Monthly Archives: April 2011

What An Art Project Can Do To You

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I’ve been working (read “toiling and struggling and dying”) on an Art Project (read “highly unimportant and unnecessary hassle”) that is due this Tuesday and so far the only thing I’ve learned from all the research is that I can’t draw to save my life. Aside from that, I’ve also discovered that I don’t like our traditional cloth patterns so much… That’s our preassigned (read “forced on us”) topic. Batik.

Batik

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Batik is our traditional cloth, done using a manual wax-resist dyeing technique. Over here in Malaysia, we’re more towards floral motifs with super vibrant colours. Thankfully, this is more to my taste (read “tolerable”) than the dull, murky brown colour (if it can even be called a colour) I’ve been seeing each time I hit the search button.

Still, there’s something I don’t like so much about batik. I guess it’s just not my style. For a while I mused over what type of art I could possible like. I’m a downright nerd and I need to think all the time. Chess. Minesweeper. Poker. Maths. The list goes on and on. So yeah. I’m pretty much a ‘left-side-of-brain’-er.

Then I recalled my last trip to a museum, where my family and I got into the Art Museum instead of the main one. I remember that I did enjoy looking at the art. I mean, sure, there were a couple of things that sort of caught my eye, but my favourite, favourite, favourite genre of art is definitely (no, not cubism; as much as i love Maths) abstract art.

Alright. Time for a technical left-side-of-brain explanation (taken, of course, from Wikipedia).

Kandinsky's "On White 2"

Abstract art uses a visual language of form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world.Western art had been, from the Renaissance up to the middle of the 19th century, underpinned by the logic of perspective and an attempt to reproduce an illusion of visible reality. The arts of cultures other than the European had become accessible and showed alternative ways of describing visual experience to the artist. By the end of the 19th century many artists felt a need to create a new kind of art which would encompass the fundamental changes taking place in technology, science and philosophy. The sources from which individual artists drew their theoretical arguments were diverse, and reflected the social and intellectual preoccupations in all areas of Western culture at that time.

Phew. Okay. Enough with the History Lesson.

"Three Musicians" by Pablo Picasso, one of my personal favourites

What I like about Abstract Art is that it makes me think. Like, really think about what the artist had going through his or her mind at the time. I think about what it could mean to one person and what it could mean to another.In short, I like any kind of art that makes me think. Or evokes some sort of emotion in me; that works too. But never mind that.

I do have a sketch book, you know. I’m not utterly hopeless at drawing (or am I?). I used to draw different things everyday, from emo anime girls to tattoo designs. But I’m mostly a copy artist, so now that sketch book is gathering dust at the far back corner of my stacks upon stacks of journals and diaries.

As far as the Art Project goes, I am now going complete out the box. Part of our assignment is to make a collection of pictures of different batik patterns or motifs that could be used for batik.  Instead of going for muddy-coloured gloominess or rainbow-shaded eye-hurting brightness, I opted for modern abstract patterns (which, truth be told, is one of the very few art styles I’m good at).

Ok, now time to stop blogging and actually get the freaking project done. Bye…

At The 11th Hour (and 59 mintues)

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So, honestly, really, what is it with everyone and being late? It’s either they’re racing through the hallway looking like a wild ocelot because they’re late for a super important awesome-ly awesome seminar, or burning the midnight oil, straining to finish a report due the very next day that they knew about ages ago (wow, that was a long sentence). If neither, they’re calmly walking, slow as possible, dragging their feet, up to someone and saying, “Hey, by the way, I forgot to tell you the last billion times I saw you, for the last fortnight or so, but you have a meeting in 5 minutes.” I mean, come on, people.

Yesterday I nearly had a panic attack when I was told that selections for nationals was that day! In half an hour! Oh, and yeah, get your own transport, please. Oh, and it’s compulsory, by the way.

In the end, my teacher tells us that the thing is today and not yesterday, and it isn’t the playoffs, it’s the training. And they had me running around frantically fumbling in my bag for coins to call my mom using the pay phone that constantly says “Updating”.

Ok, ok, so I’ll admit to doing many things last-minute. Like, umm… studying for my Geography test or finishing up my Art project (due next Tuesday, just so you know) or something not-so-panic-insuing like that. Not some sort of thing that will get other people killed (or at least have them dying of heart attack).

I used to be the most professional procrastinator you’d ever meet, but I learned a few things and now I’m a bit more chill. First off, I stopped being a yes-man (or, more accurately, yes-girl). Used to be, I’d juggle marching, performances and library responsibilities all in one go. More often than not, something would fall to the floor and shatter, then I’d lose focus and everything else would come tumbling down to. Now, it’s one at a time, please.

Next, I started writing everything I had to do down. I used to cram everything into my head. Then it’d all overflow and I’d lose half my important memories (needless to say, the useless ones never spill out). This year, I watched my best friend list everything neatly down in a notebook she got for her birthday and decorate the pages with hearts and doodles, then it hit me. I brought out an old notepad that had been gathering dust in a filing cabinet and started jotting down homework, assignments and projects.

And one more thing. I set reminders in my phone for everything, from bringing my glasses when my contacts have expired to exams and meetings. It doesn’t always work, because usually I’m too groggy to read my reminders when they alarm at 5 in the morning and I just hit random buttons to silence it. More often than not, I miss the “postpone” button on the left and hit the “stop” button on the right instead. =.=

Anyways, that’s all I’ve come up with. And I still do things late! Sigh…

Today, I headed off to the training, sat down across a future opponent and asked, “This is the training, right?” And what did she say?

“No. This is the playoff.”

You… have… got… to… be… kidding… me…

Game. Set. Match.

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This Year's MSSMWP Chess Tourney

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I’ve been raving about my hobbies lately… So… Here’s another one for you!

I love playing chess (read: g-e-e-k). I never actually got the game when I was little – my father spoonfed me moves and let me win all the time, causing me to think I was real good… Until I joined a mini-chess tournament at school and lost in the first round.

I’ve been competing in chess since standard 5. It was funny, how I started out. Playing chess properly for one week, trying out for the team, going for it and… WHAM! First game, I checkmated my opponent in 4 moves, and not intentionally. I took a pawn with my queen and said “Check”… and the arbiter declared “Checkmate”. I walked away from the table thinking, Now, how did that happen? Our team proceeded to win first place in the Under-12 team event. And then I won the individual event by beating the defending champion. Not by checkmate, though… she ran out of time. =.=

I thought state level that year when I was 11 would be easy…

I got thrashed that year

Why? Simple. Beginner’s luck wore off.

Anyway, from then on it was practice, practice, practice. I worked hard and we got two golds again the next year.

Check... check... checkmate!

Now, I’ll have you know that in primary school, chess competitions were very straight forward. We hop into our teacher’s car or van, we’d go, play the games, go home.

Then I entered high school.

I was the youngest member on the team when I got in, and I found out that they didn’t use teachers’ cars. Our teacher hired a rackety, rickety, rockety bus, with a driver who is constantly late, anywhere from half an hour to 120 minutes. No kidding. Back in my freshman year, we waited for two full hours in front of a military school, craning our necks the whole time, on the lookout, just hoping for a glimpse of a broken-down yellow-coloured bus that looks more like a junkyard. Yeah. Sucks. In fact, last year, the boys would always joke as they got down or up the bus, “Thank you for being so early!”

A chess tournament is pretty straight forward once you arrive… You are told to arrive by 8:00 because the games will start at 8:30, but they start at least a half hour late. The worst was a full 2 hours off schedule.

This year, the bus was so late we nearly got disqualified before our first round! That sucked. What’s worse, we had been registered for the wrong category. That took some time to sort out before we could get some breakfast at the grubby canteen. Now, for the past few years, the chess tournament has been housed by a school full of weird guys. The girls and I keep looking over our shoulders and muttering to each other, “Faster, walk faster…” We rejoiced to the high heavens when the principal of the school gave a looooooong speech (that made those who won feel bad and those who lost feel worse) and announced that the tourney would not be housed there next year. The cheer for that was crazy loud.

I won good and got to State level. This year was my last year in the category, so I wanted to make it to Nationals. It was only three of us girls making it to the individual event this time around. No guys from our school made it this far. I was continually put up against the hard opponents. It gave me headaches and had mini-fevers, but on the plus side, when I won my sokoff (rating) went ZOOM.

The bus lady abandoned us this year, by the way, so we rode with an old bus driver with the meanest temper you have ever seen. His wrinkled hand was almost never off the horn! Chinese expletives were yelled over and over again at innocent passing cars. Not to mention that the van is stifling hot! I’ll have you know that it has perfectly functioning air conditioning that is never used. Then one day he abandoned us too (apparently the van needed repairing) and the three of us (plus one teacher) had to get a cab home.

On the plus side, I’m number 5 in State this year. Last year, they took the top 6 to Nationals.  And guess what? Now they decide that we have to go for selection because they have decided to only take two people. Bother! I really want to go!

My interest in chess has somewhat wavered over the years, and only came back stronger last year, which is also the year I got the most practise. Call me a nerd if you like… And a dork too. But I enjoy chess, even though it gives me splitting headaches.

So… Shall I give you a dose of corniness?

Why did the chemist combine aspirin and glue? He thought it could be a cure for splitting headaches!!! 😀

Cheers!

Beads

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I confess to being a bead addict.

No, I don’t mean collecting beads in an album or something. I mean beading, as in, like, making jewelery, or sewing beads onto a piece of cloth in some randomly awesome pattern, or just stringing them onto a piece of thread and tying them around something.

I started this hobby – I dunno, a year or so ago? – when I wanted to make a bracelet for one of my friends and found that, despite my inability to remain still for more than a minute, I loved it. Even with my infamous impatience I found that I enjoyed the process.

And that’s how I started getting wrapped up in the tedious process of creating bracelets, earrings and necklaces (not to mention a few miserably failed rings) with thin elastic bands or sometimes flimsy wires. When I can’t get pretty (and pricey) beads from a bead store, I just cut them off of an old piece of jewelery that I have that is gathering dust since who knows when and that I will probably never wear again.

If worse comes to worst, I just pick up one of those super cheap beading sets for kids. Trust me, they don’t look anything like toddler’s beads once they’re on a pretty bracelet! 😀

Old Music vs New Music

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If you haven’t already noticed, I am completely, profoundly and immensely addicted to music. I’m so immersed in the world of singing and dancing and pianos and guitars that I don’t think I’ll ever get out of it.

And how do I conquer this addiction?

Simple. I don’t.

I grew up listening to the radio to fall asleep, belting out old-fashioned songs that I learned from my father, and completely oblivious to “modern” songs. Plus, I learned them all completely off-key! It wasn’t until I was older that I discovered that not all songs sounded fresh out of the 80’s and that I had learned all songs from a tone-deaf person!

Since then, though, I’ve fallen completely in love with music. I sang day and night (annoying many as I went), everything from the Bee Gees to Katy Perry; and anything from David Gates to Linkin Park. I took up piano and guitar and performed where I could.

Lately, I’ve come across more old songs and I find that they are far more beautiful than the disposable, overrated ones we hear, blasting on the radio, today. They were sung by performers who actually could sing, all with wonderful voices. Unlike today, where half, if not most, of the singers sing with their voices autotuned and overproduced, singing the same note for most of the song, and even more often, the same phrase.

But that hasn’t stopped me singing “Like a G6, like a G6, n-now-now-now I’m feeling so fly like a G6” non-stop at thetop of my voice!

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Coz unfortunately, when one is addicted to music, any kind of music is awesome.

The title is really inappropriate… I think I should change it to “Why I Love New Music Even If Old Music Is Awesome”.

Oh well, lazy…

Gonna go sing annoyingly repetitive and monotonous songs now! Bye…