Thursday, October 29, 2009

Nightly Nociception

After a couple of major incidents, we've come to observe that if we were to suffer from anything that would keep us awake, it would be around 6am before we would be able to drop off from utter exhaustion (regardless of further pain or suffering).

It all started on Monday at rehearsal.

See, for the dikir barat song choreography the lot of us are supposed to sit cross-legged on the floor and clap and sing and whatnot. And on Monday we were sitting cross-legged on the floor for a good hour or more, we had a large blister on the outer side of our right foot. And by the time we noticed the blister it had already burst.

Normally this would only be a mild inconvenience. We'd just need to go get a plaster and problem solved. And this we did.

Come yesterday we see a few others also with plasters on their right foot. Heh.

And last night as we were sleeping, the pain started.

Perhaps a little explaination will be needed. See, we had an operation yonks ago that left our right leg slightly weaker and the foot partly numb although we still do have certain amount of motor control thankfully. And it's 'partly numb' ya, not totally numb. Don't think that we can go around poking a needle into our right foot or putting a naked flame near to it won't hurt us.

At the time we'd left the blister exposed as we were done showering and had to change our plaster. At first we thought that there was some rough residue stuck on the blister wound. A mild brush across the wound and once we were satisfied that there was nothing on it, we slumped back to sleep.

Only to be disturbed by a sharp pain again. A sharp, cold piercing sensation at not only the wound but the skin surrounding the wound area too. And it stung frequently too! Everytime we think we could drop off to sleep, we would get a sting that would get our heart beating faster for a while and us unable to rest.

Think of someone taking an ice-cold needle, and piercing it into your foot. Make that ten needles. And then taking it out, letting the pain subside and for you to recuperate. Only to pierce you again about about 2 minutes later. Continue for the entire night.

We suspected that it was due to the nerves on our foot but there was only so many things we could try to remedy the situation at past 3am at night.

Panadol. Antihistamines to help sleep it through. Cleaning the wound and applying a fresh layer of Fucidin. Oh and plaster it up again.

Nothing worked. Oh we didn't take the stronger painkillers as we didn't think adding possible gastric pain to our current situation would be helpful. Oh and our muscle relaxant was left in the office.

We were even desperate enough to try dabbing our ulcer gel onto the surrounding area of the wound just to see if the lignocaine would help numb it till we fall asleep.

No such luck.

Further desperation led to us applying the gel onto the wound as well.

Still no luck.

Possibly the only thing that worked was whacking our foot to cause more pain, but this kind of pain is the kind expected from a normal wound that would heat up slightly and lead to a mild sustained and dull pain. But eventually the sharp nerve attacks would return.

Somehow we must had knocked out in exhaustion. Throughout the entire night we never did look at the time, because doing so we would not only know what time it was, but we would automatically calculate the number of hours of sleep we would have left and despair. But we do know that by 6am we would be totally exhausted because Wee Wog has already woken up by then and have harrassed our parents to let her out to the porch so that she can do her business.

We've now gotten better painkillers courtesy of our nearby clinic, and tonight we shall see if we can sleep through it!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Our Rhythmic Roots

We think we'll just put up the ad for Young KL Singer's upcoming performance as it is for now.

Great Eastern

The Young KL Singers
Rhythmic Roots
celebrating the cultural and musical heritage that is Malaysia.

Last year, we explored the development of jazz. This year, we are exploring our cultural roots.

As in years past, The Young KL Singers (YKLS) will once more be staging another exciting upcoming production entitled “Rhythmic Roots”, from 12th to 15th November 2009, in the Actors Studio, LOT 10.

Our group of 30 passionate, music-loving performers enters its 11th production since its inception in 2002, after achieving outstanding success in previous shows including the sold-out performances of “Simply Andrew Lloyd Webber” and “Breaking It Down!”. Two of our performances, “Through the Barricades” and “Move It!”, have won the Kakiseni Audience Choice Award in the Boh Cameronian Arts Awards in 2003 and 2007 respectively. In all 10 productions, the choir has performed a wide repertoire of music, ranging from Broadway musical pieces by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Rogers and Hammerstein, to the colourful rhythms and rhymes of jazz. After many years of primarily Western repertoire however, The YKLS were inspired to discover our own roots by looking to the music originating within the multiracial cultures of Malaysia and other Asian countries. This became the impetus for this year’s production, aptly entitled “Rhythmic Roots”.

“Rhythmic Roots” is a journey through the various ethnicities and cultures of Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, China and India, and our indispensable contributions to our own cultural heritage. Baba and Nyonya folk songs, Malay and Indian traditional pieces, and songs tracing the development of Chinese culture in Malaysia from its mainland China origins are some of the highlights that will definitely be heard in this upcoming production. It will be directed by Joe Hasham, a multi-award winning director, actor and writer and his involvement in “Rhythmic Roots” is something that the YKLS is very excited about!

One thing that makes this production unique amongst all other past YKLS productions is that for the first time, all four co-founders of the choir are working together. “Rhythmic Roots” is truly a very special show which emphasizes the importance of origins – where we come from, who we are, and the many, many influences and cultures which have shaped Malaysia’s musical heritage into what it is today. This is definitely something not to be missed.

Songs that would be sung during the show:
Aeyaya Balano Sakh-Kah-D (Konkani/Indian)
Yuet Kwong Kwong (Chinese Cantonese)
Gai Bintang (Indonesian Madurese)
Pok Pok Alimpako (Philipino Maranao)
Janger (Indonesian)
Modern Youngters (Chinese Hokkien)
Soleram (Indonesian)
Lolo Re Babu (Konkani/Indian)
Loy Kra Tong (Thai)
Wau Bulan (Malaysian)
Kami (Malaysian)
Bua Kaaw (Thai)
Sin Sin Si Batu Manikam (Indonesian Tapanuli)

happening at:
The Actors Studio@Lot 10
12 - 14 Nov@9pm
Charity Matinée: 14 Nov@3pm
15 Nov@3pm

rm43 (centre seat) rm 33 (side seat)
call/walk in: TAS@Lot 10 box office - 03 2142 2009 03 22143 2009
walk in only: klpac box office@Sentul Park, Axcess@Head Office(Jln Semangat), 1 Utama, Alamanda Putrajaya

artistic and music director - Susanna Saw San San
choreographer - Lakshman Balakrishnan
assistant music director - Tracy Wong Wei Wen
producer - Denise Kong Hsu-Pei
director - Joe Hasham

4 prizes to be won at every show*
(Victoria Station dining vouchers and Nescafé Gold hampers)
*excluding charity matinee

title sponsor
Great Eastern

supported by
Zanders, Creative Clicks, Victoria Station, Nescafé Gold, HSBC in the Arts and The Actors Studio Teater Rakyat.

Goodness we've less than a month to go!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Back On Top!

Now last weekend the Actor's Studio opened at Lot 10, with an Opening Gala performance on Saturday night and a Mixed Bill of performances on Sunday afternoon (plus more this whole week actually). Very quickly now, there was a drum circle bit at the start to entertain the folks while they had drinks out on the rooftops before coming inside the Actor's Studio, the Hands Percussion played drums, the Young KL Singers sang a couple of songs, a Butoh dance by the Nyoba Kan dance company, Douglas Lim had everyone laughing, a Short + Sweet Malay play of non-epic proportions, a dance by Michael Voon and other people not from the dance genre, more songs from the KLPac Sinfonietta's String Ensemble and baritone Eddie Chin, and to round it all up an Indian classical dance by Ramli Ibrahim and Guna.

The first thing of note: quite a number of performances (especially when it comes to dance) have people showing off their abs. And they've got great abs. Like the butoh danceer, although even if you click for a close up it's probably not so clear from this pic.

Check below for a vid of the drum circle - members from YKLS and Actor's Studio each took a musical instrument, and played a steady tempo creating an awesome sound! Then when everyone was ready the drum circle procession began - led by a butoh dancer from Nyoba Kan, the drum circle players and some belly dancers whom we cannot credit because we have no idea who they were.

Taking videos played merry hell with our iXus in two ways. Memory space and battery life. Memory space because we've never really fiddled with the different settings when it comes to video taking, thus a 5 minute video like this actually took up 600MB. Thankfully we'd Windows Movie Maker to help shrink it down with little compensation in terms of resolution. Have yet to play about with iMovie...because we still don't own a Mac.

And by the time the butoh dancers were performing our iXus started shutting down and telling us to change the battery pack. Thankfully after a while we could turn it on again and take more photos and videos, and the rest of the time we took photos with our L'Amour instead.

Maybe not buff abs from the members of the Hands Percussion, but their costume got us curious. As the Chief points out to us, normally for drummers they wear sleeveless costumes.

Dato Faridah and Joe. Host and hostess and the people behind the Actor's Studio.

And the man who helped keep the Actor's Studio going after they left Bangsar Shopping Centre - Tan Sri Francis Yeoh.

Then we have Douglas Lim on stage for laughter. He also points out to the folks that the stage is a Hanamichi thrust stage, which is something like a fashion runway stage. This allows for the audience to be right up close to the performance. Okay, so Douglas Lim doesn't show much skin for his performance.

The short Malay play, Adiwijaya's 'Allah' performed by Abdul Qahar Aqilah and Tuan Faisal Azmy. It was in Malay, using vocab that's even a bit out of our depth (but yes we would understand even a statement like, "Puki hanya tahu terima jantan saja!") but after watching it three times we get the whole picture. The first time watching it, the ending was definitely a shocker!

Okay, so the two of them don't reveal much skin either.

Michael Voon's Diaries '09 had dancers who aren't dancers by profession (we think). First time watching everyone we had the impression that they were all martial artists. Energetic performance. We were impressed that Michael could dance with so much energy that you'd never know he had a motor accident and was limping noticiably just last year when he directed YKLS's Breakin' It Down!

Oh and for the other dancers. Maybe it's because they aren't from a dance background, save gal Joey, who we think does ballet, their abs are more like what you'd see on guys the gym with their 6-pack potato buns.

Sutra Dance Theatre with Ramli Ibrahim and Guna. Their moves were very strong yet graceful. And Ramli Ibrahim was definitely still in shape, and his abs were similar to that of the butoh dancer from the drum circle procession!

And that wraps up the performances for the weekend! There's still some shows going on this week (free!) for those interested in checking the place out!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Our 30 Minutes Of Californian Celebrityhood

And it happened on a Sunday. And after the Mixed Bill performances for the opening of the new Actor's Studio @ Lot 10 too!

It all started with a rumble, and we knew our time had come. We had better get ready before the doors open and catch us unprepared!

Sigh. We still don't know if it was lunch. First the Chief had the urge to go then us, but at different times. The Chief went before rehearsals, just as we arrived at Lot 10 and for us as we were done and was about to head to Pavilion for a snack.

Anyways, with Celebrity Fitness (previously California Fitness) just next to the Actor's Studio at the rooftops of Lot 10 (the layout may lead to some humourous moments, where people looking for the Actor's Studio might just wander around and end up looking through the glass into California Fitness' yoga studio) we considered our options.

We could use the toilets in the Actor's Studio. They're still relatively new and clean, the booths in the public-access toilets are quite spacious, or we could use the smaller toilets in the changing room. And there are shower cubicles too, only we did not bring along the necessities like soap and a towel.

Then there is the nice toilet in Starhill, with soft ambient lights, an attendant to pump water for you to wash your hands, and scented candles.

Or if not Starhill, then those in Marriott or Westin. Hotel toilets pass the Janvier Hygiene Standard when it comes to public toilets...well, most hotel toilets.

But we decided on using the gym toilets because: it's an opportunity to have a look inside California/Celebrity Fitness Lot 10 branch, plus we could take a quick shower to cool off after our show.

And so we strode in, got ourself towels and headed into the men's locker room. Our valuables were already with the Chief, as the lockers have no lock and require members to bring their own strong padlock, so all we had to do stuff our clothes and shoes inside a locker, and we would only be in trouble if someone did decide to swipe our clothes.

Interestingly there is no changing room. There is definitely much more lockers than we expected, and it's a large and spacious locker room. It's interesting how the shoe lockers can double up as seats.

Once we've relieved ourself it was time for a shower. And here we get to see the shower stalls with shower curtains as only described to us before. Well well. On the upside, we like that it's spacious and the tiling is nice. There's the familiar plastic soap/shampoo/face wash dispenser, although in the stall we chose the labels were unfortunately missing so we had no idea what we were using.

But the curtains! It definitely only fitted with a hint of a slight peekable gap at either side. And no way to fasten it on either side too! On the side of the stall were only a small hook to hang your towel, and that is outside the stall so we'd to hope no one had the naughty intention to steal that while we were showering.

Or feign innocence and yank the curtains open while we were showering, pretending that the stall was not in use.

Hmmm. Should we wash our hair? Perhaps not. We don't have our hair gel or clay with us.

Done with our shower! Time to dry off and change back into our clothes. We reach for our towel and...yes, it's still there. We dry off, and head back to our locker. Our clothes are still there. Great. We dress up, put on our socks and shoes and...

...drat, we forgot our towel card. Got to take off our shoes and socks, and head back into the shower stalls. Thankfully no one has entered it so we could get our card and head back to our locker. Drying our feet and heading to use the hairdryers we notice the hair gel and hand lotion dispensers and thought, drat, we could have washed our hair after all.

Returning the towels to the towel counter we headed out to find the Chief, get our stuff and head on for yu tiao in soya milk.

And so ends our 30 minutes of Californian Celebrityhood.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Janvier Soldat And The Geeky Gathering

Gutsy and gungho. That's how we should describe the guys when it comes to thematic partying. Especially after lad's birthday celebration! Dressing up for a birthday party has never really required much bravery, even for Adique's costume party as we all had a private room for that (not to mention our costume then didn't attract much attention!), but this time with a theme of...

...We've to search the emails for this...

lad: I've got a good idea for a theme! Computer Geek! Time to dress up as nerdy and geeky as you can, with clashing colours and neatly side parted hair and thick glasses!

Our table was set in the centre of the restaurant, making us the literally the centre of attraction to all who were there that night. Not only we were a table of ten, we were loud (both in terms of volume and fashion haha) and everyone literally had their eyes on us all wondering if we were for real.

Thankfully, dressed this geekily, when we go back to our usual self we should barely be remembered. Barely.

Cross fingers.

We were told we looked like a nerdy teacher instead of a nerdy geeky student. It's tough looking for geekwear, since what really consists of geekwear? We can be thankful that in schooldays we were all made to wear uniforms, so that fashion faux pas was avoided from a young age. But that also means we didn't have much to wear that could be labelled as geeky, unless we went shopping for stuff like braces/suspenders and bow ties of a garish colour.

The birthday cake from FatBoyBakes!

...Hunts through emails again...

Esteban: Hey not sure if there are plans for cakes already.. just thought I’d share this, tried the brandy chocolate cake for my friend’s birthday and found it good and also a bit different than the usual cakes we have.. OC keen?

Seeing that Esteban was recommending more of FBB's cakes, we decided to get FBB's tiramisu again, just as we did last year. Esteban made it clear to have more almonds on the cake, as lad likes almonds. We kinda thought that lad liked the almonds in desserts drinks like almond milk and not really as in more nuts on the cake, so actually left out the request for more almonds when ordering from FBB. Shhh shhh.

The cake was delish.

Here's the birthday boy getting his presents from Geeky-Nerdy-Germ, as written on her name tag! One moment geeky girl, and after the party she magically changed (with the help of a beret of sorts and the removal of the tie etc) into a gamin!

And Esteban wins the best-dressed competition, receiving his prize from the birthday boy, outdoing Lemon with his mouse necktie with pocket USB keypad, by suffering the entire dinner with his pants waaaaay above his waist! By the end of the party Esteban's stomach was aching from having the belt crush his innards!

And we heard that for our birthday party next year, the suggested theme would be Sailormoon. Heaven help us, birthday boy (and girl Puddy) will veto that idea out!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Team Little Mermaid And The Rasa Rasa Hunt

Last Saturday saw members from different treasure hunt teams joining forces to take down the treasure hunt known as the Rasa-Rasa Food Hunt 2009! Ian lir Cel, Andoo, Tuff Teacher and us got together to brush up on our treasure-hunting skills as we still needed practise honing our ability to spot keywords for anagrams and the likes as well as figuring them out quickly.

Team Layton has already participated in three other treasure hunts before this, and admittedly there were times the questions had us stumped. The way the questions are phrased in a treasure hunt doesn't comply to standard puzzle questions, and wouldn't make sense if the answer isn't nearby to look out for.

So, join more hunts!

The one thing we never did like about any treasure hunt was the fact that they started at some God forsaken hour before the sun rises. Like having to wake up at 5.45am thereabouts so that we could reach the venue before 7am. For this hunt, we had some 140 teams meeting up at the National Science Centre car park.

Stickers were handed out during the briefing a couple of days back, to stick to the car.

And then we had to figure out a team name for ourselves.

Except that instead of calling ourselves Sea Slug Team, we decided on Team Little Mermaid. That is to say, we kept suggesting that team name like how Osaka said it while the others tried to think of a better name. Team members Little Mermaid, Sebastian, Flounder and Scuttle. The reason for such a team name? The Little Mermaid soundtrack was playing throughout the treasure hunt on repeat! In the end Little Mermaid caved in and put the team name as Team Little Mermaid after all, haha!

After a quick briefing of what we were suppose to do, it's time to flag off!

This treasure hunt had some unique (read: hi-tech) aspects we'd not come across in previous hunts. In our briefing we were told that it would be require GPS, or a mobile phone with map faciliites, or a road map, a digital camera, and at least one team member with a Maxis line.

The reason for the Maxis line? Maxis was promoting their new 301 Finder service, and so we had to use text 301 to look for six food places, an automated teller machine, and a police station. And not only to text the service for the places, we had to take photos at the places as suggested by the 301 Finder service and print out the photos for submission! We suspect that, as Maxis was one of the main sponsors for this event, we had to do this extra bit of resource-wasting work.

Texting them was a bit of a hassle. First we'd to text them, and they would reply with 3 places, and we had to reply them with a 1, 2 or 3 to get more details of a place...

Texts received are free of charge, hence the RM0. But the amount we spent on texting them for this?! Hmmm at least the photo of our phone showing the text looks good, heh.

So now we have a text leading us to House Of Fishball, we've to take a photo there, making sure our team number could be seen.

We borrowed Bunny's GPS and Junior's 'The Star Guide To Malaysian Street Food' to help us out, and the GPS came in handy in identifying streets quickly as for the first part of this treasure hunt, there was no tulips/road-by-road guide, rather, we were told which street to look out for what particular questions! Luckily we had the GPS to save time, otherwise we might have been looking for answers on the wrong streets!

After much figuring out what treasures we were required to buy for the hunt, running about Hartamas, Kota Damansara, Damansara Uptown, SS2, and Bangsar to solve our treasure hunt questions, solving food challenges in Jaya 33, we sprinted off to the final venue - Solaris Dutamas for the final food challenge!

Which involved one of us making the best roti canai in a group of three. Sebastian/Flounder/Scuttle came out tops!

Once the treasure hunt was over we had time off to rest up before the dinner and prize giving ceremony at night at 3K complex. Team Litte Mermaid snagged...

33rd place! Oh well at least we got a food hamper although we didn't get the cash prizes...

By the way, Little Mermaid was too shy to head up to collect the prize hamper, even though she was the only one who fit the role of Little Mermaid...

After that, Little Mermaid suggested that we all go to Snowflake in Subang Jaya for desserts. An interesting place. You order your dessert, then sit and wait at your table with...

...the Snowflake 'Beeping UFO'. You can click the photo for a closeup as to what's written on it. What it does is start beeping when your order's ready, so you don't have to wait in line for your desserts to be ready.

Yummy way to end the day!

Friday, October 02, 2009

DVD Decisions

"Yo! Will you be going to the Games Cafe anytime this week?"
"Oh hey! What's up?"
"Just figurin', could you help get me the Battlestar Galactica series?"
"Unless you don't want your copy anymore...."
"I'm holding on to mine, thanks."
"Well dad wants to watch, so I'm looking to get him a set."

And with that, Andy found himself paying a visit to his local friendly disctributor in Toon Doctor's Mail Park to grab seasons 2 and 3 of Battlestar Galactica, as requested by Corey.

Sure, he could have just passed his copy of Battlestar Galactica over to Corey first, then buy new ones again later but he wanted to see if there was any new stuff the disctributor may have gotten. It has been quite a while since his last visit anyway.

Andy knows he's a bit fickle when it comes to buying stuff from his disctributor. On the one hand, there were many shows and titles that Andy was interested in watching, but given Andy's usually-packed schedule he does not have much time to sit down for a movie. Juggling his timetable meant that something else would be facing some down time so that Andy could allocate a bit of TV time.

The first thing Andy does when he steps into the store is to grab Battlestar Galactica off the shelves and place them on the counter for the disctributor so that they could pack that ready. Then it was time for Andy to prowl the store for anything else.

It may not be a big store, just your average shoplot, but there's a lot of material to cover.

There's the folder of latest shows released. This folder Andy flips through quickly and, unless it was a show he knows he is not going to be able to watch on the big screen or is dying to catch he passes it by, thinking to wait for a copy that is closer to the original content like featurettes and commentries and deleted scenes - stuff that's usually missing when a copy first comes out.

Once done with latest shows, he flips through every folder of shows - all arranged alphabetically. He's looking ofr shows to add to The List - a list of shows that he is interesting in buying, but no urgency to get them just yet. Shows on The List would be bought when Andy decides to splurge and shop in bulk - he gets one free show for every five that he buys.

Nope. There was nothing new to add to The List.

Not finding anything new of interest, he heads on to the next section - discs with multiple shows on a disc. Here he looks through for shows that aren't commonly popular - somehow the disctributor had decided to lump together shows from BBC or documentaries or even the odd television serials together with the multi-show DVDs. He was hoping to find the Miss Marple tv series in that pile, but no luck this time.

Well, there's always next time.

Back to the shelves of popular tv series. Oh look, a classy box set of Sex And The City with all seasons from one to sex six. Hmmm, he would never finish that anytime soon. The L Word. House - he liked House, watched a few episodes at the beginning when it was showing on telly, but never being able to follow it weekly he's stopped watching. Heroes - he ought to remember to get the rest of the episodes from his friend who downloaded the new seasons. Star Trek - whoa look at the number of seasons! No way he was going to try and start watching back an old series like that.

Hmmm. He has been browsing for an hour already, and it was getting late. Since he is already getting a couple of seasons of Battlestar Galactica, he wonders if the disctributor would sweeten the deal.

"Hi, so, how much will the stuff I want cost?"

"Oh, these ah? Let's see...a hundred and twenty."
" any better deals?"
"Ahhhhh boss for this tv series the prices are already fixed prices one. Cannot give cheaper already."

Unfazed, Andy heads back to the shelves of tv serials and picks out Monty Phyton's Flying Circus.

"Throw this in?"
"Errr one hundred and eighty. This one six discs, sorry ya boss still cannot give cheaper. Tell you what, you add this set I give you one free D9 movie ok?"
"Nah, it's ok. I'll just take the Battlestar Galactica for now."
"Anything else for you, boss? 'Special' movies maybe?"

The disctributor nodded his head towards the little room under the staircase as he said this. Andy had noticed the room before, in his previous visits. Sometimes the room was open and lit, sometimes it was shut. Initially Andy figured it to be a broom cupboard but it turns out that the disctributor stored stuff in there for less-than-innocent minds.

"Nah, it's okay. I'm also tired already, thanks."
Not to mention I could ask for them from friends who'd already downloaded them for free online if I was interested, he thought.

And with that he paid up and left.