Monday, December 21, 2009

Memories from 1st Quarter 2003

Sometimes as my mind is wont to do, it brings me back to a time before this company, when I was desperate enough to work at the Dolphin Lagoon, tearing tickets and ushering guests back in early 2003. It feels like it all happened in a dream now. I can't say I fully enjoyed my time there. It was a means to an end and I desperately needed money. I cannot fully understand the snergy of the place and the working relationships between the various parties that made it all work. And we're not talking about some high powered corporate outfit where office politics decides whether you're in or out. We are talking about some (in my biased opnion) low level tourist attraction hovel that gets pink dolphins to turn tricks for tourists all in the name of "education" and "awareness".
There was this one particular individual (a show presenter, can't remember his name now) who seemed like he went out of his way to be difficult with me. He didnt bother to get to know me, to know what my background was, what my life experience was or even how old I was (I was older than him) and he treated me as if I was a student working part time during the holidays. His attitude really didn't help and in turn he was not on my good books.

In essence the place was the bottom of the dredges and it reflected my own life then perfectly.

As a disclaimer, I will say that (as with most places) there were a few characters that made my time there bearable and pleasant enough. To these few, I thank you.

Sometimes, memories like these are important to help bring one back down to earth and I like to think that this little "flash back in time" episode was for this very purpose, least I get too big in the head at where I am now compared to the early days of 2003.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Avatar, the Movie

Kamar, Shireen, Heisham, the wifey and I caught this movie yesterday. To tell you the truth I was a bit apprehensive as I was worried that the movie would not live up to all this hype surrounding it. But boy am I glad that my worryin' was all for naught.

This is a scene where the dastardly humans are blasting the home of one of Pandora's indigenous tribes the Na'vi in order to get them to leave. Damn you human! Damn you!
I know you'd probably hear this over and over again on the internet but Avatar is frankly one of the best movies I have seen in a long while. It grabs your attention within the first 5 minutes and you eagerly lap up every scene as the story unfolds for you over the next two hours and forty minutes. But I shall refrain from turning this post into a movie review and shall just state that I utterly enjoyed my movie going experience yesterday. We caught the 11am show at Dubai Mall and avoided the crowds so the cinema hall was thankfully empty. Gosh I feel like watching this again. I always say that I'd rather watch a good movie twice than a bad one once.

And speaking of watching movies more than once, one show that has definitely seen it's fair share of repeated viewings by me is District 9. Another piece of great movie story telling albeit done on a much tinier budget than Avatar.

I guess 2009 is the year for Sci Fi movies. Star Trek, District 9 and now Avatar.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Impending Dive Vacation to Lembeh Strait

Back in May this year, I was esctatic to learn that Scubacam was organising a trip to the Lembeh Strait with FiNs magazine and underwater photographer Tony Wu for February of 2010. In true S'porean kiasu fashion I signed up right away as the purpose and main function of the trip was to photograph Lembeh after dark and I have been counting down the days ever since. Every diver worth his salt will know that the good stuff come out /happen at night and there was no chance in hell I was going to miss out on this marvelous photographic opportunity.

The entire trip has been dubbed "The Night Safari 2010" and I must admit the first thought that came to mind was why on earth was Scubacam organising a trip to the Singapore Zoo?

In view of preparing for this trip, I spent the last few months at building up my underwater photography rig and attempting to hone whatever skills I may possess so that I will experience the least amount of fumbling and fiddling when I finally arrive in Lembeh. I even started a scrap book to make notes on how best to improve!

Well it won't be long now for February 2010. I think I can throw in about two more dives here on the UAE east coast to experiment with the various lighting techniques I would want to use in Lembeh.

The dive resort we'll be staying at is the Kasawari Lembeh Resort. What apparently makes this resort so special is that it has been specifically built and catered for discerning underwater photographers/videographers with a dedicated camera room with individual work stations for rig assembly/dissembly, battery charging and other shenanigans that come with delving into underwater photography.

If you click on the Kasawari Lembeh Resort link, you'll get to see how smashing the place looks. The resort also has massage services, a bar (important) and an infinity pool! As the wifey will be tagging along, these facilities will surely come in handy at keeping her occupied.

Yessiree it's only 2 more weeks 'til 2010 and before you know it, it'll be time to get onto that big bird home and onwards to Lembeh.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

iPhone Photography

I am beginning to be amazed at what one can achieve with the built in camera on the iPhone and with various photography applications available on the iTunes store.

I use to discount cameras built into mobile phones as something not worth getting into and not being able to acheive much. As such I find myself being amazed and humbled at the same time that something I did not have any high regard for is just the very thing to re-ignite my love and passion for the hobby.

I found that with technicalities out of the way, I could concentrate on just looking for good photo ops and composition.

It really just goes to show that you do not need a fancy camera to take nice decent pictures. However please do not take this to mean that I will gladly live with my iPhone camera. I still want this lil' baby someday!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Another life changing moment

If you may recall, a few blog postings ago I wrote about the people that kept me sane here in Dubai. And I guess along with everything else, all things come to an end...somewhat.

Beaver finally hit the jackpot and landed a better offer for back home in Singapore. On top of that he is also now an expectant father of twins. It was a sad moment for the rest of us here when he finally had to go but we were of course happy for him.

I have had the pleasure of Beaver attending my wedding and of having him shack up with me for a week before his flight home. They were good times. Beaver is one person I can totally be crass* with. Nothing that came out of my mouth would shock him. We will miss his humour and his good company.
It will not be long now before Heisham too is gone.
*Yes, I am naturally a very crass person but with self control and perserverence, I maintain a certain degree of decency.

Blog mantra for 2010

I will endeavour to refrain from bitching, whinging or whining on this blog as honestly, who the heck wants to read all this negativity? I'll be grateful enough if anyone even bothers to read this blog at all!

As Talahassee in the movie Zombieland said, "It is time to nut up or shut up". I take this to mean to take crap in life like a man.

Okay I know Zombie movies isn't for everyone but this one makes one of my favourite movies for 2009. It was relatively easy convincing the wifey to watch this with me last Friday by stressing that it was a comedy (it really is) and I was glad that she admitted that the show was more entertaining that she expected.

My one defining life changing moment

We tied the knot in July 09 and then scooted off to Bali for a few days. It was a great 3 weeks at home and Bali was fantastic. As always everything went by so fast and it all seems a blur to me now, especially the big day in question.

Bali was a great opportunity to wind down and relax after the wedding. It is the one place I wouldn't mind going back to over and over again. The only thing I find disappointing about Bali is the "local cuisine". I think it has been too "watered down" for tourist taste, especially for those of the Caucasian persuasion. No spiciness at all and somewhat bland even.

We were better off ordering Lamp Chops or something.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Test Result

Okay...changing the template seemed to work. I guess back then I didn't have the patience to figure out what was wrong.

I have lots of to say. The last 6 months have seen some life changing events. And I shall cut the crap on any angst related issues...

Test test test

This is a test to see if my pictures still come out wonky. If it doesn't, then I may just start blogging again because I am just so freakin creative and just so chock a block full of creative ideas...