Monday, May 31, 2010

Revenge of the CPU and a Broken CD

If they could keep still at any other time other than while driving, I'd have doubts that they belonged to me, or at least I'd have doubts that they were once attached to me. My habit of not keeping my legs still came back to haunt and hit me right where it hurts the most today - my left kneecap, probably after the CPU had had enough of abuse all these years with my consistent non-intentional kicking.

The CD in all it's broken glory :(
On another unrelated note, a CD that I won in a contest ages ago just broke after having a bad, bad fall. I attempted calling all the kings men and horses although I realised that it was a lost cause, but like Humpty Dumpty, the CD could not be put back together again. Of course the kings men and their horses never arrived to my rescue, because I don't know any kings.

I won the CD after answering a question on the cable music channel via e-mail, as I was strangely fixated with the band REM back then after hearing their song Shiny Happy People - slightly more than ten years after it was released. Just my luck, the CD didn't have the song I wanted so badly. Sigh. I suppose after all these years, I was just attached to it, that when it broke the way it did, I felt something break inside of me. After all, it probably was the first CD I ever won, or even ever owned.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Something For the Pain

So the country is apparently thinking on broadening her economic horizons using the partnership with a certain foreign biotech company that specialises in and develops medicine which also unfortunately involves testing on animals. While broadening economic horizons is crucial to the development of a developing nation such as ours, I personally think that using animals to test the effectiveness of the medicine meant for humans to be a tad bit cruel, although it had been done for some time until some intervention. Now you get stuff (mostly cosmetics) that says it was not tested on animals.

The other day, while I was reading one of my usual lunch time reading materials I came across the article below:
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/05/mouse-pain-expression/
I sort of discussed the article with my sister later that night and she did say that mice had the tendency to double up in pain (like we do) when they were subjected to painful conditions that could give them ulcers - stressful conditions, as well as injections which gave them ulcers, which the researcher would then treat with the medication they think would work. In the end, all the mice have to die because they need to be dissected, all in the name of finding a cure for diseases. (She did biotechnology in school and had friends who did tests of this sort)

The question is, how much right do we as humans have to treat animals as items of experimentation? Are they not also part of the system that makes up the Earth and shouldn't they have the most basic right - the right to live peacefully? Does it mean that just because humans can talk about how they feel make their lives more precious than the lives of the countless number of animals that had to die in the name of science? What if a more highly developed intelligent being (aliens from a distant planet perhaps) that decided to conduct mass experimentation on people by just picking us up one by one because we seem to have some similar genetic pattern to theirs? (Ok, this final question is a bit of farfetched, but still..)

I suppose what got me annoyed was this quote by the chief minister of the state where the company is supposed to be situated: (especially about it being the animal's fate)

"Malacca Chief Minister Ali Rustam today defended the state government's decision to allow the establishment of a multi-million ringgit biotechnology centre that will feature several animal testing laboratories.

He said there was nothing wrong with Malaysia having such a facility because the rest of the world was doing the same.

"In Islam, God made animals as food and for the use of man. How can you not test on animals? Would you rather run the tests on humans?

“That is (the animal's) fate," he told reporters in Petaling Jaya today, after his get-together with his Facebook fans and supporters.
He was commenting on opposition by animal rights groups to set up the labs in Rembia, Alor Gajah."
Quoted from Malaysiakini.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Celebrating Mothers

I suppose I wouldn't be too far off the mark if I were to say that if you told a Malaysian that they were not allowed to celebrate a certain occasion with food, they'd probably give you a punch on the nose. That is if you were the one unfortunate enough to have to break the news to them. See, Malaysians love their food, and although picky (the sauce doesn't taste quite right, the consistency sucks, etc), food represents all occasions. Naturally, being Malaysians and all, Mother's Day this year was celebrated amidst food.

This story was supposed to go up on Saturday night/Sunday morning ages ago, but as luck would have it, it wasn't meant to be (see post with the word Poison in the title), and as time went by, the direction of the post in my head changed altogether... mainly because of a certain picture I saw on Secret Agent Woman's blog.

You know how pictures sometimes evoke the strangest memories? That particular picture brought back memories of the time my sister was brought home after being born, well, more so of the time when I was unceremoniously asked to leave the room where my mother and sister were because my mother was going to feed her. I was almost five then, and was famous for asking awkward questions (my parents probably thought so, anyways) and asked my mom a question about feeding I shall not repeat here (because I really can't remember what was my question, exactly)... but suffice to say, she only managed to ask me to come over near her and show me some visuals in her "mother and baby book"

Gotta remember to have a closer gap between my kids if and when the time comes so that the awkward questions can be averted.

Well, Mother's Day this year was celebrated on the Saturday instead of the Sunday... especially after last year's nightmarish celebration which involved an obnoxious uncle and lots of soup (piping hot) pouring all over customers and waiters! And we managed to find a place Mom would like (she requested Chinese vegetarian, since she was bored of other stuff, being vegetarian and all), and it turns out that the place did serve some pretty delicious stuff. The decor was alright, the food was good, and the crowd was barely there! Well, except for a few families which also decided to have an early Mother's Day celebration. The sister and I entertained ourselves watching a particular family seated towards our left, as the 'life of the party' in their crowd was more than willing to share her anecdotes with all and sundry. I wanted to burst out laughing so many times because she really, really was funny.

Some vegetarian fish thing

This dish was all awesomeness, but I just can't seem to recall what it was called.
So, that's what we did for Mother's Day this year, like I said, you can't separate a Malaysian and their food. How did yours go?


Related Post: Mother's Day 2009


Sunday, May 23, 2010

In the name of Democracy

My interest in politics waxes and wanes like the moon in the sky at night, with the most poignant moment being the general elections in March 2008, where I spent a good deal of the night (until 5am!!) refreshing the web page where the results were displayed. It was interesting to note that after so long, the ruling coalition (will be known in this post as NF) got it's ass kicked by the opposition (known in this post as PF) by losing five states.

Naturally, the interest waned later on as the whole situation seemed like a very bad soap opera with equally bad actors. The high hopes of making a difference seemed to move further away from reach as *components stated having issues amongst themselves, one of the states was just stolen away in a shocking manner and many other things. A year and a half later, we see the need for a by-election in this place called Hulu Selangor, and while it garnered interest in many ways from a whole bunch of Malaysians, the only thing I did was read a post-mortem done by a twenty something blogger with mild interest.


The 2010 UK elections

To be completely honest, I've never been much of a follower of British politics. I knew/know the Prime Ministers (starting from Margaret Thatcher, only) mostly with the help of a famous fictional diarist known as Adrian Mole, and perhaps some very useless knowledge about them, like the fact that John Major tucked in his shirt into his underwear (see, I said it was useless knowledge)

I suppose the interest began from a talk show on the radio where a political analyst was interviewed and the results of the elections was categorised as a marriage of convenience between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. That, and the fact that the Labour had been denied victory after 13 years. It all seems a bit too similar to what's been happening here... one major party (NF) that always seems to win no matter what, and the opposition who has to bend their rules and even ideologies to deny the ruling party an assured victory.  Besides both countries are democratic with a Monarchy (although we didn't have a gorgeous princess who wanted to find herself) At least that is how I see it. Somehow, the results of the UK elections proves that there is still hope.

Sibu, Sarawak

Sarawak in East Malaysia has always been the stronghold of NF. Most people thought that there was not much hope for the PF to pave their way in there. Turns out they were mistaken. PF won, with a small majority, but a win is a win, regardless of the majority. There is hope!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Life in Delayed Telecast

While I've never been the kind of person who blogs daily, I somehow get this vibe that I have been blogging less in recent days for reasons that range from time passing by too fast, being ill, to the uncanny momentary dislike of the internet in general. Well, slow moving internet, that is, where videos take forever to buffer, and the only thing that loads pretty quickly are blogs (some of 'em, at least), but there's only a handful of blogs you can read at any given time.

It was somewhere in the evening yesterday while putting the finishing touches to my Mother's Day post that I realised how ridiculous it was - not the post, but how it is now more than a week since that day that I even had difficulty remembering the exact unfolding of events! And much to my regret, I couldn't even publish it as some of the photos which I figured should accompany the post are still in the memory card and were not accessible at the very moment.

This isn't the only case, the TS of 2008 would have blogged about  (and given her two cents worth of) the elections in Britain, the small elections in Sibu, Sarawak, her disappointment at the outcome of the Thomas Cup, her worries about completing starting her postgrad, and many other things. Instead, all I could afford was to put up a status update on FB, no less with the words "Life in delayed telecast" because that is how things are at the moment.

Oh well.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Made in America - Not a review

Eons ago in the mad days of schooling I had learned about the "Perang Tiga Segi", loosely translated into the Three Angled War. Now the only reason why this particular war stands out among all others is because I happened to have three classmates who sat in a triangle while discussing the war while we had a teacherless class one day... Everyone, including the three of them thought it was funny and laughed for days on end each time anyone mentioned the irony of a discussion about the three angled war while sitting in a triangle. (It sounds so much funnier in Malay, though)

Our history books back then were dead boring, and some of our teachers even more so. My Form 1 history teacher would make us read paragraphs aloud and force us to underline the "ímportant" passages with a red pen. The only interesting thing about her was she wore a necklace of seashells every single day which we all imagined were the shells of the "Siput Cowrie", which was used as currency in one of the chapters in the book. Thankfully, none of these made me hate the subject.

About over a month ago, while I was looking for a book by Bill Bryson (I had no particular title in mind), I came across "Made in America", which I figured would be interesting enough because I don't know much about the history of the United States except for the names of a few of the presidents (some of the assassinated ones, and those who were a bit too popular for their own good) and the Klu Klux Klan because I did a research on them for one of my papers in school regarding extreme racism. And true enough, the book kept me entertained for hours while I found out how many places got their names or how the meanings of words got changed from the time they were used in Britain.

The book is like a little guide of all things American. You get to know how the first roads were built, and how the average wagon in the earliest roads flipped over a few times before the people got to their destinations, and even why Americans drive on the *opposite side of the road. You also find out that Americans loved to invent, and much to my surprise, I found out that I've been using much more of American English instead of British English (It works both ways I guess, naturally having the English people and schools around before Independance gives you the impression that it is British English that you're using - mostly spelling, though, but at the same time, most TV programmes and quite a number of books are from the United States, so that American English can't help but be part of the modern Malaysian's lexicon) There are bits about baseball, skyscrapers, McDonalds, Benjamin Franklin's thoughts on older women and many other things you never knew you wanted to know about!

Personally, I do think that this is one of the more interesting books I've read in recent times, and despite touching on history - after all it begins with something about the Mayflower, it didn't even feel like one of those thick history books that forced you to remember emperors and kings and dates of incidents. They really should get Mr. Bryson to author history books... I can bet it will be one of the more popular subjects that way.

*I find it hilarious that The Americans say that right hand drives are on the opposite side of the road as well, which you can sum up as all being a matter of perspective. The fight on who's on the correct side is one that no one will ever win, I guess.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Lil' bit of Poison

Just the other day, I had candidly remarked on Ricardo's blog that the notion of being poisoned has this aura of romanticism about it. Perhaps it's how poison is always the chosen weapon for women serial murderers. It's something that I find hard to explain. Besides, with explanation, I may run the risk of revealing too much. Little did I know that day that I was about to be on the receiving end of some poison, and it was the furthest from being romantic, instead, if you know me well enough, you may already suspect that it borders on something comedic.

On the practical side of things, geckos or 'house' lizards are under the impression that they rule this side of the planet. Wherever you go at night, they'll be there, challenging you to a fight. The other day, a baby lizard fell on my sister, she freaked out. That did it. That was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand or as some people might say, the Casus belli. The war on geckos had begun.

Tucked on a shelf among other pest control items was a sickly shaded green can with the words Lizard Repellent on it. It also said it was non-toxic. Nevertheless, an overzealous spraying not only left the lizards wondering why they dislike their usual haunts so much, it also left the unmistakable warning sign that a sore throat was to come-a-knocking. And that to a person who all the while played the role of an innocent bystander (which is me)! Now, it wouldn't be so bad if that's all it did. Instead, the bad scratchy throat also led to a mild fever and flu like symptoms, which then led to the case of a Sunday that was spent sleeping. It was strange and awful at the same time, maybe I was high but didn't know it? I don't know. I just needed to sleep, on and on. Even the doctor shrugged, gave me some medication and asked me to drink some 100 plus because she figured my electrolytes were messed up!

The comedic part of this whole thing? I work in a place that deals with chemicals... things like Xylene, and Toluene and I are on a first name basis and none of these make me physically sick. Bring in some non-toxic lizard repellent and I'm all ready to faint...

Friday, May 07, 2010

Spotted: 7 Months ago

Whilst clearing up the laptop of things I didn't want the other day, I got sidetracked and started viewing the photos in my carelessly named folders, and found this. This happened to be a friend's plate at a teppanyaki place in Japan on a cold, cold night, (mine was a boring one of floral design), and I figured that it looks interesting enough to be a conversation piece... (or blog fodder, for that matter)

Edit: I wonder if the plate is meant to distract people from their food??  

Click to enlarge




Sunday, May 02, 2010

The Big Bad Internet Service Provider Dilemma

*"Do not trouble trouble till trouble troubles you" so said an illustrated character in my Form 3 English textbook. For some reason, those words amused me immensely throughout the rest of my school life although I can't really say I have followed the advice dispensed wholly. Most of the trouble I find myself in always has some other factor that would have influenced it in some sort of way or another... but that's a different story.

In about a week, my one year contract with my current ISP will be over, and I will be free to continue or discontinue their service. If you have been with me on this blog circa 2008, you will probably know that I had some mega ISP issues back then which caused me to tear out my hair in frustration and led me to cancel that account and use a new ISP. While I do not have any major complaints in regards to their connection (except the occasional crawl that could put the slowest snail to shame), they seem to have taken me and my sister for a ride with their pricing scheme. The original deal with them was a flat rate of RM88 per month (26.7 USD) which although is a bit pricey was alright since both my sister and I share it. However, for the subsequent months, they have decided to to charge us RM 118 per month, stating that the RM 88 was only for the first month, so naturally we feel cheated. Besides, in recent months they have introduced newer packages at half the cost!

I suppose the most irksome point with this particular ISP (actually the modem/package) is the fact that it can only be used by one person at a time, and since my sister and I share it, we sort of have to take turns in using it. While not exactly a problem, it's insanely pathetic at times, especially when either of us are in conversation with friends and have to give up the connection at a particular time like a teenager on curfew because the other wants to use it. 

For that reason, I had actually given thought on going back to the old ISP, which gave me problems previously only in the form of not receiving my online payments (on time) because I was paying to their old but not exactly obsolete account for months (Yes, I am an idiot at times) Their connection was alright although it was only 512 kbps but was limited with a 60 hours per month usage which was alright at that time because I was the only user back then. Of course now that both of us will be using it, we would opt for a better package which would enable both of us to use it at the same time,  except that the word better is kind of vague, because some people I know have not very nice things to say about this ISP as well... so I can't help but worry if this changing of ISP signifies the act of troubling trouble, like removing a benign growth or something...

* I'm not too sure if I got all the words right, searches online shows that 'Do not' is sometimes written as 'Never', and 'till' is sometimes 'until'

Picture borrowed from pegasus news