Leaving on A University Bus
Hmm. Hey folks, seems some people are still looking for me, hee hee. Am v. flattered. However, for the benefit of those who just tuned in, I'll be leaving for Langkawi tonight from the uni at about 10 o'clock. Yup, that means no internet access until Sunday. However, since I now have a phlogger account, do come back from time to time as I give a play by play commentary on what happens throughout the trip. So take care, have yourselves a good week/weekend, be safe (please) and if you can't be good, be careful.
Thursday, July 31
Leaving on A University Bus
Wednesday, July 30
These Are The Eyes Of Disarray
This has to honestly be one of my favourite songs, ever. Heard it first when I was 13, and got stuck ever since. I still hum it to myself (and also sing it), especially when I'm down. If you don't understand the lyrics, don't worry. Not many people do.
And I feel that time's a wasted go
So where ya going to tomorrow?
And I see that these are lies to come
Would you even care?
And I feel it
And I feel it
Where ya going to tomorrow?
Where ya going with that mask I found?
And I feel and I feel
When the dogs begin to smell her
Will she smell alone?
And I feel so much depends on the weather
So is it raining in your bedroom?
And I see that these are the eyes of disarray
Would you even care?
And I feel it
And she feels it
Where ya going to tomorrow?
Where ya going with that mask I found?
And I feel, and I feel
When the dogs begin to smell her
Will she smell alone?
When the dogs do find her
Got time, time, to wait for tomorrow..
Plush, Stone Temple Pilots, Core
Tuesday, July 29
It's Been a Hard Day's Night
It's 11 pm, and the Ox is tired. Finally made my way home and arrived just after 9.30, sticky, hot and hungry. McDs again, today. I guess I just didn't have the strength to choose, deliberate. Tomorrow's the Postgrad Seminar, and all the team's efforts for the past few months will be judged by what happens in that short space of less than a day. I'm too tired to be scared or nervous, and can't wait to just get it over with, and then move on to Thursday. Oh, if only it was so easy. I'll be MC-ing tomorrow, and as usual, I'll put on my most confident, slightly mischevious face and make it seem so, so easy. Because it is. All you need to do is look at a spot 6 inches over their heads and they'll think you're talking straight to them.
Times like this, when I'm tired and stressed out from an over-long day, I miss her the most. Meesh's talked about something like this in her blog, about how wanting to give and receive love being an inherent part of being human, and in my half dazed state I remember commenting twice on how much I agreed. Yes, I think I did. I'd like to think I'm over it now, that I've gone and moved on, that I can finally say Ash has definitely moved on.
But you know what? I don't think I have, yet. As much as I know it's not good for me, I still get jealous. Jealous..and sad, thinking of how much of her life I've missed these past few months. The studying, stress, exams, partying, flirting. And also how much of her life I'm going to continue to miss, especially the part she now shares with someone else. I fear that if I do see her again, I won't know her anymore, cause I've missed out too much. But I guess life is like that. I HAVE moved on, in a way, that I don't obsess, and I don't feel insane bouts of jealousy everytime she mentions his name, or the things she does.
I miss the past. But I also know I have the future to take care of. And a moping, hurt-puppy Ash won't be good for the future. That needs an Ash who knows what he wants, and is prepared to go and get it.
This will probably be my final proper post for the week. Tomorrow's gonna be hectic, and so will Thursday onwards. I'll try and update things on my phlog, so feel free to come by and check, as I share my experiences in Langkawi real time (or almost real time). Good night, people, be safe, and God bless.
Yay! SMS Blogging online!
Oh my God. Thanks to Jikon's post yesterday, I am now a proud owner of a phlog! This means that I can post updates to me blog all the way from Langkawi, hee hee! Check the little box at the left side for updates..so have a good Tuesday, everyone!
Monday, July 28
UPDATE! ** Find out what is REALLY on your hard drive with this free download from Red Dragon Software. Exposed sniffs out all the hidden image, movie, zip files and a lot more on your PC, and then lets you delete them! Next to a keylogger, this may be the best way to see what your kids (friend/spouse) have been up to. So get over there and download it now!
Yes, I know that sounded exactly like those irritating pop-up ads, but hey, we all gotta live a litte, and I never pop out (not with strangers, anyway).
It's been a hell of a week for the Ox. Crazy rushing to finish up work for the seminar this Wednesday (is it really this week?), then the Langkawi faculty trip from this Thursday all through Sunday. And in between, all the little details, the photo shoots, the chairing of the floor....urrrgh. This looks like a long, long week. The weekend was alright, even if everything was slightly blurry. I do remember some crazy stuff on Friday (oh you don't want to know), then work early Saturday morning..which worked out quite nicely since Jo was kind enough to invite me over for lunch karaoke (I'd like to nominate the fellas who came up with the RM 7 for 3 hour concept for sainthood, please). And then, after a hearty dinner of fatty crabs and warm toasted Delifrance baguettes, not to mention Jo's mum's yummy Yong Chow fried rice, finally ending with pancakes and durian sauce (oh my oh my). And then, to top it all off, several hours of shooting the warm, slightly smoky Bangsar breeze with the Meesh. Finally stumbled home late on Saturday night (sorry KaZ, the dinner thing took longer than expected, and I forgot I promised to see Meesh, hee hee).
Sunday dawned lazily, as it should. I spent some time getting up properly, since my head was still swimming with all that's been going on the past few days. My life hasn't exactly been the most cookie-cutter, run of the mill, although sometimes I like to think it is. I've gotten up to interesting, even downright risky stuff sometimes, but in the end, you learn something..which is good. Lucky for me (again), Jo decided to pick me up for brunch and then to Pyramid, where he was looking for some software for his iPaq. We even managed to sneak in an hour's worth of cooperative Halo on the Xbox. It was good to de-stress..which makes me think..shall I get an XBox for myself, this Christmas? (for the curious ones, yes, I wish people a Happy, Merry Christmas even though I'm muslim, because we're in Malaysia, and also I'm cool like that. Also because I feel like getting myself something nice, this year).
He sent me back just in time too, as this freak thunderstorm suddenly landed on us and left my area with no Streamyx access for most of the day. Grr. Still, I had the PS2, so I devoted the rest of the day to exploring the beauty that is Magic Pengel. Ahh.
Oh well, here's to a bloody crazy week that's about to start, to all the weird things that have been happening, and also to all that's going to happen. This week's posts will end tomorrow, so with any luck I'll be seeing you guys again next Monday. Have a good week, be safe, and God bless.
Friday, July 25
Freeeky Friday: Resident Zombie
Hey people! Welcome to the second Freeeky Friday, where the resident Ox talks movies about the movies he likes. Last week we trampled onto some unholy ground with the Horror edition, and this week, we continue the theme further with my very own Zombie Edition. Yeah, nothing brings back warm memories to the Ox than a well executed (he he), gory blast fest that is a good zombie movie. In today's column, I'll talk about some of my favourite films in this category, as well as several noteworthy offerings that any fan of the genre should look out for. So make sure you've got a barf bag ready, cause this can get Freeeaky!
The Zombie has always been a popular icon in pop culture. For some reason, the notion that the dead could come back to life (and often want to eat the living) scared some deep, primal part of ourselves. Some researchers believe this is why several cultures enact elaborate burial rituals, to ensure that the dead, stay dead. The ox doesn't know about that, but this horror geek sure knows that they are cool. The first zombie movie ever (according to this site) was White Zombie, made in 1932. Obviously, the Ox wasn't born yet at the time, so he cannot vouch for the authenticity/veracity of the claim. However, my first experience with zombies per se was in Michael "Wacko Jacko" Jackson's video of Thriller. I was hooked. Watching the dead come out of the graves and threaten the poor, innocent girl, was akin to watching a horror movie within a music video (although I was a bit surprised zombies could dance like that without their rotting heads and appendages falling off, hehe). Anyway, before I drone on too long, here are some of my favourites:
Night of The Living Dead (1968), remake (1990), Directed by George A Romero
Which horror aficionado can claim NOT to have seen either version? The story is simple enough: seven people get stranded in a farm house, as radiation from an unknown source brings the dead back to life. They must work together to last the night, but is all as it seems to be? Can anyone really be trusted? I myself have only been able to watch the original (1968) version once, and that was on a very bad bootleg VHS. Most people will be familiar with the color (1990) remake by (Italian horror maestro) Tom Savini, which IMO is not bad at all. Watching it again and again throughout the 90s, I recognised several themes that Romero incorporated into the original, and Savini carried over into his version. The original was shot in 1968, a time when the threat of nuclear annihilation and paranoia was rampant. A president had been assasinated, Vietnam was on the horizon, and everyone was scared. Racial intolerance and hate, the fear of war, all this was skilfully included into the films.
"As far as the tone of the piece, I think it just came from the anger of the times. It was 1968 and nobody was in a very gleeful mood about the way the world was going and so it just seemed appropriate to put those themes into the film as well"
George Romero (thanks to this site)
Meant to be part of an overarching trilogy, the series continued with Dawn of The Dead (1978). I only got to watch this once, also, but a DVD should be on the way soon, heheh. In the second film, the number of the living dead increases, and several survivors have no choice but to barricade themselves in an abandoned shopping mall. The zombies try to get in, and the survivors will have to pool their resources, or die. The series finally concluded with Day of The Dead (1985) a much darker sequel. Society has dissolved completely, and some remnants of human resistance hide in an underground complex, hoping to find a solution to the zombie menace. Again, the movie is not so much about murderous zombies than it is about the collapse of society, and what happens to normal, everyday people when they realise that there is noone to report to, no one responsible. In the years to follow, several sequels were made (not by Romero) and were generally cheap, unappealing fare. The ox is still trying to get all versions of the original trilogy, and perhaps a Romerofest is in order. Rumor has it that he is now working on Dusk of The Dead and a remake of Dawn is already on the horizon (why do they insist on spoiling good films?)
The Evil Dead Trilogy (The Evil Dead, Evil Dead II, Army of Darkness) directed by Sam Raimi
How can I not mention this series? I practically grew up with it! A group of teens, led by Ashley "Ash" Williams, (Bruce Campbell in his best role ever) spend a vacation in an abandoned cabin deep in the woods. When they unwittingly release an ages old evil, they find themselves trapped and attacked by hordes of flesh hungry creatures (later to be known as Deadites). It's since grown to become one of the most successful low budget horror movies ever made. Sam Raimi (if you think he sounds familiar, he directed Spiderman), his brother Ted (Joxer in the Xena series) and Bruce were all friends, and they loved making movies on Super 8. Through thick and thin, they pushed on to make the Evil Dead, and the final product shows just how much they had fun doing it. It's a testament to the power of good ol' hard work that the film (and its sequels) are where they are today. Contrary to popular belief, Evil Dead II is not a sequel, but rather a remake of the first, but still, I wouldn't ever watch the second while ignoring its predecessor. Army of Darkness takes an even weirder turn, plonking Ash back in the middle ages in order to strike at the heart of the Deadite Horde. I can't recommend it enough for the campy humor, cheesy special effects, and most of all, just good honest fun. Campbell and Raimi continue to work together even now, with him appearing as the wrestling announcer in Spiderman, and also in the running for the up and coming Plastic-Man.
Other notable mentions:
Cemetery Man/Dellamorte Dellamore (1994) directed by Michele Soavi
The cemetery man (Rupert Everett), a caretake of a graveyard in the sleepy town of Buffalora finds that the dead keep coming, and coming. He accepts his fate as the second death, but soon after, he tires and wishes to leave. But then leaving is never easy..
Interesting take on the notion of death (and perhaps hell). Worth a watch.
28 Days Later
From the director of Trainspotting, comes an updated zombie film for the new millennium. Some will hate it, and some will not. I personally think it's an interesting take on the genre. Mark (Noah Huntley) awakens in a hospital bed 28 days after a devastating virus hits the British Isles and turns London into a ghost town. Escaping the hospital, he is nearly killed by the infected "zombies" before bumping into Selena (Naomie Harris) who saves him and tells him what's been going on. The two then run into other survivors, and team up to find an army outpost that may be their only hope..or their doom. Shot on digital video, the film manages to capture the silence and solitude (as well as the gory action) of apocalyptic UK. I've got the DVD, so anyone wanna join me? Worth watching at least once.
Thanks to imdb for all the info I almost missed. Tell the Ox about YOUR favourite zombie flicks!
Well, that's all the time I have for this week. As usual, the weekend is around the corner, so take care, drive safe, and if you can't be good, be careful.
Thursday, July 24
Which Level of Dante's Inferno will YOU be in?
This is where I am, heheh.
The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Second Level of Hell!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
|Purgatory (Repenting Believers)||Low|
|Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)||Low|
|Level 2 (Lustful)||Very High|
|Level 3 (Gluttonous)||Low|
|Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)||Low|
|Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)||Moderate|
|Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)||Very Low|
|Level 7 (Violent)||Moderate|
|Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)||High|
|Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)||Low|
Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test
This post was inspired by Aiz and KaZ, who led me down memory lane.
"Gold Leader, standing by."
UPDATE* Peter Sanderson has another article on comics to TV. Get it here.
Okay, so we had one confession yesterday. Here's another one: I am a TV freak. As far back as I can remember, besides books, I always relied on TV for visual stimulation. Interesting, since I never really gave up one for the other (what, give up books?? never!!) and I consider myself to be, erm, balanced. Growing up in the early '80s really gave me a lot of fodder for watching. So I thought, since it was a part of me I look back fondly at, I might as well share it here, since I know there are others out there who remember too (it's okay, I won't tell). For those of you born post-1980, I'll cover your programming in another column. Okay. Here goes.
Programming back then was divided into neat genres. You had the superhuman/paranormal shows, the science fiction/spy dramas, comedies, action blast-fests and also various types of cartoons. Here are some, according to each category, for this week, and there will be more to come (hopefully) in time. Till then, if you think you have a show you'd like me to showcase, drop a comment, or email me here. In the meantime, enjoy!
The Six-Million Dollar Man
Okay. Who remembers the Fall Guy? Yes, this is for all 3 of you. Lee Majors (heartthrob, back then) played Col. Steve Austin, astronaut extraordinaire. A crash in an experimental aircraft leaves him near death, but not before the guvmint takes this opportunity to replace his legs, right arm and left eye with cybernetic implants. As a result, he is recruited into the OSI (Office of Scientific Intelligence) and performs missions to save the free world from dastardly villains. The cost to make him was (yes, you're right, cyborgs were cheap back then) only 6 million dollars, hence the name. One of the earliest series on TV to prominently make use of cybernetics, the show was inspired by the novel Cyborg, written by Martin Caidin (thanks to The Bionic Woman FIles for the info). What started off as a sci-fi movie based on the book quickly evolved into a comic-book serial feel, as the fan base literally exploded across America. The show ran for about 5 years and managed to turn a particular sound (fans will know what I'm talking about) into a household trademark. The show also spawned several made-for TV movies (including one with a young Sandra Bullock).
Steve Austin could run and swim at 60mph, bend steel bars with his right hand and also see faraway objects with his right eye (yeah, I know you kids are thinking Arnie can do that, too! Well, tough luck, kids, these shows ran when Arnie was still Mr Protein Brain).
In the beginning, he is so shocked by the changes in his body (and life) and tries to commit suicide (how's that for character development in the 80s?)
Steve routinely enlists the help of his school sweetheart turned bionic superwoman, The Bionic Woman
Steve insists on wearing the same track suit for every action scene (okay, this is just me griping)
The episodes started getting sillier and sillier, as viewers demanded more and the writers shelled out half-baked scripts as fast as they could.
The Bionic Woman
Ahh. How easy it was back then. Get into an accident, survive long enough for a super-top secret government agency to rescue you and outfit you with several bionic implants, and voila! Instant hero (or heroine, in this case). First apprearing as a guest in an early Six Million Dollar Man episode, tennis pro Jaime Sommers (Lindsay Wagner, it's okay, ask your parents) was Col. Steve Austin's sweetheart and was about to marry him, when she was involved in a nasty parachute accident. This resulted in similar injuries to our astronaut hero (although instead of an eye, Jaime got a bionic ear) and soon, she was also recruited into the OSI. A major (pun intended) story arc was that due to the accident, she had no recollection of her past with Steve, which proved difficult on our erstwhile hero (for more complete details on Jaime's trials and tribulations, check out this site). However, in the course of the show, she recovered some of her memories, and the duo helped stopped many a wannabe villain from disrupting the peace. As the series wound to a close, she became closer to Steve, and though she resigned from the OSI to become a counsellor, they returned from time to time to stop international crises. She was also featured in all of the Bionic movies, with the final movie, Bionic Ever After seeing them both finally tie the knot.
She could hear footsteps from a mile away, also run at more than 60mph (actually the value was closer to 67) and could jump (fans will remember her bionic jump fondly) to the roof of a 12 story building.
Oh, and she can bend steel, too.
She was one of the first female superheroes to ever grace the small screen with her own show. Cool.
Jaime's show (either intentionally or not) proved to be an interesting study in gender relations back in the 70s. See here.
The show quickly became rehashes of earlier Six Mill Man episodes, which also got sillier as time went by.
Viewers desperately wanted to see the Bionic Woman and Steve Austin hitched, which probably pushed the writers to sometimes bend too far.
The Bionic Woman and Six Million Dollar Man will always be two shows I can look back fondly on. I remember coming back from kindergarten, breathlessly slamming the door and the gate to plonk myself down with a cool glass of Ribena and watch as Steve or Jaime kick butt on screen. Nobody really died in the series (as most deaths occured off-screen) and all in all, it was good, campy fun for a kid growing up with his nose mostly in books. The movies were a mixed bag, but I kinda agree that they provided closure for the series, and allowed Col Austin and Jaime Sommers to exit gracefully from our cold war era minds. If you're interested in checking out the movies, go here and type "six million dollar man" (without quotes, of course). Thanks for reading, and have a good day, folks!
Next Week: Will it be Battlestar Galactica or Shazam? Tune in, action lovers, for the next exciting episode of....Telly Thursdayyy!
Wednesday, July 23
Weekly World Wednesday
I have a confession to make. I like conspiracy theories, I think UFOs (or else there should be a bloody good explanation for all the weird stuff people take pictures of, can't be that many weather balloons up there, can there?) may exist, and I've seen some instances that seriously make me think that ghosts (or spirits) are a valid form of phenomena. So am I a kook? Perhaps. But face it, for everyone of you serious Herald Tribune, Time or Newsweek readers, there are at least an equal number of people who regularly turn to the Weekly World News and assorted tabloids for their fix of wacky goodness. Now I for one, think that some of these things really warrant a serious scientific inquiry, free of labelling and jeering, while as for others..well. Now before I go any further, I'd like to point out that the information I'm going to hand out may be false or unverified, that I am in no way an expert in the field of cryptozoology, UFOlogy or government coverups, and that all these clippings should be taken with a healthy dose of salt. Preferably of the rock variety. So for those of you waiting for the work day to close, get a hot cup of coffee, open a document and minimise it (just in case) and sit back, as we explore some of the lesser known news stories. Enjoy.
The Bad Astronomer
Earlier this year, some people predicted that the world would end because a massive unknown planet (known as Nibiru, or planet X) would pass by the Earth, therefore causing a shift in our magnetic/gravitational field and inflicting what would effectively be doomsday. Pictures were circulated of this planet, as it sped (or so they say) towards our little green one. Quite a stir was caused, as some people actually believed this. As usual, NASA and the world's governments were accused of hiding/covering up the news (although what good it would do for them to cover up an event of this magnitude eludes me). What made it worse was that some of these 'prophets' claimed to receive their knowledge from aliens, and also that various works of historical art pointed to the existence of this strange planet (cue Erich Von Daniken). The date for this mega apocalypse was set to be the 17th of May, 2003. Well, I was understandably worried, since it would be barely 3 days after my birthday. I did hold my breath (since you can't be too careful) but the date came and went, and there was no Pole Shift (as they call it). Neither was there any kind of object in the atmosphere anywhere near resembling said planet. Ookay. Score one for the scientists on this one. In the early months before the supposed event, I surfed around and found the website of an astronomer called Phil Plait, who runs the website BadAstronomy.com. In it, he debunks very nicely assorted claims such as these, using scientific principles and examples. Definitely worth a read, and very informative, too. It was by reading his site (and others linked to it) that I was able to get an objective assessment of the situation, and thus reassure some people who were already preparing to run to the hills (not that it would have made a difference). If you're interested, drop by his Nibiru page to get the scoop. Or better yet, try running a search on Google (or any other search engine) to see what some of these so called prophets have to say.
Phil is also responsible for another page debunking claims that the Apollo 11 moon landings were faked by NASA. Of course the more conspiracy minded of us would think "well he IS working for NASA", but I seriously recommend checking it out. For those of you unfamiliar with the story, earlier this year, there were rumors that NASA and the US government faked the Apollo moon landings to gain political superiority over the Soviet Union. As proof, proponents of this theory often pointed out seeming mistakes in the pictures that the astronauts captured while on the moon surface. However, this particular theory has fizzled out somewhat, especially since Phil has demonstrated (often using examples you can try at home) how these theories are wrong.
Additionally, his site also has movie reviews, especially of those using a scientific premise (The Core, Armageddon, etc). I'd whole heartedly recommend this site to anyone with a scientific frame of mind and who is interested in some good ol' scientific detective work.
The Fortean Times
As we read about war, rape, pillage and the threat of nuclear destruction, we sometimes get bogged down by the sheer gloominess of it all. However, there are some bits and pieces of news we never see, and it's these bits that are the speciality of the Fortean Times. Started waay back when, the Fortean Times is a delightful compendium of all things strange and sometimes wacky. Consider the following clippping on today's version of the site (thanks to the forteantimes.com):
"23 July. Just before the schools broke up for the summer holidays in 1989, Sarah Jayne Tait, aged six, from Edinburgh, came home upset and crying, her left eye painful and badly swollen. Her teachers and her family could see nothing in her eye, and neither could the doctors at the Sick Children's Hospital. Finally a specialist at the Eye Pavilion put a probe behind her eye, and out popped a baked bean. Sarah Jayne had no idea how the bean had got there. She didn't even like baked beans."
This and more such stories await readers almost every day. The team of newshounds scour newspapers (printed and online) as well as international news sources in order to bring you some of the weirdest stories ever to grace the media. They cover topics ranging from cerealogy (the study of crop circles), UFOlogy, cryptozoology (the study of mysterious animals) and many, many more. It's interesting to read because they carry on the original Charles Fort's legacy: not to make judgements, but instead, collect these stories in order to investigate them someday. For those of you interested, you may read about the colourful life of Charles Fort here. Very entertaining, and (to the ox, at least) helps bring back some of the magic into the world. The Charles Fort Institute is another good site for those of you interested in the weird. Good stuff.
Other links that should be interesting to fellow weird-news collectors:
Rense.com - this is a site that's updated several times a day and has articles on politics, sex, entertainment, government policies and more. They claim that regular media only gets their scoop sometimes months after it has appeared on rense. I dunno about that, but it sure is an interesting read.
UFOs in Art History - Thought provoking series of ancient art that seems to portay UFOs.
Well that's about all the time we have this week, so tune in again next week for another edition of Weekly World Wednesday, your tabloid in a blog!
Tuesday Ends, and So Does Everything Else
Silly, silly Ox. Couldn't be patient could you, had to push? Sleep, Ox, it's late. (But I'm sad) Shh. Sleep. And pray that you can make it right.
Five miles outside of Vegas when we broke down
Threw my keys inside the window and we never looked back
Got all drunk and sloppy on a Greyhound bus
We passed out, all them losers they were laughing at us
I will never let them break your heart
No I will never let them break me
We got lost in Phoenix, seemed like such a long time
Seven months of livin' swimming on those thin white lines
Did some time for sellin' acid to the wrong guy
Life just keeps on gettin' smaller and we never ask why
Why there is no perfect place, yes I know this is true
I'm just learning how to smile
That's not easy to do
I know there will come a day
When we can leave and just go runnin' away
We was broke outside of Philly when the storms came
I was working in New Jersey, hitchin' rides in the rain
You was happy talkin' dirty at that phone sex place
Life just keeps on gettin' weirder for us every day
You say there is no perfect place, I say I know this is true
We are just learning how to smile
That's not easy to do
We both live for the day
When we can run away
Oh baby we can leave and run away
Yes we can leave this place and run away
We can leave it all behind like we do every time
Yes we both live for the day
When we can leave and just go runnin' away
No I will never let it break your heart
No I will never let it break me
Five miles outside of Vegas, five years down the line
We got married in the desert and the sunshine
I can't handle how the hell it happens every day
When you smile and touch my face
You make it all just go away
Yes I know there ain't no finish line, I know this never ends
But I'm just learning how to fall, climb back up again
I know there is nothing perfect, I know there is nothing new
We are just learning how to live together, me and you
You know I live for the day
When you say "Baby let's just run away"
Oh baby we can leave and run away
Yes we can leave this place and run away
Baby we can leave and run away
We can leave this place and run away
Learning How To Smile, Everclear: Songs from an American Movie, vol.1
Tuesday, July 22
Tech Tuesday: The Stuff of Legend
Hello again folks! Welcome to another instalment of Tech Tuesday, my regular (well, somewhat) weekly column dedicated to various aspects of tech that affects the mainstream consumer (yes, that means you and me!), especially games. As noted in last week's post, the Ox is a crazy gamer, and will try anything at least once. (Ahem). Well, enough about me, on with the show!
Software.Ox - Where the ox shares some if his favourite downloads and other cool bits.
We all know how bloated the latest version of Acrobat is (not the reader). Well, for those of you who need to convert your documents pronto without the hassle of loading a slow, ugly monster of a program here's a free piece of software that should just make your day. It's called PDFMoto (no it's not part of the Motorola ad campaign). It's a relatively small (9Mb) download, and it not only converts Word, Excel and Visio documents to PDF, but also can automatically upload it to your website and create an index page that links to the files. Cool, no? It runs on a centralised approach, where it monitors any changes to the files and updates the versions on the website automatically, but what are you doing here still reading this? Get it here.
Image Editors. We all use them in some way or another, and everyone knows how much of a resource (and money) hog Photoshop is. Before you flame me, I agree that it is perhaps the best editing program around. But sometimes, we don't have the space or just plain can't afford it. So here are the Ox's suggestions on cheap(er) and also free alternatives. Personally, the Ox likes Jasc's Paint Shop Pro, and at less that USD100 it will still leave you with some, er, cash. However, for a wonderfully free alternative try Serif PhotoPlus, a fully featured editor that not only supports layers and plugins, but is also user friendly and a small, small download to boot. Highly recommended. Also, go here for a list of image editors you can use. Got any other cheap (or even free) alternatives? Let the Ox know.
Also, for you P2P freaks out there, there is an update to Kazaa. Now in version 2.5.1, it boasts better security so that strange people can't simply send messages to you. I have to warn you though: the newer versions of this P2P app tends to install a lot of piggyback programs that cannot be disabled without also disabling Kazaa itself.
In other news, for people (like me) who are interested in Linux but don't have the time (or expertise) to wrestle with the installation, try this. It's a mini Linux distribution that not only runs off a CD, but is also only a 50MB dowload! That's like a tenth of Knoppix (which is also a very good installation-free distro) but easier on the bandwidth. If you missed the earlier link, here it is again. And finally, here's a list of MS Office alternatives, just so you know. Each is well worth the download, in case you're tired of waiting for Office XP to load up all the shared libraries and what not.
Hardware.Ox - Gadgets that the Ox loveees.
Okay, so yesterday I put out an early Christmas wish list. Yes, the Ox earns about as much as the average fresh graduate, even though he's been working awhile. But we can dream, can't we? For instance, look at this. Wouldn't you just love to bring it to the office? Talk about a Ferrari of laptops.Oh, my God (drool). While we're on the subject, early adopters (read: you rich people out there) may want to check out these offerings. Home entertainment doesn't get more cutting edge than this. Also, before I burst a blood vessel, look at this baby. It's the new Sony handheld, and while I don't really make it a point to buy Sony stuff, this one..just..makes..it..difficult...to breathe.
Games.Ox - Did I mention I love games? Did I?
So you think you're a gamer, huh? Played everything under the sun? Beat Contra on Hard with a blindfold and only your toes? (oh ok, maybe I was exaggerating). Then take this test, please. At least you'll feel better about yourself..or not. For all you FPS fans, prepare to rejoice. The makers of MOH:AA (That's Medal of Honour: Allied Assault) has just given Gamespot a beautiful preview of their new shooter, Call of Duty. Expect massive environments, lots of bloody mayhem, and yes, bolt action rifles. Due out later this year, it's got fans drooling all over the place. Yuck. Erm, check it out here. For more gaming goodness, check back on Thursday. I'll have more news, previews and stuff then.
Whoa. This has been one massive update. Have a good Tuesday, people! And as always, feel free to let me know what you think, drop a comment, or mail me. Bye!
Einstein on the Beach
Yeah, so I can't sleep. Ugh. Anyways, this song came to mind, as I was struggling to to drift off. Enjoy.
Wrapped in strands of fist and bone
Doesn't have to mean you're on your own
You can look outside your window
He doesn't have to know
We can talk awhile, baby
We can take it nice and slow
All your life is such a shame, shame, shame
All your love is just a dream, dream, dream
Are you happy when you're sleeping?
Does he keep you safe and warm?
Does he tell you when you're sorry?
Does he tell you when you're wrong?
I've been watching you for hours
It's been years since we were born
We were perfect when we started
I've been wondering where we've gone
All your life is such a shame
All your love is just a dream
I dreamt I saw you walking up a hillside in the snow
Casting shadows on the winter sky as you stood there
One for sorrow Two for joy
Three for girls and four for boys
Five for silver Six for gold and
Seven for a secret never to be told
There's a bird that nests inside you
Sleeping underneath your skin
When you open up your wings to speak
I wish you'd let me in
All your life is such a shame
All your love is just a dream
Open up your eyes
You can see the flames of your wasted life
You should be ashamed
You don't want to waste your life
I walk along these hillsides In the summer 'neath the sunshine
I am feathered by the moonlight falling down on me
Change, change, change
A Murder of One, Counting Crows:August And Everything After
These Are A Few of My Favourite Things
Just came back from dinner with Jo and Lia again. We went to MidValley, where I knew Jo was keen on getting an Ipaq and Lia wanted a leather case for hers. Not long after we arrived, I bumped into Hani and her cousin. Babe Alert! And horror upon horrors, I was wearing the exact same grey shirt I wore to karaoke! Nooooo! (And in case you're interested, it was washed).
Anyway, pleasantries exchanged, we proceeded to get dinner and go gadget shopping (probably the only kind of shopping I like). Managed to persuade Jo to get the 1940 Pocket PC (although I was ogling the 2210 and Zire 71 instead). Gadgets. V. bloody nice and good looking and shite, and also v. bloody expensive. Gah. Secretly wished for credit card, and almost ran to booth where nicely clad young men and women were waiting to recruit desperate people like self into world wide cabal of card holders. No, Ash, not yet.
Arrr. Sometimes, it is a good thing to have no money. Therefore you are not able to waste any. All in all, everyone was v. happy with their purchases, and I even managed to stop myself from getting two PS2 games! Magic Pengel, and Summer Heat Beach Volleyball (drool) will just have to wait, good games that they are. My Palm m130's still in pretty much good condition, even having fallen off the roof of my car. And I love it to death, skewed hinges and all.
The drive back was v. nice. I brought me camera along, in case caught sight of weird ad-toting person, but instead, Jo opened the sunroof and I was able to take smashing (to me, at least) pictures of the Federal Highway at night. Shall be uploading them to the fotoblog soon, so keep an eye out. Blurry lights, carbon laced air, mad drivers. Ahh, KL.
That's it for today, then. Tomorrow's Tech Tuesday, so will definitely have to prepare. Good night, people. Sleep well.
Ooh. Nearly forgot. I have an early Christmas wish list, in no particular order:
1) Nintendo Game Boy Advance SP (ahhh. pure gaming goodness)
2) Apple Ipod (music!!)
3) HP iPaq H2210
4) Microsoft XBox (just for Halo)
5) A Yamaha Home Theatre system, with support for Dolby Digital ES and DTS goodness
6) The complete Terry Pratchett Discworld series
7) A nice Philips TV with component and S-Video
Others will be added as we progress. Goodnight!
Monday, July 21
So much has been said on unfairness, lately. Unfairness, mistreatment and violence. Towards women, towards our arts scene (though I am not an active art enthusiast myself), towards minorities, even towards tourists. So we feel (righteous?) anger, and we take up the good fight. I noticed something yesterday that caught my eye, and set me thinking. Maybe some enlightened readers can help me solve this little mystery..and divulge if this is fair.
I was in ss15 Subang Jaya, buying some burgers for my sister, when I saw what looked like a big whiteboard with an ad for a Japanese restaurant, near a junction. The way it was swaying was a bit suspicious though, and when I looked properly, I saw it for what it was. A crude handwritten ad on a board, held by this one person who was (thankfully) sitting on a chair. The board was quite big, since it covered his whole upper body when he sat (and wide, too). Conversation with the burger-stall owner revealed that usually the man would sit there from around noon till 8 or 9 pm. I left my camera at home (unfortunately) and was unable to get a shot.
The question is: is this legal? Does this constitute employee abuse? I am unsure whether there are several people manning the board, but the thought of spending hours behind a heavy board like that, holding it up while the sun beats down on you.. seems a bit, well, harsh. I'll try and snap some pictures and post them, so keep tuning in, and if anyone has any info on the matter, do post it here. I find the situation somewhat..interesting.
Okay, some interesting links I found during the weekend:
Email is courriel in French
Sony's new CPU for the CLIE
Darwinian Poetry (funky)
The world's scariest robot
What does your last name mean?
10 ways to make your XP box run better
More updates soon!
Sunday, July 20
Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head
Shameless plug: look at my fotoblog.
Hello, people. Am currently sitting with a stiff (read: painful) neck on a Sunday afternoon. The lazy kind. Been a good couple of days, though, if the bags under my eyes are any indication. Started out with dinner on Friday at a steamboat place. Not too bad, with a Mongolian spin on the cuisine (there was no yak meat, though). Then since we were lazy to go back so early, decided to drop by Planet (again) to see the Big Band. Ended up going back at 2 or so (after the final set). Yeah, good music and good company mix very well indeed. Was v. nice of Jo to stay back (he had to drive to Penang the next day) but I could tell he was enjoying himself. Would have met up with KaZ, but he was unavoidably detained at a friend's, heheh.
Made my weary way back home around two something, partly deaf, stumbled inside, changed, and fell into a good dreamless sleep, the kind we chase but rarely get.
The next day dawned late, and I was greeted with painful (cheery) needles down my neck and shoulders. Headbanging indeed. Ouch. Cursed the morning away, then got ready for Karaoke with some blogger girls. Meesh couldn't make it, so there was only me, Hani, Irene, Grace, Callista and Rach (in no particular order). Good, clean fun. Being the only guy is an interesting experience. Fortunately, having received training from someone (yes you know who you are) back in the day, I wasn't so badly off and managed to play host at least competently, I think (this sounds like another shameless plug). Interesting, interesting indeed, and I even got to sit down with Irene and talk beforehand, during lunch. Comparative religion, the workings of the press, legal implications. Dave's Deli never tasted better (even if I did lose two beautiful GBAs there. Waaaaah!!!).
After 4 wholesome hours, it was then upstairs to Giant (where Irene and Grace had to do a little shopping) and then dinner at Kenny Rogers' Singing Chicken, before we all finally parted ways around nine. Such fun. Thanks, girls. This Ox was very very happy, not to mention pooped.
But later that night, for some strange reason I couldn't sleep. Very late, I needed to do something, go somewhere. So I took my camera, jumped in the car, and drove. Headed for KL, Sultan Ismail, hoping to capture some flesh. God decided to spare my eyes, though, and so it rained. Wonderful fat drops, heavier by the minute. I snapped away, oblivious, and also careful to not crash into anything. Swung round Hartamas, snapping some more pictures before I realised I was very very sleepy. So made my way back, and like the night before, collapsed into oblivion. Nice.
Youth is wasted on the young, they say.
But the old waste their youth.
Too hot to think. Updates later!
Was I Good Company?
Blurry (streaks, can your eyes follow them?) and she clicks
Capturing (frames, memories) flash of skin
"We could leave, you know,"
"Are you sure?"
(too good, he thinks)
"Did you get that shot?"
She tells him more than a story has
Of children running
(have you ever fished like that?)
Of a little girl
Of beaches and shells
Of hot, hot sand
(Weren't we all little, once?)
There is a point to this
The beaches, gramophones
"Tell my story," she asks.
takes a shot of her (memories) flesh
makes the stories real
Friday, July 18
Okay. First off, before I forget. Noorhidayat found a wonderful little file that allows entertainment deprived PS2 owners like me to watch divX movies (burned to CD) on the console, and he even posted instructions! Yes! Which essentially means that through the wonders of KaZaa and various P2P apps, I can now be a fim distributor! I shall leave it to him to explain further, so head on over there! (My, my, that was a lot of exclamation marks).
And another thing. Jikon Lai has managed to draft what I feel is a pretty good disclaimer on his site, and he's sharing it for anyone who wants to. Therefore, I'd advise you to go and read it first before proceeding, as I think all the elements apply here too. At the end of the day, you're welcome to leave comments here and yes, even flames.
Welcome back to the Ox's Freaky Friday, where we talk about mostly stuff that interests me, and a small cross section of you surfers out there. Today's edition: Horror Movie Magic! Yes, Halloween is still far off, but I have been so deprived of good horror entertainment lately I find myself going back to the classics: Rosemary's Baby. Evil Dead. Until yesterday. I was flipping through the Star when my roving eyes stopped at a little ad promising (horror upon horrors!) Freddy vs Jason. Okay, cue wavy effect, I'm going into a flashback. Necessary exposition, you know.
I was very scared of cerita hantu when I was a kid. Scared, but at the same time intrigued. You know, the kind of scared where you still sit in front of the tube with a pillow over your eyes for the scary parts? I lived for those moments. I'd end up with nightmares sometimes, but whenever there was a new one, I'd be the first to be there, pillow in hand, of course. I'd watch everything, from the black and white Orang Minyak, Hantu Jerangkung, and Toyols, to Tamil and Chinese horror movies. Ahh, those were the days. Until now, I like to attribute my vivid imagination to 1) Enid Blyton, and 2) Horror Movies. Other influences include The Omen trilogy, and George Romero's Living Dead series. The advent of DVD gives us horror buffs a chance to finally keep our favourite moments without worrying about fungus and tape decay. Okay, end flashback.
Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees. Two names that literally took the late 70's and 80's by storm and reinvented the slasher genre given to us by John Carpenter in Halloween. These were half-supernatural, near unstoppable killing machines, and fans longed for the day when these two giants of horror would face off against one another (kinda like Godzilla vs Gidrah, but that's fodder for another post). Unfortunately, as the slasher genre sputtered (due to lackluster sequels), interest waned until finally word got out that New Line Cinema acquired the rights to make a new movie, one with both characters. The end result may not be great, but I'd sure watch it for the nostalgia. Oh, and for comic fans, Aliens Vs Predator is also underway. Stay tuned for Xenomorph busting goodness.
*UPDATE!!* For those of you who remember Peter Sanderson's great article on comic book movies a week back, he has a new one up! Check it out!
I could go on and on about my favourite horror movies, but I think I'll make it kind of like a weekly column or so. Freaky Fridays. Yeah, for a movie-loving geek, nothing beats having a whole movie marathon on DVD with a huge supply of Pringles and Coke. Mmmm. But I digress. I appreciate any contributions/ideas on how to structure the column. Start by genre, perhaps? Or do we explore the upsurge in Asian horror films? All this and more movie goodness will be forthcoming, my friends, and I think I'll top off each week's column with a recommendation of sorts. I'd really like to know. And for those of you who don't really dig these movies, do not fret. The Ox also watches mainstream (and art films), therefore I'll try to balance off the column, alternating between types.
This week's Horror Flick(s) are:
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Considered by many to be among the best horror films ever, Rosemary's Baby is a study of paranoia and despair. Directed by the now infamous Roman Polanski, the impression I got after watching it was..disturbing. A young newly wed couple moves into an apartment with a bad reputation. Husband is a struggling actor, and the wife (Mia Farrow) begins to hear strange noises as she is often alone. When a woman she meets suddenly commits suicide and she finds out the is pregnant, Rosemary struggles to tread the line between trust and fear for her child. It may not appeal to many (such is the nature of these movies) but to those who are interested, it's worth a watch. There was a sequel (made for TV) but it floundered due to a bad script and casting choices (another bane of horror movies).
The Devil's Backbone/ Espinazo del Diablo (2001)
Directed by Guillermo Del Toro (who also directed Blade 2, Cronos (a must see!), Mimic and the upcoming Hellboy, this is a bittersweet tale of friendships, love, trust, and also ultimately, ghosts. Set in Civil War era Spain, the stories unfold in many different directions at once, making it a layered, almost sentimental movie at the end. A definite must see, if only for the characters, and the finale. A boy gets enrolled into a boarding school where an unexploded bomb sits in the main courtyard, the headmistress has no legs and there is a ghost in the school kitchen. Shall I ruin it for you more? No, go and catch this wonderful piece of storytelling. Pronto.
Well that's all the time we have for Freaky Friday. So have a good weekend, drive safe, and if you can't be good, be careful.
Thursday, July 17
The Famous Five Go To A Circus
Final post for the night. Am retiring (yes, bersara, like in the first Batman movie I saw at the cinema) early, since am not feeling too well and the day has just been very very long. Tiring and hot. Had a good dinner tho, with Jo and Lia and IdaZ and yes, even Moose. Food was good, company excellent. What else does a guy need? After looking at Grace and KaZ's pictures, am tempted to start a little photo essay-action myself, heheh. Yes, I am a copycat, and life is good. Will probably host it on the fotopages site, since they seem friendly enough (and I can't afford anything else, honest!).
I really hope my pay raise comes through this month, so I can finally splurge on some books I've been having my eye on. The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, for one. Starting the Flashman! series, for another (no, not the Japanese series). Maybe something by Gaiman, if I can find it. Coraline was just so beautiful, it was sad that I had to end it. Maybe Clive Barker's Abarat, since I'd like to see one of my favourite horror-meisters do a children's book. But then again, that's what Gaiman's been doing. I need books. And I need them now. Good thick fantasy or humour fiction that I can just curl up with, like old times. A true crime bible from Colin and Damon Wilson would be nice too. And then there's the gaping window in my room...
Yes, a photoblog begins to look more and more attractive. Hmm. Oh well, my brain's too skewered to write properly. Maybe tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, tomorrow.
Ash is getting sick.
Ash is tired.
Ash is scared of decisions and choices.
Ash is tired.
A lot's been happening on the tech and gadget front, but I'm in no shape to write tonight, therefore I promise that a proper update will be forthcoming (at least once) tomorrow. If I'm in the mood, I might even have a wrap up Friday, with some more tech-y, public concern-issuey goodness. Yes, very much so. Goodnight, people. See you tomorrow!
pick a song and sing a yellow nectarine
take a bath, I'll drink the water that you leave
if you should die before me -
ask if you can bring a friend
pick a flower, hold your breath
and drift away...
Still Remains, by Stone Temple Pilots (Purple)
Whoah. Am very tired indeed. Spent most of the day chasing a paper trail that wound so deep and complicated, I ended up forgetting what it was I was doing in the first place. Welcome to the joys of government bureaucracy. Still, I pushed on, doggedly as some people say, hoping that I'd be the one to get somewhere finally, beating the system. I had pictures of my triumphant face (in my imagination) as I held the ultimate letter proclaiming my project XXXX was approved and (gasp) has funding.
Well let me tell you something. It ain't easy. The system insists on beating you down, and then grinding its pointed heel into your upturned crotch. And somewhere, you know there are the controllers, the ones who come up with all these documents to sign in triplicate and stamp, and then to be approved and re-stamped by 4 different persons in 5 different departments. So what if you have an internet connection, or groupware. In the land of the bureaucrats, the stamp-holder is king. Oh I will get you someday, yes I will. And revenge will be sweet. MMMmm. Until then I plot and work (since it DOES pay the bills) and I also remember that some people are not as lucky as I am.
Yes. I do count my blessings, and be thankful. For all my moaning and complaining, there are some gems who work in the main office, and for that I thank God. And I do get to pay the bills on time, and feed the cats, and go out once in awhile. I may not be raking it in, but then again, what use is all the money in the world if you can't appreciate it? I got an offer for a side project yesterday, and hopefully it will work out. Until then, I'll just make sure I do my job the best I can, and try not to trample over too many bureaucrats on my way up. Wearing my bulletproof vest, of course.
Updates later, my friends. Good evening. I have dinner to attend to.
Oh What Stories She Tells
"Think of the beach"
my friend tells me
salt tang on your
like a kiss
don't forget the sand
sand (grit?) between your toes
silica, life, death
and your hair (no hair?)
she giggles, it should whip across your face
because (as you know}
hair is like that
at the beach
funny how laughter
like a bubbling brook (water?)
peals like a bell (in books) and poems
such as this
different in real life
they tell stories
she says, and my
friend is sad
because no one listens
and so she cries
(like the sea and waves)
but no one listens
Tuesday, July 15
Tech Tuesday: Gaming Edition
Hey people. I've changed my name! The blog's now called the Insane Ox speaks! Oh well, I was hoping it'd be a move to a paid site and therefore MT but I think that can wait...hehehe.
And I almost forgot about Tech Tuesday! The one day of the week when I decide to post the wonderfully tech-y things that I come across (or use on the web). Today's edition: Games!
Every week, the team of writers at GameSpot get together and pool their thoughts on the state of the video/computer gaming industry. The column is called GameSpotting. Interesting stuff, but this week I was intrigued by two particular posts:
The Dark Side of Online Gaming, by Troy Matsumiya. He tells of his real life experiences playing against assorted unpleasant characters online, and gives his opinions on the matter. Perhaps there are lessons to be learnt in relation to blogging?
Real Life: The Game Review, by Greg Kasavin. Honestly, this is targeted for the legions of MMPORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) out there. Written in the style of a video game review, it is insightful as well as being a poignant reminder of how sometimes we take the many opportunities in life for granted. I'm booting up the game right now!
Okay. So Xbox owners are going on and on about Halo being the next best thing to sliced bread, yadda yadda. Well PC owners, rejoice, for Halo is coming over to the platform big time. Of course, you may need to spend some cash in order to make sure your beige box can actually handle the game, but if you're interested in seeing what it has to offer, have a peeksie here, thanks to the wonderful fellas at IGN. This is the game that sold over 3 million units. Good FPS action.
In other console related news, some smart bloke over there in Blighty managed to turn his PS2 into a fully functional web browser. Lucky sod. According to Martyn, potentially the browser will be able to access any site at all. Now all they need is the hard drive..
Also, gadget freaks, prepare to slobber. Nintendo has just announced that it will release a special limited edition Famicom GBA SP for (gasp) Japan only. Which means that you MAY be able to get it here, since we usually get all the cool colours. But seeing as the good old N only intends to make 1000 units, it's gonna be a stretch. Anyone wanna sponsor me to Tokyo?
Well, that's all the time I have for games this Tuesday, come back for more, and also check out the gaming thread in Cakap-cakap Petaling Street. Register, and give me your two cents on the state of video/computer games in Malaysia. The ox is a gaming freak, and therefore welcomes all and any news, views and previews.
Now go away, I want to finish Mace Griffin, Bounty Hunter.
The Dice Are Loaded, Thank You
Another Tuesday. Funny how time moves so fast nowadays. Measuring time in blog posts, we move from entry to entry, reading, reacting, commenting. Other people's lives we see. Other people's hopes, dreams, worries, achievements and of course, follies. How wonderful it is when we do not have to think of our own pain. How easy it is to sink.
I am 25 this year.
I have no idea what I'm doing.
Have always played it safe, studied reasonably well, stayed out of trouble (well at least as far as my parents know..shh) and generally been..okay. So now I'm faced with a choice: stay on at the university, find a scholarship for my PhD and fly next year..and return to confirmed tenure (read: bonded for another 7 years); or wait it until my bond ends come 2006 and generally start out from there. I've been asked what I intend to do after I quit. I honestly have no idea.
Self improvement is masturbation. Self destruction is the key.
Tyler Durden, The Fight Club
Perhaps I shall apply for a scholarship to the UK, finish my doctorate. Maybe even work there. A good friend told me that's quite a viable little idea. And then, what? People like to ask. For once in my life, I say I don't know, and I like it that way. Too much planning already, maybe it's time I took a little gamble. It may even be good.
Tea. scones, crumpets, jam tarts, Tussaud's, London Eye, Hyde Park.
Here I come.
How Deep is The Rabbit Hole. An Adventure
Okay. I missed the second Monday post. I blame it on myself correcting the pounds of notes that got corrupted, and also getting carried away on Yahoo chatting to some very intriguing people. The blogosphere is expanding, moving on, and so we see conflicts, alliances and assorted what not, but then again, it is normal. I won't comment any more on that, since I think the scene is convoluted enough without my adding some more (potential) fuel to the fire. In the meantime, AOL decides to offer its subscribers the opportunity to join the great big blog-world. Yay bloody hah.
*This part just added. Bolehwood is still playing it seems, although word had surfaced that it may be shut down. Again the swift hand of censorship rises and tries to squash what may have been the best thing to hit the local arts scene. But no, I shall not comment about that, either. Too many people writing with too many emotions..necessary, I admit, to facilitate discourse and perhaps a solution. But I lack the experience and the knowledge to talk about such matters, and as such, will leave it to the experts, the connoisseurs.
Tired today, with the class leaving me almost voiceless, and with seminar deadline approaching, was glad to go home and just..deflate. Oh yeah.
This is my blog. And here, I am king. Heheh. Therefore, perhaps some light reading, for me, and for anyone else who cares to join me.
Snake comes out of toilet bowl. Stuff of legends and urban myths, but in this case, it's eerily true. I shudder to think what it felt like, the scales...oh the scales and the slithery wet slimy..erm. Sorry. I got carried away, there.
On another note, a man with three buttocks. Oh bollocks, I was just kidding. One of the inventors of the mp3 format spills the beans on the birth of the most influential music format ever. Step in for some insightful knowledge that may (or may not, actually) save your life.
Alright. Really. A man with three buttocks. What? Not yet? Ah well. Here's a condom story that will warm your gallstones. And who says Asians are small? Take that, Ron Jeremy.
Okay..I need some sleep. Too little sleep, too much work. The screen starts to blur. And I see visions of tropical islands. And sashaying women, and cows in gingham dresses doing flip flops on the beach. I need a break, we all do. Blogging is God's gift to people who cannot sleep and instead rant on about schtuff, and who'd they rather be doing it with.
Goodnight (morning??) people. God keep you safe, if you can't do so yourself.
Monday, July 14
Thunderbirds are Go!
Hurrah! PPS is live! Got to work late today, since had difficulty sleeping..but was greeted with a pleasant surprise: Project Petaling Street is up and running. A very big congrats to everyone involved in bringing it to fruition. I understand these next few days will be perhaps some of the most grueling, as the developers and beta testers all wait with baited breath to see their baby's first steps. In any case, good luck, and again, good job!
And, now..to work! My notes! My notes are corrupted! Nooooooo!
In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
- Douglas Adams (1952-2001)
Sunday, July 13
Bananarama and Crazy Taxi
Hmm. Lazy Sundays. The best kind. Pooped myself out cleaning house last night (my parents were coming!! eek!), therefore couldn't make it to an invite to Nuovo (thanks, Hani). And assorted errands (grr) also put me out of commission for most of the day. Which turned out to be okay in the end, since my parents insisted that I drive them to Carrefour and help them shop. All in all, it was a good weekend, with some going out on Friday/Saturday and a nice rest-session on Sunday. As I write, my sis is outside playing Crazy Taxi on the PS2. Had to come in, since I have a phobia of looping music. I found out about it when I had my first electronic organ (not that organ, you pervs). Anything that loops, especially a song list..I get fidgety, sweaty and generally crazy. Urgh..even thinking of it now...no no no!
Yawn. My life is THAT boring.
Sundays I am very lazy to blog, since nothing ever happens anyway. But come tomorrow, I'm sure I'll come up with some rant about something or other...that's just the way it works, I guess. Ahem. Oh, and I'll be teaching till 6 again tomorrow..which translates to: very tired Ash. Grr.
Good night, people. Have a good Monday tomorrow.
You dance with the Devil, the Devil don't change,
He changes you.
- Joaquin Phoenix to Nick Cage in 8 mm
Saturday, July 12
Are We Really So Bad?
As I was reading through Aiz's blog, some comments written about an earlier post he wrote seemed to me somewhat harsh, therefore I put up what I felt was a suitable reply. For those of you interested, please go here for the thread. Here again is my reply to the comments made on Aiz's Volume of Interactions. Perhaps I was too quick to rush in, but in some way, I felt justified in responding. Do let me know what you think, since obviously our capacity to receive criticism is under question here. I reproduce my response to the comments as such:
Dear Affin and Uncle Ho's customer,
I may not have the depth/breadth of experience you both have, but allow me to perhaps reflect on what both of you have commented. Of course, these are my opinions only, and therefore may be erroneous.
1) Lana did not imply that bloggers may slander freely. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, a few weeks ago, there was a rather informative discussion on this blog (and also the kotaraya group) between Aiz and Jeff Ooi about the legal ramifications of blogging. I suggest you contact Aiz for said articles.
2) Bloggers never imply that everything they post is correct and may not be commented upon. If that is the case, most of us will never post a comment box under each entry. It is the nature of interactivity available on the web that appeals to us bloggers, and the notion that through said interactivity, we learn and get feedback from those who stop to read.
3) I find the statement "all the media attention" somewhat misleading. True that we were featured in INFOSOC, and also that In.Tech did a report. But I do not feel that this qualifies as a "lot" of media attention. It was a welcome exposure, yes, and helps dispel the myth that bloggers are a reclusive subculture of computer geeks.
4) If we had felt that we were above the law, we wouldn't have discussions on the possibility of our writings construed as libel, slander and the like. I sincerely hope that the both of you would spare some time to sift through some of our blogs and also the KotaRaya board (among others). As lana mentioned, bloggers reflect the locality/situation/time they live in. Each and every blog is special, in that it describes the world through the eyes of ordinary people who do not have any particular benefit to gain from the writing. We may not be as authoritative as a peer-reviewed Journal, but if our writings may spark a concerned journalist to ask more questions, then might we not also be considered a potential source of information?
5) Finally, it is my opinion that perhaps some journalists have lost touch with the public. Maybe if you were to go to the villages and small towns, you'd realise just how much animosity there is toward the official press channels, and why some members of the public are a bit reluctant to consider them authoritative. The man in the street has never had any kind of publishing power until the advent of blogging, and I think the fact that so many people are attracted to alternative news sources (including blogs) may be a sign of a deficiency somewhere else.
I hope I have not offended anyone with my (long) post. Thank you.
*Newly added: A. Asohan has since then posted a lovely, comprehensive reply to my comment. Do make your way to Aiz's blog to read it. And since we're on the subject, here are some links that I hope will help other bloggers like myself:
Dear Abby's reply to a 14 year old girl's question on blogging
Weblogs help create political hotspot
Forty years down the line, if anyone asks me what it was like tonight, on the 11th of July, going out with some of the (again, awesome) bloggers, my answer would be the same:
It was awesome.
Hani, Racheal, KaZ, Meesh, Khalil. I couldn't have asked for better company. And I got my butt pinched. Twice. And hugs! Wonderful hugs! But then again, let's start at the beginning, shall we?
Khalil (wonderful person that he is) drove all the way to me apartment from Bangi. Me being me, I was dawdling when I should have been getting ready. Nevertheless, I quickly fetched him, made him comfortable in front of the telly, and quickly showered and dressed (my shirt already ironed earlier on). Then it was a quick trip to the bank, and then on to fetch Hani from Midvalley, where she was waiting. I have to apologise to Khalil for making him look at me in only a towel. I'm sure he wasn't counting on that as part of the package. Heheh.
Fetched Hani looking very fetching indeed (lucky I'd made the car somewhat clean). Off we went to Bangsar, where surprisingly the road was very very clear. Must have been the fact that it was so darn early. Faced our first challenge minutes upon entering Bangsar: parking. My spatial abilities rate slightly higher than an infant koala, but with Khalil's masterful direction, managed to squeeze in between a rock and a hard place. Okay, I lied. Between another Kancil and a car I forget because it's just not important.
Since Khalil had not yet had dinner (poor bloke!) we decided to show him the somewhat famous Nasi Lemak Lee near the Jolly Green Giant. He quite enjoyed it, tucking into the nasi with gusto as we waited for KaZ and Meesh to arrive. A lot of phone calls followed, and we talked for a bit as I tried (unsuccesfully) to tell them where we were. Imagine our surprise as Meesh told us Racheal was already there! And barely 5 minutes after she arrived, looking drop dead gorgeous in yummy black number. She'd been in Vintages with a friend, and I got my first hug of the night. Yay!
Anyway, KaZ soon arrived, looking all enforcer-like. I definitely AM gonna try and get him on my paintball team, hehehe. And so the four of us made our way to Vintages where Racheal and her friends were, and not long after, Meesh also arrived. Okay folks, let me get this straight. Blogger girls. Are. Hot. Repeat after me. Blogger. Girls. Are. Hot. Good. Oh, and I got my second hug of the night. Yay!
And so after much hemming and hawwing, we decided to go to Shadows. Yours truly, of course was still quaking in his jeans (moi? dance? eek?). Us being guys, gratuitious cover charge was quickly taken care of. Grr. Had a bit of fun when the girls had to show their ID. As we trooped upstairs, realised Rach was missing, and I went downstairs to look for her. Can never be too careful, and besides, for some reason, I felt responsible.
Shadows. How do I describe it? Not being an active clubber myself, I think I can still say this: it was..different. I'd been to some places in KL proper, and they all had a certain atmosphere that this one somehow... lacked. But I digress. I think I'm not exaggerating when I say Meesh, Hani and Rach were supremely wonderful. Now personally, I have the dance moves of a Pinocchio on LSD. Read: Chickens dance better than I do. However, Hani and the gang outdid themselves in making us guys feel right at home. I don't think I can stress this enough: Thank You, Girls. Thank You Oh So Much. KaZ being KaZ, I have to hand it to him. That brother is smooth. Tres cool.
So in the course of the (attempted) dancing, we had fun. Especially me. After a while the crowd got somewhat...well..distasteful, and we decided to beat a hasty retreat. And yes, somewhere during that time, I got my butt pinched. Twice. So did Hani. Poor girl. (For the record, I don't mind having my butt pinched at all). Near the end, Racheal, Meesh and KaZ had to leave, and there was just me, Hani and Khalil. We then decided coffee was in order, and so spent some time sipping in Coffee Bean.
Good times, definitely good times. Before I end this rambling post, just let me say: you girls (and guys) were great. Thanks for accommodating us geeko-guys, and making us all feel so welcome. Hani (I swear) was spending more time fretting over us than dancing, and I owe her eternally for that. Thanks also for bearing with my somewhat weird-zone moves, and also for being, IMHO, very bloody great company.
It is nearly 3.30 am now, and I must end this post. Here's to a wonderful night with wonderful people. Am a very happy puppy. And did I mention I got hugged a lot?
Friday, July 11
How the time just goes by. It's almost 12 o'clock on a Friday afternoon, and I am damn hungry. Trawling through some of my daily blog-reads, just remembered that Digital Fugue, KaZ's blog is one year old today. He has a little tribute thing going on there. Congratulations, KaZ. Hopefully we'll be able to celebrate tonight. As I blog on, everyday I realise that I always turn back to these "seniors", checking up on their content, their style, their unique peculiarities. I could list them down here, but then there would be too many. And I realise also that I tend to assimilate bits and pieces of their blogs, adapting some of their flair, the issues they blog about. It's often humbling for me, not only content-wise but also in the breadth and depth of the posts and comments.
I've always wanted to start another blog, a more techno-centric Insane Ox 2.0. But I think I'm still learning, adapting, but more importantly, learning. I hope it's not too late to express a very big Thank You to the major bloggers in the GMBL, GengJurnal, also the KotaRaya group, for being my sifus, either directly or indirectly. I've learnt a lot, and hopefully will be able to inspire someone else someday.
Before I leave for Friday prayers, here are some suggestions for those looking for a little light lunchtime reading:
This article in Wired sounds far fetched, but if it really works, it is damn freaking cool. Hover cars, UFOs! The technology (and mythos) behind the lifter phenomenon. Worth reading if only to boggle the mind with the possibilities of the future.
Fred Langa wrote this wonderful article on InformationWeek on how to make a custom boot and repair CD to fix any kind of system trouble imaginable, even on first generation PCs. It's a bit long to read, but you'll be glad you did. I seriously recommend this to anyone who fixes PCs on a regular basis, or even as a safety precaution for when your box decides to pull a fast one.
Yesterday I was watching the Screen Savers on TechTV and they featured Bunnie Huang, the MIT whiz who hacked into the X-Box WITH Microsoft's permission. He's published the book Hacking the XBox on his own, after being abandoned by several publishers. You may want to check out his website for more details. Bunnie is typical of the next-gen technogeek: good looking, wholesome, well spoken and definitely a genius, while not being afraid to share his knowledge. What interested me was that he came up with a theoretical solution to a question from a live viewer on the spot, and made it actually seem feasible to build, when said question stumped Leo and Pat, not to mention the whole Screen Savers crew. Very very cool.
Well, that's all the time I have before heading to the mosque, so for the rest of you, have a good lunch, followed by a good Friday/weekend!
Take care, folks!
Thursday, July 10
Bloggers do Bangsar
Yup, you read it right, folks. Hani (esteemed queen bee of bloggerdom) has decreed that anyone who wants to join us should be at Bangsar Coffee Bean by 10.30 Friday (11 July). From there, we trust in God.
Do mail me or refer to Kotaraya for details.
On an unrelated note, fans of comic-based movies (or just comics) should appreciate this article written by Peter Sanderson for IGN. A comic book historian, Peter discusses the recent adaptations of comics to movies, and why even after all the box office successes, critics still expect these movies to be nothing more than dumb fun. A well researched and informative read, and it clearly shows Peter's love for the material, as well as his disappoinment with Hollywood in labeling comics (and the movies based on them) as nothing more than fluff fit for geeks.
Also on IGN is an early review of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. A movie I have high hopes for, and will continue to do so even after they have butchered the storyline. The comics were awesome, and though the script has been greatly revamped, first impressions show that the producers have not mucked it up THAT bad, yet. I have the first trade paperback, if anyone's interested in reading about the (fictional) adventures of Allan Quartermain, Mina Harker, Jekyll and Hyde, Captain Nemo and of course, the Invisible Man. Highly recommended.
Enough already. Go read. After this, am playing RoboCop on PS2. Don't ask me why. The notion of shooting, exploding...just appeals to me right now. Hmm.
Lock and load, people. Get ready for KotaRaya Tembak.
The Ox is back with some tech bits for today. Since am in a giving, warm mood (thanks to the luverly people who've posted all those luverly comments on last night's post), will now proceed to share with you some (of my personal favourite) tools that'll make your computing life easier, courtesy of LockerGnome.com. These are mostly freeware programs that allow you to troubleshoot, maintain and otherwise breathe some longevity into your box. Happy trying, and let me know if you have any software you'd like to share.
Here they are, in no particular order:
AIDA32 sysinfo Tool - Sometimes you just need to know what the hell the vendor put in your box, and this'll help you get started. It provides extensive info on your system, including who makes your RAM, graphics cards and sundry other geeky bits. V. good. For best results, download the Enterprise version.
Dupeless - This nifty little program searches your hard drive for duplicate files, allowing you to free up some space or just re-organise. Good for spring cleaning.
FileAlyzer - This program displays HTML files as hex and ASCII in a safe viewer environment, so you don't run a chance of activating any rogue ActiveX controls.
GibsonIDServe - Does forward and reverse IP lookups, also server IDs. The rest of the site is also good if you're interested in computer security.
IrfanView - What can I say? One of the best graphics viewers on the net, and it's free too! Just a little 382kb download should do the trick.
Spybot Search and Destroy - V. bloody important, this piece of software is. Allows you to ferret out the naughty little programs that keep sending out info on what you like to look at during office hours.
X-Setup - Tweak Windows to your heart's content with this app. Be warned, though, some tweaks are risky so always back up!
ZoneAlarm - Have an always on connection? Invest in this (free) download that acts as a pretty good software firewall. There's also a Pro version you can purchase with extra features, but this is good enough for most people.
All these programs are Freeware so you can use them to your heart's content. Some DO ask you to buy the full version, but that is up to you. And for those of you who want the crack files, I'm not telling.
Wednesday, July 9
Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
So Hani's Shrine of Honesty is closing, and change is inevitable. She's off to find her new blog-self, and change is constant. The only freaking constant is change, and for all my upwards dynamism and enthusiasm, I swear I still hate it as much as I did a few months ago. Change is necessary, but it's also the one we put off the most. Change. The red pill. The bitter medicine. And there's no Mary Poppins singing how a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, medicine go down, medicine go down.
Somebody once asked, do I have some change for gas
I need to get myself away from this place
I said hell what a concept, I could use a little fuel myself
And we can all use a little change..
I am melancholic. Have always been like that, but for some reason, more so tonight. I am lonely. Ditto. I am confused. Repeat second sentence ad infinitum. I miss you, princess.
A while ago, I wrote about a memory palace: a place where I put the most treasured of my memories, where as the ravages of time (and probably Alzheimer's) attack, peeling off the onion that houses my recollections, I will stay, drinking in the sights, the sounds, the smells. A little taste of heaven goes a long way. And so I greet oblivion.
I miss: the voice when she asks me if it's okay to go to her favourite coffee shop even though it's late, that look on her face when she's asking me to skip a night class so she won't be home alone, the way she frowns when she's stuck with some horrible research assignment. I miss: her voice singing Celine Dion's I love You whenever she takes the stage, the way she tucks me in at night, the way we fight. And I miss: the look on her face when I come home, the intent look as she digs into her latest book, the way she always found a way to hook her leg around mine in the middle of the night.
I miss you, princess.
Come this 17th July, it'll be 6 months since you left. A lot's happened since then, and I've never stopped missing you. I look back at the earlier posts on this blog, and I remember what it was like. Some people DO actually read it now, and I guess the blog's changed too. Like me, it's still trying to find out who it is, and what it's supposed to do. In the meantime, I guess me (and the blog) will just have to improvise..and adapt. Can you believe I've actually got a clubbing thing for this Friday? I know, I can't believe it either. I remember how you had to use wild horses to drag me anywhere last time..am truly sorry about that. I was scared, nervous, shy..and I still am, princess. But I grit my teeth and remember how you used to squeeze my hand and tell me I'd do fine, and that there was nothing to be scared of. And then I'd remember that I'd still be nervous, and talk too loud, or too fast.
Growing up's pretty scary when you're all alone.
To those of you who follow my ramblings regularly, I apologise for the lapse. Thank you for staying with me this far. Come tomorrow, the regular posts will continue, and the Insane Ox travels on.
Good night, everyone.
Good night, princess.
HAD I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.