Friday, 29 February 2008

Randy Pausch Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

Awesome stuff that I find extremely encouraging. If you have the time, please listen to the full lecture, it is worth it. (76:26 minutes)

Here is a link to Carnegie Mellon Randy Pausch's site

And I want to especially thank Nina for sharing this very, VERY Inspirational clip on her blog.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Oh De'a'r

When the sky is blue, most likely the day is not.

I’ve been far too trigger-happy today, accumulating quite a trove of photos to sort through. Among the pile, few do justice to what my eyes saw. I have much to learn on improving my photography skills.

Contemplating Clouds

Between the gloomy oppressive titans and the carefree cotton candy buds, there are other kinds of clouds – one that is not too far, yet distant enough to appear like silent observers of human affairs, not intrusive at all and oddly reassuring.

I went Shooting Deer

While walking in the red deer park in Ashton Court, I managed to catch the deer going to their pool to cool in the midday sun.

The congregation at their mirror-like sacred pool.

Here is the close up of the stag in the preceding picture

This is the alert one that came closest to me.


Perhaps deeper down inside this berserk snapping spree was spawned by none other than the desire to be pleasantly distracted. In trying to capture the surroundings it awakens a sense of wonder and appreciation for the present place. In narrating the place here in the blog, I gain a certain psychological ownership of the place.

Emotions are fleeting things. There are many places that evoke a strange familiarity as if I can immediately locate it as an equivalent to the familiar places in Malaysia. Often, in a good way you feel as though here is where you have lived for all your life. Sometimes it feels so vain to clutch onto the memories of home and faraway people. Memories can be as distant as I am geographically removed from their associated places. Time zones away, at worst your homesickness is but a hollow attempt to miss something for the sake of missing.

Do I wish to be at the graduation ceremony? If I say no would be an outright lie. Do I miss old friends? I would feel like a fool to say yes in an age when people are only a phone call or email away. To think of it, the world is going further under the rolling pin. On such a pancake earth, perhaps what people miss isn’t so much the people or the communication with the person but rather the convenience and contempt in taking each other for granted. And in the same way, what people miss more might be the familiarity and convenience of a place taken for granted rather than the true value or attachment to the place. It is as likely that a sense of attachment to something and the tendencies to take it for granted are often Siamese Twins.

To open your eyes each day with childlike wonderment is perhaps a trained practice. Seizing the day is an acquired skill. Maybe it is not too far to say that keeping oneself childlike is an individual responsibility and a prerequisite for the promise of living to the max.

And to conclude this post, it is fitting to end with the promise of Spring.

The glorious cerulean sky by the river.

People are enjoying themselves in Brandon Hill, basking under the setting sun.

The very same tree I took 3 weeks back is in full bloom now.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008


Let's begin this entry with an early morning spectacle - the gulls lining up on the river bank. I suppose this is their regimented roll call before the day.

Timeless blue - these are taken at the big green field outside the Filton Community Center, the place where DestinyUK is held each Sunday. Many people, ranging from teenage soccer players, old men walking their dogs to young family with children roam the field week after week. It is also common to see flocks of gull congregating here, dotting the emerald sea with white.

This is what I saw on my way to campus today - After all the perfect sunshines, azure skies and summer green grass, finally a scene that befits winter!

Not an inch of grass as far as I can see is not blanketed with white.

A close-up - reminds me of the frost-like icing on a cake.

A country road through the winter woods.

This is the very same farmhouse I posted earlier, now under a much different atmosphere.

I will end here with how the cityscape look when the (not necessarily unpleasant) gloom of winter looms.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Sunday Counting Time

These are amazing days.

Yesterday's quiet time, randomly brings the verse Ephesians 4:1-6, Elder Ang's Thanksgiving admonition for 2007.
Today's service, during the offering message which touch on the point of God's provision, Mark 10:46 is mentioned.
Mark 10:46 talks about Blind Bartimaeus Receives His Sight, and is actually the very first sermon I've heard, in the very first YC Youth Camp, the Extreme camp that I went, and on the very first night I become a child of God.
The message for today by Pastor Mike Radcliffe is 'Make Time Count', the very first post of this very blog. Reflecting back to the very first sentence of the very first post here 'Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year' by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
And it has been a while since I have it in my heart to compile a list of verses particularly on the issue of Time. But here it is given today!

I'll put the compilation of verses and quotes I manage to catch here,

Psalms 90:12
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Psalms 139:16
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

We are meant to be here
for a reason, not a season;
to thrive, not just to survive;
to live a destiny, not just to make a living.

Psalms 39:4-5
"Show me, O LORD, my life's end
and the number of my days;
let me know how fleeting is my life.

You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Each man's life is but a breath.

This is not a warm up for life, this is Life

Psalms 37: 25
I was young and now I am old,
yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
or their children begging bread.

You can't maximize potential if you minimize time.

Ecclesiastes 3:1
A Time for Everything:
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven

Ephesians 5:15-17
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,
making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.

Proverbs 9:11
For through me (wisdom) your days will be many,
and years will be added to your life.

Ecclesiastes 7:10
Do not say, "Why were the old days better than these?"
For it is not wise to ask such questions.

Lamentations 3:23
(God's love and compassion) They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

Psalms 23:6
Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD

Tough days don't last, but tough people do.

Psalms 118:24
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Hebrews 3:13
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so
that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.

No time like today.
The best is yet to come.

These amazing days, unmistakably, he is speaking and it feels like He is drawing me somewhere.
It feels like a call to return to the First Love.
It feels like standing before Jordan once again.
So many times, He leads me there.
I can only wait for Him to part the water and lead me through to where there are giants to slay and milk and honey to savor.

At first I did consider if I should name this post Sunday Blue.
Somehow, I think for someone like me I'd long to just forge ahead. To take time to go to church on Sunday is very damaging to the momentum.
It feels like taking the pains to accelerate and stopping abruptly on Sunday, almost wasting all the efforts of building it up.
It takes away all the comfortable illusions and false sense of security that I've ever gradually accumulated throughout the week.
It reminds me how small, weak and helpless I am in the Grand Scheme of Things apart from Him.

But deeper down.
It is wise to stop regularly and to take a look at where I'm heading.
Am I traveling the road he marks for me before time? Am I walking the way I'm made to walk?
It is blessedness to realize where I've failed to live up to my destiny, when God is using whispers rather than bricks.
It is of paramount importance to make little corrections frequently enough to avoid catastrophe.

Now, if only the Lord will bless me with a long enough and 'unselective' enough a memory to remember these all the days of my life.

Here's a link to the podcast of the message (should be up in 2 days' time)
A link to Destiny UK

Sunday, 17 February 2008

The First Week

I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
with all lowliness and meekness, with long suffering, forbearing one another in love,
endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
~ Ephesians 4:1-6 (21st Century King James Version)

On the last day of last year before the clock strike 12 and 2007 is history, these are the very admonition given by Elder Ang. And now, here I am, face to face with these words again, talk about divine appointment.

Once more, let my heart be still and allow these words to sink in.

The first week of classes, how is it? Great. And with 'greatness', pain is promised. For how can you expand but to stretch forth and reach out, straining your muscles and will at that very direction your destiny lies? After all, a relaxed body goes no where.

But above all. Be still my heart and know that the Lord is God.

Acknowledge now, His benefits.
Be reminded of His grace and compassion.
And may goodness and mercy follow you all the days of your life!

Friday, 15 February 2008

George Lucas in Love

Found this from Len Wien's blog. Interesting piece for those who haven't seen it, an amazing piece of amateur film making.

The original post in Len Wien's blog: George Lucas in Love
And I found Len Wien's blog from Neil Gaiman's journal.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Snails are Romantic Creatures

A review of Mircrocosmos, a film presented by Jacques Perrin

I was first introduced to Jacques Perrin through his 2002 Oscar Best Documentary Feature, Winged Migration. The tale of migrating birds throughout the world and its wonderful scores that lend a sense of grandeur to the documentary captivated me to no end. With minimum commentary, the film rely almost entirely on visual and music to covey the story. The film attempts to appeal to the emotions of the viewers more than the intellect and indeed, I never knew documentary on birds can feel like watching the epic Lord of the Rings trilogies by Peter Jackson.

While Winged Migration left me with a sense of awe for the majesty of the creation and a deep respect for the birds' tenacity in their flight for survival, Microcosmos evoked a rather different feeling. Here, rather than the admirable and heroic effort of the birds passing above often exotic locales, I witness the much more commonplace and everyday life of the creepy crawlers. As the narrator said, this is a world where a day is a lifetime and the perception of time is very different. We are treated with snippets of various different creatures including ladybirds, butterfies, catarpillars, snails, beetles, spiders and water bugs to name a few as they go through their lifecycle from feeding to mating.

In a way, this is also a story about survival, albeit on a micro scale. The world in mircovision through a bug's eye view is no less elaborate or beautiful compare to the wonderful sight of soaring birds. The first thought most of these creatures illicit is how similar they are to us human. Watching the ants rushing about, filling their lairs can seem like seeing the rush hour traffic where each men and women rush to accumulate money, perhaps for a rainy day. A dung beetle rolling a ball of dung that was accidentally stuck on a thorn embedded in the gravel road had much to say about tenacity and skills.

Among these highly diverse cast of characters, the one that blew me away was the burgundy snails. With soprano opera music playing in the background, imagine a snail gracefully gliding through a field of emerald grass. It sailed forward, leaving a trail as if it is a luxurious cruiser on the ocean. The snail meets another snail and first they touched their eye stalks tentatively, then they move in closer and closer, heaving up their baby soft bodies and finally the shyness give way to a passionate embrace - the two become one flesh. The undulation of their joined sides are uncannily erotic and the way they stroke each other in their faces are like lovers locked in a prolonged kiss. What pleasures they must be enjoying! I never know the images of mating snails can be so romantic! Looking at the lovers making love in the green glades reminded me of so many masterful work of arts from Klimt's The Kiss to Quinn's The Kiss. I was almost convicted that this segment of film deserves a place in the LOVE exhibition, being a supreme example of the innocent and unparalleled joy of Eros.

Although I still like Winged Migration better, mainly because I can relate to the aviator's titanic effort and perseverance more, to make snails feel sensual and romantic, I think Microcosmos is also a great film. For bug haters out there, who knows if after you see how cute and whimsical a caterpillar can be will forever change your perception to these 'little people'.

A link to the film on wiki

Wishing you and meaningful and happy St Valentine's Day!

Animation Links

Blogs & Webs
Cartoon Brew + + from film to comic and illustration, they've got it.
Drawn! + + illustration and cartooning Blog
Animation Archive + +
Animation World Network + +
MyToons + + some amusement
Animation World Megazine + +
Animation backgrounds + +
Zune-Arts + +
Peepshow + +
Harald Siepermann + + great concept art
Passion Pictures, UK + +
Pixar +
Blue Sky Studtio + +
MassiveBlack + +
UPA Pictures + +
Slinky Pictures + +
Tandem Films + +
Gobelins + + a French College
Interesting Animations
One Eskimo - Hometime MV
Giuliano Parodi - Shoa World War 2 short film
The Polyphonic Spree - Quest for the Rest Interactive game
T.O.M. - short film - outrageously funny
Beryl Productions - Dreams and Desires: Family Ties short film
Don Hertzfeldt – Billy’ Balloon + + balloon info + short film
Suzanne Deakin - Olay the End of Lines ad
La Linea + @metacafe + @Youtube +
Tandem Films + How to cope with Death + Flatworld +
Yuriy Norshteyn - Hedgehog in the fog
Smog (Bill Callahan) - Rock Bottom Riser
Michael Dudok de Wit + Father and Daughter + Monk and the Fish + The Aroma of Tea +
Sita Sings the Blues + link1 + link 2 + link 3 +
The smilling fish + Youtube +
Great Animators
Jules Engel + + statement on experimental animation
Max Hattler + + interesting conceptual/abstract arts

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Bristol - Swans

Chinese New Year here is great. We certainly do not lack company of other Chinese or activities to keep ourselves occupied. In fact, the faculty organized a dinner gathering to celebrate it. While I do not have photos from the gathering, here are some photo taken these 2 days.

The Thekla at the quayside. The boat is a pub/bar by night. In the background you can see the majestic pinnacle belonging to the Church of St. Mary Redcliffe.

This is the meticulously crafted ceiling of St. Mary Redcliffe. Everything about the church is finely crafted with delicate details virtually filling every part of the building. From the stained glass panels with numerous depiction from Biblical stories, the lectern of an eagle on a globe with 3 lions beneath, the wooden pulpit with the embedded 12 apostles to even the floor tiles with different designs, the superb workmanship is crystal clear. No words or picture would do justice, you have to walk within it yourself to savor the breathtaking wonders. (Perhaps I may post more picture of the 14th century 'relic' after I learn how to take better pictures in such dark setting.)

Meet my other neighbor - the Swans.
The river here is teeming with seabirds and the swan is a rather bold species who have no qualms of swimming right up to where you stand by the river edge. I suppose when a human crouch down, they doesn't appear to be much bigger than the bird.

Today is the first time I see so many swans congregating. It is quite a sight to behold the graceful curves of their sinuous neck as they seemingly drifted effortlessly on the cool waters. Another interesting fact here is how feeding gulls and pigeons are outlawed (you can be fined up to 250 pounds for 'deliberately leaving food on the ground' for the birds) but feeding swans looks like a common pastimes.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Artists Links

Some artists whose work I particularly enjoy:
James Jean + + +
Sam Weber + +
Tomer Hanuka + + +
Kent Williams + +
Ashley Wood + + +
Sebastian Kruger + + +
Dave McKean + +
Craig Mullins + +
Jillian Tamaki + +
Kazuhiko Sano + +
Jon Foster + +
Vance Kovacs + +
David Foldvari + +
Kenichi Hoshine +
Micheal Dudash + +
Burton Silverman + +
Drew Struzan + +
Donato Giancola + +
Joy Ang + +
Jared Purrington + www.jaredpurrington +
Jason Chan + +
Michael Wandelmaier + +
Yuko Shimizu + +
Sung Yoon Choi + +
Marcos Chin + +
Marc Boutavant + +
Michael Gillette + + +
Nathan Fox + +
Oksana Badrak + +
Istvan Banyai + +
Tim Biskup + +
Jorge Colombo + +
Yein Yanni Kim + +
Christopher Silas Neal + +
Daniel Hyun Lim + +
Alex Green + +
Owen Freeman + +
Sameer Kulavoor + +
Manuel Larino + +
Froghat Studio + +

CGtalk + +
ConceptArt + +
Matte Painting + +

LCS + the Illustration News Portal
CharacterDesign + +
Writer's Blogs
Neil Gaiman Journal + +
Len Wien +
Other interesting websites
Prada + + I really like their art direction
Desktopography + +
Groovisions + +
Politewinter + + collaboration of James Jean & Kenichi Hoshine
Comic Book Resources + +
Illustration Mundo + +
Importantitis, Enemy of art

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Bristol: The Day Before Chinese New Year

Today is Chinese New Year, the Ratatouille year! I wish you will find success, fulfillment of your dreams and destiny as well as lasting friends and favor from kins just like Remy.

Yesterday had been quite a day of unexpected adventure. As the sun beamed again, I decided to get some fresh air in the Ashton Court areas and visiting the Clifton Suspension Bridge. As I passed through the campus, initially just planning to have my lunch there and be on my way to Clifton, somehow I got involved in the introduction for the Erasmus Exchange Students. Met quite a few European students there, some from Germany, Austria, Spain, Holland, Italy to name a few. There were also some other Asian students from Hong Kong and Japan. After the introduction sessions, we end up trekking through the Ashton Court and visiting the Clifton area together, a merry bunch of international students.

Here are some of the things I saw along the way chronologically.

My neighbor the gull - took this outside Watershed. I guess it is sheer luck that the smug bird allows me to get so near to shot it without a telephoto lens.

This is the Clifton area as seen from the River Avon valley. The bridge seen here is none other than the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

As I cross the rickety country bridge, a train bearing cars passed beneath me. These automobile cargoes looks as if they are on a speeding convoy under the bridge. Not something I get to see too often.

For those of you who wanted to know, this is a picture of my campus, Bower Ashton taken from the Ashton Court area. The foremost building among the trees is the block that is currently under renovation. I heard the animation labs will be moving there in the summer.

The majestic Ashton Court - imagine this greenery stretching forth as far as your eyes can see. My campus is right in front of Ashton Court, in fact many staff and students who drove park their cars in the Ashton Court's car park.

Just an old tree in Ashton Court near the deer park. Somehow I feel this looks better upside down. Maybe there is something uncanny and surrealistic about this 'thing'.

The Avon Gorge as seen from the Clifton Suspension Bridge. This direction leads to the sea if I'm not mistaken.

The suspension bridge itself as seen on Clifton's side. It is a marvel how a bridge that was built in a time to accommodate horse drawn carts now support countless cars each year.

Me, having dinner in Watershed Cafe/bar - to round up the day, I went to watch the British Animation Award (program 1) with 7 other international students. The show is interesting. I get to see how is the Animation here as compared to what we usually get in Malaysia or from America. There are differences, but I will refrain from commenting until I've seen more. British Animation is certainly more than Wallace and Gromit, in fact Aardman have some quite different but not less impressive work as well.

Here are some links to the Suspension Bridge
and the British Animation Award

Monday, 4 February 2008

Bristol - Shoes On Tree

Despite the weather forecast of rain and gloom, the sun is particularly cherry this morning. It seems almost a sin to stay indoor so I decide to go for a walk.

This is what I saw - reminds me of the scene in the movie 'Big Fish'.

I wonder what is this for, especially outside the hallowed Bristol Cathedral.

Opposite the cathedral stood this curving crescent of a building, the Council House. For those who are familiar with street art, Banksy's graffiti of a naked man hanging outside the window is just over the road from this building. Maybe I'll take a picture of it sometime... or for those who are really curious, try

Soon after, I wander into Brandon Hill with its picturesque view overlooking the cityscape.

Here is the Cabot Tower that crowns Brandon Hill...

And the tunnel of trees that encircles the park...

With the promise of spring around the corner.

And lastly, a picture of the Bristol Museums & Art Galleries where the LOVE exhibition and dear Alfred are held.

By the way, it did look as if rain was coming during the noon, but the clouds passed and the sun remains shinning well into afternoon.

The Adventures of Prince Achmed

A film by Lotte Reiniger DVD Review

While I was reading some books on the subject of animation, The Adventures of Prince Achmed was mentioned quite reverently. This piqued my interest and when I saw it on the library shelf, I simply could not pass the chance to behold it for myself.

As I popped the DVD in, I knew virtually nothing of the film. It is only after the opening sequence that I understood that this film is a silhouette animation. The black shadow play on an often intricate background seemed to me a lot like a glorified Wayang Kulit (or Shadow Theater) back in Malaysia. Great cares are given to the characters' design to bring out their personalities, and their costumes are complicated yet elegant. Perhaps in this day and age such method of presentation is nothing new, however the real magic of the film lies in its imaginativeness and flawless storytelling.

The story of the Arabian Nights may be familiar,but seeing these wonderful back lighted paper cut-out given life is really enchanting. Combined with the orchestral background music, the sheer imagination and humor, the characters' emotion are very well expressed. From the moment the Evil Sorcerer plotted to have the princess' hand to the adventures that befell Prince Achmed and Aladdin, the moment where the lovers tasted despair to the moment where love and light triumph, I was spell-bound to keep rooting for the heroes.

The film was made close to a century ago and premiered on 23rd September 1926. It has no spoken dialog besides some captions between the scenes. What fascinates me is how clearly the idea was conveyed simply through the character's body language and gestures alone on a 2 dimentional plane. Such good story telling is indeed timeless, the work of a truly great animator.

Besides the immensely entertaining film, the DVD also included a documentary on Lotte Reiniger, the ingenious creative mind and hands behind the film. This special feature that serves as a homage to the pioneer and inventor of the Silhouette film, documents Lotte Reiniger's life from childhood all the way through to her death at 82. All throughout the documentary, I can see a woman who is true to herself all the way, entirely passionate about what she does and tenacious in pursuing her dreams. Together with her husband and partner, Carl Koch as well as many other friends and supporters, she continued to churn out many quality feature films and shorts throughout her lifetime, even through the hardship of the world war. Hers was a life that was fully lived. For aspiring animators or any artists, this dedication and love for not only one's work, but life itself is inspiring.

The Adventures of Prince Achmed is a jaw-dropping work of art and definitely an ageless animation classic that every animator should see.

~Written on 1 Feb 2008 (Fri)
Here are some links
And of the great pioneer, producer of the oldest surviving piece of animated story.

Folk band in Blue Lagoon

To take a break on the plethora of reviews, here's a recent digital sketch based on the life-sketch I did in Blue Lagoon cafe/pub. Thanks to my flatmates who invited me along, I really enjoy the music. I also find the way they dress very appealing. The play of colours on the guitarist is nice. His handsome and lanky frame brings out the rhythm and energies of the music they play very well. I couldn't help noticing the red heart shape dangling at his side. The coat worn by the violinist has a lot of navel emblems on it. It might actually be a sailor's outfit. Her prominent downward slanting eyebrow also adds to the grace of her instrument. The blond musician have a vest with poker dots under the blue sweater which I didn't manage to illustrate here. The percussionist also wears a lot of accessories. The key that dangle loosely on his neck does give the impression of an exotic glistering seashell under the dim light.

I never get the name of the band. I hope one day I will.

A Meez to remedy the problem of too many words, too little pictures in the blog...

Meez 3D avatar avatars games


19 January – 6 April 2008

Among the myriads of emotions felt by humankind, love is definitely among the strongest and most universal sensation. Love can be liken to affection, friendship, kinship, Eros, or charity. It can also be related between lovers, friends, family, human and creation, mortal and divine. As Valentine's Day is drawing near, a visit to the LOVE touring exhibition in Bristol's Museums, Galleries & Archives is an apt way to contemplate this universal yet highly personal sensation.

The free exhibition of visual arts from the 16th Century up to the present day on the theme is a good eye opener for anyone who wish to experience a little more of how various artists including Raphael, Goya, Turner, Emin, Singh and many more see and express this powerful subject. Through the intricate masterpieces, one can explore the similarities and difference of how the theme of love is expressed by each individuals across the time line. In addition, one can gain a deeper sense of how love influences not only arts, but mythologies, storytelling, culture and our fundamental perception of the creation.

Before visiting the visual art pieces in the gallery, I think it is a good idea to first view the 15 minutes video clip that is shown outside near the gallery entrance. This is especially helpful for viewers who are not familiar with the artworks as the video gives a comprehensive commentary. It can further your appreciation for the works in the gallery. Next to the video is an interactive artwork by Yoko Ono where you can participate.

Most of the work in the gallery are paintings. At the entrance, visitors are greeted by Anthony Frederick's Medea that depicts the destructive actions prompted by love betrayed. As you walk on, the paintings will touch on the themes of jealousy, bliss, faithfulness of love, agony of love lost, long lasting love, family love, charity, divine and sacred love, seduction and secular pleasure, pain that often intermingle with love, lust and the consequences, love's triumph and unrequited love. Each painting invoke a strong feeling associated with a certain aspect of love.

My personal favorites are the 2 sculptures in the exhibition. The first is a small ceramic rabbit filled with inscriptions of 'God please keep my children safe' by Grayson Perry. The fragile rabbit captures the helpless sense of a parent's almost obsessive love for the children in the face of uncertainties and the lack of security in this sometimes hostile world very well. I can feel the vulnerability of how even with all the fervent prayers, it is still a great test of faith to hope for the best.

The other sculpture is an almost life size marble sculpture by Marc Quinn entitled 'Kiss'. Although the sculpture can be seen on both the exhibition leaflets as well as the exhibition companion booklet's cover, there is something I did not quite notice initially until I had walked a full circle around the statue. The two intimately embraced and kissing couple has some peculiarities. The male figure has short and deformed arms while the female figure is missing a limb. However, looking at the statue, these deformities does not seem to matter at all. The couple entirely absorbed into each other looks complete and beautifully perfect. This work really reminds me of the fact that love is all encompassing. Love does not discriminate. Everyone, rich or poor, whole or flawed are entitled to love and anyone can chose to love truly and passionately. The eyes of of true love sees beyond any flaws or shortcomings a person may have.

The LOVE touring exhibition is really an excellent opportunity to deepen your sense of appreciation for your loved ones, your neighbors or even strangers. With the wonderful pieces on display, it is also a sumptuous feast for all lovers of art. Come and do not miss this chance to be saturated with Love!

~Written on 23 Jan 2008 (Wed)
A link to it

The Roman Baths

A Review

A visit to Bath will not be complete without a tour in the magnificent Roman Baths.

The remarkably well preserved and famous world heritage site is right in the heart of bath, next to the abbey. After purchasing the entrance tickets, each visitors are presented with a free personal audio guides that gives in depth descriptions as well as some interesting informations on the exhibition. Listening to the children's audio tour where the visitors are guided by a few imaginary persons from the era including a roman official, slave girl, bathhouse workers and priests are also very entertaining.

As the visitors walk from the entrance and descend into the underground museum, it feels as if one is traveling back in time. The exhibition includes many recovered relics, including the corner stone for the great altar that has been built into a church, the well carved pediment with the famous Gorgon's head that is popular with tourists being key chains, magnets and other souvenirs, the discovered head of the Sulius Minerva statue, personal curses and messages scribed on pieces of lead for the temple goddess and marvelous stoneworks with writings still very much legible now after all these years.

Not much of the original temple of Sulis Minerva remains can be seen. The grandeur of what it once was can now only be seen through the imaginations of the visitors. On the other hand, the baths are very well preserved. The open air Great Bath and the Circular Bath, now serving as a wishing well are still filled with water. The classical architectures around the pool are also fitted with lightings and humidity similar to the original settings.

One of the highlight of this tour is the hot spring itself which is the genesis of this very site, without which none of the once impressive temple buildings and intricate bath complexs would exist. It is not hard to understand why the Romans and native Celts, or even those before them from the Bronze Age saw the spring as a spirtual and sacred site when looking at the steaming waters on a cold winter morning. The bubling waters are even used in the nearby Thermae Bath Spa now, truly a larvish gift from Above for our enjoyment.

The Roman Baths is truly a place that must be visited as it is both an enriching experience marvelling at the excellent workmanship from the past and a rejuvinating spiritual journey walking through the very stone steps that the ancient walked and breathing in the very vapours from the sacred spring.

~ Written on 22 Jan 2008 (Tues) the visit was on Sunday

The official link


The Power of Naming

Today was my first visit to Bristol's Museums, Galleries & Archives. Today also marked my first 'close encounter' with our cousin great ape, the gorilla. Although I had seen the shadows of some sleeping apes in Beijing Zoo seven years back, this was the first time I saw one face to face, head to toe and in a distance no more than two feet away.

Now, I must also clarify that this great ape I saw was a specimen in the museum's wing exhibiting animals from the world. This was certainly not my first time seeing large taxidermied specimens on display in a museum but there was something special about this gorilla. It was named.

Alfred was his name. He came to the Bristol Zoo back before the second world war and was visited by many residences and tourists in the area. Alfred was an oddity at that time when gorillas were less understood and scientifically studied. He was quite an attraction and had aqquired nicknames as well during the wars. After Alfred died, his skin was mounted by a famed taxidermist and shown in the museum.

As I was reading the information panel, a family came into the room. The gentleman told his wife, 'Isn't he alive the last time I visited the zoo?' The lady exclaimed, 'Oh dear, it's a shame he died.' It was just like what was written on the panel of how people came to visit Alfred long after his passing, bringing their children and telling stories about him.

Personally, I think this is special. People do not talk about specimens in museum as if it is something alive very often. I had never seen Alfred back when he breathe and walked the zoo grounds, but through just knowing his name, reading about his history, how he came to Bristol, how he lived in Bristol and how he died suddenly made him so much alive to me. At once, from being just another specimen, just another mounted gorilla, this one became a person. He took on a personality. From an 'it' it has become a 'he' to many people including me.

The power of having a name, and knowing a brief history even if only an inanimate object can make such a profound difference on a very personal level.

Being an animator, I should learn how to imbune life into my creation which the audience initially knows nothing more than I did with the gorilla in the display case. When I leave, I had seen more than an ape, I had met someone, I had faced a celebrity. It was a wonderful experience.

~Written on 19 Jan 2008(Tues)
and here's a link to the said ape and museum.

Greetings from Bristol

Greetings from Bristol.

I have arrived here on 16 Jan after a 14 hour in the air.
It has been 3 weeks now, and by His grace and goodness things are moving along fine.
Meet some really nice flat-mates and found a homely church to belong in.

1 more week to go before classes starts. Here's some photos for the meantime.

The huge Amsterdam airport complex while waiting for the transit.

The view of the River Avon next to the flat I'm staying.

The street of Bath. I visited bath during the first Sunday.

More of the River Avon, when the sun is shining gloriously.

A more rural scene near Bower Ashton, the Art, Design and Media Faculty of UWE.

Bristol is indeed a beautiful place to live in. It has a good blend of traditional architectures and museums, modern shopping and commercial complexes plus the rural farmland and green parks are not too far away.