Tim's Blog

31 July

Organ donors
This morning I got a brochure from the Malaysian Ministry of Health requesting for organ donation.

I think it's a great idea. I'd like to see my organs go on and help a few needy people. Or to further the cause of medical research. And I'll go on record saying that.

However, I get the strangest feeling my organs will more likely go to amusing a bunch of interns who will turn my kidney into a bongo drum at the hospital annual party. Probably serve me right too for all the hash-smoking and porno-watching I've done in my life.

Seriously, I have very little trust in the checks and balances in the Malaysian medical system which resides in a country whose authority is so corrupt, they allow the open-sale of porno where perverted bastards like me can get their hands on them. And occasionally do. What's to stop the doctors from selling my organs to the highest bidder like the Chinese have?

They can't deny the temptation isn't there. $15,000 in Malaysian currency buys a lot of annual party.
11:45:12 AM - timyang - No comments

29 July

You know I really hate these spammers who create variations of your name as a "from:" address (for example timyang3464@holidaymakers.com) and spam you with it.

It's not as if it wasn't bad enough that you're getting unsolicited stuff that you don't want and don't need, you also have to tolerate some mother thinking that it's a good idea to rip off the name of the person they're spamming while trying to rip them off financially as well.

It's just so cruel.

(I've had to add a custom filter in all my mailboxes that automatically trashes anything with "timyang" in the "from:" address.)
04:23:58 PM - timyang - No comments

Ok, which one of you guys uses Backflip and has this blog inserted into folder number '9856893'?

(I get really paranoid whenever someone adds my site into a more or less permanent collection of bookmarks on a bookmarks site. That's why I've got TWO counter services on this blog to cross-check each other with respect to referals and visitor IP numbers and domains.)
12:36:33 PM - timyang - No comments

X-10 no more
Get rid of those annoying X-10 spy camera pop-ups! Well, at least for the next 30 days.

Link from Perceptions.
06:30:35 AM - timyang - No comments

28 July

Weekend blogging
It's really difficult to reach this site on weekends. It's just as inconvenient to post. Chances are you'll get error messages or 404 errors.

That's the problem with using a free host like f2s.com. It's free, there are no ads and I've got PHP4 access so I can run the dotcomments script. Perfect. Except, the server gets easily overloaded with requests, especially during non-business hours.

At first I thought f2s.com would sink really quickly under its popularity and close down. Fortunately, the guy who runs it (yeah it's a one-man show) has some business sense. He's doing a deal with British Telecom that will allow him to register domains and provide ISP services for the UK internet user market. Hopefully, that will provide enough income for him to continue running the hosting service and perhaps upgrade the servers in the near future.
06:59:54 PM - timyang - No comments

Blog of note
Proof that I was a Blog Of Note before there were Blogs of Note.
03:35:59 PM - timyang - No comments

Blind date
Found this site by typing in the domain name. With this, you can arrange a blind date (or prank) for two people (or yourself) via email at a pre-arranged time and place. It even advises the blind daters to wear "a small flower" to identify themselves. Cute graphic!
01:21:51 PM - timyang - No comments

27 July

Baaaaaaaaaaad idea
Ok... I'm not Hot and Horny Lisa, Young and Boobified any more.

Within 2 minutes of turning on my ICQ at 9pm EST, I get flooded with eight requests. Oh good.

I became an 18-year old actress in Hollywood looking for my first big break. I had blue eyes and nutmeg hair which I was thinking of dyeing blonde. I was a cheer-leader throughout high school but the big bad football quaterback broke my heart. I was a sucker for boys and I loved to chat.

But all of them wanted to know the usual things. How old are you? Are you dating? What do you look like? Where are you?

It isn't that I didn't enjoy talking to these guys. They weren't brazen and didn't make lewd remarks. It was all actually pretty banal.

But it was the sheer bloody monotony of the conversations that irked me. When I started to cut-and-paste my replies (really!), that's when I called it quits and went invisible.

Guys are just sooooooooooo boring.
10:30:52 AM - timyang - No comments

26 July

Fuck her gently
There's this really funny 3mb flash animation called Fuck Her Gently which is a hilarious music video for Tenacious D. Download it from eric.stamen.com. I found it originally at FilePile then I did a Google search for it and found its origin (or at least one of them).
11:59:18 PM - timyang - No comments

Hot and Horny Lisa
Kate just told me that women on ICQ get more offers of sexual favours than an eighty-year old man walking through Amsterdam. So I decided to test that out.

I have become 'Hot and Horny Lisa', Young and Boobified. ICQ number 16892551.

If that don't attract the flies to the shit, nothing will.
09:40:13 PM - timyang - No comments

Petaling Street by day
I stood alone on Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur's busiest street market. With a camera in my hand, I was the single observer of a hundred Malaysians running the gamut of two columns of eagled street hawkers like pawns passing amid rooks.

Petaling Street is similar to Amsterdam's Albert Cuyp street market in the sense that it consists of one long main street of street hawkers, intersected by several side streets. It is situated in what was and is still called China Town, but the godowns and trishaws have long gone. They have been replaced by a McDonald's at one end and a shopping mall at the other.

Still, most of the hawkers are predominantly Chinese. And they sell predominantly Chinese wares. From exotic delicacies such as dried 'sotong' (cuttlefish) and chicken floss (wiry bits of fire-dried chicken) to the heavy polished steel Rolex watches that every decent Chinese should be decked with.

The stalls a rainbow of things, really. Aptly, Petaling means 'rainbow' in the native Bahasa Melayu. Several display the fruits of the season. This month it is mangosteens. Mango-steens are tennis-ball shaped purple lozenges of thick hard peel. When split open, they reveal tiny white slices of pitted nuggets that are extremely sweet and juicy. Some stalls sell cheap and gauch clothes with fake Disney and Nike logos on them. Still others have VCDs and DVDs of the latest pirated movies straight from Spielberg's preview room.

The stalls would also sell freshly-slaughtered chickens, ducks and lamb, if there wasn't so much concern with hygiene in the market. At least that's the official reason. Truthfully, if you're going to let a whole bunch of young Chinese males in gang-controlled areas wield butcher knives as part of their trade, you're only asking for trouble.

Lillian, Elaine's housekeeper, came to patronise the fruit stalls of Petaling Street and to get some lunch. I just came to gander. The hawkers came to sell their goods. But in the heat of the noon sun, their rattles were silenced.

03:50:02 PM - timyang - No comments

25 July

On the advice of a reader, I was just testing the web-browser Opera for Mac.

Opera is excellent. It tells me exactly how large the file downloads are so when the page size is large, I won't be caught wondering whether it's my ISP that's slowed down. I also find it interesting that it displays all titles and alt-text in a separate text box in the command section of the screen instead of as a balloon or call-out on the webpage like IE and Netscape do. It makes the display cleaner.

But that seems to be the only good difference between Opera and IE5 for Mac. The bad thing is that Opera translates Cascading Style Sheet commands on text boxes and input buttons differently. Both those items now look like hell. The Blogger input box is shrunken. The search input button on my blog looks gargantuan. What's more Opera doesn't utilise the "Favourites bar" which places links at the top of the display screen which both Netscape and IE have and I find really useful.

For want of a better alternative, I'll continue to use IE5.
08:41:50 PM - timyang - No comments

Crap! The orthodondist (translated: guy who shifts teeth around in your mouth while deftly ignoring your screams) who is consulting on my wisdom tooth extraction is suggesting that I get (horrors!) braces.

Basically my teeth are getting more jammed together, and they're doing a Mexican Wave.

I've still got the Tom Cruise smile, luckily, because the wave is symmetrical and isn't apparent among the front teeth.

But I'm hoping I won't have to get top braces. I can live with bottom ones.
07:31:48 PM - timyang - No comments

Gerald Bradley
Gerald Bradley is an elderly minister from New Zealand in my dad's church. He's been in Malaysia for about four years and lives in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, with his wife. But he travels to preach around both East Malaysia and the Peninsula. I'd only met him once before in passing and that was when his wife and he had just arrived in country.

His wife, his daughter (who is visiting from New Zealand) and he came to dinner last night.

Their conversation during dinner was somewhat familiar and pleasant to the point of being overly ingratiating. I thought they were simply trying hard to be very good guests, commenting on how good the food was and how much of it there was.

Bradley recalled an incident during a recent trip to one of the islands. It was a poor trip and he described the "typical Malay" who "didn't speak a word of English" and how he was served "horrible Malay food". The conversation moved on and when they were laughing at a story his daughter told about how a rifle she shot took off the whole top of a tree after it incidently drilled through a hapless squirrel, it struck me.

The Bradleys spoke to us as if they were civilized people placating savages from a poor deluded country. Son of a bitch! You don't see that attitude much these days which would explain why I didn't deck him immediately.

So this morning, I told Elaine, my dad's wife,"I won't ever sit with the Bradleys ever again. I don't care what position he holds in your ministry, if I ever see that colonial son of a bitch again, I'll break his dentured jaw in two."
10:19:46 AM - timyang - No comments

24 July

Finished entry
It took me two weeks to get myself off my ass to finish it, but I wrote that entry about the eating of Malaysian seafood.

(This link doesn't seem to work properly for all browsers. It should take you straight to the specific entry. If it doesn't just do a control-F or command-F search for Malaysian seafood.)
05:26:25 PM - timyang - No comments

Singin' in the Rain
I watched Singin' in the Rain (1952) for the second time just now. If you enjoyed Moulin Rouge, you'll be astounded by Singin' in the Rain. This was made half a century ago, when screen actors actually had talents other than crying on cue. They do comedy, they sing and they dance. All in one movie. And boy can they dance! If only Jackie Chan could sing, he'd be the Gene Kelly of stunts.

Kelly (playing a movie actor called Don Lockwood) and Donald O'Connor (playing his sidekick piano player called Cosmo Brown) do all their own stunts, including a three minute long sequence of backflips, prat falls and tap dancing timed to perfection with moving props and only one cut in between. Nobody short of Fred Astaire has ever done that on the big screen.

The story is about Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) who are movie actors in the 1920s before movies had sound. Suddenly, talking pictures have been invented and they're stuck because Lina's voice is, delicately-put, unrefined. Along the way, Don falls in love with a new actress called Kathy Selden (played by Debbie Reynolds), who can sing, dance and act. Cosmo comes up with the idea of dubbing over Lina's voice with Kathy's but Lina won't hear of it.

The script is funny as hell:
Lina: Oh Donny! You couldn't kiss me like that and not mean it just a teensy bit!
Don: Meet the greatest actor in the world! I'd rather kiss a tarantula.
Lina: You don't mean that.
Don: I don't? Hey Joe, get me a tarantula!

Singin' in the Rain is in my opinion the best ever example of a musical and Kelly's greatest masterpiece.
01:24:45 PM - timyang - No comments

21 July

Searching through the public folders of Blink.com, I came across the UltraPasswords site which is a hacker site that displays passwords to porno sites. Fairly up-to-date stuff. But, of course I wouldn't know. I mean, erm, that's what they claim. Er, yeah, that's right.
05:53:20 PM - timyang - No comments

20 July

Bad teeth
Just found out today that I have to go for a painful (and expensive) tooth extraction next week.

My wisdom teeth on either side of my lower jaw are horizontal and have been applying pressure on other teeth on my lower jaw. As a result the teeth on my lower jaw are misaligning. Furthermore, the wisdom teeth are sitting right on top of the central nerve in my jaw. (So if they ever get infected, I'll have to jump off a building to end the pain.) But what makes the operation urgent is that I recently had a very mild infection on one of the wisdom teeth.

Because they're impacted (completely hidden by the gums), the surgeon has to open up my gums, smash the teeth to little bits (to make them small enough to extract so he doesn't have to cut open my gums more than he has to) and extract the bits one by one.

It requires a whole day in the operating room. Partly because the surgeon will have to remove some small sections of the bone in my jaw to graft onto the gums to fill up the crater-sized holes that the extracted teeth will have created. If the holes aren't filled up, they'll collect a lot of dirt because they're at the back of the jaw and are hard to clean.

10:10:23 PM - timyang - No comments

If you're in pain, you need to train
"If you're in pain, you need to train", that's what I say.

If your muscles hurt, for example after moving some boxes around, that's because your muscles are telling you they can't take the strain you're putting them under. They're telling you that if you want them to work harder, you have to work harder too. To make them bigger to take the extra load.

So you have to go to the gym and do Lat Pull Downs for the lats, Trap Pullovers for the upper back and Good Mornings for the lower back. What ever's appropriate to ensure that they have the extra strength and support they need to stop hurting again.

Your muscles, like babies, can't speak, so they communicate in the only language that they can. Not crying, but pain. So you do what any parent would do. You feed them their pain back.

(What, me be a father?! You gotta be kidding!)

But if your joints hurt, then basically, you're in deep shit.
08:24:08 PM - timyang - No comments

For some strange reason or other, sonia trevino has taken my code for the top frame. And the whois.net search doesn't turn up much about her identity because she hasn't updated her information yet.
09:52:18 AM - timyang - No comments

19 July

I'm Right, You're Wrong
Here's taking the litigation society one step further. This website allows you to post your disputes on the website and have other people judge your case and settle it. You can of course apply to be a judge.

There's nothing legal about it. It's all meant in entertainment as you use avatars and fake logins on the site. Hell, the bailiff icon looks exactly like the bailiff on Judge Judy. You can bring all kinds of cases to this web-court from a room-mate having smelly feet to who gets to sleep on which side of the bed. Go on, sue to your heart's content!
06:18:38 PM - timyang - No comments

The Erection Collection
This amuses me no end! The Weenies are a collection of plush animals that don't talk but have... dicks. There's Randy the Racoon, Quickie the Hare and Chubby the Bear. And they're each accompanied by a little marketing ditty. Here's the one for Domingo the Flamingo: I'm 'Domingo' the flamingo \ My neck is pink and long \ I can't stand up on just one leg \ I'll tip over 'cause of my schlong!
06:12:38 PM - timyang - No comments

Palm IIIe
I recently bought a Palm IIIe from my friend Joanne. She's upgrading to a Visor which she bought from her brother who is upgrading to a brand new top of the range Visor. I spent the whole of today and yesterday uploading new softwares and games from cheap pirated software CDs I got from Imbi Plaza.

It's pretty amazing stuff. It doesn't support internet access, but it does support a huge number of softwares and e-books that I can get from Skipwire, Tucows and other such online Palm software archives. It took a while for me to learn to write characters in the short-hand that the Palm recognises. The alphabet characters are a mixture of upper and lower case so I began confusing them. For example, when I wrote a lower case 'n', I got an 'a' instead. I also had a little problem hooking up the serial-connected Palm to my iMac which only has USB ports.

After visiting several Palm shops through Kuala Lumpur, I managed to find one that sold an original USB/Macintosh connection kit from Palm. It cost me USD$50, $10 more than the price as advertised on the Palm website, but it was worth it to ensure that everything was backed up on computer.
01:22:55 AM - timyang - No comments

18 July

Daily battle
Every day when I wake up, I face a fight with an opponent who never fights fair and always has the upper hand. It makes me face it when I am least prepared and never lets up the pressure. The armies I muster, I count in calories and grammes, not men or machines.

Many people fight the same battle with their bodies, but as an athlete my goals are quite different. I don't fight to keep my weight down but up. As I train, my body eats up every single calorie and nutrient I throw at it. It has become such an efficient calorie consuming machine that I have to eat four meals a day to ensure that I don't lose.

For breakfast, I have oatmeal, honey, a slice of bread with monounsaturated butter and two boiled eggs. For lunch, it's a noodle meal. For dinner it's a bread meal or a rice meal. And for supper, it's a full course rice meal. In between I snack on fruits, milk, more boiled eggs, cookies, fruit juice and water mixed with fruit cordial.

Very often I become so sick of eating, or for the sake of convenience, or when it is inconvenient to eat, I skip a meal. And the next day I will notice one of the tell-tale signs such as an indentation between my outer tricep and my outer bicep that has become more apparent because the thin layer of flesh buttressing it has been worn away exposing the joint of the elbow a little bit more.

I weigh about 59 kilogrammes, the optimum fighting weight for junior featherweight class. But I need to be at least 61kg while I am training in order to maintain a supportive layer of nutrients in body as a defense against its decomposing onslaught.
11:39:40 PM - timyang - No comments

16 July

Malaysian seafood
Early last week, I attended the birthday celebration dinner for Elaine, my dad's wife, at a RM75-for-a-steak restaurant in Lake Club, a tennis club in the middle of Kuala Lumpur city. Elaine and my dad invited several of their close friends, all of whom are born-again-Christians. A sleepless mother with a morning shift couldn't have been more sullen than I. Not one of them had any interests o ther than the church, hymns and gossip about the pastors.

So when I placed my order, I chose a 500g medium rare sirloin steak served in five cup-shaped slices with Bernaise sauce and garnish. The waiter discreetly suggested that the serving was for two. "That's perfect," I replied, "I'll need something to do."

Of course I did have plenty to do during last night's dinner at the seafood restaurant. You will not find as exotic a meal anywhere as Malaysian seafood. It is the only thing I miss of the country when I'm abroad.

While I lived in England, I suffered the fish and chips, the only seafood dish in the entire country. And here, I had the choice of fresh water and sea water crabs, oysters, crayfish, mussels, prawns, lobsters, turtles, eels, sharks and (I think I'm forgetting something), oh yeah, fish.

Now you have to understand one thing about the Chinese. When it comes to seafood, it isn't the choice or the quantity that matters. It's the freshness. Short of eating the stuff raw, Chinese are mad about fresh seafood.

So the better seafood restaurants, like the one we went to, maintain huge aquariums, holding-pens for 'the-soon-to-be-dinner', where diners can select the creatures they'd like to munch on later. I kid you not.

Each tank is labelled with the name of the seafood, example 'Pink Tilapa' or 'Albino Crab' and the cost of eating it per 100g. And within minutes, you can have whatever you selected steaming in oil, sauce and garnish on your dinner table. Pick 'em, cook 'em, eat 'em.

A typical Chinese seafood dinner will consist of eight to ten dishes, usually depending on the depth of the wallet of the host. Everyone is seated around a large round table so that everyone can easily reach from the food that's placed in the centre. No one has individual dishes and you are expected to serve yourself. It starts with a cold appetizer followed by the fastest seafood dishes that can be prepared by the kitchen, usually prawns.

This is then followed by an order of steamed vegetables which doesn't quite sate the appetite for the crabs and fish dishes that are served next. So on and so forth. Until everyone is royally stuffed. There were about ten dishes in our meal (I must admit I lost count). I shall give you the highlights of the more interesting ones.

The first dish we had were raw mussels and vegetables. The mussels can be eaten raw like sushi. Raw mussels can be described as smaller versions of oysters and taste quite like them with an acrid tang that must be hidden by the green Japanese mustard sauce that's served with it. Or you can cook them yourself in a pot filled with hot soup made from herbal ingredients that's placed in the centre of the dining table. A cooker is placed under it to keep the water at boiling temperature. This is a Chinese culinary invention called "steamboat" and is a great way to start the meal with everyone pitching in with their chopsticks and spoons to dip their mussels in or fish them out until the pot disappears in a forest of arms!

Steamed prawns! These are my favourite seafood! Steamed prawns turn bright orange when they're cooked. They're eaten with your fingers. You have to first break off the head and you must be careful to do so in a direction facing away from you because the juices inside the shell will splash. Then you de-shell it section by section, peeling off the legs while the texture of the succulent round flesh as your fingers grapple it whets your lips. Then you dip it into the salty soy sauce and raise it up to your anticipation. I find the feeling of cooked prawn flesh in my mouth quite like an M&M chocolate. It is unyielding at first, but succumbs to your teeth. And while you are chewing, suddenly you realise that it has completely given itself to you, leaving nothing but the satisfaction and its fleeting memory.

You have not eaten fish until you try Chinese steamed fish. The one we had was a huge example of a variety called pink tilapa but its flesh turns greyish by the time it is served. It lies on a sea of oily clear brown sauce and when you gently brush it with your chopstick the white flesh peels off invitingly like silk sheets. It just slides off the bones. It tastes so light, it's like putting laughing gas in your mouth.

The art of steaming crabs was invented by the Hong Kong Chinese. They grow a type of crab there called the "Hairy Crab". It has bristles all over its body that collects tiny plankton and bits to eat. We don't have hairy crab in Malaysia unless it's flown in from the north at the price of some farm-worker's annual salary for two years. What we have is another excellent dish that's served in granulated pork or beef chunks so that the flavour mixes in with the crab to produce a taste that individual to each chef. Eating the crab takes some degree of dexterity and skill, and a keen eye to spot all the nooks and crannies that hide the slivers of flesh. But the result is a sweet to-die-for taste that reminds me vaguely of the colour pink.

Eating seafood is an experience of Malaysian life that sadly many tourists do not have. It is at once the pleasure of the partaking as well as of the taking apart. Of textures and flavours that nowhere else will you find in the world. It must be eaten with Chinese and Chinese conversation that revolves around experienced tongues wagging about how each dish tastes. It isn't spiritual. But it is comforting.
08:53:30 PM - timyang - No comments

Cook my sock! Cook it hard!
Really. It ain't what you think. It's exactly what the title of the page says it is. Pictures of someone putting socks into a pot of boiling water.

Why? "Because socks are easily available and nutritious. I also like being able to say 'My girlfriend cooks sock like no one else alive' in public places without being arrested." (From the FAQ page.) Uh-huh.
07:26:57 PM - timyang - No comments

Getting your hair cut in Malaysia
One of the things you have to experience in Malaysia is getting your hair cut.

It usually costs around USD$10. The hair cut is more of an experience of Chinese-style service than the pleasure of the result.

Your average hair stylist is a young Chinese girl in her twenties or early thirties. (Not that Chinese are better at hair styling or that Malays and Indians are worse. The simple truth is that the hair styling schools are run by Chinese and classes are conducted in Cantonese.) As she makes small talk, you're served a refreshing cup of Chinese tea, you get a cut, a wash and (best of all) a neck and scalp massage while a neck towel soaked in warm water curls round your shoulders like a soft woolly cat.

If luck is with you and you get a really good hair stylist who got laid the night before, you will thank God for inventing fingers. The massage feels like that moment of motionlessness when you step off a cliff, before you decide to fall or fly away. While she milks the sea breeze scented oils and lotions in all versions of tangerine and coral onto her hands and slowly rubs them inch by inch onto your scalp, she explains that the lotions cure everything from your common dandruff to indigestion. Nevertheless they make your skull tingle as though the roots of your hair reached so far down they burst through the toes of your shoes, barely stopping at the latex covered floor.

At the end of it, you walk away smelling like a memorial to a princess. It's one of the small pleasures that the citizens of Malaysia never tell tourists.
04:44:39 PM - timyang - No comments

14 July

National Blonde Day
I saw this link over a week ago and I didn't know whether to take it seriously or not. National Blonde Day was on July 9, declared by the Blonde Legal Defense Club.

The BLDF's mission is
To stop the widespread belief that blondes are dumb and incapable. To destroy blonde stereotypes and publicize blonde accomplishments throughout history, dispelling the myths and mistakes about blondes, both natural and chemically created. To ultimately make sure hair color isn't a factor in any work or social environments.

Fair enough, but BLDF is sponsored by Vidal Sassoon. To be so closely linked to a company that promotes among its services the changing of hair-colour might suggest that the BLDF doesn't have conviction in its beliefs that it is the social prejudice and not the person who should have to change.
09:58:07 AM - timyang - No comments

13 July

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
"What the hell is going on?" demands the character representing the ruling council of Earth. And that's what the audience want to know too.

That's the first problem with Final Fantasy. We are thrown onto a planet Earth that's been devastated by a force that's never fully explained. The characters mumble things about the world consisting of "Bio-etheric energy", "Phantoms", "Spirits" and "Gaia", completely ignoring everything we know about evolution and biology. And that's all I gathered even after the movie. Even if you were an avid player of the video game series as I am, you wouldn't know what the movie was about either since the plot has barely a shred of resemblance to the game.

As an audience, we feel trapped by the plot, always playing catch-up with the characters and never following the plot with them. That might work fine with a mystery movie, but we're not even interested.

This feeling of being trapped isn't new to me. I've watched loads of Japanese science fiction anime and this is exactly what Jap anime (such as Ghost in the Shell) is like. Japanese anime producers often feel that it is better to wow you with the visuals and the design of the technology and that the less explained the better. The evidence is in the official website which expends more space explaining the technology of the machines and the production of the movie than the movie itself.

My other complaint is that the characters are souless, expressionless. Hell, it doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to observe that they don't even breathe.

I don't even feel the need the explain who the characters are in this review. They aren't important. And the animation ain't even that great. Go watch Shrek or borrow a copy of Toy Story if you insist on watching an animated movie.
02:38:37 PM - timyang - No comments

Psion no more
Darn. I've always wanted a Psion. Now I won't be able to get one any more. The company has decided to divest itself of the personal organiser business. It was on my list of things to get with my first paycheck! Now I've got to go get one of those Palm-things.
01:37:42 AM - timyang - No comments

I'm now trying out a new spam-blocker software called Webwasher. They don't usually make these softwares for Macs, but this one fortunately has a Mac version. It blocks banner ads as well as pop-ups. And you can also specify which ads and pop-ups to block based on their sizes. Best of all, it's free! So no more of those camera pop-ups and other interstitials for me!

Oh wait... I've just run into a problem. Webwasher is so powerful, it may be filtering the scripts from Blogger so I have to turn it off whenever I want to publish. Small inconvenience for never having to experience banner ads and pop-ups again!
01:32:11 AM - timyang - No comments

12 July

Disposable Minions
Somebody went and created Imperial stormtrooper icons at Troopers. Most of them are animated. Some are funny. There aren't many, but they might be worth checking out if you're into the stortrooper thing.
11:38:43 PM - timyang - No comments

11 July

Julius Caesar's blog
Damn this guy's good! Talk about in character blogging... I've always wanted to do something like this. Almost did at one time. It was going to be a romance blog. But the idea died because it was a duo-blog idea and I couldn't find someone willing to write the blog for a year. Oh well (if you're interested, let me know). Anyway, check out Bloggus Caesari!
11:02:59 PM - timyang - No comments

What's your story?
This is a collection of emotional stories of people who were involved in the dotcom boom, written and contributed to the site. They are insightful into the way that the mergence of technology and business have affected people who were responsible for starting the businesses and for maintaining and growing them.
07:59:07 PM - timyang - No comments

The Iraqi soldier
A squad of American soldiers was patrolling the Iraqi border, when they came across the badly mangled body of an Iraqi soldier.

Closeby was a badly mangled American soldier in a ditch on the other side of the road, struggling to breathe. The Americans ran to him, cradled his bruised head and asked him what had happened.

"Well," he whispered, "I was walking down this road, armed to the teeth when I came across this heavily armed Iraqi border guard. I looked him right in the eye and shouted, 'Saddam Hussein is a moronic, deceitful, lying piece of trash!'

"He looked me right in the eye and shouted back, 'George Bush is a moronic, deceitful, lying piece of trash too!'

"And we were standing there shaking hands when the goddamned truck hit us!"
07:16:42 PM - timyang - No comments

Me. Still stuck at my computer and wearing a silly contraption that allows sound to channel straight to my ears.The problem with living in Malaysia is the pleasurable experience of having loads of cheap pirated VCD movies at your fingertips. I haven't been reading anything. Just watching all the movies I missed in the last two years on my iMac. The only time I get out is to go to the gym... and of course to get more VCDs.

When I went on my VCD hunting trip today to a place called The Mall, I found a pretty neat place that sells jeans (everyone in Malaysia wears lightweight cotton jeans) for just USD$10. It was hidden in a corner of the second floor ... and it was empty of customers! Bwahahaha! It's mine, it's all mine! Bwahahahaha!
06:59:41 PM - timyang - No comments

My Grocery List
Make and print up your grocery list using this easy to use and fairly comprehensive checklist.
06:48:51 PM - timyang - No comments

Fling the cow
More ways to mistreat our bovine friends. Fling the cow is a flash animation game from a few people with too much time on their hands in Norway. Press down on the sling and shoot the poor cow into the ring just a few inches away. Tip: Hold it down for two and a half seconds. That ought to get you on the centre or pretty close to it.
06:43:37 PM - timyang - No comments

What the Malaysians popularly call the Haze is back. It's what the Indonesians call planting season and it happens twice a year. Once around June for a certain kind of crop, and once in November for another.

It got noticeably bad four years ago in November of 1998 when people had to start wearing filter masks normally worn by construction site workers. Naturally, many Malaysians started selling the 20 sen filters for RM1.00 on the street. It got so bad that at one point I couldn't see five feet in front of my face. White t-shirts became distinctively gray within a matter of minutes.

The farmers in Indonesia burn forests in order to create a soil-nourishing peat before the planting begins. It's a natural fertilizer that's rich in nutrients. The smoke from the burning moves north-west with the south-easterly winds that blow around that time of year and Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam get obliterated from satellite view.

Usually the Indonesian government would keep the burning in check but when it collapsed several years ago, so did all semblance of order in the countryside. Starving and desperate farmers started burning more than the usual amount in order to plant more to stave off the inevitable end when the bankers start calling at the door with more force than a writ.

Kuala Lumpur was covered with a whitish mist yesterday. And I shall expect it will soon be covered by another bane. The filter touts.
06:35:03 PM - timyang - No comments

10 July

Dr. T and the Women
Uh, don't talk to me. I've just had an overdose of women. Gotta go do some manly things now like going to the gym and working out.

Uh, uh, uh.

Sweat, sweat, sweat.

That's much better. I was absolutely confused over Robert Altman's Dr. T and the Women. Why would anybody make a movie that shows women as neurotic self-centred creatures and not make anything out of it? The movie seems to have little focus, prefering to present a cacophony of voices like the opening sequence of Dr T.'s office with two dozen women milling around and talking about their problems until all the voices blurred together. It isn't information overload of highly insightful salient stuff. It's a lot of routine things mixed together, like the odd menopause or pregnancy. Not the least of which is the planning of his eldest daughter's wedding.

The women in this movie don't drive the protagonist, the gynaecologist Dr. Sully Travis (played by Richard Gere), mad. In fact Dr. T (as he is popularly called) is the centre of sanity in their lives. They come to his practice to find a sanctuary from their problems, prefering his company in the sterility of a doctor's office over anybody else. The women are mad themselves, and Dr. T's wife ends up in a mental institution. Dr. T is a quiet guy who has women all sewn-up. He loves them and tries to see each of them as the individuals they are. He balances out his relationship with women with the occasional hunting trips with his buddies whom he lambasts with phrases like "Your problem is that you just don't understand women."

Altman prefers his movies to make a point about an aspect of American culture through satire, like in Short Cuts and in MASH. But this one doesn't apparently have one. It inspires a great deal of hatred for the way it portrays women as stereotypical neurotic, as the comments in the IMDB site accumulate.

There is a line in the movie stated by Dr. T ("Every woman I see's got something special, something that keeps her apart from the rest.") that suggests that although women all have similar problems, they shouldn't be taken for granted. Perhaps that is Altman's point. And that a lot of people, men and women, who like Dr. T have become so confident in their acceptance of women and their problems that they indeed take women for granted just like when Dr. T proposed to the golf pro with whom he has an affair, to run away with him, who then surprises him by flatly turning him down simply because she doesn't want to.
02:04:31 PM - timyang - No comments

Free mammogramme
Haha! Yeah right, as if anybody would fall for that!

(Damn, why didn't I think of that before!)
12:56:30 PM - timyang - No comments

You kicked my dog!
Here's a funny Flash animation. Did it help that the animators used a mainland Indian accent? Who cares? It's funny.
12:24:35 PM - timyang - No comments

08 July

What happens when you cross a Pokemon card and your next door neighbour? PeopleCards.

Now you can trade ordinary people like yourself. In fact, why don't you get traded as well? Just sign up and send in your photo and write something interesting... or made up... about yourself!
11:50:31 PM - timyang - No comments

Kinetic art
I've been experimenting with the concept of combining movement, light and imagery with photography to create a kind of kinetic art which with a still shot, I can communicate movement and grace. But not with the subject's movement but with my own involvement, as the image creator.

Just like with some sculptures, movement and sound are created in the minds of the viewer, I hope to convey something similar with photography. Perhaps the sound of swiftness like the one at the top or the sound of an explosion like the picture on the left.

(What the hey, why be focused when you can be vague... and get away with it too.)
01:56:56 PM - timyang - No comments

Gothic carYou are looking at a genuine road-worthy car. It wasn't made for a movie, but as a piece of art constructed by Rebecca Caldwell of Oregon.

She calls it "Carthedral" and it is a gothic car constructed from welding a VW Beetle husk and other bits to a 1971 Cadillac hearse. It's just art, folks, she insists. And it gets 11 miles to the gallon.
12:16:29 PM - timyang - No comments

07 July

Finding Forrester
Finding Forrester (2000)Finding Forrester is about two people who share a passion and in doing so find friendship, a bit more about themselves. Of the two, one is a legendary novelist whose oeuvre is a single novel written fifty years ago and the other is a impressive budding writer who has read everything from Shaw to Forrester himself.

I've always been interested in movies about passions partly because I find so little of exception in the world. A world without passion is grey and lifeless, shifting through time, yet shiftless.

Like many of the movies with a mentor and a prodigy, Finding Forrester pits the two protagonists in awe of each other. But unlike most of these movies, like Good Will Hunting (1998) or Renaissance Man (1994), this one gives them equal footing, because Jemal Wallace, the prodigy isn't seeking to be the best at what he does. And William Forrester, the novelist, isn't trying to find salvation in recreating his younger self. The movie doesn't attempt to impress us with their skills as it does try to make us see them both as people who might need someone to understand them.

In the end, we aren't left with two great writers, but with two friends.
07:54:10 PM - timyang - No comments

06 July

Moulin Rouge
Moulin Rouge (2001)The rhythm of the editing in movies is often used to add a beat or to manipulate the tension in a scene. During scenes of tense drama or action, you'll often find the cuts between shots increasing in frequency. In Moulin Rouge, a movie that Roger Ebert describes as "being trapped in an elevator with a circus", cuts are made faster than two cheetahs fucking. Er, so to speak.

I was absolutely surprised by the intensity of the passions communicated by the saturated colours, slick choreography and the elaborate costumes. If like myself you haven't really come across Moulin Rouge before, that isn't surprising. Very often the hype of a movie exceeds its virtues. This one is quite the opposite.

The story is basically a musical fairy tale set during the magical and celebratory period of Paris' modern history right after the Eiffel Tower was built. But you won't hear the traditional French can-can music. The tunes that the actors sing are a re-mixed version of mostly 80s rock themes like Madonna's Material Girl and Queen's The Show Must Go On.

Ewan McGregor plays Christian, a penniless writer who falls madly in love with Satine, a showgirl played by Nicole Kidman who carouses at the Moulin Rouge can-can dance hall owned by Zidler who is played by Simon Broadbent. The villain is the rich Duke played by Richard Roxburgh who also falls in love with Satine but is sadly never to find her love. Have you heard Nicole Kidman sing? Well you're going to. This is a musical and she's got a great set of lungs. Er, I mean... well, you know what I mean.

The production team including the director, the writer and the cinematographer all worked on Romeo and Juliet (1996) and Strictly Ballroom (1992). You can see their love of combining music, choreography and movie-making in such scenes as crucial heart-thumping samba in which Christian realises that Satine doesn't love him. And in the lovely satirical scene where Zidler pleads the Duke to reconsider killing Christian to the words of Madonna's "Like a Virgin".

If you're going to watch only two movies this year, make both of them Moulin Rouge. This one is sure to win the best cinematography, best director and best movie of the year.
06:17:24 PM - timyang - No comments

05 July

Aw, isn't that touching? Uh, yeah, right.
05:18:31 PM - timyang - No comments

Watching movies with two jaded movie-watchers
Joanne, an old friend from my Singapore days and I watched a pirated VCD copy of Proof of Life, the movie where Russel Crowe plays an ex-military now professional ransom negotiator and Meg Ryan as the wife of a kidnapped oil-company engineer in South America.

Me (hitting 'Play' and 'Fast Forward' on the remote): First scene... establish the relationship between the protagonists and effectors... tense negotiation scene where we establish Crowe's character's expertise and Ryan's character's dependency on him... more tense negotiation... one-on-one contact scene between hero and heroine to set-up a later scene of heartbreak... oh wait, they're going in to free the hostages now... obligatory heroic loading-of-weapons scene... Wait! David Caruso's character is going back after a fallen comrade! (Hit 'Play') David Caruso's characters always die in every movie. He died in Mad Dog and Glory, he died in Jade, he died in NYPD Blue. He's already been type-cast as the Dead Guy. Argh, no he lives! Aieee! What's next? Nudity in Disney movies?! (Hit 'Fast Forward' again) Ok, glorious Hollywood ending and final heartbreak scene. The end. (Hit 'Stop' and 'Rewind')

Joanne: Listen, I've got two minutes before I have to go to work.

Me: You're right. Let's watch a Disney movie next...
05:05:50 PM - timyang - No comments

Yeah I know...
Shot of the buildings along the Singapore River from Boat Quay.I haven't been writing much. I'm just really bored here and having no stimulation is sucking my will to write. I'm in Singapore now. I managed to track down a friend of mine from Singapore whom I haven't seen in eight years. And I'm meeting him for dinner.
04:15:30 PM - timyang - No comments

Tomb Raider
Some people liked this movie for the action, others hated it for the plot or lack thereof. But can we at least agree on one thing:

It should be written into her contracts that Angelina Jolie must do at least one running action scene in every movie.
04:11:03 PM - timyang - No comments