the passenger seat


kids

If you haven’t noticed already, yesterday I made myself a new header for this blog. At least now I have a title. With that, I also made a new banner for people to stick in their blogrolls (Jason, Rex, etc.). Quick question though, can you tell that it has a kind of blue/grey background with diagonal white lines? If not, I should make it darker since it might not show up on some monitors and just look white.

banner2

Anyway, onto other news. Today was pretty full-on; I was out the whole day. I woke up just before 11am, and showered, changed, ate, packed wiimotes before being dropped off at Epping just before noon to meet Janet who had just finished tutoring. Taking advantage of the free train, we headed to Macquarie for a few hours, where we bought Ben a birthday present and ate and walked around. Then just before 4pm we headed back to Epping to get to Ben’s belated birthday party at his house, which unfortunately was not the surprise party that had been organised. Met up with Mindy then Carol and Annie (who disappeared soon after in search of a gift), Michael, Gabriel and Deva, before heading off towards Ben’s place. Ben’s house was really nice, and it was just nice to be with everyone there outside near the barbecue and playing with his dog, a big Border Collie named Joyce. About an hour in I left with Douglas and Deva (in the killing machine that is Doug’s car) to go back to my place to pick up my Wii, since everyone wanted to play Super Smash Bros. Brawl. It was a funy car trip, especially with Douglas’ precarious and often-joked-about driving combined with the wet road. After we arrive at my place and I had the Wii all packed up, I walked out of the house and there was no car in my driveway. Bugger. Fortunately, Douglas wasn’t smart enough to turn off his headlights, and I saw a house on the opposite side of my street illuminated and followed it to Douglas’ parked car on the side street. Suckers. I was too smart for them. So then we headed back to Ben’s place, where we ate, played Wii, watched MasterChef and had some of Ben’s Heineken keg bought by Carol and Annie earlier (which tasted bad, but I still beat Carol in a drinking contest). The party ended with most people leaving after 9pm.

Although it wasn’t the surprise party that was originally planned, everyone still had a great time and it was a good break from the monotony of school.

Onto other things, a movie that I want to watch in the near future (it’s already out in the US) is the new Pixar film Up. The animations and graphics in the film are spot on, and I love the style of the characters and scenery, in classic Pixar style. I’m sure many of you may have seen the movie poster at the Parramatta Greater Union and wondered what it was all about. Basically, the plot is that an old man fulfils his lifelong dream and attaches a lot of balloons to his house, and it flies away to distant places. The thing is, during lift-off there was a young boy scout on his porch, and he gets carried away with the house, too, and an epic adventure ensues. Sounds lame? I think not. Take a look at the pictures and trailer below.

up

up2

Speaking of Pixar animations, I hear Toy Story 3 is coming out next year… Definitely a must-see. Watch the teaser trailer below.

toystory3

And on the topic of children’s movies (which are not just for children), what better way to fix a hole in a wall than with Lego? Heck, now even a five-year-old can fix a wall. I used to love Lego as a kid; I still have a huge tub of Lego pieces. Pretty much for every occasion that required a present between 6 and 10 years old, I asked for Lego. I love to build things. I reckon if I was given a set now I would still love to build it.

lego

Lego too complicated for you? Maybe Duplo is easier.

lego2

And speaking of childhood hobbies, I kind of miss the things I used to do as a kid. One of the most memorable times was when I would play Star Wars with Ringo in year 1 (or year 2?), using different coloured hula-hoops as lightsabers. That was mad fun. Actually, speaking of Ringo, there was this one time in primary when Ringo drank some water and held it in his mouth with puffed cheeks. I thought he was just joking that there was water in his mouth, so I went in front of him and clapped his cheeks. He wasn’t joking; we still joke about that incident with eachother today. Digressing, after our hula hoops Star Wars everyone moved on to the connector-pen guns. I was never really good at making those since I didn’t have the 50-packs of textas that some people had, but it was still heaps fun to have epic battles all over the playground. Then there were Pokemon cards, which got banned at school, followed by Tamagotchis and Digimon (I wonder where my old ones are?). Raising the little pets and having battles were fun, but then people found the cheat to create a tiny, super-powerful Digimon (involving inserting and removing the reset tab and pressing a combination of buttons). Ah, those were the times. I wish we could have little things like that nowadays, but all I see are Ben 10 watches and kids with mobile phones and iPods. Poor kids.

It’s coincidental how I somehow ended up talking about my childhood in this blog, because I just saw Jason’s blog which also mentioned his childhood, as well as the candy that I loved as a kid (basically sugar and flavouring in a packet): the Wizz Fizz. I remember my friends and I (and my brother, too) used to wish for a golden or silver spoon every time we opened the packet, since they were the rarest, but we would always end up with blue or red or yellow. That was some good stuff, though, I’m surprised there weren’t more hyperactive kids in classrooms- it worries me to think how unhealthy that stuff was.

Anyway, I think I will end there. I need to get up early tomorrow for Netball training. I’m not sure when the game will be on, but I hope everyone comes to watch a bunch of guys (who mostly usually play basketball) play netball against some more guys when the game is on. Who would’ve thought guys netball could be so intense and fast-paced; I’m usually spent after training. Okay, I will really end this blog now.

“Kids” is by MGMT, from their latest album Oracular Spectacular.

Goodnight, everyone (even though probably no-one will read this tonight- it’s 12:53am).



20th century towers

I love Friday Week B. Having dropped English Extension II, I now have a double free for periods 1 and 2, meaning I can sleep in until just before 10am. Ah, that’s the life. Being able to sleep in for three days in a row feels really good because that’s even more sleep caught up, which I’ve lost during the week.

In other news, today was Shave For A Cure. At recess, JGan and Swami (almost) had their hair completely removed, while John and Bobby had theirs done at lunchtime. I must say, all the people that got shaved don’t look as odd as I expected them to look, so I guess that’s a good thing. It must suck to have all your hair removed during winter, though, since it’d be super freezing everyday. Ah well, I guess it’s more incentive for them to wear a beanie all the time, which is cool (or is it warm?).

The main point I wanted to talk about on the topic of today’s shaving is the issue of the year eight girl selling her hair on eBay. What was her name again? I remembered it earlier but I’ve forgotten since. Anyway, so she’s selling her hair for $500 or $600 on eBay. My first thoughts: wow, what an investment. But what is she going to do with that money? Technically, she should be adding it to her sponsor fund for the Leukaemia Foundation, but I’ve heard that she’s using it elsewhere. Then comes the question that everyone’s been asking: why would someone pay so much for it? It’s been reasoned that anyone who wanted human hair for wigs or hair extensions or the like could easily get it for free or much cheaper from barber shops and hairdressers anywhere, but I came to the conclusion that the reason it’s worth so much is because having hair cut off at that length (she cut off entire ponytails) is very rare. It’d be pretty hard to find someone (a girl) with hair that long who would want to cut it off in full, intact strands, and therein the value lies. A quick search on Google shows that human hair wigs can sell for as much as US$900 (for long styles), and so I guess this is the purpose that the girl’s hair is going to be used for. Still, it’s pretty crazy for her to even think of selling it online, and even moreso for the guy buying it. But hey, I heard he’s American, so I guess that explains it.

Anyway, speaking of hair, the girl in the video below has quite a bit of it. The video is called “Her Morning Elegance”, and it’s a stop motion of a woman in a bed shot from the ceiling; the bed, with the use of other objects, acting as the scenery. Definitely one to watch right now. The music it’s set to (“Her Morning Elegance” by Oren Lavie) isn’t bad either.

“Her Morning Elegance” was actually found by following some links from the next video, below, which showed up on one of the design blogs I follow, called Design You Trust. This one is called “Sorry I’m Late”, and this time it’s a man on floorboards, again with various objects acting as the scenery. It also very cleverly uses smaller objects such as a toy car and a doll house, shot closer to the camera to make it appear part of the scene. Anyway, you can see all that for yourself. If you want to see the-making-of, they have a collection of fairly detailed videos, photographs and explanations on how it was done at their website here.

Here’s another scenery, but this time it’s real. The photos below are of Hong Kong, where I’m sure many of you have been and know more about than I do. Heck, you’ve probably seen these photographs before (or in real life?). Anyway, so almost everyone in Hong Kong lives in apartments, much like Singapore, with which I am more familiar. Now, if you think about poor-ish places like India or Mexico with a high poverty rate, the poorest tend to live on the outskirts of large cities in their own dilapidated, often self-built, little houses. But in Hong Kong there’s no space for that. And so they do this:

hk1

hk2

These photos were found on Dailytonic.

And on the topic of buildings (don’t you love my shifts between topics?), on Tuesday May 26 a ceremony was held to mark to start of construction at the site of the new Louvre in Abu Dhabi, a joint project between France and the United Arab Emirates. To say the least, it looks amazing. While it appears to be a flying saucer from another world, the shallow, perforated dome (which produces a very nice lighting effect inside) is actually inspired by traditional Arabic architecture. I’m really looking forward to when this is finished in three years’ time, but for now, here are some images of what it’s been planned to look like (for larger photographs go here):

louvre1

louvre2

louvre3

louvre4

louvre5

And there ends today’s blog. Today’s title is once again a Death Cab For Cutie song, from The Stability EP. This post will be the last following the Death Cab For Cutie song title theme, as I’m finding it increasingly difficult to use a title that relates to the topics discussed in the post. From now on I will simply be using song titles or memorable lines from any of the bands I like, not just Death Cab.

Until Sunday, as the French say it, adieu.



champagne from a paper cup

Oh my goodness. Jeremy didn’t post a blog yesterday? Outrage! Blasphemy!

You may be wondering what happened to my OCD-ness about having one blog each day. This can be explained by a few things:

  • I’ve felt like the quality of my blogs has been declining over the past few posts. They feel forced and boring.
  • School is boring, hence not much to blog about.
  • I’ve noticed that school really drains me nowadays as well as homework (stupid maths which is hard), and so by the time I get to writing my blog I’m already really tired and can’t think properly. Maybe I should blog earlier. Or maybe I just need more sleep.
  • Blogs take a long time to write- for me, anyway. I have concluded that the elusive “15-minute blog” is an impossible dream unless your name is Belinda Cheung. I usually take like an hour on average from when I start my blog to when I click “Publish”, and I decided that this was too long a time to be spending on it everyday.

So yeah, as much as I love to blog, I just don’t have the time or energy to do it on a daily basis. Don’t get me wrong, I do thoroughly enjoy it, but therein lies the problem. It means that I end up spending too much time on it. Also, I’m a stickler for detail, and so I usually spend some time formatting and fixing up pictures and stuff. Yeah, a lot of me is OCD. This is a funny time for me to stop my daily blogs, since today Mawson made a note in Jason’s blog about me blogging everyday. I think you jinxed me!

But don’t worry! Although I am discontinuing daily blogs, I will now be OCD about blogging every two days. I think that’s a bit more reasonable, and I’ll have more interesting blogs since it will be an accumulation of two days’ happenings.

And now begins the random unrelated topics that are characteristic of my blogs. I shall subtitle them, for your and my convenience.

1. Netbooks (aka mini laptops)

After seeing a few people at school with these (Ambert, Carol) I realised that I really want one. Why not a normal laptop? Well, these are cheaper and smaller. Smaller being a good thing, since they’re easier to carry and just look cooler, in my opinion. Right now I’m hoping to get one before university starts; there’s no need for one in year 12 and, by Milo’s advice, there will be better technology and the likes if I wait. I just think it would be really handy to be able to take a small and light laptop around to use anywhere, especially with internet on-the-go. Heck, then I could blog from places other than my bedroom. How fun. Right now I’m actually the only person in my family without a laptop. My brother got a Dell Studio 15 last year, and my parents both have a laptop for work. My consolation is that I have this computer in my room, which is pretty awesome too. However, as much as I like the size for it’s aesthetics and convenience, I foresee a problem with that same characteristic that I am so lured in by: I have big hands. And you know what they say about people with big hands… Yeah, I don’t either, except that using a tiny keyboard may be a bit of a problem. Ah well, I’m sure I’ll get used to it. I guess I’ll have to put up with the RSI and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Anyway, if I were to get one right now, I would probably get one like Ambert’s. Compared to the other netbooks I’ve seen, his Lenovo S10 (the new S10-2 looks even better) has the biggest screen and keyboard, which are both pluses for me. I don’t want to ruin my eyesight either. Heck, if I went blind from looking at the tiny screen all day, I wouldn’t even have the strength in my hands to hold a guide dog or a cane.

netbook

2. The Chaser’s War On Everything

I didn’t follow the first two seasons of this show, but after realising my mistake I watched a whole lot of videos of them a while back. So, when Joseph profusely advertised the season premiere on the forums and his blog, I decided to start following this season tonight. It was a bit of a let down to be honest; not as funny as the videos I’ve seen. Although I did like the cracks on the Cronulla Leagues Club, Knox Grammar (I was disappointed that “Apple Chapel” wasn’t mentioned) and the “Chk Chk Boom” girl. The Quentin Bryce thing and the lawsuits segment were alright, too. The Shore rowing thing was so weird. Just the fact that theywent to Somalia and asked for money- that was kind of cruel, as well as the cracks at Palestine. Although I’d have to say it was made a little more interesting since I was watching with my brother, who goes to Kings. Throughout the Shore segment it was like “Hey, that was the GPS athletics carnival! I was there!” and “Haha, Shore sucks. Kings wins everytime.” Despite the unsatisfactory nature of the first show, I will continue to follow it every Wednesday night since it’s only half an hour out of my time.

chaser

3. Bloglines

I recently went searching for a better way to keep up to date with the blogs I follow, and investigated a good selection before settling on Bloglines. Bloglines is simply a way to organise RSS feeds and to keep up to date when new blogs are posted, rather than my use of Belle’s blog as a portal to other blogs. Also, it means that I don’t have to check those blogs that are not on Belle’s blogroll such as the art and design blogs I like to view. So far it’s pretty handy, except for the fact that it currently only updates hourly. However, I think I have no need for it anymore. I just realised today that the client for Windows Live Mail actually has an aggregator (i.e. feed reader) built in, and it can update every fifteen minutes. Also, it’s a lot faster and  easier to use since it’s not web-based, and I can check my feeds and email at the same time. So, I think I don’t have the need for Bloglines anymore. But for those that don’t have Windows Live Mail installed, Bloglines is quite a useful tool.

bloglines

4. Sungha Jung

Sungha Jung became famous almost three years ago after his father posted a few videos of him on YouTube playing solo acoustic guitar (or fingerstyle) pieces by Kotaro Oshio, a very famous Japanese acoustic guitarist. He was eight years old at the time, and was already a much better guitarist than many older than him; I can’t play the pieces he played at that age. Now he is eleven, and an even more talented guitarist who has matured into someone who really understands the intricacies of solo acoustic guitar playing and understands what he’s playing. Not only does he play solo acoustic pieces, but he also plays his own solo acoustic versions of pop songs. He is now somewhat of an internet phenomenon, and has gone on to play with some of his idols such as Ulli Bögershausen and Tommy Emannuel, as well as appearing on many TV shows such as Korea’s Star King. You can find his YouTube channel here. His most recent video is his own version of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” and is below.

Anyway, that’s all for today’s super-long post. But for now, I’ll see you all in two days.

“Champagne From A Paper Cup” is from Death Cab For Cutie’s You Can Play These Songs With Chords.

PS. I’ve been spending some time on various art and design blogs and also sites like NOTCOTbut does it float and eatsleepdraw recently, so expect an art post sometime in the near future.



a movie script ending

To start off, I just want to say:

I really love 3on3 Basketball.

Not only is it a tournament for my favourite sport, but it’s just an awesome few weeks where everyone comes down to the courts to watch the games. Even though I may not know some of the people that are playing, I just like the atmosphere of it all: how everyone crowds around the court in a nice arc, how the crowd has their favourites and how everyone gets really excited when cool stuff happens. Yeah, I just made it sound so lame. But it’s more awesome than how I describe it.

Today’s games were the epitome of what 3on3 Basketball should be. The first game on at recess was our team (Don, Gabriel, Peter, me) against the year 10s (Joe and co.). Watching Don and Joe go against each other was cool, even though Don was way too dominant, and being able to play while there are a whole lot of people watching is really exhilirating; it just makes it so much more fun. Then there was Aryan’s team (Aryan, Ben, Grubsy, Peter) against Victor’s team (Victor, Michael Liu, Shiva) followed by Swami’s team (Swami, Michael Choi, Milo, Simon) against Sanji’s team. These two games were the most enjoyable 3on3 games I’ve watched for a while- it was awesome and funny at the same time to be watching a whole bunch of non-ballers playing against each other. My favourite player from today had to be Milo. When he hit that three everyone just went off. Awesome.

I mentioned in a previous blog that I have a dog named Tasha. Any dog owner would know how scary it is to lose control of your dog near a really busy road, that is, unless you have a really obedient dog who can walk without a leash. Well, this evening Janet and I went to Dominos for some pizza, and when we walked in there was a man sitting there, waiting for his pizza with his dog- a husky. We didn’t pat it or anything because it would have been a little awkward, so we grabbed our pizza and went to the bus stop across the road to eat and wait for Janet’s bus. About ten minutes after we had sat down, the man in Dominos came out with a pizza and his husky. Something must have happened to the dog’s collar or something, because we saw it take off, running back and forth across Pennant Hills Rd a couple of times. It was frightening to see the cars slow down when they saw it, and I’m sure the dog’s owner must have been scared as hell. The man was holding his pizza and some groceries, and crossed the road to try to get to his dog, who had run towards 7 Eleven. But as he crossed the road, the dog ran back across the road to the Dominos side. We saw it run down the back street near Dominos then back up and then down another street further down Pennant Hills Rd and even into the liquor store and newsagent, where it must have been shooed out of. At this point I think it’s owner must have given up and gone home (we assumed he lived nearby), hoping that the dog would return home on its own. After Janet’s bus came, I went looking for the dog, but it had run down to the K13 memorial. At one point I was about ten metres away from it, but when I tried to call it over and get nearer it turned and ran. It pained me to do it, but when it went round the bend past the memorial, I decided to give up and go home.

I still wonder whether it found its own way home or if its owner found it. I hope so, and even more so because he/she was a really nice dog- a white and grey husky.

Anyway, on a completely unrelated topic…

For anyone who follows MasterChef and/or watched it tonight: I called it.

Tonight I also finished the Adventure Mode for Plants Vs. Zombies. The mini games are easily more fun than the adventure mode.

But that is all for tonight’s blog. I hope the rest of the 3on3 tournament this week is exciting as it was today.




title track

This post is going to be a video post. I suggest you watch every single one of them; I only choose videos to post that I think are worth posting/watching.

I’ve liked Norwegian Recycling ever since I first heard his first mash-up, “How Six Songs Collide”. Norwegian Recycling is Peter Bull, an amateur music producer from Norway who, interestingly enough, currently lives in Byron Bay studing audio engineering. Norwegian Recycling is famous for his mash-ups, where he takes a bunch of popular songs and sticks then together to make one song. He does this by choosing songs with the same chord progression (it’s amazing how many popular songs use the same four chords) and then takes samples of each to make the track. He also mashes the videos of each song together to match up with the lyrics. It’s kind of hard to explain and I’ve done a terrible job explaining it, so you’ll just have to watch and listen for yourself. Below is the aforementioned “How Six Songs Collide”, which includes “I’m Yours” (Jason Mraz), “Collide” (Howie Day), “Superman” (Five For Fighting), “Always Getting Over You” (Angela Ammons), “All That I Need” (Boyzone) and “Here Without You” (3 Doors Down).

This next one is “8 Become 1”, the eight songs being: “Where Is The Love” (Black Eyed Peas), “Crash And Burn” (Savage Garden), “She Will Be Loved” (Maroon 5), “You’re Beautiful” (James Blunt), “It’s OK!” (Atomic Kitten), “With Or Without You” (U2), “Summercat” (Billie The Vision & The Dancers) and “Fair” (Remy Zero).

His most recent mash-up is “Viva La Viral”. I’m sure you can guess what the main song in this one is. It also includes “When You Were Young” (The Killers), “Because Of You” (Kelly Clarkson), “Livin’ On A Prayer” (Bon Jovi), “Walking On A Dream” (Empire Of The Sun), “Starlight” (Muse), “All Of Your Love” (Hellogoodbye).

Many of these have been dubbed “4-Chord Songs”, since each component song uses the same four chords throughout, making the mash-up possible. The Axis Of Awesome, an Australian musical comedy trio, did their own of this on The Footy Show. I really love this one because they use like a million songs. They’re not bad singers for a comedy trio, either.

One of the songs in “Viva La Viral” was “Walking On A Dream” by Empire Of The Sun. I’ve taken a liking to this band recently after hearing them on the radio then downloading their album. The first song I heard of theirs was “We Are The People”, from their first and only album Walking On A Dream, and I really liked it. Empire Of The Sun is an Australian electronic music duo and their style could be described as MGMT-esque; the two bands are very, very similar. They also have a sort of costume theme that could be described as quirky, to say the least, but I actually like their weirdness, even though it’s reminiscent of drag queens and Mardi Gras.

walkingonadream

orb

empireofthesun

Hmm, I noticed that all three artists I mentioned in this blog are Australian. It seems that we do have some talent, after all. And I mean real talent, not the kind that originates from Neighbours or Australian Idol. No disrespect to those two shows (I used to watch Idol every week, before it got boring), but I’m kind of sick of Natalie Bassingthwaighte and Jessica Mauboy constantly playing on the radio.

But I’ll stop there, before I go into a rant about mainstream music. Maybe another day.

I hope I didn’t overload you with song titles in this blog, but here’s another one:

“Title Track” is from We Have The Facts And We’re Voting Yes by Death Cab For Cutie.

Wow, it’s 2:30am and I don’t feel even the slightest bit tired. I woke up at noon today, so that might be the reason. I’m used to spending about seventeen hours awake each day (8am to 1am), so that’s probably why I don’t feel tired right now since I’ve only been awake for fourteen hours. But then this is pretty normal for a weekend, catching up on sleep by staying up and sleeping in.



tomorrow
May 22, 2009, 11:59 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’m not really sure what I should blog about today. It rained and we got our reports. I got most of my orange form signed and enjoyed a double free when I would usually have Extension II English.

I kind of like the rain. It’s cool and refreshing and it feels really nice to eat or drink something hot while it’s raining. As long as I’m not getting wet, it’s all good. Except for those days when I really want to play basketball. Then, I hate rain.

I played that game that everyone’s been playing today: Plants Vs. Zombies. There’s only so much you can do with a game with that name. I kind of feel like a zombie right now- it’s very late.

I don’t think I have anything more to say tonight.

I should sleep earlier. It’s tomorrow already, even though the time fibs.