Saturday 9: Careless Whisper (1984)

saturday9

Welcome to Saturday: 9. What we’ve committed to our readers is that we will post 9 questions every Saturday. Sometimes the post will have a theme, and at other times the questions will be totally unrelated. Those weeks we do “random questions,” so-to-speak. We encourage you to visit other participants posts and leave a comment. Because we don’t have any rules, it is your choice. We hate rules. We love memes, however, and here is today’s meme!

Saturday 9: Careless Whisper (1984)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) You can’t miss George Michael’s gold hoops in the photo above or in the “Careless Whisper” video. Are you wearing any jewelry right now?
Yes, my wedding ring. I also like hoop earrings 🙂

2) Though the label says this hit is performed by “Wham!” featuring George Michael,” George Michael is the only member of the pop duo who appears in the video. Do you remember the name of the other guy who was in Wham?
I cannot remember the other half of “Wham!” but I do remember, back in grade school in the 80s, they were very popular! My older cousins could not stop playing and singing along Careless Whisper. There’s even a lovely version of this song by the PostModernJukebox which I really, really love.

3) Much of the video was filmed on Watson Island, a man-made island near South Beach. Have you ever been to Miami?
Nope, never.

4) Born Georgios Panayiotou, George Michael is of Greek descent, the son of the Greek restauranteur in East London. When you think of Greek cuisine, what comes to mind?
Gyros, moussakka, and of course, Greek salad! Yum.

5) Today he lives in a tony suburb called Highgate, and his neighbors are Kate Moss and Sting. Tell us about one of your neighbors.
My neighbour is a judge at the provincial trial court here in Cambodia. He and his family are lovely and are friendly with us. I realised we were living next to a court official the moment I heard him command “SILENCE” to my barking dogs, lol. Yes, he did say it in English as he knows my dogs respond to English commands.

6) George Michael fans can purchase officially licensed merchandise from his website, including an iPhone cover with his photo and signature. Tell us about your cell phone. Is it Apple or Android? Is it a smartphone?
My phone is not a smartphone. It’s an old Nokia N70 handphone. It has also a camera and is connected to the Internet via GPRS. I use it mainly for texting and calling and it serves the purpose so I don’t see the need for me to jump into the smartphone bandwagon yet. But if I do, I prefer an Android phone, a Samsung.

7) George Michael sang Stevie Wonder’s “You and I” for Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton. What’s your favorite love song?
“The Nearness of You”, by Jo Stafford. I love Jo Stafford’s version – simple, sublime, romantic and timeless. No fancy-schmanzy accompaniments, just the silky voice, lovely melody, and meaningful lyrics to carry on the song.

8) In 2014, George had a health scare. He was rushed to the hospital for tests and released the next day. Have you ever ridden in an ambulance?
No, not really. But back in my cub reporting years, we were tailing ambulances during night shifts as I was assigned in the police beat section. It wasn’t a pleasant experience, honestly, but in order for me to learn the ropes of reporting, I had to undergo this part of the internship.

9) Known for hard partying in his youth, George is now in his 50s and says he’s quite happy to spend his evenings eating takeout and watching DVDs. Are you doing any socializing this weekend?
Yes, we’re going to a viewing party – as you might have heard about it, the Pacquiao-Mayweather Fight of the Century will be broadcast live tomorrow, 9am Cambodia time. That would be tonight in Las Vegas. Expats and Cambodians alike will be glued to their tellies tomorrow as I know Cambodians and some expats are Pacquiao-fans. A friend is hosting the party and we are going. Should be fun, no matter what the result will be. Of course, I would love Manny Pacquiao to win!

Blue Monday: Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue ink

Hello, friends.
At the outset, sorry I was not able to visit your posts last week. So many things happened and, yesterday, I was informed that a cousin’s son died suddenly. We are all heartbroken – so young, at 17. The last time I saw my nephew was when he was only a six-year old boy, a shy but sweet one, always hiding behind his mum. It pains me to think that I will never see him again. May he rest in peace.

On a lighter note, I have been practicing more calligraphy at night time, when everyone is asleep. I devoted one hour each night since I could not go back to my regular daytime schedule. I find it hard to do with all the household chores, errands, and dogs to mind. I’m not complaining, though. When you want something, you have to work hard to achieve it. My husband also bought me some stuff – his Valentine present, if I may say so. He bought me a Pelikan ink 4001, in Royal Blue. Along with the ink, he also bought me these Japanese coloured cards for my craft projects. How sweet is that.

Grateful to my thoughtful husband. Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue ink (right) and coloured papers from a Japanese shop.
Grateful to my thoughtful husband. Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue ink (right) and coloured papers from a Japanese shop.

The Pelikan ink is designed for use on fountain pens but can also used in dip pens, as told by many season calligraphers. So, of course, I sprang to action right after we got home. I wanted to test the Pelikan ink with my Nikkon G nib.

blue  monday calligraphy quotes on blue
So much inconsistency in the shapes of the letters. Need to practice my strokes more.

The Pelikan ink has a beautiful, vibrant blue colour! Too bad my camera could not capture the vibrance of the colour. Although loading it on my nib was a bit challenging, it has a smooth flow and dries easily. However, the paper I used to write it on was not the proper one. As you can see, there was substantial bleeding on the paper. When I wrote in another paper, a printing paper I snitched from my husband’s printer, it wasn’t the case. So, I have to test more to find out which ink works best in what kind of paper.

bluemondayicon

Blue Monday: Me, Max and the blue swing

Hello, friends.

We have a fantastic weather here in Phnom Penh and we are all loving it. We are approaching summer and hoping that it won’t be as hot as the previous years.

So what to do with a lovely weather? Outdoors, of course, and play with the doggies.

The blue swing was made by my landlord for his grandchildren. And while they're in school, I love sitting here and basking in the sun.
The blue swing was made by my landlord for his grandchildren. And while they’re in school, I love sitting here and basking in the sun.

This photo was actually taken two years ago and I remember we had the same fine weather then. It reminded me of that old place where we used to live – across Chhba Ampov bridge. In the compound is my landlord’s charming wooden house and one of his married children next door to us. I love it there because there were lots of plants, we get a lot of fresh breeze, and most of all, we have a big yard for our dogs (we had two then) to run around.

Speaking of dogs, I was surprised that Max didn’t mind the camera when my husband took this photo. Normally, she would just walk away as she is not comfortable with the camera pointing at her, and hasn’t warmed up to it up to now.

bluemondayicon

Blue Monday: Tools of the trade

Hah, last week, I posted about my current “obsession”. Today I’m posting some of the tools that I use because they are – wait for it – in blue 🙂

A. Paint brushes

Cheap watercolour brushes.
Cheap watercolour brushes.

First of all, I’m not a painter but I use a fair bit of watercolours in my drawings and calligraphy. Also, I use brushes not only for colouring purposes but also for loading my nibs with ink. Before starting calligraphy, I read blogs of expert calligraphers and they have really helpful tips for newbies like me. Dunking the nib to the ink-well or bottle can be done but it makes a mess and, more often in my case, loading copious amount of ink to the nib causing the dreaded blobs and blots.

Also, I wanted to buy brushes of different sizes. The smaller it is, the better since I like to be able to do small details. These are cheap brushes that I bought from a Chinese shop close to where I live and so far, I’m happy with the results.

2. Pens, pencils, and erasers

Pens, pencils and erasers.
Pens, pencils and erasers.

There is nothing more important to an artist than a pencil. It is the very foundation of many great masterpieces. I use a pencil to sketch my idea. Again, any pencil will do. An eraser is equally important to me, too.

Gel pens are very useful when I do faux calligraphy on black (or any other coloured) papers. I love them – especially metallic colours. They’re so pretty in black paper and/or card stock.  I’m also looking for the white gel pen but, as most art stuff, it is hard to find them here in Cambodia. The black pen (Pilot G2) is also a must-have for me and I use it for usual writing (postcards, letters, etc.) and also some special hand-lettering projects, too.

So there you have it, these are but some of the tools in my long list.
Have a great week ahead, my friends. Thank you for dropping by.

bluemondayicon

Blue Monday: Gouache and water ink

In case anyone noticed, I was away from blogging for a good two weeks.
Nothing really happening from my side of the planet. Been busy with home-life and some creative hobbies on the side.

Marie's Gouache Paint Set
Getting ready to make some mess.

I love my blue and white dipping bowl. It’s small and hand-painted and costs me next-to-nothing. As mentioned previously, I’ve picked up calligraphy again and been experimenting on inks. Since calligraphy inks here are rare, much more coloured inks, I tried mixing gouache and water and voila! Problem solved. Here’s a scanned result – I mixed vermillion red and viridian green:

Love the henna-ish effect!
Love the henna-ish effect!

I am excited about the thousand and one possibilities of mixing colours!
Do you have any creative hobbies, too? Do tell 🙂

bluemondayicon

An epic match!

Yes, it was every bit an epic match!

An ailing Rafael Nadal survives his second round match play against Tim Smyczek in a thrilling five-setter at the Rod Laver Arena. Yes, it was a grueling five-set match.

I don’t know about you but I would not be able to watch and sit still all that painful five-sets. Wouln’t you?
Luckily, I only caught the last set, otherwise, I would be biting-my-nails-again and clutching-my-chest-hoping-my-heart-wouldn’t-burst-out. In fact, I was too terrified to watch and see him lose in the end. I had to shoo my dogs away, especially the smallest one, because he was nibbling my ankle as if he was nibbling a tenor saxophone mouthpiece while I sat there, wriggling in my seat, watching a sweat-drenched Rafa scraping and grinding to stay in the match. He vomited at the sidelines as Rafa was feeling ill. He could’ve stopped (retired) but he didn’t.  Poor boy. I don’t know why I get so emotional every time Rafa is playing but anyone can not deny that this is what the tennis world missed when he got injured last year!

Rafa reacting on his win against Smee at the 2nd round AO15
Rafa on his knees after delivering his winning shot against Smee in the second round match at the AO2015.

To be fair to Rafa’s opponent, Tim Smyczek, who the media and Rafans baptised as Smee, he was a gentleman and his sportsmanship should be commended. And he’s got a new fan in me – what a great guy he is! Smee has a very likable attitude on court – he smiles at every point won or lost and applauds Rafa’s efforts, too. Now there are only a few players like him on ATP and I hope other players emulate him (I’m looking at you, Lukas Rosol!).

The tennis gods must be pleased with Rafa’s determination and grit. He survived – albeit barely – and lived to play another day at the Australian Open 2015. His fighting spirit is incredible, he grinds like it was his last.  And, he celebrates as if he’s already won the title when it is only the second round. How can you not admire this guy? Truly remarkable, that Rafa. This is one match I will definitely remember for a long time.

Here’s the highlights of the #smadal match last night.

To know more about the on-court drama, hear it straight from Rafa. Here’s the transcript of his post-match presser. And here’s Smee’s presser.

Australian Open 2015 now on!

Yes it is the first round today in sunny Melbourne!

Rafael Nadal vs Mikhail Youzhny AO 2015 first round
Rafael Nadal, on his first round match against Mikhail Youzhny. Photo by Rafaholics FB page. Please click the photo to take you to Rafaholics page.

Ladies and gentlemen of tennis are beginning their campaign today. And since it is summer Down Under, one can feel the heat, the sweat, and oh, this is the best time for deodorant – petal pushers or any deodorant that does its job.

And my boy, Rafael Nadal, played earlier today against the Russian Mikhail Youzhny. He is simply fab in his pink and short-shorts, which he prefers as he is comfortable in it. Oh, did I mention there is also a sparkly pink stripe on his shorts?

I was only able to watch the match intermittently but I’m very pleased with Rafa and his game. I’ll watch the full match later tonight, hopefully someone’s able to post it on youtube.

Blue Monday: Balloon

My husband and I drove to the Post Office to pick up mails and then we were off to the vet’s clinic on the other side of the city to get my dogs’ vitamins. If only we have something like a local EntirelyPets Pharmacy nearby, then we wouldn’t have to be driving that far.

Anyways, we were glad to be out once in a while. It’s nice to be driving around the city on weekends when traffic is not bad and the weather is just right. By the way, we are still having a cool weather and we are loving it!

It was just one of those weekend drives we take across the town when we chanced upon this random scene… a giant while balloon.

Huge balloon in Phnom Penh
A weather balloon? Not sure.

They are being followed by two guys wearing blue shirts, on separate motorbikes. The guy immediately behind the balloon is a security guard, that explains the blue top. The other one must be the owner as I saw it following the balloon before turning right.

Now, how many of you have seen something like this? No, not the giant balloon but having it transported across town on the back of a moto-dop (moto-taxi)? I guess you wouldn’t have/get this in your part of the world 🙂

bluemondayicon

Saturday 9: Went the Strings of My Heart

saturday9

garlandWelcome to Saturday: 9. What we’ve committed to our readers is that we will post 9 questions every Saturday. Sometimes the post will have a theme, and at other times the questions will be totally unrelated. Those weeks we do “random questions,” so-to-speak. We encourage you to visit other participants posts and leave a comment. Because we don’t have any rules, it is your choice. We hate rules. We love memes, however, and here is today’s meme!

Saturday 9: Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart (1939)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) This song is about love at first sight. Do you believe that immediate attraction lasts?
It depends. When it comes to relationships, I don’t believe in love at first sight. But, on the other hand, if and when I discover something that tickles my senses like christopher radko christmas ornaments or L’Occitane products, for sure it would be a long love affair 🙂

2) The lyrics mention “a breath of spring” and robins singing. Now that we’re deep into winter, what do you miss about spring?
We do not have the four seasons here in Cambodia but I can imagine spring is gorgeous in other parts of the world – the lovely blooms and fragrances, the freshness of air and sprigs of green sprouting everywhere, and farm animals playing/grazing in the field. How beautiful it must be.

3) Though the world knew her as Judy Garland, this week’s featured artist was born Frances Gumm and her family called her “Baby.” Does your family have any pet names for you?
Yes, my nickname is Darling *cringe* When I was growing up I’d get embarrassed if any of my relatives and family friends call me as such outside our house. Still do.

4) Because she was petite — just 4’11 — it was obvious when Garland gained even a few pounds and consequently she battled her weight her whole life. Now that we’re in the new year, have you made any resolutions about your own diet?
I’m currently on a semi-paleo diet which I started, along with my husband, in September last year. By the end of the 2014, I lost more than 10% of my weight (around 18lbs!). I vowed to myself to continue this in 2015.

5) The year this song came out, 1939, was the year Garland’s most famous movie, The Wizard of Oz, was released. Which of her three traveling companions is your favorite: Scarecrow, Tin Man or Cowardly Lion?
None of them, I’m afraid.

6) Barry Manilow enjoyed Judy’s performance of this song so much he did a “dream duet” with her and included it in his recent CD. What performer who is no longer with us do you wish you could have seen in concert?
Michael Jackson, no doubt.

7) Judy had a terrible problem with tardiness. Are you usually prompt?
I have a “slight” tardiness problem as well, lol.

8) During World War II, Judy worked tirelessly to entertain the troops. Tell us about a cause that’s near and dear to your heart.
I’m all for a sustainable lifestyle. Whilst this is a simple principle, it requires a complete overhaul of the way we live our life now. But my husband and I are making steps towards realising it, downsizing our personal stuff, for example. 

9) The American Film Institute lists Garland as the 8th greatest movie star of all time. Who is your all time favorite actor or actress?
I have lots of names in mind but very difficult to choose which is my all-time favourite.