Wednesday, 24 October 2007


I spent Saturday in the city of Chester, in the north-west part of England. Chester is a nice quiet place with some very picturesque scenery, especially along the River Dee which cuts across the city. The city centre is not very big, and unless you’re doing some shopping, most of the city centre can be covered in an afternoon. There’s a city wall which was built in Roman times, an impressive cathedral, a museum... and even a Roman amphitheatre which is currently being excavated by archaeologists. Apparently, it was discovered by accident when the city started building a highway which was to cut across that particular site! Needless to say, the proposed highway has now been diverted. And of course, Chester also offers a nice, peaceful riverside walk along the River Dee, almost perfect for a quiet Saturday afternoon.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

My Digital Art - Part 4

I went for a talk yesterday by a company called Double Negative. They did the special effects for such movies as Pitch Black and Batman Begins. During the talk, they showed showreels from job applicants and gave some advice on what's good, what's bad, etc. Some of the showreels they screened were absolutely amazing! They looked as if they were done by Industrial Light & Magic or Pixar, not some fresh graduates – which on the one hand is quite discouraging, but on the other hand very helpful. At least now I know the standard I need to bring my own showreel up to, which means I will have to spend even more time on it. Sigh.

Sunday, 30 September 2007

Grassington and Kettlewell

A week ago on Sunday, my friends and I took the bus to Grassington, a village to the north-west of Bradford. Grassington is a small village and although nice, there's not much to see other than a few pubs and shops. Maybe if we had more time to walk further, we could have seen more, but we wanted to see the Dales so we hopped on a Dales Rover bus (£5!) which took us to the nearby village of Kettlewell. The scenery along the way was green rolling hills, something I'm still not tired of. The weather wasn’t too great though - cloudy most of the time with light rain every now and then. The two photos above were taken during those brief periods when the sun was shining. But then again, it's the company that counts, right?

Thursday, 20 September 2007


Immediately after Saltaire, I went once again to Haworth. I’ve been here before when I came for the 1940’s Weekend in May but I really like this place. Somehow, I find most English villages very appealing. It's probably because I've lived in big cities almost my entire life. Haworth is much quieter this time of year, with just a few tourists walking about. I walked around Main Street for a while before heading off to the side lanes and roads. There are hills around Haworth that are not very high but still offer beautiful picturesque sights of the moors. Once again, I snapped happily away with my camera. (Aren't digital cameras great?)

Many photographs later, I made my way back to Main Street with the intention of visiting the same spots I visited the last time I was here. I passed by a book store at the top of Main Street and decided to have a look. As I paid for one of James Patterson’s books, I started a very pleasant conversation with an elderly lady behind the counter about life in Haworth. Her name is Margaret and she is 71 years old. Joe, her 12 year old grandson who was helping her joined our conversation, giving his take on life in the village. I found out this bookstore used to be a post office and the counter where I was paying for my book is the exact spot the Bronte sisters posted their manuscripts to be published in the mid-1800s.

But life in Haworth is slowly changing. Neighbouring supermarkets are making business difficult for shops in the village. There's a sweets shop a few doors away from the bookstore that has been there since Margaret was a child, but according to Joe, he and his friends would rather go to Spar for their sweets as it's cheaper. When I asked him where Spar was, I was told it was in front of the train station. On the way home after saying our goodbyes, I passed by the train station and sure enough, I saw a modern convenience store called Spar opposite. Well, I guess all good things…


I spent Saturday morning in Saltaire, a village on the outskirts of Bradford that is now listed as a world heritage site. It was founded in 1853 by Titus Salt, a rich industrialist in the wool industry who built the entire village for his workers at the mill, providing them with housing, a library, and even a church building.

At this time of the year, the Saltaire Festival is on (from the 6th to 16th September 2007) and the streets are alive with activities including a street market (with very interesting and varied food from different countries), stage shows and also street performances. Among the places I visited were the Salts Mill, the David Hockney Art Gallery, and the Saltaire United Reformed Church building, apparently one of the finest Italianate buildings in this country. I didn’t have time to visit the River Aire or the canal, which is a pity as I really wanted to.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Slava's Snowshow

University life is now over. All my projects have been handed in and my exams are done. Now, it's just a matter of waiting to see if I graduate in December. I'll also be using my time to produce a showreel, but first, a bit of rest and relaxation. Last Wednesday evening was spent at the Alhambra theatre watching Slava’s Snowshow, a unique 'clown' act that was surprisingly very, very good. There were not many laugh-out-loud moments, in fact, one act about a clown who was going on a journey and had to leave his coat behind was quite poignant. But the entire performance is, without a doubt, an artistic theatrical showpiece with the stage transformed into an ocean for one act and a snow-covered mountain for another. One part of the show had a huge piece of cobweb fall down unto the stage from the ceiling and dragged unto the audience! It was fake cobweb, but I was still finding it on my clothing two days after the performance! The finale included a blizzard that blew fake snow unto the audience. All in all, it was a very interesting and entertaining evening. More information on the show can be found at

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Screenshot from my film

I was doing a short film project and I thought my deadline was a week and a half away but then a few days ago, I found out I only had half a week! Naturally, I pushed the panic button and worked till 4:00 am in the morning in the computer lab. I finished the film but barely had enough time in the remaining few days for my paper. But it's all good... it's all done now.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

The Lake District

The past weekend was spent on holiday with my friend Christine in the Lake District. The Lake District is situated in North West England and is a popular tourist destination because of its beautiful scenery of lakes and mountains. (Didn't that sound just like a quote from a travel brochure?) Having seen beautiful photographs taken by my friend Sandro when he came back from his trip there, I decided I had to go look for myself and all I can say is – the Lake District is absolutely awesome! One weekend is not enough to take in all the sights, especially if you intend to do some hillwalking (or fellwalking, as it is known here). The map above shows the walks we took, to High Sweden Bridge on Saturday and Wansfell Pike on Sunday. It rained almost the entire day on Saturday, resulting in washed out photos but the climb on Sunday was thankfully in sunnier weather. The third red dot at the bottom of the map is the Ambleside YHA, where we stayed, right next to Lake Windermere. The photos below show Ambleside YHA, Lake Windermere and the view from the top of Wansfell Pike, which at 482 metres isn't high enough to be categorised as a mountain (in the UK, it needs to be 600 metres or higher), but it sure felt like one during the steep climb up! The view at the top is definately worth it, though. Beautiful hills, valleys and lakes. It was a great getaway for the weekend, and I’m already thinking of going back! :)

Friday, 6 July 2007

Summer Rain

Ok, now I understand all the comments people make about English weather. It has been raining every day for so long that I cannot remember the last day it did not rain. This past weekend was Veterans' Day Weekend in Bradford and I was looking forward to it because I wanted to watch the Spitfire plane flypast, but it rained the entire weekend so I did not bother going. I'm guessing the flypast was probably cancelled. It was cancelled due to bad weather during the Haworth 1940s Weekend when it rained then, and the weather this past weekend was much worse. This morning was really windy but there was no rain and I thought to myself - oh good, a day with no rain. But nope, it started raining around lunch time. At least it has stopped now and the sun is out.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

My Digital Art - Part 3

This is one of my favourite photos from my Haworth trip. It's one of the few that I think may pass for an actual 1940s photograph as there is nothing in it to indicate it was taken in 2007. I removed the colour, added the film grain, and painted in the faded borders to create a more dated look.

Sunday, 3 June 2007

Netherlands Dance Theater II

On Friday night, I went for a performance by the Netherlands Dance Theater II at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford, where I work. Netherlands Dance Theater II (NDT2) is a comtemporary dance company founded in 1978 and presently consists of sixteen dancers between the ages of 17 and 22. NDT2 was originally a training ground for young dancers before they move on to the main company, Netherlands Dance Theater I, but since its conception, it has developed into an internationally recognized company of its own. From the performance I saw, it’s easy to understand why. These publicity photos are from their first dance. There were 3 altogether, all incorporating simple props and costumes but choreographed in very artistic and original ways.

Friday, 25 May 2007

Haworth 1940's Weekend - 20th May

Every year around this time in spring, there is an event in the beautiful village of Haworth situated on the edge of the Pennine moors in West Yorkshire, England. It's the 1940’s Weekend, a time when everyone dresses up in 1940s clothing, British and American soldiers walk the streets (along with a few Nazis), vintage cars and buses travel along the roads, and Winston Churchill and the Queen can be seen giving speeches. Newspaper boys and scouts in 1940s uniforms walk around selling newspapers dated from that era. Songs from the 40s can be heard playing from loudspeakers on rooftops. It’s like going back in time!! Really, really awesome!

I took the steam train here on Sunday from Keighley station and spent the entire day just looking around and taking photos. I originally wanted to see the WW2 Spitfire fly past which was supposed to be held here the day before but it was cancelled due to bad weather. I then found out there will be a Veterans’ Weekend from the 30th June to 1st July in the city centre of Bradford.... and guess what plane from the Battle of Britain will be doing a fly past then? Yep, the Spitfire :)

Friday, 18 May 2007

My Digital Art - Part 2

This photo of Emma was taken against a plain white background, and then composited unto the peeling paint backdrop.

Edited June 2008 -
Looking back at this pic, I felt like removing this blog entry as the entire effect just looks wrong. I have no idea what kind of effect I was hoping for at the time! But then instead of deleting this, I thought maybe it'll be interesting to tweak the original image a bit and see what a comparison with an edited version would look like... so I've included a new edited version below. More pleasing, I think, but still very amateurish... you be the judge.

Saturday, 5 May 2007

My Digital Art - Part 1

These are just some images I created using Photoshop, something I do once in a while when I'm bored. I don't think they're artistic enough to be called 'art' but I didn't know what to call them ('fruits of my boredom'?) so unless I come up with something better, they shall be known as 'my digital art'.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Marks & Spencer flapjacks

Here's an inconsequential piece of information for you. At the local Marks & Spencer store, you can buy 3 small buckets of assorted sweet chocolate and cookies for £5. They are delicious! Not really healthy for you (their flapjacks, for example, consist of 23% butter and 16% golden syrup, that's almost 40% of the total content - butter and syrup) but if you're looking for some sweet snacks, these are definately yummy!

Saturday, 14 April 2007

North Wales

Rokas and I went to Wales on Thursday, to Conwy, a small town by the sea with a nice old castle, and to Llandudno, a seaside resort town about 20 mins drive north of Conwy. They're both situated on the northern coast of North Wales. The weather wasn’t too bad but it was a bit cloudy and not as sunny as during the Malham trip last week. One of the attractions of Conwy is Conwy Castle, built by King Edward I and completed in 1287 (which makes it 720 years old). The view from the top of the castle was beautiful but unfortunately, the photographs didn't turn out that great.

Next stop - a walk atop the medieval town walls, which surround the entire town. There's a similar town wall in the city of York which I visited last year, but I think the one here is in better condition. From the top of the walls, I was able to look down at houses and in some instances even look into the living and dining rooms of some homes. At one house, we were able to look down a skylight into a bedroom! (I'm sure historians and tour guides would be hugely disappointed at the focus of my interest.)

After Conwy, it was off to Llandudno, a town with a nice seaside promenade. On the way up a hill known as The Great Orme, Rokas saw a classic Morgan sports car parked outside one of the hotels and decided to have a look. The owner, John Towles, showed us a leather-bound book with photographs of the construction process that went into making his car. Each car is individually made to order, and made by hand!

We chatted for quite a while and I loved the atmosphere at this hotel so if anyone is thinking of visiting Llandudno, do check out the Headlands Hotel on Hill Terrace Road – more info can be found here
By the time we finished, it was a bit late to climb up The Great Orme so we went to the pier instead before heading back.

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Humpty finished

Well, I'm almost a week and a half behind schedule in my work but I've finally finished Humpty Dumpty. Unfortunately, I haven't started any programming work (programming? I'm an arts person!) and have done next to nothing for my final project, and everything is due in about 3 weeks. I wish I had more time. If anyone reading this has a time machine, please let me know.

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Malham Cove

One of the nice things about doing a course in Yorkshire is that you're close to many beautiful places with amazing scenery. Take Malham, for instance... a small English village in North Yorkshire in the Yorkshire Dales (population 120, according to Wikipedia). My friend Rokas and I went there this afternoon with a group of university students. We walked about a kilometre and a half from the quiet village of Malham to Malham Cove, a gigantic limestone cliff reaching up to about 80 metres (260 feet). Apparently, this was once a waterfall during the melting of the glaciers at the end of the last ice age. I don't know much about these things but I do know that the view from the top was absolutely AMAZING! I think that's one of the nice things about England - the English countryside with its quaint little villages. It's exactly as you see it in travel pictorial books! Of course, this is assuming you like the countryside and are not one of those people who need to live within a block of a McDonald's. More info on Malham Cove can be found here: