Friday, April 17, 2009

My favourite vampire

I know- it isn't healthy for a married, 30-something with a 3-year old toddler to be fawning over a young man as fervently as I am... but seriously... damn! Robert Pattinson still rocks and my heart goes pitter-patter everytime I see a picture of him- he is just so compelling and human! And boyishly awkward in that insanely, ridiculously photogenic, handsome way of his. It drives the endorphins to my brain, and I literally feel like swooning. Check out these pictures of him from his latest interview with GQ (read interview here). Tell me I'm not right in the head for swooning over him?

*Pictures of Robert Pattinson taken from No copyright infringement is intended.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I love you

You're mine. I love you. I love you. I love you.

I can't even begin to describe how you've made me feel so complete, as a person, as a woman.

I love you. You came from within me and I shall protect you from life's hideousness and pain, just as I had protected you when you were within me.


It's funny. We're living in a technologically-advanced era. Almost everything is computerised. We communicate by email, faxes, phone, etc. Our cameras and gadgets are sophisticated. People get smarter and smarter by the day. We face new inventions that change our lives each second. Deep down, though, although I appreciate how modern our lives have become, a little part of me craves for the old school, the vintage, the bygone years.

I get excited when I see an old turn-table at a flea market. When was the last time I'd played records on one of those? Probably when I was a kid about 9 years old, when my Dad still kept his old turn table and evergreen records. How about a gramophone? You can practically stick your head into one of those, they're so huge. And dial phones? The old types where there is a small, bell-shaped receiver. How about a heavy old iron, where you need to put in hot coals in order to smooth out your clothes? And my favourite- old black-and-white box televisions! I love how things were so simple then. One knob does it all. It's amazing.

I took a walk down memory lane a few months ago when I was at my Dad's. He was doing some spring cleaning- moving his study room from upstairs to down on account of his age, he gets tired walking up the stairs all the time to use the computer and Internet. A few months were spent picking out new bookshelves and cabinets, and new comfy chairs. The nightmare, however, was transporting his books and files etc downstairs- there must've been at least, at least, 5000 or so. A huge portion of those were mine, though- and Dad wanted me to pick out what I wanted to keep, and he would discard the rest or give them away.

A bookworm. That's what I'd always been. My husband thought I was a geek when he met me, on account of my love for reading and poetry. He almost fainted when he saw my book collection. When we got married later, we used to squabble everytime I went to a book sale, because I'd end up getting at least a 100 books or so, with no proper place to store them all. It didn't help that I finished reading those 100 books within a month or two, I was voracious for them.

Anyway, I was at Dad's and almost fainted when I saw the mountain of books in his new study, all yet to be shelved away. I foraged through some plastic bags and found cards and drawings I had done for him since I went to kindergarten, I kid you not. My brother was home for the weekend, incidentally, and we had a good laugh over our badly drawn stick figures and childish quotes. My primary school text books had already been thrown away, I told Dad I didn't want to keep them. But I insisted on keeping the English, Geography, History and general knowledge books and textbooks from secondary school, and my college notes from A-Levels, study cards on Wordsworth's poetry and Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey (English Lit) and my legal notes from university. I even have a whole hard-cover book from the 1960s entitled "How to make soap".

But the coolest discovery of all- has to be these....

A 6-book limited edition hardcover pictorial on World War II, which is probably worth heaps now
Dad's pile of books from the 1960s

Women's Weekly- December 9, 1970!

Yoga- through the ages, popular even in the 60s and 70s

An old telephone directory from January 1956. Back then, it was still called the Federation of Malaya

Dad's sprawly cursive handwriting in one of his old high school exercise books!

An entry in the exercise book - the date was 10/3/1960! Dad's handwriting remains unchanged till this very day

Dad's old exercise book from when he was in Form 5!

Isn't this all super cool? I know, though, that storing these old books are going to be quite a chore, seeing as the 'library' in my house isn't even completed, or rather- that I had not, in the years since we'd moved in, taken any effort to clear and keep decent.

Our past is so important, to help us understand ourselves in the present. I can't wait to show my daughter all these when she is a little bigger. She will see then, how life carries on, and how a little piece of each of us makes a difference in one another.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Twelve umbrellas

It rained cats and dogs a few days ago, an immensely crazed kind of rain, bordering on a frenzied storm. I had just reached home, and I remember scrambling and looking around frantically in my car for an umbrella to use. Unlike most of the houses in my neighbourhood, my home was not fitted with an automatic gate, so I was relegated to getting out of the car every time I arrived home, to unlock the gates, open them and then drive my car into the driveway. Tedious, for sure, but I’d be damned if I had to spend 5000 dollars on an automatic gate in today’s economic downturn.

So there I was, sitting in my car, limbs askew as I stretched over the passenger’s seat of the car, trying to pry with my fingers, for an umbrella I was certain I had seen lying on the floor somewhere. Nothing. I clambered out of my seat, into the backseat (I drive a MPV) and there, in all finery and glory, in the boot space, were, not one, but seven umbrellas, of different colours and sizes. Well, well! Seven umbrellas in a car. I was, frankly, astounded, that I had amassed such a collection, and upon inspecting each of them, I realized that none of them really belonged to me! I selected one, laughing to myself and made use of it.

Later, when I was ensconced in the warm comfort of my living room with soft music playing in the background whilst the rain beat down on the window panes, I laughed again when I thought of the seven umbrellas in my car. On a sudden whim, I leapt out of my seat and searched around the house to see if I had more umbrellas lying around….. and true enough, I found another five more lying under the staircase, only one of which belonged to me. I began to wonder whom I had pilfered, or accidentally taken these umbrellas from. Because, in all fairness, I am not a thief!- but I am also not ashamed to admit that when I borrow umbrellas from someone or other, I almost always never return them. And why is that? 1) Because I am an irresponsible, flaky person who forgets things; 2) the owner of the umbrellas never asked me for them; and 3) it’s only an umbrella, for God’s sakes!

However, seeing as I’ve amassed an impressive collection of umbrellas which do not belong to me, I will begin to make the effort to reunite these lost umbrellas “which are not mine” with their rightful owners. Daunting task, to be sure, but at least I am moral enough to attempt that feat!- which is more than I can say for some dishonourable umbrella thieves! This brings to mind Roald Dahl’s short story titled “The Umbrella Man”, about an umbrella thief, a seemingly-fine gentleman who went around stealing fine quality umbrellas, and on rainy days, selling them for a pound (using the excuse that he required the money for taxi fare, in exchange for the umbrella) to an unsuspecting victim. I enjoyed this story tremendously- and although it is just that, a story, it could very well possibly happen in real life. 

Statistics reveal shocking revelations on the number of umbrellas lost and found (or perhaps, even stolen) in public places. As of April 2009, the Johnson County Community College campus police revealed that there were 9,368 black umbrellas in their lost and found inventory. An article written by one Yukio Obata pointed out that statistics gathered by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police in 2006 showed that about 650,000 items and over 78 million dollars are reported lost, and more than 2.3 million objects and over 26 million dollars are found. Of these, only 0.3% of lost umbrellas are returned. But these statistics may very well be unique to Japan alone. In America and Toronto, approximately 25,200 and 5,600 umbrellas are lost each year on their respective transit systems. The Londonist, in 2004, reported survey results released by Halifax General Insurance, indicating that in just one year, approximately 7,026 umbrellas were handed in to the Transport for London Lost Property Office.

An umbrella is, frankly, an inexpensive and almost-disposable object, which explains why, when lost, a person almost never reports it missing, and is more inclined to buy a new one (which costs less than 10 dollars) at any convenience store, or perhaps “take” or “borrow” another person’s umbrella (as I have discovered I am wont to doing!). Although we should all be thrifty and careful with our personal items, many of us and the consumer society in general, treat our umbrellas with less respect than a clump of clay. This frightening aspect of consumer society is one which we must take great pains to improve, and to nurture a sense of responsibility when it comes to personal items and belongings, no matter how inexpensive the items!

A person would raise a hue-and-cry if he lost, for example, his super-fine, ultra expensive Vertu mobile phone on the subway, and not only report it to the lost property section of the subway, but also, he will probably lodge a police report and hunt the phone down until the end of his days! And if he fails to recover it, he will cry in despair, wilt like a flower in a microwave oven, and berate the person who had found, and didn’t return his phone. He may even be so desperate as to call his phone, or leave text messages, pleading for the person who found the phone, to please return it and he will be more than happy to fork out a substantial reward for it. Somehow, I don’t think the same kind of tenacity will be extended to a lost umbrella.

So where do all these lost umbrellas go to? Frankly, I don’t know- but I’ll be more than glad to enlighten you when I do find out! Maybe they’re just thrown away in a landfill, after several years. Or maybe Mary Poppins comes in the night and takes them all away- she could, after all, do with the variety! Or maybe they all mysteriously disappear to umbrella heaven, where umbrellas of every sort and fancy will unite and shout in glee to be with each other! Or sometimes….. they end up in my house. Who really knows?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Bad-ass tapping

I've been taking some tap dancing classes for a month now. And contrary to popular belief, the Riverdance show is NOT a tap dancing show: instead, my instructor was careful to point out to me that Riverdance was an Irish jig, and was not tap dancing per se, although there were tap dancing techniques and moves incorporated into the dance routine, for sure. I was a little disappointed at first, because damn!- those Riverdancers are bad-ass! It is quite likely I may never ever be able to dance like them, but given enough practice and lessons, I was hoping to at least be able to carry out a simple dance routine.

Having said that, and having had a month of rhythm tap dancing, I am really enjoying the classes and the learning experience. Also contrary to popular belief- tap dancing can get quite strenuous when you do the same structured exercise routines over and over again. I couldn't believe it when I realised I was sweating buckets in the class. At least it's a workout! 

I finally bought my tap shoes last week- I'm stingy, so I opted to buy ready-made ones (instead of going to a shoemaker who will measure your feet out and custom-make a pair for you: these can cost almost RM400) and managed to find a very reasonably-priced pair (under RM150) from a dancewear shop which supplies ballet leotards, skirts, shoes (including tap shoes), etc to the school where by daughter takes her ballet classes. They were a perfect fit at first, a cute-sy pair of black Mary Janes.  I tried practising some moves at home, but my flooring was ill-suited for tap dancing (slippery and shiny) so I almost fell down a few times. 

I had the opportunity to try them out for the first time last night at tap class- and they felt strange at first- but really made a difference when you're practising and doing routines. I'm really excited! I wish I had more than 1 tap class a week- I could do it every night!

Anyway, here is a video I found on Youtube, which I really liked, for some reason- seems to be a video of a practice session. The rhythm tap moves are sleek and well-planned and really very cool. Nothing super fancy, just cool and understated. I like.....

What I wanted to be when I was a little girl

This was for the Nike ad campaign in Russia, fall of 2007, featuring
Maria Vinogradova and Anastsiya Soboleva- who are both Russian dancers. Awesome.