Friday, October 29, 2010

Beaches are beautiful..

Figure 1: At the beach on a Sunday noon in Black.
Since I'm small, I lived in an a piece of land which is surrounded by sea, so the beach is a very common place for me to be. Beaches in Labuan are golden and and there are places where the sands are white and shines due to the silica content.

I've been to the beach from a very young age, as my parents are fans of picnics and barbeque events. So, maybe the beach aren't as special to me as others who rarely see it, but to me, beaches carries lots of memories and also are among the most beautiful places to be with someone special or alone.

At the pearl of the South China Sea, I often go to the beach with friends and we spent time together there, lots of memories which are most probably forgotten have been spent at beaches, during sad times and also happy times. Even I'm bored, I go to the beach.

The beach has given lots of songwriters and poets inspiration, it is known that beaches has also hidden stress releasing capabilities for those in need of inner healing. Beaches are beautiful and are filled with mysteries of events that may have happened and lost in history.

However, as modern times move in, people are getting more and more busy and forget the beaches which have been a gift of our Creator. Beaches are turned into dumpsites and polluted with wastes from industries. Due to the unpredictable weather, beaches are getting corroded.

I love the beach, even in the afternoon, if there isn't any important task to do, I would like to go to the beach.

Figure 2: A pair Levi's for the occasion.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Amazing Grace - Chris Tomlin

Figure 1: Amazing Grace in pg 53 of the Olney Hymns.
Newton wrote the words of "Amazing Grace" from personal experience. He grew up without any particular religious conviction but his life's path was formed by a variety of twists and coincidences that were often put into motion by his recalcitrant insubordination. He was pressed into the Royal Navy and became a sailor, eventually participating in the slave trade. One night a terrible storm battered his vessel so severely that he became frightened enough to call out to God for mercy, a moment that marked the beginning of his spiritual conversion. His career in slave trading lasted a few years more until he quit going to sea altogether and began studying theology.

I have been a Christian since childhood, and always been in the joy of a loving Christian family but I never truly understood the character of Christ. Maybe its due to my ignorance and unmaturedness which finally led me out of my family a weak Christian. I came out of my home a very empty and ignorant person seeking nothing but the joys of a worldly life.

Due to the Lord's mercy, the Holy Spirit softly whisper to my heart, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God". I cried inside struggling with this worldly flesh. Jesus came and gave me comfort. No matter the tears  and hardships come, in prayer I felt stronger than ever as I pour out my every burden to him. I am a stronger person in Him and in everything rely on Him.

Lord, you have given me a life which was great and full of joy. Still there were times when I just don't appreciated it and fall down in my walk of faith. Jesus lifted me up and gently held my shoulders and said, "Walk Alfred.. Walk and tell the world about Me, about My love for you and everyone else". 

Thank you Lord Jesus, no words can adequately praise, or thank you for your Amazing grace. You made me all that I am. Thank you Jesus, for loving me, when I didn't love myself. Thank you for believing in me, when I didn't believe in anything. Thank you for the Cross, Lord, and your nail pierced hands, which bore my sin. Lord, thank you for forgiving me. great is the name of Jesus. Who among the Gods is like you, Lord? Lord, thank you. I love you Jesus!

 Amazing Grace by Chris Tomlin

"Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)"

Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I'm found
Was blind, but now I see
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed
My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy rains
Unending love, Amazing grace

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God, Who called me here below
Will be forever mine
Will be forever mine
You are forever mine 

Below will be the video for this beautiful song, Praise our Lord for everything..

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Adidas Superstar 80s

Figure 1: Adidas Superstar 80s. Market price is RM400
Last September, due to my current vintage collection fever, I bought a pair of Adidas Superstar 80s, in which I used to dislike the appearance of shell toes and also referring it as unwearable, but after trying out a pair of Adidas Superstar II, I liked the feel of walking in a pair of those shell toes and till now it is one of my daily shoes.  
Figure 2: My pair of Adidas Superstar shell toes.
 Now this Adidas Superstar 80s are made of fully leather upper and a vintage looking rubber sole. Well, you might always guess that leather shoes are heavy and will keep your toes hot and sweaty but this is the opposite with the Adidas Superstar 80s.
Figure 3: Back view of the Adidas Superstar 80s.
The Adidas Superstar 80s are light and supple and the grip from the soles material is really good. It is a shoe that you’ll feel relaxed wearing. Since it is my first vintage superstar, there is indeed a difference wearing the Superstar II and the Superstar 80s.
Figure 4: The shelltoes of the vintage Superstar 80s.
Adidas Superstar is actually meant for playing basketball which is manufactured since 1969 and released first as a low top version of the Pro Model basketball shoes. The adidas superstar is also known as the shell toes and shell shoes for its signature rubber shell toe piece which protects the frontal part of the feet.
When the Adidas Superstar is first introduced, it was the first low-top basketball shoe to feature an all leather upper and a rubber shell toe. The shoes has caught the attention of some of the best players from NBA due to its rubber toe protection and non-marking sole.

Now the Adidas Superstar have advanced from the court to the sidewalk and have been styled and regarded as a symbol of art. The Superstar shoes have become a part of popular fashion culture and also a popular casual footwear due to its leather upper which have been developed into a wide variety of styles and colours.

So that is a little bit of history on the famous Adidas "Shell toes" which has shocken the footwear industry due to its many unique collaborations with designers and also artists. So here is my first Adidas Originals Superstar 80s which is my first collection of vintage Adidas Superstars.
Figure 5: Adidas Superstar 80s, definitely a choice for vintage collectors.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Spotting fake Levi's Jeans?

A lot of people are having hard time to differentiate between the authentic and the fakes. It's really hard to distinguish but by all means not impossible. If you want to be a collector or an authentic wearer of any jeans regardless of Levi's, spotting the fake is a key for survival.

Levi's jeans have been replicated over and over again, especially in countries such as Thailand and also China. This are the places where thousands not to mention maybe millions of counterfeit products are manufactured. This is of course not a good sign. Faking brands, with their low quality denim, poor sewing and cutting, seasons all in the wrong places, this is indeed a plague for the authentic consumers.

This is due to the fact that not much people are actually clarifying on how to spot the fake. Spotting the fake needs experience of course. If you're new to the denim world, then of course you need to firstly experience how it is to wear a fake.
Figure 1: Details of authenticity is important.
I did experienced it first hand, a fake would and will look the same as the original in the eyes of an inexperienced buyer. Well buying it, I was happy that I could get a pair of Levi's Strauss copper jeans at the time, but sadly after a few months the colour faded too unnaturally and the denim got so uncomfortable that I ditched that "fake" pair.

So slowly from there on I learned how to get the best pair of Levi's jeans. These are a few tips on how to spot the fabulous "fake" and buy the original Levi's jeans which you will enjoy for a really long time. My oldest pair is from 1993 and it is an original pair of selvedge repros.

So, the first issue I would like to stress on is the care tag. All Levi's care tags must have a unique number signifying where it is made written on it and also must tally on the jean's waist buttons. If the number between the tags and the button doesn't match, most likely it is a fake. It's safer and closer to authentic if the jeans has numbers stamped on it's button. In figure 1, J09 is the factory code which is also present on the buttton punch, on the bottom part, it states that the jeans are made in Japan and made in July 1997.
Figure 2: Care tag of a Levi's 702BEXX.
Next would be the rivets which states LS&Co, the rivets should be copper and shouldn't rust. Some fakes even have LS&Co on the rivets these days so it is a bit hard to distinguish. Still, should pay outmost attention on the details of the rivets. Even the position offset of the rivets on the jeans might state that the Levi's jeans you own is a fake.
Figure 3: Levi's jeans rivets are made of copper and some aluminium.
Levi's buttons are unique and can vary from jeans to jeans, the fakes might look more cheaper as in coated and less attractive. On the figure below, I have displayed the button of my Lot 510 Red Loop jeans button which is originally a bit rusty due to the vintage design of the jeans.
Figure 4: The vintage style top button of my Levi's RL 510.
 The top button should also have a stamp on it's back which match the care tag as I have mentioned earlier. This signifies that the jeans are authentic and are manufactured from that certain Levi's factory. Most authentic and rare Levi's jeans must have the button stamp in order to identify its origin.
Figure 5: The top button of the Levi's 702XX Big EE states J09.
The quality of the denim must also potray the authenticity of the pair of jeans. If the quality of the seasons applied on the jeans as well as lacking in styling and stitching quality then most likely the pair of Levi's jeans that you own is a fake. An authentic pair of Levi's jeans is produced in a strict quality control environment.
Figure 6: Denim of an authentic Levi's 701XX Big E.
The zippers might also show you if the pair of jeans that you own is a fake or is modified due to a broken zipper. The zipper that is authentic must have a levi's stamp or "TALON" which shows that the jeans is a vintage repro or original. Levi's zippers should not have symbols otherwise.
Figure 7: The vintage style zipper of my Levi's RL 510.
These are among the few tips which I can share about determining the authenticity of a pair of Levi's jeans. In order to obtain the best quality of the authentic jeans, it is important to observe, feel and if possible taste those pair of denim before buying it. Happy collecting and styling for all denim lovers out there. Stay true.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

My faithful 4X4

When I first learned to drive, it was December 2003, after my SPM exams, when my dad suddenly asked me to drive his blue Mitsubishi Pajero. Imagine, someone who never drove before, suddenly asked to drive a huge fourwheel drive which is also manual transmission, even the size of the engine scares me, 2500cc, scary huge and hard to control was my fear factor at the time.

The Mitsubishi pajero, was my dad's first four wheel drive and I used to remember when my dad first bought that car during the year 1993, my sister can't stop bragging. She went like this, "Daddy saya ada Pajero". Well she was a small kid at the time and so was I. Still I never thought that I would be the one using it, even though when it reached me, it wasn't in the cool and nice condition which I expect. Nevertheless, I am grateful..
Figure 1: The road of life with a Pajero.
When I first entered college, which was in the year 2004, I just used public transport and going around the college was easy as all the buildings are close together unlike my university. But after I moved out of my college hostels, things get more harder as transportation is quite unreliable especially if you have to attend classes and of course I winded up to class always late.

Then, my dad, send the Pajero back to Sabah, due to expensive road tax at the Peninsular. So I got hold of it but due to 2 years never driving, I have to relearn, but it didn't took long and I became a pro in driving that four wheel drive. However due to its un-consistent maintenance, it constantly leaks engine oil, but it still rode strong and I manage to visit lots of places with it.
Figure 2: All indications & handling in working conditions.

There are lots of memories I had with the Pajero, too much to share with in this blog, and even through the university life, the Pajero L049 is always there to bring me anywhere I go. If the Pajero still lasts till I grow old, I'll still definitely drive it, If it's engine fails, I'll put in a more powerful turbo diesel commonrail which is used in the Mitsubishi Triton.

All in all.. Beautiful and tough ride even after 18 years.. I would like to give my thanks to my parents for sending me the Pajero..
Figure 3: Pajero needs a paint job soon.

Friday, October 15, 2010

"Press On" a beautiful song sang by Selah

Figure 1: Prayer brings great blessings and constant renewal of our relationship with our Father.

This is a very beautiful song which calls us to strive on. In any path that we walk on rough or winding, wide or narrow, no matter how hard it is, no matter how impossible it is, we can do it, we can press on, through our Saviour, who has died for us..

A song which we can bring in our prayers,

When the valley is deep
When the mountain is steep
When the body is weary
When we stumble and fall
When the choices are hard
When we're battered and scarred
When we've spent our resources
When we've given our all

In Jesus' name, we press on
In Jesus' name, we press on
Dear Lord, with the prize
Clear before our eyes
We find the strength to press on

In Jesus' name, we press on
In Jesus' name, we press on
Dear Lord, with the prize
Clear before our eyes
We find the strength to press on
To press on

No matter where we are, alone and without anyone to be with, there is always our best friend and father, Jesus, Even if we are out of money, or have recently lost our job, or love one, Do remember that through Jesus, we can "Press On" and be a light to others.

This world is dark, filled with darkness, without light and hope that our Saviour has offered to us, we are nothing and subjected to death. But with Jesus in our lives, we have the strength to go againts all odds. There is always a small glimmer of light which signifies hope at the end of our dark tunnel.

Below is a video clip of the song "Press On" by Selah.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I'll be alone if there wasn't you..

Figure 1: Specially written by my dear.
After I moved out of my family's home and they moved away from Labuan, I'm always alone, my first relationship was not a happy one and never lasted, I was alone. I spent 3 years including, 1st year in university alone, I never thought that I was so, lonely, without someone close and family an ocean apart from me, that I kneeled down and prayed.

Guess what did I pray for, I prayed for company, someone who would be close to me and share my every joy and fears. I was never keen on being alone, and I wasn't a social person, I never felt comfortable with a crowd and always left a party early due to that.
Figure 2: Smile is a beautiful way to express kindless and love.
 Then, I met her, and she was perfect, for me, and she accepted me the way I am. This year, I celebrated my birthday with her, I usually celebrated it with my family. We had a simple special birthday hangout and walk, and go to as much place as we can, and had an elegant dinner at a simple restaurant just the both of us.

I'm not a lone ranger, or someone who likes to be alone, but even if I'm with friends, I can be alone. I need someone to be by my side, someone who cares and attend to my worries, someone to share my tears with, to argue with and a hand to hold knowing that she'll always be by my side.

And the most special thing which I would like to highlight is that, I prayed to God for someone like her, and she is perfect for me, she's patient, she's kind hearted, she respects her parents, and cares for her family, she's loving in a sense that she shows it in her action, but the most important, super special thing is, her love for God is there.

In any relationship I believe, if God's not there, if God's not the priority, then the relationship will never last. It will never be realized into marriage and will be tainted by sin. For this world is of sin and only good comes from our Father in Heaven.

I am therefore blessed and now, my relationship with God is growing too..
Figure 3: When the time comes I look forward for our marriage.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

High Cut Foot Wear

Figure 1: Converse High Cut All Leather.
I've always loved high cut foot wear, especially boots. I used to have Red Wing boots which are high cut and I love it, those are work wear so which I get during my internship with an Oil & Gas company. I gave it away with full generosity to my uncle and cousin but due to premature wear it didn't last long. I wasn't much a foot wear collector back then.

I didn't have any high cut foot wear until I got into college, I got my hands on a pair of Timberland boots, made in Korea though and were not original, I didn't care much about originality back then and was eager to wear a pair of those fabled "yellow" boots which were really famous till now. I got it raw, which were still yellow and furry.

But it didn't take long for that yellowness, furry to lost its original looking touch. In a year, the boot has lost its waterproofness and got damp all the time it rained. I always bring it jungle and a fair share of urban city trackking and it was a great experience at first. The inner part of the boots got worn and d inner leather was exposed.

It was really becoming uncomfortable to wear those pair of yellow boots, still it's a experience with those unoriginal footwear. Now I have a pair of white original "Made In USA" Timberland boots which I proudly wear whenever there is camping, hiking, rainy days and even during urban city walks. Really comfortable and recommended wear for anyone with tough attitude & high confidence.

Displayed above are a pair of high cut converse shoes which attracted my attention. I really want to grab a pair most probably but it not among my collection favorites (Adidas & Timberland) and also overspending. Those converse shoes are really God-send during a rainy day or a walk in the urban city or sandy beaches.

Might see me in a pair of these if I manage to find a UK10 at a reasonable price though, looking around and the biggest I can find is a UK8.5, not for me maybe..

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Life as a Fourth Year Student..

Studying has never been a cup of tea for me, it's always the urge to work and do it practically with my own hands. Maths has always been just numbers which makes no sense for me previously of course, before I entered university. Thinking and also life has changed significantly for me after entering university, I began to be able to relate what those theories in those thick books which I studied with enormous effort..
Figure 1: Among the places I like to hang out with a book on a sunny day.
I was never meant for books, even now and then I rarely refer to books unless there is a vital need to do so. Meaning to say that, books are opened whenever there is a need for reference or study for assignments or exams. I was never a bookworm unlike my sister who is a medical student at USM. She's a genius to score everything almost perfect.

However, I did make it finally to the final year even though I'm not such a great studious student but manage to make it averagely and also enjoyed myself along the way. Life is full of exciting adventures, but it's up to us to choose our own adventures and of course own it and experience it fully.

Figure 2: I'll be graduating here the 2nd time.
Gotta strive on and do my best to graduate on time, more adventures awaiting me, this study, final year project laden, last year of my studies will be a memorable one. Graduation is my main goal, to be able to walk out of this university with a piece of paper, so called a degree is a ticket to be finally called an "engineer".

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Levi's Vintage.. The collectibles legacy goes on..

Having a collector's hobby in heart since a child, i used to collect stamps, coins, marbles, bottle caps to name a few, but since I grew out of it and sold most of my collections away due to lost of interest, I have found a new hobby which really excites me due to it's vintage value and collectivity asset..

Figure 1: Modern Levi's 554 versus a Levi's Big E 503BXX
The newfound collection which interests me are workwears, which are used for more than a decade ago for hard labour which now has already found its way to the modern fashion industry. This interest has made me an avid collector searching every possible for a pair of these fabled jeans which are Levi's Big E jeans..

Figure 2: Levi's 503BXX Redline jeans with "NOTICE" care tag.
Since I started to have this line of collection hobby last few months ago, I have only managed to collect three pairs of Levi's Big E jeans which are repros made in Japan, still however, being a die hard fan of Levi's Vintage Collection, I am proud to own these pair of narrow loom specially made selvedge jeans..

These jeans are made from tough XX denim which are used for the old original pair during the olden times, the original riveted pair of jeans was patented by Levi's on the 20th May 1853, that is the one of the reasons I chose Levi's Vintage Collection as a part of my collection..
Figure 3: The V-stitch and doughnut shaped buttons on the Levi's Big E 702 XX.
The selvedge running along the outer seams of the jeans are also known as redlines or akaimimis which is "red ears" in Japanese. The selvedge in a pair of Levi's jeans are an indication if the pair of jeans is vintage or a vintage reproduction (Levi's Vintage Collection). There are other ways to know if a certain pair of jeans is vintage or not.

The selvedge is not only made out of redlines but also have bluelines which are trademarks of vintage Levi's jeans. However the first generation of Levi's vintage jeans are made up of duck cloth which has white lines or "white ears" in Japanese.

Figure 4: My pair of raw Levi's 702 XX Big E which has a vintage cinch.
I have a few modern levi's jeans which carries the small e on the red tab. Really love the quality of the material and also the unique design of the jeans. The small e on the red tab means that the jeans were made on the 1971 est. above. If the levi's jeans have a red tab with the big "E", those jeans were vintage and were made before 1971. 

An authentic and original vintage pair of Levi's jeans will always have a single number or letter stamped onto the top button. Never version of Levi's Vintage Collection jeans have tripple digits stamped onto the top button, for example 555 for United States of  America reproduction or J22, J09  for Japanese reproduction.

Figure 5: Levi's 503B XX has button stamps J22 on all fly button.