Friday, 31 July 2009

Son, you gotta put that dumbbell down.

Family and friends think I'm a peculiarity. More so when I whip out my pink Tupperware at 3:30pm sharp every week day and they find a chicken sandwich. I don't blame them. Their eyes get even bigger when I tell them I eat 6 meals a day, spread over a 3-4 hour interval. And when they find out I don't eat fast-food or imbibe carbonated drinks they'll burst a vein. An apoplectic fit is experienced when I mention that the gym is my "Happy Place".

What's the use of being able to lift 100kgs with your back? Or why does one curl a 15kg dumbbell to their shoulders? Why do we see so many men and women do a million sit-ups yet still have beer bellies? Because people like them and me are nothing more but a bunch of narcissists. We are vain. We are aroused by compliments from family and friends. Our own volition drives us to pretty ourselves.

All in the name of health, of course.

It's been nearly 2 weeks since I've touched let alone lifted a dumbbell. And it feels good. Nay, it feels absolutely fucking great! Ever since I got back from my last holiday trip, I've become less obsessed with gym. If I don't go today, I'll go tomorrow. If that doesn't happen then I'll just do it when I can. In the gym I am very pedantic and idiosyncratic about how I go about my training. It's unorthodox to say the least. I won't bore you with the exactness of my regime but think of it this way: I have a regime that doesn't follow a set pattern but I have everything planned out beforehand. Pardon me if you're puzzled. Although, lately, I've been slacking. My once unyielding mind now gives way to random thoughts. Jogging and running have always been a favourite; I just love how it allows my mind to wander and ponder about things but even those two don't seem to do the trick these days.

Perhaps this is what a gym burnout feels like. This has never happened before. Once, when I fell ill with a fever hot enough to cook eggs, I still worked out albeit with an intensity equivalent to a baby crawling over 10 metres. Heck, when I nearly dislocated my right shoulder, I stopped for a week but resumed heavy lifting the following week. But this is a different feeling altogether and it's worrisome.

Admittedly, I'm having difficulty staying completely focused. I'll go from one thing to another; work problems to problems of the mind and heart. I'll be jogging at 10km/h with a 5% incline and while I'm gasping for air the aforesaid problems come into play, sometimes in my field of vision, and there I am, trying to wrench them away lest they make me trip and fall. That will not be nice at all.

Life's to be blamed for all of this. Yes, you've read that right: Life. But that's juvenile. Life is to be blamed and commended. Without Life, I wouldn't be here, whining like a kid who's lost his lollipop. And without Life, I wouldn't be grateful for the life I have now (albeit it stinks a little now). I guess putting down them dumbbells have been the best thing since lifting them in the first place.

My so-called "happy place" was never the gym. It is where I am most comfortable.

This is Chris, signing off.

PS: People, I am gym NUT, not a FREAK. For, if I were a freak, I won't be here. I reiterate: I much rather hang out at a nice bar or Starbucks if the chance presented itself.

Any takers?

Friday, 24 July 2009

Red Devils are amongst us!


This one word alone conjures a wide spectrum of feelings: excitement, passion, commitment, anger, disbelief, pride, and even love.

Yes, 22 men chasing after a ball on a field can do that to a person.

As many of you should know by now, I support Manchester United (MUnited), arguably the greatest club in the world (thank you very much). And on 18th July 2009, I witnessed them in the flesh (albeit a good 500 metres away) plying their trade against the Malaysian national team. It was an all right match; MUnited played their usual game on 10% effort whereas the Malaysians played as though their heads were attached to a bomb. Everybody knew that MUnited held back a lot so as to not embarrass the host nation but we caught glimpses of the genius of the players. But guess what? We actually played well! Kudos goes to the curi ayam dude wearing number 17.

The day started out hazy and although it was not blistering hot it was the humidity that totally drove everyone bonkers. Sweat trickled down my forehead and unto my feet. Every pore opened up like someone forgetting to turn off the tap. The people with me didn't fare much better as they had to battle their own bursting dams. We cheered every time someone warmed. We cheered even louder when the match began and I remember losing it when Michael Owen (quite the diminutive this fella) scored the winning goal 5 minutes before time.

It was bloody sensational.

Of course, not everyone will understand. You either get it or you don't. Come football season you'll notice a lot of sleep deprived faces, people with tempers flying about (attributed to their team losing i.e. Liverpool falling spectacularly to MUnited!), maybe even a brawl or two when rival teams clash over who has the better free-kick style. I just hope that my future partner is understanding enough and while I would love to spend as much time with her as possible there comes a time a man has to do what a man needs to do.

Buy a gift for her and dinner.

But that's how it is. Football is intangible yet completely full of feel. Most of all, football fucking rules! Here's to the upcoming season!

This is Chris, signing off.

PS: To all the peeps who came along for the ride, Angie and et al, thanks for sharing this experience. Next one will be even better, I'm sure of it. Glory, Glory Manchester United!

Friday, 17 July 2009

You never know till you've tried.

"Life's like a box of chocolates; you never know what you're gonna get," so goes the saying from Forrest Gump.

Never a more apt saying for life has been said.

I, on the other hand, would've said, "Life's like a box of shrooms; you never know what you're going to hallucinate."

Anyway, life's been a real box of surprises. One minute when I think everything's dandy, something gets thrown into the mix and switches everything up. Sometimes it's a nice and pleasant surprise. Sometimes they've been painful. This year has seen me at the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Yet I still come back for more. Guess that makes me a sucker for punishment, eh?

The problem with me is that I can be obtusely obstinate. I can be very aware of things and my surroundings but there have been times where I have been so myopic it's ridiculous. Like, for instance, the complete eagerness and earnestness of me trying to please this girl (she's a nutjob now so there's no need to pity me) that I didn't realise I was being made a fool. But I kept going on and on till one day it dawned upon me that she's just a waste of time and effort (money more so as I was still in college and perpetually broke) so I fucked it, moved forward and never once looked back. In these kind of situations, it'll take something really drastic to make me see sense and it has to get knocked into my thick skull with much force otherwise I'll go on still. Or, if she says stay the fuck away from me, then that's my cue to scram the fuck away.

In simpler words: as much as I would like to give up, I don't know how, so, I might as well just go on and see what happens. Good or bad, I need to know the answer. The worst thing is not trying. There's nothing worse than to regret something you didn't even try. If things don't work out, feel sorry for a bit, cry a little if you want to but make sure you pick yourself up and move on. And be absolutely certain that no one gets hurt (or stays hurt) to eliminate any awkwardness in the future. The last thing you want is to have an estranged relationship with the person you've made a startling confession to as it will lead to nowhere.

Go on, give that box of chocolates another peek. It might give you another surprise. You never really know till you've tried.

This is Chris, signing off.

PS: 2009 is shaping up to be the most eclectic year, ever. Don't you agree?

Monday, 13 July 2009

Chris's Guide to Ask a Girl for a Movie and Possibly Tea.

Actually, I mislead.

This post is about things I've noticed in my years of being an observant (read: inquisitive) person:
  1. People with handphones/mobiles: The younger you are the further away you see the screen. The older you are the closer your nose is to the screen. I've seen old men go all squinty-eyed when reading a text message. They'll push up their glasses, squeeze their eyeballs till they're about to pop and mouth the words of the text. Sometimes loudly. I hope I don't end up like them.
  2. Don't you just hate it when people expect you to give way on the escalator, with nary an "Excuse me," while the steps are conveniently located next to it? Guess what? You're a lazy ass!
  3. Queuing up sucks. Even if it's just one person ahead of you, it still sucks. But if you're lining up to buy your favourite burnt-to-a-crisp pancake, for the life of me, don't stand so near me! What makes you think I will go any faster by knocking your chest on me? In fact, I will purposely make your life slower by being an ass myself. This applies to all the morons and airheads who are lining up with me at the ATMs, movies, supermarkets and general queue-up-ness.
  4. To all the short guys who try to out muscle me: give it up. Now.
  5. When I'm in a semi-swanky shop, for instance, Gap, do not look at me as though I cannot afford your overly priced, Made in Cambodia, clothes. I can. So if you ignore or size me up, you are in trouble. Also, do not follow me around like I'm going to pull a Winona Ryder. I do not need to steal underwear.
  6. How does putting up your collar make you look cooler? I think I've said this before in an earlier post but this bears repeating: putting it up makes you look like a dumb dog who can't help it but bite its own tail for comfort.
I think 6 rants shall suffice for now. Till the next rant list!

This is Chris, signing off.

PS: Guys, if you want to ask a girl out on a date, just ask. It's as simple as that.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Moonwalking to the stars, moon and beyond.

The one and only, Michael Jackson.

The feeling is very odd. It's like waking up one gloomy morning and thinking you're missing something but you can't quite put your finger on. You think to yourself, hmm, what the heck is it. Then it hits you. Ah, I left the keys in the car. Again.

Bad analogy, I know, but it's the best I can come up with.

Michael Jackson is no longer on this planet. Weird, right? One minute we (yes, YOU and I are the guilty ones) are ridiculing him the next we are stupefied by the news of his death, jaws agape. I remember going to work thinking, "huh?" and when I met Waffle Girl for breakfast she was visibly stunned by the news (she still is). I was nonchalant, I mean, lets be real.: yes, he did come up with some of the catchiest, timeless pop songs ever but why would his death bring you to tears? What did he do besides entertaining you for but only a few minutes every time one of his songs was played on the radio? If I sound insensitive then so be it. I won't hide the fact that I didn't feel anything when official news announced the death.

However, the surreality of it didn't hit me until recently. Like how I left my keys in the car, twice, whence I was in college, hearing people refer to him in past tense seems like an odd thing. It didn't sound right. So I can only imagine what his family and his children are going through.

I'm surprised that there has been no dissertation of some sort on the songs that he wrote. Just read the lyrics to You are Not Alone, Leave Me Alone, Stranger in Moscow and the like, and you'll find a man who has everything and nothing. All the money and adoration yet he was a tortured soul. His past shaped him but you would never have known it due to the fact that he was such a tremendous entertainer than you forget he is mortal. You think, "hmm, this is a sad song sung beautifully." But have you even listened to it properly?

Unquestionably, he loved children so much so that ofttimes people thought he was a pervert, a monster, child eater. No, he viewed children as who they were. In essence, Michael was indeed a man-child in a man's world. Neverland was an escape from the real world. It was his refuge, haven from all the bad of the world. And he brought children inside to show them joy that he never got to experience. For that, I give him my utmost sympathy and acknowledgment.

I can only relate to his childhood, or rather, the non-existent one. Not the early fame, of course, when I was five I was still chewing on my Ziggy toy whereas he was belting out hit tunes. But I can relate to the loneliness and the longing for father-and-son moments. They never came but we had hope. Which is why I am driven to be the best father to my unborn child(ren) and give them the childhood I should have had.

I was and most likely never will be a fan of his. Nonetheless, I'll always respect his works no matter what. After all, growing up in the 90's it was near impossible to not like any of his songs. The King of Pop reigned supreme.

Rest in peace, Michael Jackson.

This is Chris, moonwalking...

PS: ...tried moonwalking but I ended up tripping and falling on my butt. Damn.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Devil horns and bhangra. Who knew it could be good?

Music makes the world go round.

I thought it was because it was spinning on its own axis?

Wise-ass remark aside, music has left an incredibly profound impact on my life. I grew up listening to classical and oldies courtesy of my dad while I was forced to listen to my sisters' favourite 80's and 90's pop. Of course, you now know me as the most unmetal-looking metalhead.

So is it a funny image if I were to tell you that this metalhead actually enjoyed fusion music last night? Let me be more specific: this metalhead enjoyed local fusion music that combined bhangra and modern sensibilities? Oh, I also forgot bagpipes. The Diplomats of Drum performed at The Curve and I was there with my friends. I've always had a thing for live performances, especially if it involves instruments and not 5 pretty boys lip-synching and dancing in tandem to standard beats. No, this was something special. After a lifeless demonstration on Capoeira which had exponents performing windmills on each other, came the main attraction.

I didn't know what to expect so I sat on my high stool and waited. The wait, humidity and smoky surrounding was worth it. Remember all the Bollywood movies you've watched? Remember the music? The unmistakable rhythm of the drum beat? Now hold that sound and add in guitar riffs, flutes, a didgeridoo and massive amounts of melody and you'll probably get a whiff of what the music is. If you're having a tough time then it's only understandable. It's not like this kind of music gets played on the airwaves at all. When it comes to local bands I will be wary always as a good chunk are just bad imitators of their influence.

But not this band.

The only downside of an otherwise brilliant performance was the audience. It has to be said that Malaysians are idiots, morons and general dumbasses when it comes to live performances. The people just sat on their seats, drinking and smoking, while the band kept urging them to get on their feet and wave their hands. What's the reason for our ineptitude and lassitude? "We're a shy people, we don't do that sort of thing." No wonder Singapore still gets all the action. C'mon! You have a great band who plays great music and there you are nodding gently. There I was, unleashing the devil horn on one hand while the other clutched a Heineken* looking like a poseur. But I didn't give a right damn as I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Ginormous kudos and devil horns to the Diplomats and their Drums. You've made me a fan.

This is Chris, signing off.

* =
Did I really look that red? Damnit, I still can't drink for nuts.

PS: I wonder if the Diplomats wouldn't mind having me doing vocals...