Tuesday, January 31, 2006

more New Year celebrations?

It's probably an extremely slow week for folks back home in Malaysia....
  • Su 29 & Mo 30 Jan= Chinese New Year
  • Tu 31 Jan = Awal Muharram = the Muslim New Year
  • since CNY Day 1 was on a Sunday, it's "carried forward" to Wed 1 Feb
  • ... but for those in the Federal Territory (mainly KL), Wed 1 Feb = FT Day
  • so for those in the FT, CNY Day 1 is carried forward all the way to Thu 2 Feb!
  • oh, and for those who employers actually provide a day off on the Friday before a Saturday public holiday, they got Fri 27 Jan off too!


  • ... That's pretty much a week off of work.... I bet KL's a breeze to drive through at this time!!! ... Probably no difference in drivers' attitudes, tho, no matter what the occasion :p


Anyways, the fact that CNY & the Muslim New Year happen to coincide this year, I wanna highlight something that has bugged me for ages, but I've yet to get a satisfactory answer. Why, oh why, does the Muslim calendar, which is a lunar calendar just like the Chinese or Jewish one, NOT correct for the discrepancy between lunar & solar years?

It makes no sense to me to have such an uncorrected calendar, seeing as the lunar year has a creep of 10 - 11 days: If I wanted to commemorate a battle that was won in mid-summer, I think I'd continue to commemorate it on mid-summer, not 10 days earlier every year until one day I'm celebrating it in the middle of winter. Just doesn't make sense.

Other cultures, already knowing of this creep, already have some sort of correction mechanism in place.. that is why Hanukkah always falls around X-mas time, even if it's not always the same date every year. And that is why CNY always falls sometime between late Jan & mid-Feb. They use a lunar calendar that corrects itself to line up with the solar year.

There's no way the Muslims of that time didn't know of this creep,... so why no correction??? Whenever I've raised this question, I get the feeling people think I'm blaspheming. Their answer = that's how it's been, you should not question. Sorry mate, that doesn't jive with me - I actually want to understand, not just swallow hook line and sinker everything that people try to shove down others' throats. Unfortunately, mosr people I know, especially when it comes to religion, prefer not to think or understand, and just do, thinking that blind unthinking obedience is what is required of them. It's really sad.

Sigh.

Anyway, moving on to *another* type of religion, kinda... it looks like I fail, LOL!
Click here to take NerdTests.com's Star Trek Quiz.
Ha ha! You don't know the difference between an Andorian and a Vulcan.
Your rank suits you: you are a space cadet.


Okay, okay, I admit I haven't seen *any* DS9 or Voyager since 1995, so couldn't answer anything relating to those shows... and I hardly know TOS.. only some TNG recently, and of course maybe the last 2 years of ST:ENT. And don't ask me the make/model number of the ships - they were all names Enterprise, as far as I'm concerned!! :p

BUT... i DO know the diff between the Andorians (blue creatures with snail's antennae sticking out of their heads) and Vulcans (those pointy-eared logical creatures!!)

Plllbbblblblbbbbbbbbb!!

Btw, thanx SnglGuy for the quiz link :-)

... moans & groans: trekking after stars, & related matters

I know I keep saying that I don’t consider myself a Trekker (the term preferred by the group of people usually referred to as “Trekkies”), but I certainly am a sci-fi fan.

And unless I get into Stargate SG-1, or Stargate Atlantis, or Farscape, there really isn’t much on regular tv to go on. Unless we subscribe to the extended package, we are not going to get the Sci-Fi Channel, or Spike TV (which seems to have lots of ST:TNG at certain times). This helps “justify” the purchase and watchage of my Babylon 5 DVDs, btw.

But I was all excited late last year when I thought Star Trek: Enterprise was going to be rerun starting from the absolute beginning … and was deeply disappointed when it turned out they just played the pilot episodes, then kept playing the more “critically-acclaimed” episodes, mostly from the final season, which I’ve seen numerous times. Bah.

THEN, about two weeks ago, Kosh was channel surfing while I was in the other room, when he called out excitedly “Hey!! Star Trek!!!!”

Turns out this video game channel (g4tv) musta recently started playing pretty early ST:TNG: two episodes 7pm – 9pm, and another at midnight. THREE HOURS OF TNG!! A DAY!!

Of course, these are not shown in order – you have Dr Pulaski in one episode, and the next one has Dr Crusher. In one Wesley is just visiting, in another he’s acting ensign. In some Tasha Yar is still alive and head of security. Riker has a beard, sometimes not.

… But it’s *so good* to see Picard again!! I really like his voice: maybe it’s the Shakespearean training he had prior to landing the role of Picard, but my oh my does it sound good! My fave phrase of his: “make it so”.

Anyways… very quickly Kosh and I had to agree NOT to tape these shows – if we caught them while they were airing, that was good, but if we made it a point to tape/catch all of them, that would be 3 hours a day spent just on Star Trek! And as much as we’d like that,,, well,,, those three hours would really eat into our “real life” time…

… tho right now I’m wondering if we (I??) should just go ahead and tape ‘em anyway for my sci-fi fix… cos that ^#%*(@# cheapo free DVD player is just refusing to accept Bab 5 Season 3 Disc 6! Only two more episodes for that season… yes, I’ve already seem them, but I’m in the process of re-watching them in order to get back to where we left-off (exactly when the Vorlons & Shadows were politely asked to leave the galaxy alone: Season 4 Ep 7?), and continuing from there… preferably finishing Season 4 before I head back to KL.

… and if we *do* get the friggin thing to work, we are going to have to give priority to the borrowed DVDs from the library: Kosh wanted to see the origins of Smallville, and the start of all that cave & stones mumbo-jumbo, so we’ve got Smallville Season One (two discs watched, four to go…); Then I’ve got Buffy Season 4 which I should be able to pick up from the library within the next day or two. We may even squeeze Buffy Season 5 since we also have that from the library. Plus the four Christopher Reeve Superman movies we want to re-watch – partly because of Smallville, partly because of the new movie coming out this year….

Of course, we could just watch via puter/TV hookup.

But that would be too easy. We’ve got a DVD player, so we should be able to use it, dammit! ;p

…but time *is* kinda running out… so much to watch, so little time…!!

Aaarrrgggghhhh!

Oooh, wait – it’s almost midnight!
Maybe I’ll post this then go switch the tv to G4TV and catch another ST:TNG!??

Muuaaahaaahahahahaaaaahahah!

P/s: is it just me, or is it really great to see Chekov (Walter Koenig) in Bab 5 as the Psi Cop baddie Bester?

(pps: I *hate* dialup!! Or is it blogger too??? It took me over 20 mins to get hooked up, load and login to blogger, and post this friggin thing!! it's already "tomorrow"!! ST:TNG already started! Grrrrrrrrrrr!)

Sunday, January 29, 2006

*pausing for breath*

*gasp!* I churned out five posts yesterday?!!

yeah, I had lots of time on my hands AND wireless DSL internet access... heaven! :-)

With the 5 posts of yesterday, I got to reduce the number of drafts in my dashboard slightly: tackled some of the long-outstanding topics so that they were finally publishable (and hopefully before they were too stale!)

*still* have 24 drafts, however... cos often I'll stumble on some other stuff I wanna write on but not immediately so into the draft it goes. it's a dynamic number. teehehehee!

~~
... right now me & Kosh need to start heading outta here, seeing as once we get back to Urbana, he pretty much needs to hop right back into the car and continue heading south for Springfield, for another interview-related thing, Then he drives back for the night, but drives there again early Monday morning for the actual interview.

After Monday, he's done with all the interviews. And we'll find out in mid-March whether/where he's been matched to for residency that starts July 2006. More on that once we actually get there....

~~
... discovery of the week: kumquat
a native to China, this weird orange/lemon wanna-be is slightly larger than a baby carrot; eaten all at once (no need to peel off the rind). One bite into it and there is no doubt it's a citrus fruit! .. and yet it's not!

~~
am having kinda weird dreams recently - I only have fleeting impressions when I wake up, but I could *swear* they are scenes from Babylon 5! :-)

Saturday, January 28, 2006

did they find what they were looking for?

Of the past 100 visitors to this blog, a few got here via searches @ yahoo / MSN with the following keywords (I tried to categorise them a bit...):
SEX:
- narcissist toilet sex

HISTORY
- sivil war bullet (huh?? how is that even remotely related to this blog??)

GAMES:
- learn to play scabble with puter
- mtg kamigawa rat's nest

SAFETY
- baggage theft
- fire engine

FOOD
- McDiet

PEOPLE
- jobless bum
- work at home and lovin it
- kosh

MY DARKER SIDE:
- planet x 2053 collision earth
- dark mythological quizzes
- culdian trust

MALAYSIANA
- LHDN (I suppose not may people have blogs about their visits to the Malaysian Internal Revenue Board?)

CAREER ADVICE:
- Petrol and Gas Company in Ghana (no thanx to that latest mutation of the Nigerian scam!)
- book writing
- "sphere of concern vs sphere of influence"
Okay, so apart from the "narcissist toilet sex' (what WERE you looking for, I wonder...), the others are kinda lame..

But i *did* discover another Babylon5 fan: see koshnaranek.blogspot.com. And from there, I found this amusing ASK KOSH site (text only version HERE). Yes, in certain cases, I *am* a geek and a freak :-)

do u think it's hard or soft?


Recently Dawn published an article about the idosyncracies of the English Language which in turn had been found at Vicki's Here and Now. While the contents are not new, it was certainly a welcome re-read, and reminder of how tough it is to keep English straight, even for native English speakers.

I never have a straight answer when people ask what *my* "native language / mother-tongue" is. Here's why:
  • Official politically-correct mother-tongue: Malay
  • Mother's mother-tongue: French
  • Language I think in, and am most at ease with: English

And while my grasp of English language and vocabulary was much greater than even my teachers'...
  • I remember it was English with Ms Babs, so I probably was in Std 5 (11 y.o.). She was asking for "opposites of friend" - apart from the usual "enemy", she was also accepting answers like "thief". So I raised my hand and provided one of my fave words: "FIEND". Why was it my fave? Cos it's "friend" without an "r" .. because it already struck me, at an early age, that it was kinda cool to have almost-opposite words looking almost the same. Unfortunately, Ms Babs was like "Huh?", had never heard of the word, and told me I was mistaken, there was no such word in English. Oh yeah - She didn't even have a dictionary on hand to check it out. So the basis of her "What word is that? You made it up, izzit? No such thing lah!" was just her (poor) range of vocabulary.
  • And how about Ms Pill who insisted that use of the word "pout" was ONLY in conjunction with "a kiss", as in "she pouted for a kiss", or to paraphrase, "she pursed her lips for the kiss". No other use/definition of pout existed. Errr... the rest of the class knew that when a kid gets upset, he could pout - which could mean "pursing" the bottom lip, or just to plain sulk! But we couldn't really do anything,,, after all, the teacher has spoken! Looking back, I wonder why none of us thought to challenge her by looking up the word in the dictionary. Then again - "the teacher has spoken" :p

  • ... and people wonder why I have no respect for most of the teachers I've had in school...


... a lot of my vast English vocabulary was actually very passively- / theoretically-acquired; developed by reading, not hearing:
  • I knew in Std 4 (~ 10 y.o.) what a hypocrite was. I'm not sure how many 10 y.o. Malaysians would know of that word at that age. Yay for me. But I thought it was pronounced hi-poe-cryt (as opposed to hippo-crit). Ugh.
  • I remember my mother coming back from one of her Speakers Club meets where it had been her turn to give a speech, all excited, asking me "How do you spell A-W-R-Y?" I chose to overlook the error (unlike my [smartass] bro who answered "A-W-R-Y" LOL! Good for him!!) and replied the way we all were pronouncing it at the time: "awe-ree". Turns out she'd used it in her speech, and had been corrected and informed of the proper "uh-rye" pronunciation.
  • Ms Pill again. Insisting that "milk" be pronounced something like "muhhlk". And "syrup" as "srrp" (uh-huh, didn't sound likere there were ANY vowels in there!). Fine, so we shouldn't pronounce it in its corrupted Malay form "see-rahp" when speaking in English, but "srrp"??? Puhleeeeze!

Of course, for those who were wondering, most of us Malaysians have no idea that most good dictionaries not only help provide a guide for spelling and definition and usage, but also pronunciation! Even for me, it was only much later (maybe after the awe-ree/uh-rye incident?) that I started to turn to the dictionary when in doubt of a word's pronunciation.

Nowadays I'm pretty confident with most of my words... but I *still* have problem areas:

hard vs soft g's
  • Babylon 5's chief security officer is Michael Garibaldi (hard g). Played by Jerry Doyle (sounds like a soft g). No thanx to Kosh, I now have a tendency to call his character "jerry-baldi" (doesn't help that he *is* kinda short on hair, LOL!!)
  • okay, seriously: the things that fish have, to help them breathe? To this day I still can't remember if it's hard "GILLS" or soft "jills"
  • and for some reason, even "GESTURE" has me struggling... for some reason I think a hard g is right, but I prefer the sound of the soft g, and guess what, it *is* a soft g! But I still struggle every time I use this word...
  • maybe it's a name thing... you know the actor Gil Gerard who starred in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century? so, how to say his name, ah? Jil Jerard (both soft), or both hard, or hard then soft, or soft then hard??
  • then did you know of the existence of the horrid horrid "GAOL" which is pronounced the same as "jail"?????? But i think that is a British thing.

... and to a lesser extent, hard vs soft ch's
  • ... speaking about British things - whether you say "sheh-jule" or "sked-yule" for "SCHEDULE" helps indicate whether you were British- or American-bred.
  • what's CHIANTI, hard or soft? It's an Italian word, I *think* it's hard, but I never know....

Darn. There were more. Plenty more. But now they don't want to be shared. Bleah. You'll just have to make do with this.

trivial pursuits

(Many thanx to Dawn for this link. Later saw it also at SnglGuy's place)

While they both had trivia about bloggers, I thought I'd see what it spat out for something a bit different:

Ten Top Trivia Tips about The bald-headed eagle!

  1. The ace of spades in a playing card deck symbolizes the bald-headed eagle!
  2. Some people in Malaysia bathe their babies in beer to protect them from the bald-headed eagle.
  3. If you drop the bald-headed eagle from the top of the Empire State Building, it will be falling fast enough to kill before reaching the ground!
  4. In Chinese, the sound 'the bald-headed eagle' means 'bite the wax tadpole'.
  5. Over 46,000 pieces of the bald-headed eagle float on every square mile of ocean.
  6. The bald-headed eagle was declared extinct in 1902.
  7. If you put a drop of liquor on the bald-headed eagle, it will go mad and sting itself to death.
  8. In the Spanish edition of Cluedo, the bald-headed eagle is the victim.
  9. The bald-headed eagle can sleep for three and a half years!
  10. The canonical hours of the Christian church are matins, lauds, prime, terce, sext, none, the bald-headed eagle and compline.
I am interested in - do tell me about


Hmmmm... is it a coincidence that Malaysia is in trivia #2?

LOL!

And, here's the supposed trivia about "me"

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Azlynne1972!

  1. Azlynne1972 can be very poisonous if injected intravenously.
  2. Azlynne1972 was declared extinct in 1902!
  3. If you blow out all the candles on azlynne1972 with one breath, your wish will come true.
  4. Worldwide, azlynne1972 is the most important natural enemy of night-flying insects!
  5. Azlynne1972 is worth her weight in gold - literally!
  6. On stone temples in southern India, there are more than 30 million carved images of azlynne1972!
  7. 68 percent of all UFO sightings are by azlynne1972.
  8. Azlynne1972 will often rub up against people to lay her scent and mark her territory!
  9. The International Space Station weighs about 500 tons and is the same size as azlynne1972.
  10. Azlynne1972 can usually be found in nests built in the webs of large spiders.
I am interested in - do tell me about


teeheehee!! I particularly like #7! :-)

star stuff

'We are all star stuff; the universe made manifest, trying to figure itself out"
- Delenn, to Capt Sheridan (Babylon 5)

I've always liked that "star stuff" statement :-)

And star stuff in human form are trying to help figure out the universe in numerous ways:

  • From Mensa Barbie's articles HERE and HERE, I found out about the Stardust mission which retrieved the first samples from a comet named Wild 2, which was about 500 million miles from Earth when Stardust launched in 1999. After its historic return to Earth earlier this month, scientists believe this Stardust's cargo will help provide answers to fundamental questions about the origins of the solar system. NASA Stardust page HERE. Christian Science Monitor "What scientists hope to learn from a wisp of comet dust: Star dust from NASA's mission is expected to shed light on the genesis of the Earth's solar system" article HERE

  • sometimes it's not so rosy a picture: today marks the 20th anniversary of the Challenger shuttle disaster. Articles HERE and HERE. NASA's history page with lots of links HERE.

  • NASA was also in the news recently for postponing a mission (Dawn) to visit asteroids (Yahoo!News article HERE) due to cost overruns and technical issues. Powered by an ion engine fueled by the xenon gas, Dawn was to make a nine-year journey to Ceres and Vesta, located in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and spend months orbiting these two large asteroids to study them in depth. Dawn Mission Overview page.

  • Then there's the New Horizons mission to Pluto: the first of the New Frontiers program of medium-class planetary missions. "As the first spacecraft to visit Pluto and its moon Charon, New Horizons looks to unlock one of the solar system's last, great planetary secrets. The New Horizons spacecraft will cross the entire span of the solar system and conduct flyby studies of Pluto and Charon in 2015. The seven science instruments on the piano-sized probe will shed light on the bodies' surface properties, geology, interior makeup and atmospheres." That's in July 2015. Then from 2016 - 2020 it's going to enounter the mysterious Kuiper Belt, an area of space that harbors over 800 Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) or planetoids, some of them being as large as Pluto itself!

    I first heard about this from Randy Cassingham, who used to work for JPL/NASA and was involved in some very early Pluto-related work; His little write-up HERE. NASA New Horizons page HERE.


~~
And of course there are so many other missions by not only NASA but also Russia, and to some extent China, Japan...

Will all this help us understand ourselves, and our place/role in the universe? After all... 'We are all star stuff; the universe made manifest, trying to figure itself out"

And maybe,,, just maybe,,,, with all that activity out there... we may make first contact one day....

a rude awakening!

tatatataTAtata ta tatatataTAtata ta tatataTAtata ta TAAAAAAAH

My phone was making this awful noise this morning.
... well, I *had* taken it off its usual silent mode setting so that it could be used as Kosh's Alarm #3 (Backup #2)
... and he needs the alarms cos he has a 730am interview in Chicagoland, and we were at his sis' place which is about 1 hr away, so we had alarms set to go off between 430am - 5am.

... So why was my phone going off at 4am?

tatatataTAtata ta tatatataTAtata ta tatataTAtata ta TAAAAAAAH

Kosh stumbles out of bed to retrieve it, hands it to me.

I fumble with it, look at the screen, looking for the "snooze" or "done" option, but instead it says "answer" or "send busy" or "mute"

tatatataTAtata ta tatatataTAtata ta tatataTAtata ta TAAAAAAAH

I stare blankly at it, while it's still making that noise
... the ring tone is, after all, the "tap to"/ rise and shine trumpet call tune... at a pretty high volume...

tatatataTAtata ta tatatataTAtata ta tatataTAtata ta TAAAAAAAH

It sinks in that it's not the alarm, someone is actually calling my number??!!!

AT FRIGGIN FOUR IN THE FRIGGIN MORNING???

tatatataTAtata ta tatatataTAtata ta tatataTAtata ta TAAAAAAAH

Okay, so it was a Malaysian number, and it would have been 6pm Saturday there - *slightly* forgiven
... but I certainly didn't recognise the number
... and I ain't gonna start answering calls I don't recognise - leave a voice message or just text me
... besides, I ain't gonna bear the IDD charges for answering what might well be a wrong number...

tatatataTAtata ta tatatataTAtata ta tatataTAtata ta TAAAAAAAH

I fumble with the phone...

tatatataTAtata ta tatatataTAtata ta tatata *click*

Aaaaah, bliss.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

Friday, January 27, 2006

300th!

Whoohooo! This is my 300th post for this blog :-)

In honor of this special occasion, I'd like to share the news about this really cool shelving concept that's just hit the walls:



It looks like Linky & Dinky are branching out beyond trolling the 'net for kewl links. You can see more pix & info at their magicSHELF page... and read about the Museum of Hoaxes' investigation of magicSHELF - certified "not a hoax".

~~

... there were a few other things to blog about, but right now my brain just wants to sleep. And it's only 1115pm?!

nvm, will tackle these blogworthy thoughts tomorrow, I suppose :p

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

a mighty wind...

... a mighty wind's a-blowin'
it's blowin' you and me!

Thus ended the song from the movie / spoof documentary A Mighty Wind (a close cousin to This Is Spinal Tap, for those not in the know)

...But a mighty wind is also what's blowin outside right now!

It toppled 3 out of the 4 recycle bins ... me & Kosh righted them, plus put most of the crap back into the bins.. then just as we were halfway across the parking lot, we heard a mighty THUD and guess what? Yeah, one of them was back down again, LOL!

Well, at least we made an effort... :p

~~
The library has a mini-display, its topic changes every few weeks. This one's been up for some time, and always catches my eye when I pass... the "topic" is "Don't Judge A Good Book by its Movie." Some books on display include The Cider House Rules (movie starring Tobey Maguire of Spidey fame), the LOTR books, and a few others.

Today I noticed a new addition - Stephen King's Dreamcatcher! I have one word for this - UGH! The movie was certainly horrendous, but the book didn't do anything for me either...

Kinda makes me doubt the other books on display... (not that I remember them right now, LOL!)

~~
So right now I'm at the library, in case you hadn't guessed.

Actually wanted to be at the gym - was gonna have Kosh drop me off there on the way to his work, then I'd do my ~1hr then add in the 20 + 10 min walk back through the mighty wind to the library to drop off/pick up books and head back to the apartment.

Then I took a look up at the sky - it was u.g.l.y. ... ink black... yikes! Ookay, so we're not subject to tropical storms like in KL, but instinct and habit die hard - I wasn't gonna risk having to walk 30 mins in a cold rain!

So I cut the gym outta the plan... A 10-min walk in potentially crappy weather is much more acceptable than 30mins, don't ya think? *grin!*

Of course, right now it looks like it's all blown away - the sky is not forbidding anymore.... Oh well, the intention to exercise was there :p

~~
I realise need to work on my CV if I'm going to be applying for temporary and/or part-time jobs when I'm back in KL. Bleah.

It struck me that I will have been out of the rat race for about EIGHTEEN MONTHS. I certainly will not be looking for something that puts me right back in the middle of the race.

Maybe you'll see me behind the counter at McDonald's asking "Would you like fries with that?"

Haaahahahahah. Kidding :-)

Kinda.

Monday, January 23, 2006

getting to know Gandhi

Reading Gandhi’s autobiography My Experiments with Truth was definitely… interesting.

...While it was written in a simple manner, it wasn’t something I could just rush through ... And it didn’t seem appropriate reading material while in the can :p

All in all it took me almost two weeks to finish it!

Here are my thoughts and reactions to it:
  • The narration style was very simple, certainly a reflection of the person he was.

  • ahimsa … hate the sin and not the sinner … “it is quite proper to resist and attack a system, but to resist and attack its author is tantamount to resisting and attacking oneself”

  • It was a bit frustrating when he’d refer to events that were assumed the reader knew about (details of the satyagraha movement in South Africa, or the Jalianwala Bagh massacre, for example). I feel so *historically illiterate*…

  • I realize I have had no concept of time in relation to Gandhi and *when* all this was taking place. Keeping it straight in my head that he was born in 1869, that he lived through WW1, that he traveled by sea between India, Britain & South Africa… that this “only authorized American edition” in my hands was first published in 1957 - that’s as old as Malay(si)a! Too many things that indicate an immense gap between then and now, which I didn’t realize existed…

  • I also had no proper grasp of ANY of his work & contributions prior to this book. Sure, I knew of the term “passive resistance.” I knew that parable of him throwing his sandal off the train when he realized he’d lost its other half while rushing for the train, saying it would serve him no purpose to hold on to just one, and the person who found both items would be blessed with a good pair of sandals. I vaguely knew he had served as a lawyer in South Africa. But I certainly had no idea of much time he’d spent in S.A., or that the foundation of satyagraha (inadequately translated into English as passive resistance) was laid while he was there…

  • Speaking of South Africa… I somehow had had the impression that South Africa had been the “domain” of the Dutch – didn’t realize the British had a foothold there too. Nor that there was a sizeable population of Indians who’d been moved there as indentured laborers to work things like sugar cane plantations (similar to those who were brought to Malaya to work the rubber estates…). So there was a class of “non-Negro yet colored” subject to discrimination in addition to the “regular” discrimination of white vs “Negro” in that country. Musta been a mess….

  • Reading of how he worked to obtain certain basic rights for the Indians in South Africa, and later in India itself, he described so much of the autocracy practiced by the Brits in their colonies. The thing is, coming from an ex-colony myself, I don’t really know details of what the British did to us. Certainly didn’t help that history was so badly taught in school such that even if they *did* cover such a topic, I’d have totally tuned it out :p I’m also curious to know more about what happens after the time described in this autobiography, both about Gandhi specifically and India generally. But any books I actually find, they had better be really engaging in order to overcome my aversion to anything with the taint of “history.” But I *do* see myself finally watching that movie with Ben Kingsley as Gandhi :-)

  • I admire that he looked beyond the many different “types” of Indians (Hindu, Musalman, Gujarati, Farsi, Christian, Punjabi, etc) and saw that they were all Indians, with India as their motherland.

  • His description of traveling by train, third class, not being able to get a seat, at least once being shoved through a window in order to get onboard… are things any better now? I have the impression that I’ve seen recent (well, maybe within the last 5 years?) news clips of trains in the region filled to overflowing; people hanging out of the doors, maybe even on the roof?

  • His experiments with attaining Truth via, among other things, regulating what food he consumes in line with purification of the body, was totally fascinating. My thoughts on fasting are a pale echo of his, but an echo just the same: there’s no use conducting a “fast of the body” when a parallel “fast of the mind” is not also carried out. The benefits of fasting (like during Ramadhan, for example) are few when one spends most of the fasting day mentally consuming the food one is looking forward to devouring as soon as the sun goes down…

  • When at the “farewell” section, it is most humbling to read his thoughts – how he feels he is nowhere close to self-restraint, to his Truth – and if he feels that way about himself, what about us in today’s excessive, cluttered, noisy, selfish, worldly, materialistic, obsessive lifestyle?
What I’m taking away from this book, ultimately, is a gentle reminder that while my default mode - no thanx to how religion is “taught,” unthinkingly practiced and shoved down people’s throats – is to define what God is not, I also need to keep in mind what God is.

have they no shame??

I never thought I'd emulate SnglGuy's post of highlighting a mutation of the Nigeria scam, but this just appeared in my mailbox, and just left me amazed... read on:
I am AMINA ABID from GHANA.I am married to Late Mallam ABDULKARIM ABID of blessed memory who is an oil explorer in Kuwait for twelve years before he died in the year2000.We were married for twelve years without a child.He died after abrief illness that lasted for only four days.Before his death we were both devoted Muslims.Since his death I too have been battling with both Cancer and fibroid problems.

When my late Husband was alive he deposited the sum of $10.5million (Ten Million,Five Hundred thousand U.S Dollars) with a Finance Company .Recently,my doctor told me that I have only six months to live due to cancer problem.Though what disturbs me most is my stroke sickness.Having known my condition I decided to donate this fund to either a Muslem organization or the victims of pakistan earthquake . I want this Muslim organization or individual to use this money in all sincerity to fund mosques, orphanages, widows, and also propagating the word of ALLAH and to ensure that the society upholds the views and belief of the Holy Quran.

The Holy Quran emphasizes so much on ALLAH'S benevolence and this has encourage me to take the bold step.I took this decision because I don't have any child that will inherit this money and my husband relatives are new Christian's converts and I don't want a situation where this money will be used in an Unholy manner.Hence the reasons for this bold decision. I know that after death I will be with ALLAH the most beneficent and the most merciful. I don't need any telephone communication in this regard because of my health,and because of the presence of my husband's relatives around me always. I don't want them to know about this development. With ALLAH all things possible . As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact information of the Finance Company and the country in oversea where the money was deposited.I will also issue a letter of authority to the Finance Company authorizing them that the said fund Have being willed to you and a copy of such authorization will be forwarded to you I want you and the Muslim community where you reside to always pray for me. My happiness is that I lived a true devoted Muslims worthy of emulation.

Whoever that wants to serve ALLAH must serve him in truth and in fairness.Please always be prayerful all through your life.Any delay in your reply will give room in sourcing for a Muslim organization or a devoted Muslim for this same purpose. Until I hear from you, my dreams will rest squarely on your shoulders.May the Almighty ALLAH continue to guide and protect you.

Hajia Amina.


Disgusting.

Friggin' scammers.

Have they no shame????

Sunday, January 22, 2006

a weird tag...

Actually I'd seen this "5 weird things meme" on some other blogs, and had idly wondered how I would respond...

... after all...
You Are 40% Weird

Normal enough to know that you're weird...
But too damn weird to do anything about it!


... well, thanx to SnglGuy who tagged me recently, I'm getting a chance to actually provide examples of my weirdness....

So, after quite a bit of introspection, here are 5 weird things about myself:
  1. When I get hooked on something, i REALLY get hooked on something!
    ...Some might even say obsessed...
    A good example is my discovering a book/author like Michael Connely, then going on to devour every book he's ever produced, from the beginning, in chronological order. Another example would be Piers Anthony's Xanth series. And sudoku. And in tv-land? Babylon 5, definitely! Oh, and Angel (reading the episode guides for the entire 5 seasons cos I just *had* to know what was going to happen!?). And to a lesser extent, Buffy the Vampire Slayer too, but that's just because I wanted to see the series that had spawned Angel. Really! :p And how about playing The Sims, Sim City, euchre / canasta / spades / gin / etc on Yahoo!Games for hours on end, sometimes heading for work without having slept a wink all night? And the feeling of immense satisfaction at finally getting my Sim (Ken Coniff) to Superstar status? Oh, I could go on...

  2. I actually practice "safety first", it's more than just a stupid slogan to me.
    Examples:
    • If there is a pedestrian bridge, I will use that instead of jaywalking, even if there are no vehicles on the road (after all, a car or motorcycle could pull out of nowhere and run you down! And the fact that there *is* a pedestrian bridge indicates a jaywalker-unfriendly area!).
    • Similarly, if I *do* jaywalk, I cross in a straight line, following the shortest route across the road, unlike so many who cross diagonally so that when they get to the other side, they are that bit "closer" to their destination (my immediate focus is to cross the road first, in as little time as possible - to reduce "exposure" to the road & traffic).
    • I put the seat belt on as soon as I sit in a car (it's still a struggle to remember when I'm in the back seat, tho), and will not allow my passenger to go without strapping in either (after all, you can have fatal crashes thru windscreens at speeds as low as 20mph!).
    Plenty more examples, couldn't be bothered to list them down. Are you wondering why I am so anal about this? Well, I believe that there are so many events that happen that are beyond our control, so the little control we do have over things like our own safety, we should exercise such control diligently. Then, if something were to happen, we can then make attributions to luck, fate, God, etc. Otherwise, well, most of the time, we're usually partly to blame, eh?

  3. I am perfectly happy to go for days on end without human contact.
    No need for tv or 'puter either. Curling up with a good book is great. Or just letting my mind wander, or focus on a topic and exploring my thoughts on that subject. Writing down my thoughts - or free writing. I think too many people surround themselves with noise and clutter and other people, maybe because they don't want to be alone with their thoughts? Me, I welcome the alone time :-)

  4. I walk around oblivious to my surroundings
    Oh no worries, if I am in a place like a parking lot hading towards/from my car, then I *am* paying attention to things around me. But if I am just heading somewhere usual, and am thinking about stuff, chances are I won't see/hear anyone calling out to me unless they step right in front of me, or tap me on the shoulder or something. And even then, it will take me a few seconds to recognise them, cos I'd actually need to get my eyes re-focused on them instead of "out there." I've actually had people get mad at me cos I'd seem to be looking right at them when actually I'm looking THROUGH them focusing on nothing in particular. I think this habit got developed early in my life, where I resolutely ignored cat-calls and mouse-squeaks by firiggin youth with nothing better to do than friggin pick on me cos I friggin looked different than the usual friggin Malay(sian).

  5. I write extremely effective complaint letters
    The key is the intent (or niat, if you will). My letters, while sometimes strongly-worded, are still worded in such a way that they provide feedback for improvement, not as a means to vent my frustration. I believe most people don't get anywhere because they are emotional, incoherent and offensive when lodging complaints. And how can I claim that they are effective? I can only recall two cases where I've not received a response: one a producer of a local Malay(sian) traditional medicine who maybe just didn't see the point I was making; and two the friggin oinker lawyers I vented about in April/May last year. Apart from that, I've always received a response, usually profusely apologetic and appreciative of my feedback. And the bonus? "Tokens of appreciation" like a free Hard Rock Cafe @ Universal Studios t-shirt, RM40 meal vouchers from Nando's, RM60 petrol/gas vouchers from ExxonMobil, a pewter desk clock from my bank, and others.
I'm sure there are plenty more examples, but they are just not wanting to be shared wth the world right now. Or, in the case of attempting to describe my sense of humor - no way to do it justice in one paragraph!

And now.... hmmmmmmm..... who to tag, who to tag...... well, I think I won't tag anyone specific, just ALL MY READERS! muaahaahaahaha!

Kidding.


Anyone of my readers who do wanna take a crack at it, knock yourself out, then drop a link in the comments section, k?

And thanx again SnglGuy for the tag - it was fun :-)

Saturday, January 21, 2006

are you a home owner?

One aspect of my sense of humor is playing with words...

Here's an example:
The tv was on in the background.
Some infomercial type thing came on.

A question was asked "are you a home owner?"
But the way it was pronounced, it sounded like "are you a homo-ner?"

So i said out loud: "Are you a gay-ner?"

Kosh was blur until i explained "you know... homo-ner, gay-ner... get it?"

Not only did he get it, he then, errr, "expanded" on it: "Hey, I knew a Gaynor once - he was an asshole"

I start laughing..

He adds: "Really! He was a jerk!"

Seeing its effect on me, Kosh digs up a few more: "He was a dick! A jock too!"

By this point I'm just howling with laughter :p


Okay, so it went well past the original play on words, but what the heck - it was funny while it lasted :-)

Da poor b-day boy! (updated)

... So we had our ribs & Bab 5 session yesterday.

Then he passed out for a bit.

Then did some work grading papers and stuff.

Only at ~2am was he ready to head over to the location of work to set-up vidcams for the med students’ practice sessions that start 730am saturday. Me tired, but me accompany him to help out anyway..

Shouldn’t have taken too too long, seeing as we’d already done a similar set up last week.

But one of the cams was missing a part of its power cord!?
And the friggin tripod that didn’t seem to grip anything right tipped one of the other cams sending it crashing to the floor.

Bottom line? Only 5 usable cams when 6 were required.

This was going to wreak havoc on an already tight and long schedule… ugh!!

Not much we could do right then, so Kosh puttered around a bit more (and I took adantage of some free time to tweak the previous canasta draft and post it – anyone noticed the time of that post?), and headed back around 5am.

I passed out in bed, while Kosh said he’d be better off NOT sleeping – so he stayed up grading more of the papers. I suppose he left the apartment by 630am to get the day started – I have no recollection of anything until I started waking up about an hour ago.

Now, *i* feel like a zombie, and I actually got ~7hrs sleep… but I know *someone* who is so going to crash once he gets back….

(update: LOL 10 mins later I get a call - the day went off surprisingly smoothly - once the person who'd "borrowed" the power cord returned it that morning! Geeeeeez!! so now = almost 5pm, and he's been passed out for quite a while... probably no activities of any sort till Sunday... yawwwwwn!)

Canasta fever!

What with Kosh busy most of the time with work/studies, we end up not going out much. While he’s out for the day, I pretty much amuse myself with blog/computer time, and/or reading, and/or workout. Once he’s back, and he’s vegetated in front of the tv enough to feel human again, we face the challenge of what to do with our time!

Magic: The Gathering
One of Kosh's fave games from his undergrad days... He taught me to play when I first came over here, and we’ve spent many an hour (and day!) doing battle… The timing was just right too, as they were releasing a completely new and different set called Kamigawa: we were both quite keen on exploring the new cards and testing out their capabilities. However, it is also a damn bloody frustrating game because so much of it depends on luck of the draw; it got to the point that playing was no more fun and actually extremely stressful for me, and for Kosh as being on the receiving end of my frustrations. We now rarely play this, and only if I’ve mentally prepared myself for it… :p

Scrabble
Back when I had my own PC, I had a scrabble game which I played quite often. It had tutorials and exercises for various techniques, including 2-letter words. I also got the official scrabble player’s dictionary. So while I may not be too strong in getting those 7-letter bingoes, I can usually get some pretty good points for some pretty awkward situations. Yes, I am a Scrabble fan. Kosh is not so much. And it’s understandably frustrating for him when I create words like AA or OE or XU. And our games tend to take forever cos we’re both referring to the dictionary to check the existence of possible words. So, this game also has become a rare occurrence.

...regular deck(s) of cards game...
First I gotta share a memory I have from primary school – probably Std 5 (5th grade).

It was after we’d taken some nationwide exam but before the end of the school year, so we pretty much had nothing but free time, but were stuck in the classroom. Someone (maybe it was me?) brought a deck of cards one day, and a few of us started playing gin rummy.

A while later, the teacher stood up in front of the class and announced that “Someone has reported to me that there are some of you who are GAMBLING! You better stop now, or else I will come and confiscate everything and you will be in big trouble!”

I was like “Omg, who? Who?” and looking around the classroom trying to see who Ms Babs was referring to.

And I couldn’t understand why my friends all of a sudden didn’t seem inclined to continue the game at all!

It was only later, once I acquired more knowledge in these matters, did I realize that Ms Babs was talking about us!

I’m amazed, yet not totally surprised, that I might have actually been hauled to the headmistress’ office on the charge of gambling at age 11. It’s not like we were playing poker, or for money!

What harm is gin rummy?

We might have been playing something as innocent as Go Fish too!

But did the teacher make any effort to find out the truth? Noooooo! She listened to her spy (oh, I *wished* I knew who of my classmates had squealed on us – young brown nose!), jumped to her conclusions, and as is common in school and elsewhere, used scare tactics to stop our “bad” behaviour.

Okay, so I have no idea if bringing a deck of cards was against the school rules. But seriously – to call what we were doing “gambling” just cos we were using a deck of regular playing cards?

Ah, how I DO NOT miss my days in the Malaysian education system...!!
Okay, back to the topic at hand:

I’m a fan of euchre, but it needs 4 players, boohoo! So we need another couple to play against with – that occasionally happens, but we’re usually just the both of us...

So Kosh taught me Casino, and a 2-player solitaire-type game called Kings in the Corner. That was fine for a while, but I wanted something a bit more challenging.

About two weeks ago, somehow Kosh suggested I teach him Canasta, since I’d mentioned to him I’d played it both as a 2- and 4-player game. Online (Yahoo!Games). And had no idea just how it would be playing the game “live” (you can end up with so many cards in your hand, seeing as you play with 2 decks include jokers = 108 cards!). Plus the scoring issues – it was so easy when playing online cos that was all automatically calculated for you, but I had no idea what things were really worth :p

Hunted down a set of rules, and proceeded to refresh my memory and educate Kosh at the same time. Red vs black canastas. Minimum points needed for initial melds depending on your current total points. What to safely discard in order not to feed your opponent the card they may need. How and when to “go out.” The significance of those red three’s… Aaaaaah, it was so great to be thinking that way again! After all, while I’m not a great strategist (I just cannot do chess!), I enjoy games that provide just the right level of challenge and strategy and risk-taking.

Maybe it was beginner’s luck, but Kosh totally kicked my butt that first round, getting a total of 6660 points (Kinda funny, seeing as we were in the Omen-watching mode around that time!). We’ve played quite a few individual rounds as well and full-fledged games. We both enjoy the game immensely.

The downside? A full-fledged game can take HOURS!

So we’ve yet again inadvertently found another extremely effective procrastination tool, LOL!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Kosh is President for the day!

Remember Marilyn Monroe's scandalous rendition of the Happy Birthday song sung for JFK?

In homage to that, Kosh is President for the day - today is/was his birthday!

Happy Birthday, babes!
Muuuuuaaaaaaahhh!!
Smooooooooches!
Hugggggzzzzzzz!


Can't really mark it with anything special today or tomorrow, seeing as he is being kept busy with his work...

... so we had our "bbq beef ribs & Babylon 5" for dinner as our "treat" instead.

he'll probably only be in shape/mood to mark the occasion on Sunday,

poor baby!

Did you hear about...

... the guy in India who's not dead?

The thing is, everyone in his family thinks he's dead, and therefore when he recently turned up at the doorstep, the family is convinced it's his ghost that's come back to haunt them.

How did this happen? It seems that "...rumors over his death began when he was sent to prison in October for a minor tax infraction. He fell ill there and was transferred to a prison hospital in another district, from where word spread that he had died and that his body had been cremated because no one had retrieved it. After being turned away by his neighbors after his release, he finally went to the police, who are trying to help convince the people of Katra that he is alive..."

All the best to him!! ((Yahoo!News article HERE)

And this reminded me of what could essentially be the other side of the coin, as explored in one of the episodes of Da Vinci's Inquest:
A prisoner who is serving a life sentence dies en route to the hospital due to a heart attack or something, but somehow comes alive again. He then argues that since he was legally dead, his sentence is now over and he's a free man. There's some legal wrangling about whether he was officially pronounced dead, etc, but in the end, the prisoner's argument wins the day.
Before Da Vinci goes to officially report the dude's death, D asks him whether he's sure he wants to do this: after all, without a valid birth certificate he'd not get a Social Insurance Number (I suupose it's like the social security # here in the u.s.?) which pretty much means no job - essentially he doesn't exist anymore (tho I dunno just how solid D's argument is here... after all, it's not too hard to secure a false/new identity if you know the right people, so D's argument doesn't hold water maaah)

The soon-to-be-free prisoner replies that he sees it another way: no more jail time, no need for parole... he's getting a clean slate.

I like that style of thinking :-)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Light Blogging Day : Little Tony jokes

I received quite a few of these, but only these two I deemed blog-worthy.

Enjoy!

LITTLE TONY ON MATH
Little TONY returns from school and says he got an F in arithmetic.

"Why?" asks the father ?

"The teacher asked, 'How much is 2x3,' " I said "6", replies TONY.

"But that's right !" says his dad.

"Yeah, but then she asked me "How much is 3x2 ?"

"What's the fucking difference ?" asks the father.

"That's what I said !"


LITTLE TONY ON ENGLISH
Little TONY goes to school, and the teacher says, "Today we are going to learn multi-syllable words, class. Does anybody have an example of a multi-syllable word ?"

TONY says, "Mas-tur-bate."

Miss Rogers smiles and says, "Wow, little TONY, that's a mouthful."

Little TONY says, "No, Miss Rogers, you're thinking of a blowjob."

it pains me...

... so many things wrong with my country - here's yet another symptom: morality squad to prevent sins. A blog article HERE.

*sigh!*

then... okay so I don't know just HOW this fella chronicled his "problems" with his car (i.e. did he just lash out, did he make unprovable allegations, etc) - but still - shutting down his blog??? Read here: Court bars tirade on Malaysian Web Site

*ouch!*

and then... the recent bomb in Penang? (The Star article HERE) is it *really* "nothing to be worried about; an isolated incident"??

... ... ...

Monday, January 16, 2006

losing weight?

Please please please check out Kenny Sia's article on weight-loss spokepersons HERE.

Hilarious or what???

Happiness as a social dysfunction?

(Thanx to Reema for this quiz)











Your Social Dysfunction:
Happy



You're a happy person - you have a good amount of self-esteem, and are socially healthy. While this isn't a social dysfunction per se, you're definitely not normal. Consider yourself lucky: you walk that fine line between 'normal' and being outright narcissistic. You're rare - which is something else to be happy about.
















Take this quiz at QuizGalaxy.com


Please note that we aren't, nor do we claim to be, psychologists. This quiz is for fun and entertainment only. Try not to freak out about your results.



... and on an unrelated note - I finally found myself in the TTLB (The Truth Laid Bear) ecosystem - right now I'm a slimy mollusc! That's the 6th from the bottom out of 16 categories, or ranked #10700 out of 48089. Kewl :-)

... sith, oz & floyd, potter and more - oh my!

Recently, Kosh and I put to the test some stuff we'd heard about off of the net:

1. Of siths and kitchen sinks
Did you know that for Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith... In the opening sequence when the second Separatist ship is destroyed a piece of debris flies into the Clone Star destroyer that shot it. That piece of debris is a Kitchen Sink. It was it put in there by ILM as a joke from someone saying, "We're throwing everything in the sequence but the kitchen sink." (from HERE, 19th (i think) bullet point down)

I found this bit of trivia *after* we'd seen the movie, but well before the DVD was released. It's been on my mind ever since - one of those things that I just *have* to see for myself...

Of course, I wasn't in any hurry to see the movie again (yes, it was the best of the latter/newer three, but NOTHING close to the original movies!!), but once the DVD was available, we managed to get it from the library.

I proceeded to waste maybe half an hour, going through the opening battle scenes over and over and over, trying to figure out WHERE exactly the friggin' sink was.

There were a few potentials, but really, even with the slow/step feature, there was no way to definitively say "THERE IT IS!"

Bah, humbug!

2. Of wizards of oz and dark sides of moons
Ever heard of the supposed synchronicity between the movie The Wizard of Oz and Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon?

Set your CD player to repeat the entire disc - start playing the album at the end of the 3rd roar of the MGM lion at the start of the film. Sit back and enjoy the movie with its added effects.

Yeah.....

I think one needs to do this when stoned, drunk, or both :p

One thing that did get me LOL watching The Wizard of Floyd (or Dark Side of Oz?) was the tense scene where Ms Gulch comes to take Toto away. The song at that time is the early part of Time (I think?), and the ominous guitar sounds really seem to line up with every time Dorothy looked desperately from one person to another.

For your follow-up pleasure:

3. Of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
I don't know why I was disappointed by this movie, but I was fidgeting 30mins into it!

Maybe a big part of it was the totally crummy job with the convoluted love interest part of the tale (Ron - Hermione - Viktor, and Harry - Cho - Cedric, for example), which made those parts of the movie a big "HUH?" for those who haven't read the book.

And so much was left out!!!!!!!!! I'm cringing at the thought of how the next movie - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - is gonna end up... So many details of Book 4 were axed in order to squeeze the 734pg tale into 157mins - what more for Book 5's 870pgs?!!

But no worries, no matter what, I will still catch the next HP movies on the big screen.

In the meantime... if I were a non-muggle attending Hogwarts...


Which Hogwarts house will you be sorted into?

Your in-depth results are:

Ravenclaw - 13
Gryffindor - 10
Hufflepuff - 9
Slytherin - 8


4. Of strange loves and bombs
Galvanised by the many 100 all-TIME movies I'd not yet seen, I recently watched Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

I would categorise this as a dark comedy: that a general knowingly starts a process to nuclear holocaust is a horrible horrible premise... having a war room of politicians and generals frantically trying to stop it from happening, but being bogged down by existing prejudices is all too realistic despite its comedic setting... and having Slim Picken's character ride the H-Bomb was hilarious in a disbelieving way... Certainly time not wasted watching this movie :-)

Oh, and did you know that this movie is also where James Earl Jones made his screen debut? He went on to become the voice of Darth Vader (and CNN!). THAT is trivia worth remembering :-)

5. Of running blades...
Also from the 100 all-TIME movies list, I recently watched Blade Runner too.

Ah, a young Harrison Ford, with that mischievous boy look - always a pleasure :-)
A dark prediction of a dark future? Literally and figuratively! Excellent.
The questions raised about what it means to be human, especially when artificial life forms can experience emotions and, in the case of Rachel, not realise that she/it's NOT "human" - always valid questions as technology gets more and more sophisticated...

Again - definitely time not wasted (but I did have to watch certain scenes over again since they'd ended up watching ME instead, LOL!)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

15 reasons…

  1. You can have more than one beer at a time
  2. You can get the size beer you want – even a long neck
  3. A beer won’t give you whisker burns
  4. You can suck on one beer all night long in you want
  5. A beer doesn’t have to be hard to be good
  6. You don’t have to finish a beer in 2 minutes – you can take as long as you want
  7. A beer doesn’t expect you to be true while it runs around
  8. A beer satisfies you every time
  9. A beer is always there when you want it
  10. If you pour a beer correctly you can have as big a head as you want
  11. It takes a long time for a beer to go flat
  12. Even when you pop your beer’s top, you can still have a long stiff one
  13. Beers don’t expect you to be faithful and ask “Is there another beer?”
  14. You can have a quick beer on your lunch hour
  15. If you want to change beers, you don’t need a lawyer

Figure it out yet? The above list is “15 reasons why a beer is better than a man"

I have a sweatshirt with that list – I really dunno if I bought it for myself, or if it was a gag gift from someone… either way, I’m getting rid of the sweatshirt, but recording the list, just for the heck of it.

... ... I don’t even *like* beer! :p

On another note: this morning, I found a t-shirt I totally loved, and Kosh got it for me despite him looking at me one kind, teehee! It's a turquoise tee with the words Barbie [heart]'s Ken in white cursive letters, but with a "DUMPED" stamped across the [heart]. I found it totally hilarious :-) Am wearing it now while typing, LOL!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Starting the new year with Omens?

Hey, I just realised that yesterday was Friday the Thirteenth!

And on a related note:

A few weeks ago, it suddenly occurred to me that I wanted to see the Omen / Damien movies. I'd seen at least two of them, a long time ago... on Malaysian TV... so can you say terribly interrupted by commercials AND butchered by the censors?

Thinking back, I wonder how the movies were even ALLOWED to be aired in Malaysia...

Aaaanyways... so we got The Omen (1976) from the library. I hardly remembered ANY of it! And I really doubt the decapitation scene made it to Malaysian screens! Oh, and the early part of the film, with the birthday party for Damien - I somehow pictured a similar scene in Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett's Good Omens. Didn't quite like that book (I think I'm not into Prachett's style too much?), but I may just refresh my memory, since I've got that birthday scene in my head :p

I recognised a lot more scenes from The Omen II: Damien (1978): I thought the "death by crow" scene was actually "death by crowS" - but I can see why I might have been slightly freaked out by it... There was another death scene in the elevator, where a doctor gets sliced in half - pretty good effects for that time, I think. That was DEFINITELY not shown in Malaysia!

We just watched The Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981) a few days ago. Oh my... they should have stopped at #2! What a lame plot! What a total lameass ending!

But wait, it's not over!!! Did you know that there's an Omen IV: The Awakening (1991) out there??? Okay, so it was a made-for-TV thing, not a proper movie. And it sounds even lamer than #3. I think we'll stop at #3 and not subject ourselves to anymore... :p

misc blogthings ...

Yawwwwwwwwn!

It's been a long day. Past midnight now. Hanging out at Kosh's workplace while he puts finishing touches for stuff that he's organising Saturday morning.

In the meantime, I'm surfing aimlessly, and going thru a few quizzes:

You Are 40% Weird

Normal enough to know that you're weird...
But too damn weird to do anything about it!


^^^ that is hilarious!!! ^^^

next.....

You are a Self-Discoverer

You're not religious, but you've created your own kind of spirituality.
Introspective and thoughtful, you tend to look inward for the divine.
You are distrusting of all forms of organized religion.
You especially dislike religious gurus and leaders, who you feel are charlatans.


^^^ pretty true ... ^^^

And seeing as I will be looking into some further studies tho not for another year or so...
You Should Get a MFA (Masters of Fine Arts)

You're a blooming artistic talent, even if you aren't quite convinced.
You'd make an incredible artist, photographer, or film maker.


^^^ as expected - after all, this Chemistry major who turned into an organisational behaviourist does feel her next career should be in a more creative field!

... and how about my temperament?
You Have a Choleric Temperament

You are a person of great enthusiasm - easily excited by many things.
Unsatisfied by the ordinary, you are reaching for an epic, extraordinary life.
You want the best. The best life. The best love. The best reputation.

You posses a sharp and keen intellect. Your mind is your primary weapon.
Strong willed, nothing can keep you down. Your energy can break down any wall.
You're an instantly passionate person - and this passion gives you an intoxicating power over others.

At your worst, you are a narcissist. Full of yourself and even proud of your faults.
Stubborn and opinionated, you know what you think is right. End of discussion.
A bit of a misanthrope, you often see others as weak, ignorant, and inferior.


.... and with such a temperament, I suppose my "ideal career" would be...
Your Career Type: Artistic

You are expressive, original, and independent.
Your talents lie in your artistic abilities: creative writing, drama, crafts, music, or art.

You would make an excellent:

Actor - Art Teacher - Book Editor
Clothes Designer - Comedian - Composer
Dancer - DJ - Graphic Designer
Illustrator - Musician - Sculptor

The worst career options for your are conventional careers, like bank teller or secretary.


Okay, enough with that for now...

Friday, January 13, 2006

Effects of the Ferrari-less Monk


Remember The Monk who sold his Ferrari I’d been recommended to read? Well, I had placed an order with the local library for a copy, picked it up a few days ago, and I started reading it last night. Finished it today.

It was kinda amusing reading it cos I’d inadvertently ordered the large-print version – so I felt like I was reading a kid’s book :-D

But frankly, I’m disappointed with the book.

There are some gems hidden within its pages, true, but said gems are hidden among a poorly constructed, poorly told “fable about fulfilling your dreams and reaching your destiny” which in itself is just a less-coherent simple re-hashing of Covey’s 7 Habits.

I was also really bored, because like all those other self-help books out there, there’s nothing new contained within its pages. And, so much of what is said within those pages I already practice, or have practiced, or had practiced, for a long time.
  • I was never one who’s all caught up in the corporate rat race. Even though I know my rise in the company was quite high quite fast, I hadn’t “raced” my way there. In fact, my upward mobility was based very much on my capabilities and skills I possessed and results I produced – I wasn’t trying to climb the ladder, but my feet kept climbing while I was doing stuff that I took pride in.
  • I had the self-awareness to see that my last 2 years of work, despite being an excellent opportunity for self-improvement and experience-building, was also extremely poisonous to my well-being and sanity. I also had the courage to make the decision quit, the determination to see it through, and to ultimately walk away from it all – a secure job with pretty-much guaranteed continued upward mobility – rather than compromise my mental health any further.


And on the more personal side?
  • I’ve long felt that my mission in life is to bring out the best in others. Fulfilling this has taken many forms: observing over a period of time a friend stuck in a vicious downward spiral, sitting her down and talking her through what’s going on, helping her see and acknowledge things that are beyond her control, and identify things that ARE within her control that she can take action on, in order to improve her situation. Being an unofficial mentor to a younger colleague. Nudging people towards acknowledging some of their “black holes”, getting them to realize they are holding themselves back / are wearing blinders…
  • Having the strength and conviction to end a long-term relationship… yet to succeed in remaining friends afterwards (which *all* my “friends” said was an unwise and impossible thing to do).


There’s plenty more,… but I’m done with my introspection for the day :p

Not that there is no room for improvement, of course:
I don’t deny that many beneficial self-affirming “daily rituals” have crept out of my life for various reasons, so if nothing else the book served as a gentle reminder of things I could be doing to add a bit more oomph to it.

But there is no way for me to get any A-HA moments from a book so superficial.

That said, I suppose this book *would* be a good place to start for people who haven’t ever really taken the time to stop and take stock of their lives, or those who have but need a nudge in the right direction.

What I *did* like about the Ferrari-less Monk book:
  • The garden / lighthouse / sumo wrestler / pink cable wire / stopwatch / roses / path of diamonds visual imagery is a great memory aid ; chances are, I’ll still remember all seven “virtues of enlightened living” for quite a while
  • Many times throughout the book, it is said that you should do what you are comfortable with; take the time to “grow” your self, your willpower; take tiny steps if need be, but take the steps… Unlike many other books that prescribe a radical change from one’s existing condition, which would require a great amount of willpower and motivation to maintain… and chances are high that 6 months down the road, the poor fella is right back where he started, and even more convinced that he can’t change for the better!
  • I got a recommendation for a Gandhi book! From a long time ago, I knew that a good way to find inspiration was to read about great figures of history. I’ve always wanted to read about Gandhi. However, there were so many books out there, I didn’t know which to pick, and today I realize that I never did pick any. But now I have some guidance: Gandhi’s autobiography The Story of my Experiments with Truth – which is now on order from the library.
  • I also liked the practical look at doing things that are your passion in life. Like if you are a lawyer by profession but a painter at heart – sure, you could dump everything and try to succeed in the art world… or you could make sure you spend part of the weekends painting, and perhaps bestowing these as gifts to friends and relatives. One doesn’t always have to walk away like I did, y’know… :-)


Looking at the reviews on amazon.com, a similar but supposedly “better” book is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho - guess who’s ordered that from the library in order to make a comparison for herself? I’m probably gonna just skim it, tho… I doubt I could stomach too many self-help books at one time!

The Power of Programming ... and its consequences

I know of a Malay woman who just could not bring herself to eat ANY Chinese food, or even step foot into any Chinese restaurant. Why? Because her parents had raised her to think of all Chinese as dirty disgusting unclean non-Muslim scum, what’s why! And while this person had learned to function and interact fine with Chinese people, she just. Couldn’t. Eat. Their. Food. She’s tried – she’d puked. She couldn’t overcome her programming, despite being aware of it.

This is an example of Malaysia’s “racial & religious tolerance” the country boasts about.


Slightly over a year ago, I was discussing food with NS, a relatively close friend from my schooldays. She for some reason deemed it fit to advise me on what food to eat (the halal/haram issue) while I was going to be bumming around in the states. She said she was quoting her father, who is quite the religious type: “Eating kosher meat is fine. If you can’t find that, if you want you can eat food prepared by Christians or white people. But never ever eat anything by Chinese.” Me (incredulous, and immediately seeing so many holes…): “Oh, really? What about Chinese who are Christians?” She didn’t know. And had no opinion – couldn’t even say that maybe what she’d blithely regurgitated didn’t make sense.

I see this as an example of Malaysia’s practice of quashing independent thinking combined with the assumption that elders/parents always know best, and are not to be questioned. I was actually quite disappointed to discover from this interaction that NS was not the independent thinker I’d thought she was…


Don’t let the above examples give you the idea that I’m going to rant about the racial, religious and cultural “tolerance” (as opposed to the more effective, productive and peaceful CELEBRATION!) in Malaysia.

I want to talk about “programming”


It starts as soon as we are born, if not before….

In the Middle East, it is said that babies on both sides of the Israel/Palestine conflict are fed hatred along with mothers’ milk. … and while this continues to happen, is there any way to find some sort of peaceful workable solution to the situation? People are being bred to hate, to answer violence with more violence… but do they know what they are really fighting for? Do they understand what has brought the situation to the condition it is in today?

In Malaysia, with the convoluted situation of three main races (Malay, Chinese, Indian), practicing diverse religions (“there are no non-Muslim Malays”; Chinese = Taoist, Buddhist, Christian, some Muslim; Indian = Hindu, Christian, Muslim), the inbuilt discrimination for “bumiputera” (Malays, and the aborigine tribes which may practice animism, Islam or Christianity) within the Constitution, and the blurry status of how Indian / Chinese converts to Islam can become “bumiputera”… and resentment on all sides at perceived unfair practices, discrimination, etc etc… it’s not surprising that SOMETHING is “passed on” along with mothers’ milk! How, then, to achieve true cooperation among the many peoples that make up Malaysia??

But all that is talking about programming “against” “other people”…

What about programming against yourself?

I’m thinking about growing up in an environment that is harmful to a child’s sense of self-worth…

How about growing up with parents who call you “stupid” all the time?

And not just “stupid” but rather “styoooopid!” with anger, disgust, irritation, hate, sarcasm and/or venom dripping off every word…

I don’t care what the child has done, or how it behaves: when growing up, a child needs to be encouraged to learn, explore, question, make mistakes in order to learn from mistakes – not to get such savage blows to its self-esteem…

The child grows up all confused … it knows it’s not stupid: after all, it gets pretty good grades in school… do the parents hate it or something? Is there something wrong with it? Why can it never make them happy?

It grows up withdrawn, shy. Then the parents scold it for being shy, for failing to meet peoples' eyes when shaking hands with them, for staying up in its room when there are visitors... but what do you expect?

The child grows up with resentment and anger smoldering inside.

It starts to live a double life: on the outside it seems shy and withdrawn, but on the inside is a seething mass of emotions.

Fortunately, deep within the child lies an inner core of strength, which it finds and taps: perhaps despite of, probably thanks to, the anger and resentment within itself.

The child finds strength and belief within itself.

It also starts to observe its parents interactions, and realizes that its parents are actually really screwed up, and that a lot of how it was raised was a reflection of their dysfunction. It is amazed that they would actually take their frustrations out on their child that way. Did they not know any better?

While it is thankful there was never any physical abuse, it knows that what it experienced was a form of mental abuse…

…the scars of which exist to this day…

And the parents wonder why the now grown-up child is cold, distant and treats them with contempt. Sure, there are other factors involved, but still….

... what goes around comes around.


A point to ponder: whay is it that most people who were abused as kids end up abusing their own children? Why those who grew up watching their father beat up their mothers have a high chance of beating up on their own wives?

As much as they swore to themselves that they would never treat their kids/wife the same way, in the end, when they are in the same situation as they were 30 years prior, unless they have the highest of self control and self awareness, chances are high that they'll just perpetuate a terrible behaviour....raising yet another kid who's very likely to abuse its own child/partner in the future... and the vicious cycle continues...

I have always had grave doubts about ever settling down, and if that were to ever happen, whether I'd ever want to have kids - purely from the perspective of being to raise them is such a way as to NOT perpetuate the dysfunctions I'm probably programmed to carry out. At least now, Kosh and I, we both are all too aware of our families' dysfunctions... and we trust that we'll be able to "call" ourselves on any negative behaviour or bias or whatever we may inadvertently practice towards/around our future kids. We can do our small bit in raising kids who are true citizens of the world.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Bad News: show me the money!!

(This is a long-overdue continuation of my "Good News" post in early November 2005)

The Good News was that my winning that Marvel Award was finally confirmed.

This came with a $$$ prize.

So... show me the money!!


First: the continually unhelpful Chem Dept:
I asked them "... isn't there some sort of cash award associated with it? If so, how would I go about claiming it, ten years later?"

Their answer "It was $200 or $250, I believe. As far as claiming, I would check in [an office just across from their lazy asses]."

Geez, can't they even give me a proper amount????

Anyway, in the end, I was advised to go to Student Loans department, thos I really wonder why, seeing as I didn't take out any loans here, I was under a scholarship mah? Nevermind... Let's see if this gets me anywhere...


Student Loans Dept
I finally find the friggin' building, talk to someone who is helpful but doesn't really know how she can help or why I was pointed to the Students Loan office. Figures. But she did try to get hold of someone who might be able to help, and so I gave my particulars & contact info.

A few hours later, I got an e-mail: "According to your Student Account record, you did receive a "xxx xxx xxxx-CHEM" scholarship credit on 05-24-95 for the amount of $200. A refund check was produced on 05-24-95. We have copies of your student account summary, if you wish to stop by and pick them up. Just make sure you have a picture ID."

Yahoo! Now the $$$ amount is confirmed! Now to figure out where the money went!"


When I picked up a copy of that statement, things were not as simple as that e-mail implied: In fact, what I saw there made me quite mad... it seems as if when I was making sure I didn't leave town without owing anyone anything,I was told I owed some $$ for telephone charges from the dorm, which I promptly paid. But according to that statement I got, the USD200 was already in the account at that time??!! Right then and there I should have been informed about the excess $$, or at least NOT ASKED TO PAY UP the phone charges!

Bottom line: TWO cheques were supposedly paid out to me totalling USD 200.

Really? When? Where? Why have I never gotten it???


The people at the Student Loans couldn't help, and said I should go to Student Accounts Dept instead.


The Accounts Dept
Showed the person at the counter the copy of the statement I got from Student Loans, and explained the situation. He seems quite willing to help, took down the particulars again, made a copy of the statement, and said he'd get back to me; but warned that it may take a while since it involves 10 y.o. records from a different system.

He soon emailed me saying "Just wanted to keep you posted on our research into this matter. I have passed along your request to University Payables for further research. I will let you know just as soon as I hear anything from their office."

How nice.

I followed up about a month later and he had no news yet.

Followed up again last week, and today got his reply: "I checked again with University Payables and they were unable to dig up anything on these two checks. Their records just do not go back that far. At this point, the only thing I can think of is for you to visit the bank you were using back then and see if they have any record of the checks being deposited."

bloody 'ell!


I don't even remember what bank I used when I was here as a student! And I closed that account, well, ten years ago, you freaks!


Stepping back... taking deep breaths... trying to think optimistically...


Y'know, I don't believe I've ever received a cheque from the University throughout my student life here - after all, all I ever had to pay them was for things like the phone charges while I stayed in the dorms, cos all other costs were borne by my scholarship...

... and it *was* termed a "scholarship credit" ... So maybe the sent the cheque to my future employer in Malaysia?

I suppose I'll never know... (unless the same now-EX employer actually gets its act together to claim that ~10% of my total cost of scholarship from me [seeing as I ended up working 9 years & 2 weeks out of the contracted 10 years], cos I would insis on a thorough accounting of the costs... which should show any "scholarship credits" eh?)

Well, if I *had* gotten and $$ after all this time it would have been a total bonus.

So, too bad, no bonus...

Life goes on....

Oh Ireland, how I cry for thee...

"What did I have?" said the fine old woman
"What did I have?" this proud old woman did say
"I had four green fields, each one was a jewel
But strangers came and tried to take them from me
I had fine strong sons, they fought to save my jewels
They fought and died, and that was my grief" said she

"Long time ago" said the fine old woman
"Long time ago" this proud old woman did say
"There was war and death, plundering and pillage
My children starved by mountain valley and sea
And their wailing cries, they shook the very heavens
My four green fields ran red with their blood" said she

"What have I now?" said the fine old woman
"What have I now?" this proud old woman did say
"I have four green fields, one of them's in bondage
In stranger's hands, that tried to take it from me
But my sons have sons, as brave as were their fathers
My fourth green field will bloom once again" said she


Lyrics from makem.com HERE


The above is one of the most touching, sad, yet inspirational songs out there... if you were to hear it, it will haunt you...

The "old woman" of the song is Ireland.

I can't sing along to this song without getting choked up.

mythological? but I exist!!

Many thanx to Dawn the unicorn for pointing me to this quiz:
HASH(0x8f2fd14)
What mythological creature are you?

brought to you by Quizilla
UR A HIPPOGRYPH:
"Wings stir the sunlight dust
of the cathedral in which
the Past is buried
to its chin in marble."
A hippogryph is a cross between a griffin and a horse. You are very loyal and committted. Thus, you are a perfect fit for marraige or relationships. You are close to your friends and they appreciate you very much. You love the taste of freedom as does Pegasus. You are the perfect warrior. Obtaining swiftness and sharpness you are hard to beat down. Yet, you can be regal when the time is right.


Let's review the results, shall we?


A hippogryph is a cross between a griffin and a horse.
    yep, I am a half-breed, all right...


You are very loyal and committted.
    True. I think many people would like to see me committed.


Thus, you are a perfect fit for marraige or relationships.
    Oh, THAT kind of committed ah? Yeah, that works too :-)


You are close to your friends and they appreciate you very much.
    Those who make it to the "friend" category lah... Not too many people are allowed that close to me...


You love the taste of freedom as does Pegasus.
    Definitely! Just don't have George Michael sing that song to me, ok?


You are the perfect warrior.
    ROAARRRRRR I *am* after all, a Leo :-)


Obtaining swiftness and sharpness you are hard to beat down.
    "obtaining"? you mean "during the times I am swift and sharp I am hard to beat down"? Weird way of putting it, but sure! After all, most of my office colleagues could never "get" my train of thought...


Yet, you can be regal when the time is right.
    LOL! Again, I *am* a Leo, after all....
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