Sunday, December 31, 2006

Goodbye and farewell..

.. to 2006!!

Talk about time passing by really fast. And for some strange reason, it was even faster this year. As cliched as it sounds, the end of last year only seemed like yesterday. But in 2006, a lot of things happened, and suffice to say, it was a very, VERY interesting year in more ways than one. A lot of ups and downs in some ways. So just to fill out blog space, despite the drag in internet connection due to the Taiwan quakes, I'm just gonna list down a few of them:


- Got involved in the Jonathan Lee World Tour concert. This was really special for me (it's still ongoing), because I really got to travel quite a bit. We went to Taiwan (I love that place!), Hong Kong, and various parts of China (I don't love that place!). But I really love travelling, and this year we really got the chance to do it. Next month, we're going to Beijing, too!

- My new band, BOPLICITY. This is also another plus for me, although it only took place towards the end of the year. In a way, it was a kind of affinity for me. It wouldn't have been possible if I didn't get to meet and play with those guys a lot more this year. Most importantly, meeting our piano player, Cher Siang, who without him, I wouldn't be able to form this band.

- Moved to a new house. We moved to our new place at Taman Bukit Mewah Phase 9 early January 2006, and fianlly I GOT MY OWN ROOM!! After staying in the same room with my brother for 27 years, this will be my first year that I have my own room! My own space and privacy! It is quite gratifying. A queen-sized bed all to myself! People don't disturb me, I don't disturb people!

- Branford Marsalis Quartet. Being able to watch and meet Branford Marsalis and his Quartet when he came to Malaysia to play in April was definitely one of the most inspiring events that has happened this year. Seeing and hearing his band really opened up my eyes and ears, and totally changed my perception of the music I play, and my attitude towards it. In some ways it was almost life-changing. It was definitely the best jazz band I've seen so far!

- David Muehsam. I met this guy sometime in March/April, and he also inspired me musically as well as personally. A yoga instructor, as well as a fantastic saxophone player, he's opened up my mind a little bit more about many other things, from practicing saxophone, yoga, life, music, and then some. A very spiritual person (and a yoga master, too!), we talked about a variety of things that affect us and the world in general, not to mention jamming with our horns out in the open at the side of the street!!


- Out of training mode. This year, due to my overseas tour gigs, and a different hosts of gigs, I am out of training mode, and my last race I did in 2006 was the KL International Marathon. Because of the over-eating during my travels and the lack of training, my weight has also gone up. My fitness has gone down. I didn't run as much, or ride my bike as much. I'm definitely not so proud of it.

- (Un)Happy People. This year my 3.5 year old band, Happy People, finally disbanded. Due to some ongoing circumstances, I have had to finish with the band so that I could also move on to other projects and other ventures. It had been good while we lasted, and we did a quite a few good gigs together, such as two years at the Sunrise-Mont Kiara Jazz Festival, and then some. And some of the members also have had to move on to other projects, so there was no reason to continue it. Don't worry though, we're still good friends!

- Politics. Nothing like office politics. There's more and more of it every year, and each year when I'm more aware of things around me, I see it more. There is lack of unity of musicians in KL. This guy hates this guy's guts, that guy hates the other guy, or one fella hating everybody else. What the hell? Get over yourself and see the world around you? Can't we just resolve our petty differences, be a better person, and just work together? You know why the music scene here is bad... it's because of ALL of us. Not the industry only, but the musicians themselves. Self-centred, self-involved, and inconsiderate. Can't think beyond the tip of your nose! All I want to do is just play, make good music. And we're trying to do it not just for our pockets, but for everyone to enjoy and have a good time. Smarten up people, we only life ONE life at a time. Don't ruin it out of your own petty interest. We all can be better.. we're not getting any younger you know... why keep your minds at such childish levels?


Anyhow, I definitely have some things to work on this year. I actually have PLANS for this year. In previous years, I never really had any kind of real plans on how to go the year ahead, but this year I do.

1) Prepare myself to go to the US

This includes doing all the necessary arrangement so that I can ACTUALLY go to New York this year! I plan to leave sometime in late July to early August. I'd like to spend some time there before semester starts.

And in no particular order...

2) Practice a whole lot more, and do less unnecessary things

Yes, practice. It's like I haven't done it for a long time, due to inefficient use of time and activities. And I really need to get my sh*t together, if not I'm as good as useless when I go to NYC. I might even turn down gigs which I feel will not be worth my time - society gigs like weddings, etc.

3) Train a whole lot more.

I slacked so much from running, biking, and swimming the last year, due to lack of discipline, and also a lot more work (which involves travelling). Whatever it is, I'm determined to not let it stop me from getting back into a more serious training regime. I want to start doing races again, and also to lose a whole lot more weight!

4) Work more on my band, Boplicity.

I have plans to work this band much more, to tighten up as a band, and also to progress musically. I will try to get more gigs for this band, and play as much as possible, to get better, and who knows... maybe even record. But most importantly, I want to work this band, so that there's a band that can work after I leave for the US, made up of a bunch of dedicated cats, who will have the resolve and the initiative to progress as a band as well as musically. So, in short, Boplicity might be a shortlived band, I'm afraid. But it's one band I'm really proud to work for.

Wish me luck.

PS: Oh by the way...

***HAPPY NEW YEAR 2007!!!!!***

Friday, December 29, 2006

Gig update @ Top Room

Hey everyone!!

Counting down to the new year, means more music and more happening stuff happening! To help countdown to the new year, my new band, BOPLICITY will be playing tonight at The Top Room from 10.30pm onwards. If you missed us the last coupla times, do come down tonight to check us out, enjoy some kick-butt jazz in KL, and celebrate the end of the year with us. We hope we'll be getting more gigs and shows next year, and we'd really appreciate your support for us.. as well as the live jazz music scene. I'll say no more.. I hope to see you at the gig!!

PS: Don't be shy and come say hi to the band (we're not gonna eat you, y'know!)

Julian Chan's BOPLICITY @ Top Room

Date and Time: 29 Dec 2006 (Friday), 10:30pm onwards
Venue: The Top Room @ Top Hat Restaurant, 7 Jln Kia Peng, KL
Admission: RM25++ with one drink

Monday, December 25, 2006

Have Yourself..

........ A MERRY, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!

I would like to wish EVERYONE, a Merry Christmas! It's a good time to reflect and be thankful of our blessings, no matter how big or small!

Have a good one, y'all!!

PS: *Happy Hanukah for the Jewish!*

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Last minute shopping.. TOEFL scores..

I managed to do my last minute shopping today, believe it or not! Braved the jam and the crowds, etc...

In fact, this was possible because I had to come back from Batu Pahat early this morning, I reached home at about 3.30am, as I drove back after the Chinese musical thing we did. Of course, I didn't manage to wake up until about 12.30pm, and I was still bummed out. Anyway, I managed to drag myself to KLCC where I met up with Greg to get something from him and pass him his Christmas present (which with the help of Eddie, we managed to get). And of course, last minute Christmas shopping. I don't usually get into the habit of buying presents on an annual basis, but this year, I just feel so compelled to get present for people I hold dear. For those who know me well enough, when I get into something bad.. I really get into it bad!! And I'm feeling super-licious happy with it. Never mind the fact I busted out my Christmas gaji (even before getting it by the way.. hahah), but I feel damn glad about it. I guess I'm really feeling all Christmas-ey this year. You guys feelin' it?

Anyway, just a few minutes ago of writing this, I just checked the TOEFL website for my scores, I managed to get 105/120... which is probably not too bad, although I hoped I could've done better with an ACTUAL preparation for it! Better start watching more American TV, then? Ahah... but anyway, the evaluation for the Reading, Listening and Writing section was what I expected I should get. The Speaking section, however, really sucked (although that is expected too, from the way I did it during the test). I don't know what it was, but I really couldn't speak properly during the exam. Maybe I was a little pressured, given only 20 seconds to prepare an answer and 60 seconds to reply, and I'm talking to an inanimate object. I don't really agree with this particular format actually.... too impersonal for me. Give me a real human anyday. At least I know I'm not fast enough with words to deceive and cheat people.. or manipulate them! Aahah..

Okay. Off to bed...

Christmas eve is just 'round the corner!

Good night!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

"You better watch out.. you better not cry.."

Can you guys believe it?? It's already near Christmas of 2006 and in a week after that, it'll be 2007!! Where has the time gone??

Well, I'll be working on Christmas eve, and I'm not sure what plans I have yet for Christmas Day itself. I'll be working New Year's eve too... (if you check my Upcoming Performances section, then you'll probably know what I'm talking about.. *tsk tsk*). I've got some invites for open houses and stuff, so I'll probably go for some of those.. nothing like spending Christmas with family and friends.

I'm feeling the Christmas spirit a little more this year, for some strange reason, compared to last year. So that's good I guess. Only wished I had more gigs playing Christmas tunes. I remember the first two or three years out in the business, we had this Christmas gig playing jazzed-up Christmas tunes at Star Hill and Lot 10, and we were playing with some kick-butt players, and it was just so much fun to play. There's something about Christmas songs I really dig.. a certain spirit to it. Always touches my heart and even make me cry tears of joy... it's just beautiful. Beautiful melodies, beautiful lyrics...

Anyway, I just got back from a Christmas function, and I helped to put the band to play some jazz tunes and Christmas tunes, too. I'm heading off tomorrow morning to Batu Pahat, as I'm involved in this Chinese musical show there, "Shanghai Nights", I think. So we're playing old chinese tunes based on that story.

I still haven't finished my Christmas shopping darn it.. I bought some already, but I haven't had time to wrap them and everything.. bugger. Gotta find some time on Saturday to get the rest of the gifts and wrap them too. So busy..

"Chestnuts roasting on an open fire...."

Friday, December 15, 2006

Update: New Look and functions!

I've just spent the last couple of hours (... I know.. time wasting!) updating the appearance of my blog! No biggie yet.. I'm not TOO crazy about making my blog look like a super hi-tech site! As long you can read what I'm writing, then it's good enough. I'm making up for lost internet-time!

I've even changed the Upcoming Performances to Google Calendar format. Basically, you just click on the link of the show you want to find out more about, and it'll direct you to more information on my upcoming gigs! Fancy that..? LOL!

This Blogger Beta is pretty fancy, actually.. some functions are actually pretty cool, although there are few things I prefer to just manually configure using HTML code.

I've also managed to sort out the Beta comments function with Haloscan comments function too. I'll continue using both until Blogger Beta sorts out an agreement with Haloscan. So feel free to pick your comment box!

One problem after updating the template was that almost ALL my links from my old template disappeared. And I'll have to manually use the Beta widget functions to add them back. But I can't add little comments on the links without having to include them as links, as compared to the older template. But it sort of looks cleaner that way I suppose. Maybe I'll find a way around it.

Enjoy my new site anyway!

I'm back online.. AGAIN!!


What's the deal with TMNet anyway?

One good thing though, when I called their hotline the last time, the receptionist was nice enough to explain to me that my case report (and some others I gather) was taken to a higher level, as they were experiencing some problems with their network card (or whatever) in the Kajang area, or at least where we're staying.

And today, I'm back online... I won't know about tomorrow or the day after though.. we'll see how!