Wednesday, November 22, 2006

milk + honey

Within 4 days, I've completely changed my car into a whole other driving machine. I think within a week I ought to stop before it gets out of hand. I've fitted carbon fibre front and rear strut bars, a Blitz intake, RMK202, Pivot VS-E, Denso Iridium IK20 plugs and an MF battery. That is seriously engine nourishing products.

Sigh, but nobody shares this enthusiasm with me, so I decided to revive my old Vios site that I dug up. Click on the link above. Fantastic, now I can blog my car stuff there and prevent the rest of you from dying of boredom.

Isn't that absolutely clever?

Friday, November 17, 2006

The truth about vandalism

Digi has been having these apparently 'brilliant marketing ideas' lately, which I think is targeted to the audience that spends 50 cents per SMS typing out messages so they can participate in one of those TV chat programs. Adolescents have always been an impressionable lot, but somehow I have a feeling that it can only get worse.

These kids as I have noticed on my commutes on the LRT are loud, lazy, and disrespectful (note the part(s) that make me sound like a grumpy old man). I've seen not one but a few of these children of the future, that will bring our country to greater heights, who are so lazy they can't even stand in the train on one of those corners beside the doors that people usually lean into? These kids just squat there, give me a look and wonder whats the matter with it.

Anyway back to the subject. I have really opposed to Digi's campaign of late. I have been having problems with their service and have written to them on numerous occasions. The thing about this is that they reply your questions with more questions. What the hell is that about? Sometimes they have system glitches so I will get a lot of cross lines, or people calling me when they didn't intend to dial my number. SMS's that never arrive the destination, that sort of thing. They have the audacity to ask me in return when I made that call, to which number, where was I, and all that? To which I replied them in protest, and later provided them with as much as I could remember, however...I'm still waiting for them to get back to me.

Then they have these stupid campaigns, I don't know why. The latest of which is something that's called Well, everyone knows what that is, a promotional thing, in a dated sense it might have been seen as a brilliant idea, to advertise without using their company logo. That is the power of branding, and of course for people who didn't get it immediately, they'd be curious to find out what its all about.

Today was the pinnacle of all stupidity. It is called school holidays + free stickers. These are thetruthaboutprepaid stickers, yellow in color, 15 in all. It has promotional taglines, and the website address. I don't need a supercomputer to calculate the amount of vandalism over 15 million stickers can generate all over the city. I think the community cleaners are going to be really pissed. Can they be held responsible for this mess? I really doubt it.

People over here have gotten away with worse anyway.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

polyacrylonitrile + not growing up

Maybe it never ended, so I couldn't have wondered when it started again, but as I reclaimed my keys to my car again, the skippy little Vios that had been scratched, and trashed about without my knowledge for the past few months, something called out to me to repair it. Respray the paint, and see if the clips to the bumper are broken.

And then it started.

If you are respraying the car, why not fit a bodykit, change the tires, change the rims because the new tires won't fit, change the springs coz the new rims would increase the ride height, change the shocks because you shouldn't use race springs with stock shocks, have front and rear strut bars, chuck in a rev/speed meter, voltage stabilizer, how about a cold air intake, and that MP3 player that's always in your mind to get, the amps, tweeters, mids, woofers, change the alarm, get leather seats, HIDs, that sort of thing.

In the end I decided to just leave it be. I'll just leave the outside looking stock, and change the stuff inside as and when need be. The first would be Racecraft carbon fibre front and rear strut bars.

Polyacrylonitrile is what they use to make carbon fibre, which is stronger, and lighter than steel. Essentially these polymers are made up of carbon and hydrogen, so the heating of this element releases the hydrogen molecules from this polymer, called pyrolysis, which results in the end result, carbon fibre. They use this material in most of the high tech applications like F1 or speedboats and that sort of thing, and soon I will be using it to brace my vehicle's structure. How cool is that? There is a trend now that carbon fibre is slightly cheaper that tuners are using carbon fibre hoods, which is why you see some cars having black hoods. The funny thing is some people paint their hoods black to get that look, but honestly I think it's pretty ugly. Then again most of these modders have no sense of color coordination anyway. For me, it has to be functional and it's got to look good as well.

Seems like some things never really go away, no matter how many years you put in between.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A new blogger?

This is a new blogger, you may not notice, or see it, because it publishes the same, so you don't notice a thing. But as for me I'm typing on a new interface, which I hope will be a lot more stable than the old one, which I think they intentionally have been ignoring. That's why I haven't been posting up anything lately because everytime I write something and I click on 'Publish' it just hangs, for the last 2 months, at least.

Maybe it'll be better, I don't know? We'll just wait and see. Perhaps some changes are for the better?

One thing's for sure, I'll be posting lots more interesting, informative stuff here for your occassional getaway from the monotony of life, and that's nothing new.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

nothing new, seriously?

I stood waiting in line for the post office to open. It was an imaginary, courtesy line. Nobody said 'line up', there wasn't signs or anything, the shutters were still closed anyway. Quick glance at my watch, 10 minutes to 10. Timeliness. I hate it when I'm early sometimes. But 10 minutes or so later the shutters begin to open, and the people ahead of me arelike rabbits, ears upright, gazing forward in alarm, in excitement.

I have been coming here once too often. Some of the people are regulars. Mind you this isn't a bar, this is a post office. How can someone be a regular, I find it quite odd. But then it occured to me that someone else might think of me in the same fashion. Scruffy looking lad with the yellow padded envelopes, two or three at a time all the time. That seemed to be my new charity work, selling books on ebay, and I have no choice but to ship it out manually as and when it happens.

Don't ask me what I've been doing, and I won't bore you with the details. That's what I think. I've been drinking a lot less now. Either that or I haven't gotten drunk in a long time so it feels like I'm drinking less. I'm still cooking every now and then, drawing, working, and my mind wanders off quite often: I hope it isn't the side effect of the drinking.

If you ask me to picture myself in a nice peaceful place, I would tell you that its in a nice, quiet Irish pub with a pint of Guinness at happy hour. Is that wrong? I don't want to travel, I don't want to be anywhere. More often than not you'd find me there. I'm shelled by dozens of questions and situations that require some sort of solution every week, and I'm there to provide answers, sometimes along with some level of sacrifice. Eventually that wears you out, you know? That you don't want to do anything, or go anywhere.

Every time I have things in my head I want to write it down but I just never do. Things I want to blog, but I end up sorting these thoughts in my head as I wait in line, waiting for my number to be called at the post office, checking every now and then to see if I remembered my number correctly even though it is only 4 digits but after thinking about a dozen other things you really aren't sure if its the 4 digits that you've set out to remember.

'1010, Counter 4.'

And then it's my turn.

Monday, October 16, 2006

BLVK Concept Store

BLVK Concept Store
Many of you know that one of my many hobbies is carpentry and some of you may have seen my site where I post my stuff. I haven't had the time to make a lot of things nor to post them up lately because of what's going on, but when my workshop is up and running again in a few months, hopefully, I'll re-emerge full force and start on all those projects I've sketched in my master sketch book.

Everyone wants to see the master sketch book. But nobody gets to see it.;)

In the meantime, I've set up with minimum effort (about 2 days of work, really), the BLVK Official Merchandise Store. You can purchase apparel, housewares and such. Lots of t-shirts because I wear them, and I like them, and new items soon as and when it happens. Its neat, its practical, its not garish, we all hate that, and if you like it you can buy it! Go shop! Splurge and have a little fun in the process...I have so many things on my mind I don't know where to begin, but until then, just take it one day at a time until something good happens.

At least that's what I tell myself.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sounds good


There goes the power switch as soon as I turned on my notebook 2 nights ago. My 1" thin Acer manufactured in October 2000, fans whirring, Windows booting PC went about its start up routine as I sat there with the broken power switch. Its made of plastic, tiny little I sat there and wondered, hmm...if I ever shut down this computer I may never turn it back on again.

But of course...'never' is such a harsh word, and we should never say never. I unplugged the computer about 3am coz it was interrupting my sleep, and put it in mind to figure it out the next day.

The next day, armed with a box of 'Precision screwdrivers', as the label said, nothing more than cheap Chinese exports that made me wonder if I'd need to go through 2 boxes of these to open up my notebook. You see my notebook is held together by about 50 screws, and if you aren't counting while you're trying to undo the screws, will feel like 350 at least. In the end I managed to disassemble everything except 2 screws, but I got to the switch on the main board so the whole thing still works, sort of. I intend to probably embed it into a table or something since its all separated, which was something I had wanted to do sometime see, no losses.

But it makes me wonder how long my other notebook is going to last. I hope that I won't have to resort to the same one day. I like my Powerbook. I use it still to do my editing and if I have time Garageband is still great fun. I remixed James Blunt's sappy 'You're beautiful' the other day and gave it a little twist, right click on the link above, and save target to have a listen. Good things don't last forever, but no harm crossing your fingers and hope that they do.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Don't mess with nature

A high-pitched sound of babies crying can be heard from afar, muffled by walls upon walls of concrete in a tiny six hundred square foot apartment, a young, clean shaven husband torn between two choices, a safe job in a chicken rice stall or a risky job being a police officer. He is adamant about being a police officer to help wipe crime off the streets, while his wife pleads on reasons of insecurity and the high risk involved. His 5 year old daughter looks at them, expressionless, but imprinting it into memory. Perhaps one day she would find him sprawled on the tarmac in a pool of blood fresh from a gangland shootout. Perhaps then she'd be infuriated and wondered how life would be different if he had chosen the chicken rice path, perhaps he would've been successful, everyone's gotta eat, and opened up several franchises across different districts, catapulting them out of their congested living space in no time.

Sounds like a chinese movie doesn't it?

But it reflects the reality of the choices you make in life. If you choose danger and excitement, you have to be able to live with the consequences. Yes, there is a higher probability you can bask in glory for each successful goal completed, but on the other hand you subject the people close to you to the same dangers as well. Is it fair? Is it just? Or do we supress our dreams to protect the ones we love?

Many are mourning the September 4th death of Steve Irwin. Some have sent me emails on it as well. Call me anti-establishment or the underdog supporter but I feel he had it coming. I mean, you're seriously messing with nature by taking a hands-on, television-friendly, dramatically-enthusiastic method of presentation. Sure its great for viewers sitting at a safe distance from their TV millions of miles away, but at what cost? I join the likes of marine explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau who says that while he 'mourns the recent death...You don't touch nature, you just look at it. And that's why I'm still alive. I've been diving for 61 years...and I don't mess with nature.'

So, I don't feel remorse, or a sense of loss. Irwin did what he had to do, because he chose that path, and although it was unfortunate, I actually applaud the few witch-hunters who murdered a couple of sting-rays days after his death (come on, we cook these things in curry powder over a hot grill here), we should accept that this happened and get on with it. Perhaps, in another dimension karma would've had him operating a chicken rice stall grilling rays as a side dish.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Fall off and die

I didn't want to cover this topic initially because it sort of extended into the whole nationally accepted question of 'what is happening to our country?', but since it came up on the first page of the papers today, I am inclined to comment.

We're talking about the so called 'mat rempits', or illegal motorcycle racers. The whole idea of that name conjures up images of gearbox fluid, crowds of people with unimaginable body odour and the annoying, ear piercing sounds of motorcycle engines revving away because petrol is cheap. The very thought makes me sick, but anyhow, its not about personal opinion, its about a national opinion. And its about chaos.

So we do know that these scums exist, but why then was effort made recently by the Putera UMNO for reconciliation efforts with abovementioned scum? Somebody in Putera UMNO figured it was the best way to deal with the problem by offering them a deal to be the 'eyes and ears' of the city in return for legalized racing on the streets. The very idea that this suggestion can even be mentioned indicates a flaw in a thought process somewhere, by someone. That's essentially telling bank robbers to notify the police if there is a bank robbery, but if you're going to do it, just do it quietly and don't wake the neighbours...okay? Please?

That reminds me of the recent deal General Musharraf had with Al-Qaeda that allowed them free use of Waziristan as their base of operations as long as they are not doing anything bad. Of course the US, and perhaps the world, is wondering what this means in the war against terrorism, but I suppose if one bows down to pressure, to maintain the safety of their citizens, then the easiest path, is the path of weakness.

But back to these scums of society. They are saying that there are only a few 'bad apples' who rob and steal, but the rest of them are generally okay, and some are even professionals and graduates! Big whoop. I can tell you that these are probably the same graduates that complain that they can't find a job after they graduate accounting for the rise of unrealistic unemployment rates in this country. There are jobs, but you just don't want to do them because you don't want to pay off your study loans.

Some of you sympathetic ones might ask, what really is the big problem here? For one, road safety. Nowhere in the world do they provision normal city roads for racing, legally that is, because it endangers the lives of road users who happen to come by, unless you're organized enough to cordon off that road to make sure nobody is on it. But they aren't as smart, or as caring. So, you'd normally see them flying around your car in a zigzag fashion which honestly speaking, makes me wanna just swerve into them in my pickup truck.

Second they contribute to tremendous noise pollution. I lived beside the highway and its impossible to sleep with them racing every night. They race at night because their logic dictates that less people are on the road at night, however they fail to note that people sleep at night.

Its time for somebody to act on these terrorists. We need a decisive action from someone who has the power to execute that order. For the rest of us, we can only hope they fall off and die.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Fish don't eat nuts

Curiosity is a funny thing, it makes you ask questions, whether logical or illogical and that makes sense of the world. What happens to people who stop being curious? I guess they start accepting how things are, how things work, and in the end get dragged on the train of monotony at full speed in this rat race we've all been sucked into.

I've taken into eating these granola bars lately for breakfast because they are fast, delicious and somewhat healthy. At least, healthier than my standard 3 helpings of siu mai followed by pork noodles. Till now I don't know what they put in there but something makes it good, I just don't wanna know what. I say 'somewhat healthy' because the fat content in these bars is about twice the amount of protein in them, of course at one point I was taking these icky protein bars which was the opposite, but tasted like cement so I guess its alright then. Its funny how when you declare everything in a nutritional label it makes you think twice about eating it. Imagine if pork noodles and siu mai came with nutritional labels, I think that'd provide enough fat for a 10,000 calorie diet.

what's funnier is that people are more grossed out about finding a hair in their food than the nutritional contents in their meals. 50 grams* of fat per bowl of noodles, no problem! 20 grams* of fat per siu mai, that's okay, give me ten! But once you find a hair in your food (0 nutritional value), you'd go 'ugh, I can't eat this anymore'. I think that's what's going to be the next trend. Move over Atkins! Here comes the Elby Diet Bar, so its basically repackaged cereal bars with hair. Well, okay, to maintain the element of surprise, *some* bars have hair, some don't.

Anyway as I was eating my granola bar, hairless, granola bar over the fish pond I dropped bits of it (nuts, I assume, I'm lucky to not be a nut allergy sufferer, peanut butter! the horrors...) into it, I expected the carps to go right for it because they always seem hungry, but instead the little black fishes, which I think are there to 'clean up the mess', so to speak, were trying to eat it, of course they can't. So my deduction is that fish don't eat nuts. I even tried googling 'do fish eat nuts?' and all I got were some nutritional information about fish and nuts.

This goes in line with some stories I've been hearing about picky eaters. I'm sure you know some people who are very specific about their food choices. They don't eat this, and they don't eat that. Some are due to religious reasons, some because they had bad experiences with it. Some because they feel disgusted by the sight of certain things, for me, its intestines of any sort. But you get my drift, some people, just don't eat certain things, for example, a bad business idea would be something like (Indian accent), 'I think I'm going to open a steakhouse...In India!'

The other day I was cooking chicken, its the first time I was using a whole chicken, coz I usually just buy parts or what I need, but I wanted to see how its like cooking a whole chicken. I did, and of course there came the chopping part. Large cleaver in my hand I started slicing and chopping, the sight of red bones was uncommon to me because I'd always bought pre-cut chicken that when it cooked the bones were sufficiently blackened, much like what you'd get from KFC, but to have something glowing red, staining the white flesh with it ever so slightly made me sort of lose my appetite gradually until when dinner was served I just wasn't that hungry anymore.

Perhaps its something about the crunching of bones that makes me squeamish. It reminded me of this video of a victim of terrorists in the middle east where his head was decapitated. Maybe I just have a low tolerance of these kind of things, blood and gore...or maybe the act of cutting up something that was previously roaming these great lands initiates some sort of connection, or a sense of guilt, assuming you live by the principle that all living things have a right to live. Except that for me I exclude menacing animals like snakes and...what else? Hyenas? Or velociraptors, you just want to smack their smirking faces (assuming they didn't eat you first). I always thought that chickens were descendants of velociraptors, that's why we're getting back at them now. Maybe I shouldn't base all my knowledge about the prehistoric on Jurassic Park though, but it'd be fun to put Colonel Sanders in Jurassic Park and have the African-American community manning the bases, if you know what I mean.

* Nutritional figures not laboratory proven accurate.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Standing amongst giants

The skies turned dark, as if suddenly, since the day progressed so slowly that I hadn't noticed it change, but it went dark, and just like any other similar gloomy day, I pushed my stack of papers aside and took a break from it all just for a little while. The weather has been unpredictable of late, and everyone knows it. Perhaps it is this reason that our society is coexisting with chaos, rape, murder and robberies on the rise and yet authorities seemingly not being able to do anything about it.

I closed my eyes for a while and took a deep, cool breath of air.

Suddenly, lightning struck as I heard a big bang, followed closely by what sounded like glass shattering, followed by pieces of tiles flying downwards as I looked out the window. I froze for a while. No, it can't be that bad now, can it? The power was cut off immediately on the 2 floors, the emergency backup kicking in for the computers as each one beeped intermittently for attention. I walked upstairs to assess the damage.

As I walked into my room I was shrouded in a clear, hazy mist. It smelled distinctively like something was burning. Could it really be? I thought to myself. My roof is on fire, I thought. But it can't be that bad now can it? It was drizzling lightly outside, so I decided to step outside and have a look.

I stood outside in the rain, in my neatly pressed shirt and pinstriped pants that was gradually being drenched in rain as I peered upwards. I saw a waft of smoke emerging right above where my room is. The neighbor at this point started screaming 'Api!' while vigorously pointing at my roof. I felt the rough concrete at my feet, every granule of it as if I started becoming hypersensitive from the adrenaline that started pumping through my veins.

I ran up the stairs, and up the cursed narrow, spiral staircase that slows down movement as I started packing up the things I needed to save. Two notebooks went into the notebook bag as I grabbed other things sequentially from my desk. My Handycam, my cables, my monitor, my camera equipment all went downstairs to safety, every now and then checking to see if the burning has come to a stage where it will collapse.

Sometimes I would just lie in bed, thinking about this house that I designed. What could be the worst case scenario, are there any loose ends left untied? Of course there were many, the windows are badly constructed so it leaked like a waterfall when it rained at a certain angle, plus minor things here and there. I would think, what if there was a fire, what would I save? I'd run evacuation scenarios, I'd think about which segments would collapse first.

So I knew I had time to save my equipment. Then I went up with an expired fire extinguisher I took from my old workshop. The license under the company that it had been registered to had expired 2 years ago, meaning it hasn't been checked in 2 years, but the gauge indicated that the pressure was still fine, that's why I brought it back. I lugged it up the stairs from my office, as my mom now quite worried about the roof collapsing, kept bugging me to get out of the house. At one point my maid screamed 'Elby, get out of the house the roof is falling!', and I ran downstairs. I wasn't sure what that sound was, it was a sizzling and crackling sound. Anyway I put on a full faced helmet just to make sure, as I went back upstairs. Smoke started coming out of the cracks of the plaster ceiling. I figured that the fire is probably enclosed between the roof tiles and the plaster, which is semi-fire retardant.

At this point the fire station had already been informed and were on their way. Although the person on the phone took so long to take down my details I eventually told him, 'If I am going to stay on the line with you any longer I'm going to get burned to death. Bye!'

Eventually I broke the seal off the fire extinguisher and started spraying upwards. The whole place filled up with dry sodium powder. It felt like a warzone, as I covered my mouth with another shirt I picked up and made a temporary mask. The place was all dusty by now, as I kept checking upwards to see if I could identify any smoke, but in reality I couldn't. The crackling sound stopped at this point, all I could hear was my breathing in the helmet, hands dry from the fire extinguisher powder, sweat trickling down the back of my spine. By then the fire engines arrived.

The firemen were all giants, as I stood amongst them over a foot shorter as they checked for burning inside the plaster ceiling. One of them was nice enough to make small talk and commented that it was good I had fire extinguishers in the house.

But after that they were gone, and the gathering of onlookers across the road from my house dispersed, leaving my messy, dusty room. Cleaning up is going to be a real pain, but in the end I felt that nothing was lost, I got to be a fireman for a day.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

another shot at life

I read briefly as I always do, the newspapers today. Recently my concentration has been somewhat on the waning side as I drift in an out of concentration, is it the haze? Is it the weather? Or is it general laziness because I don't want to remember details? In any case, I forget things, and rather rapidly at that. Which makes reading counterproductive. I prefer skimming through articles, headlines and key paragraphs. However, with a hyperactive imagination, sometimes you formulate snap judgements or misconceptions, which may or may not be true or accurate.

Anyway I glanced through an article about Its an online community where you can browse a virtual world that is almost self-sufficient and you can thus 'live' in it. I found that prospect quite interesting, but thinking beyond the realms of online avatars, I'm thinking more of deep-freezing cryogenics where you sign a consent form allowing your vital organs to be frozen and your brain hooked up to this system where you can sort of 'live', interact with people, building communities, attend social events, and have the latest news wired to your brain. Your body will of course be placed in a maximum security underground facility up to a point where you decide you want to be 'defrosted', perhaps years later, or perhaps centuries later?

Who wants to live forever?


On my frequent commutes on the train I see a lot of people, and notice a lot of things. One trend that I've noticed these days that annoys me till no end, even though I know it makes me sound like an old man, is the collar-turned-up fashion style. Something about seeing that makes me wanna smack the back of their spiky-haired heads with a gruff 'put your collar back on, boy.'

But it seems to have spread quite rampantly, much like the time when wearing-your-pants-too-low-till-i-can-see-your-boxers look was quite popular and can only be pulled off by these morons with flat asses, which honestly isn't something to be terribly proud of.

So you get people of all ages and all walks of life adopting this turn-yo-collar-up look, school kids trying to make their uniforms look cool, college kids trying to look hip, constantly readjusting their collars to make sure it stays up looking absolutely self-conscious perhaps from low self esteem issues, and recently, 2 very old grandmas in colorful polo tees looking like they were swept by a heavy gust of wind. So who started this trend? I did a little looking and found out that it was rappers like P.Diddy, Kanye West and the like, and others followed suit. Of course they had their bling-blings around their neck so they looked the part, see? I read in an interview once with a local rap artiste on style and fashion, and he said that artistes here can't afford to buy bling, its better to be yourself, why follow the trend when you know you can't afford it, or if its not practical? I almost laughed when I saw that because first of all, if you want to really have your own style, take off that headband like you're going to play tennis, and get rid of that ridiculous accent like you grew up in the Bronx. That was a mixture of ebonics, ghetto-speak, and nasi lemak, so what really do you mean by being yourself?

Well as for this turn-yo-collar-up fashion, it wasn't started by P.Diddy, it started centuries ago by this figure we know now as Count Dracula.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Somebody pressed the Unsynchronize button

It seems that the news I read in the papers everyday gets weirder and weirder. These are mostly passing thoughts but lately I have not much time to put them here, as some of you may have noticed my disappearance from MSN (its not really disappear, but rather the lack of appearance at an opportune time). But I'm around, and still doing what I do. I'm still having trouble typing, I have to learn how to type with ten fingers again although I still get a slight buzzing feeling when I use the forefinger. But its healing fine and I think it'd be barely noticeable.

Last month, the headline in the papers read 'HIV Blood donors to face jail term'. Now of course as you know our National Blood Centre is always looking out for donors to do the right thing, to donate, bla-de-bla, but then I think unlike other countries that may offer cash compensation for blood, ours don't. Sure, some freeloaders will do it for the free cookies but then who, I ask, that knowingly has HIV would still donate blood? Of course there are certain malicious people who would do such a thing but I think that's where blood screening comes in.

Blood samples received by the centre has to be rightfully screened for diseases and what not first before placing it into the bank, so it becomes the responsibility of the centre in the event that someone who uses blood supplied by the centre is tainted, isn't it? But of course in the age of cost cutting and lack of detail perhaps someone just got lazy and thus even though it is a low probability event that the blood sample was not checked, and is tainted, and was supplied, it could happen, and I'm not saying it hasn't happened before.

So now why the big headline in the newspaper? First, it is probably a shock technique to scare off the aforementioned malicious people, which according to them, 70% of HIV positive people are drug addicts, but that does not come with its consequences. For one, when you announce something as insensitive as that you are merely segregating HIV positive people from society, which is against the global HIV/AIDS movement whose goals are for people who have it to be able to live and maintain a normal life without prejudice. And second that becomes instantly accusational that if you are HIV positive, there's a 70% chance you're a drug addict. Might as well put up a huge poster that says that besides the similarly useless 'Tak Nak' poster that millions of taxpayers dollars went into.

Secondly, I would say that most consenting adults are sexually active, you can't ignore it, the bars, clubs, and nightlife accelerates the fact that some men are out to 'score', as they put it. Of course that is a concern as you never know what can happen, and its something even the CDC can't do anything about it. But that's the thing, if I give a rough estimate that say, 70% of consenting adults are sexually active, irregardless of one or several partners, or several over time, which is normal, and the fact that not everyone is concerned about taking a HIV test every single time, then imposing a jail term merely removes a large 70% of healthy blood donors who have thought about donating but since they are *also* sexually active, would prefer not to since they don't know if they have it or not. I doubt people who don't have the decency to get some rubbers would feel the same about getting an HIV test.

Now it's also come to my attention that a lot of younger consenting students are doing it too, and of course they can't be bothered about rubbers because they have other things to buy with their monthly allowance, probably. Which creates a very scary image of the level of mentality that we have here. Over time I feel there'd be less and less donors, and if something isn't done, or at least done right, then we'd all be merely cancelling each other out for the sake of convenience.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

UHT ants

Hello everybody. My name is Elby, and today I'd like to tell everyone that I have an ant problem. Yes, my home is infested with ants. They're everywhere, and I've became initiated an ant holocaust of some and destroy, that kind of thing.

It started not too long ago when the black ones started showing up in my room. I mean these are your regular garden variety ants. I figured that they probably lost their way and found themselves into my room via the window. But when more of them started to appear, I began to realize that these ants without directions (because they seem to not follow a pattern, they're just constantly roaming around randomly), which eventually began to annoy me. I mean, if you're after something sweet, at least I know where you're going, but if there isn't then they're just doing hanging around without a purpose.

The last straw was when they appeared in my bed. I mean...there's absolutely no food in my room and yet they're present. So I called the pest control people, who came and fumigated place. But then 2 days later they showed up again, apparently resilient to the chemicals. I've resorted to using my own methods of capture in the form of masking tape. You see, they don't respond to squishing, especially the little red ones. So taping them is the only way to stop them. Only recently did I realize that they're still alive when I tape them, so I used my cigar lighter which emits a turbocharged burst of blue flame to finish them off in little poofs of smoke. Is it fun? Well, no...I admit I feel evil, with my diabolical plan of total elimination of the species, but I really don't see a better way to deal with intruders, do you?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Putting my finger on it

Recently there's an issue in the newspapers regarding the use of firearms in National Service (NS). Most parents are of course 'concerned' about the issue because its a government directive therefore they can't really be outspoken against it. The NS lads are of course, pretty enthusiastic about wielding fully loaded M16's because its probably the only chance they'll ever get to realizing their action-hero fantasies. It reminds me, however, of Kalashnikov wielding Iraqi teenagers in a dusty run down city in the war that is ever decreasing in its popularity.

Which brings me to a very interesting question that everyone's subconscious is asking: There is something wrong with this picture. I can't quite put my finger on it, but what is it?

Some of the more informed parents are of course asking why can't they fire blanks instead of live ammunition. Blanks are commonly used in military training maneuvers for safety reasons, because even blanks are not entirely safe and can kill at close range.

Here's the answer. If Malaysians cannot even control themselves on the road by following simple traffic rules and etiquette operating and maneuvering a motor vehicle in the safest way possible, how is it that they can be trusted with operating a lightweight, 5.56 mm caliber, air-cooled, gas-operated, magazine-fed rifle loaded with live rounds?

Well, there's a lot more to it than that but I want you as a reader to just think about that. There's a saying that you shouldn't run if you don't know how to walk. I guess we've magically skipped the basics and started running blindly towards the future in the name of rapid development. Is it worth it?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Just an open flesh wound

Thanks for those of you who have called or texted out of concern of Lefty, I really appreciate it. Yesterday I cleaned it up myself with the help of my keychain swiss army knife scissors, which of course isn't the most surgically appropriate tool to use, and a shot of vodka, which I must stress that I didn't drink. I don't know why people don't believe me: what kind of alcoholic do you take me for?

The vodka was to sterilize the scissors, and of course the wound, as I attempted to extract the hardened andrographis that has formed a crust over the wound. Yes it protected it from the elements but I was quite concerned since I couldn't tell what was going on in there, so I decided to remove it, and its not pleasant trying to extract something your skin has already 'eaten' into.

Now that I've kind of removed it, well there is a bit still stuck at the nail that I can't remove coz it hurts like ((#@&&!(. So I just left it there. Now there's a buzzing sensation all day which I generally hate. The painkillers doesn't seem to work and I feel sedated all the time rendering me generally unable to maintain meaningful conversation or put my pants on properly. So here's a photo I took today, its not as fleshy as when I removed the crust and as you can see I don't think there should be much to worry about. I think some of you are concerned I lost more than this...but I jumped away from the machine, which in my experience saved me from much misery, this being the second time; first was a circular saw sans protective cover, flying across my face from kickback.

Funny thing is I want to continue working on this kitchen partition because I've been putting it off for ages but people are generally against the idea of me continuing work till I recover. But I think...its just a flesh wound, isn't it?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Meet lefty, my four fingered friend

A few years of not adhering to safety warnings does something to the psyche, it gradually convinces you something everyone believes in; it won't happen to me. Yesterday was a good day for woodworking, and since I had so many projects to complete but no space, I decided to work off the bed of my truck. Not having a proper space meant that generally you had to make do, and I do that best.

So after completing a broom holder, I had some time so I decided I should take a break. By then the sun was scorching hot, and I wasn't in the mood for my next project which was a kitchen partition, so I decided to make a walking stick, since its going to be a fun thing to do. I used my electric planer, set it to 10mm, and planed away. I hated the sound of the planer, coz it literally shaves off your preset depth in the wood, and once it comes into contact it emits a high pitched shriek as you feel the triple high speed blades cutting into the timber.

But of course I didn't have a table, or a vise to hold it in place. One hand on the planer, and one hand on the wood, I planed away and marvelled at the speed and precision of the cuts. But then thats when it happened, I ran it across and somehow slipped as I felt my forefinger run under the blades. I jumped as I saw spurts of crimson liquid flowing from my hand. I thought I reacted in time even as I looked at my finger, now bloodied with blood flowing into the palm of my hand. I decided then that it wasn't just a minor cut, it actually took part of my finger off.

My mom put some sort of herb on it to stop the bleeding, so after that I couldn't make out where or how much of my finger is missing. I think it took a chunk of meat, and probably a part of my nail. Its bandaged now, with a tingling pain every now and then, as I blog with nine of my fingers. I guess I'll know in a few weeks how bad is it, once I get it cleaned up, but its a real annoyance not to be able to hold on to something now. The doctor said I need to avoid eggs and meat, I wonder whats the medical relevance of that. I'm just craving a good steak right about now.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The earth who cried wolf

From terrorist attacks, to tsunamis, to hurricanes, to the recent earthquake in Yogyakarta, don't you have the slightest feeling that you can't really be bothered this time? That's what happens when the frequency of calamities and disasters increases to a point where aid agencies are cropping up by the dozens for relief work, deployed systematically throughout the globe in efforts to rebuild communities and civilizations.

Just like the fairy tale, the first time, we are intrigued, we watch the news, we follow, we donate, we read, we pray, the second, we do the same, but after a while you have this idea that eventually there's going to be more and more. The root of this problem, global warming, is causing the planet to shut down in stages but the fact remains that no matter what sort of treaty gets signed or what leaders and communities try to do now, will not be able to fully reverse the damage that has already been done for decades.

So, Yogyakarta came and went, and people realize that they can't offer any aid without affecting their way of life. All of our aid went to a disaster that we thought needed most help. Sure, people will say, if you can't help a lot, help a little, but the fact remains that however little we can do to help, there will be another asking for a little more. I am not saying that donation and assistance is a bad thing, definitely not. But if you're looking at this article through a focused lens then you would probably think that it is a selfish thought.

Think about this, then, the other day I met a nice fellow at a bar, of course after a couple of drinks I become extremely sociable, so we end up talking about disasters because the breaking news on TV was a landslide in Ulu Klang, about 5 minutes from where I was, and so I talked about all the natural disasters happening around the world over the past few years, basically what I mentioned above, and he said that we are lucky that we're still safe, that nothing major of this sort has happened to us yet. I immediately responded with a 'no, you can't think that way... things that happen to other people doesn't tell us that we are a lucky bunch, but it teaches us that we can't take anything for granted these days. It could happen to us.'

Perhaps a little morbid considering we were on the second bottle of brandy, but it is still true, we are not lucky, and it is only because we think so that we feel we are in the capacity to give, to help, but what really is the key for luck? There is no such thing as luck, only the illusion of it. To minimize this, I think that funds out to be channeled to disaster prevention; erect more tsunami alert towers, have more sensors all over the place, invest in our own meteorological satellite or something to the equivalent, or organize evacuation procedures by designating evac trial runs. Just imagine if there was some sort of tornado or quake happening in downtown KL, the way our drivers drive, all available exits will be stuck and everyone would certainly perish because we simply aren't prepared. So what if you donated 80% of your salary for the last disaster? When things happen, that would mean absolutely nothing to the good and able people who could help you out, but have already numbed to cries for help.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Stupidity and the laws of physics

I've always liked the introductions to physics, which means the descriptive portions of it, not the mathematical aspects of physics. Ever since young I've liked to know how certain things worked, what really went on, that fascinated me, but if you wanted me to calculate specifically how something operated, I'd blank out and give you a blur look.

So everything around us is governed by the laws of physics, that's how things work, when we're driving we take into account the speed we're at, and its simple physics: the faster you go, the harder the impact. Did you know that for cars impact absorption is tested at around 47km/h? I thought about that for a while when I first read it, and wondered who would actually be constantly be driving at that speed so that they're safe, and I also wondered if I kept to the speed limit of say, 80km/h, then the impact would certainly be fatal. Then I realized that you hardly ever hit something at 80, that's what brakes are for.

But a lot of people don't really think about the external factors, they have selfish physics in mind. That is the thinking of, I think 80 is too slow, therefore I will drive at 120, because I have a new and powerful car, and I know I can handle it. Yes, that is one comment I've read sometime ago, which I blogged about somewhere, our friend said that since we are having newer and more 'hi-tech' cars which are safer and faster, the speed limits ought to be increased. That's where I reckoned that my old Volkswagen can challenge the likes of any Kancil on speed, and survive crash tests in that respect. So, you wonder, why indeed? Well, like an inversed teen romance breakup, 'its not me, its you.'

So no matter how safe you might be, or how you keep to the rules, someone else might not be, and that's the person that's going to cause fatality. Ideally, supposing you're keeping to your speed limit of 90km/h on the MRR2, and the fellow on the opposite side is doing the same, but supposing he flies across the divider, and this is not something funny or new, because one of the many inefficiencies of our country is the inability to erect uniform dividers across our highways. Then even though technically you're keeping within the limits of the law, you'd still be crashing at a combined speed of 180km/h. Of course that's the worst case scenario because the divider, the lack of it, or what remains of it ought to have slowed you down by then, but you never know what one does when one panics, some people step on the accelerator, some people blank out.

The deal today is that in the papers one of them morons that wrote in with a photo saying that whenever he sees a trailer carrying cargo, in this instance, large pipes, he'd immediately speed up and drive alongside the trailer because he's afraid the cables that's holding the cargo would snap. I looked at it in bewilderment for a while: I think the word is 'stupified'. For one, ratchets aren't supposed to snap. But even if they do, they are carrying pipes, and driving beside the trailer means that the pipes would roll off the trailer onto the sides first, crushing our moron driver, which isn't such a bad idea. If you were driving behind the trailer, one of two things could happen: If the cables snapped, the driver might not notice it as quickly, so you as the driver would notice that the cable have snapped, therefore the pipes are rolling off the sides and destroying the cars on both sides of you, prompting you to apply your brakes, and placing yourself in a safe zone, OR, the driver immediately notices that his cargo is falling off the trailer, therefore applies emergency brakes, and if you're the other kind of moron that follows a trailer too closely behind, would smash head on to the rear of the trailer, but if you weren't and apply your brakes in time, would have done 2 things: placed yourself in a safe zone, and manage to avoid crashing into the rear of the trailer by adhering to the minimum distance to the vehicle in front, or the worst that could happen is have a minor collision that your car would have been able to absorb via its crumple zones.

As for me, I'd stay clear of these vehicles at all cost. Distancing yourself from these vehicles is always the best bet. So I'd rather get speeding tickets and get ahead of them than to be placed in such a situation. Honestly speaking these trailers aren't driving any slower nor safer these days, and the police don't seem to be doing much about it either, they who would rather peer in your car to see if you're on the phone, or if you've paid your road tax, or if you're 10km/h over the limit. They ought to be out there keeping us safe. Its ironic that the police aren't really policing anymore. But at least the morons are still morons, if not I'd have nothing to write about.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

why city folk don't walk

Recently, I encountered some more anti-countryfolk sentiments from another fellow urban dweller. This was about how their colleagues from out-of-town seem to be more willing to work overtime, longer hours, harder than the rest of the people in their office, and to the sick twisted upper management, that's always a good thing. That's what I'd call spoiling the market.

Of course countryfolk have a lot of anti-city folk sentiments as well, things such as 'you won't survive a day in the country', or 'why you gotta be so lazy'. It is true, we are lazy and probably won't survive in the country, but at least we think an average of 12x faster. We are less susceptible to frauds selling us magic potions, or attending secret Amway meetings.

We city folk have always been chided for driving everywhere. Even if its 5 minutes down to the store we gotta drive. It has become a habit, and of course people from other countries or, out of this example would wonder why we are so lazy. Why can't we just walk to the store, get some exercise instead. I thought about that before, and to tell you the truth, I like walking. I walked all the way from Segambut Dalam to the main highway outside before and I would've reached home if I wasn't decked in my office wear which wasn't the first choice for that sort of activity. I enjoyed walking the streets of Sydney, so fellas, no, I'm not lazy.

Then, what is it that makes us drive short distances? Sometimes I feel like I'm lazy, I look for justifications. Things like its more convenient, or its already here, or I'm driving to the petrol station anyway (even though you never do). But something happened today that made me realize why us city folk do not walk. Fear. Open up the newspapers these days, robberies, abduction, rape. These are events that happen right at our doorstep, and it can happen to anyone who has the 'it won't happen to me' mentality.

Yesterday I heard that my neighbour got robbed just outside my house at the field as he and his friends were walking to the 'mamak' for food. That was the 5-minute walk that I'd drive my car 25 seconds to get there. I always drive. The reality is that walking here is not the same anymore, we can't pretend to be ignorant and that these things won't happen to us. It can, and it will, and we just won't know it. I think a lot of things that city folk do are more inclined towards self-preservation, while country-folk take a more practical approach to life, concentrating on self-promotion. As far as I'm concerned, its better to be alive, than to be glorious.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


It drizzled lightly that morning, that cold, dark morning. It was as if everyone was still fast asleep, snuggled under their comforters, relishing in the plush, fresh feeling of linen at their feet on that particularly gloomy morning. It felt too much like a Monday to warrant any act of getting out of bed. It was as if Monday morning blues was the reason to stay in bed and not care about the worries of the world.

Ah, the blues. Depression, anxiety, fear. Nothing speaks more of it than the seemingly coincidental string of events that has happened so far. Of course, there are no coincidences, only the illusion of coincidence. Once you realize that fact then everything begins to make sense, thats when you achieve clarity.

The mind works while the body rests, if at all. The idea of rest light years away. Rest is sleep is waking up voluntarily. Rest is sleeping when fatigue sets in. Lets just call it the point.

Funny thing about that point is that you're there, but you're not. Its interesting because life can pass you by at moments like these. Its weakness, its drifting off, its a point of 'i'm-listening-but-i'm-not-really-here'. Its when a person would feel like thats the absolute bestest time they can unleash, or unload their thoughts and secrets and closet skeletons because you are semi-conscious. It is then you know, but you don't know. Then you think, then you sleep, then you wake up, then you wonder, then you feel anger, frustration, and then you just want to sleep again, all this while having your eyes closed.

Then you wake up, and you're forced to find clarity. You want to know. But yet you don't, and then you do, eventually. Clarity, what joy.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

reanalyzing mortality

One of the hardest things to do is to keep a straight mind when you're face to face with adversity. There is an overwhelming need to remain positive, as if you're stuck in the bottom of a dark, damp well with nothing but undergrowth and weeds surrounding you, the only light coming from above as you try to reach out with your palms as if in prayer although you know that there is no way you can reach the top so all you can do is gasp for air, and at that moment you're left to wonder if you ought to be thankful there is air in the first place.

Positive thoughts. You have air to breathe, you are still alive. Doesn't that account for anything anymore? You feel thankful for that brief moment as the light, and the cool, still air seems almost too comforting that it sends a chill down your spine. Everything around you gets amplified, colors are more vivid, saturated, the air, fresher, and for the first time you would say that the air is crisp, fear and anxiety constantly increasing as adrenaline levels rise. While all of this is happening, all you can do is just be where you are, a helpless spectator.

Almost everybody fears their own mortality, and with unpredictability becoming more a part of our lives, life expectancy is and will always be decreasing. That's why pharmaceutical companies bank on our fears and start pushing drugs that can extend this deadline, a sort of insurance for the variety of diseases and sicknesses you can contract these days. But of course, like most people say, we never know when we'd go. This is even more apparent with global warming, causing unpredictable weather conditions, and alleviating the spread of diseases.

So I ask you this question, is it better to know when you'd die, or die from an unpredictable accident? That is if there were only these two options available. For example, if you found out on one hand that you contracted HIV, so technically with medication you'd realistically have about 10 years to live, or on the other hand get caught up in one of the many accidents on the highways with the increase of crazy drivers on our roads. The thing about these 2 instances of mortality is that they are both quite common nowadays.

I was asked that question yesterday. It was quite upsetting to know if you had a few years to live. You wouldn't be able to have kids, well technically you could, with medication, but you probably won't be around to see them grow up, which is unfair to them. Would you carry on with life knowing that the clock is ticking? Or would you do all the things you wanted to do but never had the time because you spent all of it at work? However, if you stopped working you wouldn't have any income, especially if you had to sustain your medication to keep you alive, therefore you'd have to work doubly hard, and for what? To remain in a system where you'd ultimately in the end, not be able to take that vacation you've always wanted?

Or would you say, this is my cue to leave, and do all the travelling you want to do, irregardless of what would happen to you simply because you know that eventually the disease will take over, and you'd die anyway. There is a social stigma to deal with being in the same place, doing the same thing that would provoke you to leave it all behind to be in a new place where nobody looks at you differently. But I think if you know you'd eventually die, you wouldn't be so paranoid about unexpected calamities. I would think you'd even think, at least I did all this. I guess for me I'd try to leave as much material as I can behind. Art. Photos, videos, furniture, or paintings, that is me. At least when I'm not around someone can pick up all the pieces and see what I've done, where I'd been. I don't think I want to be known as the guy who worked, even till death.

So, should we be afraid of our own mortality? Or make the most of our time here? Everyone would agree with the latter, but that's KIV'ed at the back of their heads as they carry on with work, simply because we have bills to pay, loans to settle, more money to earn. Until someone tells you you won't outlive your loan duration.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


I'd always wanted to donate blood. Well, like a friend told me, it is a noble thing, but I never did get around to doing it. Why? I don't know, its the creepy feeling that you are voluntarily bleeding yourself. Thing is I'd never done it so I wouldn't know. From what I hear its a pretty healthy thing too. Out with the old, and in with the new. No, we're not talking transfusion, more like regeneration.

Blood always scared me, for some reason. The thought of all the cells and plasmas floating around in that liquid form. I'd never liked horror movies so that probably accelerated the fear somewhat. In the newspapers these days you hear about stabbing, robberies, with the occasional photo of blood stained floors after they drag the stab victims out of the place...well, that sort of thing.

So of course, there was always the long wait at the National Blood Centre downtown. Its hard to believe that it houses pints upon pints of all types of blood. I read that Types O and B are more likely to run short fairly quickly. I think I ought to donate though, since I'm B. They say these B-types are the creative sort while the A-types are the more outgoing and sociable sorts, I think that its a Japanese thing. Its funny because they're quite big on these AV models, I don't know what its an abbreviation for but they are cute, usually young Japanese girls, and their profile always has their height, measurements, and blood type. It seemed odd to me until of course someone told me that blood types sorta define the character. I thought that it served a dual purpose where if you ran short of blood or needed a transfusion you'd have a whole list of candidates, and none of them bad looking either, coz you don't want to think about who's fluids you're going to have circulating in your system now don't you?

Well, of course I passed these mobile blood donation vans. I thought they were pretty cool, vans to draw blood from the people. If I worked in one of those vans, I tell you I would spread 2 things, fear and havoc. I'd park someplace populated, perhaps...colleges, yeah those students are ever so willing to donate their blood, get them in the stretcher, then start drawing blood while making small talk to make sure they're comfortable. Then, I'd disappear for a few minutes, and reappear in a black cloak, and vampire teeth, and start hissing and looking at their necks. Talk about getting fired by a government department!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Nuts about lasers

Growing up, there were many elements that influenced the process, which aren't much different from any growing boy: dinosaurs, fire, lasers, nuts and meat, just to name a few. But today I've rediscovered, and relived 2 of those elements: Nuts, and lasers.

I'm lucky I don't have nut allergies because I like nuts. I used to scoop up heaps of peanut butter from the jar and eat them for snacks. I still don't know why but it was one of those things my mom allowed me to do at home. Probably thats why I was one of the few kids with a 36 inch waist. Lucky, lucky me.

Then there were groundnuts. Oh I can still imagine packets of Ngan Yins with the thumbs up logo, cheering you on, 'Eat! Its good for you!' during Chinese New Year, especially, which almost always carried forward to the next couple of weeks because we were always in the habit of overstocking so we'd always amass an arsenal of that stuff to last us in case of war. There were cashews, sunflower seeds, pistachios, and the green wasabi nuts too, in case you got bored of groundnuts.

And then, there was the lasers. No, we didn't stock up on lasers but I was just intrigued by lasers. Probably it was watching too many Star Trek episodes, or one of the many Bond films that led me to believe that acquiring a laser would be the answer to mass destruction, particularly satellites in space or relatives that you aren't particularly fond of. So like the little terrorist I was, I'd read up on lasers, what they're about and how they work. Which also explain how I've amassed a collection of 'How Things Work' books around the house. Wonder where they are now, though. But I do remember having my own little brown book of drawings. I think I called it 'Inventions' or something like that where I kind of figured out how something would work? Yes those were much simpler times. I remember thinking whats the big deal about bombs, so I drew one where I filled one of those plastic containers for film with gunpowder with a match stuck through the plastic cover. Of course it didn't occur to me that a)if I lit it and threw it, that would extinguish the match, and b)where would I purchase a keg of gunpoweder with my 5 Ringgit a week allowance.

But at any economic rate I figured that it'd be a lot easier than trying to manufacture my own lasers (because I saw the diagrams and they were too complicated). Come to think of it now, I did seem a lot like a little Doctor Evil.

The last few days I've been eating loads of peanut butter. I like the taste, I think, or maybe because its convenient. I rather eat a peanut butter sandwich anytime than friend meehoon for breakfast. Somehow I don't think about the 7.3g/serving of fat in relation to the meehoon dripping with oil. I'll take my chances there. Its funny how they don't really sell peanut butter sandwiches outside. They have all other fancy sandwiches these days you know, that even the run of the mill stalls have egg mayo or tuna sandwiches. I won't trust the authenticity of these sandwiches, the egg could've been a breeding ground for various strains of bacteria since its creation and the tuna...well, I don't want to know. If, however they stuck with peanut butter, I know that there is no possible way you can screw that up.

Then there's the lasers. I found out that I've reignited my love for lasers again. Not as a mass-destruction device of some sort, they are pretty strict on importing that kinda stuff in these days, but a laser engraving machine that can allow me to engrave anything on timber. I think it'd be quite interesting to be able to do that as a branding tool for my products. But then I might end up being the kid with the rubberstamp, wanting to stamp everything that I come in contact with. I guess we don't really grow up now, do we?

Friday, April 14, 2006

the economics of service

Recently I've been in cost-saving mode. Its not unnatural for me to switch modes ever so often, I think it maintains a form of balance of some sort, that I live on both sides of an extreme so I know how it is like, and just the general knowledge of being able to survive anywhere on any budget. The thing with cost-saving mode is that you would naturally have to turn to cost-saving places filled with other fellow cost-saving people.

The problem with being in this mode is I can never find the things I want. Sorry, need.

I believe that even though you are in a cost-saving mode one thing has to remain constant, good food. Now I am fortunate enough that I can reconstruct most of my favorite foods with ease, saving myself some money over there. But almost always I can never get the ingredients I need at a cost-saving place. So, when that happens, am I still in my cost-saving mode? I begin to wonder...

I was looking for something essential the other day, mozzarella. I was at 3 different hypermarket/supermarkets but there weren't any mozzarella. Why? Maybe because cost-saving people do not eat mozzarella. So I suppose I am crap outta luck if I thought I could easily get my thyme, basil, or creme fraiche. So I didn't.

After about 2 weeks into this mode I started to cook with more oriental(easily available) ingredients, which means soya sauce would be the major ingredient in almost everything. I'll refrain as much as possible from using oyster sauce, I told myself and am proud that I haven't gone to that deep end yet. Its in this mode that I started to rediscover what my mom has been using for years and years. The tastes, the spices, the smell. Its simple as well, but in a different form. There is less emphasis on fresh herbs used, more dry spices like star anise and five spice powder.

I actually quite enjoy it. So there's a shift in menu for me. But I still maintain that I like my pastas, and the use of fresh ingredients as well. Its such a different way of cooking, but I wouldn't say that either one makes me less happy with the end result. Its just food, and I ought to have fun with whatever I can get my hands on.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

instant gratification

Granted, we live in a fast paced urban landscape. Time has become a precious commodity, because we only have 24 hours in a day, so logically speaking, making full use of the little time we have increases productivity, doesn't it?

But does being productive makes us happier? For some people that sounds about right, but a lot of people I talk to aren't happy with being productive, either induced or voluntary. People complain about not having time to themselves, how they're always rushing here and there, sacrificing quality time with family. So much so that time becomes a valued commodity. Phrases like 'don't waste my time', or 'I don't have time for this shit', are becoming commonplace. That's also why 'instant' is the new marketing wonder, you can do anything under 10 minutes these days, from getting a haircut, to making 3 servings of noodles, you really can do a lot these days with very little time.

Sacrifice. Is that worth it?

I watched a show on TV yesterday, about Sicilian life. Now these people really live it up, great food, gorgeous women, and an easygoing lifestyle. They're sitting on top one of the largest volcanos on the planet. Sure, if they remain in the safety zone they oughta be fine, but its the idea of mortality that propels them to enjoy their life everyday to the fullest. They live with passion, which is what we lack in an instant world.

Which leads me to wonder about our lives now, about our mortality. Global warming is rearing its ugly head now with temperamental weather changes, freak storms, tsunamis, hurricanes, flooding. You know it, and you can feel that it isn't normal. Global entities will never be able to stop the polar ice caps from melting and submerging low-lying cities completely in the next couple of years by reducing emissions, and our reliance on fossil fuel is not going to change as long as we remain ignorant. So, really, when you think about more than ever, you don't really know how much time you have.

I know people who hold back on life. Its not that they lack passion, they are conservative. Releasing a little occasionally as if they were rationing for World War, questioning everything. I can't do that, life's too short to question certain things in life, the should have, or shouldn't have. If you feel like doing it, then go ahead and do it. By all means if instant gratification is your passion, then cook yourself instant meals!

There are some on the other end of the spectrum as well who overdo it. Where they endanger their lives because they want to feel the rush, the excitement, because, ironically, they don't know when their last day on Earth would be. That is instant stupidity. I think perhaps I'm a level headed risk taker, if there is such a thing. Risk analysis. Sure you want to jump off a cliff, or bungee jump, or start a bar fight because it makes you happy, because you like the intensity, because it makes you feel good. But if it ends up jeopardizing the way of life of the people around you who don't share the same train of thought and you get yourself into trouble, then alas, you have not found the meaning of life. At least, not yet.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

preppy morons

What I don't like about newspapers is really, the content. As much as I doubt the authenticity of the journalistic content, the addition of what is currently 'reader's viewpoints', where they perhaps want to elicit some form of interaction with the viewers or to appear transparent, or to appear more liberal in their cause of freedom of speech, is really starting to bug me.

There are a few quite distinctive categories of people who write in, you have the overzealous types who want to write in as much as possible as self advertisement of their apparent intelligence and insight, you have the frustrated ones who don't really know where else to write so they decide to vent, and there are those who really have no basis for writing in but they decide to write anyway, because they can.

That's not so bad. What bugs me is the mind your English section. This is basically a section on what is supposedly a tool to improve your English, but it is really ending up as a damned witchhunt to identify and eliminate, and make fun of signboards and people with bad or incorrect grammar. You get people writing in, criticizing articles in the papers, or things they've heard, or words they see on signs. Let me ask you one thing, does that really improve your quality of English? Frankly speaking, I couldn't care less about grammar, I honestly don't know about verbs, adjectives and all that technicalities of the language. I just write what sounds right, you know what I mean? Simply because its natural. Nitpicking, however, isn't natural.

We are now living in a time where things are constantly changing; the weather, global warming, the internet, the way we communicate. What defines the method of delivery as right or wrong? For example the birth of Ebonics, scoffed at by purveyors of good English does not stop the rapid adoption and use of the variation of the language. Who is to say that the structure is grammatically incorrect if everybody adopts it as an effective method of communication?

When I was thinking of a title to call this blog, I wondered if using the word 'moron' was appropriate, so I looked up the definition on Wikipedia and I came up with a very amusing description. I quote, 'Moron was originally a scientific term, coined by psychologist Henry Goddard from a Greek word meaning "foolish" and used to describe a person with a genetically determined mental age between 8 and 12 on the Binet scale. It was also once applied to people with an IQ of 51-70 and was a step up from "imbecile" (IQ of 26-50) and two steps up from "idiot" (IQ of 0-25).' Unquote.

I guess that's not too bad at all not to be at the bottom of the food chain.

The wrath of the habanero

A couple of years back as I was browsing along the aisles of a certain frequented supermarket, I came across this section where I would classify as Mexican. Jars of refried beans, salsa, tortillas and taco sets lined up in various bright red and yellow color coordinated packaging. I had always liked tacos, probably one day I'd want to cross the border from US to Mexico, have a taco or burrito from one of the many mobile stalls and then drink tequila the whole day. At that time, I never really knew what the fuss was about, at that time tortilla wraps weren't as popular as they are now so availability was scarce. I decided to get a bag of tortilla chips, and a jar of Hot Habanero Dip to go with it.

Of course these things came with a meter on the jar, ranging from mild, hot to extra flaming hot, or something to that extent. Being a Malaysian, I had to take the extra extra hot one, but of course. But when I tried it after I got back almost immediately I wondered what all the fuss was about. Yes it was tasty, it was different. I was never born with the culture of dipping chips in anything so the whole idea was quite refreshing. Then of course it became second nature to check the label out and see what its made of. Its mostly run of the mill stuff, tomatoes, peppers, onions, that kinda thing, but one thing made it hot, Habanero.

Habaneros are believed to have originated from Cuba, and this tiny little pepper is pretty small at about an inch long, and its usually in orange or red in color. Now, when I set out to make my own salsa sauce at that time there weren't any habaneros available, simply because they don't grow them here, nor do they import them either. So I substituted my salsa with red chillies and of course our cili padi. I ended up with a great tasting salsa, it was spicy, it was flavorful, and honestly, a lot more delicious than the one I bought in the jar. But for some reason I couldn't achieve that level of spiciness no matter how many cili padis I put in.

Fast forward to the present, I recently found habaneros in the supermarket. The little orange things were being promoted. I think they're found a way to cultivate them here, alas boxes upon boxes of it sit on top of each other. I think they aren't or can't really get very popular here because it doesn't exactly sit very well with our cuisine. The habaneros have a very thin outer layer, almost like a red chilly, put them in your mouth and bite, and you'd first taste a burst of fresh, fruity, citrusy sweetness, but what follows is an intense heat that radiates from within, leaving you gasping for air in shock. That's quite unlike the cili padi, where you immediately feel the burst of spiciness and it ends there, simply because its less complex.

So yesterday I started to make my salsa again, but this time discarding the cili padi from the recipe, replacing it with a LOT of habaneros. I didn't know how much, so I figured I'd put in as many as I can. I spent the whole evening slicing and dicing, and I thought, hmm, my hands aren't burning like it should, because for cili padis you'd feel the burn during preparation. I figured I'd just wash my hands later and get back to my work.

I created a whole pot of salsa dip that seriously kicks ass.

Then I did the laundry, and took a shower. Now, about half an hour after that did I start to feel an intense burn on my hands. This is the most insane pain you can ever feel. Considering I have a pretty high tolerance of pain, this pain, just like the flavor, radiates from within. My hands started glowing red, and I tell you I couldn't tell hot water from cold. The intensity just got worse. I ran my hands thru running water, I dipped it in hot water (bad pain), dipped it in warm water, put it on an ice pack, wrapped it in a towel, put it in front of the air-con, rubbed it with aloe vera gel, rubbed it with herbs (andrographis paniculata), rubbed it with basil, rubbed it with toothpaste, and wore my winter gloves. Nothing really worked. I tried meditation (you are not feeling the pain, your hands are fine, you are at peace with yourself, you are at peace with your body), but you really can feel the heat emanating from your hands. Is it real? I wrapped a moist towel over my hands to find out, then moved it closer to my face. I could feel the heat on my face, meaning that I am not really imagining that my hands are burning, they *are*!

In the end I really gave up, and went to sleep from the pain and exhaustion.

I woke up the next morning, a lot better, but still feeling the tingling sensation of numbness in my fingers. At least I've regained the use of my fingers to type this blog today. But I really think they ought to place warning labels on those things before they sell them commercially to innocent people like me. But the next time you think of making your own salsa make sure you wear gloves or be prepared for a 6 hour burning sensation.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Personal detachment

Its an interesting feeling, that you are attached to the things around you, be it materialistic things like cash, cars or clothes, or people, or habits or addictions like cigarettes and coffee, or alcohol induced happiness, or the rush of meeting new beautiful people. These are all attachments, they make you feel glorious, powerful, untouchable. But what if one day someone or something takes all that away? What would you have left? How would you feel? Would you feel depressed, alone, and weak? If so, then you join the ranks of everyone else too consumed in the rat race of urban life that ultimately you have forgotten the meaning of true happiness, or contentment.

Many years ago I participated in an unforgettable camp, it was somewhat an outward bound school type survival camp, where we were taught skills, to overcome our fears, to be observant, to be confident, and to rise above these elements in the form of challenges. One of the things I remember being drilled into us was, 'I will not remain in my comfort zone.' The comfort zone is defined as all of the above things, your bed, your air conditioning, your money, your phone, ultimately everything that makes your life comfortable. Over there, we slept on hard, simple beds, too tired to complain about comfort, we slept on wooden planks in tents, getting bitten by what I wrote in my review as 'gung ho mosquitoes', because they really did attack you no matter how much insect repellent you attempted to apply. But we slept anyway from exhaustion. So much so that after the camp ended when I got back, I slept on the floor, perhaps as a way to reminisce about the whole ideology, or simply because it felt good to be detached from all these things that didn't seem to be that important anymore.

Its from there that I cultivated my mentality of being detached once in a while from my comfort zone. All the things that make me, me. Quite a number of people have commented that I have all these things around me, perhaps that is why I am happy. But honestly speaking, that doesn't really make a person. So I started being detached recently from all these things, I kept thinking of 'what if' scenarios, and then I was at that place again, where everything was simple, everything was essential, and then from there on I would build my life again, assembling everything from ground up. Making sure that I don't end up being consumed in the things around me.

Perhaps it helps to be a little jaded too, so that one remains unaffected in the event unfortunate events happen, I've written before that things do happen to me, so much so that I've grown accepting of these events as part and parcel of life, so whether I like it or not, I'd have to deal with it eventually. But it gets easier to deal with it when you know where you stand, when you know what's important to you, what you can live with, what you can live without.

Just yesterday someone asked me, 'How are you?' Such simplicity in words to elicit a similar answer, 'I am good.' But said in an honest manner, it really is self-explanatory. However, what he does not realize is that I am not happy because of the material things that I have, but rather from what I've learnt over the past few weeks about myself, about love, and about life. True happiness is knowing that you'd still be happy and living life irregardless of comfort zone.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

rediscovering patience

People who know me would already know that I don't like waiting for people, its a real waste of time, no matter if you have a lot or a little of it. Its a far cry from the past where time was not essential and therefore was no object, especially in college where we'd make appointments at 10 in the morning and then end up oversleeping or something similar.

So after working for a couple of years you experience an important aspect of life: its called karma. What goes around comes around. What better way to experience that than to wait for someone who's late. So after that I decided that I needed to change. Now I'm super punctual, and I like that fact. I know some people who are painfully early for meetings, better to be early than to be late, they say. But for some reason I practice a more 'just in time' method.

Recently, however, several events forced me to be patient. So, the whole idea of patience is time, and waiting. Is it a waste of time? I started wondering about that. What constitutes a waste of one's time? Well, most people would retort that the time wasted can be more efficiently spent at work. Or, I could be doing all these things instead of sitting here doing nothing. But if a person sits in one place doing nothing, then that's exactly what is happening. However if the said person sits there doing something, then of course, something will be done. That redrew the whole concept of looking at things differently, because all around us, there is something to be done. Its the age of telecommuting, and multitasking and bringing work with you wherever you go, even if you don't have a job that allows you that freedom, just by reading a book, or writing, or sketching, allows you to expand your horizons wherever you are, and when you do that you aren't exactly wasting your time.

I also rediscovered meditation. Sitting there in deep relaxation, making up for all the hours of lost sleep, is quite soothing. I guess after a while, patience really is a really far off concept for a lot of people in this fast-paced society that we live in. I know I don't have it, but its good to know that at least now I'm rediscovering it.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

being affected

Time seems to pass by a lot slower when you are anxious about something, that is the mechanics of time. Recently I had a chat with my mom and I realized something, that there are a lot of factors that change a person's thoughts and decisions. Time, money, experiences all contribute to the end result. Its not a question of quantity, you cannot ascertain that there is a positive correlation between any increase, or decrease with your desired outcome. If so, then what is it, really?

I thought about it a while, and then I realize that the only change that occurs is from within oneself, not from without. Meaning, your environment does not change you, you change yourself to suit your perceived environment. That baffled me somewhat, because all the while everyone tells us otherwise. There are self help books teaching you how to deal with people and the environment, telling you to do this and that, telling you how to make choices in life. Step out of the whole scenario for a while and you will see the picture more clearly. You see the characters in the storyboard. First there is the stage, where the environment is, then there is the evil villain, the person you have to deal with, or fight with, your known enemy, there is the deceitful friend, who feeds you negativity so you will fail, the positive friend who encourages you but does not tell you your weakness, and the Swiss guy who's always neutral about everything, whom you go complaining about life to.

So for example in the above scenario, there are so many outcomes, you could think that your life is depressing because of all these people you have to deal with. You could think that life is okay because you have friends that tell you not to achieve more in life, or you could be angry that you aren't really going anywhere in life. But you are currently looking at this situation from a wide angle perspective - imagine if you are immersed in it, you would not be able to see where you are, who you're dealing with, what you're listening to, simply because if you choose to listen to any of the characters your responses will certainly be different for each and every one of them, and when you make life choices based on external factors, your life changes, not theirs. So in the end who is in the losing spectrum? The fact is that I believe that it is wise to take everyone's opinion into account, but yet not be generally affected by it, but make your own calculated decisions, what is wrong, what is right. That requires a sum of self-esteem not to be so easily swayed and maintain one's integrity and composure, but think about it, at the end of the day, you made a choice to change your life, not because somebody told you you should.

I can't get this Andrea Bocelli song out of my head at the moment:

Dell'Amore Non Si Sa

Parla al mio cuore digli che sai
Dei miei dolori che non dormon mai
Parlami o stella
e dimmi se lei verrà
Notte d’agosto e dei desideri
Cerco amore e vorrei che s’avveri
Lei che sorride passando per la mia via

Ah, com’è difficile spiegare
Ma tu stella amica
Dimmi se resterà …

Dell’amore non si sa
quando viene o se ne va
dell’amore non si sa
quando sarà
da dove arriverà

Stella sorella dei sogni miei
parlami ancora fino a domaini
dimmi se è vero
che lei esiste per davvero

Ah, com’è difficile sperare
Ma tu dimmi sempre e
Solo la verità...

Dell’amore non si sa
quando viene o se ne va
dell’amore non si sa
ma quando amore arriverà
tutto intorno cambierà
nella notte brillerà

… tutto cambierà ... tutto rivivrà con te

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Welcome home!

All of you may have experienced difficulties logging into this website yesterday, and its because I've moved to a new server location (ie. a better place). Plagued with technical difficulties and an ever decreasing return of investment, I decided to move my content someplace else. This new hosting package I'm paying for has a 5900% increase in storage space. Yes, that's a LOT of difference, that means I no longer will need to worry about conserving space, and perhaps I can even start putting photos on my blog, which was impossible before with the amount of space I was working with.

However since this shift was quite abrupt (I actually did it in semi-frustration), I didn't bother backing up data from the old place, so all my photos are gone (for now), and I'll try to look for them in my computer and upload it slowly. But in the meantime, going to will bring you straight to my blog, and all the fun it entails! The other parts will be added eventually, although I don't know if I even want to because even maintaining a blog is quite time consuming, not like the glory days of college where I spend hours designing fun things for the site. But, we'll see where this takes me. For me at least there's the peace of mind that at least the infrastructure is there for me.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

the end of reasoning

I used to have this bad habit of questioning things, challenging events, people, situation, calamities, disasters. The usual questions of who what why where and when. It seems that the more questions you ask, the better informed you will be, and the better informed you are, the more intelligent you will turn out, or seem to be, at least.

Then a string of bad experiences and events started to happen to me simultaneously. Of course the first few you really spend time questioning the hows and the whys. Then you take a step back and evaluate yourself from a third person perspective. I'm a big fan of third person perspective for its ethereal, magical feel and of course a more practical reason of being able to have an overview of the entire situation and not get caught up in its intensity by being a participant.

But when you get into that mode you really start to look at yourself and the people around you in the presence of calamity. You see how people react, the chaos and confusion, and then you really wonder if all that commotion is worth that much trouble. Its all hyped up by media, I think, every little bloody thing. When you get some guy recovering from disaster that struck, it becomes an inspirational story. You get a person who's recently been disabled and gets on with life, it becomes a feature film. We treat these people who manage to deal with issues and move on, as heroes. I take a look at all these inspiration stories, and I spit on it. I say, that's what you should be doing anyway, I say that's your purpose in life. God gave you the right to live, and to get on with life. Which explains why the Book of Job is still my favorite in the Bible.

I'm going through a phase right now, where everything is going right, but then my personal relationship is affecting that. There is no answer to matters of the heart, and the longer I wait, the longer I suffer, the more uncertain my future becomes. I want to not think about it and to move on. I want to be complete. But I guess these are uncertain times, where certainty becomes a valued commodity, where promises cannot be kept because everybody markets something. Everybody advertises something. Advertising minions are a mind-twisting bunch in hopes to sell you something, anything. But you can't sell me something I don't want to buy. In the end what is left? I am back where I started, I have known what I've known all along, and that is I know nothing.

But I am fine with that, I move on with life, brush it off, and take it as it comes.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

LBX update

Diesel prices increased by 23%, while premium petrol is 19%, the government indicates that this increment will be maintained throughout the rest of the year although a price hike will not be speculated for the year beginning 2007.

The KLCI was down 7.31 points on closing, or 0.79%, which had been expected as increasing fuel prices always have a negative impact. Indicating a positive correlation, public annoyance has increased 83% in response to the increase as prices of food, transportation and essential necessities will have to be incremented accordingly. Situation became desperate as motorists stopped today in a rush to extricate squid on the road from an overturned delivery truck for food, causing a 94% increase in traffic wait time but nourished the 8 motorists at 0% cost. Nearly 100% of the motorists caught in the traffic are unanimous in their decision that 98.4% of them were morons, the remaining 1.6% have donated to the World Food Programme at some point.

Workload has decreased by nearly half at 49.7% with the introduction of new staff, indicating a stress relief of approximately 78%, of which more time can be allocated for other projects and development of new and improved ideas. Project completion time are kept on schedule with minimal delays contributing to a 12% increase in work satisfaction.

Alcohol intake has also been reduced from nearly 95.6% daily during the Chinese New Year period to approximately 82% per session on a weekly basis, a 87% decrease in overall weekly consumption. These factors indicate an increase in healthy organ functions but contribute to a sharp decrease in overall mood. Banana intake has been increased by 73% citing fresh supplies from The People Next Door. C/S Ratio, or the Consumption/Supply Ratio is at 0.16 with plans for a minimum increase of Consumption by 200% to meet with market supply.

Overall market analysts indicates bullish yields, with overall personal happiness and productivity ratios at almost 1:1. Investors, however are still advised to read market reports before investing.

Friday, February 24, 2006

see chicken run

The H5N1 virus strikes again, and right here where I live. Just barely 3 kilometres from where I'm staying, they've designated it as the zone. But if you notice in the papers when they first reported it, there's a picture of these masked bio people and some chickens in the foreground with the caption that indicates that it is a 'suspected bird flu' scenario. When you read the papers inside it is 'confirmed'. This makes you really wonder why there are conflicting reports on one paper because there's a vast difference between suspected and confirmed. I guess its they have contracted the Bill Clinton disease, because you need to define what really *is* bird flu. Perhaps when people start dying, then it becomes a big issue.

In the meantime I applaud the over-reactive people of Malaysia, willingly giving up their chickens to be terminated. I think that's a big plus. And of course our change of diets. We have in a split second changed our eating habits for more beef, fish, and anything else that doesn't resemble chicken. But you do realize that mad cow and mercury poisoning are issues as well. What happens when we don't have anything else to eat?

Of course over-reaction comes with a price. Tamiflu sales are soaring, and pharmacies are stocking up on it just like when there was the haze and they stocked up on the surgical masks. Everyone wants to make a fast buck out of an epidemic. But Tamiflu doesn't work, especially with viruses, they're a little trickier. By the time a vaccine is commercially available the virus has already mutated, rendering your Tamiflu ineffective. But we still sell it, give you a smile, ask you to get well soon, and hope for the best.

As for now, at least in the event I run over any chickens with my truck I won't feel half as bad, those virus-spreading bastards.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Of journalism and free speech

I have a personal dislike for journalists. The novel idea of free speech incites many a debate because of the extremely fine lines that we have to be careful not to cross. But does free speech entail the actual freedom that we are given to perform journalistic duties, or does it mean that we have to constantly breach the fine line to provoke a reaction?

Such is the case of the controversial cartoons in Denmark. If you've not seen nor read about it then I won't bother reiterating, but a series of cartoons depicting the Prophet considered as blasphemous, was published in Denmark to incite that very reaction. A lot of people have come to the conclusion that even though the violence that ensued was unnecessary, or showed the evil side of Islam, it is my personal belief that it shouldn't have been published in the first place. The fact is that the situation could have been contained if the right people have stepped in to diffuse the situation, but defiance increases rage, incites anger, provokes violence.

So what is free speech? We never really are free. If you read Time this month you'll find that no matter how diverse our culture, how open or closed our society is, or how much freedom of speech is allocated, you will never really be free. Take for example Denmark where this all started, quote 'you can do jail time for publicly "ridiculing or insulting" any recognized community's religious beliefs' unquote. This is the kind of double standard that prevails, no matter how liberal you think you really are.

I read something that struck me as immediately funny, it was actually a journalistic snafu of a tragic event. A girl was killed in a road accident, that's no laughing matter. But here's an excerpt of what I found to be particularly humorous:

"Meanwhile, state traffic chief Supt Baharuddin Sarbaini said the accident occurred when the MPV hit a cow and skidded before colliding with an on-coming trailer.

The cow died."

Is this the preamble to freedom of speech in this country? The cow died? If journalists find that they have nothing to say, then they have a long way to go until they can really make a statement, because they are probably not ready to deal with the immense power from the realization of this freedom that is given to them.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

the deflowering of love

straight ahead i look away,

flower peddlers on valentines day,

roses, red, all wrapped in foil,

just like i remembered as a boy.

the crap you send to girls in school,

trying to sell me now, this fool,

i keep walking, i see more,

stuffed toys spilling out of the store.

its unfortunate, as you can see,

the florists, opportunists, filled with glee,

the suckers who would lose their stash,

to these opportunists who deals with cash.

then i start to think, a slight distraction,

tonight, how many people will get some action,

for all the love that's been bought today,

how many of them would get their way.

thank the media, the suckers, and the dodgy flower man,

for participating, all of them! in this scam,

because valentine's day just seems to be,

the prelude to a huge global orgy.