Nice, green, sweeping field of padi...Melaka, near Esther's mom home, Semabok. Actually it served as a research area on the effect of certain growth fertilisers on the padi. I had never been so closed to a padi field before...I had seen it when I drove past some massive fields, up to Alor Setar in the Northern state of Kedah. To watch it up close, with a slight breeze gently sweeping it, almost in rhythm, was so soothing...
Wednesday, 31 December 2008
Had been listening to these legends for the past few weeks...
a) John Coltrane ~ A Love Supreme (Deluxe Edition). Very apt for turbulent times like these...let's be thankful for what we got.
b) Louis Armstrong ~ The Essential series + The Color Collection series. Nothing ushered in New Year Day better than a big dose of Satchmo!
c) Duke Ellington ~ The Essential series. The Duke sets the ball rollin!
d) Glenn Miller ~ The Essential series. The Major sets the dance floor swingin!
Another 12 hours and 08 will be history...resolution time!a) Save up.
b) Manage the spending.
c) Reduce ciggerettes intake. (Actually Esther wants me to quit totally ~ dateline after 12am tonight).d) Exercise + healthier lifestyle.
I think that should be it...hhmmm, basically same as previous year...but I will try again in 09. Ain't gonna give up.
Tuesday, 30 December 2008
Finally brought Esther, Chloe and Dylan back to Melaka last Friday after postponing it for the past 5 months. Well, it ain't easy to plan for a trip if there are kids...Esther's mom had been pestering me to bring them back. I should. Esther's dad also just came back from Laos...he hadn't seen Dylan yet. As usual, Esther's mom cooked some great food, especially the sambal, really appetizing. Also, took lots of Coke as usual. But it ain't easy on my skin. It happened that the Portuguese Settlement was throwing some Christmas celebration and this year, un-usually, the PM and CM were attending, thus resulting in several roads being closed and traffic jams. We didn't get out much, with all the tourists from everywhere pouring into the town, but I did get the opportunity to try the famous Semabok Roti John and Satay nearby the house. And the satay costs only MYR0.40 per stick! I need to pay at least MYR 0.70 in KL for a decent one! Chloe also gets re-aquinted with her cousin sister, Nicole, daugther of Paulene and Kah Yau, my sister in law. Nicole can be rather notoriously mischievious as well as kinda irritating with her squeeky mousy voice but she's a great kid...I think. Chloe cried as usual coz she couldn't remember anyone there but settled down on day 2. Dylan's doing great, smilling and goo goo ga ga with everybody. Overall, nice and enjoyable trip!
Monday, 29 December 2008
As usual, every Christmas eve, we would go to some place for a nice dinner. This year, we decided to drop by 1-Utama for our dinner at one of the Thais restaurant called Thai Noodle House. It served some nice noodles as well as Thai dishes. Also, we decided to pick up Uncle Chye who was working as a promoter at one of the electrical goods retailer branches there. He still wait for his own car to be approved, so for the past few days, mom and I had been serving as his chauffer ;). There was hugh crowd there at 1-U. I reckoned most people was doing a last minute shopping or waiting for the countdown. Both Chloe and Dylan were having a great time. Chloe was running about and occasionally launched into an impromptu singing session whilst Dylan was going all excited looking at the passer by with his baby talk. Of course mom wasn't that pleased with Chloe's highly energetic running about..
Wednesday, 24 December 2008
I used to watch alot of movies at the cinema, mostly with bunch of mates and if its really good, then on my own. I remembered price for a ticket costs MYR3. "First Class" special (means on the 1st level foyer) costs MYR5. Of course that was more than 20 years ago. Mostly in Penang. There's no GSE nor Cineplex, only Rex, Odeon, Federal, Capitol. And it would smelt of funky stale aromas of sweat, BO and ciggerettes (yes, the rule was not enforced and smokers who craved for a stick will light it away in the midst of Rambo mowing down some VCs). Peanut shells, kuacis and sotongs' wrappers would be everywhere on the floor. Hygiene was the furthest thing away from the mind of a cinema operator. I particularly liked the snack where they had steamed bun, like a hot dog bun, sandwiched with either bak kua or chicken floss, then top up with some deliciously tasty gravy. There used to be someone with a tray of snacks and ice-creams moving around the cinema hawking those stuffs as well. Worse was when someone stuck a stale bubblegum or Wrigleys on the seat or threw on the floor whereby after the movie on the way out, you realised that the traction of your MYR250 Reebok Pump (it was in vogue back then) had increased tremendously. If you sat on that thing for nearly 90 minutes, it would take forever to wash it out. And the seat...heh, the self folding seat's spring was so unpredictable, sometimes it could be coiled so tight that it would fold you in to half if you don't positioned yourself properly. Sometimes, it would be so loose, that if you were late to enter, the moment you found your seat in the pitch darkness, it would came down with a deftening thud, which of course ellicted some unsavoury muttering from fellow moviegoers. Another memorable moment was the cinema ushers. They usually held a torchlight to assist moviegoers to find their seat numbers. But more often than not, they would shine those lights directly onto your face, blinding you in the process. Or some funky ones would rotate their lights, turning the hall into some sort of pseudo disco hall. I remembered going with my cousins back in Teluk Intan, the Rex cinema there even had tikus scampering here and there. Also, should bring a can of Morteen to keep the mosquitos away. Posters were painted instead of graphically rendered accurate work of art. But the painters were not bad then. Its art, if you could find one. Pop art I think. And there would always be some discounts during the last leg of the movies' run. It would say "Last Few Days", then "Last Day". That's then.
Now, cinemas are known as cineplex, with at least 10 screening halls under one roof. Special halls come with massaging chairs and reclining seats, with a price of course. Several movies are being offered simultanously, with no warning of when it is going to end its run. The tickets were imprinted with codes instead of hand written marvel on a piece of flimsy paper. No more unsavoury smells (although the person next to you could be heavily covered with the oh so boring CK One, enough to CK-fied the entire row), no more rodents (except human versions ~ usually a) when watching some cult movies like say, Star Wars, the so-called self appointed expert/nerd would furiously give comment to his fellow nerd peers, often loud enough to derail all the excitement of a storyline, b) screaming gfs who just like to outscream the actresses at every turn, c) laughing maniacs, who laughed at the top of their lung at comedies, d) vibrators, pricks who like to shake their legs or kick the back of your seats).
Now, would I pay for the proposed MYR 20 for foreign movies instead of the current MYR 10? Maybe...but that movie better be darn good! And cheaper rate for domestic movies, to boost the box office intake? I think they are missing the point. And the point is, if somehow the domestic movies could be as good, or better, it doesn't matter how you gonna charge the audience to re-coup the costs...
Sunday, 21 December 2008
Come to think of it, I have never missed a single Pixar animated movie...irregardless whether I would catch it during premier or wait for a couple of months and get the DVD. From Toy Story to Cars, Pixar's comedy laced but ultimately about humanistic values with slight drama movies always have a place in my movies collection. The latest I watched last night with Esther was Wall-E and it hit right in the center of my heart. Essentially a love story from the vintage times (think those 30s love stories where innocence still rules) with the ultimate message about ecology conservation and the believe in positive, human values. Wall-E reminded me of Short Circuit too. And it made me search high and low for a previously un~heard of version of Edith Piaf's "La Vie En Rose" by Louis Armstrong. Excellent!
I ponder "So what's next for me" to sort of "close" my obsession with denims? Let's see...the most important thing is to take a break and allow my exhausted resources to resume to normal level...that's one. Two, I missed out Evisu No. 0 Lot # 2001 offering at their webstore as it was sold out faster than two shakes of a lamb's tail and I am extremely annoyed for losing this sort of opportunity (the last and only No.0 denim was issued waaaaayyy back in 1999, it had since became sort of a myth). So, maybe to wait another 10 years before another pair...what about LVC 501XX 1917 which came highly recommended? Hhhmmm...or a pair of Lee x Real McCoy collab 101? Possibly. Always curious about Lee jean. Denime 20th annivesary? Sold out. Pure Blue Japan ai-001? Too plain (where have all the arcuates gone to???) 45 rpm Jomon? Too Bohemianly expensive! Fullcount 0105 1953 cut? Hhhmmm...maybe. Flatheads? 3005XX 50s cut seemed nice...Warehouse Duckdigger Treasure The Secret? Warehouse always stick to the original idea for repro vintage...not sure. Sugarcane 40500-ai?...maybe I will really take a break. All these denims and no tops to match. LVC announced for 2009 of a slew of releases of past decades related off white t-shirt to match the jeans...maybe I would start that. Or get that Type 1 jacket from Evisu...come to think of it, the hottest upstart right now would be Ooe Yofukuten & Co. Based on the current attentions they are enjoying, I reckoned it would be a matter of time before they go overground. Their main strength it seemed, is they would "tailor-make" your own specified design, provided they have the material for it...maybe this is next one I would get, we shall see.
Time move fast. Coz Winter Solstice is here, where glutonuous rice balls are made and added with gula melaka or just plain to observed the arrival of winter according to the Chinese custom. It also means everyone is going to be one year older according to the Chinese calender! These tong yuen are then boiled and left to simmer in a pot of syrupy soup/water with pandan leaves, often, gingers are added for the extra kick and therapeutic properties as well. Chloe and Suetch busied themselves with the flour used for these rice balls. Also, food colorings, usually representing some auspicious meanings, are added to make a rather colorful combination of rice balls. Esther made a rather great looking miniaturised "naked plump woman" for Chloe and Suetch but one of the miniature's breast was plucked off by them. I tried to make an image of a turtle for both but it turned out more to be like Oogie Woogie from The Nightmare Before Christmas than anything else!
Later we went to a nursery where Esther bought some pots, soils for replanting her plants. The road conditions were pretty bad as the highway's still far from completion. Chloe actually got car sicked and threw up when we got home but she's fine after a quick rest. She got a runny nose though...must be too cold as it had begun to rain again in the middle of the night after a week.
Saturday, 20 December 2008
The 877 is Eternal's 10th Anniversary version of the famous 811 cut. It is dyed with natural indigo. The most striking feature of this pair is the vertical and horizontal yarns interweaved with one another, creating a distinctive appearance due to the deliberate uneveness in the hand dying process. It is limited but not sure to how many pairs, for domestic release only. Weighing at a staggering 18.5oz, this is the heaviest jean I owned. There is the standard red tag with the "E" logo on the back pocket. Red line selvedge. The patch is subtlely distinctive, very creamy and nice leathery tan to it, with just the brand name and description. Comes with a handkerchief, which I think will probably used to tuck into the back pocket for that "greaser" look. Then again, maybe not.
Studio D'Artisan is one of the oldest denim repro brand. The brand is usually represented by an Oki Nii, a pig. This model, with cut based on their famous SD101 version ie sit on lower waist and slimmer straight, weight at 15oz, is made of 100% Zimbawee cottons and hand dyed with polygonum tinctorum natural indigo from Tokushima Prefecture for a staggering 28 times! It looked almost black. Both patches are made from cordovan leather. One is placed within the left hand back pocket. I am not sure why SDA wants to do that. Both back pockets are lined with additional fabric, like Evisu. There is no red tag, but instead a brand tag could be found on the top coin pocket. The belt loop on the back is off center, like 501XX '55. The selvedge is pinkish in color. It came in a carton box, as well as a silk screened denim banner as freebie. Limited to 161 pairs, domestic market release only.
Friday, 19 December 2008
Samurai Jeans has gained tremendous momentum in terms of brand exposure and recognition since it's establishment back in '98. Like most repro companies, the shift in direction from the original vision has a lot of purists taking up arms in protest. But that doesn't mean a compromise in quality, which Samurai has plenty. For a start, it's flagship model, the S510XX series, has various weight from basic 15 oz to a staggering 21oz. It then drilled down to the details like type of indigo, cotton etc etc. Then there are also the Zero series line, the Jin series line and another off shoot called Samurai Motor Club series. And new variants keep popping up every year, which I think created a bit of problem for me to choose (especially when I am on tight budget) which version to get.
I managed to narrow down to S643XX-AI and S5000AI-10SP as final choices, also a start for me to get accquainted with Samurai.
I managed to narrow down to S643XX-AI and S5000AI-10SP as final choices, also a start for me to get accquainted with Samurai.
First would be S643XX-AI. This pair is called "Musashi", based on the legendary late 16th Century samurai Miyamoto Musashi. Fabric weight is at 17 oz, cotton type unknown. Natural indigo dyed, probably using Indigofera. No sure if it was hand dyed. Thread type, brown and yellow with the distinctive "sword's edge" selvedge interlined with silver and gold. Cut based on S3000VX, which means a repro cut ie high waist, straight, loose and baggy. Comes with suspender Zero "pines" buttons, buckle back with cinch, and crotch rivet. Deer leather patch shown only Musashi, with his famous rival Sasaki Kojiro being absent (Kojiro was "honoured" with S526XX-II). True to Samurai Jean's tradition, each patch depicts different settings of the famous fight between them. I could observed that Musashi just arrived at the scene, the sun has just risen and the tide is high. Limited to 300 pairs, domestic market release only.
The S5000AI-10SP model was released as the second pair in conjunction to Samurai's 10th Anniversary celebration. The first pair is S0510XX-10SP. Cut according to S5000VX ie low rise, straight leg, based on 66 type. Fabric weight is 17oz but cotton type unknown. Natural indigo warp threads were dyed using kase zome technique up to 24 times, interwoven with bamboo ink dyed weft yarns, creating a grayish dark blue effect on the fabric. I suppose the indigo dye is derived from polygonum tinctorum instead of indigofera but this is not verified. They did something different during oxidization process as well but I do not remember.
Special "gold" plated steel buttons, with designs randomly inserted based on the 3 main line, Samurai, Zero, Jin. This pair have both Samurai and Jin buttons. I was hoping for Zero "pine trees" buttons. Both side and back pocket bags come with silk-screened cotton and hemp fabric featuring some "kimono" imprints.
The selvedge still has that "sword's edge" motif ie red with silver speckle but interwined additionally with gold lame as well. All threads are gold, with the arcuates particularly very thick and stands out.
Finally, the deer leather patch is gold leaf embossed with a "shogun". Unfortunately, I am hoping that, being a special model, the leather would at least be the famous "3mm" thick variety. But that's alright.
Limited to 300 pairs, domestic market release only with a free denim pouch which looked like an ultra mini sized tote bag...will save it for Chloe I guess. Gold, believe in your soul...;)