Saturday, May 31, 2008

photos... lost!

As many of you are aware, I take LOTS of photos each time I go for a trip... be it work or pleasure. No matter how tight the schedule, if I go a new place, I'll make it a point to see at least a bit of the place... a camera in hand.

This recent trip to southwest England & parts of Germany was no exception. And as usual, my *travel followers* would ask "Are the photos up yet?"

I've been wanting to post my photos ever since I stepped out of that Boeing 777 early Monday morning some 2 weeks ago. But I've been putting it off for several reasons... the main being that I had the unfortunate experience of "memory card error".

The incident happened while I was in Berlin. First day there I think. After happily snapping hundreds (I think it was around 800+) of photos throughout the journey in England and a bit of Berlin, my camera (or technically speaking, the SD card) died on me.

Panic shot through my veins when I saw the message appearing on the 2" screen of my Canon IXUS. Baca bismillah... switch off and turn on again. Same message appeared. I took a deep breath and tried pusing the tombol on top hoping that the effort might get my camera out of its *weng* state. No avail...

It was a new SD card... 4G, bought specially for the trip because I knew that I would be taking lots and lots of photos and I wanted to be sure that I won't run out of memory space. The Sandisk card worked well... and I was extremely content. Tapi, as fate turned out, I lost several precious shots that were taken, mostly while in England. Fortunately for me, this time round, I brought both my compact and Ina's SLR. In a way, I had some backup photos... but I had only used the SLR when situation was more conducive (eg outdoor, scenic view) coz it was quite leceh to carry it around, put on the lense etc. I had relied on my IXUS for a large portion of the road trip through Cotswolds coz when you're on a drive-stop-take photo-drive mode, you reach for what's most convenient.

Nasib baik lah while in Oxford, I had downloaded all the Oxford photos using Afidalina's PC when we went over to her place for lunch. But photos of everything else... Warwick castle, Stratford-upon-Avon, Winchcombe, Stanway, Broadway, Snowshill, Chipping Camden, Moreton-in-Marsh, Stow-on-Wold, The Slaughters, Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucester, Painswick, Cirencester, Bibury, Tetbury, Bristol, Bath, Castle Combe, London... are all gone! That was the major part of the England jaunt... the very reason I had wanted to drive around through the Cotswolds.

I'm most sad about Castle Combe because it was a magical place, tucked away in the hills which was perfectly preserved a la the kind of scene that you see when you watch those English movies zaman dulu2. In fact, it was my favourite town during our journey through the area... we had to lalu a small road, kiri kanan the greenest green pokok, the ground blanketed with wild flowers and I really mean blanketed!, a small stream greeted us as we reach the town, the buildings were made of those stones mcm those resting places when horse carriages would stop for an ale or for the night, with a well in the middle of the town... =( Now all I have are images in mind about that place which I had really wanted to share with all of you. Which I obviously can't since they've not created a machine that can read minds and none of you are psychics. In fact, with my fast degrading neck-top, I'm worried that even those images will disappear with the passage of time. Thinking about it raises such despair within... Dah lah tu pulak, at that one place I did not make use of the SLR walaupun padahal it was there in the car, with me. So not a single shot... Dah nak jadi, apa nak kata... but still huaaaaaaaaaah....

I had hoped that the experts at LowYat could apply their *magic* and somehow recover those images, but the news I heard last Wednesday was not encouraging. "Card cannot even read lah" the technician said. I'm still not giving up... there must be someone with the necessary skills to recover whatever they can from that card. I'm really hoping. So if any of you know of any tech wizards, pls let me know. Those images are priceless...

The one thing that I fear most had happened. My worst nightmare... except that it has become a reality. It was exactly these kind of things that I wish I had brought a laptop so that I can download the photos I've taken at the end of each day. But, lugging a laptop on a roadtrip was not feasible. And so, when I was in LowYat last weekend during my "save the photos" mission, I had discovered that ASUS now has a mini-PC which can be easily taken on trips and is selling at a very reasonable price. OK... the exact price is RM1,299 but if having that piece of equipment can help prevent the kind of heartache that I'm currently experiencing, I'm more than happy to fork out the $. It was also one of the reasons why I had previously preferred to buy several 1G cards instead of purchasing just one larger sized card. The rationale: if something happen, I won't lose everything and have others to spare. I've always held on to that principle... until now. It was quite leceh to lug around extra card, have to change when you're at that "wish i don't have to stop to change card" mode, hence the decision to just buy a bigger card this time. Why didn't I listen to my own advice... And I should have spread the risk, not all eggs in one basket. Should have made use of my 2 1G cards first or taken photos using separate cards. But itu semua on hindsight... what I *should have done* but *did not do*. No point crying over spilt milk...

But I'm still sad. Hence the lack of enthusiasm to upload the photos. I was still harbouring hopes... still am because I'm still searching for that tech wizard who would be my saviour.

Tapi, I should not let that stop me from posting whatever other photos that I have. Learning from that lesson, while I was in Germany, I tried my best to take duplicates.. on the IXUS and on the SLR. Which in itself poses a bit of a problem because I'll now need to sift through and pick the ones that are better represented. When you have around 2700 photos to go through, that takes a while.

So to my so-called photo fans... do bear with me. I've not quite decided whether to letak je semua dulu and then delete, or sort them out first. But one thing that I have decided though is that I'll be posting the photos on my fotopages instead of the trip blog because I've realised that my memory space on blogspot is running low... and that fotopages now no longer have memory space limit.

I've not uploaded anything yet, but from time to time, go and checkout God willing and by some miracle (amin....!) you'll get the chance to *see* Castle Combe as well.

Friday, May 30, 2008

nuptial bliss...

The side effects of listening to Cook's crooning of always be my baby, the first time ever i saw your face, all i really need is you etc is that it gets me into hoping and berangan that one day a person would sing or utter words to the effect that is expressed by the lyrics. That someone would feel *that* way for me. Like he sang... Dream Big! =)

Anyway, in my course of satisfying my craving for more Cook, I've discovered this song which he recorded before he got into the whole Idol hoopla. Song & lyrics written by the word nerd himself.

Gosh... how much more swoon-able is this guy going to be?? I've not been this excited about an artist since I first heard Il Divo. His tendency for songs with amazing lyrics such as the world i know and mixing the rough, huskiness of a rocker with a sensitive side... you obviously can see that I'm smitten ;) And I've always been a sucker for a man playing the guitar (one of the things that made stod catch my eyes... and heart, was when he played kau ilham ku... tapi tu semua kisah dulu2)

ok... enough adulation... (gee, his affinity for words is rubbing off on me, haha). Back to the topic...

Tonight I attended a kenduri of a colleague from work. The first time pergi wedding on a Friday night. I just got to know Idayu... a result of DBB#3's decision to make all DDs manager of a game for the inter-DG. I'm the manager and Idayu the captain for our hockey team. I don't actually know who she was when I first saw her name, and I only learnt who she was about 1 1/2 weeks ago... kebetulan... in the lift. And she tegur me first (obviously!). A likeable energetic person. We got off on a good footing (despite my reputation of being sombong... which shall be another blog entry discussion). We managed to formally introduce ourselves and start talking about organising the team in the 30 seconds ride down the lift when she told me that she was going to be on leave for 2 weeks. I asked "You pergi holiday ke?" To which she replied by placing her hands top up in front of her... the pose of orang bersanding. "Oh you're getting married" I exclaimed, which was replied with a smile. "Congratulations!!"

Dan oleh sebab discovery itu, I pun dijemput ke majlis kenduri perkahwinannya. Felt a bit guilty... like I was crashing a party. Had I not asked her about her long leave, I wouldn't not know about the wedding, and she wouldn't have had to invite me. I mean... considering that we just kenal each other about 10 minutes and for me to receive a formal invitation, siap dengan map pelbagai. We met later during the week to discuss about how to go about planning the game and before she departed, "Nanti datang ya!" Hence...

Tonight, after a long break, I checked out Linda's fotopage. Gosh! I've been missing a lot. Those kids are growing up so quickly and so adorably. Lucky kids and blessed parents... that's what I say. Sambil membelek2 her photos, I came across an entry which marked their 5th wedding anniversary. If you're reading dear... my best wishes to both of you. For many, many, many more years of loving each other. No couple deserve each other better.

I've written previously about Linda and my views regarding her marriage to Mile, and on Mile as THE most romantic husband I know. He out did himself again this year (love that pendant babe!)... and how he explained what the progressive size of the diamonds mean. *me swoon again* In the day when I hear stories of people I know experiencing infidelity, hubby leaving pregnant wife etc the Linda & Mile love journey keeps me believing in the marital institution.

I don't think about these things a lot... perhaps it is an unconscious self preservation measure ;) But on the odd occasion that I do, or when I pose the question to another on why it hasn't happened... I've not found the answer.

But that does not stop me from talking about how my wedding should be. Haha... how loopy is that ;) No laa... tadi I had lunch with Haz and Sheri, so I asked her about how her wedding preparations are coming along. Hearing the *leceh* stories, I boldly announced that when I eventually get hitched (again, I'm being optimistic... it's when, not if), it will be no sanding, no bunga telur... none of those frills. My exact statement to them was "I'd rather spend the money to buy a really good fridge". Go figure...

And later in the evening sambil menikmati juadah nasi minyak, after Siti recounted her wedding day, I again confidently made the announcement that for my wedding, people will be invited to witness the solemnisation instead of to a kenduri makan. To which Safwan just smiled cynically... Oh well, that's the plan anyway. Envisioning a wedding without any groom candidate in mind... now, that's more absurd. See... that's why I don't think about these things ;)

Tapi apa2 pun... to my happily married friends, those in a relationship, about to get married dsb... keep that love burning. Coz if nothing else can save us, love can. And in the world that we live in today, we need all the love in the world.

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strengh; loving someone deeply gives you courage ~ Lao Tzu

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

what have i been up to?

Has been a while since I last wrote... not for lack of wanting.

First few nights after returning home, I was like a zombie... kong! My first day in the new dept was very unproductive. There wasn't much to do, I was nursing a headache and sleepy like hell. I took off from work before 6pm and got home terus boom on my bed.

The next day slightly better... but not that much. Especially since the dept is SUPER quiet as compared to my old place. My sweet dulcet voice suddenly sounded like it was on loud speaker, haha... But slightly better lah, had discussions with some people... trying to make sense of what I'm responsible for, what people are doing etc etc. But nonetheless, I went home early (before 7pm is early for me, hehe) so that I'll be in front of the idiot box by 8pm to watch the American Idols finals.

According to Ina and Amt, I missed a great show the week before... darn! Luckily my favourites (what's left of them... after my original fav was voted off waaaaaay before his time) were the final two. And who did I want to win?

After listening to his rendition of Hello, I got hook to Cook! hehe.. that's so corny. And after Billie Jean I became a bigger fan... but he captured me during Mariah Carey week. I absolutely loved his version of Always Be My Baby... he can sing that to me anytime :D

A self proclaimed crossword puzzle lover, Cook had the rock attitude but also exudes intelligence. In his honour, I shall endeavour to use BIG words in this entry... well, whatever my limited vocab will permit. Hey... anything for the word nerd ;) Actually, truth be told before I left for the holidays, I wasn't really rooting for anyone. I liked Archie, Carly, Michael, Castro and Cook but that was about it. But as with any competition finals, you must choose sides and I went for Cook!

So imagine my disappointment when Cowell knocked him out against Archie. I think he did well... of course Archie was excellent, but overall if you look at the competition overall, Cook did better. More diversity... rock, ballads, twists, unexpected... plus he's not underaged, haha. My favourite song for the night was The World I Know... I was mesmerised! Actually I liked all three (obviously! hehe)

I literally screamed "woohoo" at the office when AZA told me who won the next morning, much to the chagrin of CWT who despised him. I think he's just jealous, haha... So for 3 days in a row, I rushed home after work to catch my idol perform.

While he did (relatively) "poorly" on the show night, Cook was THE star on the results night. Alongside Carly and Michael... little Archie seemed to have withered. Maybe the stress of "do I win or do I lose" was too much for him to handle. On the other hand, Cook rocked with ZZ top and when he turned to sing the words "till the end of time" at the end of Father Figure, I just went jello ;)
But the night's best performance IMHO was George Michael... when he sang Praying For Time. I love that song and with him in his element, GM was simply brilliant!

So what have I been up to since then? Catching up on the shows that I had missed of course! Thank god for youtube! Very very late nights (or more of early mornings) spent searching for this and that. In the process I also discovered that this year (or maybe last year pun ada?) the finalists also made studio recordings of some of the songs that they've performed. Such a talented bunch!

Tapi apa2 pun... Cook's my man :) Here are my favs...
I don't wanna miss a thing
Billie Jean
Music of the night
The first time ever i saw your face
Dare you to move

I now have mp3 of their studio recordings and of course performances by my man... that shall be blaring out of my speakers from now on ;) If anyone mau, I shall be more than happy to spread the joy

Congratulations David Cook!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Allah's plans...

Some things are beyond planning.
And life doesn't always turn out as planned.

You don't plan for a broken heart.
You don't plan for an autistic child.
You don't plan for spinsterhood.
You don't plan for a lump in your breast.

You plan to be young forever.
You plan to climb the corporate ladder.
You plan to be rich and powerful.
You plan to be acclaimed and successful.
You plan to conquer the universe.
You plan to fall in love - and be loved forever.

You don't plan to be sad.
You don't plan to be hurt.
You don't plan to be broke.
You don't plan to be betrayed.
You don't plan to be alone in this world

You plan to be happy.
You don't plan to be shattered.

Sometimes if you work hard enough, you can get what you want.
But MOST times, what you want and what you get are two different things.

We, mortals, plan. But so does Allah in the heavens. Sometimes, it is difficult to understand Allah's plans especially when His plans are not in consonance with ours .

Often, when He sends us crisis, we turn to Him in anger. True, we cannot choose what Allah wishes us to carry, but we can carry it with courage knowing that He will never abandon us nor send something we cannot cope with .

Sometimes, Allah breaks our spirit to save our soul.
Sometimes, He breaks our heart to make us whole.
Sometimes, He allows pain so we can be stronger.
Sometimes, Allah sends us failure so we can be humble.
Sometimes, He allows illness so we can take better care of ourselves.
And sometimes, Allah takes everything away from us so we can learn the value of everything He gave us .

Make plans, but understand that we live by Allah's grace.

home soil...

As per usual, after a nice long holiday, I always dread coming home. I think it's more of dreading going back to work ;)

Arrived early this morning... didn't sleep a wink on the flight (ok.. that's exaggerating, I might have dozed off for about 20 mins). Spent the time watching 3 movies... the one I liked best was The Bucket List. Made me shed a tear. Life is precious and should be lived!!

I don't have the energy to write, although I have lots of thoughts swimming in my head. For now... I need to read some emails, catch up with some friends' blogs, and start downloading my thousands of photos ;)

One thing I'm glad of though... I get to sleep in my own bed tonight :)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

aching feet and 10 shades darker...

I finally have access to the world wide web!

Am now in Berlin... arrived late last night after 7 wonderful days frolicking around the English countryside.

The holiday has been wonderful so far... but not without a cost. Todaz and while in London especially, I walked a LOT!! Sampai sakit lah kaki, but pretend macho and didn´t say anything to mama and papa ;)

The weather has been bright and sunny except for 2 days in England where we had showers on and off, but overall it couldn´t have been lovelier :) And the trend continues in Germany.. so far, fingers crossed. So because of the sunny days, I am also more gelap now... SERIOUSLY!

ok... better not hog this PC... other hotel customers are waiting.

cheerio... or shld I say bis sp├Ąter!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

the holiday begins...

I should be sleeping... don't want to be late for the flight tomorrow.

Have been looking forward to this... hopefully it will help ease the sorrow.

See you in 18 days' time... sooner if I can find internet connection :)