Sunday, July 31, 2011

Happy Anniversary hun~ :)

The Mothman monologues.

I can't sleep, so I'm going to write. I turn the lights on and it disorients me... but I turn them off and there's that uneasy feeling of being trapped with no way out. So I turn the lights on, put on my shades and try to sleep. I wonder if we tan when exposed to artificial light... or if it only works with the ultra-violet rays of the sun. Speaking of Rays... I miss mine. Raymond, that is. It is one o' clock. There's work that needs to be done tomorrow. But I cannot sleep. Why is that? Thoughts, swarming inside my head like little brown moths, fluttering against the windowpane in the late evenings, begging to be let into the light. I read all about moths and their attraction to light, supposedly it is because of an innate guidance system we have, something in our little insect bodies that allow us to navigate our way through positioning of the stars and the moon. Pretty advanced aren't they, for small creatures. I feel sick. I need medicine... not sure if there's any medicine that can cure the sickness that ails me. I wonder if these thoughts can actually build up inside a person... wonder if they can actually grow, take root and multiply into more thoughts all on their own. Well I suppose, if thoughts are actually organic constructs in the human brain, that is to say that they grow like a little tree... or neuron I suppose... then perhaps they can continue to grow too unfettered, unstoppable... like one of those horrible diseases, I don't like to say it... but you know the one I'm talking about... slowly multiplying, increasing in numbers, sapping strength from the body until there is nothing left, and the body, along with all of it just die. Its a betrayal... that's what it is. A betrayal of the body. It's worse than a parasite it is! Because a parasite at least keeps the host alive. Please, release me already.... I wish somebody would release me. Don't leave me alone like this. You must promise, promise never to leave me alone...I've only got you now. I wonder if you can remove such thoughts by excising them? Just a small procedure. A little nip... nothing big you know, but just to remove the specific tree... or neuron, or whatever... just cut it off by the roots and take the whole thing out. Then perhaps they will be gone. Don't you think? And then what if I were to plant that tree into someone else? Would they have something living inside of them? Inside their heads? And invasive organism that starts to spread its tendrils into every part of the body. Subtly, of course... because that's how these things grow... until every single cell, every single nuclei has been polluted by its presence? If I were to remove that thing inside of me, which causes me so much grief... that horrible, horrible thing, and planted it into someone else... would my moths take flight there, too? Would they have an infestation of little bits of... ME? And what if the moths take over... would they become me? No matter, I learnt a new word today... it started with the letter "V"... but I can't for the life of me remember what it was. Vitriol. Votriul. Virulent. Volitle. Vuitroil...or, something. Which meant... something bad, naturally, but it was such a wonderful way of saying it. Lovely word, it was. Just rolled off the tongue. But I wonder why I haven't learnt it yet... or remembered it. Has the ground grown too barren for things to grow? Or do moths generally reject this sort of thing? I found a cage earlier. I miss Ray. I don't want to do my work. I don't want to die. I want life to be simpler. These are all things I could continue to talk about... had I the drive, but it is now twenty minutes past one, and I'm starting to grow sleepy. So there it is. Till we meet again.

The Mothman monologue

I can't sleep. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Butterflies in LOMO!!!

Hey ya'll

so remember from a post ago I was going on and on about my new lomo camera and how awesome it was and how I couldn't wait to start taking pictures with it... naturally I went out into the wild the first thing I could and started snapping pictures of butterflies and their larvae, which is something that is fairly easy to do for me because I know where to find them around Sunway. Anyway I almost nearly quite forgot that the camera I was using is one of those cheap ones... the ones that don't focus or something so when I developed my roll of film, it appears I got a long set of very clear backgrounds instead... accompanied in the corners by very, very blurred insects. Check it out.

These two series of pictures was my (feeble) first attempts at capturing a living creature on lomo film. The butterfly is an Appias Libythea or striped Albatross female, I believe... and you can perhaps just make her out as an indistinct gray blur alighting on top of the flower in the first photogram, and an even more indescribable blur fluttering off the flower in the second.
I then headed off to my usual hunting grounds to look for the very large and impressive colony of Acraea Terpsicore butterflies and larva that I am so very used to finding there to get them to model for my shoot. Unfortunately there weren't much in terms of caterpillars but, a very beautiful male deigned to settle on the dried leaf for me to take his pictures. I also got one caterpillar. None of them turned out.

And that thing... the slightly dark-ish out of focus thing with the two orange-ish ends on the distinctly blurred vine in front of all the clear and in focus foliage... right there... on the top left is the caterpillar...
And while this is perhaps, unmistakeable for anything OTHER than a butterfly (or is it?)
But while all attempt at photographing insects seem to have failed (No MACRO photography... got it!) I seem to have managed quite well with my other photographs depicting buildings and humans... for shits and giggles, here they are

Monash Residences.
Our effervescent Saigoners
A cam-whoring yours truly.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Swimming with the Fishes

Hey ya'll

A couple of things I realised with Ray's absence these past few days... the first is how I've reverted back to my lifestyle from before I knew him - that is to say clock in the office in the morning, clock out in the evening, straight back home to a life of downloaded Futurama and facebooking to the wee hours of the morning - and how much that lifestyle sucks... and the second thing is how although I may be able to live without him, I'm no longer sure how to function anymore. I guess there IS a part of me that really needs to be told to do things... like to pick up after myself, wash my hands right after I've eaten... to take my medicine (which I keep forgetting to do!)... just routine things like that which make so much difference in one's life and if Ray is reading this right now I want you to know that I NEED YOU HOME NOW!!! Anyway... what better way to cope with things than to reminisce about our first vacation together!!! All in all pretty amazing, especially since we both invested in an underwater lomography camera to take photos under the waves...but unfortunately one of the film rolls turned out blank (possibly due to a faulty camera) so I've only got the pictures from the first roll... which you will soon see here.

That's us on the beach. We rented only one snorkeling gear the first day so Ray and I had to take it in turns to go.
And this is me... helping him put it on...
..and him, taking it off!!!
and attempting to swim without them... he got a lot of saltwater in his nose, I'm afraid... but enough with the people shots already I suppose. I mean we did get an UNDERWATER camera after all... so here are some classic "underwater poses"
That's me... looking like a total cross-eyed retard under the surf
And Ray...who manages to look more cool somehow ... boo him :P
I don't know if he's photogenic or if I'm the good photographer... but in any case, photographs always seem to come out nicer when he's in them....
Compare, for example... with my ungainly attempts at mimicking a mermaid... rather, a merman ~ Speaking of mermen... now check out some of the photographed denizens of the deep...
Schools of what looks like "Ikan bilis"
Really aggressive black and white fish that will come bite you when you least expect it...
Giant clams!!!!
Coral bed...
...and MORE coral bed, some of which are poisonous and extremely painful when accidentally stepped on... I think the trick is to lay flat on your belly and let the ocean keep you afloat... the reef stays undamaged and one's feet stay unpunctured!!!
Unfortunately the pictures from the second day (overall more sunny so the pics would've turned out beautifully) featuring parrotfish, swordfish, clownfish and more of Ray and I didn't turn out... possibly because of a fault in the camera... but oh well... this already IS the longest picture post I've done... EVER!!! Anyway these pictures are as much for your viewing pleasure as they are for the rest of the group who've yet to see them... and before I start to sound like an old lady regaling her vacation, showing slides of them to people she hardly knows, I shall finish by stating that it was on the second day that I began to fall deathly ill. What started out as nausea and vomiting soon escalated to a fever beyond epic proportions, muscle spasms, convulsions, and limb paralysis. Whether a spider bite or something poisonous I contracted from the ocean, we will never know. The lesson though is to be careful I suppose when doing these things. People still joke that I nearly pulled a Steve Irwin on them... but in all humor I will like to thank the people we went with, specifically Caryn, Alhamdu, and of course my darling Ray for nursing me back to health. Only God knows where I'd be if it weren't for you guys carrying me (literally!) off to the 24 hour clinic at 3am in the morning!

And finally (I promise, this is the last!!!) before I go... because I failed so much as a merman underwater...

I think I perform so much better on land :P

Monday, July 25, 2011

All by Myself

I had my dinner... I got up. Or perhaps it was the other way around, I cannot remember. I think it took a nap for things to finally hit me. The loneliness, that is, and for all of a sudden I am left trapped beneath my comforters, my limbs as lethargic and numb as they were that day I got bitten by a venomous spider of the unknown or unidentified tropical kind. I don't know how I did it but eventually I got out... and then I had my dinner. In that order. No other. It seemed like it happened so long ago, the soft sand between our toes, the warmth of the tropical seas caressing the sunburnt skin of our backs... those nights when we would crawl together into the single bed and hug each other into the soft throes of slumber...  it was all like some sweet-sweet dream, and today's the day that dreaming ends. But maybe I was looking at it wrong... after all, one week is a pretty short time right? Too short to have such fatalistic thoughts... and then perhaps in less than seven days, these halls will be full of life again, full of the sound of your laughter. Those paintings and drawings I left on the wall would once again come to life... the plants seem less lack-lustre... maybe this is the dream... and your return is when I wake up. But like all terrible things we experience in life, they seem to go on for ages and ages. I can't believe its just 9.45... for instance. How long have I been here? How long have I sat like a zombie in front of the computer just to squeeze out these sentences? How long has it been since we parted ways on the buss? Just 7 hours. Sure seems like 7 days. In all our time together, there's probably only one moment where I felt a significant amount of sadness as to wake up as if a great weight were placed on my chest. And that was today... that was when I had to get on that buss, without you in it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pins and Needles 10: Lepidoptera of Saigon

Okay so now that the soppy sad story is out of the way, I've finally had time to open my bags, unpack, and sort out all the souvenirs I brought back from this trip. Of course, while my friends are probably unpacking various sorts of lacquer-ware and key-chains, it is only fitting for someone like me to unpack souvenirs of the more exotic variety or sort. My lepidoptera specimens. While the main city of Ho Chi Minh proved tough pickings for any species of lepidoptera (as one might expect of any city around the world) the same cannot be said of the countrysides we visited during our journey there, namely the Mekong Delta and the fruit orchards surrounding the Chu Chi tunnels where countless yellow-day flying moths and papilio butterflies were spotted. Unfortunately for me, I had not brought along a butterfly net on this trip (something I will not be overlooking again when I travel to Sabah tomorrow) but despite it all I still managed to bag myself some specimens.

From the wild to the bag.
Of course this was just one of the many butterflies I spotted that day and I must say I impressed myself as well somewhat with my ability to distinguish and identify almost all of them now by both their common and scientific names!!! Talk about self-improvement. Of course I also paid visits to the local markets where many butterfly specimens were on sale as well for extremely cheap/reasonable prices. However, because I packed extremely light I only managed to make it back with three atlas moth (attacus atlas) specimens... all for the low-low price of $6 USD or eighteen ringgit!!! Tell me where I can find such prices here in Malaysia.

And that's a couple more beauties to add to my personal collection. Tomorrow I'll be flying off to Sabah... and if everything goes smoothly and my butterfly net goes through... I suppose I'll be coming back with a lot more!!! At any rate though, I ain't too bothered even if I don't, because the best part of it all is I'll be spending five full days on holiday with my darling Rayray!!! Till I next see you...


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Love in Saigon

Hey ya'll

It's hard not to romanticize a place. Especially when you've only just been in it for a short period of time... and yes, I do find ten days an extremely short period of time. At the same time though, there's really nothing to it and before long I suppose I have to admit that there you have it, clear as day; I have taken on the mantle of any other traveller to an exotic land so different from the one I've been used to. I've imposed myself upon the earth, mingled with Her people, partook in her bounties and then romanticized the "everyday" to the point of it becoming painful to leave behind. I know, I know... it sounds sorta horrible doesn't it? When I put it that way... I mean what difference does it make then, between us as "educational" travellers and those scores of backpackers and tourists who attempt - in their own flamboyant and exaggerated way - to replicate and immerse themselves in the "culture" of the local.

But then again maybe we've been looking at it the wrong way... all those whites in their faded tank tops and sarongs, the ones with dreadlocks and piercings all dressed in the apparel of the locals in a futile attempt to "blend" ... maybe they're not so different from us? After all, I suppose only a tourist would stare at something as mundane as traffic with his mouth hanging so low as to hit the floor. So I suppose that's just the way it is then... and perhaps the only mistake I feel like I've ever made as a traveller was trying to blend in, in the first place... because undoubtedly this is what makes "us" see the beautiful in what is perhaps quite mundane for "them". And maybe... just maybe there's nothing so wrong about it after all... because Ho Chi Minh was beautiful. I loved every part of it, from the cramped and narrow alleyways that made the concrete maze of veins and networks criss-crossing throughout the city, to the lovely monuments that dotted the place - historical shrines surrounding by flowers of the most vibrant and lush variety. I loved the hustle and bustle of the people of Saigon, the many colours ...heck, I even grew to love its occasional rains and the characteristic tropical heat which strangely seemed to do wonders for my skin rather than otherwise!!! I found all these things beautiful - even the never-ending flow of motorcycles which on more than one occasion seemed to prove to be the death of me - and the matter of the fact is I do now see that it was only probably because of my position as an outsider that I found it so. In fact I see now in retrospect that I was probably too harsh in my opinion about the countless of Caucasian tourists who do the same back in our home, Malaysia. I mean just because we 'look' more Asian doesn't make us a part of that culture after all. And that is something, I think we as travellers need to work on more.

Besides, who am I kidding anyway.... assimilating with the people... becoming one with their culture. True I was there to study it, true I did enjoy myself... but would I stay there indefinitely? The answer is an honest and truly "probably not". Because there are other things about my country that I like, other things that make me more than proud to call it home. And the one, most important thing just reminded me all about it with sweet and tender kiss on the lips. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder. But anyway, I'm almost all out of things to say about this so I shall just end here by saying that for the past ten days I was a traveller, an outsider entering the heart and soul of a country that was so alike and yet so different from the one I come from. I was an alien, standing in the middle of the Ho Chi Minh streets, sweating my ass off in the tropical heat, nostrils clogged with grime and dust, dodging to the tip of my nose the throng of motorists which were almost too-liberal-for-comfort with their horns, admiring, despite it all, the entire experience. And I was loving every part of it.

It is only from the outside sometimes, that we can appreciate the beauty of what's on the inside. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Us or Them?

Sitting by the roadside, watching the little birds squabble amongst themselves for food underneath the car tires, I can't help but wonder what makes me so different from them? That is to say, I understand that biologically I am different, mentally I am different... but really what is it about ME that makes me not THEM? To what design, or intention was I born as a human being, with my relatively weak body and advanced thinking capacities... and not a creature of a different order all together. Was it decided at the moment of my conception, my insertion into the material world that I would be born in the body of a human being and not any other? Who decides? Or does this all just occur through some strange chance or coincidence? These are questions which come to me almost everyday, looking at the plants, insects, birds... looking at the world of nature of which I am both a part of and yet, by virtue of my species so distant from. Was there someone, or something that determined my place in the greater order of the world? Which begs the question; what is my purpose? Or... is it perhaps just a coincidence, and everything had just fallen into place and it is my complex human mind that cannot accept it is so? Who am I? Who are they? And why are our positions so? Sometimes I can't help but wonder if they look at us, and think about the same things we think about when we look at them.

I wonder, on average 7-8 times a day, who am I?

My Favourite Eco-Terrorist

Monday, July 4, 2011

Butterfly Prints from The NET. pt 1

Hey guys this week we're going green.

Don't be Sorry you can't be perfect

I really don't understand what it is about you sometimes. Sure we all make mistakes, sure there are moments when these mistakes will be reprimanded by others... but you don't have to go all "I'll never be perfect to you"
 on me!!! I know we may have our differences, I know... there are times when our point of views differ so far and so wide that they almost seem irreconcilable... but you know what... there are also other things I do know!!! For example, I know how happy you've made me feel, I know how I don't ever feel alone or lonely anymore, I know I don't have to worry about the small little things that some take for granted like, wondering who I can spend my lunch hours with, or who I can feel so comfortable around as to have no qualms about performing natural bodily functions in front of!!! So yes, you may not actually be perfect... but then again who is? And let's not even begin to start pointing out MY flaws as the list would be just too extensive!!! So you see... my point is that you make me happy, you make me feel safe... so don't be sorry that you can't be perfect... don't you ever!!! Because nobody, ever, in my life has given me what you have given me for every single day for the past 5 months, and that's something you must know I'll never experience anywhere else again... because I love you. Despite all the differences, I do love you. I love you to bits and I know, that if anything were to happen to me right now I'd know for sure that I have given my heart to you as surely as you have given me yours back... and it may not be the perfect arrangement, but its all I need, it's all that's good enough for me.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Cat(people) vs. Dog(people)

Hey ya'll

Just some late night musing before I sleep. I know, I know it's already 12.50 and I shud've been in bed about twenty minutes ago but since I started this, I might as well finish it first. THEN I'll go to bed... promise. Anyway I was just thinking of something Terri said the other day, about dog people and cat people... and it would seem that you can tell a lot about a person's personality based on their preferred animal. Now, while I own a pair of dogs of my own, I've always seen myself to be more of a cat-person, indeed if it weren't for my parents (specifically mum's aversion towards felines) I would probably have two cats right now instead of two dogs. Though, that doesn't go to say that I love my dogs any less, just that I would've hoped for two cats instead. But I digress, so it would seem that a person's preferred pet is very much related to a person's personality as well. Now, perhaps one of the best things about dogs - and this is something many dog people will insist upon - is the tendency for dogs to be loyal, obedient and 'trustworthy' though... that's not to say that one cannot trust a cat, it's perhaps quite simply that a cat tends to be more... well, let's just say aloof. Now I suppose I could go on all night really, arguing about the pros and cons of keeping cats and dogs but that's not really what I have set out to do. Rather I suppose I'll just get straight to the point and say that dog-people tend to be people who require obedience. They require their animals to obey their orders, learn tricks and overall be extremely attached to them and only them. Cat-people on the other hand do not mind so much if they're animals stray. They are often detached and aloof people themselves and hence do not mind if their cats do not always come to them nor if their cats fail to stick constantly by their sides. Me, what I like about cats is their primal instinct, their overall retention of that predatorial drive that enables them to be independent of me, with just the right amount of affection put in here and there. No orders necessary, just two living things, sharing the same living space for certain mutual benefits. It seems overall a much more equal relationship compared with the dog-human dichotomy and, I know this is just my personal point of view but that is just the way I like it. Anyway speaking of cat-people... here's my take on Catwoman, in anticipation of Selina Kyle which will be portrayed by Anne Hathaway in the latest Batman movie which sort of explains the big black hair.

Kitty likes to scratch... meow.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Itchy Fingers

Hey ya'll

I just realised its been weeks since my last sketch. So anyway I decided to go back to the basics and sketch what I see in nature for my field journal anyway. Here is today's artwork, the sketch of a appias libythea or Striped Albatross butterfly. Such a beauty.

Itchy fingers with the need to sketch can't stay still for long. 

Friday, July 1, 2011


Bought more crickets for Artemis to feed on. Basically the plan is to fatten her up significantly before my trip so that while I'm there, all I need to do is slip in 3 or 4 crickets and she will definitely last my elongated period of absence. Interesting thing though, now that she's so big, she actually stalks her prey, watching from above and then hanging down so that when an unsuspecting little cricket strays within her reach... ZAAASZZZ!!!!

Well, you get the picture.
It's really quite an interesting and fascinating thing to watch actually, in a sick sort of sadistic way I suppose... but then again you couldn't possibly say that something similar would not be happening in nature because it is, I suppose her place to behave in such a manner at the top of the food chain. Anyway so there you have it. Am too excited that Ray is going to be sleeping over... again... =D fourth week in a row !!!