Monthly Archives: April 2006

Slow Jams

…and now, back to regular programming.

Pictures from Slow Jams, The Actors Studio Bangsar, 27th March 2006 follow.

Warren Chan starts the set with mellow tunes and falsetto of the highest order.

Azmyl Yunor brings up the tempo with some professional busking.

Tan Sei Hon is a certain shade of green, singing about love in the key of folk.

Jasemaine Gan sings confidently in the dark and represents the Chinese acoustic scene on this side of the English acoustic scene (she and other singer songwriters beat Daniel that Malaysian Idol 2 guy anytime.) Check out her trilingual songs, yo.

Jaz reads interesting poetry again.

Wei Jenn (I’m not sure of her name) the storyteller.

Broken Scar sounds more macho and full in The Actors Studio’s excellent sound system. Go buy his album, yo.

Reza Salleh crooning with the (unseen) girls swooning.

Jeremy featuring Kevin of Qings & Kueens and Izzy Mohd, his Plush Velvet bandmate. He did a cover of John Mayer’s cover of N*SYNC – Dirty Pop, some songs with that Dave Matthews-ish vibe but with a nasal intonation much like Brian Molko of Placebo. I asked him to cover Placebo, and he said, “hey yeah! I like Placebo!

Zalila Lee featuring the censored Jerral Khor.

Nicole the ever photogenic diva of Rhapsody.

Melina of Tempered Mental is joined by Reza on guitar, and Ywenna of Rhapsody on keyboards, with backup dancers Kevin, Alda and Nicole. Memorable sight indeed! It was also then that my batteries all ran out. 🙁

I R An Infrared Camera

So people have been asking what surgical procedure I performed on the camera my good ol’ schoolmate Bernard donated to me to make it come up with funky infrared pictures. This is what I did:

From left to right, top to bottom:

  • The Fujifilm Digital Q1, before operation.
  • The front.
  • I opened four screws in the back, and I pried the front cover open. (Don’t touch the big capacitor; it still stores a big electric charge, used for your camera’s flash.)
  • I opened more layers until I reached the back, where the LCD screen was, and the final screws which held the infrared cut filter in place.
  • From the front. Note the black thing in the middle; that holds the infrared cut filter.
  • The 1/2″ CMOS, exposed! (Don’t let dust get on this.)
  • I tried to push out the infrared cut filter.
  • A handy Philips screwdriver, the infrared cut filter and the back plate, in infrared.

Left: Two negatives in front of the lens to block out normal light, and a few layers of negatives on the flash; right: opened, for ‘mixed mode‘ where it gets infrared and normal light.

From left to right, top to bottom: (All shots unedited, just resized.)

  • My first expression when I assembled it back, and it worked! It could see infrared light.
  • Okay, this picture was from before; the camera could never focus properly, being a fixed focus camera with a macro range of 60-120cm.
  • The ‘mixed mode‘ lets in natural colors and a good dose of infrared.
  • Infrared only, but because I removed the infrared cut filter, the camera became shortsighted!
  • I bumped into Asyraf Lee at KLCC during this fashion show, and he hinted at what infrared photography could do…
  • …which wasn’t true. Plus my camera couldn’t focus that far, so yeah, it would take very specific lighting and heat conditions to do what he said infrared photography could do.

Well, at least somebody said, “Hey, I don’t remember wearing that top…

So uh… does anybody know anybody who knows how to cut glass to specific dimensions? I’ll pay to have my camera have good focus range… or, I could salvage the manual focus lens on my infrared webcam and put it on the camera! (The infrared cut filter holder is not the same size, so some hacking and superglue might be necessary…)

That Jump Gathering, Part 2

Jasiminne told me something very interesting at the gathering. I’m not even fully extending my fingers, and yet I believe her theory is wrong, or my fingers are unporportionately shorter than the rest of me.

The plus sign denotes people not originally not on the list, because Jolene said we could bring a friend. People struck out did not come, yeah 14 of 40 invites, or 35% FFK rate.

And now, for Part 2 of that gathering. I shall attempt an attendee list, based on the original list by Tan Yee Hou:

  1. Albert
  2. April
  3. Aprilcherrie
  4. Avril Chan
  5. + Barry (Suet Li’s boyfriend)
  6. + Brandon (Aprilcherrie’s boyfriend)
  7. Calvin
  8. Calvin Tay
  9. Chee Kiang
  10. + Cheesie (*I* invited her okayyy you picture takers you)
  11. Cheng Sim
  12. Chung Lern
  13. Dustyhawk
  14. Elaine
  15. Eliza
  16. Fireangel
  17. Jasiminne Yip
  18. Jason Lioh
  19. Jennifer Ooi
  20. Jolene Lai
  21. + Julie Kuan (from It’s A Group Thing)
  22. Justin Wong
  23. + Kampungkai (Chris) (Jason Lioh’s friend)
  24. Karen Siah
  25. Kimberlycun
  26. Kurt Low
  27. Kyels (Kye Lee)
  28. Laynie (Elaine Chow)
  29. Lainie
  30. Lee Cheng
  31. + Leona (Elaine Chow’s friend)
  32. Mervyn
  33. Eyeris (Michael)
  34. Minishorts
  35. Paul Tan
  36. + Richard Goh (April’s boyfriend’s friend)
  37. + Ronald Li (April’s boyfriend)
  38. Sarah
  39. Slinky (Mun Hoong)
  40. Smallswong
  41. smashpOp (Jason Goh)
  42. Suanie
  43. Suet Li
  44. Tan Yee Hou
  45. The Other Kenny (Kenny Ho)
  46. Vincent
  47. Weng Lum
  48. Yee Pei
  49. Yvonne Foong

That Jump Gathering

So there was a blog gathering organized by Jolene, and while everybody took pictures, or sat around saying “I’ll steal your pictures later okay?“, I will offer something different other than shots of us at Dome at Midvalley, or jumping on the pedestrian bridge outside Secret Recipe (I suggested the location, yo!)

And so, I present various bloggers, in infrared. I didn’t snap everyone, though. I love infrared portraiture because there are no colors to muck around with, and very little Photoshop needs to be done, since infrared hides your pimples and blemishes and reduces the need to wear colored contacts to look funky.

Left to right, top to bottom:

  • Leech is first because I must thank her for her generous donation of a 16 Megabyte xD Picture Card for my Fujifilm Digital Q1 (I’ll blog about it, and the process of modifying it, later.)
  • Dustyhawk, Leech and I were at Killiney’s, as I wanted to try their hot milk tea and toast (or teh and roti bakar). Nothing compares to Uncle Lim’s still, but this is close.
  • Luzzio, Jolene’s brother.
  • Jasiminne, who uh… doesn’t look different in infrared.
  • Laynie looks like a clown.
  • Suanie eats April Yim‘s strawberry earring (because she can’t hook it on her infected ear, yo!)
  • The Other Kenny looks different in real life.
  • FireAngel is holding two extra fingers up. I think she’s lacking coordination due to general lack of alcohol.

Oh and let’s not forget Cheesie and Sweatlee. If either of you gets casted in a horror movie and gets an award on stage because you were spotted here, please remember to thank me.

Cheesie shows that unlike Korean ghosts who just scare people to death, she is multitalented and is able to play physical killer, too, strangling poor Jasiminne until she turns white.

Of course, nothing beats diligent Tan Yee Hou, who took pictures with almost everybody and listed who came and who didn’t. Yes, people, head over to his blog for the full list.

Regular pictures will come later. As for why nobody knew or publicized it, it was a secret gathering meant for non-PPS-celebrity, young bloggers who haven’t got jobs and cash to splurge on alcohol. I think. But thanks for recognizing me, people!

Quiz Sentence

Because somebody I read said, “Everyone who blogs and reads this blog, just do it.“, I guess I’d do it.

1. My uncle once:
Sold pimpin’ paste-on designs for cars. In the ’90s.

2. Never in my life have I:
Won the lottery. (Will irony strike me wrong? Please?)

3. The one person who can drive me nuts:
Hmmm. I don’t even remember ever been driven nuts. Unless poking the person to stop using the f-language counts.

4. High School is/was:
A place where I was very quiet, and a place where I’d see a bunch of hopeful-looking socialites who turned out to be nowhere to be seen in the socialite world. Are there any SMK Sultan Abdul Samad PJ party people out there? Or did they all turn out to be people who’d come back from Australia not alcoholics?

5. When I’m nervous:
I wish I could disappear. No, wait, self-destructive thought! I wish everyone else would disappear. Isn’t that a more positive, constructive way of looking at things?

6. The last time I cried was:
When I discovered the wrong way to hold a pepper spray. Kidding!

7. If I were to get married RIGHT NOW my bridesmaids/groomsmen would be:
Shaz. Because he loves to wear his tuxedo (and maybe I could put some pressure on the boy).

8. My thoughts:

9. When I was 5:
I wasn’t all that skinny. I think I stopped gaining weight there.

10. Last Christmas:
Was on the 25th of December, 2005. AHA! See? I remember, despite the copious amounts of alcohol that was passed around!

11. When I turn my head left, I see:
Jenifer packing up and leaving our office for good. Where will we ever find a camwhore as shameless to replace you?

12. When I turn my head right, I see:
smashpOp, a shameless camwhore.

13. When I look down I see:
My sexy legs. Yes, they are sexy. Rocket once had the honor of seeing them when I wore shorts, and she said I had athletic legs. (Most of the time I wear long pants which don’t show anything.)

14. The craziest recent event was:
When a wack guy ran up to me and said, “GIVE ME YOUR MONEY!

15. By this time next year:
My hair would be very different.

16. I have a hard time understanding:
Real-time strategy games.

17. One time at a family gathering:
My grandfather told a story. No, not just any story… a grandfather story.

18. You know I “like” you if:
I raise my hands to make the inverted quote sign, and say “I like you”.

19. If I won an award, the first person I’d thank is:
Myself, for getting myself in such an awesome predicament, and getting acknowledged for it. Often, we fail to credit those who are most vital to our success – ourselves!

20. My ideal breakfast is:

21. If you visit my hometown:
You might be the victim of a snatch theft. It has happened twice in front of my house already.

22. Where do you plan to visit anytime soon:
My bedroom.

23. Boys are:
Not stupid, and should throw rocks at girls.

24. Today I:
Ate a dory fish. I forgot what I did after that.

25. The world could do without:

26. Most recent thing you’ve bought yourself:
A canned drink?

27. Most recent thing someone else bought you:
I don’t remember, but I sure could use a car.

28. My favorite time of the day is:
Between 8 and 10pm, when I’m the most awake.

29. My favorite quote is:
“Impotence is not hereditary.”

30. I need:
You, baby.

31. And by the way:
I tried to say I’d be there, waiting for.

32. The person who I last talked to told me to:
Tell you that you should thank me for entertaining you.

33. Once, at a bar/club:
I drank tap water because I didn’t think Coke was worth it.

34. Last night:
I sampled a bit of KFC’s new Original Recipe Chicken Chop, and I loved it.

35. There’s this girl who I:
Think is so incredibly hot I wanna pour the KFC Original Recipe Chicken Chop gravy on, and then lick it off her.

36. There is this guy who I:
Think is a sneaky bastard, and yet, I admire his sneaky tactics.

Snatch A Smell

This morning, I heard an attempted snatch theft. Yeah, heard, not saw, as I was walking out the passageway of the house. A scream, and a loud motorbike screech was heard. (And my uncle, still sitting, who was reminding us to look for the license plate number.) By the time my mom and I rushed to the door, all we saw was a distraught girl with a handbag, and keys. At least she was alright.

My mom then urged my father to walk her to the bus stop, where she was headed. Perhaps it’s a good thing that my dad looks scruffy and suspicious somewhat, because while he isn’t a criminal, a thief would pick on much more innocent-looking prey.

Which explains somewhat, why I want to look badass, with my messy long hair and goatee. Better to be scary than to be scared, yes? I can blend in with Central Market without weirdos coming up to me, saying, “No, I’m not a gang member.” anymore.

Sure, I get stopped by the police once in a while, but I just show them my IC and tell them of my good intentions. I actually sigh in relief, knowing someone who looks as scraggy as me gets stopped, because there are less messy-looking criminals out there.

This attempt happened right in front of my grandma’s house, about the same place where my sister was robbed. Now all we need is my grandpa (on the other side… of the family) to sit in the porch with a shotgun.

Anyway, I have to agree that Handbags are like virginity.

Why do girls carry handbags?

In a way, to me, it helps objectify women as objects, where a bulging purse would spoil the curves.

I have major respect to Fireangel, who I’ve never seen with a handbag, and appreciates cargo pants.

Of course, it could just be that their purses are huge and double the length… of mens’ wallets. Maybe we should give girls name card holders to use as wallets, as a practice in minimalism.

I don’t see why ladies want smaller and slimmer phones, and small cameras, when their handbags can fit digital SLRs, a few lenses and a corded phone.

What else is in there? Make up, for touchups.

We should have powdering rooms in Malaysia. That way, women need not carry make up kits around. Make sure it is well furnished with all tones. This could be a business, with disposable brushes sold in vending machines. A coin-operated perfume spraying machine could also do wonders! Instead of having perfume sold in expensive bottles, have perfume companies sell vending machines to shopping malls. Best part about it is, any other woman can get a preview of the smell, being in the proximity, and if she likes it she can spray herself too.

I swear I get the best ideas while on the porcelain throne.

Cosmic, Funky Pictures

So on April Fool’s Eve 2006, I went to Little Havana, Changkat Bukit Bintang, for LiveHouse presents Cosmic Funk Express.

I invited my friend, who brought his friend (romantically depicted here), and I played with his friend for the night. It was a Canon EOS 350D with an EF-S 17-85mm, F4-5.6 lens. Suuuhweeet. The place also had excellent hawaiian pizza with great stretchy servings of cheese.

The 17-85 zoom lens inspired me, what with the darkness, to use a slow shutter speed with flash. Guess which ones came from the 350D, and which came from my teeny Canon Powershot A520!

Then, there was also flashing, then quickly moving to expose on the rest of the frame.

I think these trippy effects are best used to define the music of Cosmic Funk Express.

Zack taps with two guitars, so I doubled him.

Exact speeds vary based on intensity of flash, but it works best when the subject is brighter than the background.

Izwin sings L.O.V.E. and some contemporary classics in the second half.

Zack plays Tiesto… on piano. He also played the Doraemon theme song.

Alda feels left out, so I give his bass green rays of envy. I reckon that there was a strong green light on him after zooming out, to create this effect.

Alex sends out drummer-tentacle hooks. The band then plays the strangely familiar, secret bonus song which they never wrote.

Whoa. Did we really just play that?

My friend suggested I look for the black and white option, and I found a way to bump up the contrast and sharpness for this. It looks like he got poked in the back.

Yes, that is a hairband on his guitar neck, not a guitar capo. (To mute open strings and ease guitar tapping.) Yes, I wear a guitar capo on my hair, not a hairband.

One more! Two more! Jimi Hendrix!

I figured, Alda deserved a vocal break, so I requested for Eric Johnson – Cliffs Of Dover, a guitar shredders’ anthem. Yup, you’d hear the main riff being ripped off in KC & Jojo – All My Life!

What did I think of the 350D pictures? I used ISO1600 all the time, with shutter speeds faster than 1/20 seconds, if I was not using the slow shutter flash effect. The F4-5.6 could be limiting, and the lens was already expensive as it was. The pictures did have noise, but NeatImage, a noise reduction software, practically wiped it out (in comparison to any digital camera, where the noise is removed but still leave behind blotches of color.)

As for how I did the zoom-slow-flash thing, you need a manual zoom lens (not the motorized one like in the Canon Powershot Pro1). Set a slow shutter speed, maybe 1/4 seconds. Press the shutter and rotate zoom ring at the same time. The faster you do it, the more distinct the two pictures.

As for how I did it with the A520… well, I moved my camera nearer or further by extending my hands to get the zoom effect. 😛

Rojak Reviews

Ice Age 2

As I entered the cinema hall, I saw children everywhere. Well it was a kids’ movie, right? I feared the worst, with kids crying and asking silly questions.

However, thank goodness, the movie was good and captivating enough to shush the crybabies and simple enough that there was only one silly question at the end, by a very silly boy – “he didn’t die?” as the squirrel entered the gates of heaven. Nothing a little religious education can’t fix.

I liked that it wasn’t all about the voice actors (Shark Tale) or how the supporting characters were a lot more memorable (Madagascar). I also liked how it wasn’t heavy, or a preachy, emotional epic, like Finding Nemo, Brother Bear or A Land Before Time. Even Chronicles Of Narnia felt heavy. I watch kids movies to be entertained!


Anyway, on Friday, I headed to KLPAC with Elaine and Bernard to watch Rojak!. A bunch of plays, each with its own message. It was also lighter than The Homecoming, thankfully, and the only play tough on the brain was the one with Rauf, guitarist for Flatline.

They started with sales girls trying to pitch their dresses to a customer. Vicious and vivid? Yes. However, they could’ve slowed down the conversation pacing – they didn’t look like did not have to think of the comeback before reciting the comeback (and I believe that makes a world of importance in making a play believable.) Like not taking a breath before the punchline. An example of perfect comic timing? Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

Thankfully, the next one, a conversation at a mamak, was better timed, and didn’t have the pretentious salesgirl accents. The next one, about ah happy family, was very amusing indeed.

Emily KICKED ASS as a prim and proper tai-tai holding a party… where nobody came. The part about RSVPing and then FFKing spoke volumes (since I didn’t originally but the tickets for Elaine and Bernard!)

She played a similiar role on the boat play; always prim and proper and aunty-ish, ironic because I knew she was one of the youngest on the cast.

It was only after the intermission that I started taking flashless pictures. As a challenge, I turned off the live view, so the only light on the camera was the power indicator. I intentionally shot from the hip, just like a lomo camera, so pardon the bad vertical aim! Settings? Manual exposure, 1/30 seconds, brightest aperture, ISO100, and when the actors and actresses came closer to the audience, I had to drop it to 1/60 seconds to avoid overexposing.

The only sound that came out of it was the mechanical shutter, a bit too loud for my liking. A n00bish uncle behind was bip-bopping with his Fujifilm. I almost wanted to offer to silence his camera for him. Elaine wanted to snap too, and I silenced her Fujifilm S7000.

There was a British-like monologue about applying for Malaysian citizenship, another funny one, perhaps magnified in hilariousness by his big glasses.

Then there was the nosy aunty, the mistress and the friend at a funeral.

And oh hello Priya! Ooo, hello nurse!

This was probably the coolest in terms of cinematography, where another actress and a guy act out a flashback. “My father cared for me, I know he did.

And then he made love to me.” The nurse recounts a rose-tainted story, but that wasn’t what really happened.

A choral speaking session mocked the Tak Nak! campaign. Reuben (also the producer) was hilarious as the stoner dude.

If I bothered to take pictures as discreetly as everyone else, I’d have better pictures, oh… I know it. Also bumped into Grace the official photographer.

It was only after the show that I discovered why Elaine’s pictures always seemed blurry. Her S7000 was set to manual focus! (And being a big prosumer camera, it remembers the setting because it has its own switch.) I then set it to auto focus. I’d hate to imagine if that thing was on all this while, since she uses Auto mode most of the time! She still posts interesting conversations, so go read her anyway.

Things Not To Do On A Date: For Girls

1) Bring your mother along.
What if she was a MILF?

2) Go watch a kids’ movie!
If it gets preachy and boring, you’d still have to act decent. In front of the kids and parents. What more if your mother was there too.

3) Pay for an expensive meal.
What if the guy wanted to break his RM50 note? (You see, guys don’t carry around coin purses…)

(Picture put on blog without permission of Aardman Studios; I took a picture of the screen, but hey I bought the original DVD okayyy…)

4) Speak in the f-language.
Itfit isfis afanoyfoyyingfing tofoo befee refeminfindedfed offof whenfen youfoo werfer ninefine andfand girlsfirls justfust disfiscofaverferredfed thisfis. (Guys, never let them know you understand, or they’ll never stop. Also, I have reason to believe that the f-language, if I remember properly, was not supposed to rhyme; “what is” became “whatfa isfi” instead of “whatfart isfis”.)

5) Swear loudly.
Busybody Malaysians know exactly who to divert their darty eyes to. No, not the swearer. The guy.

Note: Post is written in jest and is not meant to draw reference to any events that may have happened.

I Are In Queue One

So Bernard had one of these babies lying around. The Fujifilm Q1, a 2 megapixel camera. He’d never used it, and for good reason too; it was a lousy camera with pictures that looked like they came out of a webcam. And yes, it does have a webcam function as well. Or maybe it’s a webcam with digital camera functions.

Its macro mode was 60-120cm! That would account for all arm-held camwhoring. However, I then realized why my Fujifilm A202 had less shaky pictures compared to my later Canon Powershot A400 – its maximum shutter speed was 1/15th of a second, compared to the A400’s 1 second.

And here it is, with a Hoya R72 filter handheld; it automatically selects ISO200 (or ISO100 depending on brightness) with a fixed aperture of F3.5. It also has a fixed focus from 120cm to infinity. This was at 1/15th of a second, no post-processing, just resize.

In comparison, the Canon Powershot A520 needs a bit more than 1/4th of a second to get approximately the same exposure. However, the trees are brighter than the sky here; this could be because of wind giving the leaves motion blur. A histogram cannot be compared directly, because the Canon Powershot A520 captures a wider picture. However, it can be said that the Q1 is two stops more sensitive to IR light, and if the A520 would become 10 stops slower in shutter speed with the infrared filter on, then the Q1 would drop 8 stops.

And maybe, after operating on the Q1 to make it fully infrared sensitive like my webcam, I will buy an xD card for it, if I like the pictures. Hopefully, removing the IR cut filter won’t make it lose that much focus (not that it was ever good at that anyway.) At least the flash seems to give some infrared illumination, so I could use it in the dark, but not in macro, as flash cannot be enabled in macro. The xD card can then spur my lust for the Fujifilm F30, an upcoming point-and-shoot with good noise performance, going up to a digital SLR’s ISO3200.