Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Last of This Empire of the Stars?

Yes I KNOW it's being an obscenely long time since I updated-so long, in fact, it's no doubt the cause why the link to this place has probably being dropped by a fair few people. What can I say, really, except that the fault is entirely mine. I've lost count of the posts I've intended to make, but not quite made in the end. Not that I've not had the time to write them either, but rather being just too darn lazy to get my ass off that chair and do it. Not that I've only just identified this problem either and haven't had a chance to do anything about it yet. Not that this is the first time I'm moaning here about the abysmal state of my blog either!!!

Both myself and this blog have fallen into a slump that I seem unable to get rid of, for somehow flown from my soul is the mad zest for life that burned in me after the O-levels. I seem to have caught the deadened spirit that pervades that pathetic excuse of a school I find myself in. I'm thankful my academic results haven't yet taken a severe hit though-AAAAAD in each of my Mock Result papers is actually not bad, considering the D is justifiable. It was for an English Lit paper, in which I ignored the question most people did, instead doing a question that, though still related to the text I studied, dealt with a completely different field. Another project undertaken in my spirit that as long as you're confident about them it's not about the grades until you step into that darn exam room-something I think alot of people in my school would do well to learn.

I am determined to revive this little Empire of the Stars one day...but in the meantime, enjoy this little story, ripped off from Julian's blog...

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old University of Notre Dame lecturer.

Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the lecturer went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, some plain-looking and some expensive and exquisite, telling them to help themselves to hot coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the lecturer said: "If you noticed, all the nice-looking, expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is but normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress."

What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the better cups and are eyeing each other's cups."Now, if Life is coffee, then the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, but the quality of Life doesn't change.""Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee in it".

Saturday, November 12, 2005

It was a while back since I read Lyn's blog post on a Christian who backslided. I posted this message on here comments-double-posted in fact, I'm afraid. Anyway, I was reminded once more of a point of view that, though rather harsh and perhaps a tad overzealous, would still seem perfectly logical.

"Helping to increase the number of people who repent the one single thing that I can think of that we can do for God that actually matters a great great deal. Hence to ignore such a request, in spite of all the things that He has done for us, is being quite ungrateful.

Jesus was once approached by a rich man who asked Him something along the lines of what he should do to be more like Him or something. After a series of questions in which the rich man answered favourably, Jesus declared for the man to sell all his posessions, give the profits to charity, and follow him. In other words, the rich man was told that to be more like Jesus, he should give up ALL his earthly posessions and follow him. However, he did not.

And every day we lead our lives worried about pernickety earthly stuff, simultaneously wishing for the same thing the rich man wanted. Who else but us is to be blamed for our unhappiness in life???"

I'm not at all depressed or unhappy right now. On the contrary, a number of minor obstacles that I have faced have magically metamorphopsed into some rather sweet fruits. It's one of the moments that I am aware of the chaos of the world-and am aware of its unruly self tearing away at anything it can get its hands on, yet am remotely affected, crusing along a purpose-driven path, knowing yet unmoved by the fact that tomorrow my peace may end, unaffected by it all.

Bliss-and here I refer not just the spiritual Christian conception of it, but also your own, everyman take on what exactly it is. When you have it, think of the people who don't have it. Shouldn't we be doing something about that?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Winning the Dating Game

I wrote the following and posted it up not too long ago on a Friendster bulletin board. I post it below for your reading pleasure until I can think of something more meaningful to write about...

An extended period of life in the UK has exposed me to some home truths about the laws of attraction inbuilt in each and everyone of us. Being a heterosexual guy I hold these truths to apply mainly on girls, but beileve that they would work equally well with girls should they care to apply these principles on guys as well.

1-Millions of guys out there fall for girls and spend indefinite amounts of effort on them, slaving away at getting their approval, yet are never successful. They cling to them, shower them with attention, return their calls, yet appear destined to remain dateless. Yet every so often one sees a message by girls detailing that all girls want is for their boyfriend to SMS them everyday and shower the with gifts. If this held true in ALL cases, should these guys not all be attached already???

2- The thing is, the saying that the more tightly one holds something the less he gets of it is not a myth here. The reason for this lies in a flawed perception in peoples' minds of what it takes to impress the oposite sex.

3-Gentlemanliness IS the answer to a good relationship, and especially if you are sure the girl likes you. It's not, it seems, however, the answer to a good first impression. People say that a good first impression is based on chemistry. I say that that Chemistry has to come from somewhere.

4-Whether or not an immediate confession of love succeeds therefore hinges upon whether or not it is one-sided. If it ain't you're in luck. If it is, well....then good luck! The good news is, however, that I believe Chemistry CAN be cultivated, so don't give up just yet!

5-Exclusivity is one thing that contributes to this. It explains why all stars have massive followings from the opposite sex. You treasure something you need to work for. Playing hard-to-get and appearing not to be desperate appears, from my observations, to increase one's value in the opposite sex's eyes. Desperation and pliability- being able to be controlled easily by another- however, are BIG repellants.

6-Over the years I have cultivated in myself a gentlemanliness-not really because I wanted to be liked or but rather because it has been in accordance with my moral and philosophical principles. In an effort to make everyone I know happy I have answered their requests whenever they called, given them a hand whenever they asked. Always have I sought to be around for those in need, and never have I declined a request fulfillable within my reasonable means. By and large I have succeeded, and possess a college- wide reputation for being one of the "nicest" guys around. Dependability and reliability have bothe worked to counteract my niceness, however, and I have, since my arrival here, remained constantly dateless. Here and now I therefore declare all of this bulletin true, and hold myself as evidence that it is. Should any girls happen to disagree with me, however, I remind you once more that I am still dateless, and would welcome you all with open arms.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

How fake can you get!?!??!?

Blooming hypocrite spammers that post comments with pretyped praises on how groundbreakingly wonderful my blog is when its so DARN obvious that they obviously have NOT read my blog!!! Its almost funny in a weird way, and will leave the two fine examples of the prevous post there.

I must apologise for the prolonged absence anyway. Too much has been happening at school with University applications and noises that my A grades STILL aren't high enough As. I'm applying for Medicine right now...Nottingham, Queen Mary and King's College. The romantic illusion of The Cambridge Dream is over-for now, for the same reason listed above. The numerous number of bad vibes I have heard regarding its Medical school make me wonder if it is for the better though. I'm fixed on Medicine and nothing else now, though whether or not I actually do become a doctor or a Scientist is still a moot point.

And it does suck that I was told by my school that I shouldn't apply to the top Unis for Medicine (I'm talking things other than Cambridge as well) because I've not enough work experience. Clearly the chose to ignore that I could get more work experience-I've in fact witness about 5 cardiac surgeries being actually performed and the smell of BURNT HUMAN FAT is still fresh in my nose. Not forgetting that I'm gonna pay lots more than the locals for being an overseas student...AND that I'm a cut cut above the rest as well. =P Nottingham will be my choice for now anyways-pretty strong, nice place and out of London as well.

Apologies once more for the extended absence, My next official post will be out before the end of this week.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Coping in a Land with an Obvious Lack of Sashimi

*Some but not all of this article, this sentence included, is entirely true and has not been exaggerated to produce any comic effect.*

-Open the box if you haven't done so already. Save yourself the trouble and grab a small knife to do it-the plastic's too bothersome to open with your bare hands.

-Soak in the smell of the freshness. Take it slow, take a moment or two to appreciate it concentrate on its fullness, and let it take you wherever it leads your mind to. For a smell, like a picture, paints a thousand words-an instantaneous burst of countless reactions and corresponding associations that beggars any and all description-it must be smelt to be believed.

-Pick one out from the box. Observe its shape- the near perfect circle with its tapering end. Observe its feel-firm and ever so slightly soft. Last but most importantly, observe its colour-deep red stripes that surround spots that alternate with a pure white background. Take in the contrast of colours in red and white-the extent of the contrast is one of the most telling signs of the quality of your food. Now that you have seen the ultimate level of perfection, keep it it your head, so that you may choose the best set when you are next able to buy some more. Such shall be your secret technique that you shall henceforth use to purchase the finest gourmet food available that your dollar or pound will allow. Take care not to reveal it, however, lest your pesky brother from it starts inferring from it how you sound like a housewife. If this can be countered with his wee girlfriend saying that you look like a scientist however, then that is good and fine. I'm sure you'll agree, however, that it's best not to take chances like that.

-Dip it into the liquid found in the box to moisten it slightly. Now bite it, and experience the climax that you have before this been wasting so much to prepare for. But I'm sure you'll agree it to be worth-it. Taste-strongest of all the senses that this of all foods is specially designed for. Let the essence of seafood that it exudes with every bite flood your soul once more. It was for me a journey back to my quaint little home in Singapore, gathered in front of homemade steamboat with my family, dining on something that was probably much nicer and less processed, yet something that I for some strange reason had then failed to appreciate. No matter-eccentricity once made a guy who spent his time aseiling in a pink elephant suit live up to 110 years old.

-Repeat the process until satisfied. Other than the tail end that posesses a special crunch, there is not much left in terms of food to talk about anymore. Do not rush the food-keep it for later if necessary. But should you finish everything, there still exists one more moment of bliss-the remainder of the liquid. This is the ESSENCE of the meat that makes it so good-do NOT waste it if you can at all help it. You should be able to act how ever you want, so drink it all up right from the box, slurping optional. When I say that you should be able to do this, I mean that neither Her Royal Highness nor any other posh person who invites you to a meal will consider it diginified to give you processed, ready-made food right from the box, no matter how nice the food may be. However, if you land yourself in exceptional circumstances, mix some unflavoured rice or pasta into the box, and eat it from there. This, however, SHOULD be avoided at ALL costs, because 1-neither pasta nor rice is suited to be eaten with such a watery gravy. The starchiness of it will drown out the taste. 2, it does not soak it up properly. For reasons given above it is not likely you will need to act posh with table manners when eating this. Hence, do NOT sacrifise taste for flimsy non-existent concepts of poshness or table manners. Drink the soup right from the box, and when done and over, dispose of the box in a responsible manner. Ignore the evil microbes that make the food and rubbish in your house stink to high heaven-they've had more than their share. Think instead of the nitrifying bacteria that live in the soil. Amino Acids and proteins are a primary source of Nitrogen for them. So leave the pack in a patch of soil and let the Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter there, which help in one of the world's most important ecological cycles, enjoy the flavour that you had previously enjoyed. Thank you.

And THAT, my friends, is the art of appreciation of quality Gourmet food in the form of Sainsbury's Taste The Difference King Prawns, or how to make your dollar or pound last. 5 POUNDS OR 15 SINGAPORE DOLLARS A BOX IS NOT CHEAP YOU KNOW!!! Yes I know, I am being cheap. But I am comforted by many of my Indian friends through the knowledge that I'm not alone. So this makes me part of the Patel or Shaw crew you ask? Neither-Tan crew for me I'd say. Perhaps a Kinomoto or Daidouji crew on one of my more giddyheaded days. Yes I know my spending prowess is absolutely nothing compared to Tomoyo just yet, but that's beside the point.

Though of course money is not half as important as the fact that one should enjoy his food. Besides, those prawns DIED to give you food, you know!!! Just GULPING them down whole like what most people do-doesn't do much justice to the creature does it? Indeed Ms Beautifuk, you've not quite convinced me to vegetarianism or veganism yet, but you have made me look at my food in a whole new light.

You may also be proud to learn that awareness of cruelty to animals is fast increasing here. Advertisments all about it have been appearing, and the big supermarket chains have hence been riding the tide and chucking in stickers like FREE-RANGE CORN-FED RSPCA-APPROVED CHICKEN (which my Mum buys on a regular basis), or mad slogans like:-

Sainsbury's SO Organic Prawns- Hand-Caught Prawns, farmed to reduce Environmental Damage"

Sainsburys has 4 types of prawn, you see-Taste the Difference, SO Organic, Normal and Basics. Basics an an evil euphemism designed that means that it's low price, which calls into question the method they use to cut price. 99% of Basics food is clearly sub-standard- in both other products and prawns. Excessively small SHRIMPS (and they dare to say just a little smaller!? Gotta admire their advertising!) that are FROZEN, WTF!? and have such LITTLE colouration (Remember? Contrast of colours=good prawn) you HAVE to wonder WHAT are they doing in order to cut costs!!!? Mutated shrimps that are caught with nets that are dumped into the sea after use, then made to grow a little faster by eating toxic sludge composed of chemists' failed attempts to create a new radioactive element and is therefore free-the remainder of which is then buried in the neighbourhood playground no doubt! And they DARE to use the advertising tactic that implies care for the environment!?BLOOMING HYPOCRITES!!!!

And perhaps even MORE tellingly, they FAIL to include a picture of their product when I went looking for it on their shopping list!!! Ashamed of their products already-and they expect people to buy it!?

All they have evidently been trying to do is make a chain of food that appeals to all-rich people, normal people, environmentally conscious people and poor people. Companies USUALLY are concerned with nothing but sales-which is why I can't totally buy any goody-goody slogan like that. But seriously Sansbury's-because of my momentary pleasure with your Taste The Difference Kng Prawns, I will forgive you today. Fail to lower your prices for them, however, and I will personally smuggle all those Uranium, Meitnerium and Ununquadium that you buggers have buried deep in the playgrounds into your foods, hence causing a countrywide mutation scare that I will sue you guys for till your pants have fallen off, hence exposing the extra few growths that you suddenly obtained overnight in between your legs. You have been warned.

BTW: Yeap, my 18th Birthday has passed, you noticed. This is not good. It implies that bus fares will soon be much more expensive for me.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

No Wonder Sex Sells

I was talking with my mum last night about Lee Kuan Yew having a very smart wife when she popped the following quote up:-

"Behind every successful man is a woman."

But if every successful man has a woman behind him...

...then a man who is successful automatically implies that he has woman behind him.

In other words, a man without a woman is hence excluded from the set of successful man, and is hence unable to be successful!?!?!

Evidently, people have realised this fact, because one of the things that possesses the greatest magnetic attraction for the primal instincts of man is SEX! Yes my friends, that is why sex sells. Hmm...perhaps this is why I'm not successful yet.

Perhaps the absence of a girl could be a reason for why I've not been blogging though. Because my brother's wee girlfriend has been away for such a long tim,e hence keeping him cooped up in the house! That won't be stopping them from sticking me in a school miles away from home from 12.30 to 5pm though-and that's when I'll add the finishing touches to my entry on meat. Will see you guys soon enough then!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

So it has Begun Again

I've pretty much lost count of the number of brilliant post ideas I've lost to the night. It seems my muse(?) has quite the tendency to arrive just before I go to sleep, only to have vanished without a trace when I've woken up-a by product of sleeping at 5am and waking up at 3pm during the holidays no doubt!It annoys me even more to look back at my holidays only to find that I have spent its countless nights playing Dynasty Warriors 4-what is probably THE most COMPLETELY, TOTALLY and UTTERLY repetitive game around, when I've so may other better things I could otherwise have done! Indeed, boredom is often but an euphemism for laziness and the shirking away from important things. It's perhaps lucky that school has started. It seems one of my major problems is finding motivation to do something properly constructive when on my own. The presence of studying something with others, or at least in the presence of others, often seems to up my willingness to do it.

But that, of course, is no excuse. I need more self-discipline.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Harry Potter and Inuyasha Revisited

This is the second time it's happened-to not complete some book/show, pass judgement over it, and only to be proved dead wrong when you proceed to complete it-first with Harry Potter, and then again with Inuyasha. I first thought Harry Potter Bk 6 good, only to have its pace drop exponentially. It got good when they got to the story, but it was quite a stretch where it got a mite repetitive. Harry is trying to solve the mystery and fails, lather, rinse, repeat. Not desirable, but I suppose forgivable on the grounds that it didn't get too boring. Anyway, if any of you people are interested, the following 2 links(spoiler-ridden) have some pretty solid analysis and plot predictions.
-On Dumbledore
-Garland Graves-on Horcruxes and Such

And Inuyasha-well the same thing happened. They actually decided to remove the crap, and hence the story, which like I said was nice and solid, flowed on nicely. As an entertaining anime, I think that this definitely manages to hold it's own. Magnetic holding power that is spawned from these 2 works being good stories, hence keeping a viewer/reader interested is something both Harry Potter and Inuyasha seem to have. They also both have cheap filler that quite heavily obscures a good storyline. In terms of whether or not they should be called Art these 2 works stand on fairly equal ground. Do they deserve the title?

There have been times in which I have chanced upon some work, and after looking at it, have been so floored by its brilliance that I fell it undeniable that it should be considered Art, an example being The Great Gatsby. Though Harry Potter and Inuyasha are both made up of very good stories, for some reason or another, they failed in doing this. Why? An attempt to answer this question led me to this site, and I was just absolutely in awe of its brilliance. For some reason I knew that I had found a "good" work of Art. I thought then, that everything I have reviewed here, if judged by such standards, definitely do not qualify.

I had been wondering if Ihad been setting my standards a bit too low. But then again, to compare these against like Nobel Prize winners is a bit....harsh, isn't it? HP and Inuyasha were not intended to be for people who indulged themselves in that sort of "highbrow" stuff. Though they are not consciously "kiddy" or childish in that they do not rely solely on assorted bling-bling to garner viewers, they are still intended for kids. But then if you say that, then perhaps that is why childrens' programmes are not winning the Nobel Prize or being considered as being works of Art! Indeed, it is the presence of this "highbrow" stuff that differentiates HP and Inuyasha from those other things that just scream at me as being Art. So in that case, perhaps they are not Art.

It now strikes me what diffierentiates HP and Inuyasha from those other works of conscious Art. There seem to be 2 broad qualities present in stories that make me call them good. One is just simply being a good story-perhaps suspenseful, or simply just poignant and plain emotional appeal. The other is being to me conscoiusly "Art"-basically being highbrow and discussing incredibly deep philosophical Zen stuff. Conscious Art relies on the presence of the latter. Another thing I notice is that I have not yet come across a SINGLE work that manages to be both and be both WELL. Harry Potter 6 perhaps came the closest. It had a good story because it was suspenseful when no fillers were present. Discussions of the nature of death brought about by certain plotlines leave thinking readers with some food for thought, which is though not heavily emphasized, pervades the atmosphere of the end story. Inuyasha was a good story because they successfully managed to make viewers empathize with the sufferings of each ad every character. It was philosophical at times, but only perhaps to younger kids who've not seen as much of life and not to someone as old as me. Desperate housewives was also very suspenseful and hence a good storyline but only PASSABLY conscious Art. The Great Gatsby was powerfully Art because of it's lyrical similes and the delicate discussion of faded dreams and lost love, though I do wonder if I am alone in thinking it not suspenseful. In concentrating on either one of the 2 qualities that make a good story, I think it leaves little time left for the other quality. Perhaps this is a hallmark of how difficult it is to attain even one quality. And if it is really that difficult, I think fillers aside, perhaps having even one makes for praise. both Inuyasha and Harry Potter deserve the term of Art. It does seem that people would consider the fulfillment of being deep, or the second quality more important for something to be called Art, but I agree with Capek. If Art is to "abolish boredom, anxiety and the greyness of existance", these have done just that for million of people worldwide. No you won't be winning any Nobel Prizes anytime soon, but J.K. Rowling and Rumiko Takahashi, I won't complement you two for a fantastic job well done because YOU INCLUDED FILLERS DAMN YOU, but you did good enough. Congratulations for being the creators of 2 works of Art.

And on that note, I shall end for now this series on reviews on Art that has made me sound like some kind of ancient university professor minus the knowledge. It has been an enlightening experience that adds a little more colour to my boring school holidays. Perhaps I should congratulate myself, now for creating Art that abolishes MY boredom! Oho! I've created Art on this humble little blog of mine!

OK that's by far enough crap here. I end this entry here. Live well, dear readers!

BTW: Julian if you missed my tag, go to www.boxtorrents.com and you will find all 6 seasons available for download through the programme called Bittorrent. you may also want to search www.mininova.org for "Wind-Inuyasha Symphonic Theme Collection"-orchestral renditions for assorted tunes from the show. The music ROCKS-check it out!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

New Layout

MUCH better and easier to read. Goodbye Sakura Kinomoto, it was nice having you. Tagboard and links will be unavailable until I can figure out where to put them without them being in the way.

Will update sooon with some parting words on Art.