So this is what my friends got me. On a whim.

Friday I was talking to some friends about building a sound system in my flat. Sunday after church I go with them to one of my friend’s flat to check out his Houston Mini 1998 tube amplifier and I see these two tall wood-paneled TEAC speakers. Then they tell me they’re mine.

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I’m like, haha yeah they’re mine after I go over-budget. They’re like, no, they’re yours. We got them for you secondhand from someone in Kwai Hing who wanted to give them away yesterday. We piled them up in the car and brought them here. Don’t cost you a cent. Now all you need is an amplifier and you’re good to go. When do you want us to set them up in your flat?

WHAT.

Hours later they’d still be laughing about the look on my face. God bless them all.

 

New acceptance + new EP + launch gig

First off, it is always, always a good thing to get an email from Dean Alfar and Sarge Lacuesta that starts like this:

Dear Crystal,

I am pleased to inform you that your story, “Little Places”, has been accepted for publication in VOLUME One.

The publication is for VOLUME: An Anthology of Contemporary Fiction. I am totally psyched. Launch will be on September 2013!

Second, the EP of the band I’ve been playing regularly with for some time now (Cyrus Chow), is out! Fresh from the mixing studio in Sheung Wan and the record manufacturer in Kwun Tong is Rise. I was only a guest guitarist back then during recording so I only feature in one song, but the feeling of seeing your name in a CD jacket is still pretty amazing!

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The band will be selling it for 60 HKD a pop; I’m not sure how the distribution is yet but there’ll be more info coming from here, I’m guessing.

We’ll be playing for the launch gig tomorrow at Backstage in Central at 8pm. Our set will be about 40 minutes long and we’re sharing the event with Ping Loong, another musician who contributed to Rise and is launching his own album as well. I have a sizable group of friends coming over to watch and celebrate with me so I’m going to be sufficiently tired by the end of the night. 🙂

An Amazing Thing

My friend Haruka is a fine artist in terms of being 1) an actress, 2) a painter, and 3) as someone I can talk to well beyond midnight about art and the importance of interpretation.  One of the things I most appreciate about dropping by her and her husband Gabe’s house is seeing her canvasses lined up against the walls.  She’s always working on something new and always asking me what I think and what I see. (I own one of her paintings too. It’s of Mont Saint-Michel and I hang it above my desk at work. I’ve gotten quite a number of good comments about it from my colleagues).

She’s having a solo exhibit here in Hong Kong on February. It’ll be named unbeaten by rain after the poem by Kenji Miyazawa. (I helped her come up with that title in English so she can have a line that scans well. There, I just had to say that.) The centerpiece will be a big painting that has fantastic color and presence. It’s her best work to date. I was so impressed by it I asked for the photos she had taken of her progress during the mere few weeks it took her to complete the painting.

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I have photos of the completed painting but she doesn’t want them public just yet. (She wants a proper photo of it to show; these were taken on an iPhone.) I’ll put the proper photos up once she sends them to me and when it’s closer to the exhibit date. UPDATE: You can see the completed painting here. In the meantime, I want to try to understand how something like the second picture could turn into something like the second to the last. There’s a freedom and trust in the process that I try to have more of in my own writing.

And also: I’m fricking proud of my friend.

Wedding Pics! (In which everyone is gorgeous!)

Two months late but it always takes a while for the pictures to come in.

May 6, 2012! Stan and Daisy at the Hebe Yacht Club near Sai Kung! The gang and I were sort of the errands people for the event!

Manning the reception table. Is it hot in here? YOU BET IT IS.
Photo by T

Staking seats before most of the guests arrived. Took me 12 hours to get that red packet to Daisy.
Photo by Anna Yeung

Mid-reception but not half as boozed up yet! L to R: T, Dickson, Annie, me!
Photo by Anna Yeung

We realized only later that we never got proper photos with Stan and Daisy; too much running around!
Photo by Anna Yeung

Daisy’s dress is AMAZING. As much as that ventilation duct is not.
Photo by Anna Yeung

Didn’t get the memo this was supposed to be pucker-up shot, sorry!

T and I playing bodyguards to Annie’s playboy bunny.
By the way, that whip is still in our office cubicle.

8 Birthday Lessons

Lesson 1: The most comfortable way of turning a year older is to stretch your birthday parties into a month-long celebration. You may be constantly reminded that YOU’RE3YEARSAWAYFROM30!! but because it’s so frequent, you take it for granted, and it never really quite sinks in, thank God.

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When: 3 April 2012

Where: Ruby Tuesday, Newtown Plaza, Sha Tin

Who: The Ostleys

No picture because we were too busy shushing the baby

Lesson 2: One of the best moments there is is when you sit down with your oldest friends here, the ones who call you part of their family, drinking tea in the quiet of their house, taking turns to hold the baby, looking back and seeing how you’ve changed and they’ve changed and how you will still all change, and realizing, as you do every year with them in April without fail, how lucky in life you’ve been so far.

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When: 5 April 2012

Where: Al Pasha, K11, TST

Who: The work gang Friends who just happen to work together

Lesson 3: Seriously, I had no idea there’s so much you can do with birthday whistles! (Don’t read too much into that.)

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When: 9 April 2012

Where: Lawry’s: The Prime Rib, Lee Gardens, Causeway Bay

Who: The parental units, in for a visit

No picture because we were just too stunned with the prime rib.

Lesson 4: Your parents will love you forever and ever.

Lesson 5: PRIME RIB.

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When: 13 April 2012

Where: Full / Half, The One, TST

Who: The church gang

Lesson 6: If you can remember how old you were when you first saw Titanic in the cinemas, you aren’t old at all.

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When: 20 April 2012

Where: Red Chimneys, Prudential Hotel, Jordan

Afterparty: Ozone, The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, on the 118th floor of the ICC, West Kowloon

Who: The girls

No picture because come on: 1. I am there 2. Makiko is there 3. It’s a buffet.

Lesson 7: Some of the coolest and classiest friends you have are the older ones.

Lesson 8: TAKE ME BACK TO OZONE PLEASE NOW THANK YOU

Lost in Tai Long Wan

So I was wrong in thinking that my last misadventure in hiking (i.e. lost in the dark with no flashlight, no food, hills away from the nearest road) would be the one that had involved Nell and Lion Rock and all-around silliness five years ago.

Tai Long Wan feeds into the MacLehose Trail, from which people get airlifted out all the time, as we found out much too late afterwards. (25/03/2012)

The best beach in Hong Kong, Tai Long Wan. Inaccessible by road.

If you're ever going to be lost hiking, let it be with these people and the one holding the camera. It's that kind of smiling that leads to silliness.

Because when it gets dark and ABSOLUTELY NO ONE HAS A FLASHLIGHT, you want to be with people who don't get cranky when they're cold, hungry, and HOLDMEI'MABOUTTOPASSOUT tired. I'm still impressed by the fact that no one hit someone else with a rock.

Bowling With the Girls

Half of the girls anyway. Theresa was working on her PhD dissertation and Patti was spending time with her husband Tai before he flies off again for his job with Cathay Pacific. I’ve nearly lost my voice to all the laughing we did tonight (well, last night now at this posting). No wonder we’ve been mistaken as family three times already by strangers. Photos courtesy of Annie!

Daisy and me with an onion ring in mid-bite.

Me, Daisy, and Annie. Stan (Daisy’s fiance) took the picture.

All Things New

SHELVES! After a year of searching, I finally found plastic shelves for my books! And they’re stackable too. Found them at the PriceRite in Whampoa when Joy and I were waiting around for a meeting with Haruka; I bought three racks. Am very pleased.

TWITTER. See RSS feed in the sidebar. I’ve succumbed to the prospect of posting little, self-centered updates about what I’m doing at that moment.

Joy left for Taiwan this morning. It’s been a very fun, hectic 5 days. ^_^  Thursday, I brought her for dinner in Langham Place in Mongkok. Friday, I went to work and she went to Mongkok to do some shopping and we met up in the evening for dinner at the Pink Salmon in Jordan. I took her to Temple Street afterwards and we rounded up the night with drinks at a bar in Lan Kwai Fong. Saturday, I brought her around downtown Central then to Repulse Bay and Stanley Market, dinner at Singaporean Restaurant in Ashley Road at TST. Sunday, we went to church and we had lunch with Nell at the usual dimsum place down Nathan Road, then I brought her to Kowloon Walled City Park. We had dinner at a streetside stall in Kowloon City before going to Whampoa to meet with Haruka. Monday, I went to work, she went to Mongkok again XD, and we met with Ron and Yvonne for dinner at Times Square.  Tuesday, I was predictably working again and Joy spent a lazy day in my flat. When I came back that evening, she had cooked dinner, and we spent the rest of the night karaoke-ing with YouTube and watching Wall-E on her laptop while I finished off a small tub of Dreyer’s ice cream that had half-melted in my fridge (Joy had half of it).

A Highlight: Joy and I wanted a picture of us in the Walled City Park and I asked a teenager if he could take the picture. A kind of terror spread through his face and he mumbled “I don’t know” in Cantonese…then he picked up his bag and dashed off! Practically ran away from us. I turned around to Joy with a look of complete befuddlement on my face and she had already doubled up with laughter. I explained to her that he was waiting for his girlfriend and didn’t want to be caught with me and my striking good looks, obviously. XDD

It was very pleasant to come back home to someone after a long day at work. ^_^