Saturday, December 29, 2012

"Till the World Ends" Episode 3

"Ray, sweetie!  Your first few outfits for your concert are ready!" Raymond's wardrobe stylist Hannah said.

Raymond's short break after his series of concerts in the US were was over, and it was back to work for him.  Today was his first costume fitting for his upcoming concert at the HK Colesium, and he wasn't sure what to expect.

Bosco's words from the other night echoed in his head.  "Hey...HK Coliseum concerts usually have some bold and outrageous costumes", he had said.

How bad could it be? he thought.  His stylists knew him and his style, simple and classy.  Surely the outfits couldn't be too bad.

"Here you go!" Hannah came back with a rack of costumes.  Raymond looked up and felt a pang of panic.  One was a bright yellow colored jumpsuit with rhinestones embedded on it, another was made of transparent fabric, and the last one looked decent at first sight, but then he realized there was something that looked like a tail hanging off the back of it.  Outrageous didn't begin to describe the costumes.

"Uh...Hannah, don't these costumes look a bit over the top?" Raymond asked as he bit his lip.

"Of course not, you need to stand out on stage!  You can't just wear your normal boring clothes," Hannah said as she looked Raymond up and down in his button down shirt and dark jeans.  "It's the Coliseum for crying out loud, you need to look like a star!" the enthusiastic stylist said as she waved her hands in emphasis.

"Now go try them on!" Hannah urged.

Raymond went into the dressing room and hesitatingly tried on the jumpsuit.  He closed his eyes to keep himself from seeing how he looked until the jumpsuit was all on.  He opened his eyes slowly and shuddered.  A star?  I look more like a lemon, he thought.  How could he even walk out like this, never mind perform in front of millions of people?  This wasn't him.  This wasn't even him at a drunken Halloween party.  He looked fake.  He felt like a phony.  He...

"What's taking so long!  Let me see you!" Hannah yelled, interrupting him from thought.

Raymond slowly opened the door.

"Well come out here, I can't see you from here!" Hannah complained, then caught a glimpse of him and gasped.  "Raymond, darling, you look fabulous!"

"I do?" Raymond asked shocked.

"Yes, now try on the second costume!" she said, pointing to the transparent one.

Raymond obeyed his stylist and drudgingly went back into the dressing room to try it on.  It exposed his whole bare chest and back for everyone to see, and he didn't even have that much muscle to show!

"I feel objectified," he muttered as he walked out for Hannah to see.

Hannah turned him around and gave a nod of approval, completely ignoring what he just said.  "The girls are going to love it!" she said.

"Now just try on that last one for me please," she added.

Raymond looked at the costume with the tail with dread.  He did not want to try that thing on.

All of a sudden, his phone rang.  Yes, a distraction! he thought.  "Excuse me," he said to Hannah, and answered the call.

"Hey Ray, it's Ella!" she said.

"Hey!" Raymond replied, breaking into a smile.

"Are you busy?  I cooked some soup and thought I'd bring some to you when you're free," Ella said.

Raymond's ears suddenly perked up.  He smelled opportunity.  "Oh, mom, you fell?  Well, are you okay?  It could be serious, let me come visit you!" he faked.

"Wait, what?" Ella asked, confused.

Raymond cupped his ear over the phone and turned to Hannah.  "My mom got hurt!  I need to go see her right away, I'll try the last one on tomorrow, same time!" he told her as he started to dash off.

"Wait, get back here!" Hannah cried.

It was too late, Raymond was already off.  "I'll explain later, you can come over now", he whispered into the phone and took the first taxi back to his place.  He'd have to try on that animal costume eventually, but chatting with a good friend and getting his mind off it for now sounded more promising.

He arrived back home before Ella came had just kicked his shoes off and made himself comfortable on the couch when he heard a knock at the door.

He opened the door to see Ella and his face instantly lit up.  The bright and sweet aura around Ella always made him a little happier.

"Hey!  I made you some soup.  You need the nutrition, it's good for you," she said, holding up a thermos.

Raymond moved his face closer to hers and stared at her intensely.

Ella made a nervous face.  "...What?" she said.

Raymond blinked and said "Oh, I was just checking to see you weren't my mother in disguise," he joked.  "You know, bringing me soup and telling me how I need more nutrition."

Ella blushed.  "Well, I was cooking at home and made a big pot of soup.  I brought some to Fala too," she replied, then proceeded to make herself at home on the couch.

"So what was that about your mom falling?  Is she okay?" she asked with a genuinely concerned expression.

Raymond laughed.  "I was using you as an excuse to get away," he answered.

Ella raised her eyebrows.  "Why...?"

"My wardrobe stylist gave me all these costumes to try on for my Coliseum concert, and they all looked ridiculous", he told her.  "I was just about to be put into a get up with a tail when you called and saved me," he said.

"Oh come on, how bad can they be," Ella replied.

"It had a tail!" he repeated with emphasis.  "This other one made me look like a bedazzled neon lemon, and then this other one was all see through so you could see my whole torso," he described.

"Oh...that sounds bad," Ella said, wrinkling her nose.

Raymond stared at the floor pondering.  "It's not just the appearance of the clothes.  I feel like I'm becoming more of a machine made idol than a musical artist," he said.  "I definitely don't mind having so many girls fawning over me," he said as Ella rolled her eyes.  "I want to be known as an artist though, not some glorified blow up doll, but I can't just refuse to do what I'm asked."

She listened with understanding.  "I get what you mean.  You're just going to have to find a way to satisfy both.  Own what's been given to you, no matter how much you think it resembles a lemon, but also show everyone who you really are," she said.  She looked down at her watch.  "I have to go!" she said, getting up from the couch, causing Raymond to look slightly disappointed.  "Don't forget to drink the soup!  Bye!"

She opened the door and started to walk out.  "Oh, and one more thing Raymond," she said, stopping and turning around.  He looked up.  "Remember that you love music, and that's the reason you decided to enter this industry in the first place," she said with a smile, and then closed the door behind her.


"No, this just doesn't give me the right feeling," Myolie said, stressing the word "feeling".

Kate gave her a puzzled look.  "What do you mean it doesn't give you the right feeling?" she asked.

Bosco, Myolie, and Kate had spent the afternoon checking out sites up for rent to place their cafe in.  They had looked at five different locations that all showed promise, but Myolie had found something wrong with all of them.  "This one's too small!"  "This one's too big!"  "Do you think we're opening a cafe or operating a drug factory?  This place looks so shady!" were just a few of the things that had come out of her mouth that day.  

"It doesn't make me feel anything, doesn't exert anything special," Myolie explained.  

"It's just an empty room right now, of course it doesn't feel overly special.  We still have to renovate and decorate the place!" Kate said, rolling her eyes.

Bosco inspected the place.  "This is a pretty good place," he said, and began poking fun at his girlfriend.  "Not too small, not too big, doesn't look like drugs are being made here," he said into Myolie's ear from behind, making her jump.

Kate looked out the windows.  "It's a good location too," she said.  "It's near the local university so we'll attract a lot of students, and a moderately busy street," she added.

"I don't know," Myolie said.  "I feel like it's missing something."

Kate sat down at a seat by the window and signaled Myolie to sit down next to her.  "I don't think so.  Just imagine what it'd look like once we renovate the place," she said.

Bosco joined the two girls in their vision.  "Yeah, come up with a nice color scheme, decorate the walls, a large display of cakes could go there, the sitting area there," he said.

"Ooo, we could decorate the cafe by theme!  Do something different as the seasons change," Myolie proposed.

"That sounds like a great idea!" Kate replied.  "See, don't you think we could do a lot with this place?"

Myolie looked around thoughtfully.  "Yes we could," she said.

"So is this going to be the site of Myolie and Kate's to be named cafe?" Bosco asked.

Kate and Myolie looked around again, putting together a vision in their minds, and smiled.  "Yes," they both said at the same time and laughed.

"Ok, I'll call the landlord," Bosco said with a smile, and walked to the other side of the room to make the call.

"So what are we going to name the cafe?" Myolie asked Kate.   And that was the next big question.


Now in a good mood, Myolie was back to cooking and making her delicious but healthy dinners.  Bosco and Edwin came over to join Myolie and Kate as usual.  It was just the four of them tonight, and they were throwing around possible names for the cafe.

"We should combine our names!  What about Myate's?" Myolie said while placing the plates onto the table.

"No," Kate said, slightly cringing at the idea.




"You're not going to say yes to anything I suggest now are you?" Myolie asked.

"Probably not," she said back playfully.

Edwin browsed a list of the things they planned to offer including different hot chocolates, smoothies, cupcakes, cookies, brownies, and other sweets.

"Gosh, everything on this list makes me want to give into my sweet tooth," he joked.  "Hey, how about  Little Sweet Things?" he asked.

"Oh, that's cute and catchy!" Myolie said excitedly.

"I like it!" Kate replied.  "It's short and sweet."

"No pun intended right?" Bosco teased, and the other three rolled their eyes at the joke.

Edwin put his glass of water up.  "Cheers to Little Sweet Things, the next cafe to hit Hong Kong and take it by storm!" he said, cheerfully.

"Cheers!" Four glasses clinked together in joy.


Author's Note: It was nice writing again!  Having already come up with the outline for two episodes, the writing process of this went a lot more smoothly.  I like how once I know what I want to write, I'm able to go with the flow more and let the dialog just come to me, which makes it more enjoyable.  There's focus on Raymond and Ella for the first time, and continued development of Myolie and Kate's cafe!  I hope this sitcom of mine is still enjoyable and fun to read!  Comments appreciated.  Next episode's focus will be on Fala and Edwin.  One relationship will be explored, and a new character will make their entrance!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Song Review: Mr.'s "方向感/Sense of Direction"

Following the release of catchy but overly simple and repetitive anthem "What R We Fighting 4", Mr. makes a change in pace with "方向感/Sense of Direction". The new plug is a midtempo, more laid back, and uplifting song. I love how it still sticks to their usual rock sound while being such a mellow and relaxing song to listen to. It's a nice change from the more opposite soft rock ballad and upbeat and loud number. The song is meaningful, carries an air of thoughtfulness and optimism, while still catchy and also empowering, especially with the guitar solo.

The music video pairs with the song well. The members of Mr. are seen running in their Adidas-sponsored clothing, promoting going outside to exercise and conquering your ambitions. The song, along with the video, fuels the listener with a feeling of sweetness and motivation. Although a more laid back song, "Sense of Direction" is something to listen to while running (or jogging) to get a surge of motivation and optimism!

Song Review: Kelvin Kwan's "孱弱/Fragile"

Although unable to release another album before the end of the year like he wanted, Kelvin Kwan goes out with a bang with his new single "孱弱/Frail", which is also the theme song for his short film "茶木邂逅" co-starring Shiga Lin.

When I started listening to the song for the first time, I thought "Oh no, another slow ballad".  While I like ballads and Kelvin has a strong vocals fit for them, I was hoping for something more impressive and less generic from Kelvin, who is able to pull off more musical styles than the average Cantopop singer.  However, "Frail" turned out to be much more.

"Frail" opens with a piano intro and softly sung verse full of sadness.  At first, it doesn't sound too special.  The song then develops into a slightly gritty, grunge influenced song full of angst.  Having loved his earlier alternative rock oriented singles "Occupation" and "People of My Generation", I'm pleased Kelvin continued exploring this sound.  "Frail" is not as heavy, but still rock influenced and the song has a very thematic feel making it addictive to listen to.  The edgy electric guitar and music works well against Kelvin's husky and strong vocal performance. The song flows well from a slower to faster tempo and back without every feeling choppy or sloppily put together.  I'm satisfied with the musical direction taken here and think it fits Kelvin very well.

Although the song is pleasantly edgy and gritty, the music video is a bit disturbing.  While I like the cinematic feel with the dark lighting and sleek filming style and how it matches the thematic feel of the song, but the kidnapping plot seems far fetched and off topic (but it may be because of my lack of full understanding of the lyrics).  The sight of Kelvin being locked in the truck of a car, getting yelled at by a presumed ex-girlfriend in Korean, before finally being (assumed to be) killed with a hammer by the girl is rather unsettling.

Overall, "Frail" is yet another great song released to be Kelvin this year and continues to show his potential and talent as a musical artist by exploring a more heavy sound.  "Frail" has managed to become one of my favorite songs of the year just shortly before 2012 closes.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

AE Experience Staff Performs at High School's International Night

On December 20th, AE Experience staff and friends including head writer Niki, guest writer Pinki, Dani, and Jeremy performed at their high school's 5th annual International Night, a school event where culture and diversity is celebrated by students with food booths and performances. Niki, Pinki, Dani, Jeremy, and other members of the school's Korean Club (first started by Niki, Pinki, and Dani!) represented the country and served as the opening act, which ended up being a very fitting decision. A two part dance performance, the freshmen opened with BEAST's "Shock" before AEE's very own staff took the stage and brought the house down with 2NE1's "I'm the Best". It got the crowd pumped and they went wild, and the performance was full of energy, edginess, and just pure awesomeness. See for yourself!

Iris' Review:
There was quite a bit of conflict preceding the performance along with a lot of practice, sweat, tears, and misunderstandings between peers. However, it all paid off and the final product ended up being phenomenal.  After seeing them practice and work their butts off for months, they made me so proud as a friend, supporter, manager figure, and fan.  There are some improvements that could be made and the performance is not one without mistakes, but the amount of energy in it is fantastic.  I'm impressed they ended up being able to bring so much stage presence and fun to the stage.  I was not expecting that sass!

Niki, who is usually a very shy and reserved girl but looked natural, bold, confidant, and kick ass on stage, particularly during her solo when she bends over backward and does her little hair toss.  Dani made significant improvements in her stage presence and looked much more comfortable this year.  Pinki, who I constantly make fun of for being one of the most passive people ever, looked adorable with her huge smile and enthusiasm.  Last but not least, Jeremy brought his sass on and despite only appearing for a small part of the performance, made the best of it.  The crowd went crazy when he first came on to start the song, and even more so when he emerged again unexpectedly mid song.

The last part where the four of them are joined by the freshmen for one last pose was the perfect way to finish.  It was so much fun to watch and I was practically fangirling for them.  The crowd absolutely loved them as well, which you can tell by all the cheering and screaming.  (Side note, following the part near the end where Niki points her hand "gun" to the audience and Jeremy aims his fist at the crowd when the song goes "Bam!", he is actually holding a shaker with glitter in it, throwing glitter at the stage and audience!  Amazing touch!)  I've been rewatching this performance again and again, and every time it makes me jumpy with excitement and happiness for my friends/almost family.  This definitely goes into one of my favorite moments ever.

Other Comments:
If anyone's curious, no, I am not in this performance.  Iris can't dance, but is going to be joining in the fun by learning a new song with them soon and getting taught by Niki.  Wish me luck folks.  I had more of a "behind the scenes" role in all this, as International Night is a student run event organized by the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) club and I helped in managing the event itself and headed the Booth Management Committee with fellow guest writer SeraDev.  Also, thanks to Anthony, Michael, and all our other friends who helped make the food, run the booth, and did general maintenance.  This was truly a student run event.  International Night was a success, and FBLA earned more than $1,000 from it.  I'd say we did a pretty darn good job!  :D  As someone who hopes to pursue business, it was a great experience.  I also got to play wardrobe stylist as I put together Niki's outfit, which consists of a leather jacket, gold tank top, black skinny jeans, and combat boots (I lent her the jacket and tank top!).  Doesn't she look awesome?!  I also shot the video, which is why it abruptly ends. I quickly stopped the recording and dropped my phone to applaud like a maniac.

This post ended up being a lot longer than intended.  Overall, would I say I am proud of Niki, Pinki, Dani, and Sully?  Hell yeah!  Congratulations for kicking butt guys! I love you so much!