Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sand, Sun and Fun

I remember when I was a child there was a pile of construction sands beside my parents' house where my brothers and I used to play with. My brothers and I always had some imagination on how to play with the sands either by riding our three wheeler bikes on it, building sand castles and caves for our small soldiers or burying our toys in it with the hope it will be a sort of pirates' treasure after a 100 years. However non of our activities around that pile of sands were ever approved by my parents and most of the time we got punished if we got caught playing with it. I knew my parents were concerned about skin rashes or disease since we were playing with construction sands. But to us, playing was more fun than worrying..

Last Friday my big boss invited all his lawyers for a casual day out at his farm. I thought, in Malaysia if I come to somebody's farm, I would expect to eat a lot of durian or rambutan fruits or catch fishes in a pond. But a farm in a desert, I could only imagine dates trees. So I accepted the invitation and hoped I could pick the freshest dates from the trees.

However I fell asleep after the Friday prayer and overslept until 3.30pm. When I woke up I quickly headed to my boss's farm which was located in an area close to Dubai-Al Ain Road. When I arrived I was already late for the lunch and my colleagues asked me to wait for them beside the main road as they were already on the move to the desert area. I felt hungry and thirsty.

And when they arrived, I was so surprised. For they didn't arrive on their proper salon cars or perfumed 4x4, but on colourful quad bikes and high rev dune buggies and jeep !! Apparently my boss were treating us for a desert ride using all his quad bikes and dune buggies. I locked my car and jumped onto my friend's jeep and our desert journey began. Heck, suddently I felt full, not hungry anymore.

I have never been surrounded by so many sands dunes and literally asked to play with it. It could never be cooler than that ! On top of that I was given a quad bike and a dune buggy to knock myself out with the dunes. I cannot describe my feeling more other than wooohooooo !!!!

This kid was about to get dangerous with his new toy

The ride with the quad bike was really crazy and dangerous. The machine was engineered to bash on the sands and it could take on any type of slopes and cliffs as long as you ride it on it. It got 3 gears, but most of the time I only need to use the first gear.

Rev it up mate !

These guys won the craziest driver title on that day.

The dunes baggy is one hell of a machine. It got only two gears, forward and reverse. It came standard with roll cage and a safety belt. But I bet it can be of any use. In fact one of my colleagues accidentally smacked his forehead on the roll cage and got himself a 2 inches cut. I like it very but I personally prefer the quad bike.

Another kid in the office

This morning, my boss sent an email to all his lawyers thanking them for coming to his farm. He also asked for any suggestion for the event as he considered it as a company's activity. I replied to him with my gratitude for the event and wrote to him that I have only one suggestion, and that is - to do it again !

When I was younger I could remember anything, whether it happened or not.

Mark Twain

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Up the Irons !

The Crowd.
Imagine peoples who live in those highrise apartments could just watch the concert from their balconies. But nothing beats the atmosphere of the Crowd

The Ambience of peoples who were about to rock !

I just could not describe more how excited I was to see one of the godfathers of heavy metal/rock i.e Iron Maiden. I have been listening to their songs since I was in Form 3 and finally I got to see them performing live ! What a great experience, considering that these rockers are already at their 50-ish and they may not be performing again. Also for the record, that was my first attendance to an international outdoor concert (as oppose to local small concert/gigs in pub/stadium).

The show started at 8.00pm. So at 5.45pm I drove to the Dubai Media City Amphitheater alone from International City. My friend Irwan told me that he will park beside Hard Rock Cafe and walk to the venue. So I drove to Sheikh Zayed Road and was looking for an exit to Hard Rock Cafe from Sheik Zayed Road. But it was not as simple as I thought it should be. To make matter worst I missed the exit to the Cafe and from that point onward began my journey of finding the right turn/ U-turn/exit road for about an hour and ended up passing byHard Rock Cafe 3 times but still in the wrong road. Finally I parked my car at a road side in front of a hotel and to my surprise the entrance gate to the amphitheater was right behind the hotel. Cool # 1!

After I passed the entrance gate, I followed a crowd of people swarming a booth. It was an official Iron Maiden merchandise booth and they got a lot of tour merchandises on sale such as t-shirts, caps, wallets, posters and Belgrade show vcd. Fantastic offer! and I jumped in the queue and bought myself a tour t-shirt for AED80. It was a good price compared to the stock Iron Maiden t-shirts sold in Virgin Music store which are priced AED150 each. Cool # 2 !

The stage that night was opened by Lauren Harris and her band. She is none other than the daughter of my two-fingering idol Mr Steve Harris. She flared up the mood of the chilly night with her 80's styled heavy metal songs of her Calm Before The Storm album. The bassist and the guitarist were already donning tight fit jean and t-shirt with glam rock hair style. They really complement the greater aura of Eddie and did a good job of warming up the crowd who were about to rock that night. Being a young artist she constantly promoted the band's official myspace at I reminded myself that in the future if Lauren Harris become legendary rocker like her father, at least I could tell my son that I have seen her act back in 2009. Cool # 3 !

Lauren Harris and band members

Iron Maiden appeared on stage sharp at 9.15pm. They played on the Winston Churchill's speech and blasted the stage with pyro flare and the song Aces High. I was amazzed with Bruce Dickinson's high pitched vocal and the band's overall sound quality which sounded exactly like in their records. But how can they don't, that was the mighty Iron Maiden I was looking at.

Kaboom ! at the end of Winston Churchill's speech

2 rockers having fun with fingers sign

Irwan and Shajil - thrilled rockers that night

Throughout the show, I just could not leave my eyes from Steve Harris's fingers running on his bass. I listened attentively to the picking, the rest, the tone and I was really flabbergasted with the consistency of it all when compared with the sounds in their album. And about the two fingers gallop technique, I think it was three fingers gallop technique which I saw that night. I liked Steve Harris's classic style of aiming his bass guitar like a gun to the audience and tumm ..tumm... fuhhh I really got shot by him.

Mr Dickinson and his leather scales trousers

It was like a live karaoke session with the audience and singer on stage, when peoples sang together with Bruce throughout the show. There was no sign of complacency or jaded attitude on each of the band members and they really worked hard in giving the best entertainment to their fans. I was thrilled to think that I had karaoke-d Fear of the Dark, Hallowed Be Thy Name and Number of the Beast with Mr Bruce Dickinson himself accompanied with live music by Adrian Smith, Steve Harris, Nicko McBrain, Dave Murray and Janick Gers. Well, thanks for the karaoke session guys ! chehh..hehe. Cool # 3 weiii

Double head guitar playing by Dave Murray

The stage and the crew during the song Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner
(Bruce dedicated the song to the ancient seafarers who came to Dubai for trade)

When the band stopped playing and threw out their drum sticks and guitar picks peoples started to scream for more songs and and chanted "Maiden".."Maiden...I thought it was the end of the show, but my friend who has seen them before, told me it was a standard Iron Maiden gimmick. So after 3 minutes the stage light lit up again with spotlights and pyro and they continued with Number of the Beast and Run to the Hills. The song Number of the Beast reminded me of Jae'i of Sil-Khannaz.

Eddie made a cameo during the Iron Maiden song

The concert ended with the most anticipated cameo of Bro Eddie whilst the Band was playing Iron Maiden. Peoples screamed for his name and some hot chicks fans screamed "I love you Eddie!!". Wow you were so loved Eddie ! I just stared at that group of hot chicks and waited (almost prayed, actually) for their next "move" but they didn't do it. If you know what I meant ..hehehe

In conclusion, it was worth every fils and dirham for the ticket. At last, I had seen The Iron Maiden. yahooooo

Rock music should be gross, that's the fun of it. It gets up and drops its trousers.

Bruce Dickinson

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Memory Songs

I wondered whether you guys have a particular song for a particular stage of your life. Well I do, and I kind of regret for not documenting it in any diary or notebook. This is what I am trying to do now.

I have got certain songs which I associate with certain phase of my life. The songs are memorable not because of the lyric or trend but simply because the melodies caught my attention and memory and reminded me of that part of my life.

For example, everytime I listen to the following songs:

Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice - reminds me of my life when I was in Form 3 (1991);

Hijau by Zainal Abidin - reminds me of my life and a friend named Roshidi Roslan when I was in Form 5 (1993);

Penantian by Black Rose - reminds me of my weekend routine of doing laundry in hostel while "karaoke-ing" with fellow hostel mates (1992-1993);

Boo Hoo Clapping Song by Carburetor Dung - reminds me of my early underground year and a friend Yuzli Yusof when I was in Form 5;

Anarchy in the UK by Sex Pistols - reminds me of the sudden freedom and culture shock when I first start my life as a matriculation student (1993)

The Fourth Knight of Revelation by Rotting Christ - reminds me of my first black metal band and our jamming escapes in my 'kampung' ! (1994)

Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana - reminds me of my grunge wannabe year in IIUM matriculation (1994)

In the Garage by Weezer - reminds me of my "got nothing to think of" life after graduated from IIUM matriculation and whilst thrashing my mom's Kancil car (1995)

I'll be Missing You by Puff Daddy & Faith Evans - reminds me of my "confusing" year after my first girlfriend ditched me and I got dismissed from IIUM (1996). Alhamdulillah I got readmitted and straight up my life back...God gave me a second chance !

Mirai E by Kiroro - reminds me of my chambering year and commuting to work by LRT (2001)

Tamalli ma'ak by Amr Diab - reminds me the campus life and my rental car business when I pursued 2nd degree of Bachelor of Shari'a in IIUM (2001);

Human by The Killers - reminds me of my very first week in Dubai (2008)

There are a lot of other memory songs for me circa 1996 to 2002 and 2003 - 2007 but I can't remember it now.

Looking at the songs, I myself could not figure out why these songs remind me of the above memory. I think this is a magic of melodies to a human's mind.

Hallak...Do you have your memory songs?

Without a song, the day would never end
Without a friend, a man ain't got a friend
Wihout a song, the road would never bend
Without a song..So I keep singing a song

Elvis Presley


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