent (or other creatures of yet to be uncovered species) at the front yard seems to be a daily thing - almost like the evening news broadcaster appearing on TV daily - since my distantly related grand-grand-uncles looks pretty much unperturbed.

City folks like me was, of course, intrigued by such phenomena that all my mind told me to do was to photograph it. It's not like everyday, we get to see a snake at such close proximity without it being captives in a cage or behind a glass wall, or even worse, pickled in a jar. Despite the fact that the creature was small in size (probably still young) with the species unknown to us and without any knowledge of how venomous its fangs could be or how fatal its bite would be, they were practically prancing around the tree watching it. Me, being not that comfortable around creatures that slither, of course, kept a good distance and put the camera's zoom to good use.

Snake Spotted. from matrianklw on Vimeo.

Below are two photos that I've turned into wallpapers. By turning, I mean resizing, touching up and adding text. Please feel free to download, especially if you're a fan of snakes or if you're favourite color happens to be green.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Chinese New Year '08 - Day 2

Yee Sang. from matrianklw on Vimeo.

So, after discovering (or rather, re-igniting) my passion for cam-whoring and the plain joy of taking photographs, you could bet I just couldn't wait for the 2nd day to take off. As long as traditions go, the 2nd day of our new year is allocated for the maternal side of the family and I was sure it wasn't only our family who kept the tradition alive, seeing that all the aunties and uncles were there alongside with the whole troupe of cousins. The long portrait above pretty much sums mom's siblings up. Being as Malaysians as we are too, what other better things to do when gathered at such an auspicious day but eat and drink? Frankly though, the new year's eve and new year's day itself have been reserved for reunion dinners and lunch with amah (paternal side), so the gathering on the 2nd day is like another version of a reunion dinner lunch meal. A relatively big one too!

Lion Dance '08 from matrianklw on Vimeo.

This year, splendidly enough, apoh managed to arranged a lion dance troupe to grace her home with and to help her usher in the new year and on the 2nd day too! Usually, these troupes couldn't be bothered much to your preferred time and they'd just drop by whenever they can since ours wasn't the only home to be "graced" but apoh somehow managed. I've forgotten though, why we didn't have one last year. Or did we? But anyways, the lion dance was a blast, despite the fact that it wad dancing in the small confines of the apartment. I mean, c'mon, we even drew neighbors and passersby to watch - though it still remains a mystery if their attention was caught by the beating of the drums or the euphoric screams and yells by us cousins. Nonetheless, I had loads of fun recording it on video, instead of sweating my ass off, trying to figure out various ways to avoid the lion dancers' path and still get good still shots.

As traditions are concerned as well, after all the devouring of Hakka (mom is Hakka) Chinese New Year dishes and unnecessary yelling at the lion performance, we'd dutifully visit far-off and almost-forsaken/deserted relatives. The reason being, we only do that once every year and as I said, almost like a tradition already. Even the relatives themselves look forward to our presence. It's pretty apparent from their relief uttering of phrases like, "Wah, this year you all so late only arrive!" or "Wah, I thought you not coming this year lah!" Of course, they only converse in Hakka with apoh. Of course by far/distant/almost-forsaken/deserted, I was talking about houses on top of hills and deep in jungles where electricity comes from a generator, activated only for a few hours in the night and where water source comes staright from the mountains and where daily trips to the market require patience and physical fitness that most city folks don't possess. Still, we've been doing this as far as any of us can recall and thus, every year, we look forward to it - although, I still doubt the sincerity of some who curse under their breath when we have to hike up the rest of the way where vehicles can't access. =P

Fast Drive Down The Hill from matrianklw on Vimeo.

Boom from matrianklw on Vimeo.

And of course, after collecting the red packets and after reaching the point where we've empty out multiple boxes of cold drinks (understandable after the tiring hike
under the scorching sun), almost finishing a wide variety of Chinese New Year cookies and delicacies laid out for visitors and leave the jungle with resounding explosions from firecrackers, we part farewell and turn back to mindless, insensible, vain and narcissistic cam-whoring.

Look, I'm barely ashamed anymore!

4 by 4s: They can even do it by themselves!

Posed and candids, how can you not love them?

And here, I would like to introduce Ai Ai, our so called "aunty" according to the family hierarchy, whom after all these years of growing up together, we barely address as aunty. We kind of reached a mutual agreement that to add the address of aunty in front of her name would be tremendously speed her aging process and increase our awkwardness between her, given that she's my age in real life. Thanks to us, now she still looks her age! Of course, from time to time, we do remind ourselves of her status in the family tree through minor jokes we make, especially, when she gives advice - "Oooh! Hail, the aunty speaks!" - stuff like that. Now, the one reason we're all so fond of her is because she's cool with us and our antics. I mean, she's the one who can accompany us till the wee hours of dawn during a sleepover, she's the one who loves shopping trips with us and visits to the movies (she's a good companion for horror movies, by the way!) and she's the one who gets our jokes and the one who cracks jokes! It's truly a wonderful thing to have such a close relationship with someone of a higher level in the family tree. Oh, and did I mention, her real name's Eva (glamorous, ain't it?) - Ai Ai's just stuck with us since we were children.

Below is my favourite shot of the day. It was so random, so pure, so joyful. Photographer: ME.

T-B: Jie, Adrian, Ai, Carina and me

P/S : I'm aware that the are quite a number of videos and it might take some time to load. If you're patient, then wait. But if you aren't, just make sure you don't miss out the 2nd (cause it's fun to watch!) and the 4th (cause it's just really short) videos. Oh, the 3rd video is just to illustrate my point of having relative who live in remote areas of the island.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Chinese New Year '08 - Day 1.

You know, I've always associated my camera with working - when I'm prepared to sweat as a result of going all out to various angles and when fun is sucked the hell out of the event. For me, at least. Well, good pictures calls for sacrifices, don't it? This time around though, I figured I was going to have fun and record it at the same time. I mean, c'mon, all those new clothes and accessories and gay spirit were worth capturing by itself. Of course, given the circumstances, I had to forgo the picture quality and the above-mentioned, angles. And that was exactly what I did. All I did was take off the photographic self in me, and slipped on the regular compact camera / cam-corder persona (and a little bit of narcissism) and snapped away. Anything and everything. The best of all is, the photographs didn't turn out to shabby!

Surprising enough for me, as it may appear to you, considering I'm not the usual cam-whoring type, I've taken more pictures of myself (via cam-whore style) than I have ever did before this. Of course, most of them had other people in it standing by my side - the same narcissists of the season, I suppose. Still, I guess you can call it a-spur-of-the-moment thing, seeing that I only took out my camera because I was in love with the lighting of my 3rd grandaunt's (the lady in red in the above photo who's being kissed by her husband) house by that time of the day. Which was exactly how everything started to take off from holding up the camera and pointing it towards me and the person beside, to group shots and family portraits! Yeap, the camera could be a dangerous possession, capable of bringing out the narcissists in people.

And let me tell you, holding my camera and pointing it towards myself isn't easy. It's not like it weighs as light as 2 pieces of credit card stacked together (isn't that how thin things get nowadays?). Every picture I took, I risked dropping my camera with my stubby little fingers and shaky hands. Also, as you can see, I've found this new way of putting all these great photos together, and posting them up. It doesn't tell a story or whatsoever but I find it more appealing than posting them singularly, shot-by-shot. Plus, I'm experimenting with a load of stuffs right now, so disregard the amateurish touch of things. Hey, at least, it's a far better improvement than last year's Chinese New Year! Indeed, I found myself smiling all the way while scrolling through the photos. And below is my favorite shot of the day which was taken by jie.

L-R : Ai Ai, Adrian, Edmund, me and Carina.

Oh, and do watch out for Day 2 soon!