Thursday, April 29, 2004

First Magazine: Scourge of the English Language.

Well the title says it all really. I picked up this month's issue of First magazine to get the cool Hellboy poster and I read it cover to cover. I then proceeded to photocopy an article and threw it to my boys to take a look at. Within 10 minutes, one boy put up his hand and said, "I can't read this. I'm getting a headache."
Yur...Apparently they're paying this Tzang M. dude to write articles that are unreadable because he really has an amazingly poor command in English. And the editor of the magazine isn't earning his keep by picking up on these (glaringly bad) mistakes.
Case in point: "Like a boomerang gone beserk, Blade spins from vampire to vampire, slicing heads and limps off them with all the fantastic vampire-slaying toys he bought." (Not one single typo on my part BTW)

Uhm...*Crickets chirping*...
How many mistakes in that sentence, ignoring the bad analogy?
So I got the boys to do a rewrite. They actually managed to do a better job...and they're all in Secondary 1! I know that it's meant to be a casual read and the language is supposed to be informal in order to make the magazine more easily accessible, but there should be some kind of standard. It's downright insulting when an editor or writer don't bother to live up to an industry (sub)standard that even Today and Streats lives up to.
When you're a movie magazine that spells Laurence Fishburne as Lawrence Fishburne*, and claim that Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series is "Buffy the Vampire TV series", I think that you should pack it in and call it a day. Leave the movies to real film-ites and shut your trap.

*Although L. Fishburne is sometimes credited as Lawrence Fishburne, a quick search will tell you that the official moniker is Laurence with a 'U'.

Sunday, April 25, 2004


"Having eyes, but not seeing beauty; having ears, but not hearing music; having minds, but not perceiving truth; having hearts that are never moved and therefore never set on fire. These are the things to fear..."

As a teacher in the Singaporean education system, I wonder why I picked that quote out...hmmm...

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Women and Basketball...II.

OK...seeing the unbelievers in the midst of the people reading my blog (Read: women*) this post goes out to them.
The REALLY beautiful game.
The aim of the game is to get the ball into the basket. Simple enough.
Presently, it's the playoff season, the postseason where the 16 best teams get to play "finals basketball" for the Larry O'Brien championship trophy, and the title of world champions. Following so far? OK.

The 16 teams are split into 2 divisions, the eastern and western conferences. The west has been the dominant conference for most of present day basketball, especially since Michael Jordan retired for the second time. There have been few teams in the eastern conference that have managed to play hard basketball the way the teams in the western conference manage to do consistently. Think of it as finesse versus power. And unfortunately, basketball tends to reward power over finesse. (Think Shaquille O'Neal, who's a 7'2, 350lb monster) See, power usually wins rebounds (or the collection of a ball after a missed shot) and the team that gets the most rebounds tends to win. Add to that the fact that playoff basketball tends to be WAY more brutal than regular season basketball and that playoff basketball means that all players in the league elevate their games (playing abilities) to new heights means that playoff games are the epitome of what NBA basketball's all about.

This year's playoffs sees a whole bunch of teams that are not playoff regulars. The Memphis Grizzlies for example are in the playoffs for the first time since their conception in Vancouver and subsequent move to Memphis. Surprising because they've managed to suck for the past couple of years but now are out there battling the San Antonio Spurs, last year's world champions. The Spurs were expected to dominate the playoff-virgin Grizzlies but the Grizzlies have been doing well enough against the champions to make the third game a very close call.

The Housten Rockets, former NBA champions themselves, went through major rebuilding when their star players either retired or were traded. They dropped to deplorable standards as part of that process and with their new star center Yao Ming, they're now back in the finals as major underdogs. The Los Angeles Lakers spent the last summer recruiting some really awesome talent to boost their already-impressive powerhouse team after being beaten by the aforementioned Spurs last year, so there should be no contest in that series of games.
Now, here's my contention with the Lakers. There is a salary cap in the NBA, meaning that you can only pay all the players on your roster a set amount of money. This was put in place so that richer teams could not hire 5 superstars (whose talents would command superstar salaries) to totally destroy all the other teams. The Lakers, being devious enough, wooed these two other superstars (to add to their other 2 superstars) with the promise of a trophy at a substantial paycut. In other words, two players on the Lakers' team aren't paid the amount of money they would be paid in other teams. All that said, the Lakers just lost a game to the Rockets, so there.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have been doing very well this season despite being a finesse driven team in the western conference, or as much finesse as a western team could possibly be. They're playing the Denver Nuggets, a really mediocre team that has managed to get to the finals because of a rookie player, Carmelo Anthony. This is interesting because usually, players take a couple of years to get good to the point where they can carry a team and Anthony has managed to bring a team to the playoffs. That's impressive. Now, here's where it gets more interesting. The T-wolves have never won a playoff series. In 7 years, they have always been eliminated from the first round of the playoffs. So this is an exciting year for them as they've been performing very well.

The New Jersey Nets and the New York Knicks series would be a match made in hell, well, at least for the Knicks anyway. The Nets came out of obscurity a few years ago with the addition of superstar point guard (Sorta like a quarterback) Jason Kidd. Kidd managed to take the Nets, who were a complete nothing team, and lead them into the playoffs...not bad considering that the Nets used to be the "other Hudson river team". The Knicks (short for Knickerbockers, I kid you not) used to be a powerhouse in the NBA but have since fallen into a rather pathetic state after some retirements and ill advised trades. The Knicks were one of the rare eastern conference teams that managed to play rough and tumble basketball, a tradition that's remained with the club and considering the reversal of fortunes, the Nets / Knicks series ought to be an interesting, albeit brutal, look at knock-em-round basketball.

Well that's all for now. I think that that's basically given all you non-believers some insight into NBA basketball. Now that I've wasted two hours of my life writing this, I will end my post.

*Not meant in any way to be patronising or condescending. :)

Friday, April 23, 2004

Women and Basketball.

Was just watching the Nets / Knicks replay on ESPN just now and I've come to a conclusion. Despite my belief that women can do almost anything men can, they can't talk basketball. (unless they're Cheryl Miller)
The travesty was a Asian woman who was trying to work a commentary on the playoffs that fell flat. I don't really know if she knew what she was talking about, but it sure sounded like she was reading off a script. Plus she didn't have the right grunt to make it work. I mean, the lady made Ron Artest sound like a Care Bear for goodness sakes. And it's hard to swallow the term "dominant centers" when it's said by a woman who sounds like one of our own TCS newscasters.
Commentary's supposed to incite a sense of "grunt" in a viewer...It's supposed to be followed by "Hell Yeah!"s and "Hooyah!"s. It's not supposed to sound as civilised as ladies at afternoon tea.
That kinda spoilt the game for me.

Damn Star Sports.

Playoffs 2004.

The year of the Wolves I think...and I would love to see a playoff finals with the T-Wolves taking on the Nets.
Yes, NBA playoff season's come around again. There's that feeling in the air that's all the more exciting because for the first time in my life, I've got cable! Yay! Unfortunately, I won't be at home to actually catch the stupid live games. Bleagh. I hate school.
I have set my computer to "watch" the live games as they happen on flash so it's alright. The Nets are presently owning the Knicks, although I just realised that the Knicks have a whole number of stars who've fallen into NBA obscurity. Penny, Mutombo and Vin Baker. Wow...These players used to be powerhouses in their time and now they're averaging about a couple of minutes and their contributions are minimal. Scratch that, Penny's at 15 points at the very moment.
Meanwhile, the Lakers are continuing to suck despite the fact that they've got 4 future hall-of-famers on their roster. They have won their two playoff games against the Rockets but the Rockets aren't even contenders for any title this year anyway. The talent heavy Lakers should be dominating this series but so far they're not.
The T-Wolves however seem like they're going to break out of their first round exit curse. They're playing very strong basketball and with the depth of talent on their team, I think that they've got a good chance of taking the western conference title. Well, I think that they'll take the winner of the Kings / Mavs series and probably will give the Spurs / Lakers winners a run for their money.
In the east, the Pacers have managed to take a 2-0 lead in their series against the Celtics. No surprise there. But here's the thing: The Pacers are looking really good right now. Slowly and silently, they managed to take the best record in the league while everyone was looking at the west.
The Pistons and the Bucks are tied at 1 game apiece. One of the best offensive teams against the league's harshest defenders. Interesting matchup.
The Heat and the Hornets...hmmm...did anyone even think that the Heat would make the playoffs in the next 10 years? Surprise surprise. :)
O well...back to the game. Nets leading by a mere 4 points. If Martin makes this next Free Throw, Nets will lead by 5, Knicks possession.
Close game.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

The L Word.

This is a Showtime series that I chanced upon in my time surfing and I've been reading the transcripts to this show.
Now, what exactly does this, a lesbian TV series have anything to do with me? No, not the arousal factor (though that may be the most obvious reason at the that I say: "get your head out of the gutter"). There's a storyline in the series that strikes a (rather discordant) chord in my heart. It's a simple tale of love and loss. And I think I'll try write about it here.

Jenny and Tim are engaged. Tim lives in the city and Jenny leaves the hometown and joins him there. Jenny meets Marina. Much attraction ensues and we all know what's to come.

I was there in Tim's shoes a long time ago. And since then, the idea of the L word has always been a hang up for me. I didn't understand it and I never got it and it hurt like hell. I mean, I know that losing anyone to anyone else, male or female, hurts. It's loss that comes from love that burns a hole in your heart that gnaws at you...and there are times that it seems that it'll never heal. But I think that a loss of love to someone that you're not even in league with takes that pain and brings it into a world that adds dimensions to the hurt that you've never dreamed of.
Now what do I mean by "not even in league"? I guess losing my (then) girlfriend to another girl really hurt because I didn't understand it. I didn't understand why and I really didn't get it. I felt rather inadequate and that was compounded by the parting shot that she left me with in a (in hindsight, rather ignorant) bid to make me feel better. She said "I guess going out with a girl was the only way that anyone was going to measure up to you..." which got me thinking that I was probably just only as good as the next girl, which put a whole lot of disturbing thoughts in my head.
Did she mean that a relationship with a girl was more fulfilling than a relationship with a guy? Was I doomed forever to be in love and relationships that would mean less to my partner than if she discovered the "joys of lesbian love"? (Wow...that sounds so pornographic) Was I then doomed to just playing second fiddle to any girl that I was dating till the right gal came along?
Gah...that was a year of hang ups. And a year and a half before I got out of the funk that I found myself spiralling deeper and deeper into. I found myself at once fascinated and yet also repulsed by the idea of lesbianism and I strove to find out more about it. (And no, not in the sleazy way...)
I found out that lesbians were normal people too...with hang ups and hurts and pains and yes, also a whole lot of screw ups. I found that people just fall in love with people, gender be damned. And I started to be at peace with myself. Yes, it still hurt and yes, I think that I would be totally obliterated if I lost my wife to another woman, but I think that in the 7 years that followed, I learned a whole lot more about people who weren't the same as I am and I think I'm a whole lot better for it.
That said, I've begun reading the transcripts of The L Word, following the exploits of Jenny, Tim and Marina. There's a whole load of other subplots going on in there that I don't really pay attention to but then again, it's only the JTM storyline that actually interests me. It's weird now to see the pain from the outside and it's nice to see how far I've come...but the dull ache in my heart and the fear that it brings really tells me that I've still got some ways to go...

Friday, April 16, 2004

The Culture of Fear

So I'm here in school with a swollen eye and barely a scrap of a voice. Sad really, considering the fact that I should be at home resting said swollen eye and (war)hoarse voice. And here's the thing, the reason I'm actually in school comes down to a single word. Bureaucrats.
Well actually, to get closer to the actual sentiment, the term would be "f*cking bureaucrats"... throw in a "mother" in the front and you probably have EXACTLY what I feel about them.
Seems like the MFB's have actually managed to piss off a whole number of other Tr's other than I consider myself in extremely good company and have more fuel to add to the fire of my (delusional) revolution that would end up with 2 heads stuck onto spikes on the great gate, a la the Lord of the Flies. I mean talk about great leadership. I've never actually seen such fine examples of leaders who continually manage to dampen the spirits of new (read: under 30) employees. I think that threatening a pregnant lady with "termination of contract" is actually reaching a new low for a mission school.
And it's quite indicative of life nowadays isn't it? Threatening instead of encouraging someone to do their jobs better? I mean geez...firstly, not a good management style and secondly, not biblical.
Speaking of which, the new building should be struck down by lightning of biblical proportions. I mean there should be the smoking letters that spell out "so saith the Lord" on the ground that the building once stood upon, rending it totally worthless for anything else for a thousand years to come...
Yes, I am mad enough that I am trashing the alma mater that I have come to love in the pitifully short time that I was in it.
I'm guessing that the MFB's have taken a page from the management book of Dubya, who in a press conference implied that the other candidate wouldn't be as stringent on the hunting down of "evildoers" in the world.
Exsqueeze me? Baking powder?
That's his platform? Scaring people by creating a boogie man...beware the towel head carrying the backpack. Fear the other. Fear for your safety. Fear fear fear...Geez...It is an effective way of getting reelected I agree...but it's a dirty trick and I hope that enough people see it so that we don't see Dubya coming back.

Life doesn't suck. It's the people who make life hell that make it suck. Life's actually a chocolate eclair. Puffy, light yet filled with delicious cream filling. The MFB's are like the people who suck the insides out, leaving an empty shell that's deflated, mangled and kinda soggy.
To pull a quote completely out of context, "We are the future...not them, they no longer matter."

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Hate Mail.

Chanced upon this site that had these flash cartoons that poked fun at Dubya in a malicious, yet fun way. He had a hate mail section of all the (surprise surprise) hate mail that he received for the cartoons. I always figured that America was a land of people that had enough humour to poke fun at their leaders and, more importantly, self-awareness to see their leaders as what they really were and to chastise them if they stepped out of line. Seeing some of the hate mail that the artist of the comics was getting, that belief began to waver. There are some really crazy people out there.

(I understand that the few do not represent the whole and that there are Americans who are level headed and not at all psychotic so please don't flame me for that...)

The hate mail really got me thinking about the blog trolls that we've been receiving and I found some interesting similarities in the rhetoric.

They always make it personal. If a person places an opinion out there, haters automatically make it personal and attack with whole load of crotch bitin', shin kickin', eye gougin' dirty fightin'.
They always assume that their views deserve to be addressed but someone else's really doesn't matter as much.
They always think that their wit and intellect surpasses all others and that anything contrary to that cannot possibly be an opinion worth listening to.
You can almost feel the aneurysm that they're having as they type.
There's always a veiled threat.
When their arguments break down, as they inevitably do because they're not actually written in a fit of rationality, they tend to fall back on playground banter. "You're stupid!"

Funny really. Referring back to the comic site, I really have to laugh at people who write stuff in the spirit of one of my favourite posts in the bunch:
"You sir are from europe might I STRONGLY suggest that you return to europe as after this war there will be an accounting of the behavior of the european union and I would hazard a guess that it will be VERY unpopular to be a european at that time. In short; get the f*ck out of my country, leave, leave now before we start holding europe responsible for thier own stupidity."

My country. Now that's a bold claim. I dunno...patriotism, especially blind patriotism really scares the crap out of me. I mean it seems like patriotism puts blinders on normal everyday people and lowers them to the level of bigotry and hatred. I understand what it's like to love an ideal so much that you would defend it, but to turn a defense of that ideal into an attack on EVERYONE who doesn't agree with you sounds very much like warmongering
...uhm...Oh...yur...Dubya. That was self-explanatory.

I saw a saying a lot in Australia. It simply said that when a government was wrong, it was the duty of a country to rebel. I'm pretty sure that it was a call for militant activists that acted as an excuse for pseudo violence (Aussies are quite opposed to the real thing) but I think that there was a point there. Having a leader doesn't excuse a nation from having to take an interest in politics. I felt that a lot rather explicitly in Melly, where lecturers would cancel classes to protest against something or another, and I think I've come away as a better (albeit less "learned") person for it. We are educated to think for ourselves and we have to see the things around us for what they are, not what someone else tells us they are. And we eventually learn to call it as it is. Our writings, our musings and heck, even our comics are supposed to be arenas of where we make those calls. People write them and place them up and within these arenas, we should have the decency to allow their truths to be heard sans hatred. If we agree with them, all well and good, but you don't slander someone for trying to speak their minds. Sometimes these statements may cut deep but I suspect that the reason they do is because these are statements that really reveal something true.

I think that this quote from Pratchett really sums it up for me. "The Truth Shall Make Ye Fret."


Just discussing with my lit class about masks in Lord of the Flies. Quite interesting really. Then again, I pulled a whole lot of Superhero mythology and masks, referring to texts like Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns and The Mask.
We talked mainly about how masks either liberate or trap people from or in societal norms and either creates a connection to that which is primal, or restricts a person's basic instincts. Examples? Batman and Superman respectively. Golding's characters, I argued, applied the masks and were liberated from society. Of course, because we were talking about comic books, the boys were quite enthralled. I also talked about the much-maligned Daredevil and how his insistence of not being the "bad guy" was always undermined by the wearing of the mantle of the devil. I wish that all Lit classes could be like that.
Walking up from class, I realised not how much I enjoyed that Literature class, but how much I missed pop culture study. I loved the discussion we had but I realised that we were doing what I did in University...And I really want to go back there.
Considering the fact that I never spoke up during pop culture classes because I had no idea what people were talking about all the time. :P

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

The week in review...or Leftovers make a decent meal.

Watched Hellboy on Thursday night. It was pretty good. Supposedly quite true to the comic and I guess that's a good thing. I just thought it was a movie that was incredibly fun and quite engaging. It had slightly deeper themes of otherness and belonging and morality in choice, but that didn't get in the way of the overall fun aspects of the movie. *coughmatrixtrilogycough*. It's one of the better shows that I've watched this year, ironically watched in the wee hours of Good Friday. Also, you just got to love a hero who's red and has big@$$ horns growing out of his head.

Sprite had shut her blog due to another heckler. Funny and entertaining but irritating enough for her to close down her blog. And it had such a nice title too. Languishing Cat. (Which IMO, looks a little too much like Anguishing Cat) O well. To the heckler who's undoubtably still trolling around, Phhhpt.

The long weekend (HA!) came and went. Last holidays before June...*igh. The software shop has disappeared from C*******. Sad really. I always thought of pirates as people who help to press companies to start lowering their prices. I know that people may actually disagree on this but hey, if someone can sell your program for $5, maybe $300 is a little too pricey? I know that there's all the hidden costs and everything, but I'd sure as heck buy an original which isn't packaged as nicely and didn't really cost a whole lot.

Restarted playing Enemy Territory. Averaging about 5-600 XPs per campaign which is a personal best, considering the fact that I can't shoot to save my life. (ET's a FPS by the way) It's a whole lot of fun and it's a whole lot deeper than Counter Strike or other "just frag the bastards" games. Amazingly enough, I'm actually getting in quite a number of kills. Getting a whole lot better at fragging. Yay!

Watched The OC. When I first heard the title, being the Singaporean post NS male that I am, I thought that it was a TV show about the army. Then I figured that it couldn't be so I thought it was about the CIA. Bleagh. It's a story that I think could be quite good if they don't go the way of Smallville, or what I affectionately call Superman: now with added angst. Good show but for the cuts. The damn cuts. What was really funny was they left the scene where people are snorting coke and cut out something else...hmmm.

Had a gaming session with JL on Sunday and basically got my @$$ handed to me on a silver platter in GGX2:Reload. I am rusty in 'cade games. Finished off with Biohazard: Outbreak. A game that has a ton of potential if only I had a network adapter for my PS2...

Monday, April 12, 2004


So I got my head vacuumed today.

OK...context: I got my hair cut at QB (Quick Beauty?) at Clementi today. Was walking by the shop and I decided that I'd give it a try. Interesting experience actually. It was one of those 10 minute salon things. I paid my $10 to a machine and I got a card. The card was handed over to the barber who was standing right by the machine as I paid. Hmmm. Anyway, I sat down in a funky chair and then got my hair cut.
For those who haven't sat down in one of these things before, OW! I haven't gotten my hair pulled this badly since the days of S.T. Raju. The hair thinner thing, the one that's a cross between a comb and a pair of scissors, was basically yanking my hair as it snipped...
OK...Well 10 minutes later, or maybe more (at least 3 songs played on the radio), the barber then pulls out this vacuum tube and proceeds to suck the stray hairs off me. I sat there thinking that that was a really good idea that I once had a long time ago. Vacuuming the client. Hmmm.
Then he gives me a comb.

Well, it was interesting and the haircut's not too bad. Plus it's only $10. It's not an Ashley cut...but it'll do for now. I do not get the comb though...I understand that it's hygienic but it's not a thing that I buy and it's definitely something that I don't need...imagine if you got a comb every time you went to a barber...

Wednesday, April 07, 2004


So we lost the rugby finals today.
10-7 to the Saints. They came with their game, we didn't. There's no excuse, just a whole lot of hurt.
O well. It's been a good 7 year run and I think it's time our team started getting hungry again. And there's always next year.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004


It's been five years and two days now.
The blog's been empty because I've been quite busy with a whole lot of stuff that I really didn't want to do and the things that I did, I didn't manage to do.
O well.

Five years ago, I was a confused mess.
I believe that I was under the sad delusion that going away and giving myself time to think would be a great idea...I decided to exile myself to Frankston to figure out what exactly I had gotten myself into. I had just gotten into a relationship with a goddess and I was at a loss. I hadn't quite thought that far yet and I was also confused by mixed signals. Long story.
I was out there by myself after taking a LONG train ride and I was sapped. I sat by the beach after looking for accomodation and then, not finding any that suited my budget, I found that beach. I sat there for a while, sketching a little. What exactly, I did not know...but I did...Scribbled some thoughts into my notebook and then bid a hasty retreat back to civilisation and into the arms of the woman I eventually married.
These 5 years haven't all been a picnic, I can say for sure. But I did learn a whole lot. I learned that relationships had their ups and downs and those downs did seem all the more overwhelming because I had never actually had many downs that I've come back from. I learned that being with someone meant exactly that. It wasn't about living separate lives and then coming together every once in a while.
It was about sharing a life together and that threw me for a loop. Suddenly I wasn't someone who had someone else somewhere else. I was there. I was living it. And it hurt and it healed and it was all these things that I never experienced before. I felt. And that was amazing.
It's been five years and in some ways, it's been the hardest 5 years ever. But then I think about it and I wouldn't have it any other way.
And that's the easiest thing in the world.
I love you.

Friday, April 02, 2004


What LoTR Character Are You?

You are most like Pippin. Life may be a bowl of cherries, but watch out for the pits! You are often the life of the party, because you have such a great sense of humor! Use it to your advantage. You can go far if you get serious and work hard to attain your goal.

OK...this I definitely did NOT expect.

Swashbucklin' goodness.

What D&D character are you?

Str: 11
Dex: 16
Con: 10
Int: 11/12
Wis: 15

I am also a Neutral Good Human Cleric.
Interesting considering the fact that my con would mean that I wouldn't do all that well in an all out brawl. I could dodge a whole lot though. But I wouldn't be brandishing any heavy weapons anytime soon.


Empowerment: Standing in front of the class with a bunch of kids listening to the words that you say like they're important, your word in the class is law and the miscreants that do not listen will be punished creatively.
Disempowerment: When you leave the real world for 2 weeks and enter a world where the two Ikan Bilis on each arm means that you're the one that gets crapped upon.
This post'll be for Anoises. Hope you have a good time in resorbist. :)