Wednesday, January 31, 2007

KL KL... Big City of Dreams

KL KL big city of dreams… Time has always been of the essence, whether in a rush or taking your time, it ticks on at the same pace but internally it often creates the impression of a different sort. I now know firmly that things don’t always happen as you may plan. Leaving the tarmac and ascending into the clouds above the islands that make up Hong Kong I was predicting some minor trouble upon my arrival in KL. Since I hadn’t heard back from Nazri I wasn’t assuming there would be someone at the airport, so my first mission was to refill my mobile pre-paid. I went straight for the shop to get my hot link top up and was messing with my phone wondering what was going on. It turned out that my number was no longer in service and apparently had not been registered. In fact, I had already registered before I left Malaysia at the end of September 2006 and I wanted to figure out exactly what was going on. I went to information, they called around, I went back to the shop, I went to the post office and at last broke down and got a new pre-paid number from the photo shop across the post office. The didn’t happen to be a Maxis outlet at KLIA so I was forced to get a whole new number, so as one of my current aliases I went with Digi. I called Naz and he told me Kahled was waiting for my outside gate 5 so I sped down to arrivals and went to meet him. Ah the heat, another reminder that I was really so far away from Canada. We spoke in the car about the differences between the telcoms here and back home, spoke about the death of Tok Guru and I explained my rational for the move out to Asia. Yi Kin, being at work, told me to head to Sungai Wang to Tim’s shop and chill there until he was done, so Kahled and I made our way through traffic and arrived outside on of the first malls in KL. Knowing it like the back of my hand, I thanked Kahled and made my way with all my belongings to the shop. Tim wasn’t around, so I soaked it all up, happy to be back in Malaysia. I thought about the things I had written about on the flight over from Hong Kong, the ideas that I have been working on and about stepping up my game. In fact, I managed to get another track written on that flight, and in order to set the tone of my arrival, its message was very motivational.

Once Tim appeared we went straight around the corner to grab some grub. My first official meal in Malaysia wouldn’t seem like anything special, just some bee hoon goring loaded with chili and a glass of Chinese tea ice. Tim and I caught up, laughed, and finished up the meal to head around to see about unlocking my BlackBerry. After much effort it would seem that BB’s are not at all common out here and no one could help. I guess I’ll wait to try my luck in Singapore or Jakarta. Yi Kin showed up not long after excited to talk about music and new ideas we walked around looking for somewhere to sit, have a drink and chat. It always takes time to reconnect with people after so long and being a lot has gone down since we last met I knew it wasn’t gonna be simply a chat over tea.

Jet lag began to set in as Tim closed the shop. Yaniz came through as well as David aka Lestat. More food was on the menu and we shuttled over to this hidden away Chinese restaurant. The food was great as we sat around shooting the shit. I played Yaniz some new music and we talked about the possibilities of working together to get some shows set up. Things seemed to be moving along at a good pace, I must always remember to be patient and not fall for the paper chase. It will all come in due course. I was fading fast, but I really wanted to have a teh tarik and a gudang garam. It wasn’t until 1am that that craving had been satisfied. On my last legs we hit the mamak before concluding the night. If it wasn’t for the fact I didn’t really sleep on the flight over I might have been able to hold out. Actually, this afternoon after having a solo meal down the street from Yi Kin’s place, I passed out on the couch and caught up a little bit. I needed that re-energizing. So, it’s almost 5pm and I gotta make a move out before it gets too late. Yi Kin’s at work and I’m headed to The Curve to catch Reshmonu’s album launch party! A lot of catching up yet to do, February is just a day away!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Cocoland Lot100

The mango gummy

If you live inside a national park you tend to take more advantage of the nature. So on my last day on the island I decided I would follow the trail up to the peak of mount Maxwell one last time. Often my walks through the park turned into a work out with pit stops to absorb the scenery, greenery and sounds of the wind whistling through the trees. To me it’s a reminder that we are truly alone in the world and as an independent person and only child I’ve learned and practiced many ways to keep myself busy. I’ve got my games and my moments of reflection. Nature proffers reflection on my thoughts and future actions by way of its solitude. In my life that’s similar to meditation and what happens most nights before I fall asleep. Alone through out the whole trek I soaked up the sun on one of the benches and began my return. As I treaded back to the trail home I trade places with the car just pulling into the parking lot. I laughed about it and continued on my way shining in the irony stopping half way down to absorb a certain clearing and fork in the path. I looked down and I saw it, Cocoland lot100 Mango Gummy. Glowing yellow like the sun in between the trees I picked it up, my newfound treasure. Upon inspection I noticed the gummy came from Malaysia! Perfect timing all things considered. A smile crept upon my face beaming down on my find. I wanted to eat it right there, but instead I put it in my pocket and elected hold on to my booty. Having had the whole trail to myself I bumped into a newbie figuring out exactly where to enter the trail. I passed on my direction pointing out the fork in the road where he had to follow to the left. A lot of messages you can read out of my morning accent, facing my own forking the road of life, seeing signs and accepting the first destination as the reality it is.

So as I sit here at the airport sipping on a warm cup of java it’s finally kicking in. (the journey as well as the coffee) Oh the airport… What a relationship we have. We’re never together very long, but always sharing very intimate moments in time. Transitional affairs that could rarely be considered one-night stands. I see the faces, everyone with something in common. Coming from somewhere, going somewhere, working in it or loitering. It’s an intricate yet simple relationship that I’ve learned to build and love.

Well… I’m in HK… Sitting in the waiting lounge after a lengthy flight. I managed to accomplish quite a bit, with the exception of sleep…I did a fair bit of writing and thinking. I shed a tear. I watched two movies and I got my food before everyone else! Yes, I pulled the old special meal trick… So free Wi-Fi is good, I’ve already been on MSN, checked my emails and now going to upload this blog once I’m done writing. Wont be too long now though, my flight to KL leaves in about an hour. I’m caught between imagining there will be someone to pick me up in KL when I get in, to thinking if there isn’t I can just settle in there and hop on the free Wi-Fi and see what happens... Too bad Telus has YVR all locked down and you have to pay, Canada is so wack when it comes to the stranglehold the telcoms have over the public. Anyways, check the photos and I’m out!!! Cocoland here we come!!!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Last Night in Canada

Yes, the last night in Canada has finally arrived. It’s getting into the wee hours now and I am just uploading some beats for my man Phil IE aka The Rhyming Chef who has been working hard on his dope project. Check him out! So this entry will just be an assortment of random thoughts… Leafs beat the Habs, looked pretty convincing and made me happy to see them win for my last game I’ll catch this season. Not that I’ll really miss hockey, or basketball for that matter, I just enjoy catching it on TV when I can. Still a fan! Yup yup, this will be my last time online til I reach KL. I’ve already said my goodbyes to my online homies and finishing up this last blog entry before I head upstairs and begin packing up my things. Still haven’t packed… So the money finally came through and all is well on the financial front for the time being, but I still haven’t worked out my ride from the airport yet. No cause for alarm, the urban camper always knows what to do. I was speaking with my girl Saer Ze on MSN about a few tricks of the travel trade. The latest one I came up with was based around food. You never know where they put you on the plane, and if you’re hungry and brought no snacks sometimes you have to wait til the end of the line you get yours. Simply ask at the check-in counter for a special meal. Usually airlines have an assortment of these to choose from, so take your pick, and you are guaranteed to get your meal before the generic food comes rolling down the isle. Now aren’t we special! Any other tips you ask? Maybe another day… there is work still to do!

“A day of waste means a day of haste”
- Vandal

Canada World Youth

CWY 1993/1994 Quebec/Indonesia,

I remember everything so vividly, like it was yesterday. I don't think I am alone either. I believe anyone who has been a part of this program could easily recall their experiences, whether good or bad.

Having applied late I was put on the waiting list, thanks to Duncan, who I had interviewed for school the previous year. The phone rang at home and I answered. I was told that someone had dropped out of the program, that there was a space available and was I interested? Of course I was I answered without even knowing where I'd be heading. It turned out to be Indonesia. I looked at my atlas right away and thought WOW! I wonder who that person is who gave their space up for me, if you're out there, I'd really love to hear from you and thank you.

Well, I'm happy I participated and met the people I met, who to this day I am still in touch with a number of. You all mean a lot to me! You and Canada Wolrd Youth changed my life.


To Grandma with Love

We miss you, we love you and we will always try and keep in touch where ever in the world we are!!! Grandma, it was great to talk to you today! I hope you are feeling better and maintain your good health!

My Grandma is 82 years old, she is an amazing woman who has lived her life to the fullest. She has taught me a lot over the years and I love her dearly! I will miss visiting you in Virgil while I am gone. Your cooking is the best and your company even better! I know you wont ever read this, you dont have a computer, but that's not going to stop me from writing. And yes, I will send you postcards like you've requested! I think the last time I sent a postcard was to you... Who does that anymore??? Hahaha... So with all my love, I hope to see you again soon!

Your Grandson,

Newsletter Vol. 1

Urban Camping Vol. 1 Jan. 2007

Peace and greetings friends and fam.

I hope everyone has begun settling into the New Year already, that resolutions are being followed and that this newsletter sees you all in good health. 2006 has come and gone, it’s a time for new beginnings. Here at Urban Camper Entertainment the new start is very exciting and we cant wait to begin sharing it all with you. Thanks for you continued support and love! So, as they say in the business, let’s get on with the show!

New Myspace page for Urban Camper Entertainment!!! Come and check out new material and add us as a friend!!!

Asian Tour:
Tomorrow, Sunday Jan 28th, is a landmark day. The rebirth of a classic obsession, Vandal will be journeying into a new phase of his life and career as an Artist. Of all his previous journeys and tours this one in particular is of special importance. To mark this momentous occasion we invite you to join us and become a part of the movement. Vandal, after years of thought on the subject, has decided to make his travel journals public. There have been plans of writing a book, so this ‘blog’ will serve as the pilot project. If you want to follow along in the adventures of the nomadic addict, just follow the link below.

Urban Camping – Confessions of a Nomadic Addict
- You can subscribe to the blog by clicking the RRS feed icon in the top right of the address/URL bar to be automatically updated. Spread the word!

A number of shows are still in the works but we have conformation that Vandal will be performing at the Java Jazz Festival in Jakarta, Indonesia on March 3rd 2007. The event will feature Vandal collaborating with Larry’s (SOVA) band and an ensemble of senior jazz musicians from Indonesia. Look out for more listings coming soon.

Hip Hop Gumbo Radio:
My man Sabotawj from San Diego put me on to this online radio show called Hip Hop Gumbo hosted by the lovely Renaissance. The show airs every Tuesday 7-9 (EST) and features Independent Hip Hop from around the world. Look out this Tuesday (Jan. 30th) for music from Vandal!

Hip Hop Gumbo on Renaissance Radio
- (Select you streaming options)
- for the myspace heads. to send shout outs.

New Collaborations in the works… Get ready for new music coming soon. We will let you know once things are ready to go!!! These are worldwide collaborations featuring artists and producers from Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, UK, USA, Italy, Chile, Japan, Canada and more…

New Feature:
Check Vandal together with Masia One featured on the track ‘Emcee’s Act Like They Don’t Know’. This track is on the fresh ‘Key 2 Da City’ mixtape released last month by Sabotawj out of San Diego. You can find it on the Urban Camper Ent. Myspace page now.

Thanks to everyone for all your continued support and look out for more newsletters coming soon!!! Also don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to follow the adventures!!!

Peace and blessings from the whole staff here at UCE!!!
- Vandal

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Packing List

Ever Wonder what an Urban Camper takes on a long haul trip to Asia? Pay attention, you might learn something, whatever it is...

- Pants (3 jeans + 3 dress)
- Shorts (3 + 1 swim)
- T-Shirts (8+)
- Shirts (3 + HNC)
- Sweater (1)
- Jacket (2)
- Socks (10)
- Underwear (8)
- Sarongs (2)
- Baju Silat

- Music Biz, Cant Stop..., English Grammar (3)
- Writing (2)

- Laptop + HD, Cables, CDR (in case)
- Camera + Accessories (in case)
- Loop Pedal + Mic, Cables
- MDR + Disks, Mic, Cables
- Digital Still Camera
- Phone + BB, iPod
*Power Bar!!!

- Selected CD/DVD
- Barang2 Silat
- Toiletries
- Papers, Wallet & Other stuff?

I think I've narrowed it down enough so it all fits in 1 check-in Backpack, 1 carry-on back pack, camera bag and laptop bag... we will see on Sunday how it all fits!

"If I wasn't an artist, I wouldn't be a materialist"
- Vandal

Me and my Travel Bug

Another day closer to departure and it hasn’t quite set it yet. Could it be all the years of a similar process that has me at ease with all of this? Travelling infected my system such a long time ago now, it’s become symbiotic, a part of me, thick in my blood. I wonder if these entries are a little too long, cause I know people these days just don’t have the attention span or the time. Fuck it, I don’t really care. They will come out however long they do, they are what they are and that they will be!

An entertaining day with the puppies again. After mopping a couple of puddles up and settling in on the couch to catch my last Raptors game of the season, they piled onto me and entered doggy sleep. As a nice going away present, the Raptors pulled out a win against the nagging Celtics, Bosh is definitely looking primed for the All Star game. Watch out!!! Tomorrow will be my last dose of my home teams as the Leafs play Montreal, but by the looks of it, my suspicions tell me it’s going to be a heartbreaker. I’m not obsessed with sports like I used to be, but it seems with so much garbage on TV even catching Poker is exciting…

Tomorrow is going to be a busy day. I will be sorting through my stuff again, selecting what comes and what stays. I think I’ll post my packing list after this post, just for the fun of it. Leaving Toronto was the biggest of all challenges, moving stuff out of the storage space, transferring it, sorting, purging and then packing it to come out here (Salt Spring Island). This will be a more relaxing process, kinda like picking the best of the best and what is truly needed for my impending adventure. Then I have to fit it all in my bags…

I’ve also decided I would send out a newsletter. One last edition before I hit the road. I’ve been doing these newsletters for a number of years now and find people still take the time to read them and reply. This one will be special though, because it will be the first to be posted on the blog site as well. A lot is going on in the life of Vandal, my alter ego, and this is what we do to let the friends and family know.

I’ll keep it short tonight, as last night I got tangled up in watching Borat on Oh how I laughed when they were wrestling in the hotel room naked and then ran into one of the ballrooms during a function. Drove me to tears… Anyways and as always… A Quote.

“Create or Die”
- Vandal

Friday, January 26, 2007

Paging Dr. Tangent...

I’ve always wanted to be a scientist. Since I was young I was into robotics, RC cars, computers. I used to draft up inventions I would come up with. One of them was this remote controlled vacuum cleaner, custom fitted with bumpers and the works. I was watching this show tonight on TV, brought me right back to the realization that if I wasn’t an artist I would most likely be a scientists, and probably in the field of computers or nanotechnology. Like, who predicted the iPhone like 2 years ago? I did… Touchscreen technology? Some said it couldn’t be done. Right Gee? Well… I did. Hmmm. That might not seem like much of an accomplishment, but to me, it’s a big deal. Probably like how if george orwell was still alive he would have been like, look! Look what I told you! I was a few decades off but it’s there for all to see if you read between the lines. That’s led me to think about manifest destiny. With a thought can we really create our future?

Now I’m not trying to get too deep in this here journal, as it is only supposed to serve as an outline to my future book, but these are things clog the cognitive wheels as they churn out my thoughts. Come to think of it, I didn’t make it outside at all today. I did wake up late though, enjoying not having a clock staring at me when I struggle through the fogginess of the morning. I trust my internal clock as it’s never really failed me before. Except for that time in… ah well that’s another story isn’t it. Isn’t it? Yes it is. It was a day of fog on the mountain. So thick I could see it move from out the window. I wondered what it tasted like. I mean, on my trek up the mountain a few days ago I could taste the salt from the ocean in the air. Makes sense though, as the laws of humidity state. It was another day online and in front of the TV. I’d rather not think of it as time wasted, myspace has ensnared my lately and reaching out to people on email seems a daily routine when you’ve got internet access at home. Something that in a few days wont be the case. So my logic is to take advantage of it as much as I can before it’s too late! It’s crossed the line into Friday and in 3 more days it will be too late. I think I’m looking forward to the liberation, as there’s really only so much you can do to fight getting caught up in all the distractions of the online world. No more MSN conversations with people, no more checking my email every 2 hours, no more waiting for the wire transfer… oh yeah, I forgot, it still hasn’t arrived in my bank… But anyways, you get the idea right? So what am I to do with all this new found time on my hands? Music. That’s the mission. Writing, it will be the guiding force behind it all, there is no doubt about it. I thought about it today as I was chatting with my boy Skavenjah on MSN. He asked me how much money I was going out to Asia with. I scratched my head in disbelief when the answer came, only about $100. And I intend to be gone for how long? You know, nothing is impossible. My life is proof that you can pretty much do anything you want. At least almost all the time, and at a price of course.

So I thought about what the first month is going to be like out there in KL. I’m going to be back at Yi Kin’s place, more than an hour from the city, making music while he goes to work. I’ve got it all planned out. I’m gonna get some food to cook, stay in the house and make music. What more can you do when you don’t want to be flat broke one week into a life long journey? It’s only a matter of time before some money rolls through and I can make the next move towards financial freedom! I am the purest of optimists. That’s what people like about me I think. That and I’m a risk taker with faith in his abilities. Ladies, is that what you like? Hmmm…

So yeah, the back up plan. Every great escape artist always has one. I picked a few books out from downstairs. My mom, Christa, used to teach ESL back in the day and she probably didn’t think her resource books would ever come in handy again, unless one of the dogs suddenly became adept at another form of communication other than bark bark. You probably guessed it already. It’s something that most people think I’ve been doing all this time I’ve been traveling to Asia. Little do they really know I’ve mastered the art of being a nomad and living off the skills I’ve finely crafted. Music. So the back up plan… I got word from a friend that a university degree is not compulsory, but I would need to brush up on my grammar. 2 books, that’s my limit. I’ve done my packing list and that’s where it’s at. See, it is just a back up, I don’t want to be lugging around a complete English library when I might not even be teaching. I think I’ve found my book. We’ll see if it ever gets used. I have other back up plans you know!

Wow, I actually just went to check one of my 5 email accounts… nothing new to report yet… So as the new day begins I’m again thinking about distractions. I think I’ll take advantage of the internet before I fall asleep and watch a movie. Yup, you can do that these days… it’s called people, youtube is just for those with short attention spans. It’s good night from the mountain, 2 more nights to go! And tomorrow will probably be my last hockey game I’ll catch this season too… Montreal VS Toronto, classic original 6 match up!

Dr. Tangent is not an alias he’s my reality
- Vandal

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A New Beginning

There’s never really a good way to start a book other than to start it. Whether it even makes the cut and into print is another story completely. I’ve had this idea to write a book for ages now, but new things seem to always pop up and make life more distracting to the process. I’ve figured out a new way to make it happen now… through writing a travel journal of sorts. Through the eyes of a nomadic addict, an urban camper… but what’s the back-story? How did all of this come about? I mean, it’s my life right? It started when I was born, and that would a pretty lengthy back-story there wouldn’t it? So we move on with the present and into the future leaving the history of how we got here something that will emerge as the story unfolds.

I’m about to make the journey to Asia, a journey I have made many times before. Being in relative solitude, apart for a pack of dogs and my parents, I’ve appreciated the quiet respite here on salt spring island. Since my parents moved out here a few years ago I’ve been all over the map, both physically and in life and haven’t had a great deal of time to spend here. It’s been escaping Toronto during winter holidays only to get snowed in or during the summer being put to work on the land, a new and invigorating life for the urban camper. Key word urban. So here we are, only 4 days before I’m packed and ready, on the ferry and off across the sea. Finally settling down to write this up, trying to make a habit of it all as to get it into your hands. So what makes my life so interesting? I guess you’re about to find out aren’t you?

So jump right into my life, start now, there’s no turning back. The ticket has been paid for, not in the manner I’d expected it to be done, more like asking a favour while waiting for the promoter to wire the cash on over so you can pay off your parents visa in time for the due date… tomorrow… such is life that things don’t always go as planned, even if you’re plans are on point and the stuff dreams are made of. Is this an easy read so far? So the shows in KL have been pushed back, but Carol sent the wire to my bank just a few days back, after my urgent request and miscommunication it seems to have sorted itself out in the end, as it always does. This thing called faith is a driving force in my life. I’ve ridden it long and hard, it’s always treated me as I’ve treated it and if I spend another day waiting I may never get to do what I’ve been waiting for. But in this case I am and I am happy to say that by Monday morning I will be on a flight bound for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

But for now, I lay here in bed staring at a computer screen as the words spread across the page. I went for a walk with my mom today, actually it was the dogs who walked us. A pack of jack russel’s with the lone French mastiff. Names huh? Is that what you want? My mom fought hard to keep Maggie from getting preggo but the suit Maxyne made her got lost in the bushes one night and Bob managed to get up in there resulting in yet another litter, of which two puppies remain. Gerty and Harriet. So the 8 of us sauntered down the driveway downhill from the house and out the gate. My parents live on 48 acres of forest just off mount Maxwell nation park, a beautiful and scenic home, a paradise indeed. The driveway is just over a click long so it’s not quite like going to the corner and back. The snow has finally melted, water’s flowing down the side of the road and I can see green again. For a while there we were snowed in, but this time at least the power stayed on and it hasn’t been cold enough to start a fire in the last 3 days. It’s been quite pleasant actually.

I love to walk. Been doing it all my life almost and I hope I’ll be doing it for a while to come still, in fact it’s one of my preferred methods of transportation. I like bikes too. Anything that makes you feel like you’ve put some effort into getting to your destination is the type of reward I’m looking for. The puppies we’re cute to watch, playing as they went, hesitant of the flowing water, but adventurous none the less. Yes, I’m an animal lover, but to a certain degree. There are some things about owning a pet that conflict with the way I live my life. I’m on the road way too much, I’m usually broke and I might expect a little too much out it. Let a dog be a dog, that’s all I have to say.

Television has been a muse lately. I’m not a big fan of it, but it does serve a purpose. The opiate of the masses indeed, as I watched yet another episode of American idol in between playing with the puppies. It’s amazing isn’t it? I predict within the next 10 years, the one of the next American presidents will be elected through reality TV. Mark my words. I’ve been right on the iPhone, which will be reaching Canada soon no doubt. Educational? I think not. It’s all a big waste of time for the artist in me, but sometimes you need to escape yourself to find yourself again don’t you? That’s why god invented the internet! I’ve been getting my fill of online activities lately. I know once I get to Malaysia I wont have regular access and that I wont be able to check my 4 email accounts, 3 myspace accounts, facebook and the dreaded bank account as I wait for the wire transfer to magically appear in my savings account. Yes, I’ve gone overboard this time. What will I do if I cant see who sent me a message for like 2 to 3 days?

Have you ever spent almost the whole day in front of your computer tapping and clicking away? Sure, those of you who use it for work everyday can relate, but what about the artists out there? Networking baby, that’s what it’s all about. If it wasn’t for the internet I wouldn’t even be going to Malaysia right now. For better or for worse who really knows, that’s why my life is what it is right now and I’m headed to the far east. You’d think I’d be excited, I’m not. Well, ok I lied, I am pretty excited to be embarking on this new adventure. This trip is very symbolic. It’s a new beginning. It’s like shedding an old skin that has been slowly peeling away, not quick enough, but now you know when the last follicle will fall. Refreshing. So it’s like 1:52 am now, I’m feeling drowsy, the puppies will be up in about 5 hrs whining to be released from their cage and me the light sleeper will be tossing about the bed thinking of the dream I had but not remembering it when I get up because of a lack of focus or care. The preparation continues tomorrow. So let’s end this with a little quote I will make up for my own amusement. The joy!!!

Life is life because we believe it is, and this belief makes it whatever we want
- Vandal