Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009: In Retrospect

The finish line of 2009 is just slightly visible over the horizon as we all hover towards it in slow motion, nanosecond by nanosecond. And as the particular second that marks the transition from 2009 to 2010 looms nearer, most of us reach a point where we need to take a minute or two, gather our thoughts and reflect upon the year gone by, and form a sort of closure with the year, like a final handshake or a goodbye hug of sorts.

And so we begin the Unfinished Business' traditional journey of analysing and scrutinising the year that was, 2009. It has been an amusing year to say the least (and once again for the lack of a better word - I should probably invest in a thesaurus for 2010 if I ever want to move forward in writing, hahaha) although in last minute desperation last year I had written a letter to 2009 asking her to be nice (why was 2009 female? - I have no idea) and amusing is not too far off. Reflection upon the year the last few days made me realise that despite the numerous complaints scattered among these pages, 2009 itself wasn't that bad at all.

Among the awesomeness of 2009 in no particular order:
1. Went for a mini vacation in Sarawak which brightened up the first quarter, and made a few fantastic buddies in the process. Forgot to invite my sister to join us though because of her then workaholic tendencies (she taught tuition during weekends, and  I figured she'd not want to reschedule her classes) and she still holds it against me. Big mistake. Never assume

2. Had an awesome 29th birthday celebration. It was a hard day's work in the kitchen, but well worth it.

3. Went forward and purchased the 'achievable' dream car (the old dream car has run out of fashion now, and probably out of production too!) which is formally known as Ketsbaia and jokingly known as Fatty.

4. Played "RISK" (the most intriguing game involving strategy - which I suck at, but still...) and bought a set (which unfortunately remains untouched till now)

5. Met in person someone whom I only previously "knew" and corresponded with for two years via the internet. As this is the very first time I did this, I suppose it deserves a mention... and in true TerraShield fashion, I had embarrassed myself by saying "So, we finally meet" as I shook hands with him outside the bookshop where we met. I don't think he noticed though... Two years prior to that I had unintentionally insulted him via e-mail- something to do with Dexter's laboratory vs Dexter the blood splatter analyst.

6. Read, read and read... went a bit book crazy during the Penguin sales that we have about 2 boxes worth of books I haven't read.I should admit though, that it has reached a point where I can't seem to read books anymore due to 'over reading' towards the end of November, early December (except for kids stuff, like Roald Dahl)

7. The trip to Japan - although it consisted mostly of training, but I still got the opportunity to visit places I couldn't visit otherwise. And in the process, I got to know my colleague better, and found another kindred spirit in the process engineer from the next door company. What was awful though was that after my return from Japan, I had fallen into some great disarray due to having to catch up with stuff I missed over the 3 weeks...

8. Bonded with the cousins a fair bit

9. The road trip to Tanjung Tuan... could have done more but hey, at least one road trip is better than none.

10. Managed to almost consistently stick with the exercise regime in the gym. Never felt better, except when I was sick, of course.

And the not so awesome things include:
1. Mom's operation - although it was a simple procedure technically, it made everyone at home very, very depressed and lonely. This year alone, about three family members had gone under the knife... mom, an aunt and an uncle. But even this has a silver lining because I got to see some long lost cousins (1st cousins, no less) after many years. My ten year old cousin has the most adorable laugh in the world.

2. November - pain.

3. Didn't do the few things I set out to do to 'get my life back' like going to a concert (didn't get the chance, I guess), the postponed Cambodia trip...

4. 10 year project is still there... :(

5. Missed both my primary and secondary school reunions because I was feeling anti-social. And no, I do not regret not going for those events.

2009 was another one of those years that sped by... I don't know, could it be that years speed by once you get older? Movie watching was erratic as usual, I managed to quit coffee for about three weeks before I sunk deeper into it's clutches, I have no idea how the current music scene was, watched a fair bit of TV, still am awed by explosions on mythbusters, lost interest in politics, gained interest in the economy, etc.

So, as you can see, the awesomeness seems to have overtaken the not-so-awesome, which makes 2009 mildly pleasant that I'd give it a 7/10 in the "How the year went" scale... one of the better years, despite the sad beginning (the blog tells me - and clearly shows how miserable I was in January) and the occasional bouts of depression spread throughout the year (my drafts section tells me this) Besides, I've decided to be a bit optimistic (me being away from work at the moment could probably have something to do with this)

What's your take on 2009?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Spotted in Kuala Lumpur

I'm currently plotting a plan to conquer the world, so I can't say much.. but I figured this picture might be able to say the thousand words pictures are supposedly supposed to say...


Click to enlarge

Note: Picture was taken while walking along the streets of KL.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Of Intellectually Stimulating Exhibitions and Bad Photographs

You could say it all started with an advertisement they put on TV somewhere around after 7pm every day without fail which used to make me and my sister look at each other and exclaim... "we should go!" which we will then forget about until the next day. It was also probably the fact that that particular weekend (along with a few others this month) was a long one and the fact that our cousins (also sisters) were on a short break from the crazy and exciting world of being educated so that they can someday join in the bandwagon of disgruntled working adults.

And that is how we ended up at the Leonardo da Vinci: The Genius exhibition at the National Science Centre that Sunday.

The exhibition displayed aspects of Leonardo's life and achievements, from reproductions of his notes in 'mirror handwriting', his inventions - some which we were allowed to touch, his drawings of the human anatomy, his works of art (including the much talked about Mona Lisa which has more mysteries than the average life span of a dog), some engineering feats and even music. He even created the prototype of diving gear. Imagine that!  And to think he did all that without the kind of information we are exposed to in this time and age. He IS the epitome of an all-rounder, something most of us can only dream of achieving.

Also included in the exhibition was a documentary about him, which was rather informative except for the fact that it ended very abruptly, stating that Michaelangelo had come into the picture to give Leonardo a run for his money?? You get to know that one of his flying machine designs was tested and could successfully work, and why his "Last Supper" painting has been deteriorating ever since it's completion, and also the fact that he was a slight bit of a procrastinator... which I assume would be good news to every other procrastinator out there. There's still hope!

As we were looking at the final part of the exhibition, one of my cousins was approached by one of the people who were in charge of the exhibition (they were quite annoying, actually, nosing around your private thoughts on how a certain device works, etc) who told her that if she could build a bridge using just the few sticks with grooves provided, she could take a photo with that bridge... (no photos were allowed in the other parts of the exhibition for some stupid reason)

We did so as a team, and managed to get our photos taken by the personnel who apparently is a very bad photographer (see how grainy the picture is?) :(

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Fighting the Apocalypse

Note: This is a very delayed post.

Twenty years after the rest of the world hogged the cineplex, enjoyed and expressed amusement/bemusement over the movie 2012, my sister, mom and I finally made our way through, and even then had to endure the crowds, smelly feet (or was it the carpeting?) and the general irritation associated with huge crowds. Now, I had heard too many negative remarks about the movie from friends and tried my best to remain objective about it, (which was really difficult as I had watched way too many documentaries about supervolcanoes as well and couldn't help wondering about certain things) which is why I will refrain from doing a review (I must stress once again that my reviews, if ever reviewed by someone else, will probably get a D and then I will be just sad. I know they're lousy, but I'd rather not have anyone tell me that)

Instead I will attempt a point form commentary on anything that strikes my fancy.

1. John Cusack looks exactly like his sister, Joan Cusack. But she's funnier.
2. The earth splits, everyone else dies, but because his name is probably right at the top of the cast list, he escapes unscathed after the earth practically swallows him.
3. Massive destruction makes you feel excited. Woo Hoo!
4. Don't be a scientist. Ever.
5. Does this mean that anyone can fly a plane? I want!
6. Sasha. Yum.
7. The race against a plane and volcanic ash (pyroclastic). Who will win?
8. Why fight? Seriously... If the world ends, everything as you know it ends... why bother building the 'arks' and saving some people. The Earth should be allowed to start over without us interfering.
9. Animals and helicopters. Cute. Looks like an imagined scene from Big Friendly Giant
10. Is it possible to still stand while massive eruptions are going on?
11. Accelerate and your once ordinary car will do wonders in a life or death situation
12. They touch our sentimental bones with the human aspect of the story-  family ties and tying up loose ends and the like. Sob.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Maybe Another Day...

Ideas there were some,
Words spill, but not in order,
A haiku is born

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Late Lunches and Telephone Numbers

Before she left, he gave her what she thought was an awkward peace sign which turned out to be him holding a small neatly folded note with his phone number on it.

It took a few phone calls for us to decide to check out an intellectually stimulating exhibition in the National Science Centre that Sunday (which I will elaborate on another post - if and only if my blogging mojo remains long enough for that), but for now, the key event is what happened after that.

We had foolishly not eaten before heading to the exhibition - circa 11:30 am and as a result were a bunch of famished souls by the time we headed out looking for something to eat. This was already nearing 4 pm (I could be mistaken since I used my watch on my left wrist, and did not look much at it - it's usually on the right wrist... that is when I choose to wear a watch) and we decided to brave the cruel weekend crowds for an extremely late lunch in a restaurant in one of the major shopping malls.

So there we were, seated at the table when one of the waiters sauntered by with our food/drinks? (I can't really remember because I wasn't fully paying attention then) and we said thanks to which he replied in an extremely polite and pleasant manner "(My) pleasure". I suppose that there was just something about him that made my 19 year old cousin very, very excited that you could practically hear her hormones racing through her bloodstream. She kept on looking at him (when she could without being noticed), and tried getting his attention. One incredibly funny incident I remember is that another waiter had passed by our table a few times but no one called him, instead, she waited for this particular waiter (who had his hands full) to ask for the menu - to which he replied "Awesome" (now, really???) and she also made her orders (this was for cake which we decided to get for our respective mothers) with him although just a few seconds before that another waiter had passed by our table.

It reached a point where we discussed the possibilities of leaving her phone number on the table (I offered her a pen, and her sister offered her lipstick (all the more enthralling to write your number down, me thinks) but we discussed against it because
a) The number might accidentally get thrown away when they're cleaning our table
b) It might fall into someone else's hands
c) No one's gonna know who's number it is, so it beats the purpose

In the end, after the meal, we all trooped downstairs... with my 19 year old cousin probably conjuring up several different images of 'what-if's' as we walked. The moment we reached outside, she let out a whoop and showed us the note he put in her hand.

It's hard to put my finger on why we were all so excited about this turn of events. It makes you happy and want to smile all the time (and I'm smiling as I'm typing this)... I mean, what ARE the odds, right? Mostly, when you like someone it's almost always unrequited, so this was just so (fill in the blanks yourself) No doubt she had been obvious in showing her interest and all that, but it's still amazing that he took the sign and made the move of giving her his number (but not his name, though... just some initials). Now it all made sense as to why he was distractedly tearing some paper while we were sneaking glances at him.



Note: I've been putting up videos of late because I figured it would add variety... The songs are basically stuff I like, have been recently listening to or just some random pick from somewhere and most of the time have no connection with the post. Apologies for the long post...

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

What's the story, morning glory...

At first there was a dream, and in the dream there were flowers...

I've never been one of those people who were really big on flowers... mainly because I always thought they belonged on their respective stalks, swaying in the wind, while butterflies and bees dropped by for a spot of tea. In fact, in my 29 and 3/4 years of being alive, I've been given flowers exactly five times and all five of those happened to be crammed into about a span of five years from the time I was a first year student right up till graduation day. My final two flowers (2 red roses) were in fact the ones I received during graduation from the few friends whom I consider to be the closest to me... and as shallow and whiny as this may sound, that was the very first time I had felt somewhat downcast at the fact that I was the only person without a bouquet of flowers to take pictures with and couldn't help wondering why my parents didn't think of getting me one.

I kind of remember my first flower too, a turquoise coloured rose. I was a first year student then, and my residential college had an event which also included flower dedications, and I had received this particular rose from one of the second year guys whom I might have spoken to once or twice before. I found it odd that he had included the message "nice knowing ya!".

But I digress... sort of

It was somewhere in the afternoon, and I was sitting on a chair at the end of a table for six - the ones with heavy wooden chairs opposite a man who was eating. It's obvious that this was a restaurant, and surprisingly (even for a dream) the restaurant belonged to my parents (in real life, if my parents ever opened a restaurant, I'd have to eat my gym shoes - well not really eat the shoes, but I'd boil it in water, and add some salt and onions and drink that like soup. My parents never have been and can never be business people) For some reason, I was watching him eat, but I can't remember his face.

A little while later, another guy enters the restaurant and heads straight to where I was sitting. He quietly requested me to scoot over so that he could sit opposite the guy who was eating, and declined my offer of a fresh chair. (Yeah, even in my dream I figured that giving a person a warm chair you have sat on is not a very nice thing to do) Surprised, I scooted over while he bent across the table to put the plastic bag he was carrying on the seat opposite me. (He was tall) All this while, the man who was eating kept silent without even giving a glance at either of us.

We walked out of the shop only to visit a place I had visited once in another dream, a stairwell that was all metal, walked around a bit, including on a bridge and finally went back to the restaurant. He then picks the plastic bag and hands it to me, saying that it was for me. I open it and see all these flowers (type unknown, ranging from yellow, orange and pink and everything in between) arranged neatly in the plastic bag. It was something I didn't expect (probably the guy was not the flower giving kind of guy, or perhaps I was surprised at the fact that I had received a plastic bag of flowers - I'm not exactly sure), but I thanked him and he flashed me the most beautiful smile ever. If I had not woken up at that very instant, I assure you I would have swooned... ;)



Saturday, December 05, 2009

What Would You Do?

Say you think you've got your life sort of figured out, with a tad bit of normalcy (depending on your definition of normal, of course) and all of a sudden one day, while you're back in your usually placid and very normal hometown, you meet a few people, some family members, some strange strangers and realise in a shocking instant that you're suddenly shouldered with the sole responsibility of saving your family and yourself from the evil clutches of a *disgruntled evil spirit. Seriously, what would you do?

This movie, titled Arundhati intrigued me from the very beginning for some reason that I can't quite put my finger on. All I knew is that the snippets on TV were exciting enough and I wanted to know what happens, which I did, a few months later courtesy of my colleague who actually took the trouble to borrow it from someone else (another colleague, which actually makes it very embarrassing, but that's another story) on my behalf.

I loved how the movie was set, first in the present where we see the family all gathered to celebrate the wedding of our protagonist, Arundhati while some strange things happened in an old house. These strange happenings leads to a man turning mad after he and his wife - who goes missing (I think) are led into the dilapidated old house where the evil spirit lies, begging to be released from his entombment which was protected by holy inscriptions, seeking revenge on our clueless protagonist.

We are then brought back to the past, where we are introduced to Arundhati's grandmother who is also Arundhati or otherwise known as Jajamma. Their names are alike because they are supposedly the same person - reincarnated. Jajamma kicks major ass, what with her abilities to sword fight and all. I find her incredibly courageous, and there's just something about her, and oh, that intense look in her eyes - see the picture attached. We learn the history of the family and how the evil spirit comes to exist, and suddenly Arundhati (the modern one) finds herself as the one and only person who can actually end it all. Despite being in denial at the initial stage (she probably has never touched a sword before, after all we live in modern times and could possibly be jailed for possessing weapons regardless if they cause mass destruction or not), she took to the sword like a guitarist takes to the guitar. By this time, the evil spirit had managed to break free from his tomb with the help of the man who turned mad, and he sets to haunt her, taunting her with threats to kill her family which leaves her with no choice but to fight, which she does.

I thought the movie was amazing in terms of story line (you just want to know how it all happened) and strong characters (well, the modern Arundhati was a wee bit silly thinking that her fiance wants to meet her at a dilapidated old house, of all places... and doesn't even call him back to reconfirm, but you forget that with all the action and mystery and the way the story unfolds and how she faces the evil spirit towards the end) Unlike most movies, it didn't have annoying 7 minute songs every half an hour which have no connection with the story which makes it much more awesomer. And as I have said time and again, I'm quite a lousy reviewer, but this movie is awesome... seriously. Watch it if you can... (I somehow have the suspicion that I'm probably the last person to have watched this movie)

So, I repeat my question... what would you do?

*That's putting it mildly

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Songs after midnight

Sometimes there are just so many things that you want to write about, but when you actually sit down on it (or in my case, lie on a cushion) to sort out your thoughts, everything gets in the way and you're lost for words. Bummer.

Anyway, I'll just keep this simple... with the simplest topic ever, music. I've been hearing a few good songs on the way to work, but could never get hold of the titles. Besides, remembering the lyrics at that time does not necessarily mean you can remember it later when you happen to have an internet connection. My sister went to the extent of recording the song on her mobile phone... we figured the words Romeo and Juliet out but couldn't get the song by searching those words. Nevertheless, I just managed to find that one song by searching for songs which had been featured on Scrubs (not exactly the easiest thing to do because I have a bad memory, bad attention span and am not exactly a big Scrubs fan - I just watch it if it's on and I have nothing else to do) which I think is pretty awesome (the riffs) and figured I'd just put it up here before I forget it.