Wednesday, September 23, 2009

September Babies

Hands up! If you're a September baby, this is the post for you, but i should apologize first because what you're about to see - especially the cakes and meals - will just be a virtual gift from me. So stare hard and enjoy your 'dessert'.


Talkin' about birthdays, I was quite surprised to find out that there are people who remembers another's birthday but not their own. Usually, or should i say, it is always that we don't need any effort to remember our own birth dates. We would be the ones reminding others about our day, instead of having people say, "Hey, it's your birthday! Remember?"


Shrugs. Sometimes my parents do forget.


The common thing to birthdays is; celebrations and cakes. Unfortunately, i do not like to do the commons. I intended on giving a surprise to a dear friend of mine and that was when crazy ideas started coming in.


"Why not replace the cake with something else?" So i started listing things down. I had candies, chocolate bars, ferero rocher chocolates, ice cream, etc. anything sweat and sweety will do since i assume he, yes a HE, wouldn't care much about weight gain unlike SHEs. But due to the lack of time, i resented to something close to the common. Unfortunately.


The lil cakes (and two donuts) that i bought with a fifty ringgit note. Of course there was change.



Thank goodness i obtained my driving license earlier. If not i would have to hike from Bercham to Ipoh Garden. The distance is madness. At the end of the day i either develop a body shape like Heidi Klum's, or i loose a pair of legs.


David's Diner, Greentown Square.



I had the cakes, i found my way to David's Diner (thank goodness), but i was late - by ten minutes. The birthday boy was there already! How am i supposed to bring the cakes in? It's supposed to be a surprise!


The dinner was specially for Joseph, who will be returning to Indonesia soon.



The cakes may seem small but the box itself is huge; 16 x 16 x 4 inches. It's impossible to hide it behind my back unless i stack the cakes up and hide it under my shirt. If you think that's a pretty good idea, you may agree that I should shove some into your empty head too.


My partner in crime.



I bummed into a waiter who so happened to be outside the restaurant when i was about to walk in. I wanted to leave the cakes in the car and bring 'em in an hour later, though i was a bit worried of the messiness of the box within - may look surprisingly untidy, i feared. I was stupid, i know. I guess i didn't have enough common sense to worry about the cakes melting.





Anyway, i talked it through with the waiter, then he talked it over with his boss, and i managed to find a way to get the cakes in without having the birthday boy to notice about the surprise. We went all the way to the back lane to the kitchen.


Let's have a word of prayer.



But how about the messiness of the box? It was not presentable!


Joseph, Eunice & JiYan.



"Do you have big plates?" He handed me two fairly big ones, just enough for all the cakes. I was quite surprised that it all fit in very well because i didn't plan how many cakes to buy - whether to hit an even number or an odd. I only counted by the price, chose by the design and stay within my budget. I was very surprise indeed that i could not only divide the cakes on the two plates but to also arrange 'em in a way as if i had the layout planned already. You'll get what i mean when you see the arrangement later.


Stephanie, SzeMin & Sarah.



I fed my camera instead of myself the whole time while i was there, lusted my eyes on those every so expensive sets of food and had no attempt to eat any of 'em. How did i do it? Simple. I took my dinner earlier at home. I DO have a budget plan to keep to y'know!


Benjamin & Alex (b'day boy).



Besides the cake, i did worry about how i was going to entertain myself while others were dining. I guess i should have had more faith on my camera. It flashed away all boredom and kept 'em afar!


Honeydew & watermelon juice.



Please pardon the pictures for their lack of light. I dislike using flash very much, mainly because i haven't got a strong hold of the skill yet. Flashes always turn my under lighted pictures to have too much exposure. So much that the details often sink under the whiteness. Bah.


I didn't know SzeWei doesn't eat these?!



Some pictures may seem kinda weird, but hey, i had to put my camera to use. We (my camera and i) were on a mission to drive off all boredom!


I can see you, SzeWei.



To be able to make the best out of your camera or your photography, you have to definitely loose something which is - self anxiousness. There is no room for you to worry about what others may think about you while having your photography done. Just take the dang picture like it's nobody's business.


She didn't bother about me bothering her.



I tell you, despite the food being kinda pricey, i think it's worth dining there once in a while. If you have a camera, you feed yourself and your camera. If you have a blog also; you feed yourself, your camera and your readers.


"No way am i gonna feed you!"



But do be aware that sometimes nice food once in a while comes with unpleasant diners whose poses may take away your appetite. Ahem.


Gasp, the eyes!



Otherwise, all should go well. Good people, good food, good post to update on a blog.


It's all gooooooood!



Remember to make way for hilarity to have a pose too.


"This is MY meat..."



Candids are acceptable as well.


Flash flash flash.



Have a problem with 'em living things? Don't worry. Cook them up!


Food paparazzi.



So yeah, i successfully managed to occupy myself. When you get bored with your own tool, try someone else's if you see one from the next table.


SzeWei's.



Remember what i said about the arrangements earlier, about how all the cakes got to fit in two plates perfectly? Here it is! I could hardly believe it myself. But even if there was extra, i already had a back up plan - to wollap eat it myself.


Happy twenty fifth birthday Alex!



Eunice shot this picture with Julian's Samsung camera. Nice angling.



When i got the cakes out, i thought it was kinda funny when everyone noticed me except for Alex. He was busy with his i-dunno-what and didn't notice me even when i walked right in front of him with two heavy plates on both my hands. I had to announce happy birthday out loud before he finally looked up. I tell you, his expression was priceless! Too bad i hadn't any recordings to show you guys.


I'm a young fifty-two.



Eunice's shot once more.



We sang the birthday song and distributed the cakes randomly among the youths.


This is the one cake that you don't have to cut.



The number candles cute hor?? Bought the waxed numbers for two bucks each in Season cake shop, Ipoh Garden. My initial plan was those bunga api candles but i didn't know where to get them... As for fireworks, too dangerous.


Mum say's the cakes are too sweet.



Not forgetting what every gathering requires before the departure - a group photo.














Talking about cakes just reminds me of what a terrible cook i am. Or to be precise, i am a terrible baker.


As much as i like surprises, i like giving it to others too. I attempted on one for my mother and decided to bake a cake for her the night before her big day. Got up at 12a.m./midnight and started my work on the sponge cake with chocolate coating. Excitement got over me until i realize i don't know how to use the microwave... But what the heck, just press a few buttons only mah! (Ya right)




I thought i understood the language in recipe books and thus, did according to my own interpretation. I manually mixed everything together as i didn't know how to use the mixer (idiot just switch it on and dump the stuffs in lah). And so, ladies and gentlemen, take a deep breath. Here is the outcome............



The creepiest thing was, i saw lines of electricity from the walls of the machine across to the cake's container while the microwave was running. Shocked i was! Gasp! It's like a storm forming in the microwave, with mini lightnings but no clouds!


The next day, a surprise it was to my mother.


"Happy Birthday mummy!
Sorry i wasted four of your eggs
and half a kilogram of your dark chocolates!"



Ps: So... anyone want a specially-made-by-Mabel cake?

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Blast in School.

This is probably the best thing ever that happened within the recent last five years of my life.
It was such a blast that i could hardly believe this event had passed for five months.
How can i not update about it? Even though i may be the last person to speak on this, it is still an honor to be able to bring this up again.


The Revolving Realm
Gathering
hosted by 4th Unit Rangers of SMC Ipoh


This gathering had not a high attendance and only had a rough count of 400-500 people. Why so little you ask? Simply because only invited scouts and guides are allowed to enter. Not every AhChu, AhPo, AhSing (whose english names are Tom, Dick and Harry) can get their way in.


The logo I designed in a 20 minute scribble.



I was one of the judges during the event but that doesn't mean i had nothing to prepare on before the happening. The responsibility to create a significant-looking banner was laid upon me, thus spent most of my time skipping classes to complete the task. Not a big deal anyway. I'd grab hold of anything stressful simply to skip the sessions of unnecessary advertisements soap operas lectures by you-know-who.


The source that enlightened the stage.



As usual, i found myself setting a very high goal/standard on my artwork, so high that i couldn't reach. I was not at all satisfied with my designed background of the stage. There didn't seem to be anything unpleasant when i did it on paper, but once i executed it, the product of it simply made me shake my head.


The could-have-been-better stage background. If i remember correctly, it is roughly 8x6metres of area.



I substituted the polystyrene that was supposed to be used to make the logo and words, with newspapers instead. Something like a papier mache (dunno what's the correct spelling). Of course, i first made the layout on cargo boxes and taped the crumpled newspapers on the layout cut out. Then have 'em neatly wrapped up with aluminium foils and attached the finishing products on the glass papers (background) with double-sided tape.


It was a lot of work making that one! And much materials were used. Many thanks to those who so willingly assisted me in this. Couldn't have completed it without you guys!



The 'wow' impact that i was aiming to make wasn't there. I mean, look at the picture and what's your reaction? It's nothing very uncommon or special. I wasn't content.


Banner painted by the rangers.



The banners on the other hand satisfied me a bit. I did the drawing on the cloth while SookYee did her fabulous job on the coloring. Now this is what i would 'wow' on! Would you?





And then we had prizes to give away for the winner of every competition we hosted. The tallest among the eleven competitions (i think the number is correct) measures up to 8 feet of height! Taller than me weh! No, i'm serious! And it is no light stuff!


Trophies and souvenirs.



Not to mention, the prices came in a similar 'height' as well.
Ladies, can you imagine having a lifetime partner that tall?? I couldn't, even after standing beside it. I just can't imagine anyone or any living thing (except for plants) to be THAT tall! And you're calling me a tall girl when i'm only 172cm ??


PuiMun's crafty board - thumbs up!



During the gathering, there was nothing for me to do in the day so i did what i always do best - photographing. How i enjoyed running here and there, sweating my fats out and bloating my camera up. There was almost nothing to not be taken a picture of!


Scarf design competition.



They had to do it within the given time. So many "gah chang".



After all the sweat, we laid back awhile in the prefect's room. That was the only place for us committee members to sit and relax.


Too relaxed??



The prefect's room became our hideout when the game of 'signature hunt' began. Contestants were to chase after us; not to get our phone numbers or make an appointment, but to get our signatures. No, they don't admire us but simply needed to complete the task by collecting all of the committee members' initials. They don't get them so easily. Riddles were given and after guessing who owns the riddle, they'll have to do a simple task. Once passed, they gain what they want - the sign. I bet you wouldn't have any idea what my riddle meant:

Goodbye S80.
Marry me D90.



Champion of Signature Hunt - the happy LoosenTan.



Unlike the following picture, the so called simple task that i mentioned given to the signature hunt participants were not as easy as masak-masak (even though to me cooking is no simple thang at all).


Cooking competition. I, as a lady, feels shameful to the fact that this guy cooks so much better than i. Heck, i don't even know how to cook! Cook using photoimpact can lah...



They had to sing songs in public and perform pervert-looking actions that came with the lyrics. Song title; "Hi, my name is Joe."


Some very sporting scouts doing 'the song'.



Shy to do that? Then have your only pair of shirt and trousers get wet under this;





That's why i said, it's not as easy as masak-masak. You get wet clothes instead of delicious meals like this one here;





It was a pleasure to be able to have a taste on every one of 'em! There were curry meat, chinese cuisine, soup, juices, and desserts - just to name a few.


I didn't take any pictures of the Iron Guide and Iron Scout competition though. It is a game that tests your stamina, strength and speed. Basically a lot to do with physical stress, in my opinion.


White rose.



JaneLam.



Usually gatherings like this ends late at night or sometimes very early in the morning of the next day. We didn't see the necessity of dragging the day's events just to live up to a late closing. And thus had our time managed well so that it will provide enough time for the guests to start making up bedtime stories about the gathering to their siblings. I think it ended at around 8pm.


The MCs of the evening.



Dance performances, scarf design presentations, advertising competitions, singing, cheers, supportive yells and commands, etc. - they all took place in the SMC Upper Hall that evening. It was awesome!


Banner presentation. My highlighted event of the day.



Another thing that i was grateful for being made as one of the judges was... i had the best view ever for my CAMERA! How can i not be grateful for that, tell me! It would have been better if i sat on a ladder though. Haha.


Short enjoy-yourself breaks on the dance floor.



I am one who sets a very high standard on myself like i said before and no doubt, more or less, will be on others too in certain areas, and especially on the contestants. I have high expectations when it comes to art and design. And because i personally feed on critiques more than compliments, i did the same to the contestants. It wasn't a tough thing to spot the flaws like, "Why is the dragon's eye, as defined to be red, is yellow instead?" even when it was clear the painter must have missed out that part. I can be rather a pain in the ass, unfortunately.


Champion of the banner competition. This is the 1st layer.



The 2nd layer that was released to roll down, trashing the ground with silvery bits of papers.



No doubt, i was reluctant in choosing the winner. Simply because i didn't thought they deserved it. Their winning was due to the other contestant's minor mistakes, i reckon.


I didn't quite like their cliche idea of releasing the 2nd layer of the banner like the way i described in the captions. The idea was already used (by me) in last year's SMI Gathering and it was very bold of them to recycle reuse it. I know the idea isn't a copyrighted one, but hello, there are more than a-thousand-and-one other ideas that can be used! Like maybe have the first layer turn into shredded pieces of paper with a small blast as a sound effect, revealing the second layer with a glow. Or maybe burn up the layer with fire from the middle, and revealing the fire-proof second layer. That would have definitely made things easier for us judges, and for me. Also, would have awed the crowd. In my opinion, the respond of the crowd matters more than the judges'.


There were five schools, i think, that participated in this competition.



It was a pity really. Perhaps you may argue that the way you present doesn't really matter since it's only the artwork that counts. I am sorry but i refuse to see it that way. Art is the expression of one's creativity through presentations of shapes, colors and so on. So the way it is presented does matter in a way.


I love art very much, but ironically, art can really make me discontented sometimes.




PS: Sorry about the lengthy post and the awful lot of comments on the banner competition. I have been wanting to release these thoughts for a very long time - five months.










Check out what other committee members have said about this gathering;
Angelyn, Eva, YeanKit, Jane, PuiMun

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