NO, LAWRENCE. GOOD DAY.

On the 11 August 2014, Monday, the world has lost a great man—Robin McLaurin Williams.

There is not one person in the world under the age of 5 that has never seen a movie that didn’t starred Robin Williams in it. In fact, it was almost a certainty that if the movie had him in it, it would naturally become so much more enjoyable, even if the script were badly written. While he seemed to be everywhere, and in every possible movie, he was never overrated. He was always fresh. Robin Williams was simply that good.

Which is why when he decided to take his own life, it was natural that I was upset. But more than that, I was disappointed and angry. He was on his way to taking control of his life, to survive. He had a family. He had people who loved him. As an actor who has starred in films that depicted depressions and death, he should have known better; he should have fought his inner demons.

But the truth is that he is only a man, and anyone who has encountered depression would know that it is not easy. I should know.

As William Styron wrote in Darkness Visible—

The mornings themselves were becoming bad now as I wandered about lethargic, following my synthetic sleep, but afternoons were still the worst, beginning at about three o’clock, when I’d feel the horror, like some poisonous fog bank roll in upon my mind, forcing me into bed.

There I would lie for as long as six hours, stuporous and virtually paralysed, gazing at the ceiling and waiting for that moment of evening when, mysteriously, the crucifixion would ease up just enough to allow me to force down some food and then, like an automaton, seek an hour or two of sleep again.

Depression casts a sense of helplessness and despair, and when it hits you, it hits hard. Suddenly, nothing truly matters and you see nothing in front of you; the road stops where you stand. There is nothing for you to seek. His death by asphyxia hinted at just how desperate he was to end, for this way of dying is not for the weak. It is on par with that of hanging and jumping; there is no way of turning back, unlike an overdose of pills (with a slim, almost minute, chance of revival if discovered early). It was possible he saw no route and now I realise that the most brilliant and giving people around us are also usually the most troubled too.

Years ago, as an elementary school child, I read a horrifyingly morbid story in my school’s library. While I do not remember the title, one particular line stuck with me till today. In the book, the protagonist was having breakfast with her father, a man who had hated her and only spoke unkind and cold words to her. That morning, he mentioned that their neighbour’s young daughter had passed away. He looked at his child and uttered: “Only the good dies young.”

While in the book, the term ‘young’ was used to express ‘age’, I’ve come to prefer for it to mean dying before you should, before your time (that is, naturally, through old age).

I fear I may weep openly when I see him back in his role as Theodore Roosevelt in the Night at the Museum 3. In fact, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to watch another of his films for a long time. Your demise will forever leave a gapping hole in our hearts, and while the world mourns for you, our combined sadness will never compare to that of your family, but I sincerely hope that you are now in a better place. A much happier place.

Robin Williams was a man with the talent to make us laugh and cry, almost at will. He was an actor who gave and never asked for anything back. But above all, Robin Williams was simply a good man who died young because he had to—because only the good dies young.

Larry: All right. Goodnight.
Teddy: No, Lawrence. Good day.
—Night at the Museum, 2006

 

WHAT WOULD PATRICK BATEMAN DO? #WWPBD

Question: Am I seriously looking up to the American psycho for help?

For anyone who hasn’t a clue about Patrick Bateman’s (infamous) routine, here’s a short extract from the movie that shows his insane (but thorough) daily morning physical routine.

Patrick Batman’s monologue:

I believe in taking care of myself and a balanced diet and rigorous exercise routine. In the morning if my face is a little puffy, I’ll put on an ice pack while doing stomach crunches. I can do a thousand now.
After I remove the ice pack I use a deep pore cleanser lotion.
In the shower I use a water activated gel cleanser, then a honey almond body scrub, and on the face, an exfoliating gel scrub. Then I apply an herb-mint facial mask, which I leave on for 10 minutes while I prepare the rest of my routine.
I always use an after-shave lotion with little or no alcohol, because alcohol dries your face out and makes you look older. Then moisturiser, then an anti-aging eye balm followed by a final moisturizing protective lotion.

Note: the movie’s adaptation is definitely much shorter than the book’s, so read the book if you want even more details.

Of course, I’m not an idiot.

The description of Patrick Bateman and his lifestyle is amazing and naturally, enviable; he embodies the ideal good looks, rock hard body, great libido, designer goods, beautiful apartment, and et cetera that we secretly want—be it superficial or not. But that is just his exterior. As an audience, we get to examine (scrutinise) his life, and we discover that on the outside, he is nothing more than just a mould of the American yuppie dream, while inside, he is a narcissistic sociopath that is falling apart… which is no longer as pleasant now, is it?

But we are not here to get into Bateman’s head—just his well-structured morning routine, because as a female, I’m embarrassed with my own (lack of, naturally) and I suppose the age-old saying of “There are no ugly women, just lazy women” holds a degree of truth because I am simply not disciplined enough to stick to a routine.

Ever since school’s out for me, my life schedule has been all over the place, causing a domino effect. I eat way too little due to my terrible sleeping patterns and I sleep really “early”—anywhere from 2AM to 4AM—which means I would only wake up in time for lunch. Having just 2 meals a day means my level of energy to work is slipping away and my reliance on caffeine cannot be a long term (or healthy) answer. Plus, I rarely drink water. On top of that, I hardly exercise, despite the resolution to be healthier. Naturally, a neglected health also means a horrible skincare routine—I used to be crazy about skincare but then again, I had crazy acne a few years back, so that was my motivation. Now all I do is the bare minimal—wash and moisturise, and sunscreen, if I’m heading out and only if I remember. I barely even use a body moisturiser or a facemask.

Yes, I am that lazy.

I guess I am worse than a sloth—at least that creature is cute. I, on the other hand, have nothing-cute going on; all I’m doing is just lying around in my own dirt, feeling drained and doing nothing productive.

Maybe I am doing myself a disservice by writing so harshly… I guess you could say I’m just not kind to myself in general; I push myself so hard with work, hoping to reap what I think I deserve, that I have neglected to care about my body and mind. However, as we all know, there’s only so much work you can handle until your body and mind breaks apart…

So yes, with Patrick Bateman as my unexpected inspiration and motivator to get my life back on track, I’ve listed down a few changes in my life and these are the small adjustments that I’ll be making:

MUJI duvet and sheets

1. I will have the adequate 6—7 hours of sleep, as suggested by TIME. Honestly, right now, I cannot see my life beyond 30 (I’m just taking things one step at a time) but our mentality changes as we age, so who knows?

Recycle glass bottles when you can, and always buy clever glasses when you see one / Shed Simove’s Google Glass

My attempt at making onsen tamago (hot-spring egg) and some fancy squid ink pasta (from MUJI). Ketchup version for mom.

Strangely sweet for a green apple…

Basic Yoga classes via Youtube’s Yoga With Adriene / Recycled aluminium MUJI bottle

2. I will take better care of my health. I will, daily, drink the suggested daily 2-litres of water, have 3 proper meals and will do some indoor exercise (running shoes broke and I’m broke).

I think this is only 1/8 of my accumulated purchases…

3. I will have a sensible skincare and beauty routine that would enable me to have the appearance of a decent human who didn’t just rolled off bed. That is, I will start using all the facial masks and moisturisers I bought a while ago; along with all the blushers and lipsticks I have since accumulated.

It is time to walk the talk, and I shall start making an effort to better my life from now on.

Answer: Well, I guess I am now—but it’s unintentional.

 

2 YEARS TOO LATE (PART ONE)

I know I am 2 years too late for this topic, which might also indicate my chances of survival as zero—I would most likely be one of those pathetic damned victims you see in movies—but after finally watching yet another zombie movie last night (World War Z), I realised that majority of such similar apocalyptic events rarely shows female protagonists as heroes (probably only a handful).

I doubt I have watched enough apocalyptic-themed movies to know my way out of one!

Then again, I don’t really care. In fact, I don’t mind watching a fully male-hero-only movie, since they’re always showing off their ripping muscles and chiselled good looks while screaming and firing away some machine guns… that, by the way, is not what I really focus on okay?

It’s always about the storyline and the plot twist for me. Always. </denial>

But seriously, all I’m curious about is to know how a female might have handled a similar situation—would the script be different? Actually, I doubt you would even notice any difference. Both genders are always being sexualised in most heroic movies and it gets worse when the protagonist is a female—where 50% of the screen is being taken up by her skin-tight clothes and her still-ridiculously-intact-and-in-a-messy-but-sexy-hot-kind-of-mess makeup—and you can’t help but wonder to yourself if you’ll ever look that way, while stuffing your mouth, by the handful, with salted popcorn.

I digress.

The thing about such events is that you never truly know which one of them will ever happen during our time, and honestly, if they even will; it is really just a pure fantasy topic but hey, always be prepared, right?

So being my own damn hero here and in a story that nobody will probably ever read, the question is:

How would I survive in a similar sort of (non)fictional apocalyptic event?

According to the reliable Internet (because the web says so), there are about 6 main categories for apocalyptic events:

  1. Nuclear Holocaust
  2. Viral Infection
  3. Zombie Apocalypse
  4. Alien Invasion
  5. Supernatural End of Days
  6. Nature Strikes Back
  7. Others (a mix of every other apocalyptic event lumped together)

Honestly, you could continue to further divide them or group them, especially since viral infection and zombie apocalypse are quite the similar genre—you can’t have either one of them without either one of them really—but the common ground and main goal of any apocalyptic event is simply just this:

Something is out to kill you, so kick some ass and survive to live another day. Repeat.

A few years ago, I’d chatted about the prospect of a zombie invasion with my friends, and they’ve all concluded that they would die almost immediately and it’s bemusing! I mean, none of them fit the damsels in distress character that you’ll see in the movies—one of them did a one-month Europe backpacking trip alone and the other is a teacher to small tiny children (those balls of sugar-loaded monsters*), yet they’ll much rather give up and join the zombie clan.

(I think their reason for giving up was because it would be tiring. Or was it that they were tired of talking about this topic with me…? Can’t remember.)

But I reckon the act of giving up could be due to the fear of facing something unnatural—I mean, a dead person (or a corspe) has just reanimated back to life and is now chasing after you like you’re their runaway turkey on Thanksgiving? That is scary. Which means only crazy people, like me, would survive because we thrive under pressure, even more since it’s thrilling to come face to face with our worse nightmares. </askingforit>

So for the sake of this fantasy topic, lets assume it’s a global scale apocalypse event and we’re all in the same country, and we get to have all the “fun” stuffs:

We are now facing an alien invasion that has not only messed up our eco-system, causing Mother Nature to turn against us in order to protect herself by flooding and burning up our surroundings, it has also caused a viral infection in the people, turning them into zombies. With most country suffering from the chaotic events and in the state of destruction, the scientists have predicted that it would take exactly 3 days before it hits the country we’re currently residing in.

What would you do in order to survive? What would you pack and where would you go to take shelter? Would you attempt to fight them off like John Nada (They Live, 1988) and Ellen Ripley (Aliens, 1986) did?

So, seeing as to how much I’ve written, I’m going to end here and make this a Part 1 of my crazy apocalypse-event entry, but let me know how you would survive… assuming any of you lurking strangers would even bother to leave a comment below. </sad>

* I love kids; I’ve a niece and nephew that I adore but the truth is, sometimes you just want to lock yourself in the toilet, dunk your head into the toilet bowl just to avoid their nonsense altogether.

 

2014 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

Before I had disappeared for a good 6 months, I had nearly finished writing something that was meant to be up in January.

Well, that did not happen.

Until now.

So what you’ll be reading is a back-dated entry from the past me!

(And people say time travel was only possible in theory? Pfft.)

Ah, tis the second week of 2014.

Although it is still Winter (a bloody cold one too!), my final lap of research programme has officially started, which means in about 4 months time, I would be done with it and can start a brand new life—one that doesn’t involve design (not for a while at least). Yes, I am counting down till its end (always had) but don’t get me wrong; I love design.

But the thing is, sticking only to all things design-related will not make me a better designer—as Michael Bierut once mentioned on Design Observer:

Not everything is design. But design is about everything.
So do yourself a favour: be ready for anything.

The real reason as to why I returned back to school was simply because I was tired of my lifestyle.

No doubt my 3 years working as a designer had been wonderful—I had the loveliest colleagues, fun projects and being paid to do what you love—but the repetitive lifestyle felt so comfortable that it began to suffocate me. I started yearning for something else… something new, exciting and maybe even crazy (of course, going back to school did not match with any of the things I longed for, but that’s besides the point).

The point is: When was the last time anyone of us did something like that—something outside of our comfort zone? 

Which leads me to the post for today—my 2014 New Year’s Resolutions:

1. Saving money

Home-based hand me down piggy bank, with 4 coats of white to freshen it up, for loose change.

This is actually a lot harder than I thought it would be. I mean, in theory, you simply do a monthly cash deposit, walk away and let the banks do their magic (that is, hopefully give you some decent interest at the end of the year).

Yet, my itchy fingers always have other plans for me, where I buy things that I think I want, but honestly? I don’t need it.

I really ought to snip my debit-cards.

But hey, admitting to the problem is one step closer to the solution, no? Plus, I wonder, does anyone still remembers the sheer thrill of getting a gift or purchasing something new only during special occasions—birthdays, Christmas, etc.? Or perhaps this only happens to poorer families?

As we become more affluent, we seem to have forgotten such excitement because of our ability to spend as-and-when we please with the money we earned. In fact, now, it seems strange to only be getting something new on those occasions. But on the other hand, while saving money is a good thing, not spending is quite silly too—after all, the usage of money is only good on Earth and nowhere else.

My point is going astray, isn’t it?

Point is, I’m going to save every penny and not buy retarded Oh-my-god-I-want-that! items that I am so often guilty of!

2. Abstaining from purchasing beauty products (in order to finish the current ones!)

A black-and-white photo of a tiny portion of my grossly huge stash of lipsticks in the hopes that it’ll look somewhat artsy. Nope, don’t think it worked.

As mentioned in my About section, this is not a beauty weblog. Yet that obviously has not stopped me from purchasing just about everything I fancy. Like those bloody lipsticks. Or body moisturiser. Or perfume. Or nail polishes. Or… or…

The reasons for my purchases is not just in the packaging but also due to their interesting names. Labelled in French? Oui! Named after food? Yes! I am just such a sucker and I have to stop this because I have just too many things (now that I have counted my stash, 107 lipsticks of every shade is horrifying) and I don’t use all of them which is both a pity and a waste.

Since my life has always been somewhat about minimalism, it makes sense to apply that to my beauty products! So I’m digging through and fishing out the ones that I didn’t quite like, test them out again and either: toss, or attempt to finish them!

3. Reading 100 new books

This was the first book of the year that I managed to finish because I’m just such a bum.

So far, I’ve only finished one book and while I’ve started on my second book, I haven’t really continued with it (lets all just blame it on time).

To be honest, I don’t know how this will pan out—my love for reading is actually on par with watching a film but we all know how surprisingly hard that film resolution thing took last year…

It’ll probably be another 4 years before I can succeed but hey, fingers crossed!

4. Do not deny oneself of good food

You got to start the year right, so this was what I had, at brunch, on the first day of 2014.

I probably should have a proper definition for good food but why would I want to create a limitation for myself? And c’mon, just look at all those food! The close up of it, especially!

I have to confess that I am quite a boring eater—the things I cook for myself are often viewed by others as healthy because they’re done via the steaming-and-boiling methods, but the truth is that I am just a lazy cook; I would rather make something easy that fills my tummy than to spend ages in the kitchen and make something grand that also does the same job—filling of the tummy (though probably with a little bit more action in the taste bud section).

I suppose when you are only feeding yourself, the motivation to cook drops significantly.

Anyway, the point here is not about cooking for myself, but rather, fulfilling my tastebuds and the horrid monthly hormonal food craze (tell me I’m not alone on this one). I don’t think this will benefit me health wise in any way (all I can think about right now is having a peanut butter squares Snickers) but why deny good food? So since I want that peanut butter squares Snickers, I shall go and get it!

Though I have to say… it is funny how I’m lazy to cook for myself but not lazy enough when it comes to walking 4 blocks to get to the nearest 7-11 at 1:52 AM.

In case you wonder, yes, I did get off my ass to get those Snickers. Maybe that’s why I never finished this entry because my inner glutton was calling.

Then, I guess other things started coming at me and then life happened, so I never did quite finish the entry.

The thing is… What is it about time anyway? We all have the same 24 hours, of which 6-8 hours (ideally, according to doctors and scientists) are spent on sleep, which leaves us 16-18 hours, yet we never seem to get things completed.

I use to plan every single thing—what I’ll be doing at a particular time—because I was convinced that this would ensure that I won’t be wasting any minute of it… But then hiccups occur and I’ll be really pissed, and I wonder, am I to be blamed, for those hiccups. Perhaps I am, after all, Ji Lee, at a 99U, once stated:

Time is a concept which can be stretched;
It is just an idea and an idea can be changed.

So maybe someday, I’ll be able to conquer the concept of time and have some proper insight to it. Then, I won’t be so upset. It’s all about making the time to get those things done, no?

But right now, I’ve to head off to the airport to send off one of my best friend* and I’m really going to miss her—both literally and physically, if I don’t get going now!

*Question: Do grown ups still use such phrases, like best friend, anymore?

 

Hello Again, Strangers.

So… I guess to (re)start anything is always rather awkward, no? How about a nice picture of a huge piece of chocolate cake, a glass of milk, a smiley fork and some confetti for you to savour for a moment before I begin?

Yes, it was quite an excellent cake too.

So I have been gone for a little too long—6 months to be exact. No excuses really, but it was my final semester and not only did I wanted to get it over and done with, I wanted to do it good.

It was, honestly, quite the worse semester for me as well (an understatement of all my school years combined together), but I don’t really want to bore you with all that, because…

I am finally done with my 2 years undergraduate studies!

In fact, not only have I officially completed my research (I still cringe at my shameless survey participants hounding), my final project outcomes (which saw me having a grand total of 10 hours of sleep for 2 weeks = dark circles are my new smokey eye), and my dissertations (it actually made me loathe writing—well, for a moment)…

I have also achieved the grade that I had wanted—a First Class Honours!

Time check: It’s now 10:20 PM, on 30 June 2014.

Reality check: It’s nearly the end of June. Half a year is nearly over. Sometimes I lie awake at night and I can’t believe how fast time is actually passing by us. Yet when we look around us, everything seems to move so slowly. Everything seems to stand still.

Right now, I’m in a bit of a daze. I can’t believe that I’m actually a college graduate. Honestly, after all that hell I went through… it was worth it. I know most people today don’t give a hoot about education beyond high school, but for me, it was just something that I really wanted (to each its own, right?)… I’m just really glad that I had pushed myself through it and also that I had great friends and ex-colleagues who encouraged me to get it over and done with it as soon as possible.

Now fingers cross for me that I don’t end up stabbing my own head though, when I throw the cap up during the cheesy end of the convocation in September—cause that’ll be a real bummer.

So does that explain the cake…?

Well, no.

The real and main reason for the cake is this: with school out of the way now, I have more time to write on this weblog! And well, I miss writing and I do miss all you lurking strangers! So yes, I’ll be writing here again, and more frequently.

Whoopeedo!

 

HAPPY 2014, DEAR STRANGERS!

theforestheir_2014_010114_Happy2014_ChristmasCactus

Ho ho ho – A Christmas cactus for 2013

I am certain that by now, everyone around the world has entered into the brand new year, so Happy New Year to you, dear strangers! Honestly, I would love to stop calling all of you strangers, but it seems that none of you want to leave a comment and I have no other ways of getting to know any of you who dropped by to read (or to stalk, whichever is truer for you) so you are really leaving me with no choice here, buddy.

Anyway.

I apologise for not updating for 4 months. My research work got a little hectic and after writing a bloody 3000 word thesis (which is just the first part of a 2-part paper), the last thing I really want to do is to spend my remaining time on the Internet, writing chunks of words again… I do aim to update more often this year, however, that will only start during Summer because I am now nearly done with my research programme – I am currently in my final semester (just 4 more months to go before I graduate!) and I have to concentrate on that, so please bear with me here.

Now although we are already ushering into a brand new year, I thought I ought to wrap up one of my previous major 2013 New Year’s Resolution (I am really just playing catch up here).

But yes, it is the 100 New Films to Watch in a Year resolution…

theforestheir_010114_Happy2014_2013MovieResolution

… because yes, I have done it – I have finally watched a 100 new films in 2013, everyone!

Though surprisingly, it was a lot harder than I had imagined, considering how one of my hobbies is to do nothing but seated in front of that flickering lighted box and just absorbing whatever that is happening. Now since I am not a (qualified) movie critic, I have simply classified my reviews of my list of 100 movies into 2 categories – where the title explains exactly just how I feel (naturally, this is just my opinion and we are all entitled to having our own opinions, so be cool):

25 movies that I had thoroughly enjoyed and would re-watch it again whenever I feel bored
No Reservations, Inception, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, The Breakfast Club, Coco Chanel, Funny Face, Spice World, Kill Bill 1 & 2, The Princess Bride, Restless, Moon, Red 2, Captain America, About Time, Thor 2, The Hangover, Inglorious Basterds, The Hobbit 2, Frankenweenie, They Live, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Django Unchained and The Birds

20 movies that made my cringe and will never recommend it to anyone unless I hate them
Moonrise Kingdom, Where the Wild Things Are, Dirty Dancing, The Neverending Story 3, Flashdance, The Prince of Persia, Mirror Mirror, Atonement, Despicable Me 2, Monsters University, The Croods, Goddess, This is the End, R.I.P.D, Hotel Transylvanian, Turbo, Escape from Planet Earth, The Heat and The Expendables 1 & 2

It is pointless for me to explain what it is that I hate about these 20 movies, why I love the other 25 and is completely indifferent about the remaining 55, but in case you wonder, being in the line of design, the nature of my job would sometimes interfere with my initial choice of movies (an occupational hazard because I am a sucker for intriguing posters and witty lines). Usually, I also rely on the trailers as it provides a better overview of the film that I am about to watch (though sometimes, they do not do a good job and just simply give the whole plot away), but if there is anything you should know about me, it is that when I have finally decided to watch the film, I am only concerned with 3 things – the very beginning of the movie (not to be mistaken with title sequence, which used to be very important to me, but very rarely do you find a film arsed enough to get it done properly), the pace of the film and naturally, the plot itself.

Hopefully that gives you a rough idea of my movie pickiness, but never mind if it does not.

One thing that I should mention is this – what took me so long to watch any of Quentin Tarantino’s films? In fact, I should have Kill(ed) Bill in 2003/2004 when it first came out. But in a gist, his films are one of the most well-written and well-directed films that I have caught so far in 2013. Well, better late than never, I suppose.

Anyway, I quite enjoyed The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (possibly my favorite film out of the 100) and will probably catch it again. This might actually be the 2nd film that I have caught (will be catching) twice in a theatre. The first was Hide and Seek, but only because I wanted to know what the alternate ending was, since Wikipedia and its movie synopsis (spoilers) had not been born yet. Then of course, there is the famous Christopher Nolan’s Batman – The Dark Knight trilogy which I had caught about 5 times each and yes, I agree that is pure madness, though rather worth it because these are just some of the few rare films that cannot be justified with our weak home theatre systems (all thanks to Hans Zimmer).

Needless to say, I was very broke that month too, but that’s that, I guess.

So before I jump right into 2014 and announce what resolutions I have made (which I have not, at the moment, but I will get right into it after this entry), I thought I ought to round things up on the gifts that I had received and bought for myself (it was the holiday season after all!) and a recent museum visit.

Ideally, I would love to write more but maybe pictures and a little (or no) caption would do a better job for this remaining entry.

theforestheir_2014_010114_Happy2014_1970sDress

Mom bought this a few months back for me – A vintage 1970s casual day dress

theforestheir_2014_010114_Happy2014_Chanel1

theforestheir_2014_010114_Happy2014_Chanel2

theforestheir_2014_010114_Happy2014_Chanel3

theforestheir_2014_010114_Happy2014_Chanel4

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The Little Black Jacket Exhibition

theforestheir_2014_010114_Happy2014_COSNecklace

theforestheir_2014_010114_Happy2014_Lipsticks

Happy Birthday to me – COS matte necklace / Lipsticks from MAC and Bourjois / A Christmas gift to myself – Lip gloss from Philosophy

theforestheir_2014_010114_Happy2014_CandleEBook

Another Christmas gift to myself – L’Occitane Fruit Rouges Red Berry Fruits scented candle

Spent one full day in bed just reading the e-book version of The Rosie Project that my friends recommended, which was an easy and funny read. I heard rumors that they will make it into a film – hopefully it will be good. I cannot imagine who will be casted as the protagonist though.

theforestheir_010114_Happy2014_Shrimps

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A Christmas gift from my dad – The shrimps that will never die; I fear my life will end up like one of those 1970s Sci-fi horror film pretty soon.

theforestheir_2014_010114_Happy2014_PantsJumper

theforestheir_2014_010114_Happy2014_1950sDress

3 New Year gifts from my dad, but it was my mom who went shopping with me for them – H&M Straight Leg pants, Topshop knitted jumper and a vintage 1950s tea-length cherry boatneck dress / Comme des Garçons wallet Very Black / Marc Jacobs mirror / MAC lipstick

I have definitely bought a little too many lip products, so that is rather worrying (how many lips do I think I have?) but hey, at least I will not have to worry about ever running low on lip products, right? Well assuming I even remember to bring them out with me in the first place!

Anyway, I guess 2013 is a wrap for me now.

I hope you are all very well and had a really wonderful holiday, dear strangers. Once again, welcome to the new year!

theforestheir_2014_010114_Happy2014_RedGreen

 

THE LAST (WEEK OF) FREEDOM

Well, as of right now, it is the last day of the last week of freedom. So here’s a picture-filled-minimal-words entry about what I’ve been doing for the whole week. Yes, minimal words, you read that right (but only because I don’t really have much to say).

Monday
We had been planning to check out some museums for a while now and we finally did. I’m geographically challenged, so to have my mom trust me so much was really pressurising (I was only armed with my iPhone’s map application and I’m not even good at reading it. My geography teacher must be proud…). But, we did find the two museums that we had wanted to visit, so that went well. After spending the whole afternoon viewing artefacts, learning cultures, and loads of walking, we ended the day by tucking in to an early meal of burger and fries before heading home.

I can’t wait to head to the other museums when time permits, but before that happens, I’ve got to remember to dress warmer; thigh-skimming skirt and bare legs are a really bad combination in chilly museums.

Tuesday
Woke up at 1 PM so I ended up starting the day with lunch instead and proceeded to laze around on the leather sofa playing Cause of Death. If you enjoyed one of those childhood choose-your-own-adventures storybooks, then you will love this interactive version. Volume 14: Chapter Seven’s Prodigal Son is one of the best story lines that I’ve ever read (Volume 1: The Maskmaker is another) and I really can’t wait for next week’s chapter. Fingers crossed that the Firstborn would finally reveal how he looks like underneath those bandages.

Anyways, I went on to do some vacuuming, before I plopped myself onto the sofa and continued my movies resolution. Ended the night with Moon, movie number 52, and I have to say, it is one of the saddest films I’ve caught so far (and no, strangers, it isn’t because I’m on my scheduled monthly red sea week).

Wednesday
I don’t recall what I did in the morning (probably sleeping), but in the afternoon, I helped my mom peel some chestnuts so that she could make a Cantonese dessert (with Asian pears). I made myself a cup of chamomile tea with two teaspoons of honey and chatted with her for a while. After dinner, I ended up re-watching some of Michael Jackson’s music video, Thriller and Ghost. These two short films will always hold a special place in my heart; Thriller was one of my musical performances for my Grade 6 Electone exam and Ghost was the first video I ever saw. You were splendid, Michael.

Decided to end the night with some saké before snuggling deeper into my bed while listening to the rain pitter-patter against my windows.

Thursday
I managed to wake up for breakfast but was too hungry to snap any photos of it. On my way out for my music lessons in the evening, I went to check up on my pomegranate plant and it’s growing well. Looks like I will be able to do a pot transfer soon. On my way back home, I was surprised to find the train slightly emptier than usual. Look at the amount of space I had in front of me!

Also, no thanks to my female hormones, I ended up buying a little before-dinner snack – Snickers Almond Bar. I’m not sure if there’s any obvious difference from the original, though.

Spent the remaining hours of the night trawling through Net-A-Porter, wondering (and silently crying) to myself when I’ll ever be able to get my hands on that Valentino dress or that Alexandar McQueen jacket, before hitting the hay to the roaring of thunder.

Friday
I did nothing interesting. Just some vacuuming, fixing the soles of my boots and listening to The Killers again  – When You Were Young (Live From Abbey Road 2007).

Saturday
Accompanied mom to her dental appointment, where I fell asleep in the waiting room. Later, we met up with her husband (my dad) and we had a nice Asian meal, before spending some time at my favorite Japanese shop, MUJI.

Sunday
It’s all-vegetarian diet day to-day, literally all greens. I feel like I could fit right in with the cows and sheep. Headed for a walk in the garden to clear my head and chill my nerves. Nothing productive was done but I felt slightly more relaxed.

So.

Tomorrow is the start of my hell.

Guess I better pack and start my count down now.

 

OLD FASHION IN A DIGITAL AGE

For those of you who followed me on Instagram (which is… none), you would have known that for about 2 weeks (3 visits), I had accompanied my mother to visit an endodontist (her usual dentist couldn’t detect any visible tooth problem) as she was suffering from some acute toothache. Majority of my time there was spent at the waiting area, snapping photos with silly pun captions to lighten our moods (she is convinced that a trip to the dentist means paying money to be voluntarily tortured). I’ll spare you the gory details (there were x-rays done and some bloody tooth photos involved) but it turns out that she had to get 2 teeth fixed. Her final step now is to go back to her usual dentist for crowning (next week) and then a yearly endodontics check-up.

All in all, it was a positive outcome (torture aside) and this made my father so relieved (he had been silently tagging along for all 3 visits) that he did not hesitate to get me a new watch from Swatch – which I had only thought (and talked) about getting later in the month with a portion of my paycheck.

What a beauty it is!

Swatch Irony in Be Surprised / MUJI PP Pen Case / Stefan Sagmeister Style = Fart poster

I’m bringing this up because my dad is a practical consumer – he rarely buys things (for himself or others) without considering how useful or necessary the item is, yet he surprised me by telling me to get it, and here’s something interesting: the name of the model is Be Surprised.

Talk about unintentional appropriateness, a neat coincidence!

I suppose to some, a watch is irrelevant in this digital age; most people would just rely on their mobile phone to tell time, and it seems that today, the function of a watch is on par with that of a bracelet – pretty but useless – which I guess is true. Like many others, I too read time from my phone as well – mainly when it’s dark and I’m in bed/theatre. But for all other times, I rely on my watch. I suppose wearing it was a habit that I had cultivated since young, then as I matured over the years, I thought the whole action of telling time in the manual way (raising of arm to a readable distance) was very lovely, as is the professional way of telling time (half-past three, quarter to eight, et cetera).

Call me old fashion but in this fast moving digital age, it’s really nice to take that few moments to stop and raise your arm to read the time from the small dial.
 

DIE WUNSCHLISTE (GERMAN FOR: THE WISH LIST)

(Don’t worry, I won’t be writing in German… at least not today.)

Hurray to me as two Fridays ago saw me being finally done with my freelance work!

There are, unfortunately, 2 things that are a slight bummer: the pay is only arriving at the end of this month, and August sees me starting my intensive final lap of 8 months design-research-to-execution-implementing work (what a bloody mouthful that is) which starts at 930AM. Honestly, just the sheer thought of having to drag myself up by 630AM, struggle to maintain some basic hygiene, slap on a decent amount of make up to look like I’m still part of the living, think of what to wear for the day then proceed to shrug on something, have some breakfast and then catch a train at 8AM (it’s a one-hour journey) is a pain. So, to nobody’s surprise, I’ve concluded that this 3 months break was a tad too long because right now, I’m slightly (obviously an understatement) dreading the coming August.

Aside from this freelance work I’ve just completed, which sees me sleeping at 3AM, I’ve been doing nothing productive. Unless you count swimming and watching movies, which really isn’t much. My body clock’s been horrifically out of tune – I wake up at 1PM, starting the day with lunch instead (unless I’m out doing grocery shopping at 9AM with my mother, then we’ll have a proper breakfast)! Good God, I am such a worm. But I guess before all that good (money!) and bad (that mouthful of text above about design work) happens, I shall cast all dreading thoughts aside and concentrate on creating a little wish list of things that I’ll love to get – though half of them (or should I say three-quarters?) are probably wishful wants.

The problem with having little pay is that you can only buy very few things. But I guess it’s better than nothing…

The first section is what I want to get as a form of Welcome Back To Hell (A.K.A.: The Final 8 Months!) because seriously, the first 8 months that started in 2012 moved so quickly, it was a blur! But, I did had some interesting self discoveries: who knew I could drink so much coffee without regurgitating (yay?) or, survive with a total of only 10 hours of sleep in 14 days (double yay?). So I guess you could say these are things (well, only one since I’m not rich) that I want to get to congratulate myself for persevering and still holding on. As a one-(wo)man show, you could say I am also my own cheerleading team. Ha-ha-ha.

Luxirare L-X-R Nano Envelope Keychain / Jo Malone Red Roses Cologne 100ML / Revlon Lip Butter in Gum Drop & Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Lip Stain in Darling / AIAIAI Tracks Headphone with mic in Black / Roy Lichtenstein In The Car 1963

Obviously I won’t be going into details of each item – just the few that is causing me to be in a little dilemma – because that would be too long. So, in a gist:

I want everything above. But I can’t (it’s expensive).

It’s a surprisingly tiny wish list, isn’t it? While putting this post together, I was convinced that I had a zillion things I wanted, but hey, it turned out to only be 5, so that’s not too bad. Out of all of them, I love and want Roy Lichtenstein’s pop art painting In The Car (1963) the most. Since my office for the next 8 months is also my apartment (work never ends even when you’re back from your job, hence all those coffee!), I should beautify it a little more. One of the things I enjoy doing (more than what I studied) is to decorate and organise my apartment, specifically my work area. It’s the one place that I hang out most, aside from my bed, and it’s also the place where I gather all my inspiration and thoughts, so I had better make it my favourite place to hang out, no? Anyway, I’m certain not many people are aware of its existence (Whaam! and Drowning Girl were his more famous works after all) but I honestly feel that this is his best. The fact that it contained no speech bubble meant the viewer could only guess what was causing this air of weird tension between the man and the woman, which I felt was brilliant, since everyone has a different perception of things, there could be many interpretations of the same painting. A good topic to talk about, don’t you think?

On a less artsy note, if this wish list was more of a needs than wants, then I really need the L-X-R Nano Envelope Keychain by Luxirare, because it’s an ingenious (and seriously smoking hot) design – I will never forget either my keys or my bloody travel card again. Ugh, I’ve lost count on how often I had to go back to my room to get my keys, or the number of times I had to return back to my apartment to get my travel card (it’s a 15 minute walk from the train station to my apartment). Plus, it’ll be perfect to fit in my Starbucks member-card too! Not that I’m always there, I promise.

Okay, maybe I’ll get those 2 things… oh, plus the cheap Revlon lip products. That’s not too much, right?

As for the second section of my wish list, it is really just all the bits and bobs of things I’m hoping to get but probably won’t be able to – unless there’s a 70% sale (doubt it) or, if I miraculously find some long forgotten cash in the depths of my bag (which will probably amount to $2).

Korres Lip Butter in Wild Rose / Clarisonic Mia 2 in Grey / Dior 5-Colour Eyeshadow Palette / Nike Sports Bra / DuWop Original Lip Venom / OCC Lip Tar in Narcissus & Psycho / Estée Lauder Signature Hydra Lustre Lipstick in Dune Rose / Tweezerman in Leopard Print / Dior Addict Lipstick in Beige Dandy / Amélie Japanese Poster / Ray-Ban Wayfarer in Tortoise Shell

I’ve recently been on a lilac lip colour craze, hence the 3 similar shaded lip products (2 above and one here). It’s times like this that I am thankful for being pale – it’s nice to be able to pull off these haute couture shades without looking like a clown. As for the movie poster, I think the colour palette would set a nice sleepy ambient in my work/bed-room – literally. I don’t seem to ever want to sleep and when I do, I never want to get out of it. – So yes, that’s really all the wish lists I have. But no, I won’t be able to buy all of them (at once). I might get the Tweezerman and lip products first (always a sucker for cosmetics). But what about the rest…? Maybe I should request for them for birthday or Christmas. Well, doesn’t hurt for one to dream (fat hopes)!

 

2013 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS (PART TWO)

Hello there, lurking strangers. It’s been a while since I’ve popped back here because I’ve been busy – not with enjoying my holiday, but rather, with a freelance job! I know I mentioned that I wanted to do absolutely nothing and just enjoy my 3 months of break (which is sadly coming to an end!) but part of me felt a little fidgety without anything to do.

Yes, you read that right.

I am one of those rare people who genuinely enjoys work. I suppose when you enjoy whatever that you had been studying, you would naturally enjoy the career you had prepared yourself for. But lets leave that topic for another day.

While my freelance work isn’t quite over, and I probably should go to bed now (since I’ve been up for more than 20 hours), I felt the urge to write and was quite surprised to find my previous post garnering quite a tiny pool of “like”. I probably shouldn’t be surprised though – after all, aren’t strangers always curious about fellow strangers’ attempts at meeting goals, and while reading about it, secretly thinks to themselves that this stranger won’t make it? Hey, we’re evil in certain ways, don’t deny it (I won’t judge).

But, whatever the reason it may be for the amount of attention that my last post has gathered, I’ve decided to post yet another New Year’s Resolutions that I’ve promised myself to fulfill. Admittedly, I do have a long list, but if I was to be realistic, perhaps only one or two will ever be fulfilled.

Though, I am not entirely certain that I can realise this one. Not that I am bothered by it.

See, theoretically, this particular New Year’s Resolution shouldn’t be a difficult task, yet ever since 2008, when I made it a part of my New Year’s Resolutions, it just never got done, not even half.

So what is this crazy thing that I’ve been failing to bring to fruition?

Well, it is a 100 New Films to Watch in a Year resolution.

There are a few reasons why I wanted to start this. In high school, whenever I had completed my examinations or, if my school was to release us earlier than usual and I didn’t want to head back home immediately, I would head to the theatre and see what’s available to watch. It was a form of relaxation for me; a way for me to push all my childish troubles behind for that short few hours and to get away from my crazy classmates. I wasn’t exactly a loner, but at that age, I had valued the idea of being in solitude, and loved doing the things I wanted to without having to wait or be waited for, or to consider what my friends might want to do if we hung out together. When I moved on towards college, a few of my lecturers encouraged us to watch more films, noting that it would do wonders for our inspirations, our ability to conceptualise, see our lives in a new angle, be a better storyteller, et cetera. One of them mentioned how she started to catch films alone when she was a teenager because she had relished the idea of having a “me-time”, which was exactly what I had done as well. So right there and then, I decided that this was exactly what I should do throughout my short life – to have a me-time by jamming my mind with as many films as I could possibly watch.

Of course, life after school was no longer a routine and things became slightly unpredictable. It was different, but I enjoyed it. Yet at the same time, I could use a little predictability, which was why I implemented the above resolution. I guess in a way, having some sort of rule allowed me to control my life again and made it that much easier to breathe.

But surely a hundred films in a year can’t be that difficult, right? You’re probably scoffing at this seemingly easy task, and I don’t blame you. I mean, it sounds easy! I just got to round up films that I’ve never caught before and just, well, watch it. It probably shouldn’t take long, 3 hours at most, and if I was to bring mathematics into the picture, a hundred film would take 300 hours to complete (assuming one film is 3 hours long), so if I could only watch 1 film a day, I would need 100 days or roughly 4 months (which obviously, no form of mathematics was needed for that sort of calculations).

Easy right?

No. It. Isn’t.

There were so many things I did not take into considerations when making this list.

The first and probably only important factor – my mood. There were times when all I wanted to watch was a comedy! To be exact, a romantic comedy, just because I was at a monthly hormonal stage (someone stop all these bleeding and rip off my womb, please) and I couldn’t find anything that fitted the bill. Other times, I tried to watch a film and found myself unable to sit through it because I just wasn’t in the mood (sorry, Dirty Dancing and Flashdance) and ended up re-watching a familiar film for the 10th time…

Second – I have to work (and on the rare occasions, have a social life too). Ideally, I would love to lump work and social life only to ignore them altogether, lounge around my entertainment room in my pajamas, holding a glass of wine, stretch out onto my comfortable leather sofa and just watch the movies that I promised myself to watch. But no, I can’t, because work takes up a huge bulk of my time and by the time I reach home, all I want to do is shower and crash.

Third factor – the lack of willingness to start something new. Don’t get me wrong, I love trying new things but just sometimes, especially after a long day of work, I don’t have the energy to go through a new film and would rather go back to what I’m used to and comfortable with. I don’t usually watch a film and shut off once it’s over; I enjoy analysing what the film was trying to convey so it doesn’t really matter if I had spent 3 hours on a lousy film – I reckon there’s always something to pick up on every film, but why do something new when you could enjoy a predictable plot when you’re bone weary? Okay, maybe times like this, I should just play a mindless game of The Simpsons: Tapped Out – that ought to be the end of my problem. But I won’t lie though – sometimes, a movie poster and its title can also affect my willingness to watch it. I guess you could call it a job hazard (or, just me being judgmental…).

Hey, just because I won’t judge doesn’t mean I don’t judge. Movies, at least.

Fourth, final and last point, which is about as important as the first – I can’t just watch for the sick of fulfilling my quota. It is a little frustrating to share this resolution with people, see them wave it off like yesterday’s dandruff, scoff and proceed to “solve” it for me by telling me to simply watch the shortest film so that I can cramp more and meet the goal because that’s not the point. If I was just going to watch for the sick of watching just so that I could meet my set quota, I might as well be watching pornography because the duration is much shorter, I’ll probably reach a hundred in a matter of weeks and I’ll definitely get more action than a James Bond movie – that is, if an action packed movie was what I wanted to catch.

Movies are a form of art – a moving storybook and it’s not easy to create that. To rush through it would be a big insult to the writers, the directors, the actors and the music composers. We’ve been rushing all our lives, so why rush through this as well? I know for a bulk of our lives, we do things for the sick of doing, and aren’t we all tired of that? Now that I get a chance to do something I genuinely like, I’m going to savour it and do it exactly the way I want to – by having my choice of movies and enjoying every single moment of it. Even if you’re not in the creative industry, watching a movie would still be beneficial to you. Allen Palmer rounded up his film philosophy brilliantly – subconsciously, when we enter a theatre, we seek 3 things: the hopes of expanding our range of emotions that we rarely experience in our normal lives, reconnecting with our higher selves and be reminded of the good and evil that we are capable of, and, that together with the rest of the audiences, we are not alone with the emotions that we are going through – all of which I couldn’t have agreed more.

At times I feel like my knowledge of films are rather shallow. There were so many that I should have watched when I was younger but had to let them slip (education before entertainment, so said my parents). But I guess it’s better late than never? Anyway, as of July 2013, I’ve gotten slightly farther with the list than any other years (where I caught most of the films during the 3 months break) and I’m pretty happy that I made such a rule and stuck to the routine. It’s still quite a struggle for me to squeeze in some movie time after a long day of work but hey, somebody’s got to do it.

I suppose you’re tired of reading for now, so here’s a collage of 32 films (in a chronological order) that I’ve caught so far:

I’m no movie critic, but so far, I’ve enjoyed Inception, No Reservations, The Breakfast Club and An Education, a little neutral towards Where The Wild Things Are, and hated The Neverending Story 3 (obviously there are still a few more films that I had both enjoyed and disliked, but I’ll round them up at the end of the year instead because I’m quite exhausted now).

Inception was quite a thought provoking film and I have to applaud Christopher Nolan – he is really a class writer and director of his own league. No Reservations was surprising lovely because I’m never in the mood for romantic films (unless it’s that time of the month) but maybe I was just turned on by the food and my secret desire of being a chef. I wished I had found out about The Breakfast Club earlier – it might have made my elementary and high school life a little easier to handle, but hey, I guess I still did alright without it. I was taken aback by how easy it was to understand An Education (the trailer made it seem so profound). Where The Wild Things Are made me a little agitated as the story was slightly slow for me, but its ending and the music which accompanied it had a nice touch; very bittersweet, which I felt was the only saving grace of the whole film. The Neverending Story 3 was terrible – it was so cheesy compared to the first, and I was counting down to when it would finally end.

And no, I will not apologise for those puns, darlings.

Now, I may not reach a hundred by the end of this year, but hey, it’s not too bad so far and I think it’s okay. The fact that I made this resolution a black and white is a good first step for me and who knows, maybe some years later, I would be able to share with you the 100 films I’ve finally managed to watch within a year.

But as of now, I’ve gotten a few new ones on my desk and this weekend, I’m looking forward to doing exactly what I’ve been wanting to do:

Lounge around in my pajamas, wine in my hand, stretched out on my beautifully aged leather sofa, with a movie playing in my entertainment room as I shut myself away from the busy world.