Monday, April 30, 2007

The Chicago Bulls ended the defending champions' reign by completing a 4-0 sweep of the Miami Heat,

& the 8th seeded Golden State Warriors, ringing Spartan war cry continues to dominate against the West's no.1 powerhouse, the Dallas Mavericks; yet another potential major upset?

This year's NBA playoff just got more interesting.
Photos from here

Sunday, April 29, 2007

2007 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs Round 1:

Miami Heat (4th) Vs Chicago Bulls (5th)

Just watched the underdog Chicago Bulls obliterated the defending champs, Miami Heat in their own backyard in Game 3 of the best-of-7 round 1 playoff series. Pushed to 1 game away from the possibility of a humiliating 1st round elimination, the insistent notion that a series does not start until the home team loses still rings out loud; despite the fact that no team in history has successfully fought back to win a series from a 0-3 deficit. Well, I’m not about to underestimate the heart of a champion for they never go down without a fight, & might just turn the table around.

Though I’ve never been a fan of the Heat, they’ve been inconsistent all season long ~ playing brilliantly one night & reduced to mere mediocrity the next; featuring a roster studded with stars past their prime (Shaq’s no longer the dominant force he once was), with the exception of D-Wade, who has yet to fully regain his Superhero form since his recent shoulder injury. On the other hand, the Bulls are much younger, faster & hungry for a post-season series win, which they have yet to achieve since the Air Jordan Dynasty ended in ’98 with a 6th Championship. I just love watching underdogs pound the big shot teams & give them a tight run for their money. It’s the intensity & un-predictability that sets the playoffs apart from the regular season games. This is going to be an exciting series to watch; provided the Heat survives Game 4.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

This is going to be yet another costly visit to the ‘engine surgeon’. What initially seemed like a drive shaft agitation problem is turning out to be some bigger shit. A quick jack-up check confirms the worst of fears; it’s coming from the gearbox – bearing problems of some sort on the final drive gear or worse, damaged gearbox housing. Fuck the gearbox. I’ve had some pricey lesson on gearbox before; not due to gear mis-shifts at high rpm run causing the gearbox to go kaboom, but rather some screwed-up job during the initial engine transplant. Sourcing for a B-series manual transmission gearbox in immaculate condition can be nightmarishly difficult; being highly sought after & ricer boys keep busting them.

My ride, well she’s getting old; her maintenance costs can run me up the wall at times, but for most of the time she’s quite well behaved. Still handles sweet, roars like a lion & runs like a race horse when I ‘feel’ it. She’d be going under the knife soon; it's going to be nothing short of a gearbox overhaul ~ i’ll definitely be missing my daily dose of VTEC fix.

Friday, April 27, 2007


A unique fusion of pop-rock & classical music which, takes on a whole new dramatic perspective & sounds almost magical. Tracks performed with Orchestre Lamoureux ~ Paris, conducted by Yutaka Sado.

Dri-Fit strength training glove ~ so workouts at the sweatroom no longer have to be a palm-bristling affair...

An iPod Shuffle ~ the worlds most wearable music gear to keep me plugged to my favourite tunes when i'm on the run.

A MacBook ~ simply coz it's cool... & gives me another good reason to hang out at Bing or Coffee Bean.

I seem to show deep affinity towards the brand with the half-bitten apple. However, my pockets still feel rather light, so i guess most of these will just likely remain on my wish list for the near foreseealble future...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The much-anticipated announcement of regulated OT reinstatement, justified salary adjustment, & opportunities for promotion, plus a bright projection on potential bonuses to be bagged is a welcome sound of music to most, especially after enduring the anxiety-stricken recent months in eerie silence & with little motivation. Good times, bad times come & go. An organization's effort to better treat its people has always been a motivation driving factor & should be well appreciated & applauded. It's has come as a sigh of relief, more understandably so for settled-down people with families & commitments. I sincerely share the joys of my fellow colleagues, though i have been less thrilled or perhaps jaded; I'm probably on a different page than most. Do i stay put in my comfort zone, wait to chance upon the company's reasonably positive prospect projections in the foreseeable future ~ in short, playing 'safe'?
Or do i let my instincts decide; step out into the unknown, set out on a self-discovery journey & challenge myself to scale greater heights, with aspirations live a more exciting & fulfilling life. Perhaps it would have been easier if my mind is structured like most ppls', whose main priority being $$. To me, things that money can't buy in life matters just as much, sometimes, more.
A reason to find, a decision to make & to stick to...

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I'm watching...

once a while i do enjoy purely action epic flick like this. 2 hours of spectacular bloody mayhem... though a bit lacking in plot ~ but hey's it's a pretty straight-forward history lesson. So, done with the beating around the bush & mushy romances, let's get to the hack-&-slash action already. Well, it's a guy thing, really...

Got Secret?

Finally got Secret at RM55; featuring 14 tracks on a CD + DVD format. The steeper pricing compared to the recent A-Best2 compilations is probably due to the newer songs featured (it was released in Dec ’06). I’ve pinned high expectations on this release; after browsing thru reviews after reviews & sampling some of the tracks, glad to say that she does not disappoint. I find the songs compilation to be exceptionally fluid, with brilliantly composed interludes seamlessly bridging the transition of songs from trance-rock to emotional ballads & upbeat-pop. This is one of those albums I keep playing as a whole without skipping a track. It is also impressive to note how her vocal style has evolved from a young & straight-high pitch sounding to a deeper, huskier & mature sounding voice. For I have not been following her music for the last couple of years, I would have missed part of her career evolution. Well, at times we find that our biggest interest now will fade into a nostalgic memory in the future. But, there are also times we lose interest & then come back with a bang. Like my interest in Ayu’s music.

Though she has garnered quite a huge international following in the recent years, she still writes songs generally for the Japanese audience. The J-pop music scene being somewhat fundamentally different from the western music & mainstream Chinese music that we grew up listening to, most of us (non-Japanese audience) may find some of her songs sounding too intimidating to appreciate. The vocal styling, hit notes, harmonizing & rhythm driven lyrics might not sound very musical to the unaccustomed ears. Being a person who embraces differences easily, I’ve grown to appreciate most of her works, her distinctive poignant & haunting vocals, and more recently her writings (thanks to conveniently accessible online sources).

I’m not one who gets excited easily or believes in idolization ~ my buddies can attest to that. But I hold a lot of admiration & respect for individuals of her caliber & dedication; individuals who strive towards their dreams, trying to make it on their own terms, while being honest & true to themselves.

One thing that strikes me most about is her writings, which stand out as being sincere ~ penning out her thoughts & feelings honestly & precisely; it says a lot about her morality, character & belief. No bubbly I Love You s, cheesy Baby Do It One More Time or generic exaggerated proclamations & no indiscriminate English slang dropping so popular with Asian pop music these days. One can’t help but notice that many of her writings are reflective of emotions of deep sorrow, loneliness & despair but always with a strong will to overcome them, which can be felt in her songs; revolving around contradicting themes of finding strength in weakness, a glimpse of hope in darkness, beauty in today’s violent & pessimistic reality.

Sadness is one of the great emotions, the great asset in life; one must not deny it nor affirm it. But nothing will be solved without facing it.

Having spent her unhappy childhood in solitude when her father abruptly left, she pretty much grew up on her own, becoming an introversive person talking with herself and a perfectionist judging herself always severely ~ largely influenced her autobiographical songwriting style. She has the seeking mind for the fulfillment of life. Through all the odds & obstacles, she has made it as an accomplished musician on her own terms.

Perhaps what makes me gravitate towards her & her music ~ is the person that she is; character, beliefs, strengths, shortcomings, struggles & experiences is somewhat reflective of my own:

An introvert who seeks to be heard & understood; has problem expressing him/herself – looks calm & trouble-less on the surface but has complex feelings & emotions locked inside?

Is not very good in communicating with others, maintaining a thin veil of invisible wall when confronted with strangers, & to some degree hesitating to involve deeply in personal relations; one who does not take relationships lightly?

One who mingles with deep thoughts on fundamental questions of life; not a quick thinker & apt to talking slowly ~ slow in mind = stupid?

One who strives to stay true & honest to him/herself in pursuit of life’s dream

I’m intrigued by what is she like, how she is living & has lived & why she can write such excellent lyrics…

Inspired by Masa's personal view & interpretations =)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

No way to say

The old wound left on me
Begins to ache
I hide my trembling heart again
And pretend to smile

Even in my age now, I'm the same as before
As timid as before
I only learn how to pretend to be strong

Though my heart is filled with feelings to convey
You see, I can't change them into words well
If I had not met you
I wouldn't even have such an embarrassing pain

Little by little, I've come to realize
That my past never heals
And that it's no use
Fearing the future I can't refuse

How much more courage do I need
To say with my head held high
"This is the only important thing to me" ?

Though I have firm feelings
You see, I can't change them into words as usual
Everyone is living this way
With feelings they can't express

Though my heart is filled with feelings to convey
You see, I can't change them into words well
If I had not met you
I wouldn't even have such an embarrassing pain and ...

Monday, April 16, 2007

On her most recent album released late last year. I have read countless of reviews on this & sampled some of the offerings. These are the ones that made a more profound impression on me, so I’m going to chip in my 2 cents, with references from some enlightening sources, of course.

The Tracks:

Blue Bird – one of the few pop genre upbeat songs featured on the album. It’s got a catchy tune complementing Ayu’s uplifting vocals. I find it terribly addictive; makes me just wanna groove to the rhythm. Saw her performing the song as the final encore on her Best of Countdown Live 2006-2007 DVD (came with A Best2White-); loved it instantly, been humming in my head ever since. Definitely one of her best summer songs to date, in my point of view.

Until that day – A song that portrays her way of life: the struggles throughout & the ideals. It falls under the rock-trance hybrid genre with edgy & powerful vocal renditions from Ayu. Listening to it for the first time literally got me jumping on my seats; this song really rawks!

JEWEL – A find this one a beautifully penned poignant ballad with simple yet touching meaning; telling the story of a wounded heart learning to love by being loved & is consequently touched & wishes to treasure her loved one.

“I wasn’t sad at all, but the reason my eyes brimmed with tears
was because you seeped through the scar of my heart
and turned it into such a tenderness, that it hurt to think of you”

Saw the MV, a stunning display of glitterati set in a frozen winter field with flowers, snow, butterflies, trees in an everything jewel-ized state. Not to mention intricate jewelry-studded gowns that looked like they carried the whole collection of Van Cleef & Arpels. No wonder it reportedly costs 100 million yen to make.

Momentum – another of my favorite, an emotional ballad with rock elements reminiscent of her earlier masterpiece M – a style uniquely & distinctively Ayu that I really dig.

Starting off with soft orchestral instrumentals & transitioning to a powerful emotional piece when the chorus breaks in, I personally find it heavenly sounding. It speaks about the contradicting feelings of a person wishing to let go of the past but could not bear to part with her precious memories.

I have yet to view the full version of the MV, which contains a very poignant plot & artistic symbolism:
Relating the tale of a girl who died in the past, but is still unable to let go of her love for a man, who has now grown old. To her loving him was her first & last miracle, which she holds onto as her last hope. Thus, she stands out in the cold snowy days by a lamp post, hoping the meet him again. The lamp post scene is symbolical of the candle; there is a myth that a dark cellar exists with candles & everyone is connected with a lighted candle. Once the candle has burnt out of has been accidentally extinguished, the person connected to it dies. The guarding of these candles is Death, who seems to give her another chance by using her own candle’s flame to light up her extinguished ones. She briefly returns as a spirit, in time to see her past lover lay flowers at the spot where she died. In the end, a gust of wind extinguishes the candle before she can reunite with her lover for the last time.

Another tragic love song.

Secret – the defining song of the album. A very Chinese sounding emotional ballad; it’s the ending theme song for a HK movie, Confession of Pain starring Takeshi Kaneshiro. Haven’t seen or heard about the movie yet, I thought it sounded like one of those Cantonese flicks with plot along the lines of the Internal Affairs sort.
"Even now, I am as always
Searching for a place to be
There is nothing else I’d rather have"

Though, I still find it rather plain, despite its poetic & poignant lyrics.

1 LOVE – one of the highly acclaimed pure-rock genre track on the album - Loud & powerful sounding with raw & unpolished vocals. The lyrics relate the story of an outlaw girl being a fighter, paving her own way in her life without following anyone. However she relies on love, where she finds solace and is the only thing she needs in her life. Impressed by the vocals but the tunes have yet to grow on me. I really liked the gothic-grunge theme MV, though. It potrayed a dehumanizing theme, where people are treated like mere commodities to be sold for the whims of the rich. In the MV, Ayu appears as a sexy pole dancer being auctioned at a human market by a secret society of the elite. She throws money in the air, as a sign of independence showing that money is not everything to her.

I’ve been a fan since her debut in 1998, back when she was the timid little girl with a squeaky voice & little self confidence. There’s something about her style & persona – her feelings & attitude, in which she manage to convey in her music; so raw & emotional, simple yet meaningful & touching is appealing to me. Feelings of anger, despair, regret, resignation, fear, pain, loneliness, forgiveness, hope & love poignantly penned & sung are ones that I connect & hold on to in everyday life & struggles. There are expressions of my inner self, feelings that my heart wishes to convey but could never find the words for to voice out. Perhaps I felt the connection in the sense that, we are always searching for a place to be, seeking for the one thing that matters most in life, the only one that we could find solace in.

Over the years, her music, vocals & writings have evolved, grown mature & refined; though I have missed her recent couple of music years, as I felt they’ve somewhat lacked the charm of her earlier masterpieces. However, a trip to the music record capital of KuchingKenyalang Park got me picking up one of her latest compilation & boy, was I intoxicated, again. Love her or hate her, this is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. It does not matter if she is no longer as popular as she once was; I still dig her style & enjoy her music just the same.

My Impression: Fairly impressed to say the least. I can’t wait to get my hands on Secret. Though spending 150 bucks on records in a month is not reflective of a sound budget; especially during cash-strapped times like these. I’m going to get it anyway.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Channel-Ai Community Blog - for those of you into J-pop as much as i am (but can't speak or understand very little japanese to save yourselves) could defintely relate to & appreciate this. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the in-depth reviews & articles of my profound interest here. =)

Expensive encounter with the curb: A busted RM300++ Advan tire + a genuine & rare japanese wheel, a damaged Koni shock; not to mention costly repairs on the undercarriage, oil pan replacement & fixing up cracked gearbox. Lucky that the extent of the damage is only financially-denting... thankfully no casualty. Accompanied a friend to retrieve his ride from the workshop; getting repaired after an unfortunate encounter a couple of weeks ago.
Don't drink & drive.

Friday, April 13, 2007

In a forwarded mail - a hilarious vocab interpretation of Hokkien most commonly used slangs; all the Hokkien folks out there should be able to relate to (or have been cussing like 2nd nature). Sounds so Penang-ish (not too sure of the original source... yet).... hmmm.... haven't i read this somewhere... so unmistakably michaelooi sounding. Though spoken slightly & sing-song-ly different from our monotonous Kuching Hokkien; having spent sometime in the little Prince of Wales Island up north during my internship, i understand & appreciate the differences & uniqueness of both versions better.

" kan keh"
direct translation - 'fuck chicken'.
actual meaning - referring to someone who's cynical and selfish, not
willing to take even the slightest risk of anything.
eg: "Leh ma ler ! Ah Seng kau giak kan keh ah .."
[translation: "Your mother ! Ah Seng is damn timid !"]

"kiong kan "
direct translation - it actually was a short form for "ki ho lang kan ",
which means, 'go get yourself fucked by someone'.
actual meaning - an exclamation that was used to vehemently protest
against any disagreement or illogical statements.
eg: "Kiong kan lah ! lu sio kong lim peh be hiau si boh ??"
[translation : "Kiong kan lah ! You think you can fool me ??"]

"bak moy"
direct translation - 'pork porridge'
actual meaning - to undergo the complete and permanent cessation of all
vital functions; i.e. die
eg: "Eh ! Lu lang cai boh ? Ray Charles bak moy liao !"
[translation : "Eh ! Did you guys know ? That Ray Charles is dead !"]

"loo siao"
direct translation - 'rub sperm'
actual meaning - to riot, to rebel, make trouble or go ballistic. Can be
used as adjective, verb or noun.
eg: "That char bor, si peh loo siao, tiam tiam chueh soo ?"
[translation : "That woman, damn rebellious, always look for trouble.."]

"char siao"
direct translation - 'fried sperm'
actual meaning - to disturb or to vex someone
eg: "Mai char siao lah !"
[translation : "Don't disturb me !"]

"kuai lan"
direct translation - 'suave dick'
actual meaning - adjective to describe a very cheeky or obnoxious
eg: "That si ginna si peh kuai lan."
[translation : "That kid is damn obnoxious."]

"apong sin"
direct translation - 'pancake spirit' (pancake is also the secondary
meaning for vagina) actual meaning - a person who's fawning over any
females and willing to do anything for them.
eg: "Ah Piang kau giak apong sin. Peng eu kio chut, boh eng. Char bor
kio chut, eh poey?"
[translation : "Ah Piang damn 'pancake spirit'. When his friends ask him
out, always busy. But when girls ask him out, he'll literally fly out"]

"ciu cheng"
direct translation - 'hand gun'
actual meaning - an adjective to describe someone that is unskillfully
clumsy, delinquent and fucked up.
eg: "Si tua pui, kau giak ciu cheng. Chia pun beh hiau park."
[translation : "That fat ass damn fucked up. Don't even know how to park
a car"]

"tu lan" (also known as T.L.)
direct translation - 'pig's dick'
real meaning - hatefully dislike or angry; pissed.
eg: "Kua tiok ee eh bin ? pun tu lan."
[translation : "It pissed me off even by just a glance of his face."]

"kam lan"
direct translation - 'to fellate'
real meaning - an expression added into questions - to denote something
ridiculous or defies logical understanding.
eg: "Lu choaa lu eh bor chut lai kam lan aa ??"
[translation : "Why the hell do you bring along your wife ??"]

"loh tee"
direct translation - 'bread' (comes from the malay word "roti") real
meaning - an adjective to describe a very slutty, chintzy and
promiscuous female being. Highly derogatory.
eg: "Ah Piang eh chat loh si peh loh tee. Goh lui chap pek tau"
[translation : "Ah Piang's girl is a goddamn slut. Five cents for
eighteen times"]

Just added some useful phrases to my cuss-vocab capacity =p

Thursday, April 12, 2007

It's probably what i'm seeking for; with the right challenges, my daily life can be more of a meaningful adventure. I'm a traveller, i can embrace cultural differences & be independent of borders.
But i'm still under-qualified & over-experienced for this ~sigh~
An interesting opportunity that came across browsing the net. Lunch breaks spent browsing It used to be or yahoo sports. Times are changing...

Monday, April 09, 2007

Back to the Sweatroom
Finally, successfully got myself back to the gym after a 1/2 hiatus. Back to the basics, got a cardio kickstart - done a 5km jog in 1/2 hour; still pathetic by any marathon's status, but i'm just getting started. Never felt better =)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Original source here

What the hell is wrong with educated people these days?
Do we want to rob other less fortunate ones of the opportunity to study?

I’ve been an ardent fan of J-pop music scene for years. It’s funny how one can be obsessed with music from another language medium so distant & foreign. Perhaps it’s the unique pop-culture & style of music that appeals to me. Having picked up some very basic Japanese over the years has helped a little. As a matter of fact I can recognize more Japanese characters than I do Chinese characters.

Ayu’s 3rd compilation album

Light & upbeat

Dark & broken

2 of the more recent CDs I’ve bought; bought White, got hooked & went back to get Black a couple of days later. It comes in a 1CD+2DVDs format costing a mere RM45 which, is a pretty good value-for-money; impressive compilation of hits (though I have like half of them already) + PV + Countdown Live ’06 – ’07 – I find it too irresistible to not buy & ended up buying both.

Ayu still remains one of my favorite artiste – a talented singer, songwriter, composer, a brilliant live performer in her own right; a sense of her own creation. Known for her ever-changing style like the seasons, her distinctive voice & singing, her music is still pretty much steeped in rock & grunge influence with evolving vocal & lyrical maturity with each new release. 9 years of music – from 80-ish sounding debut album days, a relatively unknown kawaii face writing songs just to save herself, to the cult supernova she is today, trading cherished freedom for the right to tell her story through songs – I still enjoy her songs very much the same.

What’s in a song? Songs that cheers you thru rough patches in life, songs that expresses thoughts, emotions & feelings that are closest to you, songs that captures the essence of defining moments in life; music sometimes transcends language barriers – the intensity of the emotions & feeling poured into a song, it does not take very much to understand what she is singing.

Some of records I have amassed over the years at the height of her popularity from 1999 – 2003: *some only; she's got like 8 full length studio albums, several non-studio ones, 1 mini-album, 40 singles & countless of countdown live & concerts - & still going

Debut album: A Song for XX - Jan '99

2nd album: LOVEppears - Nov '99

3rd album: Duty - Sept '00

4th album - Jan '02

5th album - Dec '02

Remix album - Feb '00

1st compilation album - Mar '01

19th single - Dec '00

20th single - Jan '01

21st single - Mar '01

22nd single - May '01

23rd single - Jul '01

24th single - Sep '01

25th single - Mar '02

26th single - Apr '02


9 of music & on - she still rocks big time! Small in stature, but big in heart, presence & voice...

Staring at the sun...
Lying on a rock at Waterfall3 of Gading National Park, plugged in to my favourite tunes pumping from the earphones of my 810i has a calming effect on me. Contemplating on my future; i'm still searching for myself in life. What do i want in life? Where do i go from here? Questions i need to seek an answer for...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Online Videos by

Your face is
more beautiful when you're sad.
I couldn't say even one word,
When I noticed, you had brimmed over with tears.
That must have hurt much more
than I thought. I'm tired.
I'm sorry that I didn't notice.

The spring wind rolls by, it draws a far off dream.
The break in the summer clouds disappeared.
The autumn sky is painful, the winter sea is cold
The more I fall into a trance the more time passes.

Many events
have slipped by.
And you, here, now,
I'm proud of you, always.
People are not memories
that you can put into words.
They live holding onto their feelings.

Sometimes you take only the roundabout way and get tired.
But the place I finally get to
is just by your side, and my heart is healed.
I want to be that kind of support someday.

You ~ by Ayumi Hamasaki: 2nd single from her debut album back in early 1999; remain one of my all time favourites...

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Tax ReliefHeadache ~ now comes the time of the year when earnest wage earners like most of us get to carry out our duties as good Malaysian citizens; start getting busy filling up income tax forms. I've got a problem no problem with paying taxes (i'm not that ridiculously paid... yet), i just really dread the filling forms part. Reminds me of tedious finger-cramp inducing uni-application form filling affair from years ago. Believe me, it takes more effort for a lefty, like me. Which also explains why we tend to have dreadful handwritings.
Back to the issue, i heard they have introduced an e-filling thingy, which i have yet to figure out. I guess, i'll just get my PA mom to fill it for me... just like before, hehe =p
The arrival of these BE forms had prompted me to take a deep look at my financial well-being. It's a sad case to know you've earned, for the past 2 years, the equivalent of a brand new mid-level japanese sedan car but your bank book reads like an account of an income-less uni student. I definitely need to learn a thing or two abot controlling & managing my financial future... & of course, i need i higher paying job!