26 April 2007

Telling Stories

Story-telling usually involves a story-teller and his/her audience. The original intention is to entertain the audience, but most of the time I notice the story teller is more entertained than the audience. Go figure!

The same story when told by different people will have a different effect on the audience. Some people can turn a bunch of dull and boring facts into the most exciting adventure for their audience. There are also those who can make people fall asleep without even breaking a sweat. I’ve managed to identify a few different styles of story-telling.

Some story-tellers get through their stories calm and composed. They succeed in keeping their audience interested and excited. And with a decent punch line or two, it’s an entertaining experience for both parties.

Other story-tellers give a very dull and uninteresting recount of their own experiences. They do it with very little or even no enthusiasm whatsoever. They lose the attention of their audience after the first 2 lines. But of course in all politeness, their audience still smiles and nods in agreement at every pause.

Then there are those who use a whole lot of words to say nothing at all, constantly beating about the bush.

There’s also the type who get over-enthusiastic when they tell their stories. I’ve seen some barely being able to catch a breath. They tell it with so much excitement in their gut I wonder if they might suffer asphyxia in the middle of the story. They start giggling and laughing halfway through, sometimes they can’t even bring themselves to finish the story. Their audience isn’t able to catch everything that’s said and thus have to piece the puzzle together themselves. Even though the audience is left clueless, sometimes they can’t help but laugh in amusement at the story-tellers antics.

I’m not exactly sure how I am when I tell stories but I know I sometimes stretch the truth a bit (I never stray too far from facts, I’m sure you know), so don’t believe everything I tell you. I just hope people are genuinely entertained regardless of whether it’s what I say or how I say it. What I don’t like is charity laughs – the AP boys seem to do it with such sarcasm – BASTARDS!

23 April 2007

Spending Within My Means

“Learn to spend within your means.”

I seem to hear that more often lately. And yes, it always comes up as a result of my excessive spending. I admit that I’m not as thrifty as most others, but I do really enjoy the spending. After much thought, I’ve decided that I want to maintain my “if-you-like-it-that-much-buy it!” attitude.

So if I’m not willing to reduce spending, I’m going to have to start working on increasing my “means”. Passive income sounds good. Any great suggestions? Preferably something that isn’t high on capital investment.

19 April 2007

F1 Grand Prix 2007: Qualifying

Formula One Grand Prix– probably Malaysia’s biggest single annual event, took place at our very own Sepang International Circuit 2 weekends ago. I’ve never been able to relate very much to F1, except for the F1 on my keyboard whenever I need help with Microsoft Office.

My cousin Patrick called me up one fine day offering me a pair of tickets to this year’s F1 at Sepang. Someone gave it to him but he already had his own grandstand tickets. This Singaporean is such a fan that he’s been for every Sepang circuit F1 since 1999. I presume that’s when it started here in Malaysia but I may be wrong.
I’m the kind of guy who’s game to try everything at least once if the opportunity comes my way. And since this one fell right into my lap, I decided it was too good to pass up so I dropped everything I had planned for the weekend.

My tickets were valued at RM50 each for open air hill stand (K2), applicable for all 3 days. The parking pass which my cousin supplied at a price of RM50 was at PA2, also for all 3 days. Unfortunately I had to work on Friday so we missed the trial runs.

Saturday’s qualifying round I couldn’t miss. We left PJ at about 12.30pm and it took just under an hour to reach the place. The car park was quite a long distance away from the entrance, 1km approximately. We walked around the “mall” area a bit just to take a look. It was pretty crowded with fans all dressed up in their favorite team uniforms and color themes. There were also many stalls selling official F1 Team Merchandise.
Didn’t feel like spending too much time there because it was hot & crowded. Besides, I was lugging around a gym bag which had clothes + lots of drinks & snacks.

The K2 entrance to the hill stand was another 700 meters away at least. At the entrance where they check your tickets, they also check your bags for food and drinks. STRICTLY NO OUTSIDE FOOD AND DRINKS PERMITTED. I had to unload my bag of its food and drinks contents and leave ‘em at the designated table outside the entrance.

As we hiked up the staircase to the top of the hill, the weather changed a little as gloomy clouds began to shadow us, much to our relief. Unfortunately, temperatures remained pretty much the same – HOT!
There were many people already sitting comfortably on the grass or on straw mats by the time we got there – easily 1,000+ people at the top of that hill stand alone. Yet the place seemed empty. There was still so much grass area to cover. My best estimate – 6 soccer fields side by side.
The qualifying sessions soon started.
Unfortunately I couldn't really tell what was going on. The live commentary was fed over the PA system, but of course with the engines howling as loud as they were, it was impossible to know what was being broadcasted.

Good thing the organizers also broadcast the same commentary via radio - 90.0fm.
And they were selling supersized radio headphone at a whopping RM150 for those who wanted to catch the commentary. Good thing Patrick suggested to me to bring a long my MP3 player. It wasn't the best tool, but it served its purpose.

The qualifying rounds gave me an insight on what to expect during race day. Glad I went for it.

18 April 2007

Tying Knots

Still haven’t gotten around to updating on F1 & Redang yet. Blocking off tonight to get that done. Bear with me.

In the meantime, I received a very short email this morning from one of my closest and dearest friends… which was just oh-so-shocking.

with u being scrawny n burnt.. u'll look like a charcoal!! wahahhah =P just kidding...
anyway... i might be getting married this june!
eyes popped out yet?
i'm also 6 weeks pregnant!!
glasses fallen yet?
i'm due early december!!!
fallen off ur chair yet? =P

I seriously had no freaking idea how to respond to that. “Are you serious?” Apparently she was being very serious.

Our friendship started off as a little crush back in college. The only thing that developed from that little crush was a wonderful friendship.

Boy, the first of numerous crushes from my past is tying the knot. It feels slightly weird. I wonder how I’ll feel when my ex’s start tying the knot.

16 April 2007

I'm Back!

I’m back from Redang. Did you miss me?

We had a blast there, but as the photos are not with me at the moment, I’ll blog on that later. This is the only photo from Redang I have at the moment. My group of divers - Soon Yean, Pei Yin & ChooWee (our instructor).

On walking in last night, I found that I have a new modem already installed. Not sure if it’s working but I sure hope so. Will check later. If all is well, you can expect updates on F1 & Redang (with photos) within the next couple of days.

Thanks for tuning in!

10 April 2007

Internet Down

Please be advised that my access to the Internet from home is currently unavailable due to technical problems... i.e. ANOTHER FREAKING MODEM OUT OF ORDER!

I don't know what it is with my family and modems. I think this must be the 10th modem we're replacing in the 10+ years we've been using the Net. Crazy I tell you!

In the mean time, I will only be checking mail and updating my blog from office. So some recent updates which include pictures have to wait till my home desktop is back online. Unless I find the time to edit the pics at home and carry them to office via portable media... so tedious.

04 April 2007

Analyzing Speech

More observation on human behavior – let’s talk about speech. Are you aware that we use a lot of unnecessary terms & phrases in our speech? Apart from the "la's" and "ma's", etc.

Here’s a random made-up story any random joe would be randomly telling a random friend…
“I went up to the gal and said ‘Hi’. And then she was like ‘who are you?’ It’s like I guess that’s because we’ve never met. I mean like it’s not like I had the guts to go up and speak to her before. You get what I mean? Actually it doesn’t bother me that much”

The following bits & pieces could have been omitted without changing the story one bit…
“I went up to the gal and said ‘Hi’. And then she was like totally blur. It’s like I guess that’s because we’ve never met. I mean like it’s not like I had the guts to go up and speak to her before. You get what I mean? Actually it doesn’t bother me that much.”

We Malaysians for some reason or other just like to go – “and then ar…” or “and then… and then… and then…”

And it’s like some of us have like this tendency to overuse the word “like”? Like I’m doing now. Hahaha.

And then arrhh… there’s also this strange habit of going “I guess…” even when we’re making a very factual statement and not really just ‘guessing’. I guess we just don’t want to come off too strong with our comments & ideas.

We also have this constant need to rephrase or elaborate on whatever we just said. I mean sometimes people might just misunderstand if we don’t put that extra effort in to rephrase or elaborate by using "I mean".

Oh, let’s not forget how some people overuse “frankly”, “actually”, “really”, “basically”... for whatever reason. I’m sure you’ve noticed.

Frankly/Basically/Actually/Really, these little traits in our speech make us unique.

Disclaimer: This post isn't to poke fun at anyone so please don't terasa. I'm quite the same!

03 April 2007

2007: Review of Q1

I blinked an eye, and January passed. I blinked the other eye, and February vanished. Silly me, I blinked both eyes, March found love and eloped. And thus, the first quarter of 2007 is no longer mine to keep.

I can’t say that I’ve accomplished or achieved very much during the past three months, but I have enjoyed myself thoroughly. I’ve gone places, far and near. I’ve met people, old friends & new acquaintances. I’ve spent money, lots of it. I’ve danced, till my legs hurt. I’ve collected memories, sweet ones for my old days. I’ve found love, which is blooming beautifully.

Okay… I have accomplished quite a lot actually. What a great start to the year! Hopefully the next quarter will be just as fortunate, especially with new career opportunities.

02 April 2007

Mastercard: Friend Or Foe

After about 2 months of keeping away from shopping, I came across a yellow gym bag from Fila. It looked awesome, and moreover, it's functional. It's not too big, nor too small, and my favorite part - it's got a pocket for shoes. Everything I need in a gym bag. It retailed at RM189, no sale. But the sales guy was really nice and offered me a 20% discount. So I charged it to my Mastercard.

Soon after that purchase, I began looking for shoes. I'm justifying my desire for another pair of shoes as I have been using my Dunlop badminton shoes for all my sports & rugged activities lately. Court shoes aren't built to take such abuse, and the soles are wearing out quite fast.

So, a new pair of trainers for my gym and as my 'utility' shoes. Then my overworked Dunlops can go back into my Yonex bag, to be used only when I'm on court surfaces.

Last Saturday while I was out shopping with the boys... (we seldom shop together, but Robert needed help picking out a pair of sunnies) ...at One Utama, I bought myself a pair of Nike Air Edge Trainers.

They look really good, and feel even better. Retailing at RM329, it was pretty darn expensive. Since they're new arrivals, there wasn't any hint of a discount either. The sales girl threw in a pair of Nike socks for free. Naturally, I charged the purchase to my Mastercard as well.

A day after the purchase, I had the pleasure of trying out my new trainers while jogging around the Kelana Jaya lake. Awesome feel, just a bit warm. Robert says that could be because of my socks. So will try a different pair of socks next.

I'm really beginning to wonder how I'm going to settle my next Mastercard statement. Other than the above purchases, I've also clocked up quite a sum while out clubbing, and also for my upcoming Redang trip. Die man!!!

Fortunately I had enough sense to hold back on buying myself a new pair of sunnies - Rudy Project Apache All those present when I tried this pair on (Robert, SY and even SY's mom)were thumbs up and encouraging my to take it home with me. RM660 + a disount of 35%. RM440 nett... charge to Mastercard? You've got to be shitting me. As much as I can I would really like to keep my expenses within my means.

Besides, I'm not ready to give up on my RM688 pair of Oakley Square Wire 2.0 SH - 5 years old and a bit worn, but still good.

Let's leave the Apache for when I really need it, or when I can afford it.