Friday, April 11, 2008

5 weeks later and he bites :)

Sean's been restless this past week, and I've left him pretty much to his own devices, since I've been pretty much busy with my own, er, interests ;). Yesterday, he finally did some Math work, but before long, he asked for his usual 5-minute break. This 5-minute break turned into a 5-hour break!

He started his break by reading The Horrible Geography of the World, he's into this these days, and I thought he was still reading that till I found him hours later devouring intently the book I bought him in London, George's Secret Key to the Universe.

I had written here 5 weeks ago that I bought that book hoping he'd finally read some fiction but, "He read a quarter of the book, left it at that, and has not looked for the book since. No worries, I'll hawk it to him in a few months, and if he still doesn't bite, in a few years then."

He bit sooner than I thought and finished the 297-page book in one sitting. He started to read the book again this morning, but I stopped him and told him he can have the book for flight reading on our trip back later this evening.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Funny Math sticker

I got this Facebook bumper sticker off of Tsu Lin, a new visitor to this blog. I knew Brian would get the joke and like it. And I was right.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Iz to the top of Itunes!

When I was in London, I always heard this unique version of Somewhere over the Rainbow (not the Judy Garland one) over the radio, but never knew who the singer was. Well, now I do, thanks to Jason Castro's American Idol performance last night.

I couldn't believe it when Jason said he was singing this version, I love this song so much. I'm a huge fan of Jason's but I've gotta be honest, I didn't think Jason sang it that well compared to the original singer (maybe the studio version would be better) and was really nervous that the judges wouldn't like it. Phew, all three judges loved it!

The magical singer is a Hawaiian who passed away in 1997. His name is Israel Kamakawiwo Ole aka Bradduh Iz. Check out his poignant and understated style. Inspiring...this should shoot to the top of Itunes chart (like Hallelujah did after Jason covered it).

Bradduh Iz's Somewhere over the Rainbow/Wonderful World

Jason's version, still really good of course, great song choice, I hope this kid's dreams come true.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

11-year old piano prodigy

My jaw dropped when I first heard my Thai friend May's 11-year old boy play the piano. I wrote about it here. She's finally uploaded some of his performances onto Youtube. I know I know nothing about music, but this is surely a remarkable talent right? I was not gushing for nothing right?

I'm posting two performances that last week won Kant first prize in the Europe International Competition (he was competing against pianists older than 20). Do go to Youtube, there are more videos there, and leave them a comment if you like what you hear ya?

Fantasie Impromptu Chopin

Flight of the Bumblebee

May Day, I mean Day with May...

...and her boys. May and her boys came by yesterday. It's school hols this week and the boys got to just hang out, surf the net for zombie clips, play DS, XBox, bionicles etc etc, boy stuff. May's kids are serious pianists (well, for now May's more serious than they are), so it takes some effort to arrange for our children to spend time together, cos Krit and Kant have competitions, daily piano practices, rehearsals, piano school on weekends; in short, yesterday's playdate is something pretty 'precious' :) These Thai boys savour such dates, cos it means no piano practice! haha, cute fellas.

This hard-to-arrange date was too short for my liking. Because of traffic conditions, they only arrived at 1030am, and they had to leave at 4pm for a rehearsal in the city. I grumbled lots and gave May the evils; she just laughed (are Thais the nicest people in the world or what?). We had loads to do; she had to show me how to make maki rolls. And I had to show her how to make chilli beehoon, baked wings....and still find time to bake the chocolate cake that her kids love. We managed somehow.

Aesthetically though, the cake was the ugliest in all my attempts, cos I forgot to wait for the ganache to cool completely before pouring it over the cake. So upset with myself, I was too impatient to get to lunch! Still, the taste was good, so no one really cared how unsightly it was (eeks, the texture just reminded me of Freddy Krueger's face, bleurrghh).

May packed 3-quarters of the cake home, and by this morning, her boys and hubby had cleaned up the container. I've said it's a super recipe, it really is.

Who are neighbours with polar bears now?

Hehe...I can't believe how ironic it is that in April, we're having superb proper spring weather in Moscow and my friends in London are getting snow! Hsien had told me over the weekend that it was snowing but I didn't know how heavy it was till I saw Roslyn's pictures.

And according to Lisa, the snowfall they got on Sunday was the heaviest she's seen since moving to London, 7 or 8 years ago. I suppose it can be really thrilling to have gorgeous snow appearing out of nowhere so it's little wonder she started reminiscing about her time in Copenhagen: I loved to sit by the fireplace with a hot drink, soft music , and watch the snow fall. Those were the days!

Friday, April 04, 2008

4 to me, Jupiter to Sean

See the number on the left? This was from when I was showing Sean squares of 20 somethings a couple of weeks ago; but I made a mistake and wrote 200 when it should be 400, so I just added a stroke to change the number 2 to 4.

Sean chuckled and said, "That's Jupiter."
I (as usual right?) go huh?
He smiled, "That's the symbol for Jupiter."

He later drew the symbols for Mercury, Earth, Mars (but with the arrow pointing to the left instead of right), Jupiter (which he says is 2 mixed with 4), Saturn (a symbol which he says is beautiful), Neptune (Sean: Neptune is a tricky one; it takes so long to draw), and Pluto (looks like a 9, he says). For the symbols of Venus and Uranus, he referred to his much-loved book, The Gobsmacking Galaxy.

I couldn't find the paper that he drew on when I was writing this post, so I got him to draw the symbols again here.

Brian said he only knew the symbols for Jupiter and Neptune; it seems Sean has been scrutinising their shared Gobsmacking Galaxy book a lot more closely than his korkor has.

This is too amazing not to post!

Who'd have thought a Dolly Parton song could sound so darn good!

Yes, two Jason Castro posts in a row...bear with me...I'm in Moscow, AI nights are highlights of my week.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

My name is Lilian, and I'm a Castroholic

I'm truly losing it, I am. This morning, Eddie's alarm woke me up at 615am and I immediately turned on my laptop and logged onto my trusted American Idol show source, and was surprised to see no updates on Tuesday's show. For about 30 seconds, I kept refreshing the page, wondering why the show wasn't uploaded yet; igrecman is usually very reliable and prompt, what's UP????

It then dawned upon me, I'm such an idiot, I had been waiting for this show so much that I thought yesterday was Tuesday. The show doesn't start till tonight. Big April's Fool, that's me. And GROANNN, another whole day to wait! You see, my favourite contestant Jason Castro landed up on the Bottom 3 last week (my heart pounded so hard) and he really has to do well this week if he's to stay in contention.

My routine has been royally screwed up these past weeks, due to waking up in the early hours of the morning to catch the show and results (the next morning), then all-day surfing of forums and news reports and sites like Castrocopia and Daydreamingboy.

I'm not alone in this addiction, there are a bunch of 30-somethings, 40-somethings, even 50-somethings crazier than I am in their devotion to Jason. Not trying to justify myself, just saying, that's all. Please don't judge me :(

Check out this pencil-drawing done by a fan, gosh, a true artist.

All the way to Nokia theatre, WHOOOOP!

Drawing Sean next

The previous post was about me showing Sean how to draw 3-D shapes. That was two weekends ago. This evening, he was drawing on the living room floor, around him were wooden blocks strewn all over.

Taking a break from Castrosurfing, I sat down on the floor beside him and decided to give him a lesson on "still life" this time. So I drew one of the blocks on the floor. I also drew a pencil, it was also on the floor. Yep, it's always messy at home.

He then asked me to draw him. After joking with him that I could not find paper large enough to fit a drawing of his head, I proceeded with the portrait-drawing; me and paper both on the floor. He sat ever so seriously, waiting patiently for his picture to be completed. He grinned midway, but I said no smiling, cos it's hard to draw teeth :)

What do you think? It's not great (left eye's a bit wonky and face shape's a bit off; I couldn't be bothered to find an eraser) but I think it's above average. Actually, I didn't know that many people couldn't draw till I attended a leadership course at work, and we had to draw someone we admired. My colleagues immediately recognised the person I drew (from memory), the lady ACEO of my company then. It was when I saw what most of them drew or tried to draw that I realised my drawing skills weren't so bad after all.

I put this 'skill' to practical use when I was helping out at Sunday School circa 2000. When the kids got restless and rowdy, I would get crayons and paper, then have one of them sit while I drew. They got to bring home the coloured drawings. If you don't behave, you don't get drawn. All the children would sit around and wait for their turn to be drawn. It was soooo funny to see the rascally active boys just sit so quietly and seriously while being drawn, only moving to take a peek at my drawing once in a while.

Drawing 3-D shapes

Sean likes drawing 3-D shapes such as pyramids and cuboids (see above).

I remembered having a book (that I've had since I was 10) that taught drawing, but I couldn't find it till two weekends ago. Here it is; the book was published in 1979, and it cost RM2.40 then.

I tried my hand at drawing the 3-D shapes, and this is what I got. Sean paid full attention when I drew.

And this is what he drew later. Improvement? Or maybe not? :)