Friday, November 30, 2007

tagged!

I have some eggventures to blog about, plus early season greetings from across the pond to share... maybe next post... right now, I got tagged the same meme by both Neome and MOmmykin, figured I'll address that now....

... the 38 things meme

  1. Name one person who made you laugh last night.
    Kosh and I had a good belly laugh last night, can't remember what the joke was tho

  2. What were you doing at 0800?
    since it's 0654 as I type this (what does the "o" stand for? o my gawd it's early!!! name that quote!), I'll answer for yesterday - ASLEEP, feeling like crap due to this pseudo cold I've been battling.

  3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago?
    unloading clean dishes from the dishwasher

  4. What happened to you in 2006?
    got married

  5. What was the last thing you said out loud?
    something along the lines of "buh bye", to Kosh, as he got out the car (I drove his late ass to work this morning)

  6. How many beverages did you have today?
    again, it's just the start of the day, but I've had maybe two mouthfuls of H2O and a mug of raspberry leaf tea.

  7. What color is your hairbrush?
    don't have a hairbrush. have a large-toothed comb thingy. it's green.

  8. What was the last thing you paid for?
    thai food two days ago. and paid for it again in the bathroom a few times yesterday, LoL!

  9. Where were you last night?
    a-chillin on the couch with the hubs

  10. What color is your front door?
    a dark green

  11. Where do you keep your change?
    I try to use credit card as much as possible to AVOID having change :p

  12. What’s the weather like today?
    according to the Google desktop widget thingy, it's currently 36F while today's high is 37F. Fun!

  13. What’s the best ice-cream flavor?
    Ben & Jerry's DUBLIN MUDSLIDE, it's the shizznit!

  14. What excites you?
    That's what Kosh would like to know ;-)

  15. Do you want to cut your hair?
    absofragginlutely! might do that today, actually.

  16. Are you over the age of 25?
    yeah, by like a decade

  17. Do you talk a lot?
    it really depends on the company and environment, but usually no, I prefer to listen and observe

  18. Do you watch the O.C.?
    N.O.

  19. Do you know anyone named Steven?
    yes, one of the few sultans-of-con I worked with that seemed to fit the assignment

  20. Do you make up your own words?
    kinda. I've picked up Kosh's quirk of muttering gibberish, usually but not limited to when stretching.

  21. Are you a jealous person?
    definitely, but I've not been at its mercy for a long long time, thankfully

  22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘A’.
    aini ;-)

  23. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘K’.
    krista ;-)

  24. Who’s the first person on your received call list?
    my insurance agent

  25. What does the last text message you received say?
    i won't share contents, but it's also from my insurance agent. we have some stuff to work out...

  26. Do you chew on your straw?
    nope. I think I might have had a phase a long long time ago tho

  27. Do you have curly hair?
    nope. straight/wavy

  28. Where’s the next place you’re going to?
    i'm going to pot!! got lots of clay to finish playing with before the last official day of class next week...

  29. Who’s the rudest person in your life?
    frankly, I stay away from emotionally draining people, and that includes rude folks, so I have to say "no one"

  30. What was the last thing you ate?
    a slice of Entenmann's Cheese Danish Twist (comfort food for the crappy fever/cold)

  31. Will you get married in the future?
    probably not, I do plan on sticking with Kosh :-)

  32. What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the past 2 weeks?
    (goes to Netflix history to refresh memory) Ben-Hur, I suppose (felt totally gypped by the ending!).

  33. Is there anyone you like right now?
    In what way?

  34. When was the last time you did the dishes?
    you mean non-dishwasher style? A few days ago.

  35. Are you currently depressed?
    mayyyyyybe......

  36. Did you cry today?
    nooooo... rarely do I do that anyway

  37. Why did you answer and post this?
    because I got tagged TWICE and I figured I might as well go for it

  38. Tag 5 people who would do this survey.
    hmmm... okay, let's see.... I don't usually tag, but...
    - lion3ss
    - elisette
    - jeff a.k.a. Harmonica Man
    - mithz (maybe this'll jolt him out of his lack-o-blogging!?)
    - dawn

Thursday, November 29, 2007

language crossovers

So I'm slowly building up some Spanish vocabulary. In class we are going over things you usually find in a hotel room. Refrigerador. Cama doble o sencilla. Stuff like that. Many things I can relate to via logic and/or French connections. Some things are totally out of this world, like funda and silla for pillowcase and chair. But some! Some bring a smile to my face because I recognise them from Malay! Yes, Malay! They came into the language most probably through the influence of the Portuguese traders who had a small foothold in Malacca in the 1500's.
Sp = M = E
toalla = tuala = towel
jabón = sabun = soap
armario = almari = cupboard

and I've always speculated about the similarity of a very common hispanic female name and a general term for women in Malay:
juanita = wanita = woman

The only word I know of in the Malay language that has made its way into other language(s) is the one word that, strangely enough, seems to indicate that we have similar fighting abilities as the Norsemen.

They went beserk.

We ran amok. :-)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

page 82

Something strange happened in the fourteenth century... it was an age of unprecedented catastrophe for western Europe: widespread famine due to climate change, economic collapse, uncontrollable heresies, social upheaval, endemic war, and, to compound the misery, the physical and psychological devastation of the Black Death. As a result, Europeans emerged from the fourteenth century profoundly - and frighteningly - changed. Medieval Europe had been an intensely spiritual society: the salvation of the soul was paramount. Post-fourteenth century Europe abandoned spirituality for secularism, materialism, and worldliness. Its peoples embraced technology and science, and developed the most aggressively invasive mentality of world history. Why this profound shift from the internal quest for spiritual salvation to a craving for world domination? Was it just the end result of over a hundred years of catastrophe... or was there another reason?

"The Crucible" presents an explanation couched in a medieval understanding of the world... Medieval Europe was a world of evil incarnate, a world where demons and angels walked the same fields as men and women, a world where the armies of God and of Satan arrayed themselves for the final battle... we now live in the aftermath of that battle, but are we sure who won?


This is an excerpt of the Author's Note at the beginning of Sara Douglass' "The Nameless Day", Book One of The Crucible series.

Her name is not unknown to me, although I had yet, until last night, read anything by her. But wow. This book has sucked me in. I've always liked the play between Good and Evil, especially when this is brought about by flawed characters, when it is proven time and time again that absolute black or white is no way to view the world, that we are all various shades of grey. This promises to be such a one.

And the reason I've reproduced part of the Author's Note? To highlight how a few simple sentences can help me understand one aspect of history so much better than a ton of history books. And how this in turn helps answer an question that's always been on my mind : who the f**k do/did the British/French/Spanish/insert other colonizing power) think they are/were to go around the world colonizing the world and shoving everyone under their rule with absolutely no thought for the peoples already living in places like the Malay peninsula, the Indian sub-continent, North and South America... how on earth did these people get so arrogant? Why? ... and so, with a few sentences, Sara Douglass has provided me with some food for thought, and a (small) wish to learn more about this period of world history.

So last night I started on the book, and was at page 82 when Sleep insisted I cater to her demands. When I turned to switch off the light, I realised it was 230am. I love it when a book does that to me! :-)

So my plans for today? Some NaNo-ing, then more of The Crucible!

====
a little addition: so much for my plan to support physical/local bookstores. So in September I placed an in-store pick-up order for a Dark Tower-related comic book oops I mean graphic novel, Stephen King commissioned and approved, covering Roland's early years. It was due out in October sometime, so I "iou"ed Kosh, b/c this was going to be our 1st year anniversary present from me to him. The bookstore was supposed to call me when the book arrived. A little later I checked back and saw the release date had been moved to November sometime. Fine. So now it's the second half of November, and I finally remember to check amazon.com for details, and whaddayaknow, it's been out since November 7th! And no, I got no phone call from the friggin bookstore. Too friggin' bad, dudes, I'll just go ahead and get it from amazon for almost $9 less than what I was willing to pay y'all.
/end bitching mode.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Ben-Hur

Courtesy of Netflix, we are in the process of watching Ben-Hur.

Wow.

I remember being totally swept away by the movie the one and only time I saw it, on the silver screen in Malaysia when I was, what, 8? 10? The chariot race in all its bloody glory. The oarsmen rubbing their legs raw trying to escape their chains as a barge approached at ramming speed. The horror of leprosy (I had no idea what it was but boy you knew it was certainly not something you wanted for yourself!). And that faceless young man with nice hair who gave Judah water as the procession of slaves headed for the galleys were marched through Nazareth... ;)

I remember not figuring out the lead's real name. I tacked "-ton" to the end of a name I did know, so ended up referring to him as Charleston Heston (hey, it, ummm, not alliterates, but same idea mah!), much to the amusement of a parent who would always laugh and say he's not the name of a dance, which of course didn't mean a thing to me, so it didn't help... heck, even at this day and age, I still by default think of him as Charleston, although at least now I (kinda) know what dance I am attributing his name to, LoL!

Anyways.... I've only seen Disc One so far today (ends where Ester has told Judah that his mother & sister were dead, while in reality they were off to the Valley of Lepers), but already I am reminded, not just of the scenes mentioned above, but of how engrossing the tale is, how you get sucked into the story, how you feel the injustice meted out by Mesalla, how you yourself rail against cruel fate that caused the falling of the tile that started it all...

But there's one thing that makes me wonder.... There are bits of this movie that seem utterly new to me. You know, maybe, all those scenes that relate to the secondary title of the film: "A Tale of the Christ"? (Another surprise to me, LoL, only ever knew it as Ben-Hur!). Okay, so I can attribute it to perhaps not understanding the allusions as a very ignorant 8/10-yo. After all, I don't think I'd have gotten that comment about "that crazy man John who goes about drowning people", for example. Then again, I wouldn't put it past the thought police to have censored as much as possible of the non-essential Jesus-related stuff, like the entire opening sequence including the Star of Bethlehem shining a spotlight down on the manger, and the three wise men visiting a newborn baby in aforementioned manger, for example, in fear of the masses somehow losing their faith after watching this (and so many others - their job, it seems, is never done). Their lack of faith in their own flock never ceases to amaze me.

Anyways. Ben-Hur. Good stuff. If you've been wanting a good movie to (re)watch, how 'bout this one? Yes it's long and has lots of dialogue, yet it's a totally gripping tale, and its Christian foundation shouldn't detract anyone from a magnificent 3+ hours :-)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

just for the record

... yeahhhh... so here are some pix and a writeup on a march that took place in Kuala Lumpur, a march to show the rakyat's want for clean elections, a march that got nasty and was forcibly dispersed, or perhaps was forcibly disperse and therefore turned nasty? I'm not bothering to read up more to find the answer to that, probably will get totally opposing answers depending on whether I'm reading official government propaganda piece or an independent/opposition site. Gotta love all that crap. Oh, and for more, check out all the comments here.

And on another note... I'm already bummed out by the fact that even if I wanted to take one or two more writing classes at this one place I'd used before, even if I were willing to put up with the 1-hr commute during evening rush hour, I CAN'T! Because the L-stop right by the place is going to be closed for renovation for a friggin year.

Oh, and I'm working on my NaNo in spurts. It's a question of motivation (which shouldn't even be an issue...), not inspiration.

*sigh*

p/s> it's 2:30 am. and tell me what is wrong with this picture?

Monday, November 12, 2007

quoth the raven...

it's been while since i've made any real (malaysian) social commentary here. it'll probably stay that way. why? because i don't have the heart for it. not anymore.

when I first started this blog, I made it a point to follow the goings-on in malaysia, and would share my thoughts on all sorts of stuff: the morality police, "safety last" attitude, the ridiculous handling of the Noritta Samsudin murder, even the seeming lack of one sen coins!

But over the years (this blog is slightly over 3 years old! w00t!), I let go of Malaysia, of keeping in touch with its goings-on. Partly because my life was in the U.S., and partly also because the news from "home" was just the same ol bleak picture of ridiculous politicians. I'd get my occasional update through Jeff Ooi, Maverick, Aisehman, but frankly, my visits have been few and far between because what they highlight is just so depressing I'd rather concentrate on other stuff, like my Sim City, or pottery, or my novel writing, or my book reading. On one hand, fluff, but on the other hand, it's stuff that appeals to me, and brings me *up*.

I was jolted out of my apathy earlier this year by the Lina Joy case, and wrote a scathing piece, which unfortunately rests in draft form, probably never to see the light of your screen. Why? Call me paranoid, but I don't trust that it won't come back and bite me in the ass. Politicians are calling Malaysian bloggers enemies of the state, for heavens' sake! Utter morons, they are. And unfortunately, some local bloggers have already suffered from the scrutiny of folks over at the ironically-named Hill of Peace (Bukit Aman laa). No worries, I have no delusions of grandeur. I am small fry, I merely intend to stay that way.

I recently did do the rounds of the Malaysian political / observation blogs. Same old story. There was this big hoo-hah about the first Malaysian astronaut, when all he was was a space tourist, really. I don't know how much money was thrown at the Russians to bring the dude up into space with them. They threw in some experiments to make the trip legit (at least they scrapped activities like spinning the gasing, or making teh tarik!), but the bottom line is, he was just a space tourist. It is not an indication of the technological achievement of the country. How different it would be if half the crew had been Malaysian, or even half the ground crew, y'know? Awww heck, there I've gone an hopped on my soapbox. Grrrr. *hops back down* But I did find out recently that Anwar Ibrahim has a blog now. I added to my blogroll if you want to visit. Like Uncle Kit's site, however, it's on my blogroll but rarely, if ever visited. Like I said, I've no heart lah anymore.

But what triggered this post? Having Pak Lah equated with Hitler, what's what. Disturbing, to say the least. Very very very disturbing, on so many levels, I can't even begin to describe how I feel at this sight.

A sign that things are really on a downward slide over at Bolehland, don't ya think?

Which reinforces my avoidance of all news Malaysian.

And on that downer note...

Ciao!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I'll be Bach!

You be Beethoven!

:-)

So it seems there was this survey on most commonly quoted movie lines - Terminator's "I'll be back" came out on top. Heehehehee :-) I can understand why. I mean, I remember watching the movie for the first time, and when Arnie uttered those words, I *knew* he was going to be back with a vengeance! It was just a delicious feeling, y'know?

Anyways, for the Top 10 list, here's the Yahoo!News article.

And the whole "Beam me up, Scotty" misquote? That's #3 :-) Now, while I knew that phrase never was said on the TV show, I thought I'd read somewhere that it *had* been said in one of the movies. But the articles says no to that either. So, once and for all, I decided to look it up. Gotta love wikipedia for this :-) So, it turns out that what I was thinking of occurred in Star Trek IV where Kirk says "Scotty, beam me up." Not quite the same thing :-) Mystery solved. Until I forget again lah :-)

.... other news... I've been skipping more French lessons than I've attended this session. What to do, it's so friggin boring. One does NOT absorb new vocabulary by just talking through a long list of phrases, then having a token exercise of putting 5 of those phrases into a dialogue. No no no no no no no no no no! Not me, anyway! So, wasted $$ this time around. Next session/year, if I sign up, I'll look for "regular" classes, maybe even with the instructor I'd had for all my previous sessions prior to this. I'm willing to give him more slack with his unreliability & tardiness, knowing now how effective he is as an instructor, when he *is* actually in class, that is! :p

I'll save y'all a pottery photo update till next week. My attempt at the wheel this time around actually produced stuff! To keep! Still plenty of opportunity to ruin them tho, because I need to "finish" the pieces (turn them upside down and process the bottoms) at the next class. ... ... Oh, and by a great coincidence, I've gotten two separate independent requests for fruit bowls. LoL! I've found a "bat" I can use, they'll be formed with coils, it might take more than I'm capable at this point to create such a thing on the wheel :P

... and I can't remember much of it, but last night/this morning I was having some weird dreams. I know a bulk of it was about me doing pottery. But there was also something about updating my blog, and the contents were to the point, the writing outstanding, essentially I was producing my best post ever! Of course I have no recollection of the contents in the dream. Bummer! So you'll have to make so with this ramblage instead :-)

... and finally the weather - b.l.a.h. it's cold. It's 4C/39F! Oh, and guess what? This morning there was NO HOT WATER (just another surprise in this friggin apartment building!) so poor Kosh tried, but couldn't, take a shower this morning. He was frozen before even leaving the apartment! Once I woke up and tried the water, it was back on, phew! I don't do cold too well. Better him than me, eh? ;-)

Oh, one more thing - I've just finished book #40 for this year. Considering last year I consumed over 80 books, I'm really going slow this year, eh? But hey, an average of 7 book s a month is still not bad, right?

Friday, November 02, 2007

Pothead News

Got your attention, didn't I? So what if it's false advertising! :p

As promised, here's some more pottery pix.

Last week, I showed you this, promising that despite the yellow substance covering this thing, it was going to come out a delicate shade of green.

So, here it is:
I can't seem to make my phone focus on close objects, sorry for the fuzzy picture.

I'd textured this quite a bit, you only get a hint of that in the pic. Oh well. Also, this glaze doesn't really highlight texture - unlike some others that really change color (green to black, or black to blue, or grey to red...), I'll experiment with another similarly-textured piece next week, maybe there'll be a better effect then?

And what, you ask, is this piece for? Like I said, I didn't create it with anything in mind, but it turns out it's the perfect size for a tea light :-) Here's a totally set-up shot of the cat checking it out with candle within.

And remember that coiled bowl with the mini coils around the edge? Holy cow that took forever to glaze because I wanted to do so much with it, but the holes along the rim made for glaze leaking where I didn't plan on, and I had to figure out the order in which to do the glazing, and everything went pretty much awry... so much so I didn't even bother getting a pic of it before its final firing. We'll just see it in its full splendour? horror? next week :p

So, that was a major learning experience all by itself.

Then add to that my first time using the wheel.

I'll spare you the details.

Here are the results -->

What, they don't look like anything you'd expect?

Well, I was doing all my wheel work after the official class time, so I didn't have the instructor around for help and advice, and I was kinda working from the memory of his demonstration earlier in the day (which then got overwritten by the whole glazing-the-bowl endeavour!), remembering more things as I went along, but still, messing up every time.

So these bridges? That's what we were told to do with things that didn't go well - can't immediately reuse the clay because it's way too wet, so making them into this bridge thingy helps the clay get to a uniform dryness.

Four bridges, four tries.
ONE came out semi-decent. Or rather, one actually took shape, LoL!

I debated whether to keep it or not, you know, "my first wheel product" but decided I was going to have plenty of dust gatherers already, let's not add yet another. So squish squish squish and into a bridge it turned :-)

I'm confident that based on all that went wrong this week, I'll have a much better feel for the wheel next time. More updates then.

Ciao!
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