Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Deepavali and Selamat Hari Raya!

Yesterday was a fairly relaxed day for me. Woke up at about 11.30am, nicely rested after my 60k Putrajaya ride. I drove over to KLCC to meet a friend (and wife) for lunch. they're both from Indonesia, and they came over for the weekend.

I got to know Pudjo Djuliarso by chance, really. He somehow managed to find my number and he SMS-ed me to try to hook up his piano player son, Nial, with some local jazz cats to do a gig here in KL. Nial's a Berklee graduate, an awesome player by the way, and now doing his Masters training in Julliard (with those Lincoln Center cats!! Wooo hooo.. shows you where he's at!). Then, I only met Pudjo in person early September when I was in Singapore to watch Joshua Redman. Pudjo is a bass player, and he used to gig when he was younger in Germany and a few places, before he finally became a fulltime lawyer. He's such a nice cat!

Anyway, we had lunch and coffee, and later on parted ways. After doing a few stops in some of the shops in KLCC, I proceeded to Lake Gardens and go for a run (always bring running gear just in case!). I felt good enough to do one, so I did. I planned to do a long run, well.. sort of a long run.

Here was my running route in LG:

Bukit Aman car park --> past Lake Club --> children's playground --> up into Carcosa road --> down back into Lake (facing KL Hilton Sentral) --> up on to Jalan Perdana slope --> Bird park --> back to Bkt Aman car park.

I estimated the distance to be around 4.25km. Managed to do two rounds of it.

Here are some stats:

Date: 30 Oct 2005
Location: Lake Gardens
Time started: 6pm

Total time - 1 hr 13 mins
Distance - approx 8.5km
Pace - 8:36 min/km

Average HR - 155 (80% of max)
Max HR - 170 (88% of max)

Main goal for this month and part of next month is to build some endurance running base, before I can start training for 21k for KL Int'l Marathon next year. Planned heart rate range is between 70% - 80% of max, i.e. the aerobic training range. This is to help build endurance by using more slow twitch muscles so that I can run longer distances, and also it's the weight loss range. Running at that range trains the body to use up energy from from other sources (ie. fat) and not directly from glycogen sources in the muscles.

After a nice shower, I met up with my parents for a nice dinner at The Curve.

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I saw this at Ikano Power Center last night.

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It's called a kolam, an indian color art. I'm not too sure at the moment if it's colored rice, or powder. Fellow Indians, please enlighten me and my readers by posting a comment and telling me what you guys use to do the kolam. It's an amazing piece of art, usually done in festive celebrations, like Deepavali.

Now I'm sure you all must have seen the banners: HAPPY DEEPARAYA or something to that effect. Talk about media blitz.. such a Malaysian thing. DEEPARAYA?? That's like a combination of Deepavali and Hari Raya, which has been close to each other for the past 2 years, I think. If you ask me, it's just a lazy man term. Instead of printing out Selamat Hari Raya dan Selamat Deepavali, they come out with this term. HAhaha...

So, to not subscribe to that kind of laziness,

I would like to wish all my Muslim friends and Hindu friends a..


So I can't wait to down your ketupat and kuah kacang, as well as your thosai and dhal and kurma!!!! Which means I will have to work double-y hard at my running!!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Putrajaya 60k ride..

Ahhh.. just got back from a nice 60k ride with me buddy Azwar. Tank was supposed to come, but didn't. Guess he's busy. Well, next time. Raya now, so I'm not surprised.

We did the usual Powerman 30k loop. But we did only 2 loops. Took us about 2 hours and 16 minutes. I think I was working a little harder than usual. I was pushing a bit more on some of the hills, and definitely hitting it up more than before. So much so, it sure made my heart rate go up to 90-over percent, but only for short periods, less than 2 minutes of intensity before my heart rate recovers to around 75%. It's definitely good training to build and increase power output on flats as well as hills.

So here are some stats:

Date: 29 Oct 2005
Time start: 9:53pm
Location: Putrajaya, Powerman loop

Distance - 55.5km
Time - 2:16:10
Average speed - 24.2km/h
Max speed - 48.5km/h
Calories burnt - 978.0

Average HR - 142bpm (74% of max)
Max HR - 176bpm (91% of max)

Did I tell you I actually love cycling, and wanted to get into it for a long time?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Wasted day...ALMOST!

One of those wasted days... arghh....

Woke up late for one, as I planned to go out for a 30+km ride. Instead of 8am, I woke up almost 10am. I still decided to go and ride, although the weather was getting a little warmer. Just as I was out the door, and clipping on my right foot, I heard the sound of high pressure air release. It was coming from my rear tyre....


I could just forget about riding for the day. After that I changed the tube (that's THREE tubes, gone, mind you!), and making sure that it's placed properly (I think the last tube wasn't placed properly). I proceeded to try to adjust the rear caliper brakes, as the quick release mechanism wasn't adjusted properly. A couple of other small mishaps also happened from that, and after managing to put everything back together, I had to readjust the whole rear brake, and make sure the brake travel and braking response was good.

By that time it was already almost 2pm. Shit.

Already lost my mood to practice. And I got a bit of a runny nose, so I just took a short nap.

Came online, and found an interesting story from my cycling/running buddy Azwar. Check out his interesting adventure that took place yesterday, here.

I'm going to KLCC to go run after this. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

* * * * *


Well, not that wasted of a day lah, at least. Ran at KLCC park, managed to cover 7.8km (6 laps) in about an hour. Not that fast at all, but speed wasn't my concern, just the workout and endurance work. Felt good overall, so that was fun.

My lap timings:

9:52 > 9:48 > 7:44 (+ 2.30 minutes I mistimed here) > 10:31 > 10:11 > 10:14

Average HR - 153bpm

Max HR - 165bpm

Made a few errors in the lap button presses as I stopped once to stretch a little.

Yesterday -

Yesterday's run in the morning was quite nice too. Although I started slightly later than desired (10am) but the weather was so nice (read: cloudy.. no sun) I decided to run anyway. There was some slight sun, but not at a scorching level at all.

Ran at Sg. Kantan, and it took me an hour also, over about 7 - 8km (didn't measure, as I ran different routes).

Feels good to run again! Yay..

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


... I got a LIVESTRONG™ band!!

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I got this off Edwin's (Joo Ngan's Bike Shop in Uptown, PJ) yesterday, when I sent my bike for a monthly tune and check-up. Paid rm15 for it... but it's original (despite the fact it's made in China.. bollocks). It cost that price, simply because of shipping costs. The Lance Armstrong Foundation store does not ship their merchandise to Malaysia (awww, come on Lance.. you got lotsa supporters here, man!), so he had them shipped to Australia, and then to Kuala Lumpur. The bands actually cost US$1 a piece, but it's sold in packs of 10s, 100s, and 1200s. So now my right wrist is highly decorated with Malaysian Cancer Society's black and white CELEBRATE LIFE and LAF's LIVESTRONG™ band.

If you're interested in getting the wristband, go to Joo Ngan's Bicycle Shop in Damansara Uptown, PJ SS21 to get yours now. Edwin Ng (son of Ng Joo Ngan, national cycling coach) runs the place. So drop by, have your bike fixed, and say hi to the guy. Nice cat, he is.

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On another note, I also managed to get Siti Nurhaliza's Royal Albert Hall performance on VCD yesterday.

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*blink blink*

You must be thinking? WHAT? Julian watch Siti Nurhaliza? Julian's a fan, meh?

Well, I'm not a big fan of Siti or whatever. I'm definitely not into the Siti craze. I mainly got it to check out the show. I saw parts of it during their stage rehearsals at PWTC, and it was pretty amazing. The whole crew, the musicians, dancers, sound people, producers, etc, worked for several months to get this show on the road. And from what I saw in the VCD, the hard definitely paid off.

Anyway, my teacher, boss, friend Greg Lyons and a whole other bunch of top-notch Malaysian musicians played on that show. Cats like Aubrey Suwito, my friend Jason Woo, the distinguished Andy Petersen, Zahid Ahmad, me Aussie mate Jamie Wilson, seruling (bamboo flute) player Kesavan (also from Aseana Percussion Unit), and others.

The show was musically directed by Roslan Aziz, a visionary in his own right.

Anyway, my comments on the concert: It was simply AWESOME! The whole production was definitely fantastic. First things first, to have a Malaysian act to go into RAH in this scale is already quite a historical achievement for Malaysia. Siti is a real class act, her voice definitely unique. And from what I've been told, she works really extra hard... going for so many rehearsals (more than what other artistes would be normally comfortable with). And in each rehearsal, she gives it 101%. That's so un-Malaysian...which in this case is a good thing! Fantastic working attitude.

By the way, I got the VCD ORIGINAL!!! For RM29.90. So if you're interested in watching a good show, or a Siti friend fan, get the original, and support the local music industry. I think the DVD will be coming out soon. And I heard the mixing will be better. So look out for that one too.

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Sh*t.. didn't run today. Was planning to run in KLCC park, but it was raining, even before I wanted to leave home. Got that info from a friend living in KL. Argh, will try to do a ride the morning and a run in the evening (hopefully) tomorrow.

Oh yeah, I just updated my gig listings again. Check out the Upcoming Performances section for the revised dates. Hopefully you can come and watch some of it.

Later peepz..

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Hulu Langat long bike ride, 70k..

I had just got back from my long bike ride. I went to the Hulu Langat route again. My initial plan was to do 60k like my previous Hulu Langat ride.

When I got to the 30k point, I decided to continue on rather than doubling back. I saw the side road sign, saying Kajang was another (approximately 40k). So I thought to myself, "what the heck, let's just go straight and go all the way back to Kajang from this way". I basically knew where the route will end up: basically passes the Nirwana Memorial Park and out to Semenyih, and turns right on Jalan Semenyih to go back to Kajang.

The first half of the ride wasn't as interesting as the second half. I didn't like the puddles from last night's rain, and basically my bike and some parts of my bike gear was soiled from mud puddles. It was a fairly easy ride, for me.

Here are some picks from before the 30k point, this is in 14th Mile, Sg. Lui, Hulu Langat:

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You could see that it's pretty quiet on Sundays. Which is great for cyclists, I definitely saw several groups riding past me on the opposite side.

After several kilometres past the 30k point, I was shifting some gears as I was approaching a slight incline. My chains skipped gears and it came out from the cranks. At the time, I lost momentum and was just stopping. And it was then I realised I was still clipped on the pedals! I couldn't remove shoes in time, and next thing I knew, I FELL! I fell to the left on the grass and grime. What was more embarrasing was there was a house under construction right ahead of where I fell, and there were several workers. I wasn't sure whether they saw me, but I don't think they gave a damn (even if they did notice me, I think). After brushing off sand and grass from my hands and legs and wherever, I fixed my chain and continued my ride.

Just as I was cruising nicely, I saw up ahead, the T-junction to which lead to Semenyih. But before that T-junction was a fairly high slope! I was like, "Oh, sh*t..", and next thing I knew I was down to my smallest gears and slowly climbing up just to that junction. I turned right, which heads to Semenyih, but right after that turning, is another uphill! Oh my god...tough, man!! And you know me, I'm heavy, so I'm so bad with hills. I made another totally stupid mistake, I wanted to stop and adjust my pants. So I unclipped myself, and I had trouble trying to start up the hill halfway! Just at that moment, a bunch of training professional cyclists (with support car, even), just passed me on the opposite side of the road, all enjoying the downhill and watching me struggle trying to clip my shoe in and start up the hill! Malu siut... (embarrassed like hell!).

After climbing that hill, I came across a few flat parts and some other uphills which I handled okay, just by climbing slowly with all small gears. There were even a few downhills which were really fun to go through, as they were really smooth downhills and I was going at about 60km/h, and how exhilirating it was!!

Later on, I realised my rear tyre was running out of air! I stopped at the side of the road, just overlooking the Hulu Langat dam, so I could pump air into my tyre (and take my PowerGel to get some energy boost). After pumping it, I took another two pictures:

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I then proceeded to continue cycling. I stopped another two more times to pump the rear tyre, as it kept getting flat. I passed Nirwana Memorial Park and I'd expected another 6 - 8km before I reach Semenyih at the Jalan Semenyih junction. At this point I was still cruising at around 25 - 30km/h. All of a sudden, a cyclist passed me from behind. We exchanged greetings. I was rather flabbergasted... he was on a mountain bike! Here I was on a road bike, and I was being overtaken by a mountain biker! Pretty embarrassing, actually. But then again, this guy might have been riding for a long time, and he seems to be hitting to really big gears. I tried to tail and overtake him, but I couldn't, as the road surface wasn't that smooth, and I didn't want to further stress my tyre.

After turning right into Jalan Semenyih heading to Kajang, my rear tyre finally gave way, and coincidentally (or maybe not, it could be just divine intervention... if you believe this stuff, and somehow I think it might be), it was right before a ProJet petrol station! I got off the bike, removed my shoes, and walked to the station. I then sat at the patio with tables and chairs, and proceeded to change my tyre tubes. It's my first time changing them tubes, and it took me about half an hour, I think.

Met up with KT when I cycled to his place (on the way back home), and had a small lunch. I left my bike at his house, and when I came back to get it, it was still flat again!! We both examined the tyre, and we found a small little pebble stuck in the outer rubber tyre which caused both old and new tube to puncture! So I had wasted one tube. Bugger. Luckily, I bring two spare tubes, so we KT helped me as well to change to a new tube again (KT: Never trust the book, entirely). I also used up one CO2 (carbon dioxide) cartridge to fill up my tyre with air.

I rode home after that.

Talk about a ride with experience. I learnt how to change a flat, and even had my FIRST EVER fall on my bike. Well, I was quite happy actually, that I learnt a couple of new things today.

So here's a summary of my ride today:

Route: Kajang -->Hulu Langat, Sg. Lui --> Semenyih --> Kajang
Distance: 70km
Riding time: 3 hours
Starting time: 8am

Average speed: 23.6km/h
Max speed: 61.3km/h
Calories burnt: 1261.o kj
Average heart rate: 145 bpm (75% of max HR)
Max heart rate: 177 bpm (91.7% of max HR)

Till the next time! Have a good weekend y'all.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Malaysian drivers...

... are real a-holes! Well, some of them anyway.

Before going on, I'd like to say, right after my bike ride yesterday morning, I had in mind to blog out some of my most evil thoughts about it. I'd have put in as many expletives and cusses than you can say, "Supercalifragilisticespialidocious". You'd have seen my really bad side manifest itself on this blog, and for those who knew me to be patient, blah blah blah, you'd have thought "whoah, this Julian ain't as nice as I thought". But after I came back from the ride, and cooled down over a nice warm and cold shower, I re-thought that idea. I figured to myself, why do all that bad vibe? It's exactly the same bad vibe that I get from these dumb-asses that will contribute to all that bad shit that's already happening in our world today... we don't need it. So to that stupid taxi driver and that idiotic driving instructor: I forgive you... thanks for making me a stronger person to overcome some of those really negative feelings for you.

Okay, back to the real story.

I was out there, happily going for my 30+ km bike ride around the Kajang Silk Highway - Bangi - Kajang Silk Highway - Saujana Impian. I was on the way back, on the Silk highway past Kajang Utama and going out at the Saujana Impian exit, and on a downhill stretch, I went on aero position on the bike, so that my bike will go down really fast. At the same time, I took real quick glances on the right (I'm on the same side as the traffic flow) just to make sure no car was going to turn left into some of the housing area exits. I saw this blue taxi driver as well, but well out on the main road to be concerned about. I turned and faced front again. The next thing I knew, the same taxi I saw just moments before just swooped past REAL CLOSE to me and sped off. It was like he was intentionally going near me to scare my ass off, which caught me quite off guard. I showed him the finger along with some outburst of expletives (which I realise to my folly, is futile, as the taxi driver wouldn't have been able to hear what I said. Not only that, he'd be laughing his pants off, when he sees my expression). Major piss-off.

Later on, when I was just warming down, I rode to Sg. Kantan and came out back to the opposite side of Jalan Cheras at the mosque traffic light. Just as the lights for the perpendicular traffic (which turns right into the road where I'm at) turned red and ours turned green, I proceeded to prepare to push off and ride back home. Next thing I knew, this Malay driver in a white Kancil just U-turns in front of me, causing me to stop halfway and abruptly from the push-off.

I looked at him with a dismayed look, and hand gestures, saying, "What the *toot*? Are you fak-ing blind ah? Cannot see that your light red already ah???? What the hell you trying to do?". What's worse about it was that he was a driving instructor! With the driving school label on the car!

YOU SEE?????????????????? Now we know why there are SOOOOOOOO MANY fak-ed up drivers in Malaysia!! Their instructors are as fak-ed up as they are!

*Sigh*. It's not that Malaysian drivers are really bad. Just some of them just are... inconsiderate and self-centred, without regard for the safety and well-being of others. We all have our driving quirks, and sometimes we get into driving situations that may inconvenience others, including myself. We ain't perfect. But some of them are just plain a-holes... by nature, and not incidental. These are the ones that should be banned on the road.

If only Malaysians were like Australians, or Singaporean drivers. They drive safe, 98% of them. Then there won't be that many accident cases like those reported almost daily in the newspapers.

Drive properly lah, people....!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Wanted to get up early to ride, but couldn't get myself out of bed. But in the end, I went out for a very short ride just near my place. Just needed and felt like it.

Practiced my horn.

David Gomes called me up for a small gig this weekend, a small house party. Cool... my only gig this month! AHahah...

Got back my Polar heart rate monitor back. It went kaboose last weekend... ran out of battery power. I realised that I think I rely on it quite a bit. I rely on it for time, as well as my workouts. Although I've been working out without it the last couple of days, but I find it helps by complementing how my body feels during workout, and I can learn to adjust my pace and effort.

So, I went to Lake Gardens for a short run. I got out of house too late, to collect my Polar. Only ran for about 35 minutes, at the 4.25km loop. Still felt nice after a run, even a short one.

Another boring day, though.

Just did some updates on my Upcoming Performances column on the right sidebar. Check it out. My Nov/Dec dates are filling up, thank God. There are some other events happening, but mostly private events I think, so I wouldn't put them up. But I will update more as the months go along, so stay tuned.

There are some good gigs happening this two weekends at Alexis... Denise Mininfield is back again for a two week stint. She'll be backed by KL's powerhouse jazz band, with Greg Lyons on sax, Mac Chew on keys, Andy Petersen on bass, and Lewis Pragasam on drums. Check them out. Will update that too, soon.


Sunday, October 16, 2005

90km at Putrajaya... Ex-Primers... Wong Ah Thiam @ Ironman World Championships

90km bike ride @ Putrajaya

Met up Azwar, Ajeep, and Tank at Taman Warisan, Putrajaya, at 10pm last night to do a 90km bike ride around the Powerman loop. We started around 10:30pm, and started easy from Taman Warisan. The first loop and second loop was a fairly easy ride, except for some uphills, where we pushed a little bit to climb it. We were pretty much chatting a little bit here and there and just enjoying the cool air of night. After the end of the second loop, Tank decided to call it a day, and the three of us decided to push on.

The third loop was a challenging one, as Azwar finally decided to hit the gas to full effort at race pace. Me and Ajeep also started to really push the pace more. Ajeep was kind enough to ride with me, as I was comparatively slower. This last 30km loop was pretty much done at higher effort, and at some of the hills, I was going up at least 85% effort. Some of my last few climbs of the final loop was done pretty slowly, as I started to feel spent from the constant effort of this loop. And my previous max distance for a bike ride was 60k. So I was kind of pushing it a little bit more than I probably should, but what the heck... sometimes it's good to push oneself to some limit.

We took about 3 hours 55 minutes to complete the 83km course. I was almost spent when I finished. I was also exhilirated at the same time. My first night ride, and a long one at that. From my bike computer, I probably used up 1261.2 calories from last night's ride! Woo hoo. After we cooled off, the three of us (Tank decided to head home) went to Sg. Ramal to have some post-workout grub, and I had a thosai telur, a roti telur, and two mugs of teh tarik.

I went home, took a nice hot shower, and just plonked on my bed! What a night.

Breakfast with ex-Primers

I was woken up this morning when KT called me up to tell me that we were supposed to meet up with some ex-Prime College mates for breakfast at La Bodega, Bangsar. I totally forgot, KT only mentioned to me once, and I thought he might have reminded me. He was supposed to have called me.. Ehehehe.. gotcha mate!! Anyway, I dragged myself out of bed anyhow and met up with them there.

Keng Yoong (just came back from UK for a wedding), Mei Yee (Keng Yoong's friend), Patt (who was back from Singapore for a weekend stint), KT, Hui Sein, Desmond, and myself were in attendance. I haven't seen KY, Patt for quite a while now. Nice to see some of them again. It'll be awhile again, before I'll get to see them! Hahahah...

Wong Ah Thiam @ Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii

Just as I was typing this post, I wanted to check out the live broadcast of the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii on As I tuned in, the race was pretty much in its last hour or two, where all the last few triathletes were coming in from the race. Means the race started about 16 hours ago from publishing time. So I think it started at around 1am.

Anyway, I checked the results, and I was shocked and happy to find out our local triathlete, and former national cyclist, Wong Ah Thiam, was in Kona! I wasn't sure if he went, but I'm certainly happy he managed to go!

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He managed to get the 784th position at 10 hours, 43 minutes and 28 seconds.

His timing were: Swim (2.4mi or 3.84km) 1:13:43, Bike (112 mil or 180km) 5:26:17, and Run (26.2 mi or 42.2km) 3:52:59.

CONGRATULATIONS Ah Thiam... Good job!! That's one for Malaysia!!!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Blur case...

Sh*t man.. like did absolutely nothing today.. wasted my day! Didn't even practice when I supposed to, dunno why I slept after lunch when I should be practicing... curse my lazy body! Argh!

Got my bike shoes. Got my clipless pedals yesterday. Don't understand? Never mind, don't try...cyclists know this. Now I'm really relatively broke. Anyone wanna donate some money? Ahahhaa.. I fixed up those pedals on my bike, and tried on those shoes. Quite a scare to try to use them the first time, learning how to clip on the shoes with the pedals and trying to release them.

Don't undertsand? In the old days, bikers use pedals with "toe-clips", where it consist of a rubber "clip" and a strap to strap your shoes in. This is to hold your feet and shoes while cycling, so that there's more pedal power. A couple of years back, bicycle technical-research people came up with clipless pedals and shoes to match them. Clipless pedals dispose the use of straps, and it comes in two parts. The pedal itself and a "cleat". A cleat is an attachment to the bicycle shoe, and it is attached to the pedal by stepping the cleat against the pedal when you mount the bike. The pedal is designed where the front part of the cleat is inserted to the front of the pedal, and the back part of the cleat is locked-in with the lock at the back of the pedal. To remove the shoe from the pedal, the rider just has to twist the shoe to either left or right to get the cleat unlocked from the pedal. What's the implication of this to the rider? It basically keeps your feet locked in to the pedal, and it transfers more power to the pedal. It also provides "pulling" power as well as "pushing" power to the pedal. It probably also means better use of energy during the ride, to make it simple to understand.

Gonna use it tomorrow night, when I go for a Saturday night long bike ride with a bunch of fellas, including Azwar and Ajeep. We're going riding at Putrajaya. We might go for 90k. I'm not sure if I can go that long. If I can't I'll just stop at 60k. My last 60k ride with them, took a bit out of me, when it came to the hill. But then again, I learnt a couple of new things from that ride, such as training up high pedalling cadence (ie. leg turnover on the pedal, measured in rpm).

Generally, the higher the cadence (around 85 - 90rpm) the more efficient the use of energy, and less strain on the legs. So to maintain that cadence at different terrains, a bike rider must learn how to use the appropriate gear combo. Eg. you don't go and drive 5th gear in a car to climb up a hill do you? So when it comes to hills, go to the smaller gear combos.


I lost my parking ticket at Mid Valley. It's one of the days where I'm blur to the max. I don't know where I put that ticket... biatch! I had to pay rm20 for the lost ticket (as if I'm not relatively broke already, shiteee).

Hopefully I just misplaced it somewhere in the car. If I did, I can go and claim it back within 7 working days.

Why am I so blur.. sleep some more lah, fatsoooo...

Sigh. Have a good weekend....

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Practice, Run, Eat Vege Burger, Sleep!

Heh heh.. that was my schedule yesterday, believe it or not.


Did a solid 3 - 4 hours of practicing my horn. A few technical exercises from Oliver Nelson's Patterns For Jazz, and revising Charlie Parker's solo on Au Privave. I believe I actually played some wrong notes at some parts of his solo. And, I just started on Miles' trumpet solo on that song.

Practicing. Something I haven't done in a very long time, admittedly. But that's what being busy with gigs is sort of like really. And believe it or not, not practicing for long periods does affect your playing, technically, and sometimes musically. You have an idea in your head during your playing, and it doesn't come out, or rather, it takes longer for your fingers to execute them. What a pain.

One thing though, trying to get yourself organized to practice also is another problem at times. If we don't set objectives before practicing, it's easy to get de-motivated, and then the practice session won't last more than an hour or so. And I've encountered that numerous times. I can only get past doing long tones, overtone exercises on the horn. A couple of technical exercises, and that's it. Talk about bad quality practicing time. Sometimes on odd times, like in a car or somewhere out in town, I get ideas to practice. But when it comes to the practice room.. BLANK! What a pain! It's even worse during busy periods, it's because there's so little time to spend on quality practice, you can only end up doing a small handful of practice ideas.

Anyway, thankfully during this Puasa month, I'm actually gig-less. No shows. Nada. I definitely want to take this time to catch up on some unfinished work, and some unstarted work. Hopefully I get to do it, and not procrastinate like I always do. Biatch. I can also chill a bit this month. Maybe catch up on some movies too... my last movie was... uhh, damn, I'm trying to remember as I'm typing this, but I'm at a loss. I can't remember. That's how long I haven't watched a movie. Bugga.


Went to run at KLCC Park around 6.45pm. I was supposed to start at 6.30, but it was so jammed heading into KLCC, which was wierd. I think maybe it's because of the puasa month. Met Jamie, Newton, and Cheong, who were there from 6.30pm.

Decided to make it an base endurance run. In other words, I am running much slower than I usually do at some of my training runs. I wanted to keep my effort between 70 - 80% of max, slightly below aerobic level. The reason for running this slow is to slowly build up a running endurance base, and basically build stamina. If I keep this up for several weeks, I think I can begin to run a little more effortlessly at longer distances.

A common misconception from friends(non-runners), is that when I tell them I run, they would think it's the Ben Johnson, Carl Lewis kinda run. Totally not so. This is the long distance kind of run, the one where you can't run like you're being chased by a truck. It's the kind where you have to start out real slow and slowly increase your running speed, but even so, not so much of the sprinting kind.

Anyway, did 5 laps amounting to about 6.8km. Took me 52:01 minutes. Didn't want to push it, as I'm just starting to do base running again. My plan, to slowly pack in the mileage and base stamina, before I start my real training for KLIM 21k next March.

Again, with this puasa month, I actually can spend more time biking and running as well. Which is great!!

Eat vege burger

Went to meet Kevin, my sax-brutha and good friend, at Plaza Mont Kiara. I took the opportunity to go for a second round of McDonald's new Veggie Burger. Instead of the usual burger and fries deal, I just went and had TWO veggie burgers and a milkshake (nice post-run meal, too!).

It's actually not bad! Ahahaha... according to the ad, the vege patty is made of corn, carrots and peas (and I believe some pumpkin as well). The burger itself is breadcrumbed-fried, topped with lettuce, a slice of tomato, and their special mayo sauce. The last time McD's did a vege burger (they called it Maharaja or Maharani burger or something like that) a couple of years back, it didn't take off very well. It was okay for me, but I think commercially, the taste of the vege patty itself wasn't too viable. It was made with chick peas and lentils, and it was rather spicy. Didn't go with the mayo, though. This vege burger, on the other hand, tastes more suitable for commercial purposes. Well, at least I've got more choice as a vegetarian to eat there, rather than just McEgg and pie.

So McDonald's, I hope this veggie burger is a keeper. Can cover more market share.

Disclaimer: This comment is in no way influenced by any parties, either from McDonald's or any other persons. It is not an advertorial comment for or from McDonald's. Unless of course, they pay me lots of money to do it, then I'll do it in more interesting ways.

Anyway, after the meal, we just hung out and chat for a long time, about a variety of spicy stories and topics.


Ciew.. that one also you need me to explain ah?

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Justin's wedding... Angelita... Putrajaya 60km ride

"Another one bites the dust..."

Hehehehe... a phrase that came to mind when I attended Justin's wedding at Mandarin Oriental, last night. So bad lah, me, hahahah. But in this case, it's all worth it. In Azwar's own words, "I've never seen so much love in a wedding before". Justin and Jeanne were made to be together.

Just a little detail about the wedding dinner... lots of Datins and Datuks, and lots and lots of leng luis. Too bad I couldn't stay long enough to check them out for real. Almost the whole KLCC
Pacemaker gang was there. It was a simple affair, the usual speeches, and some slideshows (no band, thank God!). The pictorial biography slideshow of Justin and Jeanne was really cool. In one of Justin's "segment", it showed Justin's running pictures with medals, trophies, and the PM gang! The whole PM gang and myself stood up and cheered out loud during those shots! And of course, without doubt, lotsa wine and beer on da house! hehehe...

Anyway, we want to wish Justin and Jeanne, a HAPPY MARRIAGE!!!!

Go to Azwar's
site for pics and commentaries of the wedding.

PS: Like a real runner buddy, I went for a nice run at Lake Gardens before attending the wedding... basket.. hahaha..

I went to Alexis Bistro after the wedding to check out songbird Angelita Li's final night there. She was backed by Malaysia's powerhouse band: Michael Veerapen on keyboards, Greg Lyons on saxophone, Lewis Pragasam on drums, Andy Petersen on bass, and Steve Thornton on congas.
The show was BURNING!!!!!!!! It was acid-jazz week with Angelita, and she did a whole bunch of acid-jazz tunes that virtually brought the house down, from Still A Friend Of Mine, Midnight at the Oasis, and the powerful Talking Loud. She also mixed in a fair bit of Brazilian tunes from Antonio Carlos Jobim and even Tania Maria. The band rocked the house so bad, everyone was cheering on their toes, and even I was practically standing on the stool's leg and almost sitting on the bar table! It was full house that night, and Angelita as well as the band delivered with full force. It was quite a night to remember.

If you have the chance to check her out, do so. She's world class, and there's no one like her here!

Went to Putrajaya this morning to meet up with Ajeep and Azwar for a 60km bike ride. These guys are crazy, they're fasting, but they insist on continuing some training on the bike. Azwar organised this ride, and he told me that it'll be an easy ride, just to pack some mileage.

We started a bit late, Azwar overslept and rode from his home in Bangi to the Putrajaya mosque. We started riding real easy, and we went out to do the Powerman 30k bike route for two rounds. The easy cruise speed was around 25km/h, and I could basically keep up with them with easy effort. But on the climbs, even the short ones, I was pretty much dropped from the pack. My weight worked against me. But I also think that it's also due to the fact, my training on the bike is quite new, so I'm not accustomed to climbing. But on downhills, my weight helped by riding on the momentum, so I could cruise down real fast.

I was riding a fair bit harder than my Hulu Langat 60k last week. Since I was riding with other riders for the first time, I had to work slightly harder to catch up to them. But everytime there was a climb, I'll naturally get dropped. And when I caught up to them, they were pretty much WAITING for me...thanks guys!!! At the end of the second loop, I was almost knackered at the last climb, using my lowest gear and trying to pedal up.

I managed to cover 60k at about 2 hours 33 minutes. Cool.. hehehehe..

Their "easy" ride, is my "hard" ride... KNN!! AHahha.. but it was fun. Hope we could do it again.

Here are some photos I took with my not so clear PDA. For once, you can see me in full gear and my bike:

Image hosted by
Me and Azwar

Image hosted by
Me and Ajeep

Image hosted by
Ajeep and Azwar

Have a good weekend, y'all!

I'm going to bed to sleep.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Angelita Li @ Alexis Ampang

Just a gig plug for my 'boss', Greg Lyons! Check out his finally-updated homepage for gig updates.

Greg's performing with Angelita Li at Alexis Ampang, Great Eastern Mall, Jln Ampang, this weekend on Friday and Saturday night.

Angelita Li on vocals, and Greg Lyons on sax

So, from the horses mouth:

Hi All,

Don’t miss the songbird’s last weekend.

After a few problems on the first couple of weekends, the band for this one will be the real thing:

Angelita Li – voice (don’t underestimate this instrument!)
Greg Lyons – saxes
Michael Veerapen – piano
Andy Peterson – bass
Lewis Pragasam – drums

There! You couldn’t do much better than that if you went to New York and hung out for a year. So be there (it’ll be a lot cheaper).

Her repertoire tends toward the Brazilian and the funky, so there won’t be much swing happening. But hey, we can do anything – so anything can happen.

For those interested, I’m keeping my web-site at updated and expanding so it can be a bit more of a resource for those interested in good music – and other stuff.

And as always, if you’d rather not be on this mailing list, don’t reply to this address – send me a message at

All the best,


For reservations call 4260 1335

7th & 8th October
Alexis Bistro
Ground Floor
Great Eastern Mall
Jalan Ampang

So don't miss this show this weekend, especially if you've missed her show the last two weekends. It'll be the last week Angelita's playing in KL for a while. You'll find that she's a breath of fresh air for KL when it comes to a REAL (seasonsed but still young) singer. Even the best vocalists in town should check her out and learn a thing or two!

I'll be there on Friday and Saturday as well to check her out on her final week.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Month that was September - pt 2

Joshua Redman Elastic Band in Singapore

Saturday, 17 Sept:

The next day after my Avanti's gig with Noryn and Soulfingerz, I had my brother sent me to the train station to get a 12.30pm bus ticket to Singapore. This was, of course, after a last minute "the-night-before" luggage packing at about 2am in the morning.

I arrived at around 5.30pm, and when I got to my auntie's place it was past 6pm. The first thing I just felt like doing was go for a run. And so I did... I went for about 45 minutes. I hadn't ran for a while since the Adidas 10k. My relatives thought I was nuts.. haha.

Went out later in the night for dinner, and to Jazz @ Southbridge to check out David Gomes and Junji Delfino. It was their last night for that week, and I wanted to check them out before they went back to KL the next day. Brought my horn with me, under Junji's advice, and I managed to jam a couple of songs with them, too! One of the good things that came out of that was that I got offered to play a gig at Southbridge from the boss, Eddie Chan! More on that later on... so do stay tuned for my gig updates. Yay.. I'm really looking forward to that!

Sunday, 18 Sept:

Got up pretty late. Didn't do much but go out with my cousin sister to have lunch and just do a little shop around for some VCDs I was looking for. Other than that, I pretty much had an early night. I was supposed to go out to meet some people on a last minute arrangement the night before, but I sort of stood them up. Of course, I sms-ed them that I couldn't make it lah. I was pretty tired so I just decided to hit the sack early.

Monday, 19 Sept:

I practically shopped the whole day. Bought nice jazz CDs and even a DVD. Yes, I know.. you probably must be thinking, "Wah, this Julian rich already ah? Spend so much money." Well, NOOOOOOO... it's my own hard earned cash, which I budgeted to spend la. Budgeted to buy some bike stuff, too, if I had some left. Got some nice CDs for some really good price from Gramaphone, Capitol Building near City Hall MRT, such as Charlie Haden's Land of The Sun, Yellowjackets Mint Jam (for a whopping S$21 or around RM45.. a good steal!), McCoy Tyner Illuminations, Joshua Redman Elastic Band's Momentum, and Joshua's debut album Joshua Redman. I also got a real nice DVD of Jane Bunnett and the Cuban All-Stars Live (a real gem, cos I doubt you can get that here yet!). To date, I haven't even watched that DVD yet.. no time. AHahha..

I also met Farid Ali for a short drink and hung out. So happened that he was just down in Singapore with his girlfriend for a chill-out weekend, too. FYI, Farid is actually Singapore-born, but he's got a real soft spot for KL! LOL. Anyway, I then went back to prepare to go to the Esplanade Recital Studio to go for the Joshua Redman workshop.

The workshop was awesome. But seeing Joshua perform in person was already awesome. I've been following Joshua's music for quite a while now, and he's one of my favorite sax players that I listen to a lot. He talked mostly a lot about his band and the music he's playing. And boy, that guy can TALK! And he's a good talker, too. Very educated cat... Yale graduate, mind you!

I also met quite a number of friends (sax players no doubt), from Singapore, Malaysia and even Thailand! Some of the Bangkok sax cats I've met from the Sax Conference last year came for the workshop and concert. It was such a nice thing to have met them, actually.

Tuesday, 20 Sept:

Did more shopping today! I found a nice bike shop Greg recommended to check out some bike stuff and their prices. I got myself a nice bike Orbea jersey.. an orange, white and blue designed jersey. And it matches the colors on my bike! I didn't have enough budget to get shoes and pedals, but still good that I managed to check out some prices there.

Then took an hour-long MRT and bus ride to Jurong Kechil to check out a musical instrument shop. Jurong Kechil is on the western side of Singapore, while my auntie's place is on the east side. So it's quite a long ride. The shop is called Accent Music, and they're selling some really good saxophone accessories and reeds for a reasonably good price. So much so, I'll change my usual instrument shop "haunt" from Swee Lee Music (they're pretty much the Singaporean version of Bentley's Music in KL now.. selling stuff at unnecessarily exorbitant prices) to this shop, even though the ride to the shop is long. Also met up with the Thai guys there too!

Finally.. the Joshua Redman concert!

He played a lot of songs from his Momentum album, and some from his previous Elastic album. I was pretty much blown away with the whole show. First thing's first... his sound! His approach to improvisation... his expression. The icing on the cake was the masterful use of his effects pedals... from the Bass Pod to his multiple effects (usually used for guitars, by the way).

The band was Joshua Redman on tenor and soprano sax and effect pedals, Sam Yahel on keyboards and bass, Jeff Ballard on drums, and Mike Moreno on guitar.

It was a whole 1 1/2 hour long set, with no intermission. The grooves in his tunes are more funk, hip-hop and rock influenced, mixed with jazz-influenced improvisation. Joshua is a killer on the horn no doubt. Jeff Ballard... oh wow... such an amazing drummer. He took over from Brian Blade, and he really complements the band and the music with his approach on the drums. Funky like there's no tomorrow! Sam Yahel is also another marvel. He's got multiple keyboards from the Rhodes, Nords and even Moogs, I think. He even plays the bass on his keyboard. So, to see him improvise while trying to hold or create a groovy bassline was quite an amazing sight to see and hear. Mike Moreno, is a newbie in the band. So he wasn't as adventurous with the band as of yet. But he's a nice, tasteful player, who I think will really kill on the band after hours and hours, and months of playing with the band. Overall, it was quite an amazing experience watching them play!

Didn't get to really talk to Joshua after the show, other than to line up and get his autograph. He looked pretty tired, but also a big-time recording artiste of his exposure seem to keep a little distance between him and his fans when up-close and personal, or at least that's the gist I seem to get. But otherwise it's pretty cool. Joshua's a nice cat, definitely. I've learnt not to expect too much during face-to-face conversations with jazz artistes. At least one wouldn't get disappointed if their favorite artistes don't act as well as they play when up-close and personal. Either that, or they could be having a bad day.

Wednesday, 21 Sept:

Did a little last minute shopping to try to get some stuff that some people asked me to get, as well as buying my bus tickets back to KL. Managed to get a 7pm bus back home, and I reached around 12am-plus, in the morning.

It was a fun trip no doubt.

Oh yeah, there are no pictures because I totally forgot to bring my camera, despite bringing along my charger... what an idiot I am.

Next... Farid Ali week... stay tuned.

A few things..

Nine Heavenly Kings

I just got back from Bkt. Mertajam with my mum. I went there to help with some stuff with our Buddhist group for the Jiu Wang Ye or loosely translated as the arrival of the Nine Heavenly Kings. It's a annual Buddhist event that takes place around this time of year, and those who follow it observe a vegetarian diet for slightly over a week. Some for a week, and some take up to 12 days (correct me if I'm wrong).

Few things of interest: One, it was my first ever visit to Bukit Mertajam (which is a part of Pulau Pinang state, for those of your geographically challenged). It's a fairly small township that occupies a large space. So you'd expect your fair share of small (2-lane) roads, that they also share with a train track (in KL, all the train tracks are under flyovers), and you'll have those train track bells ringing when there's going to be a train passing (remember those things in the 80s, early 90s?).

Two, there are a lot of vegetarian restaurants within a 10km radius of Bukit Mertajam town! From small stalls to restaurants, there's also a large variety of vege food there. Other than the usual economy rice, there's a lot of local styled food, from the jawa mee, to their own style of hokkien mee (over here, it's like prawn mee), and their large variety of pau (steamed bread). From the usual char siew pau to even flavored ones like coffee pau, pumpkin pau, and others. There's also a wide variety of local fried dumplings available. Let's just say, before we drove back home, we bought enough of local specialty dumplings to feed an army! Ahahha..

Three, during my last day in the hawker stall (Wednesday), there was a procession from the nearby Nine Heavenly Kings temple, where there was a procession that passes through the whole town. You basically have nine temple devotees dressed in the form of the Nine Heavenly Kings walking through the whole town escorted by other devotees. One of the more interesting aspects of the whole thing was how beautiful they decorated their procession vehicles, and also how they dressed up as those deities.

But the most interesting thing, was when the moment the "deities" passed through, it started to rain!!! According to my mom it always happens. Funny thing, it wasn't raining the whole of the day, until the procession passed through. And it went off, and came back a short while, and then it stopped raining. It was such an amazing sight to watch and experience.

I don't know if you're superstitious. I'm not. But I do acknowledge that there are things which the human eye cannot see, but it is there. Things we cannot explain by pure science. Science can explain most things on HOW things work, but it cannot tell WHY it works. Call it supernatural or paranormal if you will. To me it's just part and parcel of nature. But I'm open minded enough to know that it's there.

He runs into marriage-hood...

A runner friend of mine has just gotten hitched. Although he's already officially married, but the dinner's this Saturday. Another married friend of mine, Jamie (also a runner) offers his advice to him with running analogies, and it's a great read.

Congratulations, Justin Lee a.k.a pm19!!! See you Saturday.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Bike ride - 60km

I just came back from a 2 1/2 hour bike ride from my place to Batu 21, Sg. Lui, Hulu Langat (the same place where I did the "Kampung Fest" gig), and back. Distance covered was 60km.

Quite exhilirating also, to go that distance and back on a bike. Had to go alone though. I promised a cyclist buddy that we'd go ride from 7am, but I couldn't hear my alarms ring, and by the time I suddenly got up, I found that it was already 7.45am! Sh*t... I guess my friend went to ride without me for the time being (called him later and he said he went for 30km ride and came back). Sorry Rashinuddin!! AHahha.. looks like I'll have to wait a whole month to ride with you?

For most part, the ride was enjoyable, although some parts of traffic was not. A few buses and trucks were coming so close to me, although I think they had all the space in the road to use. I think traffic would've been worse on weekdays, that's why most riders who go to Hulu Langat usually ride on weekends.

Looking forward to another long ride next week!

Anyone from Kajang area wants to ride with me?

* * * * *

I think I've developed a nice tan already.. hahahaa... from the Powerman last week, a few morning sunny rides in between.. and oh yeah, waiting in a queue at the police station to try to pay my fines at 50% off.

Idiots at the police station only had one counter open. I stood there for four freakin' hours, finished reading the whole Bicycling magazine Oct issue, and I still wasn't my turn. I had to leave because I had other matters to attend to, including my brother's birthday dinner.

There you have it.. government departments. Never change.