Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Closet Transformation

During this long weekend of Merdeka, I finally got a chance to tidy up my study-cum-closet room. Being a well-known neat freak, I thought everything should be in its correct place and the loves of my life - my shoes - should deserve their special place.

Off my hommie and I went to Ikea in search for the most suitable shelf to make this minor room transformation a success. Initially, we decided to go for the Kilby bookshelf (as normal shoe rack couldn't accommodate all of my sneakers) which cost RM149.

Then, we decided to go for this Laiva bookshelves instead (the tall one in the picture) which cost RM75 each. We bought two of this and connect both with Laiva connecting shelf (RM20). In between the two, we put Laiva table (RM40).

Tadaa, the early shot. Many sneakers are still left un-boxed yet. Oh, that's Mr Aboy inspecting the red cube box.

It took us only an hour and a half to put everything together and I sure am proud of its result, though this room (and the rest of the house, mind you) still has a long way to go. The photo here is how it looked like yesterday, after the redecoration, and even until today, it's still undergoing some changes.

Step by step baby. And economically, of course.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Nike Dunk Hi AC

On the 19th day of fasting, I went for shoe hunting. It was Friday and the cloudy weather throughout the day whispered, "You ought to get new kicks."

Okay, I made up the whispering part. Anyway, it has been ages since I got myself a brand new sneakers and again, I'm using the Raya excuse to pamper myself.

After a few rounds of browsing around the city, I settled with this one pair from Nike. Since my fascination with high-cut sneakers has yet to fade, I was happy with my choice.

This one pair might seem white but it is actually not. It's in soft grey (although the photo couldn't the justice) with dotted leather finishing. The original pair from the store comes with white school-boy shoe laces but I paired it with grey ones I got from Nike Dunk Hi DJ AM. Credit to Mr Ayi for suggesting me to switch those laces. The grey laces match the line above its sole, co-incidentally.

So, this is my.... (I lost count of my shoes) pair. Since I don't prepare anything for the upcoming Raya, this would be my 'kasut Raya', 'baju Raya', 'kuih Raya', 'hantu Raya', 'jalan Raya' and any other rhyming Raya stuff.

This one is available in Juice KL for RM349. It is also available in black. But beware! There's a similar one in those Nike stores. Surprisingly, that one costs more (RM389) although it is made of canvas, not leather (which may become quite a problem to clean).

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Have a Little Faith - A True Story

My book-reading libido has been quite high of late. Right after I finished Eat,Pray, Love I picked up Mitch Albom's latest book, Have a Little Faith and finished it within two days.

Seemed like recent trip back to my hometown was a fruitful one as I managed to finish two books in a span of four days. All thanks to the gadget-deficient luggage - no laptop, no PSP (actually I brought it back but had forgotten to pack along the charger. Pfft). Only my phone and iPod to keep me entertained on the bus - I can't read books while being in motion.

Have got used to Mr Albom's way of writing from three of his previous books (The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Tuesdays with Morrie and For One More Day), I must say it was a pretty, err, boring read for me as I expected more from this book which took eight years to be completed.

Somehow I felt rather 'cheated'. As if his publisher was trying to milk out as much profit as possible by printing his name on the cover and selling it only in hard copies (which cost nearly seventy bucks here in Malaysia).

Anyhow, the book is pretty much similar to Tuesdays with Morrie. Unlike the latter, which focuses more on how to live positively ('In order to learn how to live, you must learn how to die' - remember?), the former still talks about positive living but in relation to the supreme above - God.

It all started when the author's rabbi, Albert Lewis, requested him to do his eulogy although he wasn't dying (yet). This was eight, nine years back. Born a Jew but didn't practiced it religiously, the author began his 'work' by spending time with his rabbi on weekly and monthly basis (akin to Tuesdays with Morrie, again) in order to know him better for the eulogy-writing.

Soon, he discovered that the 'work' wasn't for the rabbi - but for him as an indirect and comfortable way to know life, the afterlife and God, and guided him to the Lord's path.

On the other hand, there's a story about a man called Henry Covington - who grew up to be a drug-dealer, multiple-time convict, street-bully and drug-addict but found God in a dark alley while hiding behind trash cans with a gun in his hand

(It wasn't like he literally found God and say "'Whassup Jesus?! You're looking fine, yo!" - You get the idea, alright).

So there are two stories of two different faiths but echoing the same power of the divine. True, this book is heart-warming and truly a compassionate read but for someone who has got used to Mitch Albom's way of writing, I expected more depth in its delivery. Nevertheless, the book has abundant of lessons which could be adapted and learned regardless of one's religion.

As I had said, the delivery was quite dull for me but its message and final part really caught up with me - tears and all. Sobs.

Pick it up if you're a fan of Mitch Albom. As for me, I borrowed it from my friend. Hehe.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love

I had written a completely different draft for this entry but it didn't sound like what I really feel about the book. So I scrapped it all and replaced it with this one instead.

If there's anything extraordinary about this book which enables it to sell more than 6 million copies worldwide, I would say none. The storyline is simple - about a woman's quest for joy, spiritual healing and balance of both - just how many times have we heard or read about it.

But there lies a true simplicity in the storytelling for each page which allows you to connect with the whole real-life experience faced by the author, Elizabeth Gilbert, while she was in Italy, India and Bali, Indonesia seeking the three things mentioned earlier.

Her pursuit for spiritual, especially, was written from a novice's point of view, sparing all the scientific and entangling terms which may turn this book into a 'Spiritual-101 Guide. Thankfully she writes as if she's right there in front of you over a cup of coffee, spilling all the' details of her one-year around the world journey.

There is no spark, no extra-imagination required to fully understand and grasp the very essence of this book. This book is purely sincere and giving as the story unfolds between one page and the next.

I love this book. I know, millions of people around the world must've said the same thing after reading it and relating it to their lives. I fully understand how she writes about her bottomless depression, the hollowness she felt when she was still married despite 'having it all' - a husband, a big house (two, in fact - one in Manhattan, mind you) and a blossoming career. She lost the connection between her and the bigger picture in life and that's when she knew she needed God from there onwards.

As I said before, there's nothing extraordinary about this book. But its simplicity is what distinguished it from other books out there. Even Oprah admitted this. There is no happy ending in this book, but that too depends on how you perceived a happy-ending. But for me, as a reader who was hungry for some lesson from the woman who has been there and back, I truly gained alot by reading this book. I might not wake up the next day feeling completely like a different person, but I sure know what I need to do to improve my life.

A must read if you're interested to do the same.

Here are some parts of the book which I really liked:

"When I get lonely these days, I think : So be lonely, Liz. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome the human experience. But never again use another person's body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings."

"The Bhagavad Gita - that ancient Indian yogic text - says that it is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else's life with perfection. So now I have started living my own life. Impefrect as it may look it is resembling me now, thoroughly."

"In a world of disorder,disaster and fraud, sometimes only beauty can be trusted. Only artistic excellence is incorruptible. Pleasure cannot be bargained down. And sometimes the meal is the only currency that is real."

"But I felt a glimmer of happiness when I started learning Italian, and when you sense a faint potential of happiness after such dark times you must grab onto the ankles of that happiness and not let go until it drags you face-first out of the dirt - this is not selfishness, but obligation. You were given life; it is your duty (and also your entitlement as a human being) to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight."

"Imagine that the universe is a great spinning engine. You want to stay near the core of the things - right in the hub of the wheel - not out at the edges where all the wild whirling takes place, where you get can frayed and crazy. The hub of calmness - that's your heart."

I hope the movie is as good as the book, if not better.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Congratulations, Bontots

There comes a time in your life when you really paused, realized everything has changed and how grown up you have become. Three years passed by so swiftly and my friends have graduated successfully (and stylishly) last August 4 in Dewan Tunku Canselor, Universiti Malaya.

As what I've learned last year during my bestie, Ann Jie's graduation, convocation only means one word: HOT.

Not hot as in fabulous. I really mean 'hot'! Lots of walking, phone-calls under the scorching sun and wandering around looking for your friends amongst thousands of people and crawling traffic.

I didn't feel fun at all especially with sweat running down my 500 bucks Fred Perry Laurel.

But all the un-fun parts was squashed away the moment I saw my friends. Oh, how it was so 2007 all the sudden again.

Frankly, there's something about convocation that makes me emotional. Seeing my friends all with their robes, beret (is it called beret?), six-inch heels (Sakina) and bouquets made me so proud and happy for them - regardless of what life has in store for them (or us) after this phase. It didn't matter because at this time, this very convocation time, their hardworks and dedications have finally been rewarded.

See kids, it didn't matter at all if you skipped classes once a while for outings in Ikea, or had long lunch in Bangsar although knowing you already late for class - you will still graduate. Winks.

The remaining two undergraduate - Eza and I

The next day, we had a celebratory dinner in Piccadilly located in Section 14, Petaling Jaya. I requested for this place since I've heard LOTS about it but never had the right opportunity to try it out. The place was alright for relatively affordable wide arrays of food. I had its Nyonya Nasi Lemak with hot mocha.

Quite a shame. From hundreds of selections, I came all the way from home to have a friggin nasi lemak? *scratching head*

To my wonderful friends, although some of you will be getting married, start with your new job and venture into anything you want, I still wish you the best for the many, many years to come. Because you're my friends, thus you deserve nothing short than the BEST things in life.

I love you, bontots.

Didi and I

Fifi and Sakina

Ami finally arrived

Credit to Eza Nabilah, Ali Azri and Sakina Hussain for the photos.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Diablo 3

My PC (a.k.a Muchacho) desktop wallpaper has been adorned with nothing but images of the shoes that I wanted. There was the winged Jeremy Scott (got it!), the Stephen Sprouse's Louis Vuitton, the Givenchy studded gladiator sandals and many others.

But from today onwards, I've reserved my wallpaper for this one game I've been waiting for oh-so-long.

Blizzard, stop teasing me and just release that God damn Diablo 3 now, alright?!

It's predecessor Diablo 2 has got to be my all-time favorite PC game. Tomb Raider, Prince of Persia, Age of Empires, Counter Strike, Star Craft, Red Alert - you can all suck it because Diablo is the bomb.

I spend more than 10 hours a day playing that game back in my school days, until the CD exploded into pieces while still running in the CPU. Yeah, it was that bad. Bring up the word 'Diablo' to my family and not a single one wouldn't remember that.

But, mind you, I still scored straight As during my PMR. Ehem, ehem.

I was already excited when my brother-in-law told me that Diablo 3 was in the work, allegedly. That was about 3 years ago. Now, it is nearly completion (I guess) and waiting for the right time to be released.

Oh, the torture of having to wait for this game. The trailers, the websites, the wallpapers - I can't take it anymore. I've got to have it. I promise I'll get the original one once it comes out regardless how expensive it would be.

Need. Diablo. Three. Now.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

To Have and to Hold...?

August 1 is my parents' anniversary. As of this year, they have been married for thirty-fucking-seven years and I have no idea how they remained together for that long. They tied the knot when they were both nineteen years old.

Again, I have no clue how people could remain being married for such a long time or for that matter, to be married at the first place. I see no imminent prospect of me jumping on that marriage bandwagon in this near future.

Unless, on one fateful day, God point out to me and say 'Thou shalt get married'. That one, I can't contest.

I've expressed my lack of intention for marriage to my mom on several occasions but she never seemed to get it. I'm happy for anyone who chose the married life than the single life but I never seemed to fully grasp the very significance of it just yet.

I'm not one of those people who see marriage as the final path for the ultimate happiness in life. Screw that. If I want to be happy, I'll be happy - not because of some irrelevant society dogma.

It's unfair to say those who chose to remain free and single, to pick career over children as a selfish, ignorant lot. Same goes to those who prefer the marriage life; it's not so wise to immediately say they are unselfish at all in their life-changing decision.

I'm a terrible Muslim and I openly admit it - though it's not something I'm proud of. Yet, I still know the humongous responsibilities that come with it. Marriage isn't just for fun. It's not just as a license to freely have sex with your spouse without being caught. It's not just about the ability to split the bills between two paychecks. It's way more than that.

Being married is to no longer act as an individual but as a unit, from the day you take the oath until....well, you get the idea. It is a small 'organization' where you no longer act for yourself but for the best of the firm. Thus, you no longer have the prerogative to put yourself first like you did during your single days as in a marriage, your decisions and the actions you exert have impacts on your spouse, and even children (for better or for worse).

Thus, it wouldn't be wise to say 'I have to do this because I'm a human after all and I have my OWN needs' in a marriage. This is the one which really gets me going. I mean, come on, if you are so peculiar about your own needs, why bother getting married and let your other half suffer back at home? Don't they have needs too?

Marriage is a big deal and when it comes to this, I don't have (mind you) balls to commit because I know what I am capable of. I know where I stand and I am fully aware of my limitations. Thus, marriage is a no-no for me.

I asked my mom how she managed to pull herself together and build a family during this last 37 years. She told me, it took a lot of effort, compromising, sacrifice and perseverance. This response resonates with a line from the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (I'll discuss more about this book once I'm done with it):

"In that moment, it was as if my strong mother reached across the table, opened her fist and finally showed me the handful of bullets she'd had to bite over the decades in order to stay happily married to my father - and she was happily married to my father."

To sum it up, I have acknowledged my inability to lead another person in my life but maybe that might change in the future. But to those who have been married, I congratulate you with a very serious note to take a good care of your family and by 'good care', I don't mean just the food, the bills and the ice-cream on weekends. It's about being faithful, committed, togetherness and most importantly, respect.

If you have chosen to tie the knot, don't complain about the tension.