Resolutions?

Posted by Ray | Posted on 11:47 PM

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Have they really worked out for me? Last year I mentioned the need for carefully thought out resolutions, avoiding overly-specific one that serve little purpose and skim shallow depths of our potential.

The year has been, beyond a shadow of a doubt, incredibly eventful, so much has happened that I can barely remember the events as being just last year (not an excuse for my gradually fading memory box). I can remember the incredible Indonesia trip with friends that are literally for life;


the Convocation where you realize the years of groaning and moaning about exams and assignments are at an end (for most) and that the people you've shared a significant part of your life with are to pace their own path, diverging from the point where all had once stood still at;


to some really life-changing events;


some new beginnings:


growing out of just being an introvert playing with strings in a bedroom;



terrible first working experience (but experience nonetheless);

two concerts in quick succession;



as well as some stuffs I may have forgotten about, I'd say I'm amazed and grateful to be blessed with enough brain cells to even remember these events!

It has been a really eventful year with plenty of bumps and humps (sorry, desperate to make it rhyme here), and I can only hope that I would be blessed enough to carry on with having another great year ahead.

2011, I await.

Tension

Posted by Ray | Posted on 5:05 AM

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When two forces act in opposing directions, the resulting effect is tension. More relevantly, when 'what is' isn't 'what should be', there is a discrepancy, and as these 'forces' move against each other, voila, tension.

Although I had mentioned about having a more optimistic and lighter post, I can see that it would be inaccurate for me to portray the events taking place in my life and the feelings I have about these events in such a manner. To be honest and bottomline it, I feel crappy.

Time has faded some anger and resentment, but my need to reconcile these emotions and my displeasure at being given the short end of the stick is still at tension. This has a lot to do with a recent 'failure' in a music project.

I feel strongly that music is both objective and subjective, contrary to popular opinion that it is purely subjective. The objective element of it is why I have no qualms about stepping up to anyone's face and point out, "Your music (taste) sucks, and it is true" if my limited knowledge and understanding indicates so (how's that for a tensed situation).

Unfortunately, I am not in the company of many in this aspect of being able to 'sense' and discriminate a fine musical 'wine' from a stale house variety, and thus, it is natural for me to be disappointed when decisions about music is placed in the hands of incapable judges (which there are many).

Simplified? I am disgusted with the musical taste and ignorance of the general masses. Talented musicians, I see them being homeless and playing to no one on the streets. Undeserving, limited and retarded entertainers (looking at you J.Beaver, and you too, Ca$ha) earning millions and millions, solely capitalizing on the vulnerable gullible masses who just can't get enough of trash. What a tension exists due to this discrepancy in justly rewarding and acknowledging the rightfully deserving.

Things do seem to be going well here onwards, have found a job at Sunway Group. Hopefully this is the right step forth. Would hope for breakthrough in musical pursuits as well, for people to really sit up and take notice, because I'm sure the music I'm involved in is far from crap.

Pleases me and unsettles me (another tension) to see many of my friends being blessed in their jobs and lives, affording progressively finer lifestyles. No idea if such a life is for me, but time will tell. I'll wait.

Ebb

Posted by Ray | Posted on 3:36 AM

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The unemployment statistic in Malaysia for the month of August is at 362,100 according to Labour Force Survey, Department of Statistics, Malaysia. Not too sure what the number is in October, but hey, +1 to it. Recently quit job as I found out that my EPF is not being paid despite being stated in my pay slip.

The experience has been pretty good, although I'm definitely not on same page as the management, I believe I learned more in my 4 months than most fresh graduates had in their first jobs. Was great to know that my effort and development was noticed as well, although I don't get any tangible rewards for it. Had it been more stable of a company, I'd imagine myself doing pretty well in terms of career progression. I guess it wasn't meant to be, so from the bottom again I go.

Have not been having the best of times, financial worries augmented by having no job. The pressure manifests itself in my daily life, so much so that I'm beginning to feel like something in me has changed. Perhaps its just me thinking too much. But I do feel as though I'm much lesser of what I used to be.

There are perks afforded by being jobless though, I do feel it is time to take a break and start playing music more regularly. I enjoy the extra sleep I've been getting as well, it's been so long since I had a good night's sleep.

There's a new addition to the random sounds I have in my head which I put up in the Sounds that I Hear tab at the side. Perhaps inspired by events in the past few weeks, which I can't sufficiently express through any other means.

Will post a more upbeat update soon, many more positive happenings have took place. Watch for that.

Keretapi Tanah Melayu

Posted by Ray | Posted on 9:16 AM

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What a sad mode of transportation.

I decided to take it to work for the first time today, and boy, do I feel like ripping the head off my IT Exec for even uttering the suggestion. I actually went early to avoid the peak/rush hour crowd, but hey, typical, it was late. So the usual crowd that goes into the KTM is multiplied at approximately a 2:1 ratio.

There was some dude who managed to knock my back pack off my shoulders and I spent the whole half hour ride having to carry it in one hand while trying not to accidentally fondle any of the smelly males who got their scents all over me which I can still smell as I'm typing this right now. Oh, and I am dead certain people would actually climb aboard the roof if the security actually let them. Can't blame them, when the frequency of stops as well as amount of space in the 'train' is as how it is.

And I have no freaking idea why guys who know the train is packed, point their male genitals at females in front of them while being stuck in a sardine can. Burn in hell* for your ignorance or just plain sick minds, dicks.

For the extra money I can save on this alternative-to-walking, I think heck, take my money. Take whatever is left of my measly savings. The plain incompetence that the KTM reeks of from the very first impression to the stench of the ride and everything else (ticketing, staffing, facilities e.g. seats and space, etc.) makes me sick to my guts. Literally.

Parents, please don't ever permit your daughters on this molest-o-contraption. Makes no sense when your daughters actually have a curfew at the same time to avoid 'untoward incidences' when you let them board the grope-train.

Please pass this rant on to parents that you know, unless you think molest and sexual harassment is a joke.

Or if you believe the KTM is one.


*No prophet will save you for being this darn stupid/desperate

Bastards

Posted by Ray | Posted on 9:59 PM

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Yes, you've read it right. Bastards. No fluff, no gloss. No poetic titles. Stating the word as it is, in its derogatory and insulting form (not to be confused for labeling a kid conceived without a legitimate father, that's just uncalled for).

I'm sure that the murder(s) of a local millionaire and her escorts would be making news waves everywhere, perhaps less of a ripple by the time it reaches the States. Here's a quick recap in case:

"Cosmetic products tycoon, Datuk Sosilawati, was murdered (bashed, murdered, burnt and ashes scattered into a river) along with her three escorts (a lawyer, a personal finance consultant and a driver) in presumably a land deal gone wrong. The main suspects, a pair of brothers, one of which who is a Datuk, were arrested and as the investigations procede, they seem real likely to be the culprits as the details they have revealed pieces the puzzles of the case together. These honorary members of society (philanthropists, bah!) were barred lawyers, already suspected and stinking of being frauds and blackmailers in land deals. Their henchmen who carried out the bashing and murders were reported to be 'indebted' to the 'goodwill and favor' that was bestowed upon them by the brothers previously. Several other unsolved murder cases with similar modus operandi has been re-opened as the connection between the cases suggests strongly that these brothers masterminded them as well. Bastards"

An interesting fact that I found out thanks to working for a boss that came from the same hometown as the Datuk victim was that her "humble beginnings" actually involves serving people. And by people I mean guys. And by serving I mean, 'serve'. OK, enough with that.

I'm not trying to be a crime reporter or anything, but I just felt that I have to say something about it. The rat race that people are in to pursue their dreams of achieving Status, Money and Power looks so bleak and sounds so hollow; even more so than I already am disillusioned with. I am certain there would have been people who were aspiring, heck even envious, of the lawyer brothers who seemed really generous and active in community, on top of possessing all that wealth. Too bad the corruption in their hearts is something no amount of earthly goods can make up for. Its not always these polluted-at-heart people get convicted, but make no mistake: you don't get away with it when life is through here.

People ask me, "What's your 10 year plan? Where you see your life and career heading to?" Honestly, I wouldn't know what 's ahead for me, but I promise to pursue Righteousness and Truth in my quest to excel in the marketplace. To be someone with true Honor.

Not a Bastard.

Summer's Sunburst

Posted by Ray | Posted on 11:57 PM

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Perhaps not really in context with the title, but I find my head racing and pounding with a whole lot of voices and noises about several things (so my head's really about to burst). Firstly (but yet, finally!), I have just been employed by a recruitment agency in Bangsar. Didn't manage to find out much about this company, except that it's growing pretty rapidly and is handling clients who are major banks in the country (Maybank anyone?). I pray that the company's a stable and steady ship, because that is really a concern with the number of weird companies around these days. Oh, and also found some local ethnic female complaining about an employee who was also named Ray who was working there a year or two ago and how he was really haughty towards her. Of course, this local ethnic female was LATE (7pm for interview, and next day public holiday, who's she kidding!) and seemingly underprepared. So much for a complaint. Wonder if anyone who comes across that whiny blog of hers would think I'm the haughty Ray.

Secondly, it has been brought to my attention (and I have been anticipating it) that a popular charismatic church in Singapore, which also has a branch here in the Klang Valley, had 17 members called in for investigation about misuse of church funds! Of course, I'm not trying to insinuate anything here, but rather state my wish that the TRUTH will prevail, because regardless of what the findings are, there still will be disgruntled voices. Sincerely hope that the people of the church will stand fast in their FAITH and not IDOLATRY or just mere ATTACHMENT to the church. Afterall, the real church is the people, not the walls and floor and ceiling.

Thirdly, I have had probably the toughest day ever (probably 2 days?) ahead of embarking on my career. I really wonder if I have the strength to persevere and the wisdom to be able to know what's right and the conviction to stay on that right path. Recalled the following quote, probably one of the best prayers I've ever heard:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.


---Reinhold Niebuhr

Hope all you guys are doing well, been trying to keep you all in prayer. Don't entirely know who reads this , but yes, even you, I pray for. And oh, babe, love ya! =)


Turnaround

Posted by Ray | Posted on 1:27 AM

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And so two of the greatest people that I consider myself blessed to have met in my life walks out of the room that I am in. Along with another who had already left to an adjacent room. By room I metaphorically mean Malaysia, which is a dingy room. An un-lucrative one too. But has good food and people. Like a canteen stuffed in a room. OK, bad analogy.

Thought the title "Turnaround" is pretty significant as in the composition of a 12 bar blues in music, this is the point where all things begin, carry on or end. Sums up the various implications of this phase in life; a farewell to the life before, the progression of life in the present, as well as a beginning to the life that is to come.

There are many times that being human, our nature leads us to neglect the many blessings that we have been given. And sometimes when we do give thanks, our gratitude just does not seem to suffice, for the magnitude of these blessings are just too great. Those who know they have been blessings in my life, ;)



Besides saying farewell to uni life and friends that I've met throughout that journey, I realized that it is time for me to move on from my previous band. Despite how positively I felt about the music of the band, perhaps it was not meant to be, for me or for the band, to have something to show for all that was poured into it. This door I'll close behind me, as I walk towards the ones that lie open ahead.

Oh, and something totally unrelated to this post:

Faint flicker on my face aglow
From a million light bulbs across the surface
And all that is audible are the sighs of white lights
In this curved cradle molded by these arms
In this relative silence, to the deafening whispers of the world
Laid you, in unlikely happenstance, bare
Hand upon your forehead, eyes upon yours closed
Gently, softly, assuredly, you said


















meow


-Right, then Neither-

This is a Call to Arms...

Posted by Ray | Posted on 11:08 PM

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Today was one of those days where waking up seem highly improbable and difficult to do, a feeling that I'd be better off asleep being a dominant overtone. Have not felt this way in a long time, but there's little that can be done about it.

The dramatic title refers to the Battle of the Bands at SEGi College that my new band, Searching Pluto, was participating in. Been two weeks ago, but only blogging about it now, as I was hoping to get the video that a good friend of mine took of the performance. Still waiting.



Ah, yes, they have lights and all, so that must tell you how grand of an event this is! The event was held over two day and two nights, first day being the qualifiers for the Finals on day 2. The band made it to day 2, but didn't finish in the Top 2 (they do not announce the ranking for the other Top15 bands).

Cash prize for first place was 4k, if I'm not mistaken, second place takes home 1k! Naturally, the pull of such financial rewards draw a lot of bands to the event, we were up against some really big guns. Trust me, attend one of these events, you'll be wondering why bands like Simple Plan, Good Charlotte and A(n) (dis)Honest Mistake are left to pollute the airwaves. Hmm, then again, The Mistakes did win a Battle of the Bands event, I wonder has there been some 'behind-the-scenes' action that had took place...

Went for another Battle of the Bands event today, at this newly-renovated Hot Sounds Studio. Probably the best looking studio I have been to (or know), with professional looking furnishing. The cash prize of RM 6,000 for the champs definitely got me excited. Not sure when the results would be announced, but Semi-Finals are next month.

Non-music wise, it's been really dismal. Job search doesn't seem to lead anywhere, old band close to breaking up (yes, a band relationship IS like a real romantic relationship, so I'm allowed to grieve over it!), and not to mention, anticipation of the possibility of being kicked out of the house as well. One must wonder, "What has Ray done this time??"

The end is looming.

-Left Brain-

Her name's Gloria...

Posted by Ray | Posted on 3:22 PM

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People have been asking me about what I've been doing with my indefinite vacation, so I guess I shall take the time out and blog about it right here.

Let's start with an abnormally hectic Saturday last week (13-14 March), where I had the ultimate displeasure of having to wake up by sunrise to go to...

Event 1: HELP's IFC (Interdepartment Futsal Competition/Crap)

Been jogging quite a bit to lose the extra inches off my belly leading to it, not easy at all. Losing post-vacation and post-CNY fat is extremely tough, almost like trying to divide by zero.

Anyways, the event was a farce, corrupt Department of Sports desperately trying to favor their beloved Matriculation department team full of Goldenballs. Too bad that didn't get them the gold, they got whipped by a superior Business team in the finals. Almost like watching a 5 star FIFA World XI team tear apart Grimsby Town. Or the Malaysian football team. Or Liverpool. Psych-ers still finished 4th in both Team A and Team B's leagues.


Can't help but feel someone's missing, perhaps the photographer ;)

Event 2: Gloria Jean's Manager Farewell

Have been playing bass in a yet-to-be-named band, here's us in action at Sunway Pyramid's Gloria Jean's Coffee!


For those who missed out, TOO BAD! But naturally, there will be plenty more chances to catch me, I mean, US, in action. Gonna be at SEGi College this weekend for Battle of the Bands Preliminaries! Not too sure if we'd get through to the finals, but bet your money that you'd hear me blabbering bout it if we do!

*pic credits goes to Jac!

And if there's still questions on what I've been doing on the other weekdays, here's a woodworking project I undertook for my musical pursuits:


After assembly and woodstaining


After attaching pedals and etc.

Took up much of my time scrambling around IKEA, OneU and Pyramid to get materials as selection/stocking is poor in Subang. Been a great time doing some DIY, and proud to say I did not need be part of a worship team with disco lights to obtain a fancy ready made board.

Hope this post helps some of those who do read the blog get up to date about what's been my preoccupation, that's the point I had in mind when I started blogging anyways. Was not granted a great deal of capacity for relating my emotions.

-Left Brain-

All these things into position...

Posted by Ray | Posted on 1:33 AM

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Meet the 'family'. Minus the much-prided amp and pedalboard.

Alright, I do not own each and every gear here, the black Les Paul on the left and polka-dotted jazz bass are borrowed items, the latter for learning purposes and the former as part of my promise to my bassist in USJ (Ugly Space Jelly) to carry out a review of the axe.

Chinese New Year break was awesome, put on a few more kilos, but what was truly awesome was the opportunity to try out a couple of gears, this SX Les Paul loaned by aforementioned bassist as well as a vintage (so old, it's older than me) Boss SD-1 pedal acquired through a contest.

This post may contain a large amount of jargon, but it's primarily for the sake of reviewing for my bassist friend what I think is, one of the better electric guitars out there for beginners. Thinking of picking up the instrument? Well, here's one good buy for you right here.

Review
Looks: The eSseX Les Paul copy is much more accurate than those f'ked Chinese fakes floating around eBay and other sales avenues online. Based on Gibson's original Les Paul (the creator, who is also a venerable jazz musician, Mr. Les Paul, passed away last year, RIP), this beast rocks with two humbuckers (that shiny gold bar thing on its body) and a classic cutaway design, much like the original instrument, and even has a mahogany set neck for serious wanking. Nice.

Playability: I play guitar like an old man, so I'm completely used to having my strings awfully high in terms of action (spacing between the strings and the fretboard, the lower the easier to play). This guitar's got crazy low action, a 5 year old would be strong enough to play barre chords on it. Makes me think that I could pull off real fast licks, too.

Tone: Perhaps my numero uno factor in choosing a guitar (I'd compare it to the taste component of a glass of wine), I think this guitar definitely does not disappoint. Sure, it does not sound exactly like the Gibson that it's meant to copy, but a Gibby's worth about RM8-12k around this part of the world. This axe here is more than 10 times less that price tag. Modifying the pickups here would surely improve how it sounds (take note Jawa!)

Extras: Hardware is where the corners are cut at the guitar factory. Terrible tuner heads. Heavy bending will easily detune this guitar, making it very hard to use on stage, unless some work is done (modification again, Mr. Jawa). Same goes for the saddles. Work work.

All in all, a terrific guitar for its price, a couple of mods along the way as a beginner learns the instrument, this will hold its own in the hands of a good guitarist against those posers totting Gibsons on stage. Hah.

And the two clips I posted on that mp3 thingamajiggy at the right hand corner are comparisons between my trusty Blackie Strat and the guitar reviewed here. Please forgive if my playing offends.

-Left Brain-