Saturday, December 5, 2015

Walking down the lane of sappiness.

I grew up with Disney. My favourite towel as a child was a pale blue terrycloth with the whole cast of Aristocats featured on it. I cried when my mother declared that it had gotten too threadbare and  ratty, and she transformed it into a gombal (Javanese for rag for wiping or foot mat).

When I was ten, I persuaded my father to buy me the VHS tape of Disney Halloween cartoons and proceeded to watch it every morning after sahur until it was time to get ready to go to school. I love me some dancing skeletons. I guess that explains my penchant for Goth motifs and dark thoughts.

One of the few nice things that the girl who taught me what a sociopath is ever did was lend me her Disney Cinderella picture book. She knew that I liked it and used it to manipulate me to do what she wanted. I'm cheap, you can bribe me with books. Yup, that also happened when I was ten.

During school holidays, the local television station would put up old Disney films catered for teenagers; a number of them featuring barely-not jail bait Kurt Russell. Truly wholesome stuff, with barely any nod to sexuality, unlike the current Disney fares.

But the only Disney song that I liked and could caterwaul along to is this one. My sister bought me the VHS tape of the film after my third form exam and I was enchanted. I think it was Beastly Prince's library that cinched the deal for me. Who cares about dancing candelabras and singing teapots when you have that biblio collection?

Anything after the Beauty and the Beast is met with sincere disdain. It started with Aladdin. That was around the time I became an absolutely insufferable hipster about music. They played the theme song on rotation until I was sick. Also because it was associated with a terrible time in my life. No, let's not go there.

I detested Pocahontas. I hated that they made it a romance. Hello? She was a child when she met John Smith. If they had anything romantic going on, it was child abuse. Not to mention that he brought her back to England to be paraded around like an exotic animal. She died of small pox in a foreign land, away from her people. That ain't a romance. That's slavery.

But what about Finding Nemo, asked some of my pals. It's a cute tale about a fish and his pals. Ellen DeGeneres is in it! You want me to believe that a saltwater fish survived the sewer system to get back to Daddy? Pull the other one.

I am okay with Mulan. I took my niece to watch Malefiecent (I kept looking at my phone throughout the film).

I guess I am a kind of an old coot.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Joy of Melancholia

Mellifluous and delicious.

We are all biased to think that the music of our teens and young adult to be the creme de la creme of listening pleasures. Research have shown that our music preference is pretty much imprinted during our teenage years. These aren't necessarily the pop hits of the day, I was imprinted with an appreciation for 60's bubblegum pop, thanks to Radio 4.

Mr Buckley has been dead for some time now, snatched by Death at 30. But his voice, the melody he penned, the lyrics he sang still touch the souls of his listeners. God knows I've put this damned thing on replay for the dozenth time.


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Midweek Sh*ts and Giggles

I am a firm believer of the female gaze on the male form. I ardently support using men as sexual objects. Hence, my adoration for this song.


Have a great week ahead!

Saturday, July 25, 2015


I love French pop artists. They make cool songs and wacky videos. (NSFW)

Monday, July 13, 2015

It Ain't So Neat to Admit Defeat

Once upon a time, my only understanding of who Bob Geldof was from the tabloid's gleeful reports of how his wife ran off with Michael Hutchence, the sex machine frontman of INXS, who then died of auto-erotic asphyxiation in a hotel room. Then I heard this song when I was 17 and it became my favourite shower time karaoke. The appeal of Mr Geldof became apparent.

Look at all the Children of the Corn in the school. There's a reason the scariest films feature kids as the malignant forces.

It was reported that Mr Geldof was inspired to pen this song by the first modern school shooter, who incidentally, is a female.  Brenda Ann Spencer was sixteen when she opened fire on a school in front of her house with a .22 calibre rifle, a gift from her father (it would have been better if he'd given her the radio she wanted). Brutal or mental, she's serving 25 to life and her next parole hearing is in 2019.

As adorable as Mr Geldof's anthem is, I think that Tori Amos' cover of the song is better at expressing the narcissistic drive of the anarchy perpetrated by Ms. Spencer. If I had listened to this version at 17, I may actually have gone stabbity stab at my boarding school. Or build a pipe bomb.

You can sing along to the song with the words below:

The silicon chip inside her head
Gets switched to overload.
And nobody's gonna go to school today,
She's going to make them stay at home.
And daddy doesn't understand it,
He always said she was as good as gold.
And he can see no reason
'Cause there are no reasons
What reason do you need to be shown?

Tell me why?
I don't like Mondays.
Tell me why?
I don't like Mondays.
Tell me why?
I don't like Mondays.
I want to shoot
The whole day down.

The telex machine is kept so clean
As it types to a waiting world.
And mother feels so shocked,
Father's world is rocked,
And their thoughts turn to
Their own little girl.
Sweet 16 ain't so peachy keen,
No, it ain't so neat to admit defeat.
They can see no reasons
'Cause there are no reasons
What reason do you need to be shown?

Tell me why?
I don't like Mondays.
Tell me why?
I don't like Mondays.
Tell me why?
I don't like Mondays.
I want to shoot
The whole day down.

All the playing's stopped in the playground now
She wants to play with her toys a while.
And school's out early and soon we'll be learning
And the lesson today is how to die.
And then the bullhorn crackles,
And the captain crackles,
With the problems and the how's and why's.
And he can see no reasons
'Cause there are no reasons
What reason do you need to die?

Tell me why?
I don't like Mondays.
Tell me why?
I don't like Mondays.
Tell me why?
I don't like Mondays.
I want to shoot
The whole day down.n see no reason
'Cause there are no reasons
What reason do you need to be shown?
Tell me why?
I don't like Mondays.
Tell me why?
I don't like Mondays.
Tell me why?
I don't like Mondays.
I want to shoot
The whole day down.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Run, Forest, Run

I got a number of friends who are running enthusiasts. They announce when they join fun runs, charity runs, half marathons, full marathons, ultra marathons, the works. Some even go for running vacations.

I'm glad they enjoy running. They reap so much benefit from it: lower body fat percentage, blisters, greater stamina, dead toe nails, better all-around fitness level, muscular injuries, and many more.

Personally, I only run if I'm being chased. If I find a weapon, I might just stop and stand my ground. Also, I may have to stop because my heart is about to burst out of my chest and no one ain't got time for that.

But this video? I feel it, man.

Have a great weekend, y'all.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

I make a lousy fossil

Some people want to become diamonds after they die. Some people want to be star dust again. Me, I'm happy to be fertiliser. Unless I could become a fossil, because that would be extremely cool. But then again, that isn't very likely.

I got an opportunity to see fossils first hand at the Universiti Malaya Museum of Zoology with the crew from the Advocates of the Propagation of Science Literacy (APOSL) on Saturday, April 25th. Whodathunkit there's a museum of natural history in the heart of the great metropolitan of Kuala Lumpur? 


The Museum of Zoology is located in a new-ish block in the Institute of Biological Science (better known as ISB , Institut Sains Biologi), Faculty of Science. It is adjacent to the Institute of Mathematical Science (whose notice boards feature the most interesting stuff about numbers that even those allergic to maths like me find fascinating) and is open during weekdays from 9 am to 4 pm.

The entrance to the museum.

We were fortunate that the curator, Prof. Sasekumar, very graciously agreed to open the museum to us on a weekend and made himself available to show us around and answer our questions.

Prof. Sasekumar, the Curator.

He explained that a large number of the specimens were collected over the years from various sources. Some were donated by state museums that have run out of space to store their natural history specimens, while others were the university's own research collection. A few others were gifts from visiting biologists who brought specimens of animals that are common in their country, like the muskrat specimen from North America and a piranha from Brazil. It was here that I discovered that piranhas look a lot like pomfrets with bad teeth.

Prof. Sasekumar explaining the Earth's biological time scale.

Prof. Sasekumar began the tour by explaining the wonderful mural of the Earth's geological and biological time scale that was painstakingly done by students of the ISB. No members of the Homo spp. family were included in the mural as the most recent animal in the mural still predated Lucy by a few million years

 The Earth's biological time scale mural

 The Earth's geological time scale mural

The Curator further explained about how fossil evidence supports the biological time scale. He invited us to read further on the geological time scale as it was not his area of expertise and suggested that we speak to the Geology Department for more information.

One of the members asked Prof. Sasekumar if he has had to answer questions from students who are inclined towards creationism. His adroit answer was, "Let's keep science and religion separate." 

 Some of the resources available at the museum. Sticky tape is optional.

 Look at the date of the periodical at the far right. 

Prof. Sasekumar took us into his office for fossil viewing. I was gaping so much at this huge replica of a crinoid leaf fossil that I forgot to snap a pic. It looked like Han Solo in carbonite! He explained to us that fossils are generally expensive and that most that are on display are replicas of some sort. However, he did show us one of the few real fossil specimen of the museum which was a trilobite fossil. It was a lot smaller than what was shown in my biology text books, that's for sure.

Previously, there was no real effort to hunt for fossils in Malaysia. The recent discovery in Pahang gives hope to paleontologists and dinosaur hunters in the country for more exciting discoveries to come. The BBC has an excellent page of resources on fossils, which you can visit here.

 The Godfathers of Biology: Darwin, Linnaeus, Wallace and Mandel

Decorating the entrance to the exhibit are posters of the Godfathers of Biology; Charles Darwin, Carolus Linnaeus, Alfred Russel Wallace and Fr. Gregor Mandel. I can't wait for the September talk on Russell Wallace! Please visit the APOSL Facebook page for updates on this talk and other exciting events.

The Zoology Museum is divided into several sections: the Fossilarium (in Prof. Sasekumar's office), the Osteological exhibits, the Rainforest Diorama, the Animal Diversity exhibit, the River Basin Diorama and the Entomology Box.

The Osteological or bones exhibit feature several specimens that help us compare how form matches function in terms of skeletal structure. Although all bones are hardened by calcium, the structure differs to match the form and function of the animal.

Prey vs Predator skull comparison.

The crocodile skull above is an excellent example. Its skull is heavy, with a hinged jaw that gives it one of the most powerful bite in the animal kingdom. The muscles that hold the jaw open, however, are relatively weak, which makes the slamming force of the upper jaw snapping shut perfect for quick kills.

Their triangular teeth is perfect for tearing their  prey's flesh, but the lack of molars means that crocs cannot chew their food. Therefore, crocodiles use biting and whiplash motions to rip their prey apart and swallow the pieces whole. Think of it as swallowing your KFC drumstick as a whole piece. Plant-based food requires a lot of chewing to render it digestible, so this lack of molar also means a strict Atkins diet and no carbs for the crocs.

The crocodiles' metabolism is relatively sluggish and they take a long time to digest the pieces of prey that they swallowed. This is why they only need to eat every few weeks or so and spend most of their time just hanging out and chilling. Eyes at the top of their head are perfect for scouting careless prey moseying by where they lie in wait, half submerged.

Multi-teeth nightmares are made of these.

You expect to be frightened by the fangs of predators but nothing prepared me for the squirm-inducing teeth of herbivorous critters. Apparently plant-devouring critters have TONNES OF MOLARS to help them grind down their tough and fibrous vegetarian meals. I can't really explain why they give me the heebie-jeebies, but if you have trypophobia, you would probably understand.

Not serpent wine

No El Nino this year, thank God

I found the water cycle diorama interesting as it gave a good explanation about the great flood that affected Kelantan late last year. Did people really think that they can raze forests to a nub and that nature will not retaliate? Idiots.

Flood oracle

Scary tales.

We never really pay attention to soil loss because we are in the tropics. But in places where desertification is a problem, people scrutinise water movement and soil erosion in order to arrest the widening of deserts. Let's hope that we don't let things get that far before we do something concrete about our top soil loss.

The exhibit included some fine examples of the local fauna. Sadly, a number of them are already no more, and many more are on the endangered species list (e.g. kancil, binturong, tenggiling etc.). I'm an omnivor myself, but I don't get people who eat animals that are already diminished in number unless they actually dwell in the forest and cannot get poultry et al. What's wrong with sticking to beef, rabbits, chicken, etc? Assholes.

Tropical jungle animals

Corals and peat swamp forest

More on peat swamp forest.

I'm sure that not many of us here in Malaysia realise that we are home to more than one kind of swamp forest: the mangrove as well as peat swamp. Sepang used to be a humongous peat swamp forest reserve, as well as many areas dotting the coastline of the peninsula.

The mangroves are important because it provides a nursery for the natural fishery lots. Not to mention it helps to control coastal erosion, provides home to tonnes of biodiversity, help to detoxify the coastline and is a pretty neat place to visit.

Peat swamps are important because they are invaluable water catchment areas, provide shelter and food to migratory birds, enriches the soil, increases the underground water table reservoir, and many more. Sadly, they are also located in areas that are prime for development. I guess we'll only pay attention to the damage caused by loss of peat swamp forest when we have problems like flash floods and top soil loss.

Oh wait. It's already on going but nobody cares.

 Prof. Sasekumar explaining the difference between the stingless 
and regular bees

We ended the tour with a visit to the stingless bee colony housed outside the museum. The bees were acquired from an apiary in Melaka. They produce small quantities of high quality honey that the Institute sells on a seasonal basis. What a pity that our visit did not coincide with the season. *pouts*

 Stingless bee colony

The museum may be modest in size but is chock-full of information on Malaysia's environmental heritage with  its exhibits of preserved animal specimens and informative posters. The museum is happy to entertain tours of pax up to 20 people, so please contact them if you are interested!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I wanna drop kick art students

Undeclared (Woodlands, #1)Undeclared by Jen Frederick
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is my first foray into the "new adult" (NA) genre. I find it ... a little dull in terms of pacing; it has a lot of introspection but the character development is really slow. The female protagonist made me want to shake her on occasion, but that's probably because of some cultural thing. We don't dither that way in college here; we just jump in our course and just wade through 'em, come hell or high water.

The guy was interesting in that he served in the Marines before going to college. I was hoping for more development on his front as he had a great deal of things happen in his life that would shape him beyond the good-looking MMA champ-to-be who is breezing through college. Perhaps there's more about him in the second book, but I'm not sure if I want to spend my time there.

There's a great deal of partying, not enough school work at college here to make me feel that the situation is real. Perhaps that's because I was a science student; maybe the arty farty types have more jolly time in college. I don't know. But over all, even if I did read this in college, I'd probably drop it thinking that people sure don't think much about people my age.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A dreadful man, all intemperate appetites and no decorum to speak of.

A Lady Awakened (Blackshear Family, #1)A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Happiness is ... finding more books by a wonderfully enjoyable author at the rental book store.

Ms. Grant's debut heralded all the delicious things one can expect from her books: sensuality married with subtle humour and period-specific banter that truly enhances the characters' growth over the story arc.

She is excellent at writing characters who tread the fine line of acceptability or even jumped across it with glee. I also love that her characters are of the gentry and not nobility, with different sets of challenges to overcome and expectations of role in society.

She has a way of exploring her characters' inner landscapes to flesh them out with wit and thought. In this book, she pitted a conniving widow against a ne'er do well wastrel. I love how they transformed each other, by learning about one another so thoroughly, before they actually identified the affection and esteem each held for the other as love.

Some of my favourite passages:

Whose idea of good design was this? Why those awkward angles, and what could be the necessity for all that hair? If one believed, as the Bible and the Greek myths had it, that man had been created first and woman after, then one must conclude there had been some dramatic improvement in the process following that amateurish first attempt.

Oh how her disdain has changed over the course of the book.

"And are you my king?" Her eyes, in the mirror, stayed trained to his.

He shook his head. "Stablehand." She didn't resist as he brought her knee up; draped her leg over the chair's arm. "Great strapping stablehand who's caught the queen's eye and been summoned to service her in her chambers."

Role play can be so hot.

Mellifluous and thoroughly enjoyable.

Male protagonist: 4/5 stars
Female protagonist: 4/5 stars
Storyline: 4/5 stars
Pacing: 4/5 stars
Fun Factor: 4/5 stars
Repeat Reading Factor: 4/5 stars

View all my reviews

Eating crap

Diet is d-i-e with a t

Your body is a temple; worship it. So you take good care of what goes into it.

Paleo diet.

Atkins diet.

Gluten free.

Dairy free.



The list goes on.

All this is because we believe that we are what we eat. Garbage in, garbage out. Right?

Well, consider yourself lucky that you are not part of the African aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem that are dependent upon tonnes of hippo faeces for a nutritious diet.