Monday, November 30, 2009

Renovations day seventeen

It's heating up.

Yes, the living room has essentially been cleared. The fixtures are almost entirely affixed. The plumbing works the way plumbing ought to work and the only thing I can think of right now is hunkering down for my first big job in the bathroom. Ah, the satisfaction it will bring!

I shall now leave you with more gratuitous pictures of our fixtures.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Renovations special edition: the floor we chose

And so it is
Just like you said it would be
Life goes easy on me
Most of the time
And so it is
The shorter story
No love, no glory
No hero in her sky

I can't take my eyes off you
I can't take my eyes off you
I can't take my eyes off you
I can't take my eyes off you
I can't take my eyes off you
I can't take my eyes...

Okay. I'll cut to the chase. Our floors are done. We've gone in to look at them. And walked on them. Which was when the magnitude of what we've done really hit.

As you see, we've gone with cement floors. Bare, grey, cement. It's supposed to be a New York loft thing. But right now, it looks really...Raw. Stark. Plain. I told Fergus, "It's really up to us to get the place looking good now."

And it is. So paints, stencils, murals are all going to be marched in soon. Oh yes, did you hear? We're painting the ceiling. It's supposed to be back- (and neck-) breaking work. But it's all part of the look we're going for.

(Deep breath)

Before I go, here's a picture that we're drawing inspiration from. We'll get there slowly.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Renovations day sixteen

This is it. Five years of cold showers are about to come to an end with the purchase of this feral thermomonster. Yep, that's true. Of course, if you're anything like me, you're totally not looking at the words "Panasonic" or "Electric Home Shower" but you're wondering what on earth an "E sen" is.

Is it an electronic shilling?
Is it a Mandarin-speaking doctor?
Is it a Ghanaian Chelsea midfielder gone horribly wrong?

If it is, what's he doing in the shower with my future wife?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Renovations day fifteen

Rules for today.

Rule #1
You cannot go into the house

Rule #2
You cannot step on anything

Rule #3
You can only look from outside

Rule #4
You cannot talk about the floor

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Renovations day fourteen

Okay. We've posted too many pictures of our bathrooms, so this an attempt to break from that monotony. But honestly, outside the bathrooms, nothing much has happened. Oh, other than the workers preping the living-dining-kitchen space for Our Unthinkable Act. Did I just give something away? No, no I didn't. You'll have to wait and see.

In the meantime, the bottom ledge of the kitchen sink was just built today. See it? Well, there's a clue in the picture somewhere.

(big smile)

Breakfast and supper

Some recent eats. (I marginally prefer supper.)

Mac screen becomes transparent!

Oh no!! Somebody turned Ophelia's screen transparent! Now I don't know how to turn it off!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Renovations day thirteen

Today, the tile contractor finished all his work - that means all the grouting for the floor tiles of both bathrooms have been done, along with that white little fixture thingy in the corner (more on that in another post).

That's all. Goodnight.

Blog Police: Waitaminute. What's this?
Fergus: Hello Mr Blog Police.
Blog Police: Don't hello me. What's this? One sentence? You call that a blog post?
Fergus: It's late, dude. I need to go-
Blog Police: Don't dude me.
Fergus: Sorry.
Blog Police: I want you to lengthen your post. Two of you have been slacking off. You think readers come in to read the same posts twice?
Fergus: Errr no?
Blog Police: You're d*** right no! I give you one minute to lengthen today's post.

Crap. Errr... errr... by the time you read this, Ah Yaw would have started levelling up all the floors, doing all the cementing, lots of dirty work and stuff. Am planning to steal Iris for the day and get some-

Blog Police: Time's up. Let's see what you've got.
Fergus: I need more time, sir.
Blog Police: Don't sir me. "Crap. Errr... errr..."? You truly are pathetic, Fergus.
Fergus: I know Mr Blog Police.
Blog Police: Ok. You can go home now.

Macbook series 01

Ah, yes. Athalia has officially become a yuppie herself with her recent acquisition of Iris. Me? I just happen to be the fiancee with the perks of shooting with this fierce beast. Therefore, because so much of our shared existence revolves around the rolling hills of the Savannah our Macs, here's me offering its firstfruits to the god of apple.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The name game

We have a habit of naming our gadgets. It started with one, just for fun, and it gradually grew out of hand and became impossible to stop. So far we've got:
  • Poppy the MyVi
  • Makmak the Satria (okay, it's from his car plate, but it stuck and we say it with affection)
  • Dante the ipod
  • Salvador the vintage iBookG4
  • Ophelia the MacBook (I thought it very apt when I found out her name means "help")
  • Karlof the 500MB external hard drive
  • Constantine the 1TB external hard drive
  • Benoit the 2GB thumbdrive
  • Mariella the 1GB thumbdrive
  • Heidi the portable hard drive, who has unfortunately gone to the great electronics junkyard in the sky
  • Olaf the new office PC
  • Boris, the old office PC, who now sits in the living room of a 45-year-old Indian gentleman
  • Raoul the video camera (named after Raoul Coutard).
Overloaded yet? Well our month-old D90 can now join that list. Everyone, here is Iris.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Renovations day twelve

This is where we're at. This is where we've been for half of Thursday and Friday and the weekend - stuck on tiles.

I've since learned a lot about tiles, and I'll compile them in a Lesson 02 soon enough. But a pre-lesson, if you could say so, is that making mistakes cost you days of working. The tile contractor can't proceed because we're short on the right colour of tiles. Ah Yaw can't start cementing all the floors until the tile contractor is done, and the bathroom fixtures can't be installed until Ah Yaw has cemented the floors. I can't move out until the bathroom fixtures are installed. My landlady can't convert my rented room into a meat locker until I move out. And as long as my landlady doesn't have anywhere to store all that rotting meat, the hyenas won't go away.

So when I say that I've been learning a lot about what it means to make mistakes when buying tiles, I really do mean it. Wait...

Shoo! Put that down you mongrel! Shoo!!

Bad hyena.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lesson 01: Bring a tile with you

Do you see these two tiles? Do you see how they would have appeared identical to the mind's eye if the beholder was not clever enough to bring one piece with him to compare colour? Do you see it?

Cos I see it very clearly now!

Yes, indeed, I'm a fool of a took, because when Ah Yaw told me that we needed more tiles for the master bathroom, I thought that a product code was enough armour to carry along with me. Apparently not, as you can see - the twelve pieces I rushed back from Selayang are a shade different. Some shade differences are so miniscule, you can forgive. But this one is just that bit past the threshold. I'm the guy whom Athalia likes to describe as "even has an opinion on what kind of white to use". Exchange of tiles will take place Saturday but - sigh - credibility sudah hilang. The more I look at the two side-by-side, the more convinced I am that I should have known better.

In shame, I hang mine head.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Renovations day eleven

Eleven days of renovation have gone by and we're really starting to see the apartment take shape. The kitchen counter and its basins went up first, then both bathrooms' wall tiles. Then today, the balcony cement floor and this - the bathroom's second layer of waterproofing. Tomorrow, they lay the bathroom floor tiles over this waterproof layer.

Some days, when I think of the look we're going for, I gingerly wonder, is our house gonna look grey and still-in-construction even when it's done? I mean, do you know what we're (not) gonna do with our kitchen counter? Okay, I should stop musing. Keep this short and go to bed early. Tomorrow morning, I'm gonna take Ernest's advise and tell my tiles they're gonna get laid.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Renovations day ten

Grey drought? Are you kidding me? Look Athalia! More grey photos for our blog! Look! Look! What? Of course it is. It's got grey written all over it. White? That's not white. That's grey. What do you mean we picked them out together. I have no recollection of any such thing. I don't get it. It's grey. And splotchy. Oh, you mean you're talking about the spanking new white tiles with the matching new white grouting that our tile subcontractor put on just yesterday and today which would make it seemingly new-blogpost-worthy! Aiyah, say la. I was talking about the cement bit just above it that's been there for over a week now. But isn't it grey? Don't you just love it? Errr Athalia? Hello? You there?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Renovations day nine


In gratitude, Sami Fergus offers a prayer of thanksgiving to the Great White Ceramic Tile God for finally breaking the grey drought.

The not-so-glorious start

[Update: since posting this, we've gone and back-posted days seven and eight which happen to come with rather colourful pictures, rendering this post somewhat useless.]

Hokay. We're only into the third week of this blog's official launch and a sense of meh-ness has already set in. As you can see, I've not exactly been posting away very excitedly.

Yesterday, I figured out why. It's because...THE PICTURES ARE UGLY. It's what you get when you have both not-so-stellar photography skills and a dull subject. Really, we've tried really really hard, but there are very few ways you can snap an apartment in the throes of a cement bloodbath and make it remotely more interesting that a grey mess. And Photoshop does not help.

Plus, our grand vision of keeping a daily log of progress failed quite miserably. How many of your noticed that we cheat by back-posting? Oh, no one noticed? Never mind then, forget you read this last bit then. By the way, the sequence of events are all jumbled up, because our addled brains cannot remember what happened when. Though so far we've gotten the where and who part pretty down pat.

Anyways, in short, I think that the colour grey is starting to grate on me.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Renovations: another special weekend edition

Why hello there.

It appears that I only post once a week, during the weekends. Ha-HA! Doesn't this rare appearance make you feel excited and tingly? No? Well never mind then. For I am feeling excited and tingly myself! Wouldn't you like to know why? Oh, you are shaking your head vigorously while gagging yourself? Never mind, I will tell you anyway.

Yesterday, the Furgus creature went to see our contractor and was told that the work should be finished by next Monday! This is wonderfully good news to hear, even though this Monday would be even better. But I am still very happy. For that means that soon, we will have lots more of work to do! There will be painting and wiping and carrying various awkwardly-shaped objects up three-and-a-half flights of stairs.

Oh-OHHH! I just realised that that means a lot of work for me! And it will make my arms and feet and neck and back very tired and sore! That is not good at all. What am I to do? Maybe if I hide under my bed and pretend to hibernate I can get someone else to do all that work. Yes, that is what I shall do. Lets hope the Furgus creature falls for it.

Post inspired by the pure comedy gold series "Berbatov is....The Continental" on Dirty Tackle.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Renovations day eight

When Athalia's mum saw these, she yelped and said "Fergus!! They are giving you good cement!!"

Of course, I wouldn't have the first idea what brand of cement was good cement, or even what good cement felt like. But I do know that any cement that calls itself a fire-breathing beast of yore can't chip. Yep. I'm counting on this baby to stand even after an earthquake. If not, I'm taking it back and exchanging all my floors for an iguana.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Renovations day seven

You know the tundra? That vast, lonely stretch of wind-locked land? It's like a prairie with ice permanently frozen in it. It is wind and wilderness and desolate beauty.

Yeah, that tundra. Well, while it would be lovely to have that in our home office - think of how it'll cool the place down! - we've opted for the cheaper, more common option. So there are four packs of white boards sitting in the office-to-be now, acclimatising to the room temperature and humidity. Sorry to disappoint folks.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Renovations day six

Doorknob 1: Why is Fergus taking pictures of us?
Doorknob 2: Cos he's a doorknob.
Doorknob 1: No, stupid. We are doorknobs.
Doorknob 2: Oh. Heh. Maybe he's trying to be all arty and stuff. You know...
Doorknob 1: Yeah. Such a wannabe. (raises his voice) Dude! We're doorknobs! Go take pictures of girls holding umbrellas!
Doorknob 2: Ooh, not a bad idea.
Doorknob 1: I know.
Doorknob 2: You're smart.
Doorknob 1: I know. That's why I'm a doorknob. On the floor. Waiting to be thrown ou...
Doorknob 2: Err...
Doorknob 1: Nevermind.
Doorknob 2: I think he's taking pictures of us cos the renovation seems a bit slow and he's got nothing new to take today.
Doorknob 1: Actually, I think it's because I'm a sexy beast.
Doorknob 2: Oh ya. Man, you really are smart.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Renovations day five

Fergus had Thursday to call Ah Yaw.
Fergus had Friday to call Ah Yaw.
Fergus had Saturday to call Ah Yaw.
Fergus had Sunday to call Ah Yaw.
Fergus even met Ah Yaw on Monday.
Fergus dropped by the house again on Tuesday.

Fergus: ****!! ****!!
Athalia: What?
Fergus: Super****!!
Athalia: What?
Fergus: The powerpoints! The powerpoints that we decided not to do. They've done it.


Fergus: ****!! What are we gonna do??
Athalia: I'm gonna try to not get angry.
Fergus: No, you can get angry. You can get very angry.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Renovations day four

Ok kelas. Hari ini, kita nak belajar macam mana nak tambah, tolak dan tukar unit ukuran. Mari kita tengok soalan matematik kita.

Contoh: Encik Ong diberitahu oleh kontraktornya bahawa harga untuk membina kaunter dapur berbentuk L adalah RM1,800. Beberapa minggu selepas itu, Encik Ong memberitahu kontraktornya untuk tukar bentuk kaunter dapurnya dari L kepada I. Kuotasi baru kontraktor adalah RM700 kurang daripada harga asal.

Soalan 1: Berapakah harga bahagian kaunter dapur baru yang berbentuk I?

Soalan 2: Jika Encik Ong meminta kontraktornya untuk diskaunkan lagi harga baru kaunter bentuk I, dan kontraktornya memberikannya kuotasi RM900, berapakah harga sebenar bahagian kaunter asal yang Encik Ong abaikan?

Soalan 3: Jika bahagian kaunter yang diabaikan digantikan dengan kaunter dapur Ikea Udden yang panjangnya 60cm, berapa unit Udden ini diperlukan untuk memenuhi dapur yang panjangnya 8 kaki?

Soalan 4: Apakah pandangan anda tentang peranan Cik Lee dalam keputusan ini?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Renovations: special weekend edition

Today, we're breaking the weekend calm to bring you a rare and exclusive photo of Fergusisus ongius in its habitat, carrying a waste disposal device the only way it knows how to - supported on its hard head and sturdy neck. It was observed making several heavily-laden rounds over the course of three-quarters of an hour in the late morning yesterday, showing mild signs of distress towards the end. Scientists from all over the world have voiced out their puzzlement over such odd behaviour, and are due to meet in Geneva next month to put forth their preliminary hypotheses.

This is AK Lee, reporting from the field.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Renovations day three

Or alternatively...

Introducing, Conservative Budgeting - the budgeting attitude that will revolutionise the way you allocate your finances!

Have you ever been caught out paying more for something than you originally intended? Well, fear no more. With Conservative Budgeting, get ready for a life full of paying less than what you've allocated! It's not rocket science. It's better than rocket science! It's the new wave of fiscal management that's taking the undereducated masses by storm!

Conservative Budgeting comes in three separate packages. Choose ConserveBud Home edition and spend three times less than your budget. Choose ConserveBud Enterprise edition and watch yourself hit your targets five times over. And finally, choose ConserveBud Datin edition and go under budget by over ten times! Don't believe it? Here's what some of our customers have to say!

"My son asked me the other day for fifty sen to buy some sweets. But I applied ConserveBud Home edition and decided to budget RM18 for two sweets. We were so delighted when he came back and spent about 96% under budget!"
- Verushka Lakewater, 36, homemaker

"I was purchasing 15 new operating system licenses for my office computers and eventhough some people told me it wouldn't cost more than RM15,000, I told my finance department that we needed RM2 million. Wah. You should have seen the bugger's face. Kept asking me why this why that. But I knew that with ConserveBud Enterprise edition, I would be vindicated. True enough, when the invoice came in, the operating system licenses only cost RM12,000. My CFO was so happy with the savings, he gave me a raise and took me to dinner at Duck King."
- Koon Cheng Hock, 42, operations assistant

"I was recently doing renovation at my house, and we had a sliding balcony door that was in a bad state. My contractor said that he could repair it at RM350. But using ConserveBud Datin edition, I went ahead and budget that sliding door at RM350,000. Yesterday, he called me to say that it couldn't be repaired, and that a new door would cost RM1,300. I am so relieved. Both me and my fiancee are happy that with ConserveBud Datin edition, we got to manage our expectations to this extent of our happiness!
- Fergus Ong, 29, filmmaker

Get your copy of Conservative Budgeting NOW!

Conservative Budgeting. Fun with bad estimates.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Renovations day two

Do you see that? No, not the pretty circles of light. Not even the out-of-focus white foggy thing between the firmament and the grey slab. It's the grey slab. Do you see that?

Do you know what it means? It's actually the first piece of construction that's taken place in the last two days. Everything else so far has been ... err ... destruction? Yeah. That's it.

But this! This grey slab sits where the old window used to sit. It's Athalia's way of saying that she's taller than all the people who used to live here, which explains why we've raised the kitchen sink counter and, by extension, the window sill that it sits on (pictured above) by some four inches.

Which is actually quite an understatement, cos Athalia's actually not just four, but about forty eight inches taller than most normal people. Yep. That also explains why we've decided to do away with roofs entirely. Hmmm... nice sky. We really should stargaze more often.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Renovations day one

(type type type)

It's a war zone! Our house has turned into a mid-90s Eastern European war zone! Just look at our bathroom!! There must be at least several extended families buried under all that rubble! This is a disaster! This is Sarajevo all over again!

Athalia: Ooh you're blogging!
Fergus: Yeaps.
Athalia: Wait. What da heck is that?
Fergus: I'm using a war metaphor to say how I feel about our renovation.
Athalia: That's a terrible post.
Fergus: No, it's not. It's a brilliant pastiche of melodrama.
Athalia: It's ridiculous. Don't even dream of posting that on our blog.
Fergus: OooOOooOOo... then why don't you post?
Fergus: And they're great codes.
Athalia: So what's your problem?
Fergus: I've got no problem.
Athalia: You don't?
Fergus: Nope. Do you?
Athalia: Nope.
Fergus: See, so it's all good?
Athalia: Wait. You're inventing this whole dialogue from scratch aren't you?
Fergus: No.
Athalia: We're not really having this conversation, are we?
Fergus: Why not?


Athalia: You really are a stupid lowclass bear.

(type type type)

OMG OMG! Look! I think I just saw a Yugoslavian aunty near the toilet bowl hole!! Eeeew, sick! It's over! Our house is in ruins!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Renovations day zero

Our workers start proper work today, but by last night, they already looked like they'd moved in. Their clothes were strewn all over the apartment but that's always a sign that serious work is about to get done. The rooms with parquet looked like a water elemental had been through them - the floors were entirely flooded and bogged. Either that's what you do to parquet before hacking them out or our workers had some friends over for a soap and bubbles party. Tiles are showing up later today. They are grey. And square. Could we really be less exciting?

Monday, November 2, 2009

The drills go in

This is our house. And today, the drills go in as renovation work starts. I'm at work, and so is Athalia, but even right now, work commences at our new home. I can't wait to get back in there tonight to see the carnage that our contractor should have created. I'm expecting some hacked tiles, maybe a few disassembled bathroom fixtures, a roasting pig, a bonfire and four construction men singing Fix You on a banjo.

Ok. Maybe not the roasting pig.

Or the bathroom fixtures. Gotta give these guys time. Fix You's a hard song to play on four strings.

About us: redux

Fergus: Hi, I'm Fergus.
Athalia: And I'm Athalia.
Fergus: You didn't say hi.
Athalia: (gives Fergus evil squint)
Fergus: This blog was her idea.
Athalia: No, it wasn't.
Fergus: and it was such a good idea.
Athalia: Oh really? Yeah, it was my idea. (big satisfied grin)
Fergus: Anyways, I like garage bands, existential movies, 60s pop culture, bad puns and fatty foods. I used to think I was angloph-
Athalia: What's an existential movie?
Fergus: What?
Athalia: Yeah. What do you mean by existential movie? Sounds to me like a movie that wonders if it's a movie.
Fergus: No. I meant movies that have existential themes.
Athalia: That's a movie about existentialism. They're not the same thing.
Fergus: Ok. Clever girl.
Athalia: And you don't like fatty foods that much. I think you're giving yourself too much credit.
Fergus: What about what you like?
Athalia: I like bears. And hedgehogs! And books. And bags with flower prints. And bad puns. And self-depreciating humour. And vegetables. Ooh, look! Brocolli! (froths in the mouth)

(The real Athalia calls out from behind Fergus' chair)

Real Athalia: Oi. What are you doing?
Real Fergus: Oh, nothing.
Real Athalia: You're writing dialogue.
Real Fergus: Yeah. I'm writing a conversation between the two of us for the About Page for our blog.
Real Athalia: I don't talk like that.
Real Fergus: It's ok. I don't talk like that too.
Real Athalia: Froths in the mouth? -_-
Real Fergus: Hehehe.
Real Athalia: Take that out.
Real Fergus: No. It's funny.
Real Athalia: Just you wait.

[originally posted on 2 April]

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