Warning: This entry was typed throughout a time span of two weeks, so sorry if some parts are confusing.
I don’t know what it is about holidays that make
people me really, really lazy. I mean, now that I finally have free time, shouldn’t I be filling it with … oh, I don’t know, productive stuff? And not just sleep and junk food and TV and movies? …No? Oh well, let’s just backtrack to before the holidays, and then we shall ponder on the disease that is idontfeellikedoingnanythingitis.
Soooo. On June 1st we had a final assignment, painting a garden landscape. Our lecturer’s garden landscape. At her house, which is kinda sorta far away from my home, so I had to wake up at 6am and take the LRT and join in the human sandwich (with the people-going-to-work crowd) carrying my big black A2 bag through 17 dang stations (that’s almost the whole route, y’know) all while making sure I could breathe and not fall from the inertia at every stop. I truly hate public transportation. No, actually, I truly hate crowds. People. Public people in public places; shopping malls, trains, train stations, streets, yadda yadda yadda.
It comes with living in the city, I think. KL. Cities mean work. Work means money. Money means life. (Okay not quite, but I’m just being simplistic here. ) And since living is what people do, cities mean people. Lots and lots of people. Lots and lots of cars, lots and lots of traffic jams, queues, waiting, shoving, pushing, squeezing… I don’t know, maybe the world should expand as the human population expands. (And it is expanding, isn’t it? The whole cutting down forests and hills to make more space thing.) But … even so, people still need to go to the big cities. I bet the majority of those who work in KL don’t necessarily live within a half-hour-drive radius of their workplace. People also come here to shop, to … I don’t know what else. Things. I guess then, all towns should be “big cities”. With enough jobs for its people, enough facilities and offices and everything.
Which means I’ll just have to wait for Malaysia to become a fully-developed country? Really? Tell me, oh people in modern developed countries, does it solve the problem? … I have a feeling it doesn’t.
Finished watercoloured gardenStep-by-stepAlright, enough of my pointless thoughts. Here’s my finished watercolour painting, although it was not 100% done by me. My lecturer helped add more “life” to everything, my painting was initially quite flat and photo-realistic, which isn’t really the point of watercolours. (On your right is a progress animation, ’cause animated work-in-progress shots are the coolest, not to mention addicting to watch. ) Watercolouring takes forever though, it’s really painstaking and slow and … layered and layered and layered. (Haha, isn’t that redundant. Layered and layered. ) Anyway, my classmates had even less time to finish their paintings, because they all kinda thought that it wasn’t an assignment, just for “practice”, so on Tuesday, the day we were supposed to hand in everything, three of them had very unfinished paintings while two of them (the ones who couldn’t make it to the lecturer’s house on Friday) had no paintings to speak of. At all.
But, through the miracle of having practically no sleep and just plain ol’ last-minute hard work, every one of them had a painting to show on Wednesday, review day. Even Kim who’s in Sabah and hasn’t been attending these extra classes ’cause the flight tickets were too dang expensive, managed to e-mail photos of hers and we displayed the pics on laptops. (For the previous assignments she posted her stuff here, but even courier takes one whole day.)
Part of my cornerThe review/moderation went okay. Basically we had to paste up our assignments all nice and neat in class and a couple of other lecturers would come and grade them and comment, bla bla bla, and then our lecturer might upgrade (or downgrade ) the marks that she had already given for each assignment. Preparing the class was truly a last-minute job ’cause everybody else was still finishing their paintings, and we had to figure out how exactly were we going to arrange the class and tape up the papers… (We ended up making a C shape with our small desks and lifting up the folded drafting tables on them, and pasting our works on the tables’ surfaces.) We also used the whiteboard and corkboards at the front and back of the class, respectively, but since each person had like 13 pieces of A2-sized paper, there still wasn’t enough space. (And the two other walls won’t work ’cause there were blinds on the windows, and the window frames blocking the light just … didn’t look good.) So we also used the class next door.
We were still pasting up Muhsin’s stuff, and it was only 2:50 pm (our lecturer said she’ll come between “2 to 3 pm” — and let’s just say she’s not the most punctual lecturer we’ve had ) when suddenly PC yelled, “They’re here, they’re here!” Uh-ohhh. Lots of scrambling to finish and clean up, the boys went off to put their neckties on (I guess formal wear wasn’t really required, but hey ), and then … we waited.
Apparently we were supposed to just stay outside while they walked around “the gallery”. Hungry (nobody had lunch, I don’t think), sleep-deprived (well, except me — I kinda had an 8-hour sleep since my painting was almost done ), exhausted us alternately sat outside our classroom or stayed inside the other room (I needed the air-conditioning ) until … we were called in. One-by-one, for them to ask questions.
PC, Muhsin, Icam, Azmah, me, Puan Mimi, and the guest moderatorAzmah was first, and she was inside for a long time. Then was PC’s turn, and then me. My session was probably the shortest, one lady just asked me how long the watercolour painting took (she thought I painted “from memory” and was all, “Ah, no wonder!” when it came to the part when I said, “… and then I took a picture (of the lecturer’s garden)”. Hah. Then she asked whether I prefer the method I used for the Taj Mahal assignment or the watercolours, and I honestly said the Taj Mahal. (Markers and pen and pencil.) And then she went off with, “But don’t you think this one is much more lively? That one’s rather flat, yackyackyack” and me, “Well yes, but I guess I’m just not used to how time-consuming watercolours are, blahdeblah”. And the other lecturer had no questions, so I was done!
All the masking tape we used to paste the works ended up in this ball. Muhsin wore the empty tape ring as a bangle back there. I have no idea what my final marks are (the night before — oh yes, did I mention we were on campus till 9:55 pm on Tuesday? We were still working on the paintings and the lecturer finally left only ’cause she wanted to watch Desperate Housewives — our lecturer did say what our totals were so far [without the watercolour assignment or our sketches in the sketchbook, which is sort of extra credit or bonus marks], and she said I’ll probably average at an A minus, which I’m pretty happy with ), I don’t really know if we’ll ever know… But it doesn’t matter. It’s all over, truly over.
At least for a month.
Next semester we won’t be taught by Puan Mimi anymore and apparently we’ll be picking up Technical Drawing, which sounds like a nightmare. (And probably is. ) Hmph.
Lonely… I am so lonely… I have nobody…That evening we went to McD (for “lunch”, at 5 pm ) and then we each went our ways… I was the only one going back to the hostel, ’cause the rest already left their rooms (two of the boys got kicked out ’cause their block were to be used for the early intake of juniors ) and managed to commute back-and-forth from home. My hostel block was COMPLETELY empty when I arrived on Monday night, I was seriously the only one there. See the picture? There are three more of those 5-storey units, and all of them were dark. (Except for the staircase lights.) It was slightly creepy, ’cause even though I’m used to being alone in my house, being alone in the whole block is a different story. No neighbours. No people upstairs. Everything’s so quiet.
Until I turn on my laptop and blast some music on.
But I left the hostel on Wednesday evening as well, and boy, did I underestimate the amount of stuff I had to bring home. I only accounted for my clothes, while really, there was the kettle and plates and toilet stuff and things on my side table and this and that — objects that you don’t really notice are there, until you have to clear the whole house. In the end I managed to pack things up just as my mother arrived, and only forgot one little thing: my mirror in the kitchen. It’s hung on the window by the sink and I forgot about it until after I’ve returned my key to the office and was walking back to the car, taking one last look at the outside of my unit … and noticed something reflective at the window. (You can actually see the mirror in the pic above — it’s a black square.) Oh well, hope the junior occupants’ll be happy to have a mirror by the kitchen sink.
(Unless some hostel staff comes in to check, and throws away everything that’s not supposed to be in the rooms… Sheesh.)
Lesson for the next time I’ll have to do room clearance — bring more bags than you think you need. (I had to just stash a lot of stuff in the car, heh. ) And check all the rooms, walls, corners, shelves, drawers for stuff that you might miss… (Although I already did this. )
So it’s only been like five days since I arrived home, and … eh, it’s been full of ice-cream and movies and sleep. Yeah. We (my bros and I) were craving for ice-cream for God-knows-what reason, so the other day I followed my mother to Carrefour and we got not only the usual Mini Magnums and Drumsticks (though I prefer Cornetto) and my brother’s Chocolate Chip in a tub, but also Snickers and Mars ice-cream. Haha, it was a funny sight, me carrying boxes of ice-cream in my arms, dumping them at the Express Lane (“Less than 10 units” ) with a packet of Kit-Kats. Ohh boy, will we become fat ol’ slobs…
Added later: Er, all the ice-cream was gone, thanks to the five of us, in exactly one week . Fat slobs indeed…
Shrek IIIAnyway, on Friday we watched Shrek 3, and it was funniest movie I’ve seen in a while. Yay for the Shrek series, I like all three of them now. Can’t even choose which movie I like best. Though for this movie, somehow Justin Timberlake as Arthur kinda felt off. I dunno why, I thought the mouth movement kinda didn’t match the voice lots of the time, or his “acting” felt (okay, sounded) unreal, or maybe the voice just wasn’t suitable for the character? My favourite part was probably when Pinocchio had to “lie” without really lying. Haha, I thought the sentences were rather clever, “under any amount of uncertainty… may or may not…”. And of course when Puss had Donkey’s body and tried to do the big-eyes thing — and it didn’t work.
I figured out that the title basically means “Fawn’s Maze”I also watched Pan’s Labyrinth, we had it for a while but we never found the time to watch it, till recently. It’s in Spanish, so subtitles (which I usually hate ’cause they’re SO WRONG [at least when the audio is in English too, ’cause I can actually tell when it’s not displaying what the audio is saying]) had to be turned on. The movie was more gory than I expected, lots of blood and cruel killing and there was one scene that I so couldn’t watch (the Captain sewing his own torn mouth with a needle and thread ), but the fantasy bits were nice. Kind of too children’s-book-like (all instructions without much explanation or reasoning… ) and predictable, but nice.
School of RockThen there was School of Rock, an oldish one, but I caught it on TV. I recognised Miranda Cosgrove from Drake and Josh, and found it interesting that there was a “Maryam Hassan” in the cast list. (“Ooh, an Arabic name! She’s probably Muslim! ” ) The story was alright, the kid actors were cool, the music was … okay (not a fan of Jack Black or his singing or his style. Or his singing style.); a so-so movie. I like the idea of the storyline and everything, but the execution was kinda bleh.
I’ll never look at museums the same way again…Finally, Night at the Museum. I’m always late at catching movies so don’t mind the lateness of these reviews. My family members watched it already and though my brothers claim that it’s hilarious, my mother said, “I don’t get it.” But she “doesn’t get” Shrek either (any of the Shreks), apparently she’s not a comedy fan. Says her sense of humour isn’t like other people’s, so even if the whole theatre hall is laughing out loud, she’ll be like … . Oh well. I found the movie pretty cool, the museum parts, not much of the family-work-normal-stuff parts. “Dum-Dum” and “Gum-Gum” — ahahahaha. The casting I wasn’t so sure of, though. Even Ben Stiller.
Added later: Okay so now I’ve also seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding (not that bad, I like the Greeky stuff. Like, Windex? Seriously? ), Mr Bean’s Holiday (hehe, typical Mr Bean-style humour. A little gross, very unrealistic, slightly exasperating to watch, but entertaining in any case ), and Meet the Robinsons (not that interesting to me… I dunno, somehow 3D animation with human characters never seem as attractive).
Our blue gifts, and the walisOn another note, last Saturday my uncle (well, half-uncle: my mother’s half-brother) got engaged. Bertunang, in Malay. It’s an official ceremony thingy, and I came along. Basically, the groom side (groom? Er, fiancé?) brings gifts (including the ring. And the number of gifts has to be odd.) to the girl’s house and the elders (well, the wali. Male family member that represents each side) talk talk talk (about the wedding and dowry and details) while the other family members sit quietly as witnesses and then there’s some prayers and the ring is placed on the girl’s finger (by the guy’s mother or female family member, in a separate room) and then everybody eats (oh yes, a feast is necessary for everything ) and then the female side gives gifts too (the number of which has to be more than what the male side gave) and we say bye-bye and bring said gifts home.
My aunt (in green), my future aunt (gold) and my mum (blue)Gold gifts from the other sideThe guy isn’t involved in this ceremony in any way, in fact my uncle came just to lead the other cars, show the house (or apartment, in this case ), and stayed in his car downstairs until everything’s done. This is the second rombongan meminang I’ve joined, the first was for my mother’s brother too (another one), long ago. But I was really little and barely remembered anything. This time I realised what a freaking pain everything is. The gifts (called hantaran), mainly. My mother’s sister handled most of the stuff, bought this and that (okay, usually there’s stuff like… fruits, cake, the ring[s] — we had two rings, one was cincin merisik and one was cincin bertunang, a set of prayer dress or just clothes, chocolates, money, … er I think that’s it), and got everything wrapped, and my mother only had to prepare the sirih junjung (to put it simply, a flower arrangement that includes certain leaves and … other stuff that would be too complicated to explain in English), but even that was more troublesome than we thought.
The sirih junjungThe “other stuff that would be too complicated to explain in English” included something called pinang, kapur and gambir. I know kapur is lime; calcium oxide or whatever. Pinang is … er … a small fruit and gambir is … I dunno what it is. Basically these three things are traditionally eaten with daun sirih, the kind of leaves that had to be in the flower arrangement too. Some old people like to eat sirih, they just place the stuff on the leaf and chew. I don’t know how it tastes or why they eat them (’cause it actually makes your teeth black), but they do, and it’s a whole tradition thing. So anyway, I think the sirih junjung traditionally only included those stuff — sirih, pinang, gambir and kapur, but now people also put flowers and arrange it like a bouquet and everything.
So fine, my mother just went to a florist and just ordered one, since they already had a set package. When she came to pick it up, the road was jammed or something so she asked my brother to jump out of the car (not literally) and get the bouquet instead. It looked like a normal ol’ flower arrangement except for the big green sirih leaves and, as my mother noticed, these brownish weirdish-looking flowers. She just dismissed it as “weird-looking flowers” and then started to wonder where all the pinang kapur gambir thingies are. An aunt of hers said that they sometimes put them in small bundles and stuff them down some of the flowers and leaves, but there was no such thing on this one. The aunt also said some people don’t even put them on the sirih junjung, just the sirih leaves, and it’s fine anyway.
But my mother decided it has to have pinang, kapur, and gambir and went to a wedding supplies shop that night. (The night before the engagement.) The first shop was out of stock, but the lady called another outlet and said they had “one more left”. We wondered how “one” set of pinang-kapur-gambir looked like, since the lady kept asking, “You wouldn’t mind any sort of design, right?” but we asked her to save it for us anyway, and we headed to the other store. It turned out … that the pinang-kapur-gambir … had been cut and glued in such a way that …
… they looked like flowers.
At this point, it didn’t click in my mother’s mind that the weird-looking flowers she saw in our bouquet was this exact same thing. (Only in a different flower design.) And me — I haven’t really seen the bouquet at home properly and didn’t even know there were weird-looking flowers.
So we bought the set of two big flowers made of pinang and several small ones made of kapur and gambir. They were 17 dang ringgit too. (The bouquet was already 60 ringgit or so. )
You can probably see this coming — later, as we were buying said ice-cream, wheels and cogs started turning in my mother’s head … and she realised that we’ve wasted 17 ringgit and a lot of time and effort for something we already had. Who in the world knew that people make everything into flowers already? They’re too disguised for people to recognise! :shakefist: It doesn’t help that we’re n00bies at this bertunang business and know almost nothing about hantarans and crap. In the end, my mother stuck the extra pinang-kapur-gambir flowers in the bouquet anyway.
Note the cellotape. The brown flower is the pinang one.Among the 6 cars that our side of the family drove that day, it was interesting to note that all of them were silver … except for our maroon van. And that’s not the end of our troubles, believe it or not. The drive on the way to the girl’s house was such a long and swervy one (partly because of my brother’s driving, and that my uncle — another uncle — who led the way from his house drove very fast and we had to catch up ’cause we didn’t know the directions), which, about every minute or so, caused my mother or my brother (who were holding the sirih junjung and fruits-in-a-basket, respectively, in the back seats) to yell out stuff like, “Hey, where’d the pear go?” or “Oh nooo, it broke!”. (The tallest stem of the leafy-flower stuff in the bouquet got totally bent like an upside-down V. We mended it with cellotape later. )
One of our gifts: a prayer dress that I had to place beside me on my seat all the way thereEh. So much hassle to get engaged these days… It’s actually not even compulsory to get tunang-ed, you could just get married straight away, but I guess people expect you to follow the traditional step-by-step stuff. Even then, couldn’t you do without that many gifts or having to place them on extraordinarily heavy copper trays with matching-coloured ribbons and lace for all the gifts? Some people go way creative and do things like … arrange and fold and roll and tie a towel till it looks like a bunch of grapes, or do origami with paper bills to the point that I wonder whether people will even bother to unfold everything so they could actually use the money. I’m all for being crafty and stuff, but not till it gets impractical. I don’t like impractical.
Phew. Okay that was kind of a tangent there…
All of the above was typed… er, either last week or two weeks ago. Our modem’s power adaptor went kaput and for a while, we replaced it with my brother’s keyboard’s adaptor and it worked, but in the end the modem itself started being problematic, then the technicians took forever to come and replace it so… basically I was internet-less for more than a week. :shakefist:
Which spurred more unnecessary naps and useless TV-watching and moments that I spent sitting on my mattress, staring blankly at my room. Seriously. But it dawned on me that an internet-less computer isn’t as useless as I thought, so I started browsing my Aneesah’s folder, digging through old files… And found a folder called Reads. In it, were a bunch of saved .htm files of …
Harry Potter fanfiction, nonetheless.
I’ve never been a fanfic reader; before this I’ve probably only read one fanfic, and hated it ’cause the writer changed the characters so much to the point of ridiculous unrealisticness. But I remember John, an online friend, recommending a few to me, a long time ago, and I must’ve saved a few chapters, for the slim chance that I would have any free time to spend reading it. (I think that was in 2005, my SPM year. Busy busy.)
So. Now that I was desperate, like staring-at-the-ceiling desperate, I managed to read those files. One of the fanfics was The Heiress, which apparently still only has three chapters, the last of which was written in December 2005. Hmm, the story’s okay, nothing too different or interesting, but I mainly say that because it pales in comparison with the other fanfic I saved:
This one has 43 (!) chapters, and I’m only up to Chapter 34. It’s not perfect, definitely not JK-Rowling material, but I guess I like it ’cause … there’s very little overlap between the story of Harry Potter and this story. The setting isn’t even in Hogwarts, or Britain or even Europe, for that matter. It’s about another magical school in the US, and sure it mentions Hogwarts and Harry and I think there’ll be more involvement between the two schools soon, but the storyline and uniqueness makes this fic a good one.
Though the spelling errors annoy me quite a bit. Like “lightening” for lightning and “breath” for breathe. And the main character’s … “strongness” irritates me somewhat, perhaps because I’m so the opposite. I mean, the 12-year-old girl punched and beat up her school’s Head of Guards (or whatever his name was. Basically the Disciplinary/Security officer), for God’s sake! And slapped this person, yelled at another… Ergh. But yeah, that just shows it’s good writing, I guess. I like it when the author can control my emotions as I’m reading, especially in Chapter 16.
(So, those of you on summer holidays and as desperately bored as I am, go read this fanfic. )
I do find it hard, though, to understand how fanfic authors are willing to spend so much time and effort to write these novel-length stories, without getting any money in return. I mean, people usually write their own novels to get them published, earn some financial reward, and perhaps get famous. But I suppose fanfic writers … are simply content when their hard work is enjoyed by other fans. That’s nice of them. And I’m glad I’m starting to read fiction again, it’s been ages since my reading material weren’t textbooks or school notes.
Of course, the return of the internet after being deprived of it also caused a spree of checking all the usual sites and link-hopping like I’ve never link-hopped before. Suddenly I kept finding all sorts of cool craft sites, lots of tutorials and stuff that will just lengthen my Things that I Must Try to Make One Day list. The biggest site I found was Instructables, which is full of clear, illustrated, step-by-step instructions to make … things! Lots of things. Not just artsy creations but food recipes and more technological stuff (like those things in MAKE magazine).
I haven’t explored the site enough, but I’m sure I’ll spend hours surfing it soon. The coolest thing I’ve seen so far is a magnetic rubik’s cube made from dice. It’s a complicated project but super cool to look at.
I also found Burdastyle.com, which has free sewing patterns and some how-to’s. Though I really don’t sew clothes — they need large amounts of fabric (which I don’t have) and all the proper sewing rules (since measurements and durability and neatness are important ) and my sewing machine is too faulty.
Some other craft sites/blogs whose feeds I subscribe to: Crafty Daisies, Primrose Design, Craftzine.com blog, Craft Leftovers and U-Handblog. I’ve only recently (like, this-year recently) started subscribing to feeds. I use a Firefox extension called LiveClick, which makes monitoring them more convenient. I think Opera has it all built-in, but I don’t use Opera very often…
Shura’s watchHmm, back to real life, I haven’t finished any crafty projects myself, from lack of inspiration. (Internet = inspiration. Hence, no internet = no inspiration.) I’ve been working on a watch strap for my friend for ages, and even now I’m not fully satisfied with the finished thing, and I have a heavy feeling that it’s too loose. (It is exactly the measurement she gave me, but since it’s elastic, I think I should’ve made it slightly shorter since it’ll stretch. ) The strap’s already been through at least three different forms, with different techniques and patterns, but there was always something wrong so I ended up ripping everything out, and started over. I don’t feel like adjusting this version either.
Rejected versions. I quite like the last zig-zaggy one but I ran out of red beads.
Unfinished thingiesSome of the unfinished stuff I’ve made are … paperclay sculptures. I found packets of paperclay sold at the local art shop so I decided to try it out. (I’ve always been a fan of polymer clay and colourful little things made from clay, but I haven’t found coloured bake-to-harden clay sold around here. ) Paperclay is kind of … a wet fibre-y clay, not the easiest to sculpt or smooth out (except with water), and is prone to cracking as it air-dries, so after some Googling, it turned out that there’s has an official site and everything. And some of the projects used stamps to actually press a design onto it, so that’s what I did, with some old kiddy rubber stamps we brought from the US over 10 years ago.
The end products aren’t that perfect, and I still have to paint them (which I’m scared to do, for fear of “ruining” things), but pretty cool-looking stuff, eh? The donut pin I sculpted by hand, and there are many other stuff not in the photo. Maybe some of them will become pendants or keychains, some brooches, as soon as I buy proper brooch-backs, and some just little plaques with a design in the middle. The rainy cloud and sun are actually one piece, with one design on each side. Kind of a “Rain or Shine” theme.
I’m also crocheting a wallet … which actually might turn into two wallets with fabric insides, ’cause yarn makes the piece so bulky. It seems that I need to make a new wallet every semester, that’s how long my handmade wallets last , but I don’t mind. Gives me something to do.
A few days ago as I just got back from picking my brother up from his tuition class (oh, and I … er, accidentally left the handbrake up almost half of the journey. It was a very short route though, and after Googling — at first without much results, because apparently the handbrake is called the emergency or e-brake — I think there wasn’t much, if any, damage done to the car. ), my left eye felt annoyingly itchy, almost painful, like the feeling when something’s stuck underneath your eyelid and wouldn’t come out… And I looked at the mirror and there was this raised white dot on my lower lid. Surrounded by redness.
Notice the white dot.
EWWWWWWW. What the heck is that? Does anybody know? I’m guessing it’s just from bacteria or something, but it’s so creepy. I can’t stand seeing these weird medical conditions on the human body, disgusting disgusting. So far I’ve just used eye drops which seems to shrink the white dot back to just a red bump, and reduces the itchyness a lot, but there’s still this slightly raised bit, even now. The picture was taken a day after I first noticed the dot. It suddenly itched again and I swear I saw the dot get bigger. Ergh. And my eyes aren’t usually that big and buggy, it was just the angle.
Oh-kay. This entry has been sitting in my hard drive for so long, I’d better just post it now. Oh yeah, one other thing I discovered during my Windows Explorer adventures (when the modem was dead), were my old OLD OLD blog photos. So I think one day, I’ll have a “down memory lane” kinda entry, recapping my history of blogging and what the heck I’ve been rambling about these past few years. So wait for that.
Bye guys! I can’t believe I only have two weeks of hols left; I better utilise the time properly now…
P.S. I finally reorganised my Archives page. You won’t believe how long I took to modify the plugin for the monthly archives, even if I told you. Thanks to Jem for helping out, though it turned out to be WordPress’ fault; inserting those extra
P.P.S. The Stats page is up too.