April 18th, 2011 | 3 Comments »

We all know that Internet is such a wonderful tool to fold the distance between people all around the world. Many good causes have been benefited from it. Now… I’m sure at least some of you have heard about KickStarter.com.Those who haven’t might wonder what it is all about. Well, in a nutshell, it is a crowd-funding website for creative projects. We all know there are a lot of creative people with amazing, imaginative ideas out there. A lot of them are committed to realize their dreams and would work really hard for it. Unfortunately, funding doesn’t come easily for most of them. Now, this is where KickStarter.com makes a difference.

From Wikipedia:

Kickstarter is an online threshold pledge system for funding creative projects. Kickstarter has funded a diverse array of endeavors, ranging from indie film and music to journalism and food-related projects.

One of a new set of fundraising platforms dubbed “crowdfunding”, Kickstarter facilitates gathering monetary resources from the general public, a model which circumvents many traditional avenues of investment. Project owners choose a deadline and a target minimum of funds to raise. If the chosen target is not gathered by the deadline, no funds are collected (this is known as a provision point mechanism). Money pledged by donors is collected using Amazon Payments, and initiating projects requires a U.S. bank account.

Kickstarter takes 5% of the funds raised; Amazon takes an additional percentage (around two). Unlike many forums for fundraising or investment, Kickstarter claims no ownership over the projects and the work they produce. However, projects launched on the site are permanently archived and accessible to the public. After funding is completed, projects and uploaded media cannot be edited or removed from the site.

What do you think? Isn’t it such a super brilliant idea? And it works too! There many excellent projects succeeded with the help of people who believed in their creators. Currently only those with US bank account can submit/start projects, but there is no country limitation to back a project! I believe most of us can afford to spend a few dollars here and there (most accept donation for as low as $1). There are unique rewards as a token of gratitude for the Backers too – depending on how much is pledged. Here are the projects I am currently backing up:

Seed | http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/653079247/seed

When I Die... | http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/773243090/when-i-die-please-send-me-home

Weighted | http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/590535029/weighted-the-movie

iPhone4 Photog Kit | http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/187916848/un01-iphone4-photography-kit

But there are a lot more out there! Check it out and help some creative people out there realizing their dreams!

Posted in Daily Bits, Musing
March 6th, 2011 | 2 Comments »

I hope you all are enjoying your weekend!

We had a nice impromptu Saturday night outing here! Yesterday afternoon we went to see “True Grit” in the cinema (it was a very well made movie, but nothing’s special/new/surprising about it), and then decided to just dine out. We went to this Schezuan restaurant that serves the best “Diced Fried Chicken buried in Dried Chilli and Schezuan Peppers” dish. I didn’t take photo of it last night, but I still have the photo (and layout!) from a while ago that I took at the same restaurant. In case you are in Hong Kong, the restaurant is called “San Xi Lou”, and located on the 7th floor of the Coda Plaza, on Garden Road, just beside the YMCA Building in Central. They used to be located in Causeway Bay under the name “Man Jiang Hong”. I highly recommend it! We usually have the “Fried Rice with Onion and Fried Egg” (one bowl is enough for the two of us) and the “String Beans with Minced Pork” to accompany the Chicken Dish.

As seen in the book “Picture Yourself Creating Digital Scrapbooks” by Lorie J. Davies and Sally Beacham. Created using Year In Revue Kit. Fonts are FG Matilda, Tork and 1942 Report.

We were so full after dinner, and I wasn’t feeling like heading home yet – the night was still young. So we just strolled towards the city. It’s a nice walking weather – clear sky, and pretty cold – almost like winter! We talked about this and that while walking and somehow we got this idea to go to The Peak. The Peak is an area on the top of the Austin Mountain where you can see the magnificent view of Hong Kong from above – when the weather is nice (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Peak, and here to see pictures). Last time we went there was in 2004 during daytime – to show Hong Kong around to my younger brother who was visiting us then. As the Tram station was not faraway when where we were strolling down last night, we just walked there and joined the queue – which consisted of mostly tourists from all over the world. We bought the tickets just to get there, not including tickets for the Peak Tower and Peak Terrace.

The tram trip is a pretty exciting experience. The view was gorgeous and the tram itself is an historical, 120 years old tram. When you’re sitting inside the traveling tram, the buildings on your left and right would seem to be leaving at a weird angle – sort of like having Pisa Tower all over you! This is because the tram route is on an steep path, scaling the mountain. When you’re sitting inside it, you’re actually sitting at 90º angle to the mountain path – thus the building outside seems like the ones that are leaning. But when you’re standing up, the buildings would appear upright at normal angle again. This is because when you’re standing up, your body would automatically try to stand up straight – perpendicular to the ground, not to the steep path – and so you would be leaning at the same angle as the buildings! Isn’t that peculiar!

Once we arrived, we’re greeted by a breathtaking view of Hong Kong skyline at night… I took some pics with my iPhone – but the results only look good at small size :). You’d better check the link here for photos that could do justice to the view :). After wandering around for sometimes enjoying the view from various angles, we had a cup of hot tea in one of the restaurants there (well, I had a pot of peppermint tea with honey and my husband had a glass of red wine). Then it’s finally time to head home…

It was a fun evening! Especially because it wasn’t planned :)

Posted in Daily Bits, Musing
January 21st, 2011 | No Comments »

I’ve been guilty of many of these! Can you guess which ones are my worst?

Posted in Daily Bits, Musing
January 18th, 2011 | 4 Comments »

‘Balance’ is my word for 2011. It might look like a simple word, but it is a loaded one – very tricky to achieve, and even more difficult to maintain. Because guess what? It is not a static condition in which once you achieve it, you then could passively keep it. No. It is fluid, always on the move. It is something that you have to keep on nurturing in everything you do.

For myself, balance means to focus more into the process of things – of doing, of working, of creating, of living. That is, rather than focusing on the end result. Which for me means patience and acceptance of my own limitation: I am known to want to do so many things all at once and all has to be perfectly done! I tend to keep on working almost non-stop until the job is done or until I collapse. I tend to spend impractical amount of time and energy on minuscule details in almost everything I do: from washing the dishes to hanging the laundry to designing to creating art. And I do enjoy it too – most of the time! Some would  say I am a perfectionist – or obsessed. I won’t be happy with my work until everything is just so – even if it’s only me who notices it. Do people notice it in my work? Do people appreciate how everything is done just so? I don’t know. I hope at least some of them do. I don’t expect them to notice the particulars, but just that they notice that it is very well made/crafted/done. People might not be able to pin point what makes it so, but I hope as a whole my work should be able to speak for itself. Yes, it is important for me to create my work as best as I can make it – spare no efforts. And that, my dear, takes time. Plenty of it. So, I just have to accept that I will always take more time to finish my work. (You would think by now at the ripe age of 41 I should have known this already, wouldn’t you. Well, I am an optimist :)).

Which means, no more letting myself get frustrated when things take much longer time to get done – process takes time. Which means, breaks and rest and play time are necessary: they are to be fully enjoyed without guilty feeling whether I have finished a certain set of work or not. My work is never done anyway: there is always more and more coming. So yeah, take breaks often – enjoy play time. Doing nothing is needed to set the balance. But of course, there are still deadlines and commitments to meet… Now… which way is it towards balance again?

In my effort towards balance this year, I have made a commitment to join the Art Journal Caravan hosted by the amazing super woman designer Tangie McMeen Baxter at SBG! Yeah! I’m starting out late – but hey, better late than never never! In Tangie’s AJC, you can move at your own space, you can start any time and jump around to wherever your inspiration take you. The golden rule is you have to enjoy doing what you’re doing :).

So, this is my first page for the AJC 2011. Balance.

Background paper: Shades of Black (Studio Ztampf!). Fonts: Kabel BT and Lacuna Regular. The picture is of one of my works, entitled Soaring V.2.08 (2005, porcelain and wire). I chose this because the wire that forms the cage and the wire supporting the wings is one piece of wire: it is an act of balance ;).

The Inspiration to ponder for the First Week was Process – which is particularly very apt for me as my thinking of Balance has been closely linked to Process. So here it is, my 2nd page for the AJC 2011. Process.

Background paper: Furnace (Studio Ztampf!) . Fonts: Kabel BT and Lacuna Regular.

August 20th, 2010 | 5 Comments »

I was born in August 19th in the year 1969 according to the western, solar calendar system. In Chinese lunar calendar system, my birth date was on the 7th Day of the 7th Month, which according to a folk legend was the birthday of a fairy, princess of the King of Heavens called Zhinü (the star Vega, literally means the ‘weaver girl’). She was the youngest and most beautiful of the King’s 7 daughters. She was kind hearted and very skillful with her hands. She was the one who wove the beautiful clouds in the sky, often employing the most magnificently colored silk threads.

One day the 7 fairy princesses flew down to the earth to take a bath in a river near a forest. A poor orphaned cowherd accidentally caught sight of them bathing in the river. His name was Niulang and he had an old ox with him, the only worldly belonging that his parents left him when they died years ago. Niulang was a good man, he was hardworking and gentle. He was transfixed by the sight of seven beautiful fairy princesses bathing in the river, like any normal man would – don’t you think? :) But there was a particular fairy princess that he just couldn’t take his eyes off of her. It was Zhinü, the youngest one, the weaver of the clouds.

He hid behind the bushes and kept quiet while the fairy princesses finished their bathing and started to collect their fairy clothes that they left laying around on the rocks by the river. He saw them putting the glimmering clothes back on and how they then flew off to the sky, with their silky garment trailing and bellowing softly behind them. He was mesmerized. That night, he couldn’t sleep thinking about what he saw that day, and especially, about Zhinü. He has fallen in love with her.

Everyday after that he came back to the spot by the river, always at the same time of day when he saw the fairy princesses, hoping to see Zhinü again. Finally they came back for another bath. This time, Niulang hid closer to the rocks where the fairy princesses left their fairy clothes. Stealthily, he crept closer and took hold of Zhinü’s clothes, and moved further away. When the fairy princesses ready to fly back to heaven, Zhinü was left alone because she couldn’t find her fairy clothes. Her sisters had no choice but to leave her there by the river. Niulang approached her and lent her some clothing that he has prepared earlier on and offered her to come home with him. Well, she promptly feel in love with him! They got married and had 2 cute children: a boy and a girl. Niulang worked in the field and Zhinü wove beautiful tapestries to be sold on market days. They lived very happily together although they were not rich.

One day, when Niulang was away at work in the field, while cleaning the house Zhinü found a wooden box hidden in the corner under their bed. Out of curiosity, she opened it and was surprised to find her fairy clothes in it! She was overjoyed as she has been missing her parents and her sisters all these years. Without thinking, she put them on and before she knew what she was doing, she has flown back to the Heavens leaving her children behind! Uh oh!

Up in the Heavens, The King and the Queen Goddess were very happy to have their youngest daughter back and they forbid her to come back down to the earth. Back down there, Niulang was devastated when he got home to find the hidden box was now opened and Zhinü was nowhere to be seen. He immediately understood what had happened. He took their children with him to the river and waited there, hoping that Zhinü would come back. The old ox who was waiting with them finally told him that the only way for him to get Zhinü back was to take off his skin and use it to fly to the heavens. The old ox said that his time has come to leave the earth anyway, and that he has been very grateful of how well Niulang has treated him even when he has gotten so old and useless. He wanted to repay this kindness. And so he requested that Niulang took his skin off.  With heavy heart, Niulang sent the children to play further away and gently skinned the old ox and buried him.

Then he put on the old ox skin, gathered the children and flew off to the heavens to fetch Zhinü home. The Queen Goddess saw him approaching and she quickly drew a giant river in the sky with her pin to separate Niulang and Zhinü forever. Neither of them would be able to cross that river.  Zhinü pleaded and pleaded until finally the King took pity on her. Every year on her birthday which was the 7th Day of the 7th Month, he let the birds formed a bridge across the river so Niulang and Zhinü could be together again for a night. Once a year, on the 7th Day of the 7th Month.

This fairytale refers to constellations in the night sky. Zhinü is the star Vega in the constellation of Lyra east of the Milky Way, and Niu Lang is the star Altair in the constellation of Aquila west of the Milky Way. Under the first quarter moon (7th day) of the seventh lunar month (around August), the lighting condition in the sky causes the Milky Way to appear dimmer, hence the story that the two lovers are no longer separated in that one particular day each year.

The 7th Day of the 7th Month in lunar calendar is a festival day in China called QiXi Festival, also known as The Festival To Plead for Skills or The Night of Skills and fairly recently, as Chinese’s Valentine’s Day.

Now, some interesting coincidental bits:

  1. 1. According to Numerology, my life-path number is 7.
  2. 2. I am skillful with my hands – like Zhinü, I am good with various arts and crafts. I love to make things!
  3. 3. My husband’s last name is O’Leary, which means ‘shepherd’, close enough to ‘cowherd’!
  4. 4. When I was in my late 20’s, my uncle who lived in China told me that my birthday indicated that I would be separated a lot from my future husband.
  5. 5.  Well, turned out that my husband has to travel a lot for various reasons, so yeah, we got separated quite a lot every year. But fortunately not as bad as Niulang and Zhinü!
  6. 6. So far, we’ve been living very happily together although we are not rich. My husband teaches philosophy at the university while I create art, design stuff and make things.

In 2006, my solar and lunar calendar birthday were in alignment once again: it was my 37th birthday. But I wasn’t thinking about it then, I didn’t know it! I wonder if it only happens once every 37 years?

So there! A fairytale with nice coincidences :). I hope you enjoyed reading it!

Source: Wikipedia, and similar tales I have heard throughout my childhood – not knowing it was the story about my birthday!

Posted in Daily Bits, Musing
August 17th, 2007 | 3 Comments »

I’ve been so cranky the past few days. Hmmmh. PMS-ing? Probably! The weather has been awful which I guess somehow affected my moods too. But today it’s actually a fine day: it’s sunny! Yes, it is still humid and hazy, but the sun is shining! Compared to the past week, today it’s a grand fine day indeed!

And I went out today! Those who know me in real life would understand that this is a special happening as I very rarely go out. I am a certified hermit, you see! So! I went out because I’m in a dire need of extra space! Virtual, that is. I need to get an External Hard Drive pronto! I’ve filled up the HD space in my Mac Book Pro (which I named EmB – after a name given to a character in a book titled “Under the Glacier” – Undir Helgahnjúk – by Halldór Laxness, who happened to be Kjersti’s – one of my Z!Girls, grand-uncle from her husband’s side.) – and almost filled up my existing, 250GB EHD as well (Gee… what a long winding sentence this is! LOL!). Plus… some files in Maxsparkz (that’s the name I gave to my 250GB EHD – it’s a Maxtor one) don’t even have a backup! How scary!

So… last night I ran a search online for the best EHD within my budget. And I found this cute and yet powerful one from LaCie here. It has plenty of ports of various kinds which I’m sure will come in handy. Of course I didn’t order it there as I am in Hong Kong. I went to my favorite Mac shop in Central instead. Alas… that particular LaCie EHD that I want is out of stock. I have them checked their other shops for one, but none have it at the moment. Well, it’s not a new product as far as electronic stuff goes. And Hong Kong people is a faithful follower of all things newest and trendiest. However…, they could order one for me! Yipppeee…!!! And since I’ve been such a good customer (well, not really, I’ve never spent much there) – they gave me 5% off discount. The LaCie Mini HD 500GB will be available for pick up by Tuesday, Aug. 21st! Not bad eh! It costs me HK$ 2,260 – that’s about US$ 289, higher than the pricing in the US. But then again, if I ordered it online there’ll be some considerable shipping cost plus longer waiting time to get it. And I *really* need it! It’s ultimately necessary for my line of work. So… *sigh*, I just had to order it today.

And now I have to get back to work! I’m not as enthusiastic about it as I normally would because since I’m running out of HD space, Photoshop is running very slow :(. I do have 2GB of memory – but lacking of HD space does matter! Oh well.

I really look forward to Tuesday when I’ll get my LaCie EHD. I anticipate some kind of annoyance or frustration in re-organizing my files between EmB, Maxsparkz and the new LaCie (which, btw, I will named “Laci”. In Indonesian language, “laci” – pronounced “la – cee”, means drawer; like a drawer in a cupboard. So it is a storage system, an empty space to store stuff. Appropriate for an EHD, no?). My tendencies to be really organized sometimes could be annoying and impractical. LOL! Talking of paradox…

The Night Before Oh I did have a new layout done last night! Here’s a tiny preview. Just click on it to see the larger version with detailed info – as usual :). Enjoy!

Anyway. I said I have to get back to work, didn’t I?

Posted in Daily Bits, Musing