Tribolum.com Making Light of Things

September 2002 Archives

Thriller

Wrist operation’s tomorrow. For those of you in Singapore, the time here’s 15 hours behind. Most of you’ll be sleeping the same time I hit the general anesthesia.

Got myself a greyish-black bandage to hold the splint to my hand just for a change in tastes. Though it helps by not labeling me “physically-disabled” as explicitly as the normal beige bandages would, I look every bit the part of a crazed Michael Jackson fan.

I’ll be in a sling after the op tomorrow, which probably means not being able to use my right hand at all. I am convinced that when all this is over, I’ll be left-handed, which I’ve always thought was a cool thing.

If any of you guys are going to be hoping or praying for me, pray for my trip back from the hospital. Being the only Singaporean with any driving experience, either a friend who just passed her driving test or my sister who has only a probational driving license will attempt to take me home. Being the man I am, I’m half-convinced that I am a safer prospect, even though one-armed and half-drugged. But I’ll take the leap of faith and trust that all will be fine.

I’m just glad my left hand’s fine to pull the parking brake should the need arise.

The Here and Now

Zahid and I go back. Way back. In fact, he was one of the first people I spoke to upon my arrival in Tucson. We traded stories and perspectives of this new place as seen through our Asian eyes.

Now three years later, we sit on my couch and look at our lives here in retrospect. We laugh at the good times we had, and remember the not-so-good. A close friend whom we shared those late-night walks to Blockbuster with lost a brother. A few more grew exceedingly depressed and returned to their respective cities and countries from which they came. We find ourselves alone once more.

Talking to Zahid makes me miss home. The transient life of a college student means that close friends don’t often last longer than the four, five years one spends in college. People move on, and we are left holding on to the sifting sands of change.

It comes at an ironic time as I was contemplating starting a life here in Tucson. The hectic pace back in Singapore often seems so overwhelming, and comes at so great a cost. Families suffer because people are expected to work late everyday. Life flies by as we submit ourselves to the heartbeat of the city. We find ourselves at the end of our lives grasping on to sands of a different colour, but it slips through our fingers nonetheless.

As I swing from end to end on the geographical pendulum, I see the need to create a home, rather than looking for one already made. Though it affects our lives to a great degree, the “where” is not as important as the “how”. I know that I want to live a life that loves, and I often harbour dreams of opening my house (it’s a big house in my mind’s eye) to the homeless, the poor and the single mothers.

I fear inertia most of all, for even though I conserve energy by standing still, life charges on tirelessly to its earthly end.

Tech Support

Classic case of stupidity here.

A car owner takes her brand new sports car to the repair shop for servicing. The technician takes the car out for a ride, pushing the sound barrier at 140mph (about 235kmh).

He then posts his marvelous exploit on the Internet, hoping it’ll buy him some bragging rights. He even includes the customised license plate number of the car he illegally drove (has since been edited away).

Owner reads the post.

The Internet ain’t that big a place, and that tech ain’t that smart a dude.

Taken from Metafilter : Post 20391.

Life on the Other Side

Walking around with a splint on my hand means that my “disability” is made explicit to the people around me. While I cannot vouch for the reactions I would have gotten were I back in Singapore, the people here in Tucson have been most pleasant.

They do not pretend that they see nothing. In fact, it becomes a conversation piece of sorts.

“How’s the arm doin’ bro?”

“It’s doin’ ok. Fell on it while playin’ ball.”

“Hey, at least you were hoopin’.”

And that came from an unemployed African-American guy who happened to be cleaning the windows of the Vietnamese restaurant in return for lunch.

Though the African-American culture here still intimidates me a little with its in-your-face attitude and highly contextual language, their warmth and spontaneity is a trait I hope they will never, ever lose.

Liquid Gold

I can’t wear my shoes, pull down (or up) my pants, cut a steak or open a door without modifying these simple actions to facilitate the absence of an opposable right thumb.

Opening the door and watching today’s sunset, I ran out with my camera. I was going to capture it whatever the cost. Fumbling and fiddling away, I shot. I didn’t care to put any filters on or use a tripod, or even find a good vantage point. But I wanted the shot.

Do yourself a favour and see it. Today’s sunset is something you’d have wanted to capture for yourself. Even if it cost you an arm.

Terminator 3

Updates on the wrist. I’ll be undergoing surgery on Tuesday to insert a screw in my wrist. Maybe it’ll help with my shooting and I’ll make the NBA and earn tons and tons of money which I will then donate to third-world countries.

Digital Duplication

The whole move towards digital media over the old analogue systems used to be the ability to create perfect replicas. For the marketer, it was heaven. It meant that one could produce millions upon millions of copies, every one as good as the first. Photos, movies, music, data…you name it. For the consumer it meant that we got nothing but the best. No unnecessary noise from the duplication process. “Media sharing”.

The digital age also opened a lot more than just the duplication of media. We created virtual relationships, instituted businesses that produced no tangible goods, recreated scenarios never thought possible in history. Through massive online gaming worlds like EverQuest, we even created lives for ourselves which would have otherwise been impossible.

Though one can argue that it has been a liberation of the imagination, the digital world that we seem sucked into seems to lack the authenticity of the physical. The very selling point of the digital standard stops here. We can string together as many emoticons we can think of, but they do not fully express a true smile. We live lives in front of the computer, and despite of the very real human presence on the other end, its intangibility isolates us - we scream into a vacumn in which the silence deafens us.

Much as I would like to believe that the computing age offers us so many new means by which to do good, I’d much rather be looking you in the eye right now. Having a milk-shake or whatever you wish to order. Maybe engaged in debate. Maybe falling in love.

:) … that simply will not do.

Finished!

Today was one of those days I wanted so badly to pass me by. I actually went to sleep last night hoping that it would mercifully fly past, and I would be home free.

The two tests which I didn’t particularly have an affection for are over, and I breathe the cool air (airconditioning of course).

Life ain’t so bad.

Support Superman

As Christopher Reeve celebrates his 50th birthday, an anonymous donor has offered to donate 1 dollar for every electronic birthday card sent.

Click HERE, and help support the Superman who has transcended beyond reel life to real life.

Hand Me Over

No tennis. No basketball. No dart-throwing. No writing.

Wrist’s fractured, despite the “no-excruiciating-pain-no-fracture” philosophy fed to me by the great doctors in Singapore. All it took was an x-ray. If I had continued to believe that it would have healed on its own, I may have had to live with a busted hand for the rest of my life.

So wrist is in a splint right now.

I’m seeing a specialist this Friday. Maybe we’ll work on why my jumpshot isn’t finding the bottom of the net as regularly as it ought to be.

Renovations

It is funny that in the face of two tests and a paper, I found tweaking Tribolum most fulfilling. I’ve included a small category of writings - a collection of the few times I felt compelled to write just for the art of it.

The very few times. I ought to heed the call more.

Flawed Design

Didn’t want to tell you guys that I designed my wedding invitation some weeks ago. Somehow I got caught up in the designing part, and forgot that dark grey (close to black) is hardly the colour for the ocassion.

Oh well, here it is. Or was.

Initial Wedding Invitation Design

Medieval Once More

It has been almost a year since The Fellowship of the Ring. I’ve revisited Tolkien’s land a few times since, reading the trilogy (though I still maintain Frodo whines too much in Book Three), playing Dark Age of Camelot and Warcraft 3.

As you can probably tell, I’ve joined the ranks of people who are fascinated by the clear fluid sounds of elven voices and the brutish sparks that fly as sword meets shield. Dark Age of Camelot was addictive to the point I had to stop myself from neglecting the very tangible life I had outside of my chair.

Yearning to scratch the Elven itch once more I turned to Neverwinter Nights. The storyline has been rich enough to keep me enthralled these few days, and I’m purring as I’m raptured into Tolkien-land once more.

Talk to the Hand

Remember the badly sprained wrist? I’ve been waiting for it to heal for so long, but mobility’s still so-so. I went to the sports doctor here in school today and we’re going to take an x-ray on Wednesday.

I’m losing faith in the doctor I visited in Singapore (Singapore Sports Council). He told me that if it didn’t hurt very badly a few days after my fall it meant that there wasn’t a fracture and there was nothing to worry about. The doctor here said that if I didn’t get it checked out thoroughly, the pain would be something I’d have to live with for the rest of my life.

So Wednesday, we’ll find out if everything’ll be all right and if I can hit the ball courts as hard as before.

Pray for me, will ya?

Pre-Monday Madness

There’s this thing about Sundays that feels so much like a hangover. You lack the energy to do anything exciting (unlike Saturdays), and you watch helplessly as your weekend gets gobbled up into the following week.

Argh.

Just Dessert

We wanted to have brownies at Applebee’s. That’s all we wanted to do. Honest.

A crowd stood outside an empty Applebee’s. Policecars surrounded the place. After a few minutes, the K-9 unit arrived and put a sleepy-looking Alsatian dog to work.

There was a bomb threat.

We laugh it off and make jokes about it. But it’s sad when we can’t have peace enough to buy a brownie.

Yeah, brownie’s that good.

Nancy Drews and Hardy Boys Wanted

Remember the incident where I found those long pink stick-on fingernails in my car? My sister found a lipstick that isn’t hers in the side pocket of the door on the passenger side. We did lend the car out over the summer, but all the people whom we lent to didn’t do long nails or lose any lipstick.

Maybe I’m a sleepwalking transvestite. That might be just it.

Pack of Wolves

It’s quite amazing how everyday individuals are able to hog the news media in the US. Reporters and journalists seem almost hungry for anything sensational, or revolting enough to attract viewers, and often lose sight of what news should be made news.

A woman was videotaped on close circuit camera yesterday hitting her daughter while putting her daughter in the back seat of the car. While the act was unarguably violent (it wasn’t just a smack), virtually every news channel aired the video over and over again, threw in their own “expert” analysts and made what I thought was a local issue a national one.

All this while, the news ticker read “Arafat’s compound hit by Israeli shell”.

It is not about what is important or what people need to know. It’s about what sells.

Blond, 25 year old young mother. Previously convicted of shoplifting. Caught on tape hitting her daughter. That sells.

Quarter Centenarian

As Mena celebrates her 25th birthday I am reminded that I too will soon pass that threshold.

There used to be a time when we’d all glance at the people on television and somewhere in our hearts of hearts, hoped to be as successful as they when our time came. Then time passes us by and we find ourselves on the same side of the television set, this time resigned to the fact that our childhood idols will be who they were, and we will be who we are. There may have been a thought of regret or two, and we ease ourselves in our mediocrity by reading tabloids in which these very same celebrities are ridiculed and scorned.

I guess we have to learn how to celebrate life for what it is. It is not an endless race for accomplishments. Life has an intrinsic value which our society has undervalued.

So I look at Mena’s birthday entry once again and sigh. At least she did the whole MovableType gig. Me? I played the triangle in the band.

Silverfish

It’s true, there are some things you won’t know how much you missed until they’re gone.

Found a small indie bookshop near a cafe the other day. In the last few years the only bookshops I’ve visited were the likes of Borders or Barnes and Noble. Though these megastores offer us the chance to indulge in their luxurious sofas while sipping expensive cuppas of espresso, there’s something to be said about the small bookstore.

Just browsing through what seemed an oddly categorised collection of sci-fi, travelogues and calendars I was reminded of the two days I spent in Hawaii.

The sun was up, the ocean breeze in the air. I found a nice small bookshop near the hotel in which we stayed. It was a splendid time, just sitting on the floor and reading whatever books I so chose. Looking out of the huge glass window, the view was one of people heading to the beach and taxicabs filled with Nikon-toting Japanese tourists. I’d delve into the make-believe world whichever author created, then look up and see the surreal environment I was in.

Two times heaven.

Housekeeping

I’m not sure how many of you can relate to this, but I get great contentment out of cleaning away layers of dust. Off the blades of fans, little crevices, or anywhere I can get the point of a paperclip on.

Today’s great cleaning activity? Using my faithful can of compressed air, I cleaned up the insides of my computer. Aahhhh….satisfying. Of course I did all this whilst struggling to install a new videocard and harddrive.

Digital Blasphemy

A group of elitist students at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro had a design discussion and blogged about it.

The title of the blog was “Why does this suck?”. Their target? Loobylu.

The premise behind “Why Does This Suck?” is boldly emblazoned on the blog.

Why Does What Suck? Kind of Snobby Isn’t it? Well what’s the point of higher education unless you can flaunt it?

It is an appalling thought that anyone has anything bad to say about Loobylu. A particular student blogged about Loobylu being confusing and difficult to navigate. I especially like this:

I kind of feel sorry for people who frequent this site… do they have nothing better to do with their lives than read about someone else’s from day to day?

If anything, Loobylu is a fine example of great design. The navigation links are right on top and there is little ambiguity as to what they mean. The “Why Does This Suck?” website on the other hand, contains a dead link in the nav bar (Rob’s formz materials). There is no train of thought in the discussions - entries are merely chronological, and not topical in nature.

So, why does this suck? When you raise yourself unto a pedestal, make sure you don’t fall flat on your face.

Guess

We (at least half of us) ogled as she graced thousands upon thousands of the sepia-toned paper bags. We (the other half of us) bought the jeans she endorsed, hoping to somehow latch on to the vibe.

We all branded her gold-digger when she married the old man. Then some of us pitied her, and the thought passed through our minds: Maybe she was just misunderstood. Her having to suffer the weight of being looked upon as shallow just because she was a model…we may have wronged her.

The question framed within the triangle is a question no longer. We who pitied her were the ones fooled. There seems no depth nor honour that can be found in her.

I was unfortunate to catch a few minutes of her show.

I am utterly disgusted, and feeling betrayed for having given away the benefit of doubt.

PhotoContest Entry

Kallang Indoor Stadium, Singapore

Kallang Indoor Stadium, Singapore. This is my entry for Photojunkie’s Photocontest under the category Cityscapes.

Thanks guys.

Photo-Submission Feedback

The new category for Photojunkie’s Photocontest is Cityscapes. Considering that Tucson is hardly urban (the Princeton College Review lied), I’m thinking of submitting some of my older photos from Singapore.

I just can’t decide which. Help me out here?

Astro-Headache

Still up doing my astrophysics homework. I really don’t care how tall martians can grow on Mars given the same physical structure of flesh and bone. I just wanna chill out.

By Any Other Name

Email scripts can often give mass mailing a more personal touch by using the addressee’s name in the body of the email. While Singapore companies have no qualms with the technology, they lack in basic common sense and courtesy.

From Starhub:

Dear JOSEPH FRANCIS TRIBIANI*, …….. Warmest regards, Starhub Internet.

Full-naming me in CAPS is definitely a display of our service industry at its best.

*name used is not mine. Stop sending emails and sandwiches.

Moving On with the Time

Life was so much less complicated when we were children. We thought things would stay the same, or harboured dreams of a future version of the todays we loved so much. Friends would stay friends. Everyone would land their dream job. Things seemed almost managable then.

After a hot shower early in the morning I found myself swept in time’s whirlpool. It was no longer our dreams that controlled our eventual destinies. It felt like we were just thrown headlong into what would be the rest of our lives. I find myself older, but not much wiser.

One of the more prominent landmarks is the coming of age of those younger than me. There used to be a time when I didn’t have to bother with their opinions. They were kids who had no clue what we older people went through. They were concerned with trivial matters and seem so short-sighted at times. Yet today I realise that it is no longer so. These children whose lives once revolved around the yoga Barbie and Michaelangelo (the turtle, not the artist) have grown up, and their voiced thoughts are worth one’s ear.

I still carry around the misconception that those born in the eighties are but babes. I guess I’m the old fogey stuck in black and white who hasn’t yet come to grips with the realities that surround me. Time has past and I am still sitting, waiting for the bus to arrive. It has come and gone.

I pick up my feet and walk. I won’t be left behind.

Global Perspectives

This entry at Breakfast of Champions quotes an article of the aboved title from the magazine Granta written by Dorfman.

It is an almost perfect metaphorical description of what the United States seems like to most of us from other parts of the world. It explains our apprehension towards embracing the universal “American” values (an oxymoron in itself), and our love for the underdog, the less conspicuous, the humble of heart.

Read it, it is wonderfully written.

Furrowed Brow

There was an assignment. There was a very constricting word limit. Passing would give one full marks, failing would bring none at all. I thought I hit the nail on the head as well as I possibly could. I thought it was in the bag.

I was wrong. Failed.

I am perplexed.

Not because failure is new to me. Trust me, it’s not. But because I really don’t know where I went wrong. Will find out. Grr.

Superhero!

After a humongous steak at Pinnicle Peak last night, my dreams were filled with fighting an invisible supervillian who fired rockets.

In an act of lunatic bravery I ran towards the space from where the rockets were being launched and realised that the supervillian was levitating above ground. I jumped as high as I could and grabbed hold of what I think was his cape. I ripped it off and it lost its invisibility.

It was a hue of baby blue (Not exactly the most fearsome of colours, I know, but hey he had a rocket launcher). I then wrapped it around me and ran for my dear life as rockets zoomed past my right and left.

I woke up.

I don’t know if the steak was solely at fault. I had played an hour of Freedom Force just before bed. It’s true, the villians in the game were every bit as corny as my baby-blue-caped nemesis.

Criminal Minds

Heard over the radio on “If they only had a brain”.

A bank robber in Alabama performed a successful stick-up. But afraid that the cash may have been rigged with indelible dye or small explosives, he made the teller transfer the cash into his bank account. That’s right, he gave her the account number.

It’s not always wise to bring your children everywhere. Sometimes to work. Especially when you work as a bank robber. With only one hand (the other was holding the gun) to hold either the cash or the kid, he let one walk. When the police came, the three-year-old couldn’t move as fast as Daddy would have liked him to.

Entering His Courts with Praise

After a most prolonged period (about two weeks) of not playing basketball, I finally stepped on the court again. While most of you read about how I sprained my right wrist back in July, I didn’t write about how I sprained my left for fear that I might cause the girl I love excessive worry.

I sprained it back late August on the way back to Tucson from Singapore. Having only one hand to deal with most of the luggage, I over-extended myself and sprained the left wrist lightly. That meant that I was out for most sporting activities except soccer, which even I deem too physical.

I went back to play basketball late last night as both wrists felt much better. More importantly, it was something I needed. Basketball has always had its unique way of bringing me before God, and I yearned so much to be close.

It hasn’t been the smoothest stretch of my spiritual journey since coming back here. Being constantly bombarded by images of barely clothed females on television and surrounded by their real life manifestations in school, the ocassional struggle with lust and pornography became a full twelve round boxing match. Try as I might, my strength paled so far in comparison to the temptations that lay before me, and soon falling down became lying down in my own pool of perversion and defeat. I even contemplated not getting married because I feared that I had compromised the quality of my love, and I didn’t want to give her anything less than a love that was both pure and true.

But He still calls. I read my Bible these past few mornings and in Him I felt a pain and disappontment that was soon overcome by love, mercy and forgiveness. I now know how weak I am, how wretched and how unworthy. Spiritually, I was as impotent as a basketball player with no hands. But He called, and I came.

He calls me to pour unto Him the bitter water of my being. He alone has the power to turn it into the wine of cheer.

Selective Amnesia

It is ironic that I should be reflecting on the things said about the first anniversary of 9-11, itself a day of remembering and reflecting.

There was a sense of unity as people flew small flags on their cars, whilst others wore ribbons, stuck stickers and came out adorned in red, white and blue. In the blogging community, where I believe the more reflective portion of the world’s population resides, flags were flown, some blogs were closed and words of sympathy shared.

One moment that particular caught me was an eighty minute round the world report. Italian firefighters gathered in St. Peter’s Basilica in rememberance of their American counterparts - the heroes who gave their lives in order to save another. In Australia, a human American flag was formed, and large signs that boldly proclaimed “Australia Remembers” displayed. This display of worldwide unity was something so truly noble.

Looking around the blogs, there were some who took a rather alternative viewpoint. They believe that it is time to move on and leave the grief behind. The more antagonistic ones accused America on putting on a show, remembering their own but forgetting the many who died in the Middle East.

Heartless though it seems, they do have a valid point. It is important to relook the sanctity of human life, and to re-evaluate its worth in our own hearts. Many…far too many innocent lives have been lost all over the world for the sake of agendas they had nothing to do with.

MIS 341 Presentation

As of this very moment, I am introducing the concept of blogging in a presentation to a group of would-be bloggers, showing them how easy it is to update a MT website.

A list of almost all currently available blogging tools can be found here.

A comparison of their features can be found here.

Wars and Rumours of Wars

As September 11th comes to a close, the fear that an act of terror would repeat itself subsides. However, the same fear should have been better put to use in another direction. The tension in the air regarding the United States’ foreign policy comes to a climax on the first anniversary of the tragic event.

Newsweek interviewed Nelson Mandela in a web exclusive, its red headlines screaming “Nelson Mandela: The United States of America is a Threat to World Peace”.

Having read through the article, I find Mandela’s thoughts insightful and representative of the international perspective. In summary, he says that

I must say I agree with most of his points, though the racially motivated one has quite a nasty spin on it. Though InstaPundit.Com’s Glenn Reynolds proclaims that Mandela is making a fool of himself, it is comforting to see a number of more rational responses on MeFi.

Terrorless Accusations

George Bush’s seemingly solo effort against Iraq took a major blow when the CIA’s investigation found no link between Iraq and terrorist group Al-Qaeda.

In light of this new information it is still unlikely for Bush to drop his campaign. On one hand, no one wants Iraqi possession of biological and chemical weapons. But at the same time, we all cannot help but wonder if the antagonistic stand taken is one fueled by hostility and vengeance.

There is a Chinese saying that goes, “when the word of a gentleman goes forth, it is hard for a four-horse-drawn chariot to chase it”. Bush has spoken so much and so loudly, even a formula one racecar’s effort would prove futile.

Why?

I am absolutely unable to understand why some people would change the “submit” and “clear” buttons on their comment forms to animal sounds like Cluck! for submit, and Cluck? for clear, or variations of those.

It is heartwrenching to watch all your comments disappear into dust just because you couldn’t speak turkey.

Feeling the Collective Heart

I had initially refrained from writing anything 9-11, because the rest of the country would be doing just that. In classic youthful candour I assumed that the paranoia was only a product of media hype, and I viewed much of the grief with a sceptical eye. In the background, groups of college kids went on with their parties.

After reading some blogs I am no longer able to turn my face away. America (save those college kids who don’t deserve residence, least of all citizenship) is holding its collective breath - a half breath - in shock, fear and pain. It evokes in me the feeling that one gets when we accidently slap a child too hard. It is strong cocktail of guilt for having ever doubted the authenticity of the pain, and the ice-cold feeling of being so utterly appalled that the child should have to experience something so stark…so real. We then chide ourselves for ever having doubted the pain, and for the additional hurt by inflicted by our scepticism.

Despite her often boisterous nature, America is but a child. Her history of a little more than 200 years makes her barely a toddler when compared to the more established civilisations like the Jews or the Chinese. It is because of her youth we see her wielding her new-found power without humility’s restraint, often offending the older nations now made weak by time and history’s circumstance. Yet it is in her youth we see her brazen idealism. She actually believes in the good of the individual - a utopian ideology…a dream at best. Though we don’t often say it, deep inside us we hope for America to fulfill her dream, and grow up into a bringer of true hope to the rest of us.

Wipe your tears away America. We love you, even if it is in our muddled multi-cultural way. Even if we don’t show it much.

Weather Forecast

It hailed again today. I have pictures.

Truth and War

Being a foreigner in a land that seems to be bent on war, I tend to keep my thoughts to myself. It is better to keep a low profile in these politically tense times than to incite a violent riot out of sheer stupidity. I am thankful for the freedom of speech available in this land, and through the exercise of this freedom by many of its citizens I know that I am not alone in my thoughts.

As Bush and Blair continue to stir the flames, it has become evident that the facts are getting a little muddled up. Does Iraq have nuclear capability? The answer to this question is important, of course, as it determines the nature of the threat. What is more important is knowing if Saddam is inclined to use the weapons at his disposal, whether they be chemical, biological or nuclear. That would determine the presence of a threat, and the necessity of force which would undoubtedly result in loss of innocent lives.

I do not claim to be an expert on politics, but like many others I too am of the belief that the “facts” laid before us are not only the result of omission or manipulation, but border on lies. It is hard to believe everything that is said anymore.

Like Fred who wrote about his own disbelief, I am sure I am not the only skeptical one. My heart goes out to the troops sent there in body but not in heart nor spirit.

It is easy to sit from a distance and write about these things. It is easy to numb ourselves to its reality. I want to feel and care, but I do not dare venture there for fear the grief be too great for me to bear.

Sunshine in Rain

This entry is for her.

Watched part of Les Misérables on DVD for the umpteenth time tonight. The part where Eponine sings “On my Own” till she dies singing “Little Fall of Rain”, but of course.

I am reminded of the time when you came over and we went through my wardrobe in an attempt to clear away the clothes that I never wore. I picked up this oversized long sleeved brown checkered shirt and pulled a piece of underwear over my head. I then clasped my hands together like the Von Trapp singers at a recital and started singing the first few lines of “On my Own”. I was trying hard to do my best rendition of Lea Salonga as Eponine.

We then laughed our heads off for the longest time.

I can’t begin to describe how much I missed you at that very moment of reminiscing. There is so much comfort in knowing that I can be totally silly around you and it brings me such great joy to watch you laugh. Yet at the same time the realisation of how far I am away from you is almost too painful to bear.

It’s another nine months before I come back home for good. I shudder at the thought.

In the meantime, my heart pines with ‘Ponine, and we remain companions on the road of life and love until she finds her love requited, and I find mine fulfilled in your arms.

Prints

Seems like almost every photolog I visit is starting to offer prints of their photos. I don’t know if it’s a viable business venture, nor am I rushing headlong into the fray. I not sure if anyone would pay anything for prints of my photos.

I was intending, however to run a vote on the best photos of August, and then offer wallpapers of those. Free of course. Anyone interested?

Empty

God loves a cheerful giver. - 2nd Corinthians 9:7 Continually give, and you will continually have. - Fortune Cookie.

How does one give unreservedly? It is something so much harder than it seems. I’ve told many people that giving is characteristic of being a Christian, and that in being taken advantage of, comfort can be found in the fact that Christ Himself surrendered His own rights to give us the right to have some part in Him. The people who give their all bear His mark, His likeness. Sometimes it takes a kick in the butt for me to realise that in my own life. It is somewhat much easier to deliver advice from afar.

These few days have been awfully draining, with many demands for my time still outstanding. Though I know that with good management I am able to fulfill most of them, I also know that it would mean that I would have little or no time for myself. To muse, to take photographs that I love. To just chill and take things slow.

I need so much more strength, so much more willpower to lay down my will (ironic as it sounds). But I know that I am called to trudge the same footsteps my Lord did, and in some way understand the fullness of His nature.

There are times I feel so far from Him, and the things that scares me is that within me there is an urge to run even further, despite my knowing better.

His arms are open, and I stand at the crossroads of whether to run in or run away.

Search for Information

The Internet was supposed to usher in an era of information, and the sheer bulk of it would mean that people would become better informed with a million different perspectives at their fingertips.

And what do we come up with?

This search query is probably the most innovative, deviant and intriguing I’ve seen. Makes us all wonder, why?

Crucify Them!

We’ve all been victim at one point or a trillion to the more than occasional spam mail. You know, the ones who drop porn in our inboxes, or prescribes viagra to our ten-year-olds.

Anders Jacobsen has taken the fight to them. He caught a spammer, somehow obtaining the names and cell phone numbers of those involved in these nefarious activities. He wants your feedback as to what to do now.

I’m not the only one thinking up innovative forms of torture now am I?

Pontianak Sorority

In old Asian tales there exists a spectre called the Pontianak. She (it’s always a female) is usually characterised by the long white flowing gown, and long white hair. Many things are said about the way they float about, or the shrill screams they emit, but words become hushed when people speak about their faces. It is believed that should one look upon the face of the Pontianak, one would surely die of sheer fright.

I bring this up not to scare anyone nor to promote an international exchange of ghost stories. The reason is this: For no apparent reason, long pink painted nails were found on the floor of my car, and in the trunk. Though they are the “stick-on” variety, I don’t recall giving a ride to anybody who comes close to fitting the description. The nails just appear.

There’s got to be some logical reason right?

Harmony

The macro function on my good old Kodak DC280 wouldn’t allow me to take anything closer, quite effectively rendering it rather unmacro. But this is my submission into Photojunkie’s 100K Photocontest.

Gwenivere

This is Gweniviere, my trusty ministrel here in Arizona.

I’m pretty convinced that Fred will win this category with his entry.

End of Summer

Coming from a land that has no seasons whatsoever, I’m blindly submitting this photo for Photojunkie’s 100K Photocontest, under the category “End of Summer”.

Cloudy Tucson Sunset

This is just one of seven photos in a set I compiled of the same sunset. If you want you could start viewing them here.

Of if you think that other photos are more suitable for the theme, just drop a comment below.

Gold No More

We live in a time of redefinition and change. Where business leaders were once charismatic and dynamic, Bill Gates and Martha Stewart inch their way to world-bank status. Tonight USA’s Dream Team was redefined into a mere dream.

After a loss to Argentina yesterday in the World Basketball Championships, they proceeded to prove the feat not a fluke by doing it again. The Dream Team squandered a late 10 point lead to bow out of the tournament, giving Yugoslavia the victory. Though I claim to take no sides, I found myself hopping when Yugoslavia won. It instinctively felt like a victory.

Why the anti-American sentiment? Why did the millions of soccer-fans everywhere furrow their eyebrows at the thought of USA going deep into the World Cup tournament? Why do we crease our foreheads in indignation at the United States’ resolve to go to war with Iraq?

Is it simply because they are the prevalent superpower? After all, most people do have a tendency to support the underdog.

Reading the comments by the Dream Team players and coach after their loss, it is clear that the culture of its citizens is partly, if not mainly responsible for the global distaste.

You’ve heard the clichés. “They didn’t beat us, we beat ourselves”. “We didn’t play the game we were capable of”. and so on.

Seldom is heard the concession that the other team was better, or the admission that they were outplayed. There is no defeat that wasn’t a deliberate or accidental choice, or the result of circumstance.

Humble pie is good for the soul from time to time. There is a phobia of its taste in this land.

Gelatin Silver Paradise

Went to the Eugene Smith exhibition at the Center for Creative Photography here at school. I was totally blown away by the amount of detail. Once skeptical, I am now pretty convinced that digital photography has some way to go before it fully captures the glory of film. Of course it helps if one has a six-megapixel Canon D-60 to ease the pain.

Like Ansel Adams, Eugene Smith was also a darkroom maniac. It seems that these black and white photo fanatics all are. While my sister goes on about how digital photography has degraded the authenticity of photographs in general it is no startling revelation that the masters of film photography were not so revered because they simply took pictures, but how they manipulated light.

Of course one could argue that they didn’t have killer photo apps like Photoshop back then. Ease of use does not make a skill any less, does it?

Bop IT Extreme

You can now play the game online!

Dull Boys

When Singapore banned chewing gum, the whole world laughed. Talk shows made fun about how you could get caned for looking people the wrong way, or jail for munching on a particularly chewy piece of steak.

Greece has banned video games. All of them.

How does one uninstall solitaire again?

Empty Handed

Went to the post office to collect the backdated mail that has accumulated over the few weeks. When the lady over the counter at the post office told me that she found nothing and that they had probably sent the mail back to their respective senders, my heart sank. It wasn’t that I was expecting anything of extreme importance, but the fact was, I expected something. An old magazine, junk mail…anything. The feeling was like that of one waiting for a birthday present only to find none. Send me something, will ya?

Rebuilt

Had lunch with Kathryn a few moments ago. For those of you who don’t remember Kathryn, she’s a dear friend who was diagnosed with brain cancer and underwent surgery and treatment.

She’s doing great now. She’s back in school, and though it is to both our regret that she’s one semester behind the rest of us (meaning we aren’t in the same classes), we are all glad to see her back in school.

Her daily routine includes jogging about two miles to build up her fitness. I didn’t want to break the news to her that her fitness routine was two miles too intensive.

Her strength is a source of inspiration to us all. Her laughter puts all our tears to shame.

Answers to Zodiac Signs

The answers to the Zodiac Sign test assignment on Tribolum are below. Eleven attempts, none got it right. Maybe we should have a fortune cookie one sometime.

If you need the absolute link to the test and its results, click here.

No Man's Land

A fluorescent light tube illuminating an old store sign. A shoddily whitewashed wall peeling from the weather. The crooked way the road sign hangs from the overhead traffic light it clings on to. There’s something to be said about the less urban environment.

Driving home late tonight the small things I noticed stirred up melancholy thoughts of how I’d miss Tucson when I returned home to Singapore. I envisioned my leaving, and th feelings it would evoke from me. I remember thinking this thought:

If it were at all possible, I would hug Tucson for all she was worth. I would breathe her desert scent in, look in the Saguaro green of her eyes and feel the silky soft sand of her complexion.

Funny thing is, much as I miss family and friends back home, the attachment I have to the very land itself can hardly be considered strong.

What ties a man to his land? What exactly is it that binds our very souls to a geographic place? Is it merely the location upon which our memories are made?

Our memories, which are our past, which is our life were made here. That has got to count for something.

Life in Singapore is a premonition of the life to be, everywhere in the world. Things moving at warp speed…people working non-stop. The urban life. The cityscape of Singapore changes so rapidly it is hard to feel nostalgic at all, for the things that we grew up around have all disappeared, trampled by the fast-marching feet of progress. The hands that helped carve our memories are no more. In their place are new hands, unfamiliar hands, soft unwrinkled hands that though pleasing to the eye, hold little character.

Part of me wants to stay here.

Tonight, all of me wants to stay here. I don’t want to go back to an alien homeland.

Remembering Michelle

There has been a resurgence in the old archives of the 2002 Winter Olympics where Sarah Hughes won the Olympic gold over crowd favourite Michelle Kwan.

Like every truly great sporting moment, the memories remain fresh and vivid in our collective memories.

Retrospective Predictions

I need some help from you guys with a small assignment I have. Below are the horoscopes for September 2nd, 2002, with a slight problem - the star signs are missing.

Answer below which one of the horoscopes best described your day (Monday, September the 2nd 2002) and which zodiac sign you fall under. I shall reveal the respective star signs tomorrow.

Your help is much appreciated.

  1. Aries. Just about everything makes you angry these days. Your feelings are strong enough to be a natural resource, if only you could harness them. Chill out — this can’t be healthy for you.
  2. Aquarius. You are nobody’s sweetheart today, and maybe that’s the problem. Get out and see what the rest of the world is doing. You can be friendly without making a commitment.
  3. Cancer. Guests are exactly where they belong. Hosts are endless sources of entertainment and comfort. The Moon opens all of the windows to flood your house with sunlight and oxygen.
  4. Capricorn. You are short on patience when it comes to extreme behavior. You may not actively disapprove, but you’ve heard it all before. Anyone who loves you will know where to find you.
  5. Gemini. Nothing is fixed or absolute. Think about getting what you deserve before going after what you want. There’s more to life than the urgent messages that your appetite is sending to your brain.
  6. Leo. Hide your feelings if they’re unacceptable. Nobody wants to play the radical honesty game. When you put your thoughts in writing now, you’ll have them later either to read aloud or burn quietly.
  7. Libra. Don’t leave town just yet. Unfinished business is crying for your attention. Treat your connections well if you want them to stay reliable in some future hour of need.
  8. Pisces. Your dreams of flying come true in metaphor if not in reality. You have no doubt where his or her talents lie. Under the Moon, you always know the right thing to say, and your timing is perfect.
  9. Sagittarius. When you want something badly enough, other things must change. How far will the ripples spread after your stone sinks? The Moon suggests that you consider this question before proceeding.
  10. Scorpio. You love it when everything gets so deep — now you can dive and swim freely. Long distances are no problem. Think, feel and act in any way you see fitting.
  11. Taurus. Everyone is listening and cooperating famously. Your favorite song, if it’s a happy one, sums up this moment perfectly. Travel among friends, carrying this feeling with you.
  12. Virgo. With you in charge, organized games are all the rage. You know friends and family well enough to get the best possible use from them. Be sure to accommodate other people’s wishes into your plan.

Thanks a bunch guys.

Horoscopes from Astrology.com. Don’t cheat.

Update: Answers are up and in red. 11 attempts, none hit home.

Friend in Need, and in Deed

Spoke to Erick a few moments ago over the phone. Ever since we both left Singapore to pursue our education overseas, we’ve seen little of each other.

He’s there down under, and I’m up here in North America. While he’s lamenting on how cold it is, I’m here grilling my butt off in Arizona’s summer heat. I’m pretty sure Satan isn’t present here in Arizona now. He goes back to hell during summer because it’s probably cooler there.

Anyway, Erick just had his house burgled, losing his precious computer and the thesis he was working on.

He’s really had a most interesting time studying there. In a little more than a year he has had his car burgled, his backyard set on fire, a close encounter with a group of teenage robbers and his car break down. He should be awarded some sort of medal after all the ordeal he has gone through.

It was good to hear from him again. Having grown up together we share many memories. Looking at the topics of our conversation now we can’t help but reminisce on times past. How we used to gleefully laugh at the girls we liked, or the going-ons in our respective schools. Now we speak of setting marriage dates and finding jobs. It won’t be long until we’ll be sitting on a bench somewhere looking talking about our grandchildren.

Thanks bro. It’s been wonderful growing up with you. God willing, I look forward to many more years ahead.

Discordant

One of the most prominent western ideologies proliferated by Hollywood and Disney cartoons is that you should not conform readily to social pressures and be yourself. From the subtle everyone is unique and beautiful to the stronger message of standing up for what you believe in, in spite of what others might say.

Somehow it dawned on me that this message goes against the democratic form of government that is also strongly advocated by the West. Why do we listen to the masses, if we ought to stand up for ourselves? Where do we draw the line? Within the political party? Nationally? Globally?

Should the American government go to war with Iraq, it is a small circle that they have encapsulated themselves in. Even the American people, the everyday Joe, seems to take more caution when at the brink of a violent crusade.

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