Tim's Blog

29 April

Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band live in Madison Square Garden
Patti Scialfa with guitar in hand shakes her head in disbelief as she gazes upon her husband with eyes that said "This is why I married him. God, I wasn't crazy after all."

I watched a video of the concert broadcast on Channel Four last night as every bead of sweat of the E-Street Band told the crowd standing and gyrating on Madison Square Garden, "This, this is why I followed this man for all those years."

The Boss was saying something as well.

As Bruce Springsteen belted out his hit Badlands, we are reminded why he became so popular. He is the living embodiment of what his music represents. That is, the vicious working class belief in doing what you're born to do, the only thing you know how to do and doing it with every ounce of your life. Thus is life made all the more precious.

Who cares that he is over 50 and greying and puffing the songs more than he was singing. He throws guitars 30 feet in the air across the stage to stage hands while screaming, "Is there anybody alive out there?!". He makes people feel alive and special as he walks up to the edge and serenades "Meet Me Out in the Street" to individuals within the masses. He is what Robbie Williams would like to be when he gets to Bruce Springsteen's age but can't because he hasn't suffered enough for it.

In this world of cynically-manufactured pop groups in front of TV camera that won't last longer than their two album contracts, here was an unheard of eight-member team led by a team leader with the larger-than-life personality of a born-again minister of rock and rock.

The Bruce is Boss.
09:37:28 PM - timyang - No comments

28 April

Blonde jokes
What did the blonde's right leg say to the left leg?
Nothing. They've never met.
09:27:03 PM - timyang - No comments

My job
You may have gotten an email from Tim Mansfield recently. Basically he spammed a lot of blog owners to get them to visit his website. His site is a project which elicits people to write about what they do and why they do it. Here is my entry:

I am a copywriter in an advertising agency.

Technically, my job is to write the copy for the ads that are requested by my clients which can be anything from dog food to mobile phones to department stores. However because of the merging of media including the internet, direct mail and product packaging (the advertising industry calls this merging "integrated media"), my writing has to extend beyond print ads, TV commercials and radio commercials. Each media has its own considerations and issues to deal with. I have no favourite because my main concern is the effectiveness of my communication not the ease of my job.

That's the short of my job. However, I also have to deal with long-term issues of advertising communication. For example, the first question I always ask myself is: does my client need advertising? Sometimes they don't but request for it. So I am under pressure to convince my client that his money might be better spent for instance on creating a better product or upgrading his services if these are lacking. After all good communication can only make a poor product obviously poor much sooner. With the advent of consumer groups and the proliferation of product reviews and information on the internet, it is certainly not possible to consider selling consumers something that is shoddy or something they don't need.

Also technically speaking, I don't do the design of the ads or the look of the commercials. I work with art directors and designers whose role in the team is to handle those parts. However, the role of art and copy have blurred over the last three decades. It is quite a regular occurance for me to picture an entire ad including layout as likely as it is for the art director to do the same with headline and copy in place. We call this conceptualising. We still maintain art director/designer and copy roles because these require some degree of specialisation. I am lousy at mixing colours on a layout pad just as lousy as my art director or designer is at appreciating the succintness of word-based communication.

I enjoy my work which I have been doing for seven years because it gives me a sense of accomplishment. My work can reach thousands of people within a short span of time. And in the long-term affects the livelihood of thousands of people around the world from the person who assembles the products I sell to the distributor who warehouses and sends the products to the retailers who display the products and keep the cash registers ringing.
08:46:55 PM - timyang - No comments

27 April

Women Want Security, Men Want Sex
Here's an interesting article about the kinds of gender-related pressures we have to maintain monogamous relationships.
08:12:18 PM - timyang - No comments

Looking for inspiration
This artist is looking for people to send him suggestions for subjects for his works of art. They're not bad. In fact his style is really interesting.
07:58:55 PM - timyang - No comments

25 April

Know when someone opens an email you sent...
iTraceYou can send an email to any Hotmail or Yahoo email address and to a variety of other web-based and POP-email addresses and iTraceYou will send you an email when your email is opened. I can see a number of uses to can the "it got lost in the email" excuse.

1) Find out when a potential employer or headhunter opens the email you sent with your resume in it.

2) Find out when a long-distance boyfriend or girlfriend is actually trying to avoid you even though he or she has been checking his email.

3) Find out if the politician or government employee has been receiving and opening the petitions you sent.

etc etc
11:29:23 PM - timyang - No comments

Holy crap!
I smell trouble with a capital W.
11:08:13 PM - timyang - No comments

Some people have been watching too many Rambo movies...
Some boys in the US and in China are planning to disrupt government and commercial internet services in each other's countries for want of better enemies.
05:17:08 AM - timyang - No comments

Stones for Ibarra
I watched an amazingly romantic movie called Stones for Ibarra (1988) starring Glenn Close and Keith Carradine about a California couple who move to Mexico to re-open a copper mine which Carradine's character's grandfather owned.

It was a tale about the Mexicans in the village as much as it is about the couple as Glenn Close's character spends her days spinning stories about each villager she meets as well as reminiscing about the lives of the Californians who lived there a hundred years ago.

I quickly ordered the book.
04:11:13 AM - timyang - No comments

Invention idea
Wouldn't it be great if all the women in the world came with a best-if-used-before label?
03:38:59 AM - timyang - No comments

I get a copy of Scott Adams' "Dogbert's New Ruling Class" newsletter occasionally in my email. And there are often some hilarious stories of In-duh-viduals in there. Here's an exerpt that a reader sent in.

There are two doors in the restroom at work. One is the exit and the other, on the other side of the room, is a closet. The closet door is clearly labeled "closet."

The other day I was using the restroom and I heard an Induhvidual open a door and exclaim, "Darn it! That's the closet again!"
03:32:57 AM - timyang - No comments

24 April

More baby names
Name your baby after a science-fiction character?

Can you imagine yourself saying the following words, "How many times have I told you to wash behind your ears, Worf!"; "Darth, get in here, it's getting dark outside!"

Speaking of science-fiction characters, how about creating one with Hero-Machine? Unfortunately Hero Machine currently only supports male characters. Too bad. I can see a lot of abuse with the server overloading with a surge of 48DD Lara Crofts.
05:50:41 AM - timyang - No comments

Perks of a failed dotcom
Even when a dotcom fails, there are still some perks to be had. I think I can imagine Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com working as an executive at DHD Media... sorta.
05:34:20 AM - timyang - No comments

"And next we have the Flak Jacket Contest... "
Here's a story about Miss Universes wearing flak jackets. Somehow I don't think that will take over the swimsuit contest...
05:24:46 AM - timyang - No comments

23 April

Terrible, I know
On Sunday, a group of Palestinian militants called the Popular Army Front killed two people with a suicide bomb. It's a tragedy, but I can't help thinking of a Monty Python sketch, scene 7.
07:55:39 PM - timyang - No comments

Cheers one-liners
Here's a bunch of one-liners from Norm in the TV series 'Cheers'. This is my favourite.

"What'll you have, Normie?"
"Well, I'm in a gambling mood, Sammy. I'll take a glass of whatever comes out of the tap."
"Looks like beer, Norm."
"Call me Mister Lucky."
07:51:10 PM - timyang - No comments

Movie idea
Picture this: 'Color Purple' meets 'Castaway'.

It's the 1780s. A Jamaican slave girl is on a slave ship which gets shipwrecked and she as the sole-survivor ends up on a deserted island.

She has known nothing but servitude all her life. Suddenly she has no one to serve but herself. She has to pick up all the survival skills from her childhood. Life is so hard that she contemplates suicide. Her life makes us think about what the meaning of freedom is truly about. But here's the twist: she's already pregnant by her mastuh and she gives birth to a pair of twin boys. It is these boys that give her something to live for.

She begins to feel that while she lived in a society with racism, that at least it had many creature comforts. She ironically begins to miss her life as a slave girl.

But toward the end she learns that although she has traded one oppression (the oppression of man) for another (the oppression of nature) that hope, hope alone is the master of all.

It is a bittersweet but thoroughly uplifting ending. She gets rescued by a ship of American abolutionists (on their way to free slaves in South Africa) which include a dashing young white ex-slave owner. They fall in love at first sight. But she has to leave the island that brought her so many things she never had: her two sons and the ability to feel hope for a better life beyond all oppression.
03:25:53 AM - timyang - No comments

22 April

Who needs confessions? Hey, Pope John Paul II, eat your heart out!
02:52:15 AM - timyang - No comments

Goddamn it! Goddamn it! Goddamn it! Goddamn it! Goddamn it! Goddamn it! Goddamn it! Goddamn it! Goddamn it! Goddamn it! Goddamn it! Goddamn it! Goddamn it! Goddamn it! Goddamn it!
Isn't this so typical! I can't get the dotcomments to work. But when my friend Alex watches me on ICQ as I fix it, THEN it works.

The problem with the frames apparently arose when there is a base target="_parent" tag in the head section. If you use frames you must put a target="main" tag in the "a href=javascript..." tag where "main" is the name of the frame where the blog.php file is.
02:14:23 AM - timyang - No comments

21 April

I was watching a Japanese movie late last night ...
... after getting back from another fruitless session of canvassing for respondents at the internet cafe. A scene from the movie inspired the following line.

"She cleaned his body all over, stroking her full soapy breasts across his skin like a softened wash cloth and using her unshaven pubis as a pumice stone."

Then I wrote this, I think as a self-rebuke.

"My impatient hands bounced a luminescent green ball off the checkered floor with ever increasing madness as I waited for Ahmad to make his move. The ball had an electronic heart that expelled a breathless pulse of red light, powered by the kinetic energy that each bounce had playfully kissed into it. It reminded me of the blinking lights of a Swedish whorehouse beckoning to some diminished sailor not to avoid its shores but to dash himself upon it. This imagery in turn reminded me that I needed to stop watching so much late night Channel Four TV... "

Haha. If you're going to read this blog, you'll have to live with me and my writing!
10:03:54 PM - timyang - No comments

Me too! Me too!
If this isn't a good enough reason to get rich, I don't know what is!
10:01:21 PM - timyang - No comments

20 April

It's probably the frameset. I bugged it with foreward.com already. And with the help of the Dynamic HTML "Flamingo" reference, I resolved the problem with the pulldown archive menu loading into the parent window.
07:29:13 AM - timyang - No comments

19 April

Dotcomments error
For some crazy reason or other, dotcomments does not seem to want to allow commenting on the main blog page. But if you go to the archive, you can post comments there. I am certain i installed all the php and javascript parts correctly. I think I did it at least twice of the last couple of days. I checked that all the urls were correct and that the code matched the original documentation.

Could it be the frameset? I wonder. There is no frame set currently with the archive because I haven't figured out how to load the option from pulldown menu into the main frame.

I am going to have to pull out the javascript manual and figure out how to load the archive into the frameset then i can know for sure. But it may not prove anything conclusively because it could be a combination of factors including the frameset.
07:11:49 AM - timyang - No comments

18 April

The headhunter
He wrote to me again. Told me the Chicago job was probably off because of the layoffs at the company there. He suggested that he might have a Minneapolis opening. It's cool.

The dotcomments still doesn't work. I have to reinstall it again because I can't figure out what part needs to be fixed. Now that the rest of the website looks more or less ok, I'll work on that part next.
10:12:35 PM - timyang - No comments

Too tired
I am up all night this whole week. Have to stay awake till 3am to talk to people on the West Coast for my dissertation research. I have very little hope of doing a kick-ass dissertation, mainly because I can't get enough people to respond. I can only hope to get a little response and make it look like a big thing. I'll try to hide the real numbers. I hope my dissertation supervisor doesn't scrutinise the logs too closely.
09:02:26 PM - timyang - No comments

17 April

Captain Corelli's Mandolin
Picked up this book by Louis de Bernierres at Waterstone's today. I always read the first paragraph of the first page of the book to check out the style of the prose. I'm attracted to writers who have poetry in prose.

"Dr Iannis had enjoyed a satisfactory day in which none of his patients had died or got any worse. He had attended a surprisingly easy calving, lanced one abcess, extracted a molar, dosed one lady of easy virtue with Salvarsan, perfomed an unpleasant but spectacularly fruitful enema, and had produced a miracle by a feat of medical prestigitation."

Geez, I thought. This guy writes just like Joseph Heller in Catch-22. And I loved that book. I turn to the back cover to check out the story summary and sure enough, Joseph Heller is blurbed as saying,

"A wonderful, hypnotic novel of fabulous scope and tremendous iridescent charm -- and you can quote me"

Heller peppered his book with imaginative highly-developed characters who with vast amounts of amusement, fleshed out tales of high-humour and irony. de Bernieres' novel is no less interesting because in the next four pages, I read how Dr Iannis found of all things a calcified pea stuck in an old man's head that had been there since he was a toddler, thus restoring his hearing.

You have to get this book!
08:41:45 PM - timyang - No comments

This quote has been playing in my head for months. It's from American Graffiti (1973). It's a silly quote, but it's full of machismo and ineffectitude at the same time.

Ants and Joe are part of a street gang and they're in a car driving around for little else to do. Suddenly, Ants yells in a very offended tone.

"Hey, man, who cut the cheese?!"

To which Joe replies,

"He who smelt it, dealt it."

08:28:14 PM - timyang - No comments

I keep getting broken pipe errors whenever I try to publish with Blogger. So I've had to resort to mailing to the archive file instead of the main theedge.php file. Nobody else seems to have the same problem. I wonder why. FTP with a client seems to be alright though. The comments don't work either. Damn it.
05:25:28 AM - timyang - No comments

16 April

Mucked around
Mucked around with the layout again. I've tried using a randomizer for the image on the left. But for God's Sake, I can't seem to figure out a way to get rid of the border between the top row and the second row!
03:44:43 AM - timyang - No comments

15 April

Letter writing
This a site dedicated to the art of letter writing. There is a new letter published every day.
09:14:30 PM - timyang - No comments

Here is an exerpt of a story I am working on. This section introduces a character called Mick.

�The air around Mick constantly sizzled with the anger seething within him. It reminded me so much of the fragile glutinous veil of the sausage on my plate that I quickly put my fork away.

Stoppering it like a huge rock on top of a volcano, he gingerly kept his anger hidden from those whom he loved. Yet we all knew that it might only take something as light as a feather to topple it over and release the flushing energies inside.

Even if you didn�t know Mick, you could sense in him an Apollic character. When he walked, his feet didn�t merely seek permission for the blackened tar and stones to support them. With his almost-military wide steps, he conquered the ground ahead, yielding none to his invisible enemies.

He was a tall man, slim as horse whip. His wide rounded shoulders naturally jostled the air to his sides as he sat across from me in the cafe. He ordered with his eyes downcast, unconsciously studying the water stains on the table left by a careless wash cloth. Unicorns and zebras pranced between the condiments.�
07:34:50 PM - timyang - No comments

84 Charing Cross Road
84 Charing Cross Road by Helene HanffI came across the title of this book by Helene Hanff recently. It was the answer to a question on the gameshow 15 to 1. It is about two people who have never met and never do but through their love of literature, they find a bond. It was later turned into a movie starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins.

I think I shall like to visit the location the next time I am in London.
07:26:27 PM - timyang - No comments

Ran into a small problem
At first it was the chat software compatibility problem. The respondents each wanted to use their favourite chat software. And all of them were different. I solved that by setting up a javascript chatroom.

But I am now having some problem finding respondents to fill the chatroom. And this is the first focus group! Argh! I need at least two more focus groups. I am in such deep shit.
03:44:00 AM - timyang - No comments

14 April

Working on that. I have 26 days to complete or I get booted out. No problem. Strangely enough, I'm not at all stressed about it. I know my topic. I covered my ass twenty ways from Sunday in my methodology. When I'm on the case, there's no way that any external invigilator (or for that matter any $20,000 a day lawyer) can tweak me.

I'm virtually guaranteed a 2:1 (ie a "high B"). A 1st would only be a plus, not a necessity. The problem is that I'm not spending an extreme amount of time on the analysis.

Should I? Of course. But consider I don't have the motivation for that. I've learned all I wanted to learn from college. Getting the actual degree isn't as important to me as that. Pleasing my family happy isn't at all motivating since I'm not at all close to them (besides which nothing pleases them). However, hitting my minimum professional standard for decent-quality work is motivating -- up to 2:1, not 1.
10:04:34 PM - timyang - No comments

11 April

The saleman who became a policeman
A salesman, tired of his job, gave it up to become a policeman.

Several months later, a friend asked him how he liked his new job.

"The pay is bad and the hours are worse," the policeman replied, "But on the other hand, the customer is always wrong."
10:49:45 PM - timyang - No comments

Bartlet in 2004!
Vote for Jed Bartlet!
10:39:58 PM - timyang - No comments

10 April

Me... and other strangeness. Part 1
I won't ask for help. Never never never.

Except when I don't need it.

Then I don't mind asking for it.

You see, I don't ever want to be in a position when I have to depend on someone or to be grateful for help. I was in that situation when I was seven and had to live with it for several years. At that time I had to rely on my mother for my livelihood. At seven I was already smart enough to know that I couldn't survive as a runaway for the long-run. So I had to put up with her abuse of me.

Suffice to say I would rather die than ask for even the smallest favour.

So if you ever see me asking for help, then you'll know I've already got a solid fall-back plan. Or that I don't really need the favour but it would be nice to have or would make things a bit more convenient for me. (See that's how useful you are to me! :-)

And if you see me facing a really bad situation and I'm really calm. It isn't because I'm handling it. It's because I'm merely happy not to ask for help.

But when you see me facing a really bad situation and I'm playing computer games, it's because I am in such dire straits that I'm trying to avoid facing the problem. That's when I'm in really deep shit.

Please commit me.
07:33:58 PM - timyang - No comments

09 April

The Corporation
Here's a site that makes really nice (and humourous) fake-ass icons such as this:

I've made a slight change to the page. Please add your blog to my free-for-all list of blogs. The icon is on the menu bar. Thanks!
03:07:38 PM - timyang - No comments

More mucking about
Been mucking around with some scripts from Moreover.com so that I can use this page as a news aggregator as well.

Thanks to Richard for helping me out with the Dotcomments. Now they work!

The newsfeed scripts may slow down the site quite a lot. I can't feel it on the university computers. So you'll have to tell me if they do. I'll cut back on a couple of the newsfeeds.
05:05:16 AM - timyang - No comments

08 April

I hate art galleries
Despite the fact that I do love art, I feel rather constricted in my appreciation of art in a gallery.

Appreciation of art for me is a profound experience, or should be. Each piece has been designated by its creator to awaken some sense or concept within ourselves.

So how many times can we be profoundly affected within a short span of time before we go a little crazy with all the new ideas that leap-frog in our mind? When I get a new idea, I like to mull over it, push it to its limits and perhaps a little beyond. Twist it and apply it to various situations. Compare and contrast it with other ideas. Wring it for every drop of philosophical evidence that it can produce.

But in a gallery, presented with so many new ideas at one time, I feel rather bewildered. I'm like a little kid in a sweet shop faced with too many choices and in the end I have to walk away feeling nauseous without having tasted a single lollipop.

Which is too bad since the Tate Modern Gallery looks awesome. Yes, folks, that IS the lobby of the Tate Modern. And the floor IS sloping.
10:04:06 AM - timyang - No comments

07 April

Been looking at...
The Artcyclopedia and The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Damn, this makes me want to get back into photography. So does this.
08:01:25 PM - timyang - No comments

The Dotcom tech specs
Robert, the technical director of my erstwhile still-to-seek-funding-dotcom, sent me a copy of the technical spec he wrote for the search engine software a couple of weeks ago. I just managed to read it last night. Concisely and decently written. Might require a slightly more detailed introduction/overview and less jargon when refering to websites on the internet. The tech spec is after all targeting for consumption by a bunch of programmers at a sweat shop in Pakistan. As far as I know, Asia is still far behind in internet use and we cannot assume that they have caught up already.
07:53:01 PM - timyang - No comments

I have just installed my first PHP script. The Dotcomments script. That was a big move for me.

I am not a technical person with very little coding background except for once running with a bulletin board hacking group in Singapore in 1991-1992. So I'm champagning right now.

In the end, with the really simple instructions offered by the Dotcomments authors, it was a snap. Kind of like installing Javascript bits from Dynamicdrive. In fact after I looked at the really short code, I had the distinct impression I was looking at a Javscript code instead of a PHP one... perhaps because both are non-compiling object-oriented languages written in text.

I'm terribly sorry, but because I am no longer using the ever-slowing Blogvoices, all the comments in the past week have been lost. But I must at least give credit to crish at Blogvoices for pointing Dotcomments out to me. Thanks crish!

But I seem to be having some problem with the "permissions" whatever that is. Help, Richard! Help!
07:11:57 PM - timyang - No comments

One afternoon, a man drives down a highway to visit a nearby lake and relax. On his way, he sees a guy dressed from head to toe in red standing on the side of the highway gesturing for him to stop.

The man rolls down the window and says, "How can I help you?"

"I am the red goober of the highway. You got something to eat?"

With a smile in his face, the man hands a sandwich to the guy in red and drives away.

Five minutes later, he comes across another guy, this time dressed fully in yellow standing on the side and waving for him to stop.

A bit irritated, our man stops, cranks down the window, and says, "Yeah, what can I do for you?"

"I am the yellow goober of the highway. You got something to drink?"

Hardly managing to smile this time, he hands the guy a can of Coke and stomps on the pedal and takes off again. In order to make it to the lakeside before sunset, he decides to go faster and not to stop no matter what.

To his frustration, he sees another guy on the side of the road, this one dressed in blue and signaling for him to stop. Reluctantly, he decides to stop one last time, rolls down his window, and yells, "Let me guess. You're the blue goober of the highway. So just what on earth do you wanna have?!"

"Driver's license and registration, please."
01:15:45 AM - timyang - No comments

06 April

Moved servers
I've found a free host called Freedom2Surf. I can't recommend it highly enough. It is the only free host I've found after an extensive search on all the directories on Yahoo that offers complete CGI support, including PHP. I'll need PHP support to administer a new comments script called Dotcomments. Incidently, I didn't find F2S on the Yahoo directory. I spotted a reference to it on the alt.freehosting newsgroup.

One of the good things about F2S is that it doesn't have ads.

The worst thing is, it is slooooooooooooooow. Apparently, a lot of other people like myself love F2S as well. Hmph.

No worries. When I get my first paycheque, one of my first priorities is a paid-for web-host. Then I can shuck the incompetent Namezero off my back. Just as well that I'll be moving to a new host in three months time. I highly doubt that Freedom2Surf will last much longer than that since it obviously hasn't got much of a long-term plan for revenue-generation to buy bigger servers as it becomes more popular.
09:43:03 PM - timyang - No comments

New training premises
I laid off of muay thai for a couple of months before March. Now I've been going back once a week. It feels good. There are more students now. Several of those like Rob and Lee and Andy who laid off since November are now back.

I'm still the lightest in the group but that's perfectly fine since I need to learn how to take bigger hits during sparring. My footwork is getting more confident, but my hit-strength, my combinations and my round-endurance are still rather weak.

Every one has been really enthusiastic since Sert, our teacher, announced that he has secured new and much bigger premises for a training gym in an old garage. I've seen the building and it is huge. We now have to wait for the town council to sign off on the re-zoning papers before we can go in and re-paint the place, install the bags and the new ring that Sert will be ordering.
08:26:28 PM - timyang - No comments

05 April

Nope, that's wrong.

I told Jon that I could say whatever I liked about my past because I didn't need the family. I was hurt so bad that I trained myself to be a solitary, independent and resourceful person so that I would never ever need anyone ever again. Nobody got near me and I kept everyone away.

But I can't absolutely deny that I don't need people. Or that the family doesn't affect me at all. Or else, why did I put mail-blockers for the email addresses from the family? Or else why would I even consider going back to my grandfather's house on Chinese New Year?

What I really don't need is to be reminded of the kind of life that I used to lead. Or the kind of person I was (yes I was violent with my sister). Now I need the space to adjust myself so that I can refocus, regroup and cope with my life. In other words, in the short-term, I have to cut off the family so that in the long-term I can come to terms with them. (Hmmm. Looks like I've got to invest in a thesaurus.)

In the meantime, they have to learn how to cope without me.
08:06:22 PM - timyang - No comments

Hey guess what?
My cousin Jon found my website. He probably did Google search on me or just hit timyang.com. Who the hell does stuff like that? A person who would be better suited to working for the CIA, that's who.

He basically chastised me for using too many real names in the entry on my family. Ok, the exact references have now been deleted. And I have also taken off the most telling meta tags on all my blogs to stop more search engines from pinging it so he'll feel better about the chances of the rest of the family finding out about the site.

I can't promise that none of them will ever find out about the site. But I do have absolutely confidence in their lack of savviness to not find it for years and years.
07:35:02 PM - timyang - No comments

04 April

The image files apparently DO load into the memory cache and that browsers are generally smart enough to check each file and call up similar files from memory rather than reload them again. Yup. Otherwise, you would definitely find by now that this page was slowing down if it had to re-load the stamp.jpg and the airmail.jpg files for every entry.
11:32:45 PM - timyang - No comments

Tragic family
I've got a very tragic family. And when I say family I refer to the Chinese sense of the word, that is, the family that descended directly from the nominal head of the household which is my maternal grandfather.

First, an introduction. My grandparents sired three sisters and two brothers. Their relative ages and their relative sequence of birth also means a lot in their social standing within the family, but we can get into that later. The names of the sisters are Yin (my mother) and the other two I shall call Yee-ma and Lu. The brothers are Kee and Ping.

The tragedy I spoke of earlier really belong to the children of these siblings. My cousins and my siblings and I.

Lu and her husband, Pestana, were both killed in a plane crash on their way from Australia for Chinese New Year in 1977. Their children Jon and Ruth, never knew their parents and had to live with their paternal grandparents while they grew up.

The three children (Pogo, Sulin and Sufei) of Kee and his wife Rena had to watch as their parents slowly died of cancer. Kee died two years before Rena, but by then Rena was already diagnosed. My cousin Sufei was six when her mother died.

Yee-ma and her husband Tai-fung went to Hong Kong to work for one of Yee-ma's uncles, a multi-millionaire, and became successful themselves, mainly for just playing along on The Multi-Millionaire's team. Their children (Wei, Pekyu, Chien and Kevin) had to live harshly perfect and inscrutible lives and living up to high expectations of their parents. They came out well-adjusted, but like their parents, they are only a facade for something deeper.

My brother and sister and I became abused by our mother who suffered the embarrassment of a divorce from her husband early in their marriage. You must understand at this point that she was the most tragic of the second generation. She was the youngest and she was a daughter. In Chinese families, she would be considered the tail end of a refuse truck. What made her situation worse was her brother Ping was born several years after her and whatever little attention she got from her parents was snatched away. In order to regain some standing in her family, she got married quickly -- too fast and to the wrong man. By the time of her divorce, my siblings and I were already born and she saw us as a burden which became compounded by the fact that she found herself once more under the roof of her un-loving parents and living off their welfare. Still, it was certainly no excuse for her to take out her frustration on three defenceless children. But I shall get into that subject later.

Uncle Ping and his wife Christine sired two daughters (Sam and Nick) whom I suspect (but I don't know for sure) must have had some kind of "survivor complex" because compared to the other families of our generation, they escaped unscathed. They were brought up upper middle-class and their parents didn't divorce until they were older and the eldest was already on her way to college.

The thing is, I'd like to discuss this further with my cousins and I've set up an online forum and have invited them to participate. Not all at once, but the ones whom I think are most likely to open up first. That is, my cousins Jon and Sufei. I'm telling you all this because my analysis of the results of the online forum will probably find their way into this blog and I felt that I ought to introduce the players to you well beforehand.
09:51:07 PM - timyang - No comments

03 April

No wonder there were so many errors on the page! Blogvoices removed the comments counter without telling anyone!

*&@!&#@!!! I hate software developers!!!<br /><br />Now I'm trying to figure out how to put the pictures of the stamp and the airmail logo into the memory cache so that loading time can be speeded up. Neither of the HTML and DHTML reference books I've borrowed from the library are terribly helpful in that respect. </div> <div class="iteminfo"> 08:24:49 PM - <a href="../../nucleus2/index_memberid-1/">timyang</a> - <a href="index.php?itemid=1490" rel="bookmark">No comments</a> </div> <h3 class="item"></h3> <div class="itembody"> <b>Private blog</b><br />Oh yeah, by the way, this is now a private blog. It will no longer show up on the Blogger Recently Updated list. And it isn't registered with any metablogs etc. The only way you can connect to it is through the link on my old blog or if you're told about it by another reader.<br /><br />No real reason. I just thought I'd like to keep the reader list small for a while. </div> <div class="iteminfo"> 07:18:44 PM - <a href="../../nucleus2/index_memberid-1/">timyang</a> - <a href="index.php?itemid=1491" rel="bookmark">No comments</a> </div> <h3 class="item"></h3> <div class="itembody"> Hey, er, I'm just only now accepting that I am a child abuse survivor and trying to get help for myself. Hope you don't mind. Once in a while, the topic will pop up as I try to fix those problems in my brain such as my lack of self-identity, emotional retardedness, my liking of the Pet Shop Boys. Yeah, that sort of thing. </div> <div class="iteminfo"> 03:17:03 AM - <a href="../../nucleus2/index_memberid-1/">timyang</a> - <a href="index.php?itemid=1492" rel="bookmark">No comments</a> </div> <h3 class="item"></h3> <div class="itembody"> <b>A priceless dream</b><br />I had a dream last night but I lost my claim to it. I sifted through the sleep dust and at the bottom of the pan was an epiphany.<br /><br />I was horribly abused by my frightened mother for my entire childhood. She took out the shame of her broken marriage out on me and my siblings. She would beat us, scream at us, exact the punishment she would have otherwise hammered into herself for the smallest offences, sometimes at random. She would make us feel responsible for the pains she felt inside, three children, aged seven, six and five. <br /><br />The mental abuse reached a point when I had to numb myself and erase whatever emotions I had in order to live for another day with my sanity intact. It was during this period that I lost any ability to feel love or trust. Yet I held onto the ability to feel pain and fear perhaps because that was the only thing I knew. I would be so frightened to ask for pocket money that I would rather starve, and I did for weeks on end. I asked for no help because somehow, I thought that it was entirely my fault and that I deserved it. <br /><br />No one else tried to contradict me. And that was my realisation.<br /><br />I had a grandmother, a grandfather, four aunts and four uncles, fifteen cousins and a plethora of other relatives who were all fully aware of the abuse heaped on three defenseless children who didn't know any better. And yet they did nothing to stop it. <br /><br />They lived their lives, turning a blind eye to our situation, without guilt or remorse. When they were the only ones who could have helped us, they did nothing. <br /><br />Nothing.<br /><br />So I won't ever feel that I owe them anything. In fact, the balance of debt is on them. They owe me. The invoice reads: one childhood, free of fear, free of pain. Worth: everything in the world. </div> <div class="iteminfo"> 02:17:50 AM - <a href="../../nucleus2/index_memberid-1/">timyang</a> - <a href="index.php?itemid=1493" rel="bookmark">No comments</a> </div> <h2>02 April</h2> <h3 class="item"></h3> <div class="itembody"> <b>The Fight (1975) by Norman Mailer</b><br />In 1974, <a href="http://www.webcore.freeserve.co.uk/greatheavyweights/foreman.htm">George Foreman</a>, the reigning heavyweight champion of the world, met <a href="http://www.time.com/time/time100/heroes/profile/ali01.html">Muhammad Ali</a> in a match in Kinshasa, Zaire, that proved to be one of the most heroic the world had ever seen. In front of millions watching live on TV, the aging Ali was pounded against the ropes round after round. In the eighth, as Foreman was tiring, Ali rose like a Lazarus and threw a punch that floored Foreman and ended his career. Gaping at the ringside, as the sweat of both these powerful men torpedoed the mat, stood fifty-one year old Pulitzer Prize winner <a href="http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/mailer.html">Norman Mailer</a>.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0375700382/o/qid=986204541/sr=8-1/ref=aps_sr_b_1_1/102-7479390-0076112"><img src="http://www.penguinclassics.com/graphics/Publications/Large_gif/0141184140L.gif" align=right alt="The version I bought is the Penguin Classics publication. Incidently, in the cover photo, the person on Ali's left is Mailer himself."></a> The famous match between Foreman and Ali, popularly called �<a href="http://espn.go.com/boxing/s/1999/1028/138392.html">The Rumble in the Jungle</a>�, serves as the title backdrop for �<a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0375700382/o/qid=986204541/sr=8-1/ref=aps_sr_b_1_1/102-7479390-0076112">The Fight</a>�. The players in the staging of the Rumble -- the fighters, their trainers, the promoters, the journalists, the people of Zaire (now called <a href="http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?eu=114568&tocid=0">Congo</a>) and even the president of Zaire -- serve as the topic. While Mailer himself is omni-present throughout, refered to in the third person. <br /><br />The Fight begins in the weeks preceding the Rumble and ends with the last eight chapters dedicated to the fight itself and its aftermath. One could easily mistake from the cover that The Fight is about Ali. Rather, it concerns itself with the numerous colourful personalities involved in the staging. Although Mailer does spend much time with Ali, he gives ample narrative to the other players. Foreman, for instance, is treated with reverance and deep compassion even unto the moment he �went over like a six-foot sixty-year-old butler who has just heard tragic news�. And there�s Bundini, Ali�s trainer, whose personality �was more intense per cubic inch than Ali�s�. Mailer even manages some social commentary on Zaire�s president Mobutu whose �first rule of dictatorship is to reinforce one�s mistakes�. <br /><br /><img src="../content/blurb.gif" align=left alt="Blurb">The Fight is wonderful as an introduction to Mailer�s witty hybrid style that, along with Hemingway�s, has inspired and influenced many of the American writers after them. Mailer combines facts with the drama of fiction and his own sense of poetic inventiveness. His stylised observations of the event give it a completely new flavour that must have been succulent gravy to the meat of the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/big/1030.html#article">news reports</a>. During the moments of silent moodiness that fall over both boxing camps, Mailer lends them his voice.<br /><br />At a not-so-subtle level, The Fight is about Mailer himself. It gives us a peek at his worship of post-modern heroes like Ali. We get the impression that Mailer is fascinated at being so close to power, the machismo of human strength. When he invites himself on a run with Ali, we sense that he isn�t doing so out of journalistic integrity but for the same reasons that groupies hang around idols. <br /><br />More tellingly, The Fight opens up Mailer�s insecurities such as the one about blacks (�he no longer knew whether he loved blacks or secretly disliked them�) and about his own writing ability (�his candles had been burning low in the literary cathedral these last few years�). As a result, his prose has a vulnerability of a boy whose secret fondness is about to be revealed. It is that very attribute that gives The Fight its resounding charm.<br /><br />Because of my personal interest in Muhammad Ali and in tales of heroism, I could easily over-look Mailer�s persistent almost-irritating self-referencing and quips praising himself as a �man of wisdom�. But it is all done tongue-in-cheek, which only endears his writing to me even more. The growing senility of middle-age has allowed Mailer to fall on the hurdle where lesser writers have over-leapt. <br /><br />He has forgotten to take himself seriously. </div> <div class="iteminfo"> 10:10:39 PM - <a href="../../nucleus2/index_memberid-1/">timyang</a> - <a href="index.php?itemid=1494" rel="bookmark">No comments</a> </div> <h3 class="item"></h3> <div class="itembody"> <b>Errors</b><br />When the page loads, the browser still reports errors. I can't figure out where they are. I took the code apart and then put it back together again. Damn, I must have missed something. I'll check again after lunch. <br /><br />Too bad it still looks crap on Netscape. I wish I was a coder, then I'd know what to do. </div> <div class="iteminfo"> 09:09:23 PM - <a href="../../nucleus2/index_memberid-1/">timyang</a> - <a href="index.php?itemid=1495" rel="bookmark">No comments</a> </div> </div><!-- end of the contents div --> <!-- definition of the logo left-top --> <div class="logo"> <img src="http://timyang.com/nucleus2/skins/base/atom.gif" width="150" height="150" alt="" /> </div> <!-- definition of the menu --> <div class="menu"> <!-- accessibility anchor --> <a name="navigation" id="navigation" class="skip"></a> <h1 class="skip">Navigation</h1> <h2>Navigation</h2> <ul class="nobullets"> <li><a href="index.php?blogid=2&archive=2001-03">Previous month</a></li> <li><a href="index.php?blogid=2&archive=2001-05">Next month</a></li> <li><a href="index.php?blogid=2">Today</a></li> <li><a href="index.php?archivelist=2">Archives</a></li> <li><a href="http://timyang.com/nucleus2/nucleus/">Admin Area</a></li> </ul> <h2>Categories</h2> <ul class="nobullets"> <li><a href="?&blogid=2&archive=2001-04">All</a></li></ul> <h2>Search</h2> <form method="get" action="index.php"> <div class="searchform"> <input name="query" class="formfield" size="10" maxlength="60" accesskey="4" value="" /> <input type="hidden" name="amount" value="0" /> <input type="hidden" name="blogid" value="2" /> <br /> <input type="submit" value="Search" class="formbutton" /> </div> </form> <h2>Login</h2> <form method="post" action="index.php"> <div class="loginform"> <input type="hidden" name="action" value="login" /> <label for="nucleus_lf_name" accesskey="l">Username</label>: <input id="nucleus_lf_name" name="login" size="10" value="" class="formfield" /> <br /> <label for="nucleus_lf_pwd">Password</label>: <input id="nucleus_lf_pwd" name="password" size="10" type="password" value="" class="formfield" /> <br /> <input type="submit" value="Log In" class="formbutton" /> <br /> <input type="checkbox" value="1" name="shared" id="nucleus_lf_shared" /><label for="nucleus_lf_shared">Shared Computer</label> </div> </form> <h2>powered by</h2> <div class="nucleusbutton"> <a href="http://nucleuscms.org/"><img src="http://timyang.com/nucleus2/skins/base/nucleus2.gif" width="46" height="43" alt="Powered by Nucleus" /></a> </div> </div> </body> </html>