Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Photoshop Editing


It's really hard to keep up with social networking nowadays. It used to be just Friendster. Then, along came Myspace. Okay, not so bad about having two social media profiles. 

Now, there's a plethora of platforms where you can express (or expose) yourself according to your liking and interests. I only have Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and hardly on Twitter anymore - even that's tiring enough and naturally, my blog has taken the backseat since I was more active on my Instagram and Youtube. 

No Snapchat for me, thanks.

Blogging used to be fun, at least for me. It used to be the place for me to gag over something I liked, share silly things I experienced or rant over...everything. Then, I had to tame down my blogging ever since I found out friends and family members read my (silly) blog.

But thanks to technology, today, everyone is too occupied with Facebook, Instagram and other easier social media outlet. Our attention span is short so we're always on the lookout for quick entertainment or instant news outlet. Now, nobody has the time to read blogs - and I love it!

I can go back to being the old me and share anything I find interesting here!

So... as my first blog post in many, many months, I'd like to share about the joy of Photoshopping.  

Please bear in mind, I'm no professional in the deceitful art of Photoshopping. I first learned about Photoshop from my school mate and best friend, Andrew, when we were 14 or 15. There we were, in a small, shabby cyber cafe in Taiping, in front of a white, boxy PC with Andrew teaching me how to liquify, spot healing, clone stamp and other Photoshop wonders. 

Throughout the years, I picked up a thing or two about Photoshop tricks through YouTube and applied it on my personal photos. I could spend hours and hours, painstakingly editing my photos to make them look better, in my eyes at least.

However, I'm not into editing my own anatomy or facial features. I thought it was tacky to do so since everyone knew how I looked like in real life. Instead, I just enjoy removing unnecessary objects in my photos and making them look more presentable. 

Here's an example of the picture I uploaded on my Instagram earlier today:

And here's a side-by-side comparison with the original photo I took by myself, using an auto-timer on my Nikon D5200.

I wanted the focus to be on the gorgeous but bland Alexander Wang sweatshirt so I edited out all the furnitures in the background. I liked the shadow on the white wall so I retained it. That one shoe lace falling out drove me nuts so I had to erase it, same goes with the three stripes on my Adidas shorts. 

The sweatshirt looked bigger in the picture so I decided to shrink it just a little around my left shoulder. I left my shining, glossy face on and did nothing to my head a little tuning on my hair. Just to even out the pompadour. 

Finally, I adjusted its brightness and contrast to give it a cooler look. Not bad, no? 

So, there it is. That's how I have fun with Photoshop. Not so much about making myself look better but to make the picture look aesthetically-pleasing and to deliver the right message about my picture. 

Got any Photoshop tips and tricks you wanna share with me? :)

Instagram: @kby87

Sunday, March 1, 2015

10 Things I Love About House of Cards

In conjunction with my favorite series' return to TV this weekend, I thought I'd like to lay down 10 reasons why I love House of Cards and what I've learned from this series. So here they are:

1. You're Never Too Old to Play Video Games

As seen on this show, everyone's favourite mischievous guy - Frank Underwood's - way to unwind and destress is by locking himself up in his basement and playing the Playstation 4. Doesn't matter if you're a ruthless majority-whip-turned-Vice-President by day; after office hours is for playing games. Now, who says playing console games is only for the kids?

2. Words Are the Greatest Weapon

Intimidation and to invoke fear don't necessarily need a few punches and kicks. Frank Underwood does it through his flair of words, from blackmailing a fellow senator with substance abuse to vacating the POTUS' seat - all through his tongue. 

3. Power is Earned....by Intimidation

Having said words are Frank Underwood's forte, that's also how he secures his power. He invokes fear and intimidates those obstructing his way towards his goal to solidify his position. So, the next time you need to stand out and make sure people take you seriously, intimidate them with whatever you have to bring to the table - Underwood style.

4. To Get What You Want, You Need to Take a Step Back (Or Two)

The best thing about Frank Underwood's manoeuvre on getting what he wants is, he makes it seems like he's not chasing after it. For example, to secure the VP post, rather than directly nominating himself to the POTUS, he convinces the sitting VP to vacate his seat, eliminates the next possible VP candidates by offering them other attractive posts,  brings out second-grade, sub-par nominees until finally the POTUS chose him as the 'most suitable candidate'. Brilliant, is it not?

5. Unconventional Relationship = Extraordinary Results

I love the dynamics between Frank and his equally conniving wife, Claire Underwood. They work hand-in-hand to achieve their goal which often benefits them individually. Having no children makes it easier, and they both are free to sleep with other men/women (even had a bisexual threesome with a Secret Service). Manipulation, blackmailing and hard-talking are the order of the day. Clever.

6. Symbiosis Works, Until It Turns Into Parasitism 

Being a Capitol Hill and White House insider, Frank Underwood uses his inside knowledge to spill out the juicy, unpleasant details of his enemies to the public. The way he does it is by getting a young reporter, Zoe Barnes to do all the dirty works for him. Frank feeds Zoe the news, Zoe gets it out on paper, Frank achieves his goal, Zoe gets famous. See the symbiosis? 

But when things got a turn for the worse, Frank decides to end it all to save his reputation and avoid further harm - by killing Zoe. Ruthless but classic Underwood style.

7. Never Poke the Lion from the Inside of the Cage. You Get Someone to Do It from the Outside.

This refers to the earlier point #6. To fight doesn't always mean you have to wrestle your opponent head-on. You simply have to get someone to do it for you and save yourself from all the dirt. Most of Frank Underwood's 'achievements' leaping from being a majority whip to the POTUS comes from Zoe Barnes, who leaks out dirty stories and scandals fed by Frank Underwood. 

8. Don't Be Afraid of Huge Responsibilities.

Some jobs are too big to handle and naturally they will scare you. But, having the courage and conviction to grab it by the balls and get it done will reward you with a 'pass' you might need in the future. For instance, the education bill Frank Underwood volunteered to get it ready and passed in 30 days proves to be a solid fallback whenever he tries to argue any controversial plan. Getting a huge project single-handedly done says 'I'm capable of anything'. 

9. You Clean Up After Your Own Mess

If you do something wrong, you own it and clean it up yourself. I admire how Frank Underwood takes care of everything he has done, although how he takes care of it is debatable. Still, if you've screwed up, you own it and make it right yourself. 

10. Democracy is Overrated.

Like it or not, the public actually votes/decides based on what is told, and the content of what is told is controlled by the same people running the White House or deciding in the Capitol Hill. Even to secure presidency itself doesn't necessarily means you have to be elected - you simply must know which button to press to oust the sitting President. Just ask Frank Underwood.


That's all. Last note, I unashamedly admit that I put into practice some of the things mentioned above in my daily grind. And yes, they worked - so far.

Instagram: @kby87

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

"Breathe Out Hate, Breathe In Love"

Hate is such a powerful word. 

The disdain for something or someone usually starts with a mild 'dislike'. You dislike this and that but it is still tolerable. Then it develops into 'despise'. You are clear of your aversion toward something or someone but it is still very much in control.

Finally, here comes 'hate'. The big sister of the three - the badass of them all. 

Hate means to know that you don't like something or someone, and to have a very strong feeling about it. Most often than not, it is made known publicly. For example, you hate a particular person and you make everyone knows (including that poor person) of your feeling toward them.

It is normal to hate something or someone you barely know. First impressions can be deceiving and lead you to that God-awful sentiment. Basically you're gathering information just from your observations and what you learn from others, and made a simple conclusion that you hate this/that or him/her. Simple. 

In short, you hate what you don't know.

However, is it possible to hate someone or something you've already fallen head-over-heels with, especially with a person? To know, to love and then to hate that person?

We often hear how relationships turn sour and the best of couples can be arch-nemesis to one another. As they say, friends make the worst enemy because they know inside out of your life and can use it against you. Same goes for partners/husband-and-wife.

But, if we really love someone and claim to have known them really, really well ('We've known each other for 10 years!', 'She was my best friend for 20 years!') then why would they turn their back on us and pave the way from love to hate?

The answer is simple: we never fully know someone and will never do

I'm a firm believer that learning is a life-long process and that applies to learning the people around us as well. People don't stay the same for oh-so-long - they change. That's what humans do. We adapt to changes, to aging, to surrounding, to technology, to improvements/degradation.

How many times have things like this crossed our mind: 'I didn't even like this when I was studying!' or 'I used to go crazy over chicken rice but now I prefer western food'

Even we, ourselves, change. What makes us think that the people around us will stay the same?

I always say relationship is a two-way street. It requires work from both sides. Doesn't matter if you're talking about romantic or casual relationship, if only one side is doing all the work, frustration starts to boil and hate creeps in. 

Actually it starts with dislike, then despise and finally hate - in that order.

To all of us who always wonder, why would someone who used to love now hate us? The answer might be in our own two hands. 

Maybe we're not playing our part. 
Maybe we're not paying more attention. 
Maybe we're too complacent and lazy to work things out. 
Maybe we simply don't care and think things will take a turn for the better by themselves.

There are reasons why the ones who used to talk so softly to you, now screaming and nagging all the time. There are reasons too why those who couldn't stop talking and giggling with you, now prefer to be left alone and quiet. 

The reasons are in the maybe's

Until we've have gone through all the maybe's, don't be too quick to put the blame on others and preach to them to 'breathe out hate and breathe in love'.

The world doesn't need another pair of enemies. Let's fix where we go wrong and avoid that 'dislike' from escalating to 'hate'.

I hate 'hate'.

Instagram: @kby87

Thursday, September 4, 2014

In Trust We...Trust?

A wise man once said (okay, it was Lady Gaga who actually said it):

"Trust is like a mirror. You can fix it if it's broken but you can still see crack in that motherfucker's reflection."

When someone you deeply cared about (a family member, a friend, your significant other) have gained your trust and sadly, decided to go astray and misused the trust you have placed in him/her for whatever reason he/she might have ("I didn't know what I was thinking", "I swear that was the only time!", "It wasn't like that at all, I swear!"), let's be frank, you would never forget about it.

True, out of sympathy, you might forgive the wrongdoer after you have simmer down and got over the fact that they have done what they did. But honestly, you would never forget the hurt, the humiliation, the violation of the trust and how things would never go back to how it used to be.

Trust is NOT like putting together again a crumbling Lego house that your great aunt accidentally knocked over because she had cataract and couldn't see.

Once violated, the second chance you might give to the person who did you wrong will always come at a price. The second (or third or fourth) time around, the trust is no longer gained but simply given out of false optimism.

I personally feel that second chance is worth giving but it does not worth anything.

Over time, the wrong-doer will feel complacent with what they have and with how things have gone back to normal. Thus, the tendency to neglect, abuse and subsequently violate the trust is very high. Most importantly, we - the ones wronged - will incessantly feel vulnerable, fragile and threaten.

Yup, threaten.

The fear of being wronged again, being put in the dark and not knowing that that same person is scheming another round of mischief while whispering sweet things into your ears.....allegedly.

So, what to do if you have been guilty of taking that first, second, third chances for granted?

Nothing much you can do, really.

The only way to do is to ask for forgiveness and do anything within your power to prove that you are indeed trying to make things right. Over time, those who appreciate your effort will see it - provided that you do ALL the things within your power, if you're really serious about making it right.

Do understand him/her if he/she finds it hard to believe you at times. That poor person was lied to and neglected while you did what you did - how else would you expect them to react?

Oh, please spare the 'I'm-hurt-too-like-you' lines because nobody is hurt or affected more than the one you did wrong. So avoid using the pity card like you're the victim. Instead, take the high road - admit all the wrong things you did, seek for forgiveness and show that you're trying to make amend.

After all, talk is cheap. Action, on the other hand, always speaks louder than words.


Instagram: @kby87