Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Today wasn't a good day. I had to rush to Concorde Shah Alam to supervise the setup of the live show. As I was approaching the traffic light near the hotel, the green light was blinking. As I pass through it, the light turned yellow. After I was through it, I saw a flash of light in my rear view mirror. Instantly, I knew that a traffic camera had gone of. Now I'm wondering whether it was me who had ran a red light. I didn't had time to look behind me to see if it was another car behind me that had run a red light. I didn't know it was an offence to run a yellow light!
I got another ticket for parking illegally outside the hotel. Normally, I'm a stickler for rules and I park legally. Today as I was rushing, I parked outside and when I was done in the hotel, there was a ticket for RM60 on my windscreen. Damn. 2 tickets in a day!
Now I have to find the place to pay for it in Shah Alam tomorrow.
After I got home, I had to drive my mother to visit my uncle in OUG. He came all the way down from Ipoh for an operation and was recovering in his other house in OUG. I must have dozed of on the couch because by the time I woke up, my mother was ready to leave already.
Ever heard of a Bridezilla? It's a cross between a bride and Godzilla. It's a term I heard on Martha Stewart (Yes, I'm turning soft!) the other day. It's a bride who goes crazy on planning her wedding.
Today I met up with an old high school friend I haven't seen in a long time. A mutual friend of ours told me he was also getting married in December so we should meet up. We met up at Starbucks at Jaya Supermarket. Jaya was where we used to hang out in high school so that was pretty funny. Back then, there was no Starbucks, just a video game arcade and the McDonalds next door we used to go too.
We talked about our expectations and what we've been doing so far for the wedding. He was going for the usual 500 guests 8 course chinese dinner at a hotel in KL. I told him about my plan to do a 90 pax buffet/BBQ dinner. We exchanged tips on where to get the cheapest stuff (suits, alcohol, flowers, etc) and ideas on wedding favours. At that moment I realized how roles have changed, now we've turned into groomzillas! Good thing it was only the two of us there with no one else we knew around us.
He updated me on what our other old classmates were doing. It was funny hearing what the others were up too. When you're in high school you sort of wonder how everyone would end up. So its nice to know at least most of them ended up decent. Damn, I hope I ended up decent!
Yesterday, I dropped by the Buddhist temple in Brickfields to pick up the wedding registration form. It was a heck of a jam just trying to get to the temple. I made a wrong turn and had to drive all the way to KL, back pass Dataran Merdeka, Federal Highway and finally back to the turning into the temple.
The lady said they take a maximum of 50 couples a day so that sounded scarry. She said the 7 day of the 7th month was the peak. I guess that's the day to avoid! I wonder which lucky couple gets to do it at 7AM, at the 7th minute, 7 seconds. Maybe sign the certificate at the 7th second.
My high school friend said he was going to register at Putrajaya. He said it was pretty nice there. Okay, sounds good but I kinda like the idea of doing it at a Buddhist temple. Since we don't have a Church wedding, the next best thing is to have a Buddhist blessing ceremony. Sort of a reminder to myself to be a nicer person once I'm married.
As I was standing outside in the compound of the temple, I looked around and I saw the new Monk dormitory they were building. I thought about the donation they needed and an idea struck me. I wonder if I could advertise my video production services to couples who were there to register their marriages. I'll offer to shoot the couples who wanted to register their marriage free of charge, if they made a donation to the temple. In the mean time, I'll also offer to shoot their dinner reception. That one I would charge. As I stood there thinking about it, I thought, I better go home first and decide if I really have the time to do all that. Sounds good, but when it comes to implementation, it gets really tiring and tedious.
Still a lot of things left unsettled. So much to do!
Sunday, May 27, 2007
I watched Next last night. It was that Nicholas Cage movie where he had the special ability to see 2 minutes into his future.
It was going great all the way up to the last 15 minutes of the movie and then they did a sequel ending. You know, the type of ending where everything is left hanging as the producer wants the option of making a sequel. I hate that type of ending. It doesn't make me want to come back and pay money to watch the sequel. It makes me want to buy a pirated DVD to watch the sequel. I feel ripped of by a bad ending. The same goes for Pirates of the Caribbean 2. Stupid movie, they didn't even mention in the making of the movie that they were making a sequel.
Other movies that had endings like that were Star Wars - The Empire Strikes Back; Matrix 2 and Back To The Future 2. Okay, most of these movie were shot back to back to save on production costs. But when they withold information that they're making another movie and leave everything hanging, that leaves me feeling unsastified.
The only genre of movie where you leave the ending hanging is a horror movie. The bad guy/monster never dies and there is always a hint that it is still alive. Everyone expects that. However, that doesn't work in trillers or action movies where the story arch doesn't end properly.
The scriptwriters for Next didn't do a very good job either. I have a feeling they shot a lot of scenes and the editor had to cut things down to speed up the pacing of the movie. Hopefully, the DVD has the uncut scenes so I can find out what actually happened. Then again, maybe Nicholas Cage shouldn't produce and just stick to acting.
I was going to drop by 1 Utama to fix my camera pouch but the huge jam outside just turned me of. I when straight home and killed many pixeled man and aliens on my PC. Outside of my computer, I'm a pacifist... but when I turn on my PC and start up Command and Conquer 3... I'm a huge war monger.
Reminds me of the movie Conan the Barbarian. I cut and pasted the below from wikipedia
Conan the Barbarian, in the film of the same name, when asked, "What is best in life?" responds, "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women." Here, the character Conan is quotes the twelfth century warlord Ghenghis Khan, who gave this answer in response to his friend's claim that what was best in life was "A fine hawk on the wrist, a clear day, and a fast horse upon which to ride". ( Refer to the novel _Ghenghis Khan_ by Harold Lamb for the exact quotation and context.)
When I play any strategy game, the meaning of any game is to hear the lamentation of their people/alien! Okay, outside of my game, the meaning of life is to have a clear day.
Friday, May 25, 2007
Not much to say today. Just when for a shoot around KL, doing the tourist thing. Got to ride the Eye of Malaysia for the second time. The first time I when up, they forgot to let us down so we when 6 rounds instead of the usual 4.
This time around, I had to wave to the guy to let me down also. I guess if you're having a romantic conversation up there all alone that would be fine but if it's for work, I want to get out of there as soon as possible.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
When ever I meet people, the usual questions follows. You know, like where are you from?; What do you like?; What do you work as? The last question always makes me cringe. I hate telling new people I meet what I do. Not that I hate my job, it's just that it's tedious explaining to people who have no clue of what I do what it is exactly that I do in my job.
If you tell someone that you're an accountant, civil engineer, cowboy, astronaut, surgeon... most people already get the idea because they would have a pre-conceived stereotype of what that person does. They would have already known someone who is in that line of work or at least seen it in fiction, whether in TV or read about it.
When I tell someone who has no inkling of what I do, the first reaction is, "oh, that's interesting". That's usually my cue to cringe and edge away. Then they start to ask, so what do I exactly do at my job. I tell them the generic crap, "oh, I do research; find guest for the show; edit visuals, go out on assignments; write scripts". Then they start to build their own pre-conceived stereotype from there. The next thing they say is "oh, so you must meet a lot of famous people. Do you know so-and-so?". At this point, I usually try hard not to roll my eyes. I hate it when people just assume its all about the glamour. Okay, here's the fact... I probably know so-and-so but I don't want to tell you because I don't like telling other people about their private life.
Occasionally I make the mistake of saying, "yes, I know so-and-so". Then then immediately ask me to verify what ever rumour they have heard about the person. Most of the time I say I wouldn't know if its true... even if I knew what was really going on. I'm not comfortable talking about someone's private life with someone I know for less than 15 minutes.
Since they can't dig any dirt up on so-and-so, then they go on to dig about what I do at my job further with questions like, "oh, so how do you find guests for the show? How do you decide what topic is discussed on the show?". Well, here's the tricky part. I usually give the standard answer "oh, I do a lot of research by reading the newspaper". The truth is... I call anyone I damn well please... most of the time anyway. Nothing goes as planned.
Take today for example. 2 hours from the show, I find out my main guest weren't coming to the show. Normally I would have freaked out but I'm used to the stress already. I flipped out my handphone and called 'someone'. I explained to them we have an opening on the show and if they would like to explain something to the viewers. So far, most of the people I have called in this situation have said yes.
I work with a lot of NGO's, especially feminist groups (hey, it's a women's talk show!). If you ask me, my interest are in civil liberties, consumer rights, justice and helping people. As a gatekeeper, I feel it's my responsibility to help people. Most of the time, I take risk putting guests on air other producers are too afraid to put on air. Yes, I'm brazen in approaching sensitive issues but my obligation to justice is bigger than my fear of the reprecussions.
On the rare occassion, I do fashion, health and gossip just because I need a break. I personally prefer doing current affairs topics. Like today, it was going to be about the launch of a new movie but since there was a major screw up and no one informed me until 2 hours before the show they weren't coming. I thought screw it, today I'm going to go all out on consumer rights and talk about the rise in prices of daily goods.
There were a lot of people out there that were pissed with the rise of daily prices. The sad part was, most of the consumers just grumble about it without taking much action as there is little that can be done. Boycotting an essential item you need doesn't work. Heck, I tried boycotting petrol because if the Iraq war and that just made my life hard. Now I strike a compromise and only use Shell instead of Esso. I don't use Petronas because their fuel and benefits isn't as good as Shell. Also, Petronas is biased towards non-bumiputeras so screw them. When was the last time you saw a non-bumiputera Petronas station owner?
The past two days I've been reading the book, "May 13, Declassified Documents on the Malaysian Riots of 1969". I when to Borders at The Curve and the lady at the counter gave me a meek smile and said the book was banned. I told her it was not banned and I walked over to MPH. They didn't have it on display but when I asked the lady at the counter, she fished one out from under the counter. I asked her why it wasn't on display, she said it was too controversial. I felt like I was buying a pirated DVD... wooo, how exciting!
The findings of the book, if true, are quite shocking. I can see why the government is considering banning the book. After reading it, I felt jaded. All the stuff I have known about the history of Malaysia, our forefathers... they were all glossy cover ups of the gross injustice they have committed. It was like reading an alternate history of Malaysia. Here we are, almost 50 years since our independence and now I hold in my hands a book telling me these guys that were supposed to be heroes were just... power hungry men.
At first I was angry... very angry. It took a lot of the Buddhism in me to put things in perspective. First of all, this all happened 38 years ago. Most of these guys are dead. Secondly, a lot of the testimonials are from foreign diplomats and foreign correspondent. It's all their perception and hear say. They don't provide an overall picture of what truly happened, although it is an eye opener to finally have an account of what happened. Look at what happened in the Iraq War. Most of the initial reports done by the western diplomats on what was going on ground in Iraq was wrong. Thirdly, I'm a Buddhist. I shouldn't hold a grudge. Buddha says it's like holding a burning coal waiting to trow at someone you hate. Maybe I should drop kick the coal at the person's head instead!
So that just leaves me jaded at all these Merdeka celebrations when the government refuses to investigate one of the most painful moments in Malaysian history. The way our forefathers are potrayed at their almost God like status makes me cringe now. Yes, they brought me where I am today... but they also did a lot of injustice to me.
So what can I do? Well, don't hold a grudge and think of the greater good... but I tell you, it's not easy to forget when those in power have the ability to repeat the same mistakes again.
Anyway, today I took pictures with two of my hosts on the set. This would be the last time I'll get to take a picture of this set. Damn, I've never liked orange and pink!
Monday, May 21, 2007
Normally, I get artists on the show and to me its just work. However, there are some who just 'Wow' me with their performances. One this is Rossa, the Indonesian sweetheart with an amazingly Merdu voice.
What amazed me more was that she brought a whole team with her from Indonesia. She had her own sound technician who brought her own wireless microphone. Now that is really cool. Normally, Malaysian artists leave it to the TV station to set everything up. Heck some of them don't care because they're just miming the song. Rossa, she's different.
She even brought along her fashion designer/stylist. Cool! I think she's just as sweet as Datuk Siti Nurhaliza.
Rossa doing sound check with her own microphone before the show.
Past few days have been busy. I've been looking for a place to do the wedding reception in PJ. The hard part is trying to keep it under budget. I tried to do it at 60 Pax but I think 90 Pax is more realistic now. I'm only inviting close friends. The rest are 'required' relatives I have to invite. Now I'm thinking Chui Yan's idea running of somewhere isn't so bad. We're both private people and we both don't like the idea of a big wedding.
I'm in favour of a buffet style BBQ reception. Something more casual than a sit down 8 course chinese dinner. Finding the place to do it within budget is the hard part. We were going to find someone to pick a date according to our chinese birthdate but it was too much hassle and anyway... I don't believe in all that. I settled for picking a date out of Joey Yap's calendar. So far I have 2nd of December, it's a Sunday. The following Sunday, 9th of December should be the Kota Bahru reception if all goes well. 16th December would be the Ipoh reception. Hopefully, I get the wedding venue all settled by this month.
The other thing of course is finding a place to buy. I've been looking at one apartment in particular but Chui Yan says their asking price is too high so we're still looking around. I like the area, its low density for now. Traffic is quite low too. The best part is... it's in PJ and it's toll free to everywhere else in PJ! It's pretty near my office and Chui Yan's house so that's a plus point.
The last time I eat pork was 2 hours ago. I was really hungry and bit into this pau that was in the kitchen. It was a char siew pau. Since it was already in my mouth, I thought what the heck... I'll eat it. After that, I ate another large pau and there was chicken in it. Poor chicky and piggy. Died to be my supper. Eating just veggie makes me hungry very fast, even though I had a very large meal. Arghh... I must... have... meat!
Friday, May 18, 2007
A few days ago, I was in Atria buying software. As I was browsing around, I noticed a frail old Indian man at the counter asking about a software he bought. He seemed quite distressed. As I approached the counter to make my payment, he asked me if I could help him. Since I had time to kill, I asked him what was his problem.
He started from the top, and I mean from the TOP! He said his name was Mr. Chandran. Ever since his heart surgeries, he can't sit in front of the computer too long. So he when to a computer shop to scan his pictures into a DVD so he could watch it on his DVD player. The problem was, his DVD players couldn't autoplay the pictures so he wanted to know how to convert the pictures in the CD into a format his DVD player could read. He said the pictures were jpg format and he wanted to change it to jpeg format.
I thought about it for awhile. JPG and JPEG are the same thing. So it wasn't the format that was the problem, it had to be the disk format that was not readable by the DVD player. So I told him, okay I'll help him. I'll take his DVD home and try and convert it for him. I told him I'll be back in Atria in the evening to meet him.
He was over come with joy and asked me if I was going to charge him for it. I said no, I'll do it free for him. I could have said RM200 but when he told me about his 3 heart surgeries, I thought the guy needed the money more than me. That made him more elated. So after tearing myself away from him, I made my way back home, curious to find out what's in his precious little DVD.
I popped it into the PC and opened up my photoshop. I used the script option to to convert it all into jpg and resized it and burned it into a CD. I think I didn't close the CD properly because all I got was crap on my DVD player. Just then, Mr. Chandran called and asked how it was coming along. I said, it was taking longer than I thought. I told him I wouldn't be able to meet him in the evening, most probably tomorrow afternoon at lunch. Time for plan B.
I opened up premiere pro and started editing all the pictures into a movie format. I thought, since I'm already at it, might as well add some music to it. The photos were of him and his wife travelling around the world. I could see he was in Universal Studio in LA; India; and other exotic places. So I put in some Michael Bubble, Frank Sinatra and other oldies music. Total duration of the CD came up to 30 minutes.
I looked at the photos and I thought oh heck, might as well make a cover for the DVD. I did a small photo montage for him and put the title "Memories" in a nice hand written fond. I felt quite pleased with the overall finish, except that I used a 4X6 photo paper that was smaller in size than the DVD cover. It kept slipping out when ever the case was open.
The next day, I rushed to Atria. I was supposed to meet Mr. Chandran at 2PM but I got stuck finding parking in the area. I was 5 minutes late when I met up with him. He seem quite delighted and relieved. He recounted how he called his wife at home numerous times to see if I had called his house. His wife told him to stay calm and not rush someone who's helping him! He even asked the PC shop and the guards if they've seen me. I thought that was quite humorous.
When he saw the CD, he face lighted up. I explained to him, I edited it as a movie and he couldn't stop thanking me and asked me if I was sure I wasn't charging him anything. I told him, it's karma. He must have done something good. He said, the day before, as he was making his way to the PC shop, he ran into a friend who asked how he was doing. He said he was having PC problems and needed help from "The Man" upstairs. He said, maybe the "The Man" upstairs answered his prayers when he ran into me. After recounting more of his health problems, I just stood there and listened for awhile. I understand how sometimes people want to share their experiences, I do that too. He left in a hurry and I when my own way.
Later in the evening, as I was having dinner with Chui Yan he called me up to thank me. He said he really enjoyed the slide show with the music and the music was especially touching to him. I told him, I was glad he liked it. I told him, I did it as a hobby and I normally only charge a nominal fee to cover my costs. If he had other pictures he wanted to scan, I would be able to help him. I told him, I had to go as the waiter was bringing my food.
Well, I guess it doesn't take a lot to make someone happy. It costs me 3 CD's, 60 cents in parking, some petrol money, 4 hours of my time which I would have spend gaming anyway and some brain power. Making Mr Chandran happy... priceless.
Friday, May 11, 2007
I don't make a good runway photographer. I still haven't gotten the hang of runway photography yet. Knowing where the the model's waypoints and when to click is something I have to work on.
I was wondering around 1 Utama and I came across a BCBG Maxazria fashion show that was just about to start. I was wondering if I should step in to have a closer look until I saw my colleagues from the wardrobe department. I followed them in and took a seat. I turned down the food and champagne (not that I drink anyway!) because I still had a bad cough.
Some of these models were really scrawny. At least the clothes looked really good. I liked this little black piece they have (it's in the picture).
Later after the fashion show, I wandered around 1 Utama with the wardrobe people and they were pointing out to me where they got the clothes for our hosts. Seems like a lot of these shops are pretty picky in who they want wearing their clothes for free. Some want the clothes back in 48 hours. Sure... if we don't dry clean them!
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
After lunch, I when to Tropicana to meet up with their sales executive. She showed me their packages and their poolside. I thought it was really nice. I'm planning for a BBQ dinner, something different besides the traditional sit-down-8-dishes-yam-seng dinner. We wanted something more casual and intimate.
This is the poolside area in Tropicana. It can hold a maximum of 150 persons. I'm planning for just 60. Not many dates available left. I can't confirm yet until I look at other places first. 50% deposit upon confirmation.
The blue covered raised platform is where they do the cake cutting. Main table between the stage and the blue platform. The other tables spread in a circle around the blue platform. On the stage, probably put the projector there for the slideshow. I have to do my own decorations. Probably some flower boquets to tie to the pillars with ribbons. They give me 3 hours before the dinner to decorate. Can't do much.
This is the pool next to the venue. Guests can't go down to the pool though as they put a barricade there to prevent people wandering of. Just as well, I don't want any of the kids falling into the water.
This is the vanity room. It's in the ladies room. Its quite a long walk from the pool side to the vanity room as its attached to the ballroom. Its the other side of the clubhouse. There's quite a large changing room in the ladies room too. I think it could support a fashion show, with models and makeup artists in there.
Normally, I'm used to planning for my shows, heck I even help plan Datuk Siti's wedding. Planning my own wedding is a whole different ballgame all together. When I go out for recee's I'm looking at how it would look on camera, how one event would flow into the other and logistics. Planning my own wedding requires a whole different set of rules. Quite the learning experience.