Artificial Black Hole

Physicists and movie scriptwriters, take heed! I now know how to make a black hole artificially.

Take someone who enjoys Facebook interaction, and hide his/her birthday status. At the stroke of midnight, I… I mean, he/she, would feel a massive empty, lonely, crushing feeling. Something missing.

So it’s technically not an immensely dense mass if it’s nothing. A sucking vacuum pulling in.

At midnight, I felt a strange emptiness – for the past few years, birthdays were just a ritual of replying to birthday wishers on my Facebook wall in the most creative, personal manner possible. The only bummer is when the other person is a Facebook acquaintance that I don’t know what to riff with them about.

My initial idea was to see if somebody would wish me anyway, and see if people would follow and wish, or if people would hesitate since they didn’t know for sure. As it turned out, nobody did! Instead, I got SMSes and private messages, or wishes in person. Nobody took to my Facebook wall, starting a crescendo of wishes.

I was inspired by one such friend who had a birthday wish. I then wished her too, following with this reply:

“That said I am inspired by your omission of birthdate on your profile and am tempted to see what would happen if I omitted mine! Would people pick up on a wall post? Would one person getting the date wrong get me an early birthday flood? Would this mean I would not just be spending all birth day replying to each wisher? And yes, I’ve just hidden my birthday so the scheme I stole from you begins… now.”

Feeling the crushing void, I was tempted to ask that friend why she hid her birthday, but I held back, knowing that if I asked, I might give away that it might be my birthday today. My colleague thankfully withheld temptation to wish on my wall, after wishing me in person, because he knew of my birthday from my office Skype account.

I also went out of my way to wish my friends who were born on the same day, without drawing attention to the fact that we were born on the same day. None of them wished me back. More sadness! I remembered who they were by heart! Such pricks, just like me, who only bothers to wish if I happen to see their birthdays on the birthday bar on Facebook, and only if I have something punny and witty to say!

Thus, I shall not repeat this experiment again. My Facebook profile should say it now, that I was born a certain 19th of December, 1983.

Jalan Yang Diagungkan

So a bunch of roads in Kuala Lumpur got renamed – so there’s at least one road for each Yang di-Pertuan Agong that Malaysia has ever had. I shall shorten the title to Agong and use their common short names where possible.

Although I personally consider it an inconvenience to rename roads, I shall not be seditious.

I shall instead point out the ingeniousness of the roads renamed – to the point that I shall commend DBKL for being consistent in their ingeniousness.

1) Jalan Duta is now Jalan Tunku Abdul Halim, our 5th and 14th Agong. He is our current Agong, and the grand entrance to Istana Negara, is on Jalan Duta. If we find it hard to say the whole name we may abbreviate it to Jalan TAH. I’ll go with Jalan Duo-TAH, because that sounds like Jalan Duta, and Tunku Abdul Halim has been Agong two times. This is consistent with the very ingenious Batu Road becoming Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman (Jalan TAR). When they say batu, they mean tar. Clever!

https://www.google.com.my/maps/@3.1589031,101.6707767,3a,75y,274.1h,88.66t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sjItqkCmBQ7_ZWjxUxTYOpg!2e0?hl=en

2) Jalan Khidmat Usaha is now Jalan Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah. This road is off Jalan Duta and leads to Masjid Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur.

https://www.google.com.my/maps/@3.1741838,101.6707276,3a,75y,227.27h,84.18t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1s31uu7hiLbbvNnP2x4_dI8g!2e0?hl=en

3) Jalan Khidmat Setia and Jalan Ibadah to Jalan Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin. Jalan Khidmat Setia wraps around the old Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri (Inland Revenue Board i.e. tax department). I remember queueing up here during tax-paying month, before they started e-Filing. e-Filing is one of the few government websites that work surprisingly, relatively well!

Jalan Ibadah is the road that connects to Jalan Dutamas 1 from Jalan Khidmat Setia.

https://www.google.com.my/maps/@3.1754996,101.6728753,3a,75y,143.51h,78.67t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sKXShpJ7Wll_CxvVAegYLLw!2e0?hl=en

4) Jalan Ipoh (from Jalan Pahang to Jalan Segambut part) is now Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah. Sultan Azlan Shah, from Perak, was the 9th Agong, and you know how they say Jalan Ipoh leads to Perak? (Well, it doesn’t end in Perak…) So this was kinda ingenious, too. The only problem is that Jalan Ipoh is long enough that they name places along the stretch by what mile they’re on, like Batu 3 Jalan Ipoh. Batu 3 Jalan Ipoh is technically now the end of Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah! So does Batu 5 Jalan Ipoh become Batu 2 Jalan Ipoh?

https://www.google.com.my/maps/@3.171146,101.6932902,3a,75y,257.03h,90.01t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sxjaN_GDS33TahssIy76BKg!2e0?hl=en

5) Persiaran Duta is now Persiaran Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin. You’d know this road for Hentian Duta, the big bus stop. You can take the bus to Kuala Perlis – and Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin is from Perlis!

https://www.google.com.my/maps/place/Kuala+Lumpur,+Federal+Territory+of+Kuala+Lumpur/@3.1720078,101.6744973,3a,75y,208.59h,68.28t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1s0AvTFjgLr7Zt5V1KevTIGw!2e0!4m2!3m1!1s0x31cc47a8de3f55f5:0x3cbc4380ae4fd9ba?hl=en

6) Lebuhraya Mahameru is now Lebuhraya Sultan Iskandar.

https://www.google.com.my/maps/@3.1481501,101.6812447,3a,75y,320.64h,94.69t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sB6OH9XpSbqTaXLhYc4CB-Q!2e0?hl=en

7) Persiaran Mahameru is now Persiaran Tuanku Ja’afar. This road leads to Carcosa Seri Negara, originally Carcosa, Sir Frank Swettenham’s official residence, and Seri Negara, the Governor’s Residence (official house of the Governor of the Straits Settlement), later becoming King’s House and then Istana Tetamu.

https://www.google.com.my/maps/@3.1462637,101.68021,3a,75y,179.71h,77.12t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sVISAEOzfHGJioEZV62a6Mg!2e0

8) Jalan Semarak is now Jalan Sultan Yahya Petra. This road has Jabatan Ukur Dan Pemetaan Malaysia on it, so I guess they should be on the ball with this, since their road is affected.

https://www.google.com.my/maps/place/Jabatan+Ukur+Dan+Pemetaan+Malaysia/@3.171183,101.7173506,3a,52.5y,118.92h,85.14t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sxr69BMuDyvq7fPq5kkBkog!2e0!4m7!1m4!3m3!1s0x31cc37ef54b9520b:0xf9eafb91b103c8d0!2sJalan+Semarak,+Kuala+Lumpur,+Wilayah+Persekutuan+Kuala+Lumpur!3b1!3m1!1s0x0000000000000000:0x4a80677198e75bfd!6m1!1e1?hl=en

Probably the most ingenious part of this all is the junction where Chow Kit Monorail Station is – it connects Ipoh Road, Pahang Road, Princes Road and Batu Road, but they are now Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, Jalan Pahang, Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman.

Here’s a quick Google Maps Engine custom map I made that shows the various roads, covering all Agongs plus some Rajas. You’ll see they connect to each other quite well.

https://mapsengine.google.com/map/u/0/edit?mid=zA2bN0OwbSRg.kiU9ZGbWncFk

Septober Dotters’ Division


13th September 2014: LOT 36: Dotters’ Division, at The Bee, Lot 36, Publika.


Dotters D featuring Sachie Amira! Yes that’s a picture I took!


From here, of course.


So here’s Rebecca on drums!


Joey on bass! (Yes, that’s her expression when you call her Joey.)


Linet the keyboardist and band leader.


Melissa the guitarist and singer. My friend asked if she was Indian, because the stage lights were strongly colored most of the time and he couldn’t tell. I had to show him this picture to convince him otherwise.


Jie Er. Okay lah.


The bashful crowd.


Guest vocalist Sachie Amira!


Their repertoire switched up a bit, adding Meghan Trainor – All About That Bass and Jessie J – Bang Bang. They’re having a lot of fun with this song!


This would be the first time I’d bring the Sony Alpha 7s to see them. Linet took this picture of Tiah, albeit misfocused due to the difficulty of manual focusing the Mitakon/ZhongYi Speedmaster 50mm F0.95 for those not familiar.


Linet’s ready for the future…


…while others are forced into slavery.


I think Adrienne took this picture with my infrared Sony Alpha NEX-5. So pretty!


The week after, 20th September 2014.


Denim theme time!


Linet, wardrobe coordinator.


Evelyn Feroza, guest vocalist.


27th September 2014: Ashley Choong(as) on congas.


The other end of the stage was the stickwoman.


Amused Cheras gangster.


I tell you ah…


Yeah, I like slinging my guitars up high too.


I didn’t notice at first, but I didn’t really get any shots of Ashley from the front, other than this one.


It was also David Teoh’s birthday, with drinks to wipe your memory! Minum semua bersih!


Later, at the mamak.


I think it’s obvious who the credit for this picture goes to.


11th October 2014.


Halloween’s the theme, and it feels like my home… except my home is dusty like this all year.


Damn, I’d not seen Rebecca this way before.


…or Melissa, either. *hides*


Member of Parliament for Segambut, Lim Lip Eng, spotted! The Bee, Publika, is in the Segambut constituency.


DJ Khye, guest musician for the night.


I find overexposure one of the few tactics to handle difficult stage lighting.


Bleeps and bloops in front, and a Korg at the back.


I also just bought a 64 GB 95MB/s read, 90MB/s write SanDisk Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I SD card, allowing me to finally shoot a 120 frames per second 1080p video (albeit in APS-C crop mode, on the A7S.) So here’s a video of them starting Daft Punk – Get Lucky, shifted down to 24 frames per second, with the audio moved 2 octaves up (meaning the sound is slowed down 5 times then sped up 4 times.)


After-show group picture.


Your mission, if you choose to accept it…

Essence of Music


27th September 2014: Essence of Music, at Page 2, Publika.


Page 2 is a quiet little bar above Plan B.


First up: Ethaya, a deejay who used to run the seminal Cloth & Clef in Changkat Bukit Bintang.


Next up: The funkalicious Gregory Ramanado.


He’s got soul and stage presence, no matter the crowd.


Funky beats.


Obligatory camwhore shot.

Laundry X AHM Records X Vans: #ProjectOffTheWall (September Edition)


25th September 2014: Laundry X AHM Records X Vans: #ProjectOffTheWall (September Edition) at Laundry Bar, The Curve.


Here’s returning rock band Relent!


Love their classic 90s anthemic rock sound!


Then came shredder Kelvyn Yeang!


Finally got to see his red Solo Bomb pedal in action!


He was also selling his solo album, Bunnies At The Carnival, which sounds just like its title. Awesome instrumental stuff with some songs where he sings as well. The disc even includes some backing tracks for guitarists to shred along to! Needless to say, I got myself a copy.


Another returning band: Car Crash Hearts!


Completely new lineup…


…besides Collin the frontman.


Ryan the everywhere stickman.


Darren Teh, organizer, emcee, and guitarist! This is the handsome, handsome Dean Z Straight-Six. Neckthrough body and the handsomest shape ever. The Dean Dave Mustaine Zero series also uses this shape, with the same headstock.


A surprise guest vocalist! Eve Oh, who I’d not seen in ages!


Collin sings along.


She’s all biker chick now.


She used to be in An Honest Mistake with Darren, playing guitar and singing.


Diandra Arjunaidi!


Cool sax.


Cool shades.


Cool eyes.


Cool guitar, on Infiltrate.


I remember this band, when it was called Infiltrated, from the days at Paul’s Place. They bring me back to the days of the sounds of Deftones.


He remembers me too!


Sara G, on guest screams.


Natalie on bass.


I like how metally menacing he looks.


The crew.


Beautiful Schecter Diamond Series Hellraiser guitar.


Sepet Vernz and her funky hair.

Pisco Live Mic 2.30 with Talitha Tan & Crinkle Cut


24th September 2014: Pisco Live Mic 2.30 with Talitha Tan & Crinkle Cut, at Pisco Bar, Jalan Mesui. But first, an open mic session!


I’m not sure, but I think this was Jonathan How & Friends.


Pisco Bar’s lighting necessitates the Sony Alpha 7S and Mitakon/ZhongYi Speedmaster 50mm F0.95 Dark Knight Pro Edition to be employed to freeze motion.


Hilarious emcee.


First featured act, Talitha Tan!


This would be the first time I’d see her in this format, just her on guitar and John on cajon.


Just the two of them.


Talitongue!


Group shot.


Second featured act of the night, Crinkle Cut! Loved their Daft Punk – Something About Us cover.


Ashley/Ashleg…


…who has a unique style of cajon playing.


Grace the cutest sepet keyboardist.


Frances the spacey vocalist.


Melissa Sasa. Not sure if I missed out a sa or two.


Gregory, getting into their acoustic funk jazz groove!


He joins to drop a freestyle rap. He’s superb at this!


Triblues, awesome instrumental rock!


Gregory Ramanado taught the bassist his version of Oasis – Wonderwall, who then really got into the groove.


Tan Jei Shian, a mean acoustic fingerstyle player.


Glass slide goodness!


Greg and I do our customary camwhore pose.


Another group shot, with all featured artistes!

I Touched A Dog

I woke up late and missed the I Want To Touch A Dog event on the 19th of October 2014 at Central Park, Bandar Utama. However, seeing all their pictures and testimonies inspired me, a non-Muslim, to touch a dog!

I grew up at my grandparents’ house, where my aunt had a dog. She, the dog, was always chained to the fence, and would always bark at me. While I wasn’t exactly afraid of her, I wasn’t in the habit of touching her – she was always in that “dog zone” and was not allowed to go indoors to the “human zone”. At most that would just mean that I would not walk a straight path to enter the house as I avoided her while she barked at me as if I was an unfriendly stranger (which I won’t deny, because I was an unfriendly stranger to her.)

The second dog my aunt had, had a case of ticks, so I was much more avoiding of her. We’d spot ticks on the porch, alert my mom, who would scoop it up in a used envelope and burn it.

Whenever I went to my friends’ houses, they would usually sense I wasn’t friendly with dogs, so they’d lock them up first.

However, after seeing all these posts, I had a change of heart. I took the oppurtunity to test this when I went to a house and was greeted by a dog who leapt onto me, who was super curious as to who this new human with a new smell was. It was as if I was a crumbly, messy cookie eater. I tried to tell her that I didn’t have any drugs on me. I was even hesistant to take off my socks in case she would eat them (so I tucked my socks deep in my shoes…)

I should not have had to worry about her eating my socks, because she proceeded to continue trying to glomp me as I went in. She was a very licky dog and while I’d pet her, I also tried to keep her from licking my face. That was something that was beyond my comfort zone at that time. She didn’t, and I didn’t have to tell her off.

After quite a while I took out my camera and she suddenly became very afraid of me. She cowered in fear of this shiny glass eye. So this picture is not any indication how happy she was to touch a human!

*My initial draft referred to all animals in the story as “it” but I Googled and found this:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/language/askaboutenglish/2009/01/090120_aae_paula.shtml

Feedback Open Mic ft Cassandra Mary & Black Lightbulb @ The Bee Publika / September 2014 Edition


23rd September 2014: Feedback Open Mic ft Cassandra Mary & Black Lightbulb @ The Bee Publika / September 2014 Edition. Here’s beatboxer Riyal!


I think Melinya took this picture. Ashwin, drumming for…


…the high-octane blues rock of The Maha Jeffrey Band!


Hameer Zawawi, emcee.


Middle Sons.


The Meow Meows.


With Crystal, the smug artist!


First time seeing her sing since bumping into her at gigs.


First time seeing Rames at a gig. First time I’d shoot something like this with the Sony Alpha 7S and Mitakon/ZhongYi Speedmaster 50mm F0.95 Dark Knight Pro Edition.


Reza Salleh, organizer, to introduce the next band…


First featured act, Black Lightbulb!


They play instrumental progressive rock…


…but this time they featured Hameer Zawawi.


Shreddicus.


Sid Murshid.


Second featured act, Cassandra Mary!


Leanna Red Panda, who was joined by Riyal.


Amoura.


Catchy red bass!


Mikhail.


Nazrin, who covered Bo Amir Iqram – Lagu!


Girish. Melinya took this picture…


…as well as this picture of Gabriel Lynch


…and this, too. Amazing how he sounds produced even when playing live, with what seemed to be a very well-controlled volume fader.


Tammy Jayne, who is all about that bass.


Joshua, shot by Melinya.


Also featuring Riyal! I could get used to this, having other people take pictures.


Joshua is from Son Of A Policeman (not Queen as some may mistake him to be.) By this time I’d already trusted that she’d cover the shots.


Jenn is from So I’m Jenn, and Kiss Kill Mary. Picture is from myself. I think the difference in style is quite apparent!


This time, she was in her alter-ego, in pink, and not red.


Still got her presence pedal dialled to 11.