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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

No Un-thin Chicks

Sorry, I had to censor that sensitive word out and replace it with the more politically-correct "Un-thin". I've been so-called pressured to banish that certain sign from my car for fear of having people think me as being an inconsiderate, selfish person, not to mention probably getting labelled as a chauvinist.

The truth is, I don't really care anymore. In fact, last Sunday I was too tired and exhausted to care. Normally I'd give my opinions or two but I had just covered a wedding (that went on til the wee hours of 2am) the night before, and was really in no lively shape to debate my points of view. Which might have been a good thing anyway, since it could degenerate into a situation where both sides keep arguing until one party backs down.

But on another side of the planet, I still go around the place I go each Sunday and see people wear provocative t-shirts, or say things which would make a lot of people uncomfortable. And some of the slogans on the said t-shirts would dirently lump me together since it targets either the gender, the physical nature of that person, or even the girlfriend (or the lack of none). :D

But in just all scenarios, I just have a good laugh and shake it all off. I could've gotten angry if I wanted to, but I see no point in that. After all, doesn't it consciously mean that the person who got offended by my cute little sign sticking on my rear windscreen is directly acknowledging herself as un-thin? Go figure. :P

It's funny, really. And the positive side to this is that at the end of the day, I can laugh at it and just chalk it up as another of life's insanities. Doesn't have to make sense, y'know. I sound arrogant, yes I know. That judgment I leave it up to the world. And even as of now, I still see that t-shirt which labels guys as being very dim being worn around. I hardly see the malicious content of it, if any. For now, the best solution I can offer is to take the sign down every Sunday. But on the rest of the week, the sign stays. My car. My freedom.

Why so serious? :P

No Un-thin Chicks

Sorry, I had to censor that sensitive word out and replace it with the more politically-correct "Un-thin". I've been so-called pressured to banish that certain sign from my car for fear of having people think me as being an inconsiderate, selfish person, not to mention probably getting labelled as a chauvinist.

The truth is, I don't really care anymore. In fact, last Sunday I was too tired and exhausted to care. Normally I'd give my opinions or two but I had just covered a wedding (that went on til the wee hours of 2am) the night before, and was really in no lively shape to debate my points of view. Which might have been a good thing anyway, since it could degenerate into a situation where both sides keep arguing until one party backs down.

But on another side of the planet, I still go around the place I go each Sunday and see people wear provocative t-shirts, or say things which would make a lot of people uncomfortable. And some of the slogans on the said t-shirts would dirently lump me together since it targets either the gender, the physical nature of that person, or even the girlfriend (or the lack of none). :D

But in just all scenarios, I just have a good laugh and shake it all off. I could've gotten angry if I wanted to, but I see no point in that. After all, doesn't it consciously mean that the person who got offended by my cute little sign sticking on my rear windscreen is directly acknowledging herself as un-thin? Go figure. :P

It's funny, really. And the positive side to this is that at the end of the day, I can laugh at it and just chalk it up as another of life's insanities. Doesn't have to make sense, y'know. I sound arrogant, yes I know. That judgment I leave it up to the world. And even as of now, I still see that t-shirt which labels guys as being very dim being worn around. I hardly see the malicious content of it, if any. For now, the best solution I can offer is to take the sign down every Sunday. But on the rest of the week, the sign stays. My car. My freedom.

Why so serious? :P

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Spirit Of Unsportsmanship

I was watching the Olympics the other day when they showed those 4 x 100m events of the past years, and suddenly I was reminded of my own sad, terrible tragedy which took place more than a decade ago. I was a bright-eyed, naive and innocent boy then (and still am now), and it was the annual School Sports Day. We'd specially rented the Bukit Jalil Staduim for this special event. Apart from the mundane long jumps, high jumps, and goodness-knows-what-else-would-jump, there was the 4 x 100m relay, with four gold medals to be awarded to the winning team. Tensions ran high, naturally. I was one of those asked to represent the Red Team, for whatever the reason was known only to God. I wasn't particularly a person you would call a fast sprinter. I mean, I even had enough difficulty running after the ice-cream truck, and they're just placing me in there? They'd probably have more luck predicting the 4 winning lottery digits. Granted, all I had was height, and I might have excelled better in NBA, but that's another story for another fine, sunny day. On that particular day, the four of us were asked to get ready, and the coach handed us our team uniforms - nothing more than simple cotton t-shirts tinged with a healthy dose of Communist Red. I loathe that shirt. Don't even get me started on the sporting event logo. Fast forward 2 hours, and there we were, all set on the sprint track. With four teams comprising four runners each plus the respective coaches made around twenty-plus individuals on the grounds. As each team huddled together to receive their last words of wisdom, our coach broke the news to us: there was going to be a reshuffling of each runner's position. I was scheduled to run third, but was now placed last, due to an unwise decision made by our bumbling coach. She reckoned that the guy originally schedule to run after my turn would give our team the upper hand should he run first in front of me. Big mistake. No sooner than that, all of us got ready to sweat it out and burn rubber on the grids, and perhaps tear a hamstring or two for those unfortunate enough to get it. As I was in fourth position, there was nothing much that I could do except sit down, and prayed that my first runner had taken enough steroids not to fall behind the rest. With the shot fired, it boiled down to a test of strength versus will, muscle against muscle, and the doped versus the undoped while the crowd went wild. Our guy made the mark and he passed the baton to the second dude. The latter chalked up a pretty good record too and the baton made its way into the third fella's hand. He was off like a speeding bullet. That was when all the innocence of my childhood began fading away, and the ugly realities of life started to beat the snot out of me. At first, things looked good, but then later somehow Mr. Third Runner seemed to slow down, and the remaining two sprinters from opposing teams quickly caught up with him, eventually passing him by. By the time I received the baton, all three runners from the other teams were already almost halfway around the bloody track. I tried my best to keep pace with them, but it was no use. I even tried to visualize that ice-cream truck in front of me to allow myself some encouragement to run faster, but even the phantom ice-cream man, with his neatly-pressed white unifom complemented with a black bow tie, poked his head out of the imaginary ice-cream truck and laughed at me. By now, the three earlier sprinters had already completed the race, and were sitting around the track resting their worn-out muscles, eyes on me. I was only at the halfway mark, no thanks to the third guy's inept running skills. What could've turned out to be my finest hour now lay in shambles, as the crowd, now impatient, started booing me in unison. They were obviously tired of waiting for the race to end, and the sight of one lone runner going for broke amused them, or probably angered them, or both. I don't know. To be booed is one thing, and to be faulted for other people's ineptness and idiocy is another. I finally reached the finishing line, and for a moment there I swore I caught a glimpse of my coach giving me her disapproving stare. Hey, what'd I do damnit? But there was no time for that as my tired muscles, poorly-trained for this event, eventually gave way and I tumbled down onto the track. No one came to my aid nor help me up to the locker room. Those pretty young female nurses which were abundant all around the stadium one moment were gone the next. I was left to simmer and bake under the afternoon sun. So much for taking one for the team. The next year, requests for me to make an appearance for the sprinting team once more were met with replies of "Get lost!" and "You'll never take me alive!", echoed by me.

The Dork Knight

Disclaimer: Don't read this unless you've watched "The Dork", I mean, err, "Dark Knight". Either that or if you have a history of amnesia, then go ahead. You've been warned...

[During lunch hour one fine sunny day]
Me: Hey, you've watched The Dark Knight already right?
Friend: Yeah, what's up with it?
Me: Nothing. Just want to know if it's a great movie like what the newspapers scribbled.
Friend: Totally. But I don't know what they were talking about.
Me: No way. I mean, you're kidding me right?
Friend: No. Really. I have no idea what was going on. I mean, where did the Joker come from?
Me: Nevermind that. Is it great or not?
Friend: Like I said, yeah.
Me: I heard they changed the gal. Used to be Katie Holmes, but they got Maggie Gyllenhall to play Rachel this time around.
Friend: Who?
Me: You know, Maggie. The sister of Jake. She had a role as the female love interest of Will Ferrell in "Stranger Than Fiction", while Jake starred in "Jarhead", "Brokeback Mountain" etc...
Friend: No idea who (My friend's a bit blur-rish when it comes to Western actors).
Me: Okay, nevermind then.
Friend: Huh, what does it matter anyway? The girl dies in the end.
Me: ... Did you really have to spoil it for me?
Friend: What? Why?
Me: I've not watched The Dark Knight yet, damnit! @#$%^&
Friend: Oh really ah? Sorry ya, but seriously, at the ending, the Joker was...
Me: (cuts him short) Shuttup damnit! I'm not listening to this! Not listening to this! Lalalalalala (clasps hands over ears trying to drown out his spoilers).

I swore I could've brought my bowl of hot soup on his head. But food is expensive nowadays, and that soup cost me RM4 abomb. Strangulation would've been a much cheaper option.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wise Sayings

This post is a collaboration of sorts with covers classical moments that have happened to various people including but not restricted to Kiffer, Shearn, Jon, William (and a few more mysterious contributors) written in our best command of Chinglish. Enjoy.

1. "Time is best way to see if chick dig you".
2. "Ascertain marshmallow is first cool before touching with tip of tongue".
3. "When throwing people in pool, making sure self not be casualty too".
4. "Being able to count not meaning you not drunk".
5. "A girl after much alcohol consuming turns scary".
6. "If wish to lift girl on shoulders, make hasty sure face not turn red like lobster".
7. "No sound from toilet long time not mean friend pass out".
8. "Never pull person underwear before seeing face".
9. "Please not underestimate power of simple funny Indian song with man call Benny".
10. "Car of same color not mean of same driver".
11. "Make hasty sure of aircond existence before invite others to enjoy said aircond".
12. "Take precaution of no crazy jokes at the lunch else you getting good face-spray".
13. "Miss important turning while drive on highway guarantees much laughing joy".
14. "When laughing at friend just thrown in pool, make hasty sure who behind you first".
15. "Alarm sound from corner not mean it come from person handphone".
16. "Six guy in room is sure means and ways of disaster recipe".
17. "Make hasty sure phone not recording before complain about weight of person".
18. "Red stuff on leg is mean either you bleeding bad or just sauce of tomato".
19. "Please, when sleep in room with others guy, beware of guy sleeping only in briefs".
20. "When joking of girls and their ability of helping fire grow, make hasty sure none is around".

That's all (for now). Til then, for great justice!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Mystery Of The Vanishing Socks

I've always pondered over this inexplicable mystery of where my washed socks always end up to. I would dutifully wash and rinse my socks each night after I'm home, hang them up to dry temporarily on the steel bar affixed on the bathroom wall, and call it a good day. Evil-smelling varieties would pop up from time to time, but they're usually conquered with the help of Dynamo (in the barrel loads), scrubbed into submission and spread out lifelessly across the fore mentioned steel bar. And that's when big trouble would begin in my little home.

The next day, mum or dad would transfer the collection of socks to the balcony to be dried out completely, and by late afternoon they would've been toasty and just right to be brought in, sorted out and finally, rolled up like so many cinnamon buns awaiting their respective owners. Fine, except that I don't always get what I washed the previous day before.

I would arrive home to pack my clothes into the cupboard and realize that the black twosomes I wore and washed yesterday had already gone missing. Just like that. Into thin air. Vanished without a trace. You get my drift.

The only two most probable places they could've end up into (apart from Sock Hell) is either my dad's or big brother's wardrobe. In case you are wondering, this is not a finger-pointing session accompanied by the throwing of plates against the wall. Rather, it all boils down to the simple case of misunderstandings over which article of clothing belongs to whom. Granted, there have been cases where I've dug up my Polo tee in my big brother's stockpile of clothes just 'cause my dad thought it belonged to him. All the men in our household are of the same build, so it's easy to see (no pun intended) why cases like these happen.

To date, I've lost the following - 3 pairs of black working socks, 2 pairs of purple working socks, a pair of green socks (don't ask me how I came to be in possession of purple or green socks. Just don't. Some things are better left unknown :P), at least one gray Nike workout socks, and one white Adidas sports socks. Heck, I've even lost just one side of this purplish-black pair, and now the remaining survivor has resigned to its role as the annual Christmas stocking.

To my credit, I've conducted low-profile infiltration missions into my big brother's said giant wardrobe in the hopes of unearthing my long-lost socks but nothing ever turns up. The same goes for my infils in Dad's wardrobe. I sort of pictured my big brother's wardrobe as this mini Bermuda Triangle where everything goes it and nothing goes out. In my efforts to curb unnecessary sock deaths (mine), I have sewn cute little "J" initials on them, placed barcodes, and even contemplated implanting microchips along their seams to have their strange migratory patterns tracked via GPS (Global Positioning for Socks). But nothing works, and the mystery only deepens. I can't help but chuckle over the irony of life sometimes. To counter this effect while I investigate further, I get all of my supplies from Giant currently at 99 cents a pair, which has the comfort level akin to wearing sandpaper on your feet.

I figured that this would probably make a very engrossing horror story if written out, published as a book and sold to the public to raise funds to buy myself more socks. I'll probably entitle it as "The Night Of The Vanishing Socks". Not quite original, but it'll do for now.

So if you've ever wondered what to give me for Christmas, look no further than the stuff you wear on your feet. Just skip the purple, green, red and other weird colored varieties, though.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Memoirs Of Mount. Kinabalu

I awoke from my deep slumber. The mattress was somewhat hard but nonetheless comfortable, and for a while I stared up the ceiling, asking myself why it looked so unfamiliar to my eyes. It should be, for I was not within the confines of my own bedroom, but rather at the majestic Sutera Kinabalu Lodge. Crawling out of bed, the first thing I did was to head towards the frost-filled window, tip-toeing across the cold wooden planks that made up the floor. The early rays of the sun had just broken through across North Borneo, bathing a nearby mountain with its golden, magnificent rays.

That mountain was Kinabalu upon closer inspection. I recognized one of the peaks to be Donkey Ears. Excitedly I called upon Shearn and Jarod, who happened to be there at that time. Together, we enjoyed the view from our humble room while basking in the warmth of our brotherhood. Breakfast was sort of a "cook-it-yourself-or-go-hungry" kind of event, mainly comprised of instant cup noodles. No one complained although the forementioned noodles tasted somewhat rubbery that day. Could've been the water, I told myself.

We sat there suited up on the kerbs, backpacks firmly secured in place and looking very much like a bunch of paratroopers sans rifles, waiting for our ride. Some were still busy chowing down on their breakfast (myself included). Soon the van came, and after placing our rucksacks into the vehicle and taking only the necessary survival items, we were off.

Arriving at Headquarters a little after five minutes, each individual lined up for their general-issued dogtags which was to be worn throughout the whole stay atop the mountain. It was also at HQ that we assigned two mountain guides to our 13-man squad. Endless photoshots were taken of the mountain, or of a person posing with the mountain in the background. After a quick round of prayers, we were off to war. A war of attrition against potential muscle fatigue, mental anguish, altitude sickness, and the effects due to the lack of oxygen.

The bus gradually picked up speed, roaring down the narrow tarred road. Instead of singing and merrymaking, as most people would have expected us to be doing, each person was silently deep in his or her own thought. A few took the opportunity to catch a few winks or so. But for me, the adrenaline generated from my body was having a field day rushing through my veins. During those defining moments of my life, I could not help but think of cliched phrases such as how this was the moment we were all waiting for, the moment of truth that would put each individual to the test. Such philosophy indeed.

The bus suddenly came to a grinding halt; we'd arrived at the last place that officially separated Mount. Kinabalu from the rest of the world - Timpohon Gate. Once the gates swung open and we passed through, there would be no major civilization landmarks until we reached Laban Rata. Prior to that, our friendly guide - the more senior dude of the two - gave us a small pep talk on survival techniques and what-not-to-do along the way. Each of us received an A4-sized paper advising those with chronic diseases ala heart attacks, asthma, diabetes et al not to proceed with the ascent. Pardon my thoughts, but shouldn't this whole inane disclaimer thing be brought to the attention of all potential climbers at least a day before the big climb? I imagined some poor unlucky chap burning RM200+ to stay there for the night, secure a guide and hitch the bus all the way to the Gate, only to be stopped for asthma!

Yep. Some smart system we have here. But then again, having made it this far plus spending almost close to RM300 for the air tickets, I sure as hell wasn't going to let anything as trivial as those mentioned in the paper stop me (if I had them in the first place, that is). Heck no. They can roll my dead body off the mountain later once I'm finished conquering Low's Peak.

I stopped by at the loo to drain my lizard for one last time before attempting the ascent, having heard nasty stories of horrifically-nauseous toilet shacks along the way up. Coming out, I saw my first much-famed porter of that day. She had this great straw rucksack upon her shoulders where all sorts of imaginable things were stacked in - bags of rice, water bottles, Armalite M4A1 carbines, the Death Star - that rose to almost twice her height. And here I was carrying only my first aid-kit, winter apparel, food and beverages, and already on the verge of throwing myself off the cliff.

I've never been so alone before in my life. Trudging up Mount. Kinabalu proved to be a lonely experience for me, partly caused by the numerous times I stopped to capture some particular scene in my DSLR camera's viewfinder. Occasionally I'd bump into Pearly, Jeremy or Dizzy, but due to the fore mentioned camera-clicking frenzy high I had at that time, naturally I found myself all alone once more. Can't blame anyone. Once past the gates into the unknown, it automatically turns into one of those do-or-die, "every man for himself" kind of situation, where the average fit individual find it tough while the severely unfit calls it an impossible task, and your mind is being overwhelmed by rhetorical questions about life, the future, and what kind of madness could have possible driven you to accomplish such a suicidal adventure.

I continued walking, with the sounds of life growing fainter and fainter behind as I gradually crossed into colder zones. Tall, upright trees were slowly but surely being replaced by their gnarled and stumpy cousins. The soil turned stark orange and was said to contain some element which would kill off all plants except for a few. Once above a certain elevation, all signs of life, save for those firmly rooted into the ground, is gone. Gone are the birds which accompanied you as you made your way up during the first leg of the journey. Gone are the delightful chatter of squirrels and their mischevious antics. For some, it is an eerily unnerving thought. For me, it is deeply therauphetic. Think Genting Highlands without the Ah Bengs and Ah Liens.

Occasionally at certain interval points, there is a simple hut/shelter in which you may stop to rest your tired feet, slap on huge dollops of questionable muscle fatigue relieving cream, and of course, eat your measly rations (either half-melted chocolate or something equivalent to it) and drink whatever water you have left. If you're out of drinking water, or if you desperately need some, the authorities have been kind enough to establish green rust-proof water tanks right next to the said huts, with the contents being collected rainwater. It just sits there quietly, tempting you to take a swig or two out of it, and you can't even lift the damn cover to tell what's died inside it, if there's any. At this point, having Halizone tablets in your inventory is a blessing indeed. Nailed neatly onto on of the supporting wooden beam posts is a sign indicating your current elevation. Once you've had enough rest and confirm that your feet might not conspire to walk you off some cliff, you continue upwards. It's repetitious and in some ways an expensive way to suffer, but strangely enough I got quite a kick out of this whole sadistic operation.

The hike was now around five-sixths of the total journey up before reaching the halfway mark, given the calculation I made in my mind. I could be wrong, but such optimism keeps one from either impaling himself on the nearest sharp tree trunk, or doing the swan ballet off a cliff. Besides, I wanted something to tell my grandchildren about. Earlier on, at the third shelter where I stumbled upon Dizzy, Jeremy and Pearly once again, the sign nailed at the beam indicated an elevation surpassing that of Genting and Tahan. Given me, I'd pop open some champagne and arouse the men to celebrate, but at the risk of getting impaled, or forced to do the swan ballet, or both.

The landscape suddenly changed as abruptly as how money changes hands in a casino; there wasn't even enough of those gnarled trees and shrubs to start a plant army of my own now. The entire surrounding was mainly granite slabs now, with slight hints of loose rocks. The steps grew larger apart, straining the kneecaps. Retreating poisonous orange soil was being replaced by light tan ground.

During the Battle of the Bulge, isolated 101st Airborne paratroopers, cut-off and surrounded by thousands of well-prepared German soldiers



My parents and also some of my friends who are in a saner state of mind that I am in (that's what I think, more or less) constantly question my strange preference to pay money for some trip which either leaves me half-destroyed or fully incapable of functioning well by the time I reach home, in this case mountain-climbing (or scrambling, whichever applies). I tell them honestly that I do not understand my semi-suicidal urges as well, save for the comforting thought that I am actually probably taking the path less taken (pardon the pun). I don't really see much joy or excitement to be visiting some exotic beach miles away from my house, with the sun-baked sands searing my soles, and the salty sea waters leaving me feeling like some salty sea dog. Granted, they make nice picture postcards, but then again, nothing beats big, shiny mountains with their rugged peaks and danger at every turn.

That train of thought ran through my mind as I braved the strong winds, struggling to get a foothold on the slippery granite ground. Each step demanded an average of five gasps of thin mountain air, and five steps taken brought the body to a standstill while you recalibrated yourself. My backpack, though lightened and temporarily freed from all the burdensome weight of food and extra squirrel fodder, still felt like deadweight upon my shoulders. Pain and suffering were the standard order for the day, and still I got a kick of out it.







Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Turkish Star Wars - A Terrible Hope

In life, one will occasionally stumble upon a few bad movies that either has a lousy stinking storyline, campy special-effects, or extremely wooden acting. They are a pain in the ass to watch, and simply a waste of my life just to endure that 2 hours. Despite knowing all this, nothing can seriously prepare you for the sheer insanity that is Dunyayi Kurtaran Adam (The Man Who Saves The World), more popularly referred to as "Turkish Star Wars" due to the excessive bootlegging of space dogfight scenes from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, particularly those of the Death Star trench run. Watching the movie was akin to smoking yourself silly with shisha while high on alcohol. It's that bad, but hilarious, nonetheless.

Curiously, the Turks seem to have a penchant for recycling Hollywood blockbuster films to their own version, usually on a shoestring budget most of the time. Other notable "copycat" movies include Turkish Star Trek, Turkish E.T., Turkish Wizard Of Oz and of course, Turkish Superman. But Dunyayi still holds the number one spot for the masterpiece crass that is pirated Star Wars.

Produced in 1982 during the politically-upheaving times in Turkey meant that access to American-made movies were simply next to impossible. Thus almost no one then back in the country had heard of Jaws, Star Wars, Superman and Indiana Jones, to name a few. So director Cetin Inanc decided to make his legendary movie based on, well, Star Wars, for the Turkish cinema. Normally I would steer clear of bad, B-Grade movies, but not this one, which has been officially named as one of the worst movies ever made. It's so bad that it's surprisingly good to watch, and is essentially THE ultimate flick for lonely Saturday nights. Need to unwind? Watch Dunyayi. Had a bad day at work today? Pop Dunyayi into the DVD player.

Therefore, without further ado, let's buckle ourselves into the seat of the Kurtaran, I mean err, Millennium Falcon and grab your popcorn as you sit back and let the plot unravel slowly below (not that there's much spoilers to give away anyway - it's just basically a hack and slash plot) :-

A long time ago in a Turkish-speaking galaxy far, far away, there lived this badass megalomaniac in a colorful Mardi Gras-like costume (let's call him Turkish Vader) who had this evil intention of invading and conquering Earth (what else if not that?). Helping him in his nefarious scheme is a slutty princess, an evil blue robot with a trashcan for a head and an ambulance light on top of it (I swear), his personal gay-looking sidekick with a generous helping of afro hair, and a few more generic-looking henchmen. The opening credits of the film is, thankfully, devoid of the infamous Star Wars text crawl and theme song, so I guess credit must be given here for the creativity of the Dunyayi crew for using their own theme music. Then a few clips of planets are mashed together, including shots of the Death Star, broken in between by occasional shots of NASA rockets blasting off into space, and images of planets being blown to smithereens by the Death Star itself. Random segments of TIE fighters and X-Wings also make their debut in this scene.

The scene then cuts to both of our heroes whose mission is to oppose Turkish Vader and his band of merry villains and save the world from their clutches of evil. Unlike other heroes, both the protagonists in this film are essentially potbellied, middle-aged men - Murat (the one with his head full of grey hair) and Ali (a horny womanizer) - wearing the typical kapcai motorcycle helmet with the visor removed. A pair of old-style walkman headphones are attached to the helmet, either because they think it looks cool or just simply a case of not wanting to let it go to waste. Director Cetin Inanc wanted the first 8 minutes of the movie to feature the heroes engaging the enemy starfighters, but no budget was present. The solution? Rip off scenes from the space dogfight sequences in Star Wars. In what appears to be a bizarre twist of the heroic duo piloting TIE fighters (minus the TIE pilot costume) battling waves of evil X-Wing fighters apparently sent by Turkish Vader himself, the close-up shots of the heroes have them to be pretending to fly while grainy footage of the fore mentioned dogfight plays on a rear projection screen just behind them. But this is only a quarter of the madness so far, as you will see.

A bright bolt of lightning soon brings both of our heroes crash-landing onto an alien desert planet. Unfortunately there was also no planned budget for this scene so what you get is short segment of auroras while the heroes dig out of the rubble and dust themselves. At first, the surrounding area is reminiscent to the planet Tatooine of the 1977 classic. The next shot reveals pyramids and the Sphinx, so it doesn't take a smart individual to realize it's Egypt after all. No sooner than that, a horde of Skeleton Knights on horses in red flowing capes appear to terminate the duo, but are easily dispatched off with a flurry of karate chops and throws, even though Murat and Ali's punches constantly miss the bad guys by as much as five good inches. In what you will witness to be probably one of the worst ever display of fighting skills and combat choreography, the evil horsemen just seem to be standing around or waiting patiently for the heroes to throw and judo them off the horses. And all this while the soundtrack from "Raiders Of The Lost Ark" plays in the background over and over again. One can't help but wonder if director Cetin Inanc is either out of ideas or out of his mind, or both. Nevertheless, this movie follows the "Cliched Rules Of Close-Quarter Combat" very closely in the sense that ten well-trained and heavily-armed villains in full armor and riding atop horses can be so easily defeated by two unarmed and dazed heroes. It's amazing.

Fleeing by horse, the two then arrive at a small village, where they are subsequently taken captive by Turkish Vader's army, comprised of skinny gladiators, red furry monsters and silver Stormtroopers. The same skinny muscle-free gladiators in modified pots as helmets soon begin hacking and killing skinny muscle-free slaves. In the chaos, Murat devises a plan to escape with Ali, albeit a ridiculous one that involves spinning their captors around and round. The plan works, and soon the duo retreat into the caves with a sexy, Cleopetra-like lady with a scruffy-looking boy in need of a good bath. All's good until one of the protagonists accidentally stumble upon a room containing... mummies in fake toilet paper wrapping! As if on cue, the zombies come alive and break into the rooms, killing all the children (except for one) with their dirty fingernails. More walls come crashing down, but this time red and black variants of furry red monsters emerge. They too, assist in the massacre. Escaping into another room filled with a handful of survivors, both Murat and Ali block the doorway by means of a rolling stone, and without warning a six-foot tall brown Chewbacca-esque walking carpet emerges from nowhere and starts beating the remaining refugees to a bloody pulp with its shoestring whips! To add confusion to this whole movie, nothing is mentioned about the two heroes along with the nameless blonde and her bastard son; they seem to have vanished into thin air. To further emphasize the horror of the killings, Cutin Inanc decided to display the children's blood-splattered corpses on screen, whereby they subsequently turn into mummies after Turkish Vader is finished with drinking their blood. The heroic duo, along with the foxy lady and the remaining child are next seen retreating further into the mountains to prepare for the big battle, which means that a total workout and kungfu training will be needed. This is where the fun starts.

To begin, both the heroes level up their kungfu skills by chopping endlessly at cardboard rocks, scratch their fingers on the ground, and attain the ability to jump great distances by securing cardboard boulders onto their ankles and leap around like an astronaut on marijuana. Both of them do these incredible feats shirtless. I don't mind it if they have the body sculpture of Bruce Lee, Schwarzenegger or even Stallone, but sadly both Murat and Ali are blessed with the body shapes that somewhat resemble Jabba The Hutt. Next, Murat shows us that the same boulders are amazingly explosive if you kick them towards a cliff. The finale of the training dawns with Murat trying his best to look pissed-off towards the camera as he chops yet another cardboard boulder, but this time in half, leaving his hands bloodied.

The duo then bid their farewell to the girl (did I mention that she's mute too?) and head towards a small-time town and invariably end up inside a bar, also roughly fleshed out as the Lucas original. The patrons in the bar comprise of men in ugly rubber masks, skinny muscle-free gladiators, and a few unintelligible ones (it doesn't matter since it's a mindless flick anyway). Murat and Ali order drinks but a fight suddenly breaks out, leaving them no choice but to beat everyone silly. Enter Kung Fu Joe, a Shaolin warrior wannabe donning a stereotype Asian rubber mask complete with a Fu Manchu moustache. A few more bad guys join the fight, but they are no match for our heroes' fighting prowess. Suddenly, with the help of bad video editing effects and cheesy camera trickery, Turkish Vader appears and stands on top of a table, of all the places to stand! With cheapskate transition effects that involve moving a red filter across the lens (presumably to simulate, erm, a red transition effect), Turkish Vader tells Murat that he has both the blonde and her bastard son with him and threatens to harm them should he disobey him right there and then. Our heroes have no choice but to submit, and they have God to thank that Turkish Vader isn't a gay asshole who decides to sexually probe them before whisking them both back to his lair (or did he?).

Back at their terrifying headquarters, our heroes are forced to change into painfully stupid glossy clothes - Murat's shirt comes with two red circles in position where his nipples should be. Must be a fetish or something, but soon we learn that Turkish Vader is actually merciful and kind. He proposes to them that should they join him (because it's their destiny and crap like that), the three will rule the Turkish galaxy together as good friends. Naturally, buffed-up Murat declines, and this angers Vader a lot. And I mean a hell lot. So angry is he for wasting his saliva with Murat that he orders the Skeleton Knights and furry monsters (which seem to be abundant in this movie) to destroy them. Thus and so begins yet another round of senseless beatings, karate-chops and dismemberments of bodily parts. At this point, it's tempting to just fast-forward and get to the next part, but I must insist that you stay for the cheesy actions. About halfway into the fight, and in what would probably be Murat's most defining moment of the whole film, he blocks a sword thrust with his palms, puts the cutting edge of the weapon into his mouth and freaking karate chops it into pieces! Now I would seriously pay ten bucks to see these kind of insane movies at the cinema, I kid you not.




To be continued


Sunday, April 01, 2007

Operation Mount. Kinabalu

"Boys and girls, fellow climbers of the Kinabalu Expeditionary Forces: You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of adventure-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave guides and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts you will bring about the ultimate conquer of the Kinabalu mountain, the victory over tired muscles and thin mountain air of North Borneo, and satisfaction for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. The mountain is tough, rugged and battle-hardened. It will resist savagely.

But this is the year 2007! Much has happened since the trainings of 2006-07. The trainings have helped harden muscles and build staminas, in open jungles, man-with-man. Our mental alertness has seriously reduced the mountain's strength and the capacity to thin us out on the high ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in moral support and munitions of adventure, and placed at our disposal great reserves of mountain-climbing equipment. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!

I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in climbing. We will accept nothing less than full victory!

Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking."

Backtrack Date: Posted on 28th March 2007
After this little inspiring speech, I'll be off to classes and then back to pack the rest of the stuff and re-check all my equipments. Won't be back til the 4th April 2007. I'll be shipping out to conquer the mountain that I've been training for the past 9 months or so.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Pre-Kinabalu Nightmares

You know you're having pre-Kinabalu nightmares when :-

The typical nightmare for many to-be travelers. This is basically one of those that involves you arriving at your faraway destination, only to discover that you did not either pack your toothbrush along or forgot to include clean underwear in your overall luggage. You swear you remembered stashing those things inside your haversack and personally re-checked everything before you boarded the plane. And by now you're right smack in the middle of nowhere with not enough time to find a replacement, which means you'll have to endure the rest of the trip missing that crucial item, in this case my warm clothing. What a nightmare, you tell yourself.

You are promised that in order to lighten your load, climbing equipment and gears will only be bought once you reach the town. But soon after arriving you get that nagging feeling it isn't so. Everything that they tell you is total rubbish which makes no sense whatsoever, and it seems to you that they're constantly contradicting themselves with each passing word. The promised hiking boots that is to be bought here turns out to be the opposite, and soon you realize that it's gonna be a climb without the necessary items. Attempts to question your friend regarding the logic of it all only draws devillish laughter from his lips while he smokes a pipe. No supplies. You start to think it's a bloody nightmare.

Despite the gruelling training you've put yourself through over the months, it seems that your physical body is still badly lagging compared to the rest of your climbing team. One by one they overtake you in the climb to the summit, and it won't be long before there is a gap of more than 100 meters between you and them. Despite trying to catch up, it only worsens things as the gap increases. You call out to them to wait for you, yet no replies come from them. It is as though you were never there in the first place. This is some badass nightmare.

First you see good ol' Jack in his red thermal windbreaker. After a few steps slogging up the mountain, you look up to discover that Jack has somehow changed into a yellow and purple sweater. You shrug and continue up the slope. Probably a minute or two has passed since then and you look up once more. This time around, Jack is donning a black puffed-up snowsuit. It IS strange but yet you just can't seem to question the logic behind it. The changing of clothes go on as the ascent continues. It is a nightmare by itself.

The mother of all ultimate mountain-climbing nightmares. You stop to catch your breath and estimate the peak to be another half hour away, judging from the distance. After that said half our has passed, you see that you are still nowhere near it, and strangely the distance to the summit still looks roughly the same to you now as it was half an hour before. You throw in another thirty minutes' worth of climbing and the summit is still a good distance away, if not further. By now you start to question if this whole damn thing is a nightmare.

I think I'm starting to go crazy.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Crisis Of The Exposed Valleys

This actually happened to me at work some time back. In case you are wondering, it has got nothing to do with my present office, but occured within the range of the five jobs that I had, so those reading this can kiss their chances of interviewing any of my current colleagues goodbye.

You are at the office sitting snugly inside your cubicle, happily doing your work when suddenly from the corner of your eye you glimpse something - it's the shy but somewhat cute and innocent-looking female colleague of yours, and you tell yourself that you won't mind dating her for once. Innocent girls can be wild vixens. You never know.

You see her standing at the file cupboard, browsing through the said files stacked inside. She chooses one from the list, and starts to pore over the accumulated bills and whatnots. Suddenly without warning, she bends over to place the file onto the table nearby, and being almost 5" 8', it's obvious that she has to bend very, very low.

Did I also mention that of all the days she has to pick that peasant dress to wear today? Those that are somewhat loose near the shoulders so that the gathered sleeves can be pulled down and be worn off-shoulders (my favorite choice of clothes on a gal). And boy you start to see things that you are not supposed to. Let me add that she's quite oblivious to the fact that the shape of her majestic twin peaks are on display for all to see, but technically only me for the moment due to the viewing angle involved.

So now I'm gonna give you a few options to choose from. Pick wisely and not according to the level of how horny you are :-

You stop staring immediately because you know it's wrong and you're a good boy. After debating to yourself whether or not you should casually stroll over to her and tell her of the free show she's putting on (for you at this point), you do that. But instead of appreciating it, you get slapped in return and she digs her fingernails into your face, all the while screaming "Pervert!". The facial reconstructive surgery sets you back 8000 bucks.

You stare for awhile, then you debate if you should tell her of the disaster that's about to happen. You fear getting slapped by her, so you decide to leave it be and get back to work. But before that you steal one last look. After all, things like this don't happen everyday.

You stare for quite a long time, wondering if anything's gonna happen next. You return briefly to work, typing in a few sentences and then you proceed to take out your camera phone, setting it to video mode, zooming it to the desired level and start shooting away. Something great for sleepless nights.

OPTION 01: You meant well, but it just so happens that she thought that you were a pervert, that's all. Better luck next time. And as one of my friend would put it - don't bother. Chances are you'll land in the hospital with deep scratches all over your face than land a date with her.

OPTION 02: It's pretty hard to justify if what you've done is right or wrong. On one hand, you prefer not to stick your nose into her cleavage, I mean err, affairs. But on the other hand you wonder if by not telling her you have brought about an unbalance to the Force by letting those things swing free (no pun intended).

OPTION 03: You are the evillest son of a bitch that has ever lived. You bring disgrace to the menfolk with your horrendous ways. I can think of nothing less than the loveliest of swear words to describe your act. Got any nice shots BTW? I'll give you my e-mail address.


Saturday, December 02, 2006

2006: A Boleh-land Odyssey

grav·i·ty [grav-i-tee] - Noun, Plural -
1. the force of attraction by which terrestrial bodies tend to fall toward the center of the earth.
2. heaviness or weight.
3. a required force, which, in the absence of, renders activities such as spinning tops, painting batiks, playing batu seremban and making teh tarik impossible.

My country's done it again! According to one Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim, our country's astronauts will fly up to space to do what no one has done before - play children's games.

Somebody please tell me it isn't true and that she's just been watching too much space opera movies like Star Wars, Star Trek and the likes of it where all the spaceships have built-in gravitational hyperdrives.

I don't know, but the last time I checked, gravity didn't yet make its presence felt in outer space. While you're on the subject, why not ask our two "astronuts" (I intended that) to look for E.T?

Someone with the mental capability of a 3-year old can ACTUALLY get a post in our national space agency department? It's disturbing to know that she might not even have passed her UPSR in the first place. I'm not a rocket scientist (no pun intended) and I know what to anticipate already when the top starts a-spinning in that space station. The Russians must be laughing at us right now. In case you didn't realise it yet, dear Datuk Rohani, should you attempt to play that forementioned batu seremban in a zero-gravity environment, that piece of crappy batu won't come down again once you fling it up. That's because there's NO FRICKING GRAVITY UP THERE!!!

But on a gentler note, I do understand the difficulties of you grasping the theory of zero-gravity, and therefore since Christmas is coming, perhaps I could suggest a few books for you to read while spinning that gasing in space :-

01: How The Apple Discovered Gravity by Sir Isaac Newton
Includes detailed explanation of how gravity was discovered way back during the 17th Century. To capture the reader's attention, lots of colorful illustrations and doodles of Sir Isaac Newton are also to be found within. For ages 10+ and above.

02: Gravity For Idiots
By omitting complicated and hard to understand sentences such as "logically", this book is every gravity learner's beginner dream come true. With over 200 colorful pages printed on glossy paper, it takes the reader back to the time when gravity was not understood. A must for any space agency wannabe. For children aged 5+ and above.

03: Let's Learn About Gravity!
An even more easy-to-understand book stripped down to its bare facts about gravity. Words such as "therefore" and "in conclusion" are taken out, instead focusing solely on the apple and Mr. Newton. As an added plus for slow learners, the reader can also pull a paper lever to activate the mock-up scenario of the apple falling onto the latter's head. Facts and FAQs regarding whether or not teh-tariks can be made while suspending oneself in outer space is also answered. Hint: the answer is no. Sorry to disappoint those who thought the answer was yes. For ages 3+ and up.

04: Alphabet Science Adventures: G Is For Gravity
The simplest book to understand what gravity is so far. There are only ten important recurring words in the fifteen glossy pages - "gravity", "apple", "you", "are", "an", "idiot" being the only main sentences stated more than twice. For toddlers aged 1+ and beyond.

No wonder my country is the butt of jokes all the time. Happy New Year! Thanks for wasting my hard-earned money via taxes.

01: The title is a play on the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey.
02: None of the books listed in above exists... yet.
03: It costs RM95 million per astronaut just to send him to space.
04: The government is already planning for space adventures and a Moon landing by the year 2020 when back on Earth in their own country the roads are still in very bad conditions. Talk about irony.


Saturday, August 12, 2006

Only When They Need Me

Just a few days ago while I was at some weekly organization just minding my own business, a woman I know of came up to me to say hi. In any ordinary circumstance I would just be at ease and smile back politely.

Trouble was, although I sort of knew who she was, it had been years since we last greeted one another. Believe me when I tell you that even though I tried to say hi to her each time I bumped into her at the weekly meet, all I got was a dumbfounded stare in return. I doubt she even knew who I was, let alone my name.

But what transpired that day was somewhat different, almost surreal. She came up, mentioned my name and proceeded to inquire regarding my well-being and how work was. She made a big, glaring mistake :-

People who claim to know me well DO NOT ask me questions about the nature of my work, the location of my current office and most certainly what college I graduated from. Not especially since I've been with my present company for the past half a year and college graduation is old story to my ears.

So I grew curious and pondered silently, wondering what the hell she was actually after. People you are not closely associated with don't just suddenly come up to you for no apparent reason. Hell no. Life has taught me that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Everything has an agenda lurking behind it. Sensing something amiss, I decided to play along, feigning interest and giving her the most convincing smile I could offer while keeping my guard on DEFCON 1. I kept a straight face throughout the whole ordeal without my thoughts ever betraying my facial expressions.

After answering that I now specialized as a web designer for the umpteenth time, the real talks got underway. According to her, she was very "happy" to see me again (sure, everyone's "happy" when they want me for something) and that a particular branch in our organization badly needed volunteers, and how she would appreciate it if I could make good use of myself there, probably handing me an Interceptor body armor vest and expecting me to entertain their offsprings by being live ballistic target practice.

That coming from a lady who just walks past me week after week without even acknowledging me as her son's friend. One who can stand a few inches away from me yet never saying hi, and is now talking to me as though we've just had our last memorable conversation as good friends last Wednesday over at her house for family dinner. But the truth is sorely lacking and far from it. And now here she is, cooking up some unconvincing sob story just to enlist me in. But the Force is only persuasive to weak minds. The burning question was just how she could instantaneously remember my name like cheesecake that quickly. There had to be a mole somewhere.

I glanced over to my friend standing nearby, conducting paper material business from the makeshift booth. He was quite acquainted with this lady, I was sure about that, and the mysterious pieces to this whole fracas fell in their respective places straight away. He must've mentioned my name while talking to her a little while ago, and when I walked down that dusty tarred road, she hurriedly made her way towards me, and with my name temporarily imprinted in her brain, tried to chat me up, with "insincerity" written all over her face.

Come on, you can do better than that. What a douchebag, seriously.

I told her as honestly as I could that I would really look into her proposal, but made it clear that I strictly do not negotiate with terrorists. That is my policy. Just kidding. Rather, I told her as-a-matter-of-fact that there would be no promises whether or not I would be available, since now I'm pretty much tied down with college and the assignments that come with it plus projects from work.

Which kinda brings me into the next scenario that I would like to emphasize on: Please do not ask me to do your website. Or any graphical/multimedia art for that matter.

It's not that I'm trying to be cold here or something. No, I'm fine really if you want to be friends with me and ask me out for tea. But sometimes you just have to know when and where to draw the line between work and play. It's a bit tiring to see history forever repeating itself once more - someone suggests a gung-ho, bombastic idea for "some project", and they insist on throwing in a hell lot of irrelevant stuff like videos, mp3 songlists and eye-candy Flash animations in it. The reason? Just to impress the crowd. But they never kind of figure out the fact that someone, not them, is going to have to suffer for all those cheap talks and ideas.

That person is yours truly. And judging by how things go, the formula and storyline is alway going to be the same - In the beginning, things are fine. Promises are made and smiles are aplenty. To top it all off, they immediately promise you a rag-tag team of artists and web gurus to assist you in the project. Soon, the figure drops from ten individuals to only two, with those quitting citing tiredness, busyness and having to take care of the occasional sick cat at home.

Unsurprisingly, not long after you'll be the only one left and will be forced to put on a trick-and-pony show all by yourself. Fine. So you arrange for an emergency meeting to gather ideas in order to spearhead this project. At the end of the day, no one turns up.

So you curse and scream but you still need to rush the deadline by the end of the month or there's gonna be hell to pay and tons of lecturing sessions to attend. One side of your brain struggles to finish the promotional website while the other side tries to complete the animation job at hand.

I'm pretty much sure even the process of dying wasn't this complicated and stressful.

There are a few lessons to be learned here from the above fictional and mock scenario :-

I just can't seem to stress this enough. When you have an idea, first consider if it is feasible and practical. No one wants to haul his or her ass doing something they didn't vote for in the first place. You suggest it, you do it.

I honestly don't have all the time in the world to listen and act according to everyone's whims and fancies. That includes what you feel and think has got to be in the presentation. I don't get paid big bucks for your information to do this. Nor do I relish doing this because "I love to do it". No I don't. It's a waste of my time off from work. At least someone pays me at work, no matter how tough the scenario is.

No amount of persuasion is gonna sway me from this. No. Too many times I've been fooled into doing something for free, and in the end all I get is more work to do because they somehow develop this mentality that I'm the only remaining designer guy alive on earth and thus have grown too attached to it. I still don't understand why the rest can just decline so easily and get off scot-free.

One of the meanest thing that a person can do to another is to drop all sense of brotherhood and leave the other to drown in the muck. It sucks, and just shows how selfish the former can be. My advice: go grab yourself a copy of a pirated war movie DVD (any war will do) and learn the lessons of teamwork and the brotherhood of war.

My lecturer taught me a phrase that still sticks in my mind til this day - do not volunteer for someone else. Somewhat related to Lesson #01, but on a much more general term. This also includes knowing when to stop offering ideas for animation sequences that are not feasible and just highly impossible to create on a standard desktop PC, running semi-professional software. Please do not volunteer, force and layout the groundwork requirements for something that you won't probably even lend a hand to complete.

I politely declined for the moment, yet I was careful to arrange my words. To put it simply; I won't really have time to indulge in this kind of mumbo-jumbo anymore. I said my goodbye and promptly left, wondering if my name would disappear from her mind as quickly as she'd memorized it, and have things going back to the point where she'll not "know" who I am anymore. Life can be so strange.


Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Mystery Of Vertical-Scrolling Games

I'm sure many of you born during the 80s have fond memories of playing the Micro Genius home entertainment system - one of the earliest home-based console systems. The games are usually in catridge format and some boast of games up to 1001 in a single package.

One of the games I've spent quite a lot of time in are the vertical-scrolling ones. And over the years of playing them, I noticed something strange and repetitive about these kind of games, like as though they have a strange conspiring connection amongst them :-

01: There's always some badass megalomaniac bent on ruling the world.
Yep, and he has an almost endless supply of fighter jet pilots, tank battalions and turret gunners to do his evil bidding. His headquarters is nothing short of impressive and laden full of powerful guns. But no matter how great there's bound to be a hero who will manage to crack the code and destroy his lair.

02: There are a lot of suicidal evil pilots and tank crew who don't mind shooting at people they don't know.
Indeed. They make up the bulk of the cannon fodder that the hero (in this case it's you) will encounter along the journey. These nameless, mindless henchmen who spend years training to fly planes and do not hesitate to shoot at heroes that are destined to win over them. They usually comprise of useless individuals who can't even shoot straight. All these poor sods get in appreciation for their service with the villain boss is a lousy, cheapskate plane that explodes instantly by a single shot to it, guaranteeing no chance of survival.

03: You never run out of missiles or ammunition
Good news heroes and enemy pilots alike - you are all blessed with a never-ending supply of rockets and tracer magazines to shoot the heck out of one another. Your guns will never overheat from the constant firing, and missiles just magically appear on your wingtips after a few seconds, ready to lock on the next target.

04: There's always an enemy plane full of power-ups to aid you
Nothing can be dumber than a evil megalomaniac who approves of power-up plane blueprints. No bad guy in his right mind would ever so generously provide assistance to the hero in the form of fighter jet arsenal add-ons so that he can pit the big boss' downfall. Surely even the enemy pilot of the power-up plane would see the rationalé of this whole dumbass operation as illustrated below :-

Enemy Pilot: But boss, why are you even sending me out in a plane full of powerful weaponry meant to be picked up by the hero after he destroys my jet and kills me?

Evil Boss: I don't care, just go! Go I tell you!

Enemy Pilot: You idiot! No wonder we'll never win this game for eternity! It's because of idiots like you who keep on supplying heroes with powerful guns that we keep on losing the war!

05: Every pilot flies at the same altitude
Isn't it amazing that planes, meant to fight third-dimension wars by harnessing the advantages of altitude, can all just fly on a fixed agreed height, both hero and enemy jets. This is the dumbest thing since having the bad boss approving of planes carrying power-ups to assist the hero in his quest. Adding to the insult is just how even tanks on the ground can manage to shoot planes in the air.

06: The government does not care for you
Curiously enough you never seem to start missions with fully powerful planes, but instead have to slowly gather power-ups via the suicidal enemy pilots. This would seem to make me think that the government does not actually care enough for my welfare to provide me with enough firepower and ensure my own survival as I take on the boss' henchmen.

07: Everyone's shots looks exactly the same
The ubiquitous, round-shaped orange pellet that travels with fairly fast speed across the screen is both amusing and deadly. Amusing because it defines the defacto trademark of all vertical-scrolling games, and deadly because somehow or the other the enemy seems to always have a better and faster firing rate compared to you.

08: You are reincarnated twice per token
Strange, yes. Getting killed is often a tidy process in vertical-scrolling games with little or no debris from destroyed vehicles. Everybody just kind of vaporises into thin air, and no one mourns for dead buddies. If you get killed, an exact clone of you will arrive at the scene in less than three seconds after your original self has just died, and you are given five seconds' worth of indestructability period. Nevermind that the whole journey from the plane carrier situated somewhere in the vast Pacific ocean to Alaska takes some time. Your replacement duplicate will always be on time.

09: You never have to go for toilet breaks
Fighting this war must be taking a strain on every pilot, yet you do not have to stop to piss, shit, rest, sleep, or even eat. You just fly, and fly, and knock enemy planes out of the sky, and fly some more while awaiting the boss for that particular scenario. It's a sick routine that would make even the sanest pilot mad.

10: The background music never goes away
While you're busy fighting, there is always an irritating soundtrack playing in the background in the sky, presumably to boost your yamato damaishii. Someone, or a few musicians high up in the clouds somewhere actually have the decency to follow you around for every stage, complete with bass guitars, drums and electronic keyboards and mash up electronica music that repeats over and over til it reaches a sickening crescendo.

11: The boss blinks when hit
It must be me, or it's a cool new kind of technology. But I seriously cannot comprehend just why level bosses are all equipped with vehicles that actually blink when your shots find its mark. What exactly is the secret behind this? And to make things even stranger you (as the hero) can get time off after the destruction of the level boss while someone meticulously calculates your medals and kill ratio and finally gives you a bonus. During that process, no enemy is cruel enough to take precise aims at your jet to destroy you.

12: There is always a sub-mini boss
A prevalent disease amongst some vertical-scrolling games. You finally destroy the level's boss, only to find out that a smaller plane is hidden within the big plane that you've just obliterated. It will subsequently transform into a robot and spray even more orange pellets at you. You, on the other hand, can never get the luxury of having a cool transforming plane, and your vehicle seems inferior compared to what the level bosses are using to kill you.

13: The most you can get is a partner
Not more than that, although the world can offer more than just two pilots fighting for freedom. I mean, if you send all the good guys at once ala Independence Day, the war can be over soon am I not correct? But nooo, the government has to send just two against two million. I really suspect by now the government does not care whether I return back alive or die fighting.

14: You still have time for souvenirs and medals
The nice part of this war is that you can destroy houses, buildings, and other public amenities to reveal medals and cash items to pick up for points. Some of the medals are even as big as the plane that you are piloting. Trouble is, how is it even possible to acquire them by just "flying over" the items? Next tell me how in the world can a small plane actually carry thousands of medals in its cargo bay without the slightest hint of getting bogged down?

15: You win in the end as usual
It will be conveniently revealed to you in the form of a message outside your cockpit - Final Level. This is to tell you that you've struggled hard through the entire journey, and that you're coming close to the end. You are brainwashed to believe that you will emerge victorious, even though the fact is that you're now Clone No.10, with the previous ones having died in fiery plane dogfights. And in the end, you do win the war, but at a price of a few more tokens if you are a lousy pilot. The boss will be destroyed along with the remmants of his army, and the world will be a safe place once again. Until the next token slides in, that is...

I admit that I still do occasionally play re-runs of these games. Just for old times' sake, and to get a kick out of laughing at the illogical things I've just presented out. The 80s were indeed a golden age for video games.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Thirty Minutes Over KL

It was a hot day indeed. Taking shelter beneath the LRT station's roof might have shielded me from the sun's death rays, but not quite completely immune from the hot air that swirled around the enclosure; choking, suffocating all of us into a slow and painful death.

It was five-thirty, and rush hour was just beginning. As usual the train arrived after a few minutes' worth of waiting. To pass the time, one must either stare blankly at the snarling traffic down below or attempt to read something simply because the boredom will drive any sane person off the edge.

The doors of the train opened, and I stepped in along with thousands of other mindless drones, the million-mile stare the only common trait we shared. Finding an empty seat was a matter of pure luck and just how much you were willing to spill the other fellow's guts in order to attain that precious place to rest your ass. I was lucky enough to find one without having to resort to kiling anyone this time around.

Suddenly, my nose picked up a strange smell. It wasn't dog poo nor having a dead rat stuck to the soles of your shoes, but something more alarming. It was a cross between rotten eggs and Jay Chou (yes the smell was that bad).

Frantically my eyes started scanning the immediate perimeter of the train, expecting a mass stampede soon ala Resident Evil when the scientists discover the deadly T-Virus present in the air and merrily turning humans into zombies. It could only be me you know, detecting this foul odor in the air. The fact that the train's air-conditioner disperses the terrific stench evenly only makes things worse.

Sure enough, the two Malay ladies sitted across me started to shield their noses with their fingers. Somehow the way one of them momentarily cupped her whole palm over her nose reminded me of a fighter pilot jet caught 50,000 feet above sea level with no ammunition and fuel left. Maybe it's only me.

The source was eventually traced back to a tall, lanky fellow just right beside me! I kinda solved the foul (no pun intended) mystery and it terrified me to know he was only probably five inches to my right. He wasn't exactly a sloppy individual; in fact he was dressed so sartly in his work attire that if you put a clothes peg over your nose he would just be any other normal man. Tall, dark, handsome, and stinks to high hell. And to think that I forgot to lug along my Desert Storm-era gas mask. Of all the days, I tell myself.

He continued to be the source of our torment and misery as the train went past KL city and he continued to waft out poison fumes. A number of them originally standing a few feet away from him started to move to the adjacent carriage, all the while staring daggers at him. I stayed put, shocked and paralysed from the odor enveloping me. Pudu station. Great, maybe he'll leave by the next one or two stops, I tell myself. More people moved away from ground zero. It's amazing that everyone held on to their lunches so well.

Cheras station. Still he did not budge even a bit. Those nearest to him have already turned green from severe lack of fresh oxygen. Slowly and painfully I turned to see if he was actually decomposing. Perhaps that might explain that smell. One girl threw up. I think she had scrambled eggs for lunch, or maybe that's part of her digestive system heaved up along with the puke. I don't know.

Bandar Tun Razak. Mr. Smell-O was still firmly in his seat, probably smirking to himself at the sight of the body count rising. I managed not to pass out by regulating my breathing pattern and making full use of my nostril hair, acting as a filter in those desperate moments. I thought of writing a final letter to tell my mum and dad how much I love them.

A guy about three feet away from me developed boils all over his face due to the long exposure to the acrid chemically-charged air. It was undeniably horrible as those pus-filled abscesses blew up in clusters, spilling onto the floor. I think he died shortly later. Poor bastard.

And at the Sg. Besi terminal, when nearly 90% of the whole train's population was near-dead, he finally got up and left, leaving a trail of death and destruction along the way down the escalator as more innocent civillians just dropped dead like flies. I passed out shortly after.

That was the second time I was so close to cashing in my chips, the first time being at Pangkor. I hope not to meet that evil-smelling guy again as long as I live. God knows how many of my brain cells have died in that traumatic incident. Note to self: remember to carry gas mask always, come rain or shine. Add body deodorant to first-aid kit for spraying all future smelly suckers til they reek of something unlike Jay Chou anymore.

Failing which, as a last desperate measure, please insert claymore into offending individual's available orifice and detonate it. Death should be instantaneous.

01: The title is a play on the movie (and book of the same name) Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.


Monday, August 07, 2006

Happy Birthday JDream!

Indeed, happy birthday. I've made the 24th milestone today, very proud of myself and extremely blessed to have an armada of caring friends by my side. These are the only sentimental sentences I'd like to say in case someone comes up to me and punches me for being too overly-melodramatic.

So how was it this time around?

Marvellous, lovely. Just some of the words used to describe the BBQ event held at Shearn's house.

It was pretty much a private and invitations-only affair. Not demanded by me, of course but by the organizer of this whole merry memorable fracas. So, well you can't totally blame me for this moolah of not being invited. Seriously.

Halfway through the event, after we all decided to give the BBQ-roasting affair a rest and wolf down the few tonnes of food we'd just burnt, a tragic accident happened. One of our friends, a girl, had her left toe almost severed when one of the guys got so piss drunk he (culprit will not be named to keep you guys in suspense) took the bread knife and started to hack at her feet. For what reasons we will never be sure. Blood sprayed like the Niagara Falls as we tried to shove in Curlex to stop the bleeding.

See picture below for a grisly detail look at her bloody feet :-

Saturday, Bloody Saturday indeed. We washed her feet and patched her up as best as we could while waiting for the Medivac chopper to arrive. Yep, those Vietnam war-era ones with a crew chief manning the miniguns on the right side opening.

The last thing we did before going off was to go for a dip in the pool to wash the blood off ourselves. Midnight dips are pretty nice especially if you've just been through hellish BBQ infernos.

Thus and so was what exactly happened yesterday. Word for word. Blood for blood.

So what else is in conjunction with my birthday? Well for starters back in 1942 this marks the beginning of the Battle of Guadalcanal. Highly important campaign, this. Makes me proud. Go get 'em Marines!

Who shares the same birthday as I do? Let's see - it's both David Duchovny of the X-Files fame and also Charlize Theron, famous for her role in Monster. Makes me proud as well.

It's been a great fiesta that night. Indeed.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Malaysians In Truth Are A Courteous Lot

Yeah sure, and I'm the next President of the United States of America. Now that you've stopped laughing, perhaps we can look into this courtesy matter seriously. For your information Kuala Lumpur was rated the third rudest city in the world based on a survey conducted by Reader's Digest. Surprising? Hardly. The burning question whether Malaysians really are that rude can be assessed via the following simple Rude Score© list :-

1. When someone accidentally elbows you or steps on your shoes (no matter where), they'll always pretend not to have the slightest inkling of what just transpired, instead preferring to either looking away or just be plain nonchalant. Not even a damn word of apology. Worse offenders in this category are those that look back at you with a smirk on their faces, as though they've throughly enjoyed that little shoe-stepping process. I would be glad to jam their shoes up their anus and give them back a kindly, friendly smirk. (Rude Score = 1)

2. You're in a Government-run department and you've been there since 6am, yet no one shows any signs of concern to finish processing your documents so that you can attend to more urgent matters. No. What they do is to come in late, bitch for one hour before attempting to start work, furbish you with wrong information and send you on a wild goose chase. Reprimand them and you'll have just bought yourself a ticket to No-Serviceland. That's Hell in other words. (Rude Score = 2)

3. Upon checking out from a store or shop, you pay for your goods and you expect at least a simple "Thank You", which, judging from all logic should not cost the other person more than 3 calories to mutter. You don't even expect a smile, just a simple thanks. As you've already guessed it, you receive none. You thank the cashier in return because deep down in your heart you know that she has a tough job. However, the rule of thanking someone has to be implemented. Malaysians fail again. (Rude Score = 3)

4. You're on the road driving casually when suddenly a loud-blaring car with ridiculous modifications and fugly stickers comes from nowhere and tailgates you. This is the standard Malaysian way of telling you to move over because he's in a hurry to die. You oblige with his death wish and let him in front of you. No sooner than that when he's in full view of you his right hand pops out of the window and up comes his middle finger, an unpleasant universal sign language that applies to all walks of life. It really pisses you off. The worse thing is you never got the chance to see his car flip over and explode into flames, trapping him inside. I want to roast marshmellows over his piss-ugly charring corpse. (Rude Score = 4)

5. On the other hand, you can also be driving on the same stretch of road but this time you encounter slow drivers. By slow I mean by the time you travel a hundred meters you've already turned 80 and have five grandchildren sitting in the back seat of your car. Your skin is exposed to the sun for so long that you wonder if you've acquired dermal cancer in the process. These breed of motorists just sit in their cars, drive at Negative 20 mph and have this smile on their faces that makes you want to punch them square in the kisser. Things are not looking well for our courtesy chart. (Rude Score = 5)

6. At the Light Rail Transit station, you're patiently waiting for the train to arrive. All around you, like-minded individuals are bunched together, with only a single thing in their mind - get on the train quick and to hell with the others. Such a thinking is not uncommon amongst Malaysians, given the humid climate and the Malayasis Homogenus evolution through this 50 years of independence. Just as the train comes to a halt and the doors slide open, it's a mad rush for survival as every orang-utan and babi hutan in the crowd makes a concerted dash in an attempt to secure a place inside before the door closes and they have to wait for the next train. You are hapless against this human tsunami, and those from inside the train getting out have it the worst; the exit is practically sealed by hordes of orang-utans and wild boars. Sympathetic cries of "Please, don't push!" goes unheeded. The number of shoes crushed in this stampede is known otherwise only to God. Malaysia Boleh !!! (Rude Score = 6)

7. At the bookstore, you're in the midst of selecting a few favourite titles when you suddenly see a young mother with her three dipshit offsprings going through a mountainpile of magazines, tearing them out of their protective plastic covers and handling them like how a gorilla would handle paper in the zoo, despite the clear sign hanging above that no one should take the magazines out of their covers without the assistance of a bookstore personnel. The three Hell-incarnate brats are not much better; they scream and run all over the place, disturbing people in general and pissing off individuals like me. Once the young mum has finished reading them, she just leaves without any intention of buying them in the first place. Worse, the pile of magazines are just left on the nearest accessible table. Her children has also gotten their hands on some, resulting in numerous torn pages etc. This is the general mentality of respect most Malaysians have towards books, just something cheap, worthless and is often seen as knowledge replaceable with a sum of money. No wonder many in this country grow up to be ignorant, straight-As-only academic achiever yet knows crap about common sense. (Rude Score = 7)

8. The number of things in your hand is sheer amazing - you've just finished your shopping and is now on the way to the carpark. To get there one needs to go through a few doors and at least a lift. You reach the first door, and in front of you there is a young teenager in skanky cheapslut clothings going through the door. On any normal day when your hands are unoccupied doors prove no challenge to you. But today trying to push through a glass door proves to be MI:4. So you hope that the teen would at least have some decent manners to keep the door open for a few seconds. The whole act does not even require ten calories to perform. However, the same teen (whether it's a he or she I'll leave it to you) just lets go of the door even as it's obvious you're just behind. Without even a hint of remorse, that skanky teen goes back to SMS-ing and any other thing that defines these kind of shallow individuals with no life. Another point bites the dust. (Rude Score = 8)

9. If you have children, chances are you might have waited at the school compound outside occasionally to wait for your child. Sensible types would not have parked their vehicles directly in front of the gates or at the side of the road which would inconvenienced everyone. But no, somehow or the other something has gone wrong along our line of human evolution and there is this specific breed of parent which would insist on placing their cars jutting out so terribly that half the road is blocked, but in most cases the whole road is blocked. Just due to one malfunctioning brain, cars on both sides are unable to pass by, and the same individual with that prized golden retarded brain would see to it that no one gets to leave or go until his or her own offspring is safely in their car (usually some SUV or Beemer. They just have to show off). These, I believe, are the same kind of people who would gladly tear out magazines from their covers and teach their children to embrace kiasuism. What is just so wrong about parking your car in a designated spot, wait at the gates and then walk with your child to the car? No wonder small kids of this age are piddly-asses. All of them. (Rude Score = 9)

10. Talking on the cellphone loudly and interrupting people around you is certainly not something anyone would like to go through, yet some do that. Perhaps they find it amusing. I think it'll be funnier if somehow by some strange chance you find your same cellphone mysteriously lodged up the crack of your ass. Then there are those which light up in public places, despite the sign prohibiting smoking. Stupid? No. Screwed-up? Nay. Dipshit? Yes. Many do not find it pleasant to suddenly get a whiff of white fag smoke swirling around them and increasing their chances of getting cancer. The worst offenders in this category are those who smoke their fags in air-conditioned areas such as shopping malls and the likes of it. I would really much like to wish you all into the cornfield for this. Sad score tally-up. (Rude Score = 10)

There you have the few given examples above. In truth there are many more points to be debated about Malaysian people's sense of rudeness, but that might take up the whole of Blogger's server space. I kid you not.

Maybe the Government should start printing out posters instead with the words "Kurang Asam Adalah Budaya Kita" and show a few of our own people dressed in traditional culture wear with their middle fingers raised towards the reader.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Revenge Is A Dish Best Served Cold

It was just another misty morning when I headed towards the stadium's car park. The overnight rain swelled the river's waters to the point of threatening to burst out of its confined course path and annihilating humankind.

I paid for my ticket and piloted my Kancil deftly into a designated parking lot, noticing along the way many did not bother to place their car correctly into their own space - many had their vehicles overlapping into others' yellow dividing lines. As usual. I tell myself that there is already no more hope for humankind.

While I was busy attaching the 20th security lock to my car's steering wheel, I felt a slight nudge coming from the rear left side of my car. I turned and surely enough there was this car which just happened to have scratched my Kancil slightly when negotiating into the parking lot on my left. Another case of asshole driver syndrome.

The driver was a young man my age, only not as good-looking :P. Clearly he was mortified. I was pissed, and so I stopped attaching the lock, got out of my car and went to inspect the damage. Truthfully it wasn't anything bad - maybe just a scratch like one of those any pissed-off cat would've given you when you tried to poke its anus with a stick.

He quickly got out too, not to apologise but rather to lock the door and pull up the windshield wipers into a standing position. All this while I was staring at him. I'm truly a compassionate fellow. I mean, I don't immediately scream or curse but I give people a chance. Ask any of my friends.

Obviously either he was too blur or too rude to respond. I stared at him. He stared back with a blank expression. This whole affair probably lasted about fifteen seconds yet there was still no sign of him wanting to make his peace with me. He gave me another blank look on his face and just left for work. I got even more pissed. Fine, no apology, no face giving stance from me ("giving face" is a Chinese phrase for your information).

I went back to finish securing up my car, gathered my belongings and went over to the front passenger side of my Kancil. His car was a Honda Civic from the 80s era. Classic but modified. Beautifully maintained with a nice coat of color. It would be too bad if somehow a scratch marred it.

With deadly precision and blind fury, my car keys registered a deep, beautiful scratch into the Honda's bodypaint, done lovingly with my hands. During this period, it is advisable to consult the Force to guide your hands in order to create breathtaking deep scratch artwork. If you know me, I tell you that I am supposedly incapable of violent actions. If you really, really know me, I can perform violent things if the situation calls and allows for me to do it. After feeling satisfied, I went back into my car, reparked it far, far away, and left for work. Morale at work clocked in an amazing increase of 50% today.

Of course I did have bouts of regret moments later wondering why didn't I register that deep gash into the passenger side of his car. At least that would give him a surprise a few days later when he finally realizes it. Nevertheless, by late noon it started to rain as usual, and I took it as a good sign, knowing that the damp rain will temporarily cover up my contributed art. Eventually the gash will be visible to him, and he will be visibly upset, but that will only materialize when the weather turns drier.

Til then, cheers mate! Good luck on finding that scratch on your stupid car.