Τρίτη, Ιουνίου 8

A Few Days Off From The World

I'm upset. At myself and the world in general. I won't be talking to people for a few days, please understand.

Κυριακή, Ιουνίου 6

Various

Soundtrack: Voi Che Sapete from Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, sung by Cecilia Bartoli.


New Nokia Phone Writes Messages in Mid-Air
The new Nokia 3220 lets you type out a message on the phone, then display that message in lights as you wave the phone around. Sensors in the phone cause lights on the back to blink just right to create the illusion that your message hovers briefly in the air. The phone also has a built-in camera.


Dear Leader Changes Mind, Recalls All Cell Phones In North Korea
The North Korean government has recalled all mobile phones from the country just a year and a half after allowing them for the first time in the communist nation. They discovered that people were apparently using them to actually talk to each other, something Orwellian dictatorships tend to discourage. As of May 25, all cell phones in the country are banned, except as an emergency food source. Meanwhile, capitalist South Korea passed the 36-million cell phone users milestone this week.


Microsoft Patents the Double-Click
Microsoft has been granted a patent for the double-click, according to an Australian news site. Once Microsoft gets a patent for the single click, all your base are belong to Microsoft.

Σάββατο, Ιουνίου 5

Net Tweakings

Soundtrack:Gavotte avex Six Doubles from the Suite in La Majeur by Jean-Philippe Rameau, published in Nouvelles Suites de Pièces de Clavecin (1728), played by William Christie. Late French Baroque harpsichord music, one of my favourites.

My current favoured Web browser is Mozilla Firefox version 0.8 - it's faster than IE and keeps multiple open webpages within the same window by using tabs. Opera's faster than IE and uses the same tabs idea but somehow seems buggy on my computer. I've been an Netscape boy until about 2001, when I switched over to IE out of laziness. Now I'm checking Netscape's website and it seems there's now version 7.1 out... the last time I updated my Netscape was in 2000 with version 4.73. Let's download that and see how it fares against Mozilla and IE.

Meanwhile, I've closed down my old homepage. I don't think anyone will shed a tear for its departure, since there've been no updates on it since 1998. Still, I was one of the first Singaporeans to have a homepage when commercial internet access became available in 1995. Those were the days when one still worked with html code, before the wysiwyg html helpers came along. It was nifty in the early days - moving gifs and all. But hey, the net's come a long way since 1995, as have we all. Hence, with a brief moment and a smile to remember the friends I've made around the world who've surfed into the website... I took it down. Quite painless, I'm surprised. I really oughtn't have left that website get so ridiculously outdated - one notice on the main page said the last update was sometime in 1998 and that the next one was scheduled for 1999. It's 2004 already. Heh. Talk about being lazy. A temporary notice is now in its place. I'm not making any promises about when the new homepage will be done. I don't even know what to do with it. Perhaps I'll make it a sort of respository of supplemental pages to my blog. We shall see.

However, as there have been several important external links to my pages on The Feast of Fools and my Virtual Shrine of St Thomas of Canterbury, as a service to the scholars who use them, I've kept them on the server for now. In time, they will be updated too.

So I've pretty much cleared my homepage folder in the Pacific Internet server. But I've kept what I need for this webpage. Interestingly enough, in the process of clearing the webpage, I've discovered a number of external direct links to my images, links which didn't have my permission. I didn't even know they existed. To use someone else's images for one's webpage or whatever without permission (or at least notification) is, to say the least, extremely rude. I don't do it, and I don't expect you would either - I like to think only people with a certain amount of class read my blog!

So what've I done in response to these people? Firsly, I've renamed the target image files and adjusted all my own links to the files accordingly. Here comes the funny bit. I've put in various image files and renamed them to correspond to my old image filenames, and hence those links in other websites will now point to the new image files that bear the old names. This gives various results to diverse websites and petty thieves. To those websites towards whom I've felt particular annoyance at the image (and bandwidth, mind you) theft now have rather rude pictures adorning their site. I wasn't quite so evil as to follow the suggestion of one friend to use pornographic pictures. Other lesser offenders now have graphics such as these on their pages:

Great fun. *chuckle*

Παρασκευή, Ιουνίου 4

Attention! Man in uniform alert!

Shamelessly ripped from my friend Melissa's blog:


Viewing instructions:

1)Ignore the village idiot on the right who is attempting to pass off as the most powerful man in the world.

2)Cast your eyes to the man in the blue and white uniform on the left.

3)Trail your eyes on the muscular biceps and the firm shoulders and pectorals that lie beneath the snug, smooth fabric of the blue top.

4)Move eyes down south and take in the beautiful curve of the derriere, the tautness of the muscles brought about by the 35 degree angle of his stance.

5)Take in the linear lines of the abdomen, accentuated by the yellow sash.

Warning: Don't forget to breathe.

Miscellanea

Soundtrack: Für Alina by Arvo Pärt. Meditative, minimalist and very serene.

  • Did a bit of voice work on Monday, narrating an expository video about some IT company. I'm trying to get more work of this sort, as it pays quite well - $200 for a page of text and a hour's work. The chaps who did that recording seem to like my voice, and they're asking me to do more stuff, including a multi-part documentary on Indonesia. Let's hope it works out. The lady in charge of the place said the problem with most men's voice in Singapore is that they tend to be rather high-pitched and slightly nasal. Apparently my voice is a pleasant bass, clear and articulated. They also appreciated my ability to speak Received Pronunciation and do accents. Whee!

  • Support bacteria. They're the only culture some people have.

  • Now that I've got a mobile phone cable and appropriate software on my computer, I find I can put in various midi files as ringtones and various image files as wallpapers. Hurrah, great fun, even though I know it's a cheap thrill. I've been fooling around with this since Mid-Lent or so, and the novelty of the games on my phone has worn down finally!

  • It seems tertiary students and all teachers are entitled to a $350 discount on iPods. With the 40G iPod priced at $928 before discount, it looks like I might finally be able to get one! Oh, I've been lusting after an iPod ever since I got the chance to test-drive one nearly 2 years ago while reviewing it for Twenty4Seven magazine. Hurrah!

  • Πέμπτη, Ιουνίου 3

    Readers' Digest (i.e. assorted things)

    Soundtrack: Goldberg Variations by Johann Sebastian Bach, played by Blandine Verlet on a 1751 Hemsch harpsichord.

    from Curt Jester:

  • Cross, Altar Could Be Removed From Nursing Home Chapel: Amazing, a complaint that there is a cross and altar in a chapel. "a Jefferson man questioned whether Countryside's chapel should have religious symbols on a regular basis." I suppose the man whines about there being art in an art museum.


    from Otto-da-Fe:

    NY Tap Water Not Kosher
    : A glassful of cold New York City tap water not kosher? It may be true — and just in case, restaurants and bakeries operated under Orthodox Jewish law were advised Tuesday to use filters that can ensure water purity. The problem: tiny harmless creatures called copepods. The little organisms are crustaceans and therefore not considered kosher. Elinor's comment was: There must be something odder than copepods in Mr. Zimmerman's water if he thinks it's any reponsibility of the city's to make the tapwater conform to the standard of a private religious group.

  • "Every prostitute and bum in Rome knew Latin."
    --The irrepressible Rev. Reginald Foster (or Reggie, as he is more often known), responding to claims that Latin is difficult (New York Times, 28 May 2004).


    From The Shrine of the Holy Whapping:

    Move to Iowa Turns Albino Alligator Pink: How cute.

  • Yeah... I've Always Been A Queen...




    Which Country Will you dominate
    Name
    DOB
    Favourite Color
    Country You Will Rule England
    How You Came to Power Birth right, yes you are royalty
    How Long will you rule you will never die because you are a god and will rule for eternity
    This fun quiz by jjflash - Taken 3318 Times.


    MOVE OVER VICTORIA!

    Weirdest Horror Film Ever

    I just watched Higuchinsky's Uzumaki, another Japanese horror film. This time it's about a small town plagued by... spirals. I'm not kidding. It's really weird, and I can't say I enjoyed it. I can say I'm puzzled by it. It really would take the Japanese to come up with something like this. It's supposed to be based on a comic. Ah. That explains a lot. It is now nearly 2 in the morning. All I can say about the film is "what the hell?" but hey, it was nothing if not original. Very Lovecraft. Still, I think I preferred Kwaidan!

    Τετάρτη, Ιουνίου 2

    Various Links and Things

    Soundtrack: Various tracks from Michael Nyman's score for the film Gattaca.

    First some from Serge:

  • Bum Rap Pinned On Parents: Acts of brutality are carried out in the name of ‘reasonable chastisement’ but, says Rachel Johnson, banning smacking will only encourage children to believe that they have a right to behave as they please. I think she's absolutely right. There is a place for a good hard slap after warning.

  • US military now trying to buy abused prisoners: By the Gods, have they no sense of shame?

  • ‘Gay’ protesters denied Communion: In a nutshell, what happened was that a certain sort of gay Catholics in the US wore rainbow sashes to Mass on Pentecost to protest the Church's official teachings on homosexuality and were denied Communion. This is quite right of course, because anyone who doesn't believe what the Church teaches has no right to receive Communion. However, we've got people quoted in the article: ' "Who is the church to say who can and cannot get communion?" said Greg Van Hyfte, 27, carrying a rainbow-hued umbrella prior to the services to fend off a driving rain.' Excuse me, the Church is PRECISELY the authority that defines who gets Communion and who doesn't. To quote Serge's homosexual Catholic friend, "no normal, dignified adult would wear a rainbow-coloured sash to tell strangers how he likes to reach orgasm."


    Then from the Old Oligarch, who tells us his

  • Reasons for drinking include "Drinking is the sole remaining Dionysian act in which I can indulge when my Apollonian side needs counterbalancing." Mmm, nice!

  • He's also got a great post on Absinthe..

  • And a delightful little rant on how women shouldn't EVER work in fine men's clothing stores. I agree entirely of course.


    Fr Jim at Dappled Things has watched Troy and made the following excellent observation:
    One last impression comes from the absence of gods. Cutting out the numerous appearances of the gods was doubtless a decision to aim for realism. But there was more to it than that. Every time the Trojans make a decision based on religion, it fails. The gods are worse than deaf and absent: people's belief in them brings them more harm than good -- not the gods themselves, but the mere belief. That touch is almost Euripideanly subversive.
    A BRILLIANT point.

  • Gloves

    Soundtrack: Veni Redemptor Gentium, by Paul Schwartz. New-ageish, ambient-ish, a melody taken from Gregorian Chant... but worlds away from Enigma's Sadness of the late 80s.

    I sit at my computer, slowly enjoying an after-dinner dessert of greek yoghurt with a spoonful of honey mixed in. I've decided to give it a bit of a devil's tail by adding in some sultanas soaked in gin.

    My hair, that has been bleached to a platinum blond for the last 24 hours, has been driving my father up the wall. He hates me blond. So I'm also sitting here with a whole load of dye in my hair. Oh no, I'm not colouring it back to my natural brown-black. I'm not going back to the royal blue either for now, as I have to help dad with business and royal blue hair won't look good at discussions and meetings. I'll go back to that when I'm an academic or a student again.

    For the meantime, I'm dyeing it to the nice dark midnight blue-black I had last October. It's Garnier's No. 210 Blue-Black. Quite an amazing colour, this, as it looks blacker than brown-black under artificial lighting, and under strong sunlight it's royal blue. Brilliant!

    Upon reflection, I now realise I've been colouring my hair on and off for over a decade now, since I was 15 and realised I had grey in my hair. My hair's natural colour is currently the usual East-Asian brown-black, but with perhaps 10% grey scattered throughout. The interesting thing about having so much scattered grey is that grey picks up a lighter shade of whichever colour I'm doing, so it's almost like highlights of a sort. In the past few years, my hair's gone through copper, mahogany, aubergine, red, royal blue... I'm tempted to do a real nice blond sometime. What I'm never going to do is green (for green and black are the colours of Raffles Institution, my school's archrival).

    I'm wondering though. After years of hair-colouring, I'm now convinced that European and American women have smaller hands than Asian women. Why this conviction? All hair-colouring kits come with disposable plastic gloves to wear while colouring hair. Oddly, Japanese hair-dye packs come with rather large and comfortable gloves, yet the European and American kits all come with much smaller gloves. Curious.

    Quotation

    If we live as people of God, there will be room for all nations in the Balkans and in the world. If we liken ourselves to Cain who killed his brother Abel, then the entire earth will be too small even for two people. The Lord Jesus Christ teaches us to be always children of God and love one another. - Patriarch Pavle (Paul) III, Serbian Orthodox Church
    (from Serge)

    Brownian Thoughts

    Soundtrack: Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda by Claudio Monteverdi, performed by Concerto Italiano under Rinaldo Alessandrini. A short work, it's an example of semi-opera. Imagine a story sung by a narrator, but with 2 other singers singing the words spoken by the characters. Lovely stuff.

  • Just discovered a amusing chinese circumlocution (speaking in circles to avoid directly touching a sensitive subject or taboo)! 廟小﹐燈籠大 - literally translated, 'temple small, lanterns big". Chinese temples always have two lanterns hanging at the entrance, and these are usually large and red. A small temple with overly large lanterns is an unusual occurence. The circumlocution refers to a small woman with large, uh, mammaries.

  • I realise one of the recurring dreams I have relates to flying. In these dreams, all I have to do is stretch my arms out, jump up a little and I'm flying. Can't figure out how I do it, but I'm able to control speed and direction as I like. I'm usually flying over familiar territory, with friends smiling and cheering below. I always feel good after one of these dreams, which leave me with an empowered sort of feeling.

  • Ghafar Baba, sometime Prime Minister of Malaysia, has been a family friend for ages now. Dad told me back in the 60s when the Communists in Vietnam (opposed by China but supported by Russia) threatened to take Thailand and Malaysia, Ghafar Baba confided to him, 'I'd rather be a subject of the great British Empire than of these buffalo-herding peasants'. I know the feeling...

  • Was in Malacca over the weekend, as Dad had to pick up some documents from there, and the three of us decided to make it an overnight outing. The name of the city is amusing if one knows Modern Greek, as 'Μαλακα' (Malaka) is current rude Greek slang equivalent for the British 'wanker'.

  • Have decided to check out Asian Horror films. Watched the Ju-On series on Monday night, specifically Ju-On: The Grudge and Ju-On: The Prequel. Well, I'd heard no end of the films from friends and reviews, all of which pronounced them far scarier than anything else from the West. I watched them as a night marathon after midnight (so technically Tuesday morning), alone. I was expecting to be scared silly. I ended up quite bored. I can't figure out why they're supposed to be so terrifying. Someone tell me, please!

  • My friend Melissa said in her blog, 'There's nothing like the oasis of an empty Tiffany's store with La Vie En Rose playing softly in the background to make a girl feel like Audrey Hepburn for that moment in time.', and that made me think of the last time I bought something from Tiffany's for someone special. There's a lovely old-fashioned feeling of romance attached to going into Tiffany's. Picking out an item. Watching it go into the blue box. The silver ribbon around the box. It was for Zhi, with whom I'm now only in occasional contact, but for whom I was absolutely over the moon at the time. Granted, Zhi's an absolute charmer, and he's almost impossible to faze, ever-cool. I still remember his eyes went quite wide, and how he made a little sharp intake of breath when I produced the Tiffany's bag and took the blue box out of it. Ben, the chap who served me at Tiffany's, another former student, is now in the army, and it is he, ironically, with whom I'm now much closer and more likely to court. There's far more chemistry between Ben and me, and of a very... shall we say, interesting sort. Life's funny like that.