the passenger seat


a day late

So I promised on my Tumblr blog that I would post a big blog today about my adventures at the Anberlin concert and the USYD Open Day. But, honestly, I’m just way too wasted right now to write much. And, it’s already been done by Janet on her blog. Basically the whole recount there is exactly what I would have written if I had recounted it too.

But I do have a few things to say about the past few days. Firstly, I’m pretty dead right now. My whole body aches; my arms from warding off the people around me in the mosh pit last night, my legs from standing and keeping my balance last night and walking all day today and my ears are still ringing like crazy from last night.

The most pleasant part about the Anberlin concert at the UNSW Roundhouse last night was the fat chicks and guys. There is nothing better than a 20-something overweight man with his t-shirt soaked in sweat pressing up against you. Or, as mentioned in Janet’s blog, bushy-haired girls stuffing their locks into your face.

But I won’t dwell on the bad side of the concert. It’s an experience; something that you’ve got to try at least once in your life (I wouldn’t mind doing it again). Speaking of which, did I see it on someone’s “Things To Do Before I Die” list? Anyways, the whole getting crushed thing was totally worth it. The three bands: The Wherewolves, The Academy Is… and of course Anberlin put on an awesome show; all three had great showmanship. I was pretty surprised about the first band, The Wherewolves. They’re Aussies from Brisbane and they were pretty damn good; I liked most of the songs in their set. I think Janet and Rohan both liked them also.

I haven’t listened to The Academy Is… for some time now, so I wasn’t really able to appreciate them as much as I could, although I did recognise a few songs. I think at that point I was just too tired from the pushing-fest just before their set.

And then there was Anberlin. Wow. The pains of the mosh pit and the thirst that I had built up was all worth it when they came on. When Stephen Christian walked on stage it was the best thing ever. Their setlist was as follows (the order may be wrong, since I found this list on the net):

  • “The Resistance” – New Surrender
  • “A Whisper & A Clamour” – Cities
  • “Disappear” – New Surrender
  • “Breaking” – New Surrender
  • “Adelaide” – Cities
  • “The Unwinding Cable Car” – Cities
  • “True Faith” – A New Order/Joy Division Cover
  • “A Day Late” – Never Take Friendship Personal
  • “Paperthin Hymn” – Never Take Friendship Personal
  • “Hello Alone” – Cities
  • “Dismantle. Repair” – Cities
  • “Inevitable” – Cities
  • “Feel Good Drag” – Blueprints For The Blackmarket/New Surrender
  • “Godspeed” – Cities
  • “*fin” – Cities

I was so so happy when “A Day Late” started. It was pretty much the one song that I wanted them to play; and they did; and it was awesome. So, so awesome. I had so much fun singing along to it with everyone else in the crowd.

I have a new-found respect for performers like Anberlin. They literally go insane and rock out (in the best possible way; not the gay punk rock emo way) for an hour and a bit, with no rest. Stephen Christian especially. He basically sings as hard as he can in every song, and yet somehow he doesn’t lose his voice; and his voice is bloody awesome. I was singing along and I lost it after only a few songs.

My life is that much closer to being complete after seeing Anberlin in concert. All I need now is to catch Death Cab For Cutie…

Now, onto today!

So it was the University of Sydney Open Day today, and it was quite interesting. Long story short, I think I’m leaning towards International & Global Studies/Law right now. It seemed pretty interesting, but I still need to find out a bit more about it.

Went shopping with Janet and had a look at some camera bags and bought myself a t-shirt.

Dinner was really good; ate at a Japanese restaurant called Wagaya and the atmosphere of the place was great with cheap-priced food. Shared three dishes with Janet: Korean-style octopus pancake, squid and cod roe (Japanese-style) spaghetti and tempura udon. Good food. Yum.

Oh, forgot to mention! I drove by myself for the first time today, after getting my P’s on Monday. It’s a good feeling. Granted, I did only drive to Epping Station, where I parked and caught the train to the city, but still fun.

Wow, anyone notice the decline in my blogging quality as it gets later and I get more tired? That’s really all I have the energy to say about the Open Day. Wait, hang on… Didn’t I say I wasn’t going to say much about the concert? Ah well!

I did take some photos today. Check out the set on my Flickr:

29-08-09: USYD Open Day

I’ll have more up tomorrow (today?) after I’ve processed them.

Don’t forget to keep checking my Tumblr blog! I update it more than I do here (albeit with much shorter posts and mostly photos).

A Scent Of Evergreen

But until next time, take it easy! Trials are over! We can relax! Well, at least for a little while longer…

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spitting dragon falls
August 21, 2009, 11:16 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,

Hey everyone, hope you’re all well (gee I sound like Nat) now that everyone’s exams are over (well, except for those few stragglers who were away). Just the speech to go (which is practically a copy/paste of our essays anyway) and then no more school assessments ever. Ever. Wow, we’re almost at the end! But until then, I think we all deserve to take some time off.

So I did just that by going down to the waterfall/creek at the Wildlife Sanctuary near my house, as mentioned in yesterday’s blog.

You know if your exams are over and you have a spare day, you’re meant to sleep in and catch up on all the sleep you’ve lost in the last month? Well, on my first day of freedom, I awoke earlier than I have over the past few weeks. Set my alarm to 7:30am, as opposed to 8:00am for exams. And I am not a morning person at all; I hate waking up early. But alas, all in the name of photography. I guess this shows my… dedication? Heh. Anyway, so the whole point of waking up this early was to have sufficient time to get ready and eat and all that while still having a fair amount of time to photograph before meeting Janet after her VA exam at 10:40.

I left the house at about 8:45am (yes, I take ages to do stuff in the morning) and headed down the road to the Wildlife Sanctuary, which my family just calls “the bush” and thus as I will be referring to it henceforth. Wait, I tried to say that in a cool way but it didn’t come out right. Ah well. Anyways, so with me I carried my camera around my neck, with 55-200mm lens and Hoya CPL Filter attached, and my backpack, which carried: 18-55m lens, lens hood, filter case, iPod and a towel just in case I had any boo-boos with dropping stuff (or myself) in the water. I didn’t actually end up using the iPod at all, since it was nice to just soak in the calmness and quiet of the bush.

It felt good to be outside. I hadn’t done anything relaxing like this for about a month, and I actually hadn’t been down to the bush since like last year. Yeah, ’tis the sad life of a year 12 student.

I took a few photos along the way, but overall it was pretty uninspiring; just the same trees and stuff all along the track. Not much in terms of variety. But when I got to the waterfall, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was flowing a little. I expected no flow at all since it hasn’t rained for the past few days, but I guess I got lucky. So I got to work and set up my tripod and camera and whatnot and tried to take some photos.

It wasn’t as easy as I had imagined. I thought it would be a simple matter of setting up the tripod wherever, playing with the settings on my camera to get it right, and then just shoot all over the place. Well, it didn’t go like that at all. I had a few difficulties, and this was the most difficult subject I’ve photographed so far in my short career as an amateur photographer.

The problems were many. Firstly, the lighting. Being a relatively dense forest, the trees shaded the low morning sun, and so the area around the waterfall and its pool was quite dark. Secondly, I was using my brand new Hoya CPL Filter, which I’ve never used or even taken a photo with before, and so it took me a little while to get used to the way it worked and how to shoot with it. I think the main problem was probably the tripod. It’s a crappy tripod that my dad bought from Malaysia many years ago at the request of a family friend, but it turned out that it was too crappy for that friend. I now realise why he rejected it. The legs of it were shaky and the head had no maneuverability whatsoever. But I guess it was better than nothing. Coupled with this was the fact that there were only very few flat spots where the tripod could be placed. All of this meant that it was very hard to get the composition I wanted, not that I’m making excuses or anything. The last problem was the subject matter itself. Being a waterfall, it was obviously moving. But the good is that waterfalls look best when they’re taken with long exposures so that the water “blurs” into a white stream, so that was okay.

Remember how I said I packed a towel in case I had any boo-boos? Well, sure enough I did. After I had used my lens hood and put my filter on, I put both the hood and the filter case in my jacket pocket. Yes, they fell into the water. But no harm done; they’re both just bits of plastic.

So yes, therein lies my adventures at the waterfall. When it was about 9:50 I headed back home and had a quick look at the photos before changing and heading to school to meet Janet.

Oh, I almost forgot! On my way back home, there was a cat wandering the bush tracks. So I tried to snap some shots of it. But this was made very difficult, since it kept walking up to me and rubbing against my leg. Does that mean it likes me? I had to keep running like ten metres from it before I could take some quick shots as it walked towards me from my original position. I actually kind of liked it; it was a fun game between the two of us.

So, you might be asking where the fruits of my expedition lie. Head to the Flickr set, linked below:

Hunts Creek Flickr Set

Unfortunately I’ve reached the limit for Flickr uploads this month (100mb), so I only got to upload my favourite ones. The rest are in a Photobucket album here. I’ll upload them to my Flickr when the limit resets next month.

The creek is called Hunts Creek, but I think I want to rename it to “Spitting Dragon Waterfall”. Or maybe “Crocodile Rock” would be more appropriate (see what I did there?). I hope I’m not the only one who sees the resemblance. Check out the sets to see what I mean. Specifically this photo.

No song title for this blog. The last one was “In Relief” by John Frusciante, off his album Shadows Collide With People. Don’t worry, I didn’t expect anyone to pick that one up.

Anyway, I’m not sure how often I’ll blog in the future, but I’ll try to post whenever there’s something worth blogging about. Remember my daily then two-daily routine? Yeah, screw that. It’s way too hard to keep up in the midst of year 12.

So for now, that’s all folks!

PS. I felt oddly out of character in this blog. Did anyone else notice?



in relief

Wow, it’s been so long that I think I’ve forgotten how to blog. Ah well, I’ll see what I can do!

So Trials are FINALLY over. I cannot stress how relieved I am right now. Four weeks ago I was thinking to myself, “Man, I CANNOT WAIT until Trials are over. There are SO MANY THINGS TO DO, but it’s SO FAR AWAY.” Well, that time is finally here (and I apologise to those people who still have exams tomorrow, you may stop reading now) and I am very, very relieved.

Usually I’m not stressed at all about exams; I seem to cruise through exam week and they seem to come and go real quickly. Well, that’s what it feels like compared to what Trials were like. I think the magnitude of these exams hit me for the first time, and I put more pressure on myself to perform than usual. Especially after a few below average results last term (science research). Anyways, I really hate talking about exams on my blog, so I shall move on from that.

I had heaps of plans going through my mind about what I was going to do come post-Trials. Having purchased my camera in the middle of the holidays, I really only had that week to play with it a bit (albeit through some studying), and then it had to be heads down in the weeks leading up to Trials. Well, let me say now that the “heads down” thing did not work at all; I found myself procrastinating even the night before exams, even though I still had things to learn. Anyway, digressing, it seemed that I chose the perfect time to do a lot of things. I bought a camera. I got into photography. I started following a whole lot of photography blogs. I found a whole lot of photography DIY projects. Crap, it’s all photography. And all of those had to come just before Trials. Great. So I’ve been itching for the past three weeks to start up those DIY projects, browse Flickr for hours on end, read more and more blogs (I have so many unread feeds!) and basically just go out and shoot heaps.

So, the first bit of fun came today, after my Physics exam. Went with the boys to Parramatta Westfield to watch Inglourious Basterds, and brought the camera along. Had some lols along the way, including A-fat (crap, I typed A-fart the first time) ghosting some really hard dude in a wifebeater and sunnies with more tattoos than bare skin on his arms (although he was kind of short). What happened was the guy finally noticed, and A-fat casually walked back to the group of us like fifteen metres back, and the guy was full calling on A-fat, calling him names and stuff. He spat in A-fat’s direction, and when A-fat said “I’m sorry” he was like “Yeah, sorry is right!” Then when we got on the bus and passed by him, he did that pinky thing you see on those ads for speeding. The whole thing was so hilarious from my perspective, and we were all trying to hold in our laughs in fear of getting beat up.

So we get to Parramatta and do the usual eating/walking around thing that we always do before movies. I headed to the watch shop for a bit to get my watchband resized and to replace the battery in Janet’s watch, and while waiting I went and browsed the camera shop for a bit (I’m looking for a camera backpack).

While eating, we persuaded Bryan to eat his first ever Oporto Bondi Burger with chillis. And a triple fillet at that (since that was what Deva and I ordered). A truly momentous occasion.

So the movie. I must say, I was quite pleasantly surprised. I hadn’t really heard anything about the movie before I watched it except that Brad Pitt was in it, and that was good enough for me. But I soon found out that it was directed by Quentin Tarantino and that it would be a Pulp Fiction “chapter”-style movie, where there would be a few seemingly unrelated chapters that all come together in the end. It was great. Some parts (like the beginning) were really gripping, and the climax was just insane. But I won’t spoil it; it’s definitely a must-see.

Anyway, I think that’s all I have to say today. After I post this I might try one of the DIY projects I’ve been meaning to try: the DIY Macro Studio. I’ll see how that goes and take some product shots of some of my stuff.

Tomorrow morning I will (hopefully) be heading the the Wildlife Sanctuary right near my house (you know the one; it’s the one we walked through once for junior sport (I think) and the one that rec-sport people still wak through (I think)). That’s what I reckon, because last Wednesday I was at home studying and I saw people walk past my house. Anyway, I will be going there to shoot the creek and bushland and to test my new Hoya CPL Filter (refer to my Tumblr post). I was hoping that it would rain today so that the waterfall would be flowing, but to no avail. I’ll see how it goes, though.

But until then (might blog tomorrow), adieu!

Good luck to all who have exams tomorrow!

PS. Visit the Flickr set from today!



thank you
August 8, 2009, 6:34 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

This post is a BIG BIG thank you to everyone who contributed to my birthday present and sent me birthday wishes today and yesterday.

For writing messages on the big birthday canvas: Bryan (x2), Milo, Michael, Deva, Marcus, Mindy, Swami, Sharon, Kelly, Leeanne, Winnie, Peter, James (for the drawing, rather), SY, Simon, Gabriel, Larissa, Jackie, Belle, Eddy, Phat, Sandy, Grubsy, Doug, Thashan, Michelle, Ben, John (unfortunately I think your message was lost before it got stuck on).

Wow, upon typing out that list it makes me realise just how many friends I have here at Ruse; and that’s not even all of them. It so wonderful to know that we’re all so tight with eachother, and I think Belle’s message pretty much sums it up: “keep being that wonderful sentimental kid you are”. I guess that’s the reason that I love this gift so much, because it’s something I’ll be able to keep for the rest of my life to remember all my high school friends. Thank you all so much.

Oh wait, I forgot to thank one person: Janet.

Thank you so, so much for putting together the whole thing. Your art skills are incomparable and the whole thing looks so nice. You’re wonderful.

The canvas is happily sitting on my wall right above my bed.

canvas

Thank you also to all those that sent me birthday wishes today: James, Deva, Phat, SY, Milo, Leeanne, Bosco, Bravin, Aryan, Jack, Jackie, Thashan, Vinson, Victor, Kerry, John, Chrishan, Joseph, Matt, Simon, Annie, Don, Bryan. Oh, and also to those people who said “Happy Birthday for tomorrow” yesterday.

Although she doesn’t read my blog, thanks also to Yaso (a family friend) who made me a beautiful cake today!

cake

So, hmm. Eighteen. What to do? Apparently I’m a legal adult now, although I don’t really feel it. And for those of you who are wondering: no, unfortunately I did not attempt to buy alcohol today. Maybe some other time!

But anyway, I must be off now. Good luck to you all for your trials in these coming two weeks. Don’t stress too much!

Take care everyone.

PS. This is my first ever blog without a song name as the title! Amazing!