Friday, December 31, 2010

The inedible jam

Yesterday morning, I was caught in an explicable jam along a 1 km stretch long enough to read at least 80 pages of my novel. If you saw a female person who was absorbedly reading while bopping her head absently to whatever was on the speaker while driving in Petaling Jaya, it is likely it was me.

I am sure that many of us, when caught in a traffic snarl, often wishes we were on the other lane. The magical lane next to ours are often moving at a miraculously speedier clip than our own sluggish ooze. But somehow, once you changed lane into said magical lane (after suitably indicating with the car signal, naturally), the magic disappears and the lane you vacated appear to be moving faster than when you were queueing along in it.

Why does this happen? Is it Murphy's Law? Is it God's wrath?

Mathematically, this is the explanation.

In other words: You can never win in a traffic jam.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Down South creativity

If you know someone who is damn liat to wash their hands after a visit to the loo, show them this video.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A picture > 1k words

Ever feel like the information overload is avalanching you? The Internet has changed the way information is being disseminated and traded. Add something like Wikileaks to the mix and you have a real smorgasbord of information and data to analyse and process; some of them more raw than a mooing steak on a plate.

Those in the scientific field are quite used to this; after all it is their job to generate data and then crunch it to create another piece to the puzzle of the universe (and then bend over backwards trying to fit it into the story). Most of us are the end-users who swallow and accept whatever conclusion that has been generated by someone else; be it political information, or economic and financial tips or even sports statistic.

Data crunching oftentimes lead to dry numbers and incomprehensible graphs.

Displaying information in a way that is attractive, elegant and comprehensible takes a great deal of patience, creativity and hard work. Thus, I doff my hat off to Mr. David McCandless. His ability to condense a great deal of information into concise, attractive graphics that convey the message directly with clarity and objectivity is amazing.

Here are some of his work (ganked from his website) for you to enjoy and admire.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas with the Force

To those celebrating the Yuletide (or just enjoying the festivities) ... HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Free Willy

I am not much of an animal lover; I don't mind the cuddly ones on screen but IRL, I prefer the stuffed variety. Easier to maintain, no veterinarian bills and no feeding required. However, when I went to the SeaWorld in San Diego, I was sad and outraged that the poor orcas and dolphins were restrained and forced to perform in these tiny pools when they used to roam for thousands of miles in the Southern Ocean and the Pacifics.

Which is why this I heart this ad like eleventy billion times.

Yes, oftentimes I get conflicted when I go to the zoos; watching the animals (big or small) in cages and enclosures are both humbling and saddening to me. I understand that they are safe from predators and are fed and watered well in captivity, not to mention those that are bred in captivity would die in the wilderness, but the artificial habitats reminded me that people may mean well, but meaning well is not necessarily nice.

Law and the tedium of being a superhero

As much as I enjoy watching movies featuring superhero characters, I do find myself sometimes taken out of the movies by details such as:

1. What happens if the court finds the killing of some supervillain by a superhero unlawful? Would that supe (say Batman) have to go to prison?

2. What if Tony Stark was taken down by the IRS and have his technology seized to pay back taxes?

Apparently, I am not the only who feel that way. There is a blog by two lawyers discussing these very issues.

Go on, have a look.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The quest for new authors to read (venturing into TL; DR territory)

As a reading addict, I am always looking for new authors to read. This is because unlike that woman in Misery, I don't have my favourite authors in chains at my beck and call. Some authors aim for 2-5 books a year (Yay!) and others may produce 1-2 books a year, or even 1 book per year or more. Now, I understand that writing a book is a long process and requires input from a great number of people from copy editors to test audience sometimes, but I need my habit fed, damn it.

Kitty needs to read too.

To help me through the dry periods, I try new authors. I mostly read romance and all the associated sub-genres, but I have branched into fantasy and plain old fantasy whether romance is an element or not. I stopped reading thrillers and mystery in my late teens; I don't like reading the monstrous things humans perpetrate on one another. But I don't mind if the flesh tearing is done by a monster monster, if you know what I mean.

Sometimes I get lucky in my journey to find new authors to read; this was how I discovered Elizabeth Vaughan, Simon R Greene, Patricia Briggs, Mark Del Franco and Carrie Vaughn. These authors not only crafted worlds that are wondrous and immersing, but peopled with characters that you can love and hate and enjoy their triumphs and defeats. I am a character-driven reader; if I enjoy the character, I would slog through the book (even if it is painfully written) to the very end. Plot? What plot? If I were finicky about plots, I wouldn't be reading Sherrilyn Kenyon, fabulous as her 'verses are. I read her for the tormented and snarky Zarek, I look forward to hearing more from the adorably demented Simi and sex-on-legs Acheron and of course, for her kick-ass heroines like Tabitha and Bride.

I have been reading Jenna Black's The Devil Inside. The premise sounded interesting: kick ass exorcist possessed by what she hated most and having to deal with the aftermath. However, I do not enjoy Morgan Kingsley; I find her judgmental-ness off-putting. Now you may say that it could be part of her journey since The Devil Inside is the first book of the series and I should give her a chance to develop. After all, I gave Rachel Morgan (protagonist of Kim Harrison's The Hollow series) a chance although she was whiny and stupidly impetuous in the first book and now I've devoured everything Kim Harrison. But somehow I cannot like the way she made snide comments about another character's lifestyle choices. Frankly, if BDSM gay sex floats your boat, so what? If you find it gross or whatever, why on earth do you need to tell that person that he/she is gross/demented/sick/whatever?


If it is a mutual pursuit between two (or even more) consenting adult, what is it to you? And for her to suddenly feel ashamed at her own voyeuristic pleasure at watching two men having sex, WTF is that? If she felt that way because she is religious and thinks that homosexuality is a sin, I get it. But she isn't. And there was a (pseudo?) rape scene at the end of the book that was just plain nasty. I get that it is to move the plot along, but it wasn't done very well or perhaps I just didn't like the way it was executed. Yes, mileage may vary but I still loathe it.

Phew. I have not ranted about a book so much since I finished reading Pullman's His Dark Materials. That was the only book I have ever read that I threw against the wall, I was that angry.

Reading a book that inaugurate a series can be like watching the pilot of a new show. If you hate it, you won't bother watching the rest even if it got better (Vampire Diaries, anyone?). I have been spoiled by Simon R Green, Elizabeth Vaughan, and Patricia Briggs who write books that just made me pick up and run. And then chase all the subsequent books in the series. Then of course there is the issue when the show (or book series) had jumped the shark.  I still read Laurell K Hamilton's books even after many had claimed that she had moved into fan fiction territory (too much smut, too little plot). A lot of PWP, but I like the characters enough that I can live with the PWP (although I can name more than a dozen fan fiction writers who do EXCELLENT smut that is both hot and touching).

Seriously, trying out new authors can really be a gamble. But happily, when you win, you can really win big.

Street Fighter salsa

I never played the game and found the movie lame, but this is really nice.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Are you a jerk?

Eric Schwitzgebel, a Professor of Philosophy at University of California at Riverside mused over this and came up with a post on The Phenomenology of Being A Jerk.

Go on.

Read it.

You know you want to.

Why Superman's outfit never tears

Is it because it was made from his baby blanket from Krypton?


It is science. His suit is pretty darn close to Kevlar, in terms of bullet-stopping capacity.

Read about how you can make your T-shirt as powerful as the Superman suit here.

Not the Superman you want. :p

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Midweek sh*ts and giggles

And the only one with personal comment:

I knew it! The gay subtext was obvious even to 12-year old me back then!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Storm Troopers just wanna have fun

My niece is addicted to this song. It is bloody catchy and there are tonnes of videos out there of hilarious/serious attempts to copy the original Wonder Girls. But this one?

Star Wars desecration or stupendous imagination? You decide.


Darn it. Too late.

Facebook for dummies

Social networking has become so widespread, even your grandma has an account. But the protocol for friending and de-friending continues to be a social minefield that can blow up in your face and cripple you for life.

For example:

Forever alone. :'((

So how do you navigate something like: Do you friend you parents on Facebook?

Someone made a flow diagram of it.

To friend, or not to friend. That is the question.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Walking down memory lane

When I was a kid, terrestrial TV was only on for 12-hours a day and the hours of 4 pm to 6 pm were when they screen the stuff for kids like Sesame Street, The Electric Company and cartoons. The closest I got to fandom obsession (i.e. feverish scribblings of Mary Sue-inserted fanfics) were the anime that they screened like Tosho Daimos, Voltron and Sabre Rider and the Star Sheriffs in particular.

Back then, the Filem Negara Malaysia made a number of cartoons based on Malay folklore and Aesop's fables to be screened in the late afternoon. The animations were pretty well crafted, although the vocal dramatisation left much to be desired. It also spawned one of the favourite cautionary tagline of my schooldays: "Jangan, Monyet!" (Literally: Don't do it, Monkey!)

Ah, what fond memories ...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

If ever you need to fix the USS Enterprise ...

... there are blueprints. Yup, even for imaginary space vehicles. Geeks of the world, unite! (click to enlarge)

 But the most awesome of all ...

Engage warp speed, Number Two!

Ganked from ROFLRazzi.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

... this beat it fills my head up ...

Anyone driving along Jalan Dato Abu Bakar this morning and saw a female in a blue cap headbanging dementedly in her car while stuck in the traffic jam?

That was me.

And it was because of this song.

God, it has been ages since a song completely ate my brain like a zombie.

Flamboyance is another name for ...?

It now makes perfect sense. The sartorial choices of the Mad Hatter hid a deeper meaning.

It is okay, Mad Hatter. You can come out of the closet now. It has been shown that mercury poisoning may be responsible for homosexuality (at least in the white ibises); the mad hatter's disease having a heretofore unknown and an unexpected facet.

Hmm ... wonder if Jeremy Piven will make an announcement soon.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My inner fangirl, let me show you

The first time I saw Inception, I was blown away. The plot, the characters, the banter and dialogue, the special effects, everything. It has been ages since I'd seen a movie that completely swept me off my feet. My brain actually shut down to let me simply enjoy the movie without contemplation of logic or rational thinking of any sort.

My cousin, who went to see it with me, agreed it was a mindfuck of the highest degree. To this day, the soundtrack of the movie could still refresh my enjoyment of the film. Ah, to be in the concert and wallow in this live ... what an experience it would be!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Why you should not emulate pornography

When I teach the reproductive health segment of my class in Healthcare Management, I urge my students to remember that porn is fantasy; imitating them could be hazardous to your health. After all, when you get down to do the nasty with your partner, you are unlikely to have an attending physician to deal with potential injury or to give prophylactic painkiller the way they do in professional porn shoots.

The kids are dumbfounded when I tell them that watching porn can be akin to watching a Superman movie. Hello? Scripted movie with directors telling them where to put what and how long a thrusting time to perpetrate etc. *rolls eyes*

For those who does not wish to contract chlamydial conjunctivitis (an eye infection) from sex, avoid getting facials, will ya?


Hmm ... this would have been ....

... my teenage anthem were it released a donkey's age ago. *grin*

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Belated Thanksgiving wish to those celebrating

Happy Thanksgiving!

Grading on a transient loop

A number of my friends are now neck-deep in marking examination scripts. It is hoped that they are not grading the kids a la Dick Solomon.

However, judging from the grumblings that I've heard, it is quite likely that they wish they could.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Shake that bon bons!

Gentlemen, if you want to score with the ladies, you better consider some dancing lessons. If you take your lady (lad) love out for a night of dancing, flopping around on the dance floor as though you were Taser-ed is insufficient to show to them that you are evolutionarily desirable.

Facebook is hazardous to asthmatics?

Apparently, a young Italian gentlemen has had his asthma exacerbated by Facebook.

Or is it because he should stop stalking his ex-girlfriend?

Ah, l'amore.