How To Train Your Dragon, Your Bridezilla, Your Photographer, Your Inner Novelist/Academic etc

All kinds of awesome is…”How to Train Your Dragon”. It’s a real shame that it has not been making the waves it deserves. It’s funny, it’s heartwarming and it’s action-packed. The storyline may be a tiny bit cliched and repeated (but there are no new stories – case in point, the tedious Avatar) but I loved the pacing, the humour and the storytelling.

The only sad part about the entire affair is that I spent the entire movie trying to figure out which one was David Tennant. Drove me nuts that I could not figure it out 😦

Oh DT. You won’t be on this Saturday. I’m going to miss you. But yayy for Doctor Who season 5!

I think I’ll be buying the novel by Cressida Cowell after the movie. It seems like mucho fun. Well, I hope it’s half as witty as the movie.

***

So…I’ve finally picked up two out of the four wedding dresses that I’m going to have. It cracks me up a little that I will have four dresses at the end of this shenanigans events. I’m the last person to have such a princess-y outlook in life and to end up with four dresses, I have to say it is rather ironic.

Eizwan and I did a quick calculation on how much my dresses, all four of them, cost. And I have to say, I am rather pleased, accessories and shoes included is way below my budget. I am only paying for two of them – so it’s all good *smug*

Still though, sometimes I wonder if all this fanfare with the dresses, the expensive photographers – if they’re all worth it. Technically, with the budget that we spend on the wedding, you can get yourself an impressive diamond ring. So…cut down on the party size, up on the ring size my pretties!

Come 4th June, we’ll see if this is all worth it. I’m tired of dreaming of errant photographers, disastrous wedding dresses and the sort. I’d rather be dreaming about dragons.

***

I’ve come across a few good articles this past two weeks that I’ve been meaning to talk about. “How not to title a novel cracked me up, especially I’m not the best at titling my work (it tends to come off as rather cheesy) or unnecessarily provocative. Like my last play (gosh, was it so long ago?) Coming Out of the C*loset was attacked for being gay-friendly (by conservatives) and not gay enough (by liberals). It was a very bizarre spot to be put in.

I thought, personally, it was a clever title, playing on the plots and themes of the play.

Secondly, an article by the NYT on the economics of happiness: “The Sandra Bullock Trade”. The article questions if you would rather have tremendous professional success over a successful marriage – and discusses the very difficult relationship between income and happiness.

The article reminds me of my uni professor, Andrew Oswald, a professor who I remember having very  shiny shoes and warned men that women would give up their husbands for 60,000 pounds per annum (on the other hand, men would give up their wives at 100,000 pounds per annum). I read this article with a pang of regret, a part of me wishes I had focused on the study of the economics of happiness, because it IS a field that I’m still very much interested in. I’ve been seeing a trend in the news lately (Guardian, NYT) that we need to focus on what makes society happy as opposed to an increase in income and to governments trying to feel their way on what would make us happiest. So stupid to think that investment banking, finance was the way to go. Ah to be young and naive.

***

Schumacher and Rosberg will be whizzing by KLCC this evening. I’m feeling utterly exhausted – heart palpitations and wheezyness, so I don’t feel like braving the crowds. But I promised my brother I would go. So dilemma, dilemma. Here’s to hoping he would not wake up anytime soon and we’d just have to go next year 😉

Moving along and on

Conversation with the fiance.

“Oh God, I’m so stressed out. All this wedding things are stressing me out. You know what would be nice?”

“What?”

“I’d love to just get married, and then have boom, a house, all-ready. Ready to move in.”

“Yes, I agree. You know, that Disney dream? The happily ever after. It’s a lie. There’s no such thing as a castle ready after the prince and princess gets married.”

“True. Fully-furnished castle.”

“With one aircond”

“And one water-heater”

Clearly, our fairytale castle is woefully under-furnished. And then later as we drove on forwards, Eizwan turns to me, puzzled.

“So wait. In Disney cartoons, when the princess marries the prince right, and they live in the castle…it’s the King’s castle isn’t it? So technically, the princess is moving to her in-laws, isn’t she?”

***

Eizwan and I spent the entire day not doing wedding things today. I know. Shock. Horrors. What we did was a valiant effort trying to jump-start Eizwan’s dead car batteries.

I was unconvinced that it could be started again, it was time to bid it farewell. But Eizwan was thoroughly convinced that he could. In a scene, right out of a science fiction movie, with the hot sun beating down on our backs, by an abandoned bio-mass factory, Eizwan attached big cables from my bright yellow car to his bright red car in a very empty car park, with not a soul in sight. The only thing missing from this scene were zombies.

I stood at quite a distance away – a part of me thought that it’s best to let the man handle everything, and a part of me thought if it did explode, I’ll be in the safe zone but not too far away to rescue Eizwan.

There were many reasons why, as you can see, I did not study to be an electrical engineer.

Anyway, long-story short, it was not a success. Eizwan gave in to his future wife’s nagging and called the insurance company to rescue us. And then from a scene one of those quirky, indie comedies, an elderly Chinese man on his little scooter with a car battery on his lap came to our rescue. All in all, three hours in the hot sun and a pat on my back is warranted since I stayed cheerful all day.

***

Eizwan and I sat down later in the evening to list down all the things that we needed to do, every single detail from the mundane (lighter clothes for Bali) to the wedding related (more hantaran shopping) to the mysterious (if it’s mysterious, I’m not going to share it here).

As I listed each item down, I put a deadline to every task list. One of the tasks was to pack up my room, and I was mentally calculating the number of boxes I needed, and imagined an empty room with all my stuff packed in neatly.

Unexpectedly, big fat tears began to roll down. I’ve always looked at this wedding practically, and I don’t want to cry on my wedding day – but as I stared at the Google Docs, it occurred to me that I was really moving out of my parent’s place. It’s not like university, where home is where my parents place is and despite going wherever, home is where my parents are. Home is now going to be where my husband’s place will be and I felt really, really sad.

Sometimes so much happens on this one day, I don’t know if I can manage it all.

***

None wedding related story. Two songs that I’m currently playing back to back. Thank you Radio 1, for making me love music again.

Fireflies by Owl City

Okay, sort of wedding related since Paolo Nutini has a wedding scene in the video. It made me tear up the end, but I warn thee not to watch, if you are of delicate nature and are easily embarrassed by slightly explicit scenes.

Oh yeah. Am totally feelin’ it. The hours I mean.

I feel that I’ve been doing quite a number of all-nighters this past few months. Although it does make me feel chuffed that I’ve been working harder, I can feel myself not as sprightly as I used to be as a wee 21 year old who had just returned to Malaysia after nearly seven years abroad.

Back then, I’d be partying all night till 3am, and be at work by 9am and to continue with the process for weeks on end. Today however, one all-nighter and my eyes which I had been diligently (okay, I lie, not that diligently) trying to pamper return to their racoon-like status.

Meh, I’ve 2 months to the wedding to make myself look pretty. It can be done.

Compulsory HIV test.

Unfortunately for me, despite working till very late last night and waking up very early to finish my work, I could not hand in the work we did as none of the directors were in. Shame. But that meant running off to the bank before meeting up with Eizwan to do the compulsory HIV test.

I could write about the politics of doing a HIV test, on whether it’s necessarily a good thing or a bad thing – but the bureaucracy surrounding the process of getting married is so complicated that I’ve lost sight on whether it’s a breach of my privacy. I just want it over and done with.

Anyway.

I’ve read in a few places online that they might lecture you, the wait is long etc. But no one blogged that the bloody pin prick would actually bloody hurt. I actually said OW! And am currently having problems typing with my middle finger.

And since I had very little sleep, I fell asleep on Eizwan’s shoulder in the hospital while waiting for my HIV results. It was sort of romantic, in a chaotic, sleeping in a government hospital kind of way. Poshness alert here: that was my first time ever, getting something done in a government clinic and it’s certainly not as terrifying as people make it out to be. It’s clean, it’s efficient and no-nonsense. You’re not getting first-class, lovely bedside manners because fuckin’ hell, do you see the crowd there?

I do feel a renewed respect for my Doctorly friends. Everyone in the government clinic were on their toes, and seemed to be working terribly hard, and to go Rodney Dangerfield on everyone, they just get no respect. No respect. So kudos Doctors. You never seem to get the credit you deserve.

Other than that utterly unimportant drama, I’m alright. I’m actually decently balancing work with wedding, even if it means that I may be neglecting my friends in the process. Of course I tell myself I’ll catch up with them over the wedding (oh, this excuse can be used for anything), I’m rather happy being busy.

Got a few things ticked off this week:

Invitation cards

My usual printer that I use for work quoted me something on the high side for the cards. So mum and me headed found a random offset printing company in one of those wedding magazines and we thought to pop over and say hello and see if we could get a decent quotation.

The quotation was decent and bonus, they could make my favour boxes at a price very much cheaper than everyone else had quoted. So that’s one worry off my mind. So here’s a tip, ladies. If you can’t find boxes that you like, get a quotation from an offset printer. Even with the die cast made, it is still cheaper than getting it from a vendor.

Tomorrow, finalizing the artwork and the printers would be off. The invites will be posted first week of April, you know, alongside of me putting in income tax, finalizing the bloody ring and a long list of things that I need to do that I put aside and ignoring so I could watch AI in peace.

Favours

I’ve ordered part of my favours from China. The said they shipped it, so I suppose I ought to be patient, but patience and me are generally no mixy. Will source the rest of the ingredients (oops, is this a spoiler?) later.

Other than that, the rest of my life quickly.

I’ve been thinking of a pen name for my *ahem* novel. I haven’t decided on one, but I ought to come up with something soon. I actually have a real decent idea on how to do this – will share it with you if it’s successful. If not, my future children will have more logical names compared to Mohammed Doctor, or Nik Knack Paddywhack.

On AI, I am totally digging Shioban Magnus. Crystal Bowersox strikes me a little cold and aloof, so I’m not won over by her.

I need to email David, Sayaka and Miklos. They’ve emailed me ages ago and I keep forgetting to email back. David, I had completely forgot to tell you about the Get-A-Deal thing on Malaysia Airlines. Sign up for it, the discounts are quite awesome.

Been listening to Radio 1 these days. My ITunes playlist might actually be updated for the first time in a long time.

Will be watching “How to Train a Dragon” because David Tennant is voicing something in there. I’m a DT slut as you all know.

73 days – The fitting of the first and fourth

I am so tired of weddings. Really, I am. I’m sure my friends are tired too – I’m sure they’re happy that I’m part of the stragglers getting hitched, so all that is left is baby showers. Which isn’t my cup of tea.

Well, moving along.

There is not a day that goes by, actually, scratch that, not an hour goes by where the wedding is not on my mind. I think a part of me is rather daft for looking for a house at the same time while preparing for the wedding but I’m a rather um, to put it mildly, a very passionate person with very passionate views in life, and the last thing I need is either my parents or my in-laws to hear this passion (get your mind out of the gutters people) in our arguments and conversations that are bound to crop up between the two of us.

But you don’t want to hear that. What you really want to hear is any drama with my wedding planning. And why, according to my lovely friend, SW who herself is going through an awful time, I have this thing called episodal tension headaches.

Fitting of the fourth dress

I wish I could share every delicious detail about each visit to my WP. Most of the time, it ranges to mind-boggling to crude, especially to my…delicate sensitivities to put it mildly. The last time I was there, a friend of my WP was there, a former, ahem, queen who is now retired, more jewellery encrusting his fingers than I have in my jewellery box at home and  a lit cigarette dangling from his lips.

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Happily Violent

My father and all his cousins have a little yahoo group going – it’s really cute, where they send messages to each other about weddings, their kids etc. Although, I have to say, what cracks me up about the yahoogroup is how short each message is. I imagine it’s the result of sixty something year old men, sitting in front of the PC, staring down at the keyboard in their reading glasses, with two fingers working methodically, tap, tap, tap on the keyboard.

I know because that’s how my dad types. Hohohoho.

And since my dad posted the wedding notice, I noticed a spike in my usually dire blog stats on the search terms, Eizwan and Adlina. I think you lot are looking for my wedding site. So here it is: Adlina & Eizwan. I’ll be linking it up proper on the blog soon.

Watched the Edge of Darkness yesterday. I love a good conspiracy thriller as the other (wait, maybe not, I get that conspiracy thrillers aren’t everyone’s cup of tea) and it was an okay movie. I have to confess one of the reasons why I watched it was because it was co-produced by BBC Films and I tend to love everything the BBC makes. The love, I confess is entirely biased, being the anglophile that I am.

It was an alright movie, in terms of emotional content, I thought the Constant Gardener was much sadder and much more emotional and in terms of being tense….well, I reckon that it did not help that I am paranoid (see previous entry). I was so tense throughout the movie because my overactive imagination thought, ‘Argghhh! Don’t get in the car, there might be a bomb!’ and ‘Aaaargghh!! Don’t get out of the car, someone might shoot you!’ or ‘Aaaarrgghhh!! There might be someone in the house!’ that I was rather relieved that *spoiler – avert your virgin eyes* Mel Gibson shot the fuck out of everyone at the end.

Clearly, I made the whole experience worse than it already was. Or perhaps that was the intention of the director? Still, the movie was surprisingly brutal, with blood, gore and violent deaths scenes. The hit and run scene was reminiscent of Life on Mars – shocking, fast and graphic – was it an homage? But Eizwan and I left the movie a lot worse for wear than when we went in. So much for having a relaxing time to forget about the wedding.

I told Eizwan later that the movie was too confusing, the result of trying to squeeze a tv series into a 2 hour movie. And as I said earlier, I thought Constant Gardener was a far superior conspiracy thriller.

‘Have you watched it? You really ought to watch it,’ I said as we walked to the car. ‘Made me cry, I tell you.’

‘I know because I watched it with you!’ Eizwan growled. ‘I was next to you!’

Ooops. And then I started to tell him about this three legged cat that I saw running around by the apartment complex, poor thing.

‘You should see him, he’s so cute!’ I say.

‘I’ve seen him because I was with you! How could you forget that?!’

Hmm. Further proof in the pudding that the wedding is making me scatterbrained.

The search for a house continues. I saw an apartment yesterday and unfortunately, me no likey. Today will have to call the agent to say thank you but no, thank you. I hate conversations like these.

80 days! – Am like the energizer bunny

The past few days has been absolutely manic. I’ve been running around town back and forth for everything that had to do with wedding. As much as it feels like I was hit by a truck, sitting here at my desk on a Monday afternoon, I can’t help but feel a sense of pride that I have completed a lot of my tasks.

So what have I done:

Invitation cards

I’ve already received a quotation for my cards. It’s a little on the high side, which was to be expected since it is completely custom-made with 4 colour-separation and perforation. There are a lot of arguments against getting a pricey card, one of the arguments that peeps have put out is that most guests will throw it away anyway.

But…I don’t have to order a thousand cards and I absolutely adore the design of the card. A few weeks back, I spoke about how my brother, the artiste had a free hand to doing whatever. And he did an impeccable job that I can’t wait to put it up here. So if I have to cut elsewhere, I’ll cut elsewhere because dammit, I want those cards.

Venue

So there was a bit of a drama when I went to reconfirm my bookings. The drama being they lost my booking. For a second I had horrible visions of finding a new place to do the solemnization but I’m a drama first, rational thought second sort of person. The reality was, it was a simple matter of re-booking the halls and it’s all sorted and confirmed.

There was also another matter about them cobras slithering about near the venue, but that’s another tale for another day. *Proceeds to pour sulfur by the venue*

Decor

My fabulous WP came over on Friday, and if you were around the area, you probably would have heard him from a mile away. He surveyed the area and I could see the little hamster in the wheel in his head running at full-speed. At the same time, I saw the Ringgit in my wallet flying away. Why? The hall I plan on doing the solemnization, unfortunately, is kinda big. The cute little mini-pelamin (or dais) that I wanted would be out of the question, it would be drowned by the size of the wall.

My fabulous WP declared it has to be a grand one. Strike one for simple and elegant.

But if I’m truly honest with myself, I’m not fussed on how it will look like as long as it’s elegant, simple and minimalist. I don’t do heavy drapery, copious amount of flowers (once I insulted a WP by saying his designs reminded me of the jungle with all the greenery spilling out onto the floor). I just want it to be pretty and simple…like me(!) and how they do it, is up to the experts.

This is me, delegating work. Let’s hope I don’t regret this decision.

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85 days – Finance and Marriage

Our photographer warned us that right up to the wedding, the arguments would get more intense. Eizwan and I laughed it off, because dude, we’ve been arguing since the day we met, I don’t see how much worse it can get.

I suppose, this is where I will advice readers to listen to their photographers (or not – depends on the advise really). Thing is, bridal magazines and blogs never cover this part. It’s whispered, it’s muttered that the experience of preparing for a wedding is a ‘make or break’ deal but I never realized how hard it would be.

If I’m being honest with myself, I’m terrified of getting married. I keep counting down, 87 days, 86 days, argh, in 16 days that would be 70 days, that really is no long. I’m terribly looking forward to seeing all my friends again but I’m so jittery for everything else.

I’m not romantic. Well, that’s not true. If you read my stories, I am very romantic – if you consider, death, murder, destruction with a little love thrown in as romance. My definition of romance was defined by Mrs Bach, 12th grade IB English HL and I never could seem to let it go. ‘Tragedy ends in death. Comedy ends in marriage. Fighting aliens, being Indiana Jones – that’s romance.’

But marriage? Romantic? No. Theoretically, it is. It’s spending your life together with your partner, going through the troughs and peaks of life with someone holding your hand.

The reality however, is so much more mundane. Marriage is about the little mundane details. About buying what brand of coffee to share in the morning – my personal choice is Tesco Finest, it’s way better than Nescafe Gold for instant and umm….Tesco Finest ground coffee for brewing because it’s way cheaper than Starbucks…about switching off the lights before you leave the room, about the food you cook at home.

What I’m trying to say in a roundabout way, a lot about marriage has to do with money. As a Finance girl myself, money is hard, money is tough to look and to work through. Hey, even Suze Orman says so.

And lately, a chunk of our fights has been about money. Not so much on what we’re spending on the wedding, because that has been cut down tremendously with skill – *looks smugly at budget* – but on our after married lives. It’s realizing how much we’ve depended on our parents for so long that standing on your own two feet is expensive. It’s about giving and taking, compromising on what material goods makes one person happy but not the other not. It’s about giving up luxuries that we take for granted all our lives, to start from scratch all over.

I’m very particular about money and finances. And I know marriage and money, sometimes these two are no mixy. It means being very honest about everything, taking our long-held values, myths about money and laying it open. I hate debt with a passion – I don’t believe in monthly installments while Eizwan thinks it’s no biggie. Eizwan is pro-part time work while I prefer to concentrate on my writing instead of earning extra. We both prefer to focus on building skills instead of chasing money – although that option, ironically in Malaysia, is starting to be a luxury. It’s more affordable to be a generalist than a specialist here.

All these adds up to the end of the month – does internet mean luxury? Or is it a necessity? What about washing machines? Should we buy one or should we do our laundry at our parents till we afford a washing machine? Does this mean we’re not being independent? Eizwan’s parents are adamant that we ought to be as independent from them as possible while my parents are cheerful about letting us use the oven to cook if the need arises.

The more we discuss finances in detail, the more scary it becomes and the more terrifying the future seems. So you have pictures of married looking into the distance or sunset, metaphorically looking at a glorious future.  My vision of marriage at this point, is a lot more like that ride in Alton Towers, where they tilt you forward right before tossing you down into a deep and dark chasm.

Is there a way out of this? I don’t know. And it terrifies me. I’m doing all the right steps, following my Suze Orman guide, I’m watching our bank balance. At the back of my head, I know we’ll be okay but the journey there. It’s sure damned perilous.

85 days and counting.