Tim's Blog

29 July

Overheard on a sortie over Afghanistan
F-16 pilot: Oh shit!
F-16 navigator: What?
F-16 pilot: I think I just dropped a bomb on a wedding party in the desert and killed 50 people including women and children! I was just looking it over. The groom was kind of cute and I squeezed my joystick a bit too hard.
F-16 navigator: The ground crew will clean it up. They'll just plant some guns and DNA evidence that suggests Mullah Omar, Saddam Hussein or Bernie Ebbers was there or something. The Israelis do it all the time.
F-16 pilot: What about Osama bin Laden?
F-16 navigator: Nah, we got him last week. But Rumsfeld doesn't want anyone else to know. The longer we continue this war, the more groupies he gets to bonk. Man, those right-wing Christian bitches really go for him. Remind me to convert as soon as we get back to base.
F-16 pilot: Some of the guys are really cute too.
F-16 navigator: Yeah, did you see the pastor that just arrived? He can be my co-pilot any time!
F-16 pilot: Control, we just dropped a dummy at coordinates 214-Alpha. Request a clean-up crew.
Control: Repeat, coodinates 214-Alpha. Great work, guys.
F-16 pilot: ....
Control: You just hit one of Donald Rumsfeld's jeeps.
F-16 pilot: Control, please repeat. You're not making any sense.
Control: Powell and Rumsfeld planted several jeeps around Afghanistan and they made a $5 bet that Powell's air force could hit all of Rumsfeld's jeeps before his artillery could find all of Powell's jeeps. Kind of like a Desert Battleship game. And there was one in those coordinates.
F-16 navigator: Hooo-weee! Betcha, we get a promotion for this one!
F-16 pilot: Can't wait to show off my new bars to that pastor... oh damn! I squeezed my joystick too hard again!
Control: What are your coodinates?
F-16 pilot: 824-Tango, I repeat, 824-Tango.
Control: Oh shit!
F-16 pilot: What? What did I hit?! One of Powell's?
Control: No worse.
F-16 pilot: ...
Control: It was Mike Myer's convoy.
F-16 pilot: You mean the actor?
Control: No, the proctologist! Yes the actor! He was on the way to entertain the troops at a camp near Kandahar.
F-16 navigator: Goodbye LT, helloooooo DD.
Control: But you're in luck, boy.
F-16 pilot: Why?
Control: Turns out he was Canadian.
11:25:42 PM - timyang - No comments

25 July

The world ends on Feb 1, 2023
NASA astronomers have confirmed the likelihood that in less than 17 years a piece of rock the size of a small lake will hit Earth wiping out everything.

(At last. An end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is in sight.)

The Americans didn't leak the news, the British did. And now some of their scientists are unconvincingly trying to play down the armageddon rumours. (Yeah, whenever someone with a higher IQ tells me that I can win the lottery, I always believe everything he says.) It was discovered two weeks ago and we're only finding out now that we're pretty much fucked.

Anyway, I reckon if someone is so sure as to put an exact date on the collision, I'm pretty much sitting up and paying attention. And I am also pretty damn sure that first thing in the morning I am going to start a free love cult.

Wow! Freelove.org is available! Mine! (.Org, geddit? Geddit?)
04:27:27 AM - timyang - No comments

23 July

My radar has been down
Two obvious pieces of evidence that I don't pay enough attention to details:

a) I don't know whether it is pro-Republican or pro-government, but I just only realised that Time magazine is really pro-Bush. I don't recall ever reading them say a bad word about him and its articles tend to describe him in sympathetic light even when trying to explain his problems and gaffs. This was especially noticeable when it recently tried to rationalise the killing of over 500 Afghanistanis in the bombing raids as mere mistakes. As if wiping out the population the size of a small American town was the same as forgetting to put the toilet seat down. I think I shall call this 'The Bush Defence' -- kill a few people, say 'oops', toss a couple bucks in the air and walk away. No, I take that back. I think that was originally called 'The Ho Chih Minh Defence'. If you apply it, you even get a capital city named after you while you're still alive. 'Bush City' kinda has a ring to it, don't you think? No wait, that's been done too.

b) In the movie Ronin which I just re-watched, Robert De Niro's character was not a rogue intelligence agent in a heist gone wrong, but was actually working undercover for the CIA to infiltrate the Seamus O'Rourke's IRA detachment. It was four years after I first saw the movie that I now get it. But the first time round, I was thrown off in the first scene when De Niro says "Lady, I never walk into a place I don't know how to walk out of." which is the same line his character, the bank robber in Heat, says. No one seems to know whether he was unconsciously repeating the line, ad-libbing, or paying homage to Michael Mann. But that really bugged the hell out of me and I couldn't concentrate on the rest of the movie after that.

UPDATE: I'd like to narrow my new impression of Time magazine to include jingoistic. I mean, come on, I love Bruce Springsteen but does he deserve a cover story just for writing a song about 9/11?
06:18:24 PM - timyang - No comments

20 July

Four for four
Is there a conspiracy among the Hollywood movie makers?

Two weeks ago it was Minority Report with the ineffective police (not to mention the famous rattling eye-balls). Then it was MIB2 with the ineffective intelligence agency, last week it was Reign of Fire with the ineffective armed forces, this week it's Signs with the ineffective... well it's just plain ineffective.

(Someone should already have tested M. Night Shyamalan's Unbreakable theory on him for ripping off Roman Polanski for his first movie.)

Hey wake up, Hollywood! We want to be entertained (and to have our sense of entitlement exercised)!
03:51:25 PM - timyang - No comments

19 July

Hail, Citizen!
My spoof site.Yesterday several blogs ranted about the Bush administation's Citizen Corp plan to prevent another terrorist attack on American soil. The plan consists several tactics to encourage volunteerism but the bloggers were mostly concerned with the part that dealt with Operation TIPS -- a system of informants mustered from truckers, postal workers and utility employees to identify "suspicious or unusual activity" due to start in August.

The bloggers were concerned with abuse of the system by individuals who don't have as much "common sense" as the concept calls for. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) protested that Operation TIPS curbs privacy, stopping just short of saying that it encourages a society of mistrust. Those are important issues, but the next few days will be crucial in the acceptance of Bush's plan as training details for Operation TIPS is released. It's really too soon for anyone to say it's a bad or good idea.

The concept sounds like a spoof of Orwell's 1984, but Bush is taking it very seriously. I can certainly see where he's coming from. Things look quite downbeat for him. His intelligence agencies faced a great deal of criticism from not pursuing leads that might have prevented 9/11. The stock market took a sharp slide. He and his vice-president are looking at law suits and potential law suits for links to disgraced CEOs. If he does not prevent another terrorist attack, his lack of effectiveness will be the only thing he will be remembered for. Rant all you want, whether his methods are popular or not isn't going to dissuade him.

His job is cut out for him. America is, to say in the least, a big ass place to guard -- it isn't a melting pot, it's Placido Domingo's whole kitchen. The casualties are potentially enormous: The Times speculates that the terrorists have nuclear capability. And law enforcement personel simply just don't have the manpower or resources and may not find them in time. How else can America be protected? Certainly not with armed guards. Timely information is the key, insists FBI Director Robert Mueller.

To say that this is the beginnings of a totalitarian regime is also pretty much jumping the gun. The question is not how far this trend will go, but how long it will stay. To not recognise that it is a necessity in this period is painting a target on your shirt. This appears to be a temporary measure like Prohibition, which only lasted one presidential term (10 years, boy was that a long term!). And if Osama is really dead, as the FBI's counter-terrorism chief says, then his unique ability to gather enough support for an attack in the US will have died with him -- along with the long-term need for stringent homeland security measures. Then again, what do Americans know?

But the damage to American society may already have been done -- where talk of death and a sense of extremism is more acceptable than ever before so that dour TV shows like 6 Feet Under and dour heroes like 24's Kiefer Sutherland can be sent up for Emmys. If more paranoia-encouraging programmes like Citizen Corp becomes a reality, Americans may start to walk their streets as fearfully as West Bank Israelis do theirs.

(Ok, that was a really bad ending to that entry. I sound like some mother-fucking scare-monger. Please don't inform on me.)
01:04:43 PM - timyang - No comments

18 July

What goes "choo-ouch-choo-ouch-choo-ouch"?
Someone who did five sets of 25 sit-ups yesterday re-discovering an allergy to dust.
12:42:35 PM - timyang - No comments

15 July

Wonderful thing about technology
... is that it is still full of mysticism.

I don't know anything other than a bit of html and what I know of PHP and javascript could fit into a shark fisherman's skull. I can't set up a server or fathom how one works. Yet I can succeed in blaming my host and my host tech people for things I don't understand. Shaking my fists at god.

(Yes, I know. I am making a lot of sense today.)

As you know from the slow loads and the errors on my website for the past few weeks, the server has been giving me a lot of grief. And I in turn have been giving the tech people more grief and a flurry of emails. (I still refer to them with the reverence of priests, but more like the child-molester-tainted variety.)

So I have moved host (again!). This time to Supremehost.net for US$23.40 per year. Every time I look, there's always another host that's cheaper than the last. (Joker.com has even dropped domains to USD$7 per year.) Wonderful thing also this competition.

Let me know if you have any more of those damn slow loads and errors and such. Please direct all hate-mail to my previous hosts.

(Comments and archives work perfectly fine. But I'm lying as usual. Boy, all this noodling around is making me hungry...)
12:35:58 PM - timyang - No comments

07 July

Bear with me
Have been in the process of research and writing some stuff. Hang on.

(In doing so, I've discovered the University of Malaya has a confused idea of security. It keeps a guard to check university IDs of people entering the library, not people leaving with books.)

UPDATE: In the season of outing businesses that don't make money, I'd like to highlight one that does. My country's very own National Library (motto: "What? You expect books in here?").

The library administrators have cleverly avoided the 'public' part of the library to do like all good dotcoms (even though the library itself catalogs very little electronic data) and have made it a membership only service. Yes, when you attempt to enter, a stern looking little fat woman with a uniform that looks like it was made for someone much younger will demand you show her your membership ID. I attempted to give her the Special Whicky-Whacky Membership-Do-Whizzy Grip, but she didn't seem to know that one.

You have to pay RM5 for membership per year. And in order to get the application form, you have to pay an additional 20 cents. The form is, after all, in full-colour. And knowing that we are being charged the exorbitant rate of $10,000,000 per quart (or cubit or whatever) of electricity, the administrators have declared they will only charge a nominal fee of RM5 for electricity use of any laptop within their facilities. Goodness knows that if they were to make the electricity free, people would fly all the way from Russia just to take advantage of the free juice.

To be fair, I was already in a foul mood by the time I entered the library. The library director decided to keep the library closed an extra two hours today. There was a rally at the headquarters of the ruling party and everyone who worked at the library was "invited" to attend.

I was looking for a copy of Kipling's short story, The Man Who Would Be King. And lo and behold, I actually found it -- in the jumble sale known as the Fiction Section which consisted of five (count them, FIVE) whole shelves of the world's collection of modern fiction between the year 1979 and 1980. Haha. I jest. They weren't whole shelves, they were half-filled.

This library is touted as wholly adequate for research. Indeed it has a full collection of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. The 1991 edition. The 2001 edition would have been too heavy for the fat little security guard to lift to the fourth floor. As would have been the latest copy of the Harvard Law Review. As I passed the law section, the latest copy on display was the summer edition. Of 1999. Why ever get the latest issue? No significant law has been passed, challenged or discussed since then.

The media section has 10,000 items in the archive, the cheery young lady behind the counter stated with a smile. In the red folder catalogue she hands me, there are a dozen and a half pages of them with titles like "Volcano eruptions" and "What is business" and "How to do the Special Whicky-Whacky Membership-Do-Whizzy Grip". I estimated a little over 200 titles. Which means they have an average of 48 copies of "Interior Decoration" and "Etiquette". Very useful in country where the epitomy of good taste is the dining-room chandelier.

Have you got any wonderful tales of your public libraries? Share the knowledge.
10:33:09 AM - timyang - No comments

01 July

Headlines from the future
Man shot by co-workers for not saying daily office prayer
"My Tuesday robes was in the laundry," said the victim from his intensive care ward.

Mexico claims to be long-lost 51st state
Republicans and Democrats in a rare show of bi-partisanship welcome our Christian brothers from across the border.

Missionaries claim better working conditions
Priests from east Asia find it easier to convert after US relax immigration laws for Christians. "I've been in the Philippines for two years and I've still got my head!" said one.

Red Sox win the World Series for the first time
Coach Timothy bin Abdullah swears God was on his side.

Brother David Letterman leads evening mass
Stay tuned for another fun-filled evening featuring Top Ten reasons why the Book of Ezekiel rocks.

Muslim states revert to non-denominational monarchies
"We refuse to be like zeese Americans," said the domestic secretary of the new Democratic Repulic of Saudi Arabia. In other news, 'Praised be Allah' stripped from new multi-coloured design of Kuwaiti currency.
09:47:46 PM - timyang - No comments