Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 look-back / Musical journey (100)

As 2018 is coming to an end, it's time to reflect on the major events that happened in my life this year. Here are the notable (G-rated) things that happened and from them you'll be able to quickly tell how ordinary my life is.


January - Partied at my first all-male nude masquerade ball (organised by this group)


February - My latest (40th) photo shoot (at Yarra Bend Park)


March - Experienced one of my worst work days when I was abused by a maniacal client (described here)


April - Started PrEP regimen i.e. best decision ever (I also found a place that sells it at a third of the already-subsidised price)


May - Cooked a pasta/fried wanton/seafood omelette dinner for Ision (not a big deal, it's just that I've not done it for a really LONG time)


June - Renewed my last exit permit for National Service back in Singapore (FINALLY!!! And I didn't know that bit about lifetime tax deduction until now - too bad I don't pay Singaporean taxes)


July - Drastic drop in project load at work (it's still worsening so thank goodness I'm now out of that place)


August - Received my 10-year long service award


September - First-ever visit to the biggest mall in Australia, i.e. Chadstone (yes, I live under a rock)


October - Got served my redundancy notice at work (which was revoked the following month)


November - The big four-o with the cake Ision baked for me and the dinner we had (more of my thoughts on this milestone birthday here)


December - Started a new secondment role in the city (the building I work in is pictured here)


So that's my 2018 look-back. As for the 2019 look-forward, I have my impending promotion (and pay rise!) in the first quarter to look forward to (I'll make sure my boss sees to it the minute he comes back from his leave). I'll also be visiting offshore oil and gas platforms in the Bass Strait for the first time which is quite exciting. Other than those, I have nothing exciting on a non-work front (what a boring life right?). Perhaps continuing my existence as a 40+ year-old "daddy" ("uncle" in Asian speak) is the only journey ahead of me.

OK, that's enough of this depressing jouney. This post is also to celebrate another important journey milestone i.e. my 100th musical journey! In the new year, I'll continue to write more songs and record another of my "topless KTV" series. This 100th post features one of my favourite gaming songs - "Wolven Storm" from "The Witcher 3". It was great that I was able to find the instrumental track (clearly a lot of people love the song) to be able to do the recording. The clip was taken directly from the game with the audio replaced by my vocal track (the original version is here). On the gaming front, I'm extremely looking forward to finally playing "The Last of Us: Part II" in the new year.

Finally, here's wishing all of you blog readers a very happy 2019. I hope mostly good things happen for you in this new year and that you have a quick and painless way to deal with those not-so-good ones!


Friday, November 30, 2018

Musical journey (99)

November is White Ribbon Month and traditionally issues around violence against women come to the fore and events are organised to raise funds and awareness. However, violence against men is much less discussed. Women lack the physical strength but they can be as strong if not worse than men in doling out emotional abuse. Also, in male same-sex relationships, men can equally be the victims of domestic abuse.

According to this, 1 in 6 women and 1 in 20 men in Australia have experienced at least one incidence of violence from a current or former partner since the age of 15. This is a musical post and is not here to elaborate on or politicise this issue but I feel that the language used around domestic violence, abuse and bullying could and should be made more gender-neutral. This site summarises the lesser known facts around domestic violence against men.

For this White Ribbon Month, I've written a song to celebrate those that have successfully risen from violence and abuse to become much stronger people and in the song I call them fighters. I know it's the last day of the month but this problem doesn't go away when November is over. So for those that are still in the thick of it (this [for men] and this would be good local sources of help), I hope this song is able to offer some moral support as you continue to fight this battle.


Friday, November 23, 2018

40 shoots at 40 (part 4)

My week of forced leave has officially started but at least there's still a bit of work trickling in and so I'm not bumming it out totally. I've also finally received something in writing regarding my next role (with the redundancy revoked of course) but the start date of 3rd December is still tentative and this worries me a little. Well I guess I'm already in a much better situation compared to a month ago.

By the way, Ision hurt his back at work and hence has to stay at home this week as well so two wrongs do make one right sometimes. Although I'm on leave, I was kept busy shopping for the reward I promised myself if I managed to stay employed. Much time was also spent setting up my new buys with the most expensive item being the top-of-the-line 1TB Microsoft Surface Pro 6 i7.

Now that the setup is complete, I can finally move on from the prehistoric 4GB RAM desktop I was using that was operating on Windows Vista! This is ultimately a money-saving move not only because I bought the Surface Pro 6 at a 15% discount, I'm more importantly also combining three devices into one (tablet/laptop/desktop = one single desktop). With my new spanking 32" curved monitor also bought at an amazing sale price, I'm truly happy and contented now. I bought my last PC almost 10 years ago and we'll see if it takes 10 more years before I upgrade (assuming it lasts for that long!).

Moving away from updates now... So my milestone birthday month continues with this last part of my "40 shoots at 40" series (entire series is here: 1 2 3 4). The first picture below is my current Scruff profile pic and it's garnering a lot of compliments (perhaps also because I've recently been more visible by woofing at people more). In any case, that particular shoot took place in an abandoned primary school next to my own and was really hot. There are so many other smouldering shots from that series waiting to be edited and posted—I just need to stop being lazy and get to them!

I've always said I would retire my modelling "career" when I've done 40 shoots and although that's still the case, I'll definitely not turn down requests from photographers who want to explore the genres I really want to do (a lot of them are XXX-rated. Haha!). So all I can say is keep watching this space and you might finally find that thing you've been looking for!


#31: Old Rosyth School, Singapore


#32: Redfern Studio, New South Wales (Shoot for "Inside Out" Programme)


#33: Cronulla Sand Dunes, Cronulla, New South Wales


#34: Carriage Works, Redfern, New South Wales


#35: Bukit Batok, Singapore


#36: Yarra Bend Park, Fairfield, Victoria


#37: ACON, Surry Hills, New South Wales (For ACON's "Do You See Me" Campaign)


#38: Obelisk Beach, Mosman, New South Wales


#39: Melbourne CBD, Victoria
 

#40: Ekkamai Studio, Bangkok, Thailand (Print On Sale Here)


Saturday, November 17, 2018

40 shoots at 40 (part 3)

Good news everyone (** cue screams from Futurama fans **)! With much angst stretched over too long a period, I've finally secured my next city-based role (6 months to begin with) that will require travelling to offshore platforms in Bass Strait once every two to three weeks and this role starts in a fortnight! Although I've signed no contracts (which bothers me a little), I've been verbally promised the position (the offer is also inferred via email communications to date). I'm still within the same company but this role opens doors into the division I want to move into, one that's more secure and has more horizontal career-growth potential. Riding on this successful wave, I've also put in concrete steps for my promotion and this time I'll do my utmost to drive this home as the company has shortchanged and dicked me around for FAR too long!

All this came with some drama though when I rejected the other role I was also offered (fly-in/fly-out to a remote South Australian mine with no additional pay!). I was blamed by the company for making it lose reputation when I turned the client down too late in the recruiting process but hey I need to take care of myself and not endanger my own career development by only rejecting once I know the other more preferred option has come through right? My company is notorious for not taking care of its employees so screw them! Also, I've never accepted that role in writing and they have never offered me anything in writing either so no one can actually fault me legally. Anyway, I've slept that drama off and I hope the company gives that a rest too. Theoretically I'm on annual leave for the next fortnight (yesterday was my last day) but I believe they might want me back part-time to finish off some remaining work I've yet to complete and that's all thanks to the "amazing" planning skills of these overpaid managers who deliver far too little!

Needless to say, nothing comes without cost and because I can't be allowed to take my 2-month long vacation (as mentioned in another post here) right after starting the upcoming role, I have to cancel my Singapore trip and forgo all the good food and plans for now. This means that the anticipation will now continue to build and when I do get to enjoy all that in the end, it'll be SO much better. I've also initiated discussions for the company to reimburse the air tickets that can't be changed to other dates. I'll make so much noise if they decided not to reimburse me (after signing the contract of course so that my new role will not be jeopardised in any way)!

OK, after that long but very important detour which is the best thing that has happened to me so far in this milestone birthday month, here's the third part (entire series is here: 1 2 3 4) of my "40 shoots at 40" series which also features some shoots not shared before on this blog. See you guys in a week for the concluding installment!


#21: Kranji Army Barracks, Singapore

 
#22: Dunlop-Slazenger Warehouse, Alexandria, New South Wales


#23: Grand Hotel, Melbourne, Victoria


#24: Balmain Studio, New South Wales (Shoot for "Shrouded" Exhibition)

 
#25: Abbotsford Studio, Victoria


#26: North Strathfield, New South Wales


#27: Nana, Bangkok, Thailand (For "Thailand Attitude" Magazine)


#28: Redfern Studio, New South Wales
  

#29: River Island Nature Retreat, Mittagong, New South Wales


#30: Paddington, New South Wales (Shoot for "DNA" Magazine)


Friday, November 9, 2018

40 shoots at 40 (part 2)

Hi all, it's me again, Mr. Forty back with the second part of series sharing the best shot of each of the 40 shoots I've done that I'm super proud of (entire series is here: 1 2 3 4).

I'm feeling good at the moment not only because it's Friday after work but it seems that someone's really interested in getting me on board for a work role. I hope things develop well and fast because my official date of redundancy is only 5 days away! Tick tock tick tock!

And remember to leave a comment if you love these pics!


#11: Chinatown Studio, Singapore


#12: Mount Coot-Tha, Brisbane, Queensland (Featured in "The Male Form" Magazine)

 
#13: Thong Lo, Bangkok, Thailand


#14: Bishan Park, Bishan, Singapore


#15: Carriage Works, Redfern, New South Wales


#16: Paya Lebar Studio, Singapore


 
#17: Ekkamai Studio, Bangkok, Thailand 


 
#18: Chinatown, Singapore (Shoot for "SportsMen Asia")


#19: Jalan Besar, Singapore


#20: Lamma Island, Hong Kong


Thursday, November 1, 2018

40 shoots at 40 (part 1)

Today is the day I officially become a daddy as I hit the big four-oh. I've been told that once I reach this ripe old age, a whole new market of young things will be available to me (not that I'd want them to flock to me as I'm not into twinks, muscular young things are welcome though). I've always maintained that age is just a number and I can safely say that I look younger than I really am because of my physique, which is the main reason why I call the gym my church.

Needless to mention, one of the main other fruits of my labour from slogging in the gym all these years are all the photo shoot pictures that I've amassed because without a good body, no one would have wanted to take my pictures. So what could be a better way to celebrate the very significant milestone of my 40th birthday than showcasing the single best picture from each of the 40 shoots I have done to date?

40 shoots by age 40... not too shabby for a nerdy engineer who started out his adult life with low self-esteem issues hating his own body eh? These 40 pictures will forever freeze my beauty which is something no one can take away from me no matter how bad my looks become as the countdown to old age starts. I'll always be comforted by and be proud of these snaps for the rest of my life and because of that, my youthful self can today die a happy death. If only there is a way to make a time-demarcation on this blog so that everyone would know that from today onward it enters The Next Next Phase.

Arranged in a non-chronologically order, these pictures will be split into 4 separate posts throughout my birthday month. A quarter of these pictures come from shoots that have not been posted anywhere before (including on this blog) so you're in luck. Here is the first batch (entire series is here: 1 2 3 4) so savour away and stay tuned for the next!


#01: Soi Cowboy, Bangkok, Thailand


#02: Carriage Works, Redfern, New South Wales (Shoot for "DNA" Magazine)


#03: Park Hyatt, Melbourne, Victoria


#04: Brisbane CBD, Queensland (Featured in "Out in Thailand" Magazine)


#05: Redfern Studio, New South Wales


#06: La Perouse, New South Wales (For "AMEN" Magazine)


#07: Silom, Bangkok, Thailand


#08: Changi Hospital, Singapore


#09: Chinatown, Singapore


#10: Old Harold Park Tram Shed, Forest Lodge, New South Wales