Archive for January 2010

So, a fujitsu lifebook like mine that’s 14 inches or so in length and mebbe two thirds of that in width is hard to fit in properly in a greyhound seat and type comfortably. Oh, and goodness forbid if the person in front of me reclines his chair, because then I’d effectively be working blind on a laptop that’d have to have its lid closed!

In Albany now, and the boundless blue skies have lifted my spirits quite effectively. We’re waiting for the next bus driver to come and take us away to Boston; it seems like he might have lost his way, because he ain’t here yet! Hurhur.

I just checked the weather for Boston, and I’m surprised to hear that it’s -22 degrees with wind chill! And the wind is at a killer speed of 46km/hour. NOT looking forward to that.

On the bright side, Charlie cards (similar to an EZ Link in Singapore) in Boston give discounts at Quincy market and everywhere else, so I’m contemplating if it’s worth it to buy one. Actually, I’d most likely be getting a 7-day subway pass, because it only costs $15, when a 1-day pass is $9. If you do the math, it’s an obvious choice if you know you’re going to be there for 2 and a half days and using the subway a lot. So yeah, that’s some information for you!

HAHHAHAHA. Okay so this is real time now. The bus driver is driving us off (Yayy!) but we’re late in schedule, so we’re arriving slightly later. This is part of his announcement:

“If you wanna talk to other passengers, whisper – and since we all have different personal habits, and different definitions of whisper, when I say whisper, I mean make believe you had a dream and you wanna tell your friend and you don’t want anybody else to hear”.


I’m currently at the Syracruse Greyhound station, waiting for my bus to come take me away at 6.15am – and I’m almost there. It’s 4.11am now.

Surprisingly, there is another passenger who is travelling to Boston on the same route as me – Eva, a well-travelled, experienced lady of 68 years from Jamaica with tonnes of stories, and who is genuine, funny and lives in Toronto now!

The really cool part is that she wants to go back to Toronto on Monday as well, and I told her my bus leaves Boston at 5pm and arrives in Toronto at 7am, and she’s likely to take the same bus as me! We’ve spent the past 3 hours or so talking while she ate her subway (I’m saving money so I might buy a subway if I get desperate), and swapping stories about living in various areas and travelling to and from cities.

You know, I thought I might meet someone cool on this trip to talk with on the bus or something, and I really did! This is already, I know, one of the highlights of the trip (:


So I’m going to Boston to see the folks I met last year in Borneo during the Harvard summer field course – I know for sure I will be seeing Abby, Alex, Serena and perhaps Jessica and Andrew. I hope Kristina, Molly and Douwe can make it as well! That would be awesome.

This is a picture of us at Deramakot in Sabah. (: This photograph made it to the press in the local region, talking about how we loved our time there!

I have so many places in Boston and Cambridge I want to go to – I wish I had more days to walk around and take in the experience!

From this station the bus will take me to Albany, and then finally to Boston. LONG TRAVEL. Hurhur. It’ll be worth it though. (:


So, you may know that I’m travelling to Cleveland in February, and it was a trip that I booked SOLELY to visit Amish Country, which is in a town called Berlin. Little did I know (at the time of booking) that it would be near impossible for me to get to Berlin (for cheap, and in that time). The result? I’m going to Cleveland still (after all, I booked the tickets) and I’ll certainly make sure I enjoy myself, but I’ll miss out on Amish Country, which is unfortunate.

How amusing (or taunting) it is then, that for the past 3 hours or so, I have been in the same building as six Amish people, but I personally think it would be too awkward to approach them.

It would seem that I only become as awkward as a teenager gets during those years as I get older, which is absurd. Anyhoo. That means I won’t be talking to them at any rate. Just stealing glances. :b

Doing film photography has me more disciplined than I ever imagined; as an unfamiliar domain revisited, I tend to the side of caution, especially since every frame now has a cost.

Composition, lighting and subject detail now etch themselves into my mind, turning their tones from the visible colour spectrum we see, into the rich tonal colours of black, grey and white. What is interesting in colour, may be dull in black and white. It is a new world.

I now keep a notebook with notes. My first contact sheet is printed, and we are printing our first test and actual prints in the next two weeks of class, and I have several photographs in mind to print. I am lucky and fortunate, that things have turned out well!

Virgil has performed fantastically – I am extremely satisfied and contented with the turnout of the photographs (from what I can see from the contact sheet). The exposure for almost all photographs is good, few photos are over or under exposed, considering that it’s the first time I am using this camera, and this is his first roll of film.

It is also the first time I have shot film in manual mode, and it is the first time I am using this film, so considering all the factors, this has turned out extremely well!

I am bringing an extra four rolls of film* with me to Boston – well, we never know what opportunities will turn up. Of course, Dante will be by my side if there is anything I cannot or am not confident to do with Virgil. There is one thing I have not done with Virgil, and that is to take a self timer shot. I’ll try to do some this time round. :D

The internet is full of wonder – even without a paper manual from the guy who sold me Virgil, I have found the original one online, and can now refer to it for any questions. How convenient!


*On a side note, today was a wonderful day! Time passed so quickly that I realised quite late that today was the only day I would get to buy film, and the only interval was from 11am to 1pm between classes. So off I went to Downtown Camera at Queen Street, walking for about 25 minutes before I reached, and VIOLA.

Ilford HP5+ was sold out! Oh, what was I to do? I queried why, and the knowledgeable guy (who comes from Hong Kong) told me that Ilford was shutting down that particular name, and it was out of production. The ‘new’ product, now called Kentmere 400. Can’t find it on the film development charts for time of development? Open the box, and it will say that for ID-11 (my chemical equivalent), with a 1:1 ratio with water, it would take 16 and a half minutes.

Pretty neat eh? So anyway they were selling each roll for cheaper, at 3.80CAD after tax and discount. I can’t wait to try this out! Have to be even more cautious now, because it’s like starting out all over again with a different type of film, contrast and exposure.

Was really happy getting a discount for the rolls! :D


I can’t believe I’m actually getting to see the Bornean-Harvard gang this soon after we just met in June last year! Damn fortunate, ay? I hear Boston and Cambridge is just beautiful, and there’s so many places I want to go!

I’ll be leaving soon after class ends tomorrow, so keep well and tight, and I’ll write again soon!

This made me laugh out loud. Hurhur. Isn’t that what most of us think (and it does happen) nowadays, ay?

So. The years have passed by with a mischievous wink, and the freakin’ best year of my life has officially ‘ended’! No longer the fabulous number twenty-two, my particulars tell me that I’m now a wonderful twenty-three! Cheers to that! -clink!

I didn’t post a review of the past year’s firsts and reflections as I traditionally do, but I did write one of my own, with paper and pen. After all, that’s my favourite media by far. I won’t write about it here, but I will tell you that the 22nd year of my life left me feeling truly fortunate and grateful for the people around me in my life, feeling truly loved, contented and continuously excited by life and living!

2009 saw the longest time I had spent away from family and friends in Singapore by far, with trips to Bali, Borneo and Toronto – seeing continuous learning curves and challenges for me to pounce upon and relish with delight, sometimes in puzzlement, more often with extreme excitement. With various mentors from the RMBR, meeting lots of different people from all over the world (a number who I consider my good friends), and learning to live independently on my own in foreign land for a long period of time – it truly has been an amazing roller coaster ride! As they say, without the incredibly low lows, we wouldn’t know the insane exhilarating feeling of the high highs! (:

This is me learning to paint clouds on Mount Kinabalu :D

And, a little more than a year ago I got together with the love of my life – a man who is real, who drives me crazy and makes me laugh even in the harshest of times; who is my rock and with me even when we are apart, and warms my heart and makes me smile, and who grows with me each and every day. (:

Alan Mr Chua (:

I am fiercely proud, really, to have the friends and family that I have – and they keep me grounded in this world. I truly wish you the freakin’ best day of your life on every 22nd day of the month (it’s the best coz it keeps getting better :D) – and for you to never have to look back, but enjoy the present with loved ones and your dreams, and look forward to even more good ones!


Tap dance in the rain,
mindy. mins. minz. minmin. mindeo. mince. mantou. ah tuan. minday. tuan. mindoro. mtjm.

Had a wonderful time today, finally getting hands on with developing my own film! I really got so excited, much more excited than I have been in a long time! Finally, finally getting to do this! Next week, we’ll be making contact prints of our negatives (: Today was about pouring the chemicals in the right temperature and fashion, and also joking and laughing with classmates in the dark (and when I say dark, I mean pitch black!).

(: One of the better days I’ve had this year! (:

Virgil with his first roll of film (:

Was out the moment I got out of bed today shooting with virgil, and these street people totally made my day! (:

The garbageman who said “CHEESE!!” gleefully till his grin reached his ears, literally, as he rode on the end of the garbage truck that passed me by, with two cameras in my hands I was too astonished and could all but manage a smile!

The lady in the lift from the 8th floor, who stared at virgil for a full five seconds before saying to me “That’s a very professional looking camera!” – and then wishing me a good day and to take lots of pictures!

The old man with einstein looking hair who remarked “That’s a beautiful picture, ay?” as he caught me catching a squirrel munching on a muffin cup.

I love it when these moments happen – and in my head, I’ve taken a mental snapshot of all of them. If I were anywhere near as apt at drawing, I’d sketch their faces out for you! (:


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