10.30.2009

Word Vomit

Part 1: Yesterday, this appeared on the newspaper. When I went home, I couldn't get online thanks to the lightning and torrential rain earlier. Then today, my Chemistry lecturer mentioned that she saw the article. I weep.

Part 2: Yesterday, I heard the best sound in the whole wide world: my mother and father laughing simultaneously for a very long time over something I couldn't hear.

Part 3: A couple of tests/quizzes were returned throughout the week. I am thankful. And I am happy. But not as happy as I should be. Because I realized that when life is going great for you but not for the people around you who matter, the sadness partially outweighs the joy. And the helplessness wholly outweighs the joy. Because I want to help but I don't know how. And that means I need help in helping people out. And that is probably the saddest trait one could ever own. And I am not only talking about academics, but life in general. Because academics aren't everything and never will be. And I have to constantly remind myself that as I remind others.

Part 4: I woke up this morning feeling slightly drunk and still do. My head feels a bit heavy and the world seems to be spinning around me though they aren't. I need help walking straight and sitting still though I don't. Not really. I think the semicircular canals located in my inner ears -as I recall from Second Form Science- have ceased functioning. But I will get them to work soon. (Disclaimer: I am not actually drunk.)

Part 5: I think I have officially become something I never wanted to be: emotional and confused and hungry and sleepy at the same time. Oy.

10.27.2009

The Three Reading This (Hopefully)

After surviving the 3-day Internet-lockdown and watching a supremely fantastic and thought-provoking movie, I decided to post the following to the three dudes who have seen me at my worst and at my almost-best. So, in absolutely no particular order (except, maybe, alphabetical order) I want to dedicate the following to the three of you:

Andre, I think you are one of the first few faces I distinctly remember in the first few days of college though I never got the guts to go up and speak to you. So I am thankful beyond words that I despise Theatre and chose to sign up for Music instead during summer semester and came to have you as an extraordinary friend. It goes without saying that you have been more of a friend to me than I have ever been to you since the start of this friendship. But I hope to improve on that. If I could pick one thing about you that I wish to emulate, it’s your sheer selflessness. I don’t think I can thank you enough for all the help (both in academics and non-academics) you have so willingly provided me with over the months –and you are still doing so. Thank you for your trust in me –be it then or now or both– because I can’t and never will be able to put a value to it as I know that it is not easy for you to do that. And I thank you for always being a form of encouragement and for having faith in me even when I didn’t. I only ask that you view yourself the way I do because you are awesome in every way and no, I don’t care if you think otherwise. You possess a really wise (and interesting) soul. So (try to) never spare even a thought of hopelessness…because you are anything but. You are great and you always will be, O’ Awesome One. Trust me on this.

Faiz, you are one of the longest (and greatest) friends I’ve had the privilege of knowing since the beginning of college. Your friendship and trust have been an immense blessing in my life and I know for a fact that I am a better person because I learn the best life lessons from you. Your slow-to-anger and quick-to-move-on traits have taught me that life is an amazing journey filled with ups and downs and the only thing I am allowed to complain about is having a life that is too spectacular for words. Thank you for always being there for me and putting up with a whole lot of my ranting. I appreciate every single piece of solid advice –and awesome song recommendation– you have given me and will remember your words of wisdom for a long time to come. You are definitely one of the rare mature dudes I’ve known and I hope you stay the same way in the future. Never fear when things do not go your way because if they don’t live up to your expectations, they will probably exceed your expectations. So just be on the lookout and be patient. I know with all my heart that you will achieve great things in the future. And I hope you can believe in yourself enough to make the semi-reality I have in my head to a complete reality in your life. I’ll meet you up in the skies.

Ikhsan, I don’t know how you do it but you continue to amaze me with your uncanny ability to tolerate my murderously high level of annoyance. I know you will crack someday and revolt against me but as for now, I am eternally grateful for your countless acts of kindness. People who have met you for the first time tell me you are an incredibly nice dude and I can’t disagree even if I wanted to –just to aggravate you, that is. I truly apologize for being a real pain all this while in any and every way. I know I owe you big-time for your thoughts, words and deeds. And I can only hope to return the uncountable favors in time. Thank you for always lending a helping hand and an attentive ear whenever I needed them. And thank you for keeping me on the right track whenever life seems to throw me off. You are a great blessing to me and I am glad I regard you as a friend of mine. I pray that you will always stand tall in life and remain unfettered by anything that seems to get in your way. Never change and lose yourself because your attitude towards life is both admirable and enviable. (I’ll get there…someday…hopefully…when I’m thirty…or older…maybe.) I know you, among most people, aren’t afraid to dream big. So dream big. And I’ll dream with you.

P/S: Don’t ask me why I posted this out of the blue. I am as clueless as you are…with an extra dose of appreciation and gratitude. Sorry if you cringed reading the above. But because I cringed typing the above as well, we’re even.

PP/S: Cheers to our friendship!

PPP/S: Cheers to you three!

10.22.2009

MAYDAY!

In less than one hour and fifty-nine minutes, I will be on complete Internet-lockdown (or more precisely: total abstinence from any social networking sites) for an experiment which I will have to document over the course of the next three days. I am not too sure if I will be able to come out of this alive or in one piece because three days of staring at the laptop screen and not being able to click on the desktop icons to get online would be equivalent to three millenniums. I am now freaking out massively and can't function optimally at the moment since my survival skills outside the World Wide Web are pretty minimal. I know I sound melodramatic -because I actually am, sadly- but I am going to need a lot of support to stay sane.

Some of the things which I have planned to do in the midst of this harrowing ordeal:-
1 - Stare at the laptop
2 - Meet awesome people
3 - Dream about the joys of using the World Wide Web
4 - Sleep
5 - Will my head to log on to the Internet without actually using the laptop/Develop a superpower of the mind
6 - Read
7 - Remain alive

10.20.2009

Fond Times

Today was a day of sorts. I had only an hour of class since the last Chemistry lab class had ended last week. I didn't head home after my class ended at 10AM since it was a dear friend's 18th birthday. When everyone was finally done with their respective classes, we made a move to the mall to celebrate her birthday. It was an especially sweet time spent with a jolly bunch of friends. 'Twas a spectacular day because I had never seen anyone smile unceasingly from the start of the day right until the very end of it. And the intensity of the birthday girl's smile today could have powered up the whole nation for a whole day, at least.

After the birthday lunch and a bit of loittering around the mall, we returned to college to help out with the props for the Halloween Party which is around the corner. I discovered what a laborious task it is to create a zombie/dracula/corpse made entirely out of newspapers. And I discovered how exceedingly fun it is to toil over a life-sized paper-made dracula while a group of people are taking pictures a few feet away with the other finished zombie/dracula/corpse. That, combined with the fact that there had been more than three cameras during the birthday lunch have made my hatred for cameras increase yet another notch. Oy. But I will get over it.

When I finally got back home in the evening, I was feeling so pathetic that I decided to join my father for gym since it has been an eternity or two since I had last stepped foot into the gym. Walking on the treadmill, as I have discovered a long time ago, helps me alleviate any stress or infuriation/frustration/irritation/all-three my lame mind is dealing with. So it felt really good doing that while listening to good music on the iPod.

I came home from gym feeling incredibly refreshed and invigorated. Then I argued with a friend via text that it would be a disastrous idea for me to dress up as a tooth fairy (with a tutu) for Halloween since I want to strangle my tooth fairy, not dress up as her. Then we proceeded into our second argument about me dressing up as an angel because...well, it just wouldn't fit. So then I contemplated about not going -unless I get a set of uniform from any air force, like this, this and this- and still am contemplating about not going just to spare a few million of my brain cells from dying no thanks to Halloween costumes.

10.19.2009

Life Turns Around

Part 1: On Saturday, I came to terms with the fact that my life sucks...for about ten minutes before I snapped out of it. Then my mother came home from the mall with twelve of these to add to the other two already in the house; announcing that Christmas has definitely arrived. Life turns around.
Pure amazingness.

Part 2: After eleven insanely stupid hours of revising for the Physics test yesterday by completing eleven test papers from the past few years, I learned the difference between studying hard and studying smart when I sat for the test itself today. (Burning the test paper into ashes would probably be tantamount to how I had performed in the test.) But then I bumped into a collegemate earlier in the day who told me that there was a scholarship brochure with a friend's and my face plastered on it. After Calculus, I went to search for the brochures and my heart jumped out of my chest (in a bad way) when I feasted my eyes on them, cringing big-time. I am utterly perplexed and bemused and don't know what to think of it except: Mayday! Mayday! Too huge! So now I have something to genuinely guffaw about when I actually need a laugh. Oy. Life stays hilarious sometimes.
Caption-less.

Part 3: Today, I heard sad news/updates about my extended family living abroad. Then my mother showed me pictures of the two cutest people in my family living in the land down under and my distress shriveled up and died while joy proceeded to take its place. These two precious gems are proof enough that God can certainly work miracles in the family. Life will turn around.

The soon-to-be 4-year-old child model.

Executing the "Huh?" look.

Part 4: Lately, I have been confused about many confusing things and am now a superbly confused person. 'Tis the season to be confused, I say confusedly. Either that or I have finally lost my marbles. Although the latter seems to be the more accurate theory. But I can't tell since I am in a confused state at the moment. I think I just un-confused myself there. I hope life doesn't turn round and round and round and leave me confused again. Because I'll just surrender and go mental then. And...I think I just confused myself again. Double oy!

10.17.2009

Time For Everything

Yesterday was a highly eventful day. After getting back a pretty-crappy-but-not-really test paper and almost initiating a fistfight with the lady at the program office in college who turned out to be exceptionally kind and patient, I went home in shame and self-disgust. I had time to sort myself out and mentally slap myself before I had to visit my ex-English teacher's place for the Deepavali open house. I was the first guest at her place and spent a good few minutes talking to her and sharing about how life has been getting on. I missed and still miss her dearly. A great high school friend of mine whom I hadn't seen in many months came shortly after I did and so we caught up with each other as well...for the next two and a half hours. Besides having an enjoyable time with them, I also had an enjoyable time with my teacher's four-year-old son/one half of a twin who somehow loved to poke me with a fork/forks, whack me as many times as he possibly can in a second, stomp on my foot and accuse me of saying things that never escaped my mouth. Huh. I shall revolt in the future.

An hour after I got back home, another awesome high school friend came over to chill and tell me all about her flew-to-another-country-for-a-band-and-got-backstage-squeal! adventure. As crazy as she is, I am glad she had the time of her life doing what she did. Sometimes life is too short to let those indelible moments pass you by. When she was finally done giving me a detailed account of what had happened during her little adventure, we watched an awesomely hilarious movie and just sat back and relaxed. I had a fantastic time and I hope she did, too.

For the first time all month, I slept before midnight because both my body and brain crashed right after dinner. Today promises to be a bit of a tedium since there is a Physics test on Monday and the one thing on my to-do list is Study and not fall asleep. Oy. But before I do that, I shall go watch an animated movie first.

Over and out.

To everything there is a season: A time to weep, a time to laugh. -Ecclesiastes 3

10.14.2009

Constant Change

The last few days have been a complete whirlwind. Lab reports have been a real pain, pre-registration (for the next semester) has been a total wreck, tests have come and gone and are coming and going, Christmas songs -from one album in particular- have been making my day, friends have been fabulous, aircraft magazines and an unread pile of books have been keeping me happy, life has been busy (and confusing and challenging and interesting and just downright inexplicable but very normal since everyone else's life is pretty much the same), God has been good.

10.11.2009

Ultimate Book Sale

Today, I went for my first ever major book sale and dragged my cousin brother along. I had thought that half an hour would be sufficient time for us to browse through and cull the books we had wanted...until we arrived and saw what the place looked like.
Heaven looks a lot like this. (OK, not really.)

Time seemed to fly by as we scavenged for good books. With each table I had visited, I picked up at least one book until I finally had to get an unused box to store the books in. After an an hour and forty minutes of minor arm-flexing (thanks to the hefty books I was lugging all over) and major cringing (since I saw countless books which I already have for rock-bottom prices), we left with seventeen books in total -twelve for me and five for my cousin brother.
The glorious stash in my room.

And now I have two tests coming up and too little time to revise for them. Oy. Still, nothing can wipe the smile off my face.

10.10.2009

YDNTK: Part II

Resuming from where I last left off, this is the second episode of The You-don't-need-to-know Weekly News.

a) On Wednesday, I had the incredible opportunity of meeting up with a friend's friend who is a nineteen-year-old pilot. Spent a little over an hour asking questions about piloting and listening to extraordinarily moving stories of how he came to achieve his dream of flying. I was and still am in complete awe of what an amazing experience his journey to the skies had been. And that journey isn't ending anytime soon.
Word cloud, according to the frequency of words used, for one of my previous posts "I Have a Dream".

b) On Thursday, I went a bit barmy. Partly because of the challenging topic that was being covered in Calculus class but mostly because I just discovered The Red Arrows the night before. And after watching numerous earth-shattering videos (like this) of their aerobatics performance, I didn't want to be anywhere but up in the clouds. Clearly, this persistent need to fly in a jet is slowly consuming my every thought and want. Oy.
The Red Arrows defining perfection.

c) On Friday, I got chided by the Chemistry lecturer for snacking on Cheezels in the classroom before the lesson began. This was just another unfortunate event whose fault does not, I repeat, does not lie in me. But I admit that I love Cheezels.
Cheezels, me like.

d) Today, exactly two weeks after I had sat for the TOEFL examination, the results were posted. I grimly got out of bed and anxiously turned on the laptop. Then I exhaled a sigh of relief when the results popped up on screen. I knew for sure that I sucked big-time in the speaking section...I only hadn't known how terribly I had performed in the reading section. But God has greatly blessed me with more than I should have gotten. My glory is His glory. Thank You, Father, for reminding me yet again that my fear was unnecessary.

e) Today, my calculator chose to end its life. It has served my brother and me well.

f) Lately, all I have been thinking about is flying. And that very thought couldn't have been any more serious. My head is telling me to quit dreaming because that dream is far from coming true. But then my heart, as lame as that sounds, is nudging me to go for it, regardless of how long I have to wait for it to come at least semi-true. In a way, I have great comfort that my brother is on this ride with me. So if I don't reach there, he will. This will always be out of my hands, but will forever remain in God's hands. So my faith lies in Him.
What my cool momma said.

Stay tuned for more You-don't-need-to-know Weekly News: The News You Don't Need To Know, So Why Bother? next week.

10.06.2009

The Invaluable Things in Life

Note: Click to enlarge.

A mother's consent.

An insignificant confirmation email from the U.S. Air Force website.

Watching videos of the Thunderbirds.

Anticipating the arrival of the Sydney Symphony.

The immeasurable effort put in by a thoughtful friend.

and


Friends who unfailingly make me smile everyday and friends who listen and make me listen.

P/S: Please pardon my lack of creativity. The "piece of art" above had taken me quite a while to produce, as sad as that may sound.

10.05.2009

“I Have a Dream”

Note: I fully advise you to seriously disregard the following unless you want to be seriously bored out of your serious mind. Seriously.

There are very few things in life which can elicit childlike joy in me -reading the perfect book being one of them. And after watching the air show on Saturday, I discovered a new thing which can bring me undiluted happiness -flying. I do not know anything about aircraft models, nor do I know how a jet plane works; all I know is that I want to fly one, naïve as that may sound. Just like how a musician knows with every fiber of his being that music is the very essence of his life and just like how a teacher affirms that imparting knowledge to young people is the most rewarding job on earth, I know with all my heart that I want to fly a plane -or a jet plane, to be precise.

The dream first came into being eons ago, when my brother said he wanted to be a pilot. And since I was small then and had no idea what I wanted to be in the future, I just followed in his footsteps and told myself that I should be a pilot, too. The dream didn’t last very long, as expected. I constantly changed my mind over the years and as some people might know, I even considered pursuing journalism/writing at one point…which now seems like yet another dream waiting to be unfulfilled.

In retrospect, I have changed my mind about what I aspire to be about five million times or so, never resting on any one decision for more than a year. This would be permissible when I was back in high school since it was the perfect time to find a dream and then shape that dream. But high school is long gone now and my dream is barely formed. It is a bit frustrating, not knowing what to do even though the little voice is nudging you to go for what you want to do instead of what you think you should do.

The oldest dream of mine which has lasted for a little over a year happens to be writing…though I doubt myself big-time in that area. So having a new -albeit not technically- dream now leaves me feeling bittersweet. Bitter because I don’t know where to go from here and sweet because I know I want to get there; somehow, someday.

I feel a tad too foolish for being so rash and changing my mind that quickly after witnessing just one aerobatics performance…though I can say with conviction that I want to be a part of that. But what began as an upgraded dream morphed into utter hopelessness as I pondered about what I am doing now and how that will get me nowhere near a jet plane. I am not entirely sure if I will want to recant this later on but I concede that I may have lost interest in all else except the very act of flying. And I am positively sure that learning about rocks and soil and elements of the earth will slowly eat me up inside over the years.

But alas, I don’t know what to do and am back to square one now. Because even though I know without a doubt that the one thing I want to do in my life is soar through the skies, I am clouded with a million valid fears and doubts. How does the blind paint breathtaking pictures? How does the deaf belt out a melodious tune? I don’t know the answer to those questions but if I had to make a guess, I’d say it was faith. In everything.

How awesome it would be if I really do end up flying a plane for the aerobatics air force team, and then look back and think to myself in amazement, “Wow, I actually got here.” It is always inspiring to read stories of successful people in any field wherein they stuck to the dream they had since they were kids and actually attained it in the palm of their hands. I am, of course, prepared to live the dream, but reaching for it is another story in itself because I am a complete chicken with zero guts whatsoever.

And the one pathetic thing I’ve learned about myself since I had to make decisions on my own is that I give up way too easily. And if things in life don’t bring me down, I weigh myself down without even knowing it. This only makes it even harder for me to go halfway, much less all the way, for anything I wish to do in life, e.g. writing. But then again, I know that sometimes my worries which are holding me back are worth mulling over. Because my passion alone just isn’t enough sometimes. And giving up the dream seems to be a better choice.

It is always easy to dream about the destination, but never the journey. It would be blissful if I could get to my life’s destination without going through the journey, but then I wouldn’t be living my life if that were to happen. I don’t know when my journey will begin, or whether it will begin at all. And I don’t know where I am headed to. But my faith is in God. Now all I need to do is work on the non-existent faith I have in myself, and then take the first leap of faith.

P/S: At the end of this post, I am still as confused and directionless as ever and don’t know what to do. I just had to say what I had to say. Life certainly is one tough nut to crack. But I’m tougher and always will be.

“We hope the air show you have seen today has inspired you to chase after your dream…” –The Thunderbirds

Word count: 1000. Sweet.

10.04.2009

Recapping the Moments

October 3rd, 2009
Today was, hands-down, one of the greatest days of my life as a college student thanks to a series of fortunate as well as unfortunate events. I got up early in the morning, packed my change of clothes for the wedding later in the day and headed to my friend's place. I left my change of clothes over at her place since the plan was to get back to her home to shower and change for the wedding after the air show was over. But as per normal, things don't always go according to plan.

After meeting up in college with four other friends, we left for the Royal Malaysian Air Force to witness an air show -gratis. We arrived at the airbase several minutes before it commenced. I couldn't remember much of the first air performance mainly because the second one was and is completely etched onto my memory. The whole stunning display of aerobatics had comprised of six Thunderbirds flown by the U.S. Air Force. I don't think I could have counted the number of times my breath caught and the number of times I cheered and jumped in excitement -much to the annoyance and horror of everyone around me- whenever a glorious maneuver was executed perfectly in the air. The sound of the revving engine whenever an aircraft swifted by; the befitting music playing in the background; the brilliant sun shining above as the jets zoomed higher and higher into the sky -all these evoked the most overwhelming joy inside of me and no words can describe what an amazing feeling it was to watch that absolutely splendid air show. It kicked off with a bang and ended with an even louder bang. It would have been even more epic if the guns had been brought to the air show but no matter; my life was complete then. To quote a friend once the air show ended, "I'd be happy to die; right here, right now."

The journey out of the airbase wasn't a very pleasant one since there was a massive jam with all the cars getting out of the place at the same time. We were caught in the jam for two insanely long hours and tried our hardest to remain sane since we were running incredibly late for a friend's sister's wedding. Once we got out of the place, we went to the nearest mall and gave ourselves fifteen minutes to get done with whatever we needed to do. Since what I had worn was appropriate for jumping up and down like a loony at an air show (but not a wedding) and my change of clothes was at my friend's place, I had no choice but to get appropriate attire for the wedding. I ended up buying a pair of baju kurung since we were on a crunch time and the wedding had already begun two hours ago. We finally arrived at the wedding fashionably -with reference to my friends, not me- late but still had a great time in the company of one another.

Happy people.

The day was definitely one for the books and I had an unforgettable experience doing awesome things with awesome people in my life. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would have the opportunity to witness an epic air show, get caught in a jam for two hours to get to a place just fifteen minutes away, participate in a pseudo-Amazing Race episode, buy a baju kurung, buy a baju kurung in less than five minutes and attend a Malay wedding for the first time ever -all in one single day. Ever since the air show, I have been inspired to pursue my long-forgotten dream of flying a military jet. And I just might reach for the dream...once I calculate the probability of me dying in an aircraft while serving the air force.

"Being a Thunderbird pilot is the most exciting job on earth!" -One of the Google books

To be flown by yours truly. In this lifetime. Hopefully. Maybe so.

September 27th, 2009
It was my cousin brother's sixteenth birthday and my first official day as an eighteen-year-old. My cousin sister had just turned eighteen (eighteen days before I turned eighteen) and so we had a little birthday dinner with all three families. Just like with every other family dinner we have with the presence of the cousins, I had an amazing time catching up with my cousins while having good food. The highlight of the night was when I was made to open the gift my cousin sisters got for me. It turned out to be a rather embarrassing move because the first thing I did when I saw the gift was scream like a crazed little girl -no kidding. Besides wanting to be shot right at that very moment, I was so touched and so unbelievably happy that my heart swelled with love and joy.

After cutting the shared birthday cake and taking a few family shots with me donning my birthday gift, we decided to call it a night. Before my cousin sisters left though, they gave me a huge box and told me that it was meant for me. I thought they were kidding until, naturally, they told me they were serious. I didn't think my heart could swell with happiness anymore but I was wrong. Because when I opened the box and saw the precious SpongeBob items which must have taken them an eternity or two to find, my heart swelled even more. And when I saw the eight letters for eight days thoughtfully and wonderfully written by my cousin sister, I was so touched and bursting with euphoria that my heart exploded. And mended itself on its own shortly after.

Since eight days have already passed and I have read all of the letters, I just want to say thank you to my cousin sister for blessing my life with so much wisdom and love. I can't imagine the amount of effort put into writing all those cards which are far from ordinary and I am not afraid to admit that I had actually teared up while reading one of the cards -which is something I am completely incapable of doing. Cheers to you, twin! Let's live for Him and make our eighteenth year more phenomenal than our seventeenth year.

Four-eyed monster.

10.03.2009

One for the Books

Today was an epic day filled with awesome people and fantastic aircrafts. But since all of my energy has been drained, I will add more on this later.