Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Bird watching!!

Ornithology is the study of Birds. That's the subject of  this post.
For you guys who came here to have a glimpse at pieces of human 'chicks'... maybe next time. Okay, I'll just throw in one girly picture to satisfy your needs for internet girl ogling.

The Stunning Dita Von Teese.

Photographing animal portraits is an interest of mine. Firstly, I love animals,...  love how they always look so perfect and absolutely gorgeous in their own skin- in today's case. It's not skin, it's feathers. One day, I decided on a whim to zoom to the Singapore Bird Park for a break (it beats a stroll in the park because I get to admire the lovely creatures and their lovely... I think is the right word is, plumage.)

I got there at 5pm and had just enough time to take a couple of pictures and got chased out by the park warden at 6.10pm for snooping around becuase they close at 6pm. Note to self: if you decide to pay entry, make it worthwhile and go early, you fool!

The Penguin Classics

"I put on my best suit but I'm stuck in this damned enclosure"

"Bill, i don't think it's called 'Flying' if we stay on the ground..."

Even Birds need personal space.

I love this shot. He was bolting to catch the fish and I snapped it! Hi five.

A Really Well Sculpted Statue

When I saw this statue, I thought it was so creepy and big.

When he turned all of a sudden, I freaked out!

Dead Parrot Sketch

These parrots aren't stone dead! They're resting!
If you didn't get my joke, you have to watch this classic Monty Python "Dead Parrot" Sketch! Funny!

The Old Guards

"This Old man, He played one"

These guys were fighting for fish! Crazy feeding frenzy.

"Brylcreem suits me best!"
New Life

What's cuter than 3 ducks swimming together?

More ducks swimming in a straight line!

The Supermodels of the Bird Park

These Flamingos are sure to rule the runway with their slim long necks and legs

I love this expressive Emu!

 This quizzical Ostrich is probably the original Big Bird. He's really cute.

"Vogue, Vogue, Strike a pose and let your body move to the music... Hey Hey Hey!"

The Dinosaur Descendant

There's no denying how closely related this gorgeous Cassowary is to the dinosaurs.

 The Russian Ballet Inspiration

The Big Black Swan. Ballet, anyone?

I was really looking forward to seeing the lovely owls but I missed them. The owl sanctuary was bolted and locked by the time I found it.,better luck next time. Not a problem though, there are so few places where I can enjoy the beauty of nature's animals that I'm quite sure I will be returning soon.

The Keepers of the Bird Park! Hardworking, nature lovin folk.

Thanks for the good hour and a half, Birdies! You guys were really cooperative models. (The real Birds, not the humans, I mean.)

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Podcast Episode 01- "Maiden Voyage"

After almost one whole year of talking about this here podcast that I've been meaning to put out... It's finally here! 
Podcast Artwork

This has been one of my pet projects and I've working on it for the last few months (whenever I could spare the time- I have a lot of pet projects). 

First of all, if you don't know what a Podcast is, I found a simple definition- A podcast is a digital audio or video file that is episodic; downloadable; program-driven, mainly with a host and/or theme; and convenient, usually via an automated feed with computer software.

My Podcast is called "Life In Stereo- Jonathan Leong's Guide to Life" and it's pretty much a talk show/ lifestyle kind of program. As of now, I have three main segments that make up the show. 1) 'Across the Universe'- hosted by Mildred. It's a 'Where to go and what to do' section. 2) My segment 'The Hand That Feeds'- is a book, music and film recommendation section. 3)'The Dirt'- my interview section with a gifted guest. 

I am giving out this fruit of much labor out for FREE to thank everyone out there who has shown their support for me and my work over the 8 odd years that I've been making my living as an artist. I hope to keep it free for always but I might need some sponsors to come on board because it's a shitload of work! The writing, editing, recording and production is seriously, muchos of my time-os. 

In this maiden episode, Mildred takes us "Across the Universe" on a guided tour of her visit to the Tiong Bahru market belt, in Singapore where she checks out 'Forty Hands', 'Strangelets' and 'Booksactually' giving us the low down on these couple of haunts.
Chic Coffee
Pricey Stationery and Knick Knacks
Liberal Arts Bookstore
Yong Siak Street (off tiong bahru market)- home of Forty Hands, Strangelets and BooksActually.
Your Host for the "Across the Universe" segment- Bubbly vixen, Mildred.

In 'The Hand That Feeds' I talk about the films: "Eastern Promises" and "The Boat That Rocked"/ "Pirate Radio", Books: Marvel's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" and "The Alcoholic", Music: Camera Obscura's "Let's Get Out Of This Country"and Rob Zombie's "Hellbilly Deluxe 2". 
Eastern Promises Dvd

Theatrical poster for 'The Boat that rocked'

Marvel's 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' Artwork

Camera Obscura's "Let's get out of this country" album Cover.

Rob Zombie's 'Hellbilly Deluxe 2' album artwork.

Lastly, for the chat segment of the show.... my first guest in the Hot Seat is American Stuntman/ Acrobat, Justin Laprall.  See a 5 minute demo of what he does for a living here, or check out his website www.Laprall.com. Here's a really cool clip he shot showcasing theatrical circus show "Voyage de la vie" tumblers and here's Another video! I was so annoyed I couldn't be in the second video showing my (limited) Tumbling skills... I was stuck in a meeting. :(
Justin Laprall- Stuntman/ Acrobat/ Friend. :)

I've also thrown in my cover of 'Billie Jean' just for you loyal Stereo fiends out there. If you haven't seen the video already. here's a link to it.

1) Go to my website www.jonleong.com
2) Click on 'Podcast'
3) Scroll down and click the episode you want (there's only 1 there right now (Duh!)
4) Let the podcast load up (This might take a couple of minutes depending on your connection, the show is more than an hour long so be patient)
 5) Click the "Play" button on the player after it's finished loading to Enjoy!

This is what the player looks like after it's loaded and playing. Click the 'downward facing' arrow at the right end to "Save as source" & you have the mp3 file for your ipod/ mp3 player! Easy? Easy.

NOW, At this point, you can either choose to continue streaming the podcast and listen to it online OR download it onto your computer as an mp3 file for future listening and also for transfer into your Ipods, mp3 players, thumb drives and whatnot!

1) To Stream just click the play button as mentioned in step 5 (above)
2) To Download into your computer- Click the arrow pointing downwards at the right end of the Quicktime player bar. You should see an option that says "Save As Source". Click that and you can save the podcast anywhere you like on your computer. :)
If you face any problems, it's probably because I'm currently hosting my website on apple's mobile me service and my subscription will end next June. I have heard that sometimes mobile me gets a little bit slow and possibly problematic but changing hosting sites would mean lots of cash to hire web designers and web hosting server space. I'll deal with that next year, when I have to. Unless anyone out there has better ideas/ suggestions.

Feel free to leave me your comments and if you think someone might enjoy this podcast- GIVE IT TO THEM! I want this to reach as many ears as possible! Happy Listening.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Geeking out at the STGCC '11

Hello Stereo- fiends, I don't know how many of you who read my online musings are toy fans like myself, so if you're not, become one and tell your toy collector geeko friends to read my blog! I'd love to hear from more like minded people with the same tastes, activities and hobbies. I love geeking out with other fans!
The Great Big Marvel Wall panels. I'm now more of a Vertigo/DC reader but I grew up with lotsa Marvel!

I think the Singapore Toy, Game and Comic Convention (STGCC) has been going on for years now, and I'm proud to say I haven't missed a single one. Although I must say, I go there just to soak up the atmosphere and see what's out there. I enjoy looking at the toys, comics and all that and admiring the many fans that turn up in costumes. I love that people have such passion for pop culture! I'm not hard core enough to line up for the exclusive toys, also. I'm not that kind of collector. I'm more of a bargain hunter. See old blog post Toy Break = Good break. I never buy something unnecessary (toys go in that category) unless it's a steal.

I have to say that since the very first STGCC, the event has gotten consistently better. Not really bigger, but better. Presentation has improved, organization looks better, quality of toys has also increased- Good Job! Although, I have progressively found lesser good bargains, I think they must have cleared all their Sales stock in the first year. 
Looking really goofy back in 2008. The 1st STGCC with Star war villains!
A display case from STGCC '08. Like the Xenomorph figures on the left.
This is one weird toy. I had to take a pic. Turned out blurry, apologies.

Given that the Singaporean toy/ comic community is really quite small, it's hard to see a mass increment in vendors and therefore stuff but every year is good fun for me. I particularly enjoy looking at all the courses that are available for people interested in animation, the indie comics and the artists that get a booth to showcase their work. Amonst all the animation/ art course booths, The one from Lasalle caught my eye the most, more on that later.

I love my skull bandana, at a place like this, nobody gives me weird stares.

Mickey Vinyl Variant paintings. Not my thing but I appreciate the interpretations.

Fine Art gets a comic spin.  There was a section with Fine Art for sale. They were really nicely done. I like this Wolverine piece. His knuckles are jutting out and the mirrors for claws are a good idea. Gotta love Mixed media.

Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Lovely portrait painting. Note the Peace symbol.

A really cool painting of a pregnant Mystique from X Men.

 A solemn aged Captain America, I really like the realism style shift outside of the window.

Nintendo's Favourite mascots Mario and Luigi stop by to say hi.

The Wall of classic posters. I came in the right tee shirt! See the Jack Nicholson Joker in the top left?

Hard Core fans! These guys are serious about their costumes, yo! The iron man had a chest and a palm that lighted up, just like the real thing! The Predator costume was real cool too. These guys must have went trhough hell and high water to get these made. I asked them for a photo and they kindly obliged. I read that the real stunt guys in the predator suits for the movies are over 7 feet tall! Giants!

Rat Fink!! Lovely piece. I didn't dare ask the price. Wouldn't mind having one of those in my apartment.

A really interesting take on Arnie as the terminator. it's like a caricature.

Batman versus the Joker. A diorama based on the Dark Knight movie. I think it's made by Hot Toys.

As I mentioned earlier, the booth from Lasalle college of the arts (Singapore) stood out not just because their booth was big. They featured something that I'm really interested in- Stop Motion Animation (stuff like The Nightmare before Christmas, Wallace and Gromit, Creature Comforts). There many maquettes (clay sculptures) on display and they were mostly made by their many students in the animation course over the years. I went into their booth and started chatting with the very friendly people in the booth (they each animation in Lasalle.) I've since become friends with two of them and I hope we will be able to collaborate with them on some projects in the future, I've always wanted to lend my voice to animation. My secret ambition is to voice a character on The Simpsons but I think that's a little far off for now. I got some tips from Chris about sculpting (I've always wanted to improve my sculpting ability- as of now I still stay in the amateur realm- see here.) and not only that, he showed me a quick demo of the 3D sculpting program called Maya. I dare not even touch that software, it looks way too complex! They program and design a lot of video game characters on it (God of War 3 for example). 

Kratos from God of war 3 What I'd give to sculpt like that.

Maquette from Lasalle's animation course
Sculpting is such a beautiful thing.

Chris from Lasalle giving me the royal tour.
A couple of weeks later I actually attended a masterclass about sculpting maquettes taught by an industry professional. His work is amazing! (Big thanks to Chris for giving me the heads up!), - but that's a story for another time. Until next time, Stereo- fiends!

I couldn't leave without buying at least one item from the STGCC '11, but there really weren't many good deals that interested me. So I settled for a nice little display Batman Bobble head. He now perches very heroically on my television, ready to punish evil at all times.
"Now, if I tried to jump from here... would I be able to land safely?"