Problem is, my story arcs are still too complex for her - I'll need to simplify things while peacetimes by her crib are as fleeting as that at a middle eastern border. Cos for two nights now, as soon as I get into the actual plot, Izzie goes on a berserker trail and my award-winning tale never enters Scene 02. Fast stories from now on, Fergus. Five sentences - max. Ah, what fond memories. Economy of words is every writer's first lesson.
Monday, December 5, 2011
I think I'm going to enjoy storytelling at bedtimes. I already have an assortment of plots, characters, motifs and even antagonists. I'll just need to string them into fantastical stories where Isobel is the heroine and teach her, with each yarn, something about being brave, persistent, faithful, or obedient.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
We had a good thing going on here, but we let it die. For far to long. So the hubs challenged me yesterday. "You have the time. Write one paragraph posts, it's not hard."
It's true. I really do have the time (babies sleep a lot), and one paragraph isn't hard. I just need to think in small chunks instead of epic ambitions. Note to self: the same applies for all those DIY/craft/sewing projects I've pinned on my Pinterest.
Ps: Today I spun my favourite Christmas album, Wintersong. The year is drawing to an end so quickly.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
I know. I know. We've been away for a long, long time. But it's not really because we've been nestling into married life and forgetting that we have a blog and that children are going hungry in first world countries turning away their dinners in exchange for "a few more minutes" of refreshing These Glorious Days because "maybe they will update something soon". No, of course not.
In fact, the main reason why we have not been blogging is because on the way back from our honeymoon, we were kidnapped by the Thai mafia right off the Karak highway, blindfolded and sold to Myanmar where we were then trained to become child soldiers. Yes, and when they IDed us and discovered that we were not in fact children, they sent us to Laos, where a monastery of Buddhist monks awaited our arrival to commence what was to be a six-year course in translating Pali scriptures into Hebrew, which didn't make sense to us cos we know neither language, but we thought we'd play alon-
Athalia: Ooh, you're updating our blog!
Fergus: Yes, finally.
Athalia: Are you telling them our story?
Fergus: Of course.
Athalia: Don't forget about the lambs in Karachayevsk.
Fergus: Slowly, slowly.
So where was I? Yes, we thought we'd just play along, but when we got there, there were no monks, no books, no translators, just a goatherd who offered to sell us some electronics on the cheap, which we did eventually buy - but only out of charity. Unbeknownst to us, though, somewhere in the depths of the crappy plastic mp4 player was a chip so sought after by various illegal stakeholders and steakholders (this will become clear later) that within minutes of our goodwill purchase, we were nabbed once more, flung into a Hummer and driven for days and nights with stops only for toilet break (us) and cigarettes (them). I wasn't clever enough to recognise what they were saying but Athalia knew at once that they were speaking in Uzbek - not just any Uzbek but that from the region surrounding Oktyabr'skiy.
True enough, when we had the sacks lifted off our heads, there we were, outside a deli in where else but Oktyabr'skiy, Uzbekistan, fending for our lives and being questioned by large bearded men with whisky breath about what must have been our possession of the dinky mp4 player with the prized chip. Before we knew it, there was a police siren, a group of feminists dressed as multi-coloured octopuses (I kid you not), a Hasidic Rabbinic scholar, two Taiwanese Ah Lians and the butcher from the deli running out with a steak in one hand and a cleaver in another - all of them, read my lips, all of them, entered into a melee for the chip.
We were lucky enough to escape that disaster but unlucky enough to have ran into a dog farm, where we were chased, bitten and hounded for hours and kilometers by furious canine, whom we later deduced were only really acting out of fear of being exported to China as beef, but all the bite wounds did wear us down till we found refuge in a village, and reluctantly received treatment by a one-headed faith healer (who branded herself as a two-headed faith healer, but we could tell that one of her heads was fake), who then wrote us a referral letter for another goatherd (what's with these goatherds!) who would continue our treatment.
Half dead and half exhausted, we were kindly put on a travelling wagon on which we must have passed out for days, and when we did eventually come to it, we were in Karachayevsk, somewhere in godforsaken Russia, where lambs - about thirty to forty of them - had been and still were licking our wounds till they healed. In fact, I remember now that while being licked by those lambs, I pulled out my phone, got on some 3G service and blogged to say we were alive, wait let me check when was that - September 11th, omg could it not be any more ominous! But yes, so while we were being licked by lots and lots of baby goats, we were told of the curative qualities of their saliva and that we-
Athalia: Ah, I see you are writing about the lambs in Karachayevsk!
Fergus: Indeed, I am!
Athalia: Cool. I'll leave you to it.
What was I saying again? Yes, and that we were on the brink of death and were saved by these lambs because of enzymes in their saliva and something else in Russian that neither of us understood or even remembered. Days turned into weeks an weeks into a month and by mid-October, we were eventually well enough to get off the lamb licking treatment. Magically, we still had both our credit cards with us and after another wagon trip to the nearest city, which neither of us remembers now, we took a train to Moscow, flew to Frankfurt where we then got an Air Asia flight back home, which got delayed till about three days ago - during which we met several another men at the airport also selling cheap electronics, all of which we were very careful not to buy.
Eventually we did get on the plane from Frankfurt and reached KL like last night, wait no, two nights ago - what's happening to my brains - and Athalia was saying all the way back from Germany that we must, must, must not forget that we have a readership on These Glorious Days who have been waiting for so long to hear from us and we cannot dally any longer to explain to them why we've been missing for so long. And so, my friends, we are back - bruised, scattered, resurrected from near extinction and released from numerous captivities, and we are so glad to be back on this blog with you to tell you all about what's been happening in our lives since we got married.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
We are married!
We are married! We have survived the wedding - more than that, maybe even thrived through the wedding! And why stop there - we've even made it back from our honeymoon alive!
Yes, we have been married now for a week and three days and the entire behemoth is nestling itself comfortably into our respective and shared existences. There is much to say about the wedding - so much, in fact, that an old adage told us we could save on every thousand words by posting a picture for it. Which we will do. But that will take time, cos bridal photographers need time to crunch all the raw photos into what you will soon see here. Patience my friends - the story will follow.
In the meantime, a quick table of contents on what is to follow in the next few days and weeks.
Chapter 1. Matching phones // In one of their first consumerist acts as a married couple, Fergus & Athalia get themselves matching Nokia E5s.
Chapter 2. Wedding stories // The spotlight shines on some of the most memorable narratives from the wedding.
Chapter 3. Wedding photos // The remaining few thousands of words will be compressed here.
Chapter 4. East coast travelogue // Two delinquents on a trunk road with only hedonism on their minds.
Chapter 5. West coast travelogue // Two families meet at a riverside town and enjoy a night out under the
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
Yes, it's high time for some wedding updates. Especially as we might get some traffic here now that our cards are going out! Plus, it's suddenly now less than a month away now. Glup!
Most importantly, our cards are FINALLY done and hoo boy, what a ride that has been.
The cards were only sent to print on Thursday, picked up on Friday afternoon, and we spent the weekend addressing, stamping and bundling the first batch along with figuring out how to get them out to as many people on our list as possible. But lets rewind a bit and look at how it all came about, which was an arduous process that took about 1,000 revisions and then some.
We originally had a Polaroid concept in mind, but at some point I picked up a box of vintage Penguin book cover postcards from Borders. Admittedly, I had no real justification for buying it other than a vague idea of stringing it up as deco for our wedding? House? Something? But a few weeks later, Fergs was messing around on the comp and said, "Hey, what if we use the design for our cards?"
Iconic, British, retro, literary. Qualities we like. It was a resounding yes!
That was settled quickly and painlessly enough. Then I said "I love patterns can we please have patterns please patterns are pretty, please." So Fergs gamely tried his hand using a book of patterns I had as reference, also from Borders.
Now lets pretend this is a movie, and a whole montage of pattern and colour combinations will now proceed to play. But long story short, I felt that each combination we tried didn't work as a whole. In most cases, it was hard to say why or how to fix it. So eventually, we roped in our superduper graphic designer Wei Yu and she helped us out immensely, reillustrating the penguins, drawing us some new patterns so the set finally looked cohesive and helping us with the alignment for printing, printing contacts and so many other little details that she deserves a giant penguin trophy. Plus she was super patient with us even when we delayed on the copy for the back. Hip hip hooray!
Ah yes, our copy. We knew that we didn't want to use a conventional template, and anyway the postcard layout wouldn't fit it. It needed something more compact and friendly-sounding, but it was hard to find the right tone and decide what information really needed to be included. For example, we didn't put any maps in on the assumption that people will just google or ask. Also, we didn't put our contact numbers because we everyone should have them already. In the end, we had to write a few versions before we settled on a style that still sounded like a postcard but was also proper enough for aunties.
The final touch was when Wei Yu suggested sticking stamps on, and I remembered that the weekend antique flea market in Amcorp mall sold old stamps for 10 cents a piece! Some of the stamps date back from as far as the 70s and are from countries that don't exist any more, or carry values from currencies that don't exist any more (for example, East Germany, Yugoslavia and the European currencies before the Euro was introduced). I love the romance of getting a piece of another country from another era and imagining the correspondence that stamp was originally on.
In fact, my role was to select and stick on the stamps, and it was a lot of fun matching stamps to people we knew - either countries they liked, have visited or had some connection with. I am proud to disclose that Fergs has done a marvellous job of hand-lettering all the wedding cards, and he is the only guy I have ever known to do that. It's a joy to sit side-by-side working and see the little piles of cards neatly tied together grow.
I love how our cards sound and look and feel completely us.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
The month of June came and went, and in many ways, was characterised by the World Cup. We got our living room up to scratch progressively so that by the time the knockout stages had come along, all our new lights were beaming from the ceilings. June also saw the arrival of some key appliances - some whose stories are told here, others whom we'll talk about another day. Here is our June in pictures.
The big box came in just before the World Cup, which we watched on projector all month!
Every good tournament needs its corresponding decorations!
Our pick of toilet-inspired Penguin postcards! You haven't seen the last of this yet!
A poster of Italian cities on postcards. It was from a Singaporean shop and we must return for more!
Our collection of retro glasses, half of which were picked up from flea markets. Spot the Ikea ones!
Athalia's Pixar lamp, illuminating our study room for the first time.
My cell members gave me like a billion dollars worth of Ikea vouchers for my birthday - and it went into this!
Say goodbye to the dobi - here's my jeans hanging out after its first domestic wash. Bliss...
Friday, June 25, 2010
This is a video I made to commemorate England's survival in the World Cup - the one where they ran directly into the warpath of age-old rivals Germany. These Hitler videos have been remixed to no end on Youtube, but it's always still a lot of fun. So here's my contribution to that scene. Hehe.
Enjoy the video, and if you like it, help us send it out to all your friends!
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
We are sensationally late in posting these up, but late has it's charm and late is better than never.
Athalia turned 27 on May 20th. We had quite a lot of fun that day, careening with abandon down the smorgasbord of Tenji's lunch buffet. I had six coconut drinks (yes, out of the coconut) and something like five slices of durian cheesecake. Athalia made the most of the sashimi, sushi, maki, more coconuts and ice cream. Too bad their octopus wasn't that hot (and by that, I mean it was hot, in a weird spicy way), and too bad we only discovered the crouching Häagen hidden Dazs stand after we had finished.
The partying continued for a few days after, with a surprise dinner with her cell the next night ending up with more overeating at Italiannies, Empire Gallery. The next morning saw breakfast with her family at Dome, where Athalia cracked open her gift to reveal ... a Pixar lamp!
I turned thirty on June 13th. I know, spelling it out doesn't make me seem so old but the truth is, I love being thirty, and as such, I shall use numbers instead. I am 30!
Had lunch at Bavarian Bierhaus with Athalia's parents, and that was followed up with a return to Empire Gallery's Italiannies (can you tell we like it there?) with my siblings for dinner. We then adjourned to my sister's to
catch the remnants of Serbia vs Ghana cut the cake and rip into all the gifts. In keeping with the correlation, I also got (among other things) Ikea lamps!
The days and nights of binge gluttony culminated in a surprise party Athalia organised for me, attended by my cell, the Dengkil Squad and my Large Door Pictures buddies-for-life. I've always been nervous about my different groups of friends coming together but it was as memorable a birthday as they come. Special does not begin to describe it.
Oh yes. And The Netherlands snuffed out the Danes 2-0 that night. See the orange connection in the photos? If turning 30 was so fun, being 30 can't be that bad.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Grocery shopping with Athalia's gonna be fun.
A few nights ago, we hit Carrefour and what began as a simple stopover to pick up some cleaning products turned out more like a dress rehearsal for a lifetime of supermarket shopping. I'll drop you in just as we began bickering about what dish-washing liquid to get.
Fergus: I know your mum uses Sunlight, but do we really have to buy it as well?
Athalia: But why? I like Sunlight.
Fergus: Yes, but it's like, twice the price of the other brands.
Athalia: It's not twice.
Fergus: It is. Look, it's RM5.50. That's twice the price of Labour.
Athalia: No it's not. That's 3 something.
Fergus: No. Look, RM2.60.
Athalia: But my skin is sensitive. You don't want my skin to be hurt do you?
Fergus: No, that's why, we can get Glo. See, Glo is a good brand and it's like, 4 something.
Athalia: No Glo.
Fergus: We can't walk down these aisles and pick up all the premium products.
Athalia: But we're not doing that. I gave in on the Scotch Brite.
Fergus: True. Still, why can't we just get Labour?
Athalia: Because I support the Tories.
Fergus: Ok, you convinced me.
(30 seconds later)
Fergus: I love that you can make these kind of jokes.
Friday, June 11, 2010
As the date approaches for us to collect our rings from Sofia our jeweler, the entire narrative draws to an exciting climax. And one of the finishing touches we've had to consider has been inscriptions on the rings.
Most people inscribe something on the inside of their wedding rings - usually the wedding date or a short message or the couple's initials or a combination of them. We've decided to go with a short message, or what turns out to be not-short-enough message. See, it's not easy to get inscriptions done with more than 12-14 characters. That's pretty much the standard limit for I dare say all jewelers here in Malaysia. But there is a solution. We can bring them to Singapore, where we've located one or two folks who inscribe up to 20-odd characters. And so, we figured, we'd collect the rings first, get married first and then get the inscriptions done later. When we make a trip to Singapore. (And I might add, not have to stay in backpacker dorms no more.)
So what are these inscriptions that require this extra trip out of the country to get done? Well, Athalia's is the longer of the two, namely FAITHFUL TILL THE END. I like it, and she loves it. Maybe she should explain why she chose it for herself in the comments. For me, I'm gonna go with LEST WE FORGET. If this reminds you of visiting a military memorial shrine, it's because it's used in those places, but I really connect with the meaning of it. On the surface, it's a reminder of the marriage covenant - lest we forget, Fergus, we're married, so behave accordingly. (Incidentally, I talk to myself often in plural form - no, I'm not schizophrenic. It's more like: "Come on Fergus. Let's do this. Come on!" - which explains why I've decided to keep the original WE pronoun.)
But underneath that lies a second meaning that's more important to me. Marriage on earth, as I've come to believe, is but a dress rehearsal for the divine marriage between Jesus and his church when this whole creation thing gets rolled up. The Bible calls husbands to love their wives as Jesus loves his church. LEST WE FORGET for me is a reminder that my marriage to Athalia is to be a mirror and a representation of Jesus' eventual union with his family of believers. And because this higher union is for those who remain faithful till the end, the LEST WE FORGET requires the FAITHFUL TILL THE END. They complement each other.
Of course, it could also just be a war memorial tagline - which would give my bachelor days the glint of militant heroic sparkle that it actually never had. But ssshh... let's imagine for now that it did!