Saturday, February 26, 2011

A cOg in a well oiled machine

When the music starts playing and the playing field is silenced
Drum beats and the scrunch of newly mown grass underfeet
Palms slightly wet from equal halves nervous perspiration and acute anticipation
Gripping icy cold microphones waiting for the solo sequence

Eyes traversing passages of music, breathing in time echoing to either side
Raw numb fingers on steel strings, pick trembling ever so slightly
Blinding lights reminding us we're on display
An undertone beyond that swells and ebbs, a sign of the crowd awaiting

There have been moments when we skim effortlessly (it seems) through the opening strains, when the guitar riff heralds an anticipatory applause, when dancers weave in and out in perfect timing to the music, when the drum solos herald a faultless march and the formation square stays tight through a full rotation, expanding out into a 6 pointed star, when we don't even notice we're gliding through the most difficult passages because it all feels so natural and in tune with each other, when the stage turns from a living room into a busy bar in a heartbeat and the video transitions go off without a audio/video hitch, stage helpers running through with no wasted effort, people at their markers on time and anticipating the key change, when the baton is caught after a 20ft high throw and the ribbons and flags cut through the air, biting and weaving at exactly the same moment, when the last lilting woodwind passage melts into a perfect decrescendo, when your entire body trembles from being emotionally caught up in the song/dance/performance; a frisson of excitement from being in the zone, when the audience is forgotten and perfection suddenly moves from the realm of impossibility to being tantalisingly within reach.

Was listening to the OST of Wicked - and it brought back memories of being in musicals and military band performances, of being a cog in a well-oiled machine.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Malaysia 2010 - good times

On the ferry to Penang

Oyster omelette Penang style

The family photo that nearly never happened

Kampung Baru


Vincent and Maureen and Brayden!

With Wima in Ayer Tawar

Claypot rice in Penang

With Wen Jen, Suet San and Hang Sheng @ Old Town Kopitiam

On Penang Ferry

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Am I a gamer? Part 1

While SOME PEOPLE may find it hard to believe I didn't go in for all night DOTA and wake up at 3pm the next day, I definitely dabbled in my fair share of games growing up. Here's some that I'm looking forward to this year (if I get time to play them that is):

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Business Class @ Emirates

A number of really cool things happened over the course of the past week but today's really all about me flying one step up from cattle class with Emirates.

To begin with, checking in was a breeze - though the red carpet felt a bit contrived - perhaps they think while you're paying a few hundred quid more for your tickets you're entitled to possibly have slightly more cushioning for your feet?

The Emirates lounge at KLIA was something I'd almost forgotten I could access - just in time for a nice snooze away from the rush of the airport as it WAS midnight at the time. Also a good chance to grab a shave (see? taking your advice already squeaks!).

But of course the moment I'd been waiting for was when i presented my boarding pass (though the lady did ask me whether I was sure I wasn't in Economy - probably didn't dress the part enough). The usual bustle faded away as I entered the private section of the plane normally reserved for the suited and the booted.

Having secured an aisle seat, I briefly wished i'D actually put on a coat just so I could've asked the stewardess to take it away and hang it up for me. Turning my attention to the seats - my first worry was that the TV screen was way too far away for comfortable viewing however it was substantially larger than what I'd been used to. And my were the seats roomy.

Essentially you got two personal reading lights, a central console for controlling your chair's various positions which could be saved for future use (meals, sleep etc), tv controls and privacy controls. This last one meant raising up a screen that separated you from the guy/girl sitting right next to you. I spent quite a bit of time getting used to the chair's controls - not being very deft with the fingers and puzzling out techy stuff but before too long, paraphernalia started arriving to keep me busy elsewhere.

The first thing I was given was a sock and eyepatch combo - I suppose just in case peopl needed a change of socks? Stuffing them into the pouch underneath the screen with the complimentary blanket (which I never use), I contemplated the second item they gave me - a travel bag complete with everything a sophisticated traveler could need down to Bvlgari eau de cologne. Another stewardess then appeared with the menu and a wine list - by this time I'D Kicked my shoes off and was preparing to enjoy myself thoroughly - helped by a glass of juice and bottles of mineral water they offered even before we'd taken off.

After I was handed a noise-cancelling headset and was done watching a couple of episodes of Friends, the snacks arrived - none of your usual peanuts with a plastic cup - these were sandwiches of capsicum, feta, tandoori chicken and salmon with a slice of chocolate topped sponge to help it all go down. I'd been puzzling about where the table was - needn't have worried as she basically reached into the center console and pulled ou a huge foldable table overlaid with polished wood. Over this she placed a white cloth and then proceeded to set the cutlery and meal down. Huge salted nuts did get served later (still not sure why nuts are such a big deal on airlines in general) which were a bit much at that point.

THat led nicely on to a snooze (the most horizontal snooze I've ever had in the air) from which I was awoken by the stewardess tapping lightly on my knee to ask ever so quietly if I'd like some breakfast. This whole process started again with the folding table, upon which a tray with yoghurt and a plate of fruit was placed. The stewardess then brought out a hot tray of rolls, from which we made our selections - while we were making our way through these, the main bits of the meal (these came not in plastic packaging but in proper plates) were served separately. Though I think the quality of the main meal itself was pretty similar to what we'd normally have in Economy - which isn't bad at all.

On preparing to disembark - the stewardess noticed I'd left the eyepatch/sock combo and the travel bag behind and pointed out they were mine to take away which was nice - we left the plane on a separate exit and basically entered Dubai on a walkway above the main central floor away from the duty-free crowd where we proceeded to the business lounge to await our transits.

I'd definitely do it again!