Monthly Archives: November 2008

The R-Word

Here we have something from Lukas Rossi’s new band, Stars Down – a track named Bleeding The Dream:

Now compare that to Rock Star Supernova‘s first video, Headspin:

Man, what happened to Tommy Lee (Motley Crue), Gilby Clarke (Guns N Roses) and Jason Newsted (Metallica)? Did they all decide to get together in the name of Mark Burnett, king of reality TV, and make pussy music?

I could think of some local bands I see who make pussy music. But I’m too pussy to name them.

I’d also say that the one song I heard from Stars Down was impressive enough for me to say that they have a bit of dynamics ala A Perfect Circle. But I’m too pussy to say this, in case the real A Perfect Circle fans tell me otherwise, which would be legit since I really don’t know much about A Perfect Circle. I’d be more likely to buy a Tool album (but I didn’t, only because I rarely buy albums.)

I finally watched Airheads. When else will you see Adam Sandler as a rocker? I salute the movie’s capability to develop sympathy and the Stockholm Syndrome. You end up really liking Joe Montegna. And disliking Michael McKean as Milo, who turns KPPX Rebel Radio into an easy-listening station. But I loved him in This Is Spinal Tap as David St. Hubbard! Who would have thought until the credits roll and you head over to IMDB!

I caught Tropic Thunder too. Explosive action of the funniest degree. You’d know damn right that Jack Black wrote that scene in where he bites a bat’s head in tribute to Ozzy Osbourne. You just know it’s his idea. And woohoo to Edgar Winter Group – Frankenstein making it in the movie at one point. And boohoo to people who think Simple Jack was a bad joke – the joke isn’t in the m-m-m-movie itself, but in the lines that follow:

Check it out. Dustin Hoffman, ‘Rain Man

Sixteen Eight, Oh Eight!

Moonshine: A Homemade Acoustic Show, one 16th of August 2008, at The Apartment, KLCC. These run on the 3rd Saturday of every month.

I wonder what goes on in every performer’s mind – is it “I hate the lights.

I love the lights, though sometimes they could be pointed at them heh.

Here’s a random transcription from a rare track. Tell me where you’ve heard this before!

Like I said, if I could only see your faces. The like, the hate, I don’t know, but just enjoy the music. I hate the lights. I hate the lights. It makes me a star. I’m no better than anybody else.

Arrreee yooouuu readddy to perform?

Jasemaine Gan, long time no see. Acoustic with a kick of a trilingual ballad!

I somehow really like the geometric cuts in this shot. She has been taking some nice shots too so head over to her blog!

I am jealous of the innate ability of females to automatically take better pictures to begin with.

Cassandra Chong. Found this interesting angle by accident!

Spoiler. This jazz diva is wearing a flowing dress.

Sue on violins!

Izzy Mohd!

She introduced me to Indomee. For that, I am eternally grateful.

Nick Davis and a violinist. Not the same violinist.

I am beginning to wonder if violinists and saxophonists are more common than bassists and drummers. After all, we see the same bassists and drummers in many bands!

Oh, the Audacity!

Oh, the audacity!

Nick is angsty. He rocks while doing so.

Mellow Without The Yellow

6th August 2008 – Awesomely Mellow at Cloth & Clef, with Ben Rynjah.

And then there was Youtube sensation Kokokaina!

Imma trying out a new gritty post-processin’ style.

Cloth & Clef is the domain of the F1.4. Anything darker and you will suffer.

Something tells me I should’ve aimed lower and cropped her face out. Then you’d know it was the same girl in those videos.

Her trademark ukulele. There is no way you can hear Just You And Me and not go, “bumbum bumbum bum. Ba da da ba da ba!

I sold my ukulele ages ago. I miss the feeling of fretting across an entire octave with one hand!

Bo’s Bedroom Sanctuary.

Mellow with the xylo!

Funniest dude ever! Okay, Bo’s funny too, with the right amount of alcohol (that is, not too much.)

Double the bass.

Rubik Hero

I went for the Indie Youth Fest 2008 at 1 Utama New Wing a certain 5th of July 2008, only because there was a Rubik’s Cube competition!

I asked around. It was 2pm already, inside and outside there was no booth for Rubik’s Cubes or anything. So I asked around, got directed outside, then inside, outside, and inside and uh, outside again. Until I found somebody who took another entry form and cancelled out the title, writing “Rubik’s Cube Competition”.

And so I was the first on the list. 20 minutes later, a gamer clan had joined! I was afraid. These guys looked serious. I thought I could walk away with a prize seeing how little publicity this event got.

Then I saw the cubes. Cheap plastic ones! Not the official ones. I tested one of them. Two of the cubies (that’s what you call the parts) were superglued together! So that was a disqualified cube.

And so, we convened to the stage. There were 9 of us, so we split into 2 groups. The person with the most colors on a face solved after 5 minutes would win!

(Well, you’re supposed to solve the entire thing, but I guess the organizers had more realistic expectations.)

I finished my cube, all 54 colors on a face correct, and then I took pictures.

The poor guy on the left did not know that he finished an entire face, as it was not facing him. Hehe!

So after 5 minutes, two of them handed in cubes with 8 colors on a face, and the other two, 6 I think.

During the next round, this girl suddenly walked into the scene. Ooo, she said. “Can I try?” And she knew her stuff! She finished everything but she could not remember how to swap and orient corners.

Because she did not put her name on the participant list, I guess she didn’t win anything. 🙁

The second round finished with two dudes getting 7 colors on a face. And then they had a showdown. Well I don’t remember the exact details, this happened four months ago!

Third prize winner wins a game.

Second prize winner wins a game.

First prize winner wins Guitar Hero II for the XBox 360!

And so I hung out backstage with my new plastic guitar. Finally, an electric (or rather, electronic) guitar I can call my own!

The black pants are the closest I have to skinny black leather pants.

And now, for some real rockers…

Darren Teh of An Honest Mistake!

They had a legion of supporting fans!

Yes, I shot them all with my Minolta 70-210mm F4 beercan.

Gotta love what it did to the flowers!

Ambient bits and then hard bits. Straight out, solid emo.

Challenging backlight, so I cranked up DRO on my A700. After some minor mucking in Photoshop there is just a bit of cross-processing.

So back to the Rubik’s Cube. Nobody knew, and those that were good at it were over in Subang. Some yo-yo event. You’d have a high chance of getting a yo-yo player to solve a Rubik’s Cube, apparently! (With the exception of the exceptional KJ.)

So back to Guitar Hero II. I contemplated getting an Xbox 360 just for the game – after all, this is the kind of game I’d buy a console for. And I’d never had a console.

Of course, Uncle Google and Uncle Syefri told me that I could just plug my electronic Gibson Explorer via USB cable to my PC, and download Frets On Fire, a PC emulator. It could even rip tracks from the Playstation 2 version (which, thankfully, Amir had, and I must thank him for lending it to me.) Each song took about 2-3 hours to rip, with over 50 songs.

And, just like Dave Mustaine, although I could play guitar, I totally sucked at Guitar Hero the first time I played it.

Dave Mustaine playing Guitar Hero II on Game One

Anthrax Guitarist Scott Ian Sucks at Guitar Hero

The guitar controller eletronic Gibson Explorer is pretty much like a joypad – I even tried to play Quake 3 on it. There weren’t enough buttons to bind to all the movements, even!

For Teens Ate

Moonshine: A Homemade Music Show, a certain 14th of August 2008, with your host Reza Salleh.

Rashdan Harith the rocker!

Dude don’t break my guitar!

Yep, them hot chicks got them all on camera.

And there was Seven, one of my favorite funk-R&B-jazz-rock bands.

I love it when the drummers use colorful drumsticks!

I also loved my Vivitar Series 1 28-105mm F2.8-3.8 for what it would let me do – a smooth push-pull zoom effect like this.


Velan returns on drums…

…with grunge crusaders Stonebay!

Can somebody say Lion-O?

The Vivitar 24mm F2 DIY tilt-shift can be hard to use, but gotten right it can be pretty sweet.

It’s lens geeking time!

Auto-Chinon 135mm F2.8 for K-mount, handheld in front of my A700.

It seems to have a good old-school look, which clears up very well. It produced very contrasty, saturated pictures on my Pentax P30t. Pity I’m selling both (hit me an email at my About Me! page.)

And here’s the huge Sony Carl Zeiss ZA Sonnar T* 135mm F1.8 in Alpha mount versus a little Carl Zeiss Jena 135mm F2.8 in M42 mount.

Here’s the beercan-sized, beercan-weighted Sigma 50-150mm F2.8 EX DC II HSM! For APS-C fans, this is a great lens.

Speaking of the great Minolta 70-210mm F4 beercan, here’s a 100% crop from the A700. This is the center window of the Petronas Twin Towers Skybridge!

And here is its replacement, the Minolta 70-210mm F3.5-4.5 RS, with a focus hold button and a collapsible design. That means it is much shorter than the beercan at 70mm.

Here is the Minolta 75-300mm F4.5-5.6 “big beercan” (extending zoom) with the Minolta 70-210mm F4 beercan (internal zoom). The big beercan adds a focus limiter switch which is great considering it focuses really slowly, even on the A700, while the beercan zips away.

At least it lives up to the name, at 300mm F5.6, with beercan-esque painterly bokeh.

Now for something else – a wide-angle converter put on reverse!

That’s right, the cheapo Octagon 0.45x wide-angle converter.

Now for something rare – the Sigma 28-70mm F2.8 Zen.

Sharp wide open!

Then there’s the Olympus Zuiko Digital 40-150mm F4-5.6 which is identical in size to its brother the Olympus Zuiko Digital 14-42mm F3.5-5.6.

Which, of course, is still much taller than the Olympus E-420 with the super compact Olympus Zuiko Digital 25mm F2.8 pancake lens.

And here’s one shot with the pancake! At F2.8 and on a 2x crop sensor the separation is quite mild. Quite like a 50mm at F5.6 on full-frame.

The Minolta 28mm F2.8 has a nice minimum focusing distance.

The Minolta 35mm F1.4 Original is sharp and yet dreamy wide open.

I feel like doing many things.

I feel like picking up Anthony Kiedis’ book, Scar Tissue. I saw it in Borders, picked it up, and read until my legs went numb. While standing. This man was a poet and he had the methods!

I feel like making some real gritty art.

I saw Marilyn Manson on a Channel V special, and Googled if he was married. Indeed he was, to burlesque superstar Dita Von Teese. And they’d break door hinges in loud hotel romps.

Apparently, she never failed to turn him on. And yet, he had an affair with Evan Rachel Wood. He also says she wasn’t supportive of his lifestyle (I suppose, the drugs.) He was a painter. He directed a movie. His artwork was bought by quite a few, including Anthony’s bassist, Flea. Watch any other rock band these days and you see some pu–y video where they are standing around in a studio (or hangar). I believe all of Nickelback’s videos are shot in such fashion.

At the same time, I tell myself that I have no time to make art. Making art needs a setup. You can’t just Photoshop your way to everything.

Speaking of Flea, I’d been enqueuing Red Hot Chili Peppers – Show Me Your Soul into my Winamp playlist every now and then.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers are my inspiration in more ways than one. See how Flea bobs his head? That’s how I bob my head when I’m playing air-bass to some bass-popping song. Heck, that’s how a lot of bassists bob their heads. There’s also that thing Anthony does with his hand (poking the air, but you know what it is… right?)

And yes, the song has got the cure to fever, it’s got a lot of cowbell!

Oh and Flea also appears in James Brown – Sex Machine. Flea’s distinctive head bob appears in 1:51-2:03. And there’s “take it to the bridge” which isn’t a Timbaland line. The Godfather Of Soul said it first!

Do me a favor; if you know me personally, watch the video. If you think I’m just a metalhead, really, no, I thrive on funk.

I was having breakfast at the cafeteria near my office and they play an enjoyable dose of rock kapak. I heard a honky blaring guitar tone. I remembered this most recently when I heard Jack White’s collaboration with Alicia Keys on the James Bond soundtrack. I remember making this awesome, raw, elephant-like sound once many years ago, with my Creative SB Live! EAX sound effects and my (sister’s) Yamaha F-210 guitar, with a cheap microphone sitting in the soundhole.

My soundcard since died, I think. The recordings sit in my hard disk. The only physical pedal I have, a Jimi Hendrix wah pedal, is with my cousin who would send me the occasional recording he made. And he would always astound me as he’d always explore new sounds. Last one I heard had better sounding drum machines than the last. Maybe it’s the former Malaysian music reviewer in me talking but we tend to compare everything to an international artiste (as reference, and so we sound cool) so I’d say I’d like to believe that he is sounding more like Depeche Mode and Daft Punk. Simply because I enjoy them so much, and few people make music as progressively cool as they do.

I’d meet him about 3 times a year during family gatherings. I used to meet him on MSN but I don’t go on MSN anymore. It’s just very counter-productive; I feel like I cannot get anything done when Alt-Tabbing between chat windows and Photoshop or anything.

If fate led me to rocking out properly (like passing that exam and buying that yummy butterscotch-flavored Ibanez) I might’ve been a rock star.

When I hear music so unique, it makes me wish more people tried to copy these bands. Sly And The Family Stone. Prince. Red Hot Chili Peppers. Faith No More. Daft Punk. That’s why when I hear somebody who sounds remotely like that, I’m like hey check these dudes out.

Who is the most copied band of all time? Nirvana (and their Seattle scene.) Great, pick the least technically adept of all bands to adapt. Maybe we could also call Green Day a template to be reused.

I watched every video on “Tales Of Mere Existence”. Each video hit me. I know this, I thought. I could do this, I thought.

I remember that I could draw. I still doodle during meetings. My colleagues can see various robot warriors if they were sitting on my side of the table.

Most recently, my simple drawing of a clamp adaptor got itself a slot on Flickr:
How to draw a diagram.

I always wondered why people could not draw simple things like cylinders and cubes correctly, with the right perspective. I don’t expect people to solve the Rubik’s Cube, but drawing it properly would do it justice.

I feel like doing some good classic DIY. The last proper thing I did was a tilt-shift, but the one I’m most proud of is my infrared Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens camera. You can’t call it a SLR because there’s no mirror. Screw Micro Four Thirds, I was there first! With a Fujifilm somemore!

To this day, when I walk into YL Camera, those that have seen the infrared camera tell the others how ingenious I am. I miss that feeling, of being ingenious. It’s one thing to walk into a camera shop toting the latest Sony Alpha 900 and HVL-F58AM rotating flash, and another thing toting a tiny camera that does infrared and has a superb telephoto range.

And there are those I’d like to share this sense of pride with but they won’t come with me into that shop and hear them speak praises of me. There, in those camera shops, I am a rock star.

I don’t have a yearning to be the best. I just have a yearning to be unique, to make something nobody else has thought of. I’m sorry, I do not think that getting a 100% is an accomplishment. All it means is that you can adhere to a standard with no mistakes. A standard somebody else has made, some examiner.

When I ask my children if they have done something useful in their life, I mean to ask if they’ve invented or conjured something that nobody has thought of. I’d be more proud if my son was a conman who came up with a clever, never-heard-of modus operandi, than if he was an honest stockbroker who played it safe.

Street Fishing

So I took the Peleng 8mm F3.5 circular fisheye with a 1.5x teleconverter on my Sony Alpha 700 around town, shooting at F8 and manual focus at 1 meter, with the camera hanging down at arm’s length. The teleconverter and APS-C crop factor gives it a similiar look to the 16mm F2.8 diagonal fisheye on full-frame.

The idea was taken from a forum member on Dyxum.

I walked past people, making sure to snap just before they pass my fisheye.

Most people in crowded places don’t realize that I’ve snapped. But then, I continued walking without turning around to see if they saw me.

Shadow of a street fisher.

Until I get a new M42 adapter, the Peleng won’t be sitting on the A900 yet. Yes, I sold my other 2 M42 lenses with the 2 adapters that I had!

Man, I can’t wait to show you street birding!