Monday, October 31, 2005
While browsing through the old toon sites I came across ptikobj, a flash animation so bizarre and surreal that it possesses a strange allure.
Stirred by curiosity I visited fat-pie, the toon's creator's website, and discovered the full extent of the horrors flash can unleash. Firth used an euphemism - he admits his toons are odd. But the full-formed cartoons that sprang full-formed (or at least half-formed) from his dreams go much further than that. I showed them to Clement, who promptly was sick. (A mistake, on hindsight.)
The author: David Firth, the mind behind such terrors as Salad Fingers. It strikes me that such an unbalanced mind as his would be only too capable of making a toon like ptikobj. Although fortunately lacking the explicit violence and aberrance that characterizes his other works that toon does contain a slight macabre element.
The strangely named "ptikobj" is based on his dreams. Evidently, the less...disturbing ones. The more disturbing ones are based on his own website. If you do want to watch them, be warned.
Or you could always watch Late Night Shopping instead. It resembles Kevin's trekkie site, except its probably more intelligent.
Sorry. IBA disorientates me.
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Anyway, it’s almost cruelly anticlimactic how this year ended. Honestly, I doubt even the lucid talents of the guest writers of The March Of The Penguins could make things any less unforgivably unexciting. Most of us have been together for what, at least four years? Some even more, their association stretching back to primary 3. Or even primary 1, or kindergarten, or in the case of our long-departed brothers sian/yao, the womb and all its associated embryonic fluids.
The point is, after all these years of companionship and camaraderie (haha if you cant beat 'im, join 'im), after all these glorious and ardous(and, more notably,girl-free) years, our silly days have come to an end with half of us on work attachment and the other half skipping school. With, the remaining (and arguably nonexistent) stragglers simply coming to school out of painful obligation or mindless routine, awaiting with bated breath for the school bell to chime its crescendo of liberation. Its quite...disturbing!
Anyhow, it’s been a good year. In fact, a good four years. Or six, or nine, or sixteen (okay, trying too hard here.) I daresay most of us will look back on this time with at least some degree of nostalgia, as well as a fair amount of regret. Maybe even the occasional bucket of warm, fuzzy tears. I’m not going to go into detail here because well, Far Too Many Things have happened. We’ve all been nurtured as hundred year trees and overflowing vegetable baskets. Or perhaps unashamed bottom-askers (pardon me, O level in three days :) ). We really do owe our friends, our teachers, and our school (and I mean favours, not a good, sound beating)
So, anyhow, remember kids, when you grow up, you must drink water and remember source. Therefore, all your cash are belong to us! *flashes Korean grin*. Ugh , four years in school and all ive learnt is leet :| And we wonder why other schools call us e-leet-ists. (oh.man.so...bad)
Okay okay. On a sadder note; I suppose that while we will remain as schoolmates, we'll be apart and in a new compound. Honestly, thats adequate cause for sadness! Doesn’t it strike you that we’ll never see the terribly mismatched pastel tiles of these classrooms ever again? Or, more importantly, that our crazy clingy motley crew will be unleashed unto the rest of the unsuspecting student populace, never to return to our spawn..point? (for lack of a better word) . Come to think of it, perhaps its precisely because we realize this that we don’t seem to be unduly concerned. (okay, my sad writing faiiils). Or, seriously, maybe its not masculine to let these things show. Maybe masculinity is more about big muscles with aromatically distasteful armpits. But I think I speak for the class at large when I say that we’ll miss one another. No one wants to admit it, but its quite (hopefully) how everyone feels! and we'll do so really soon. Really! Ahh, nevermind. *joins Tinky Winky in his jolly...frolicking*
So…I guess…this is goodbye then! This goes out to all of you, students, teachers, friends. Au revoir! Auf Wiedersehen! Zhai Jian!
-- In fact, i quite like that Chinese farewell. It literally means that we’ll see each other again.
And we will.
*terms and conditions apply.
(and bye jondorf! have fun in england)
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
There is nothing more unfortunate that having a workplace smack in the middle of that paradimensional realm we candidly refer to as "nowhere". Ok, maybe there is. Something along the lines of having to report two hours before regular office work times and an hour and a half before that to catch a feeder bus it would be so much more convenient to ignore.
The workplace in question is smugly secure in its proud position of being in close proximity with the Second Link and, like Tatooine, further than anywhere from the bright center of Singapore. The company in question is the uninspiringly-named KeppelFELS, specializing in oil rigs, and, as I hurriedly jotted down in my log, "other miscellaneous maritime equipment". The bus trip reveals a side of Singapore rarely seen; the industrial powerhouse concealed beneath the effusive greenery that epitomises our international reputation. Chimneys belching forth smokes, mysterious lumbering behemoths of steel and oil-stained concrete heaping themselves towards the bitter blue sky - the inevitable price paid for by the captains of industry to forward the edifice of our economy.
KeppelFELS houses itself within the confines of a middling-sized office building. The clean lines that make this particular structure up contrast in stark relief against the surround - piles of dirty equipment, cranes, storage tanks, and most distinctive of all, the imposing silhouette of massive construction going on in the far horizon. The building itself is modest enough, and comfortable. The lobby was tasteful and welcoming. But our misgivings, on that first day; they fought stark and pitched battles against reason and emotion.
In any case there were three of us. I was unfortunate enough to be separated from either of them, conscripted into the vilifying role of office-helper; running around revolutionizing the filing system and generally wrecking havoc among the dust-bins and the filing cabinets - now, that was my lot in life in those lost hours between dawn and dusk. Officially I'm in the HR (Human Resources) Department, but insofar as I can tell I've not been involved in anything but a level of work that may be classified as slightly better than "grunt." A whole day lugging around cumbersome grey-green employee reports and staring at black files and dank filing cabinets does much in dimming the mind; by lunchtime I invariably lurch around with the permanent fixture of a flustered and lethargic expression on my face. I almost seem to have an entire nation's personnel reports to re-file (now that's an Orwellian thought ain't it.) The going is arduous and I have 69 pages of microprinted names to comb through. Each entry in this unfortunate collection of names and occupations gives me the location of a certain file and instructions to where to relocate the particular file. There are approximately 3000 employees across these 69 pages; in two days I've completed about 20. Pages, that is.
Another one of my uplifting missions is to take those paper dividers you find in those filing cabinets, remove the numerical designations on them so they can be reused, and keep them. Again there are approximately 3000 of these dividers to finish.
And that's about it. For a wild half-hour on the first day I actually thought it was fun, to a healthily sane extent. I know better now.
Daniel and Weixiong have rather sedate office jobs. They're working together, utilizing the hated PeopleSoft and going about their unfathomable business, occasionally taking coffee breaks, sleeping in emptied rooms, playing minesweeper on their office desktops, and doing other useful miscellaneous tasks. Daniel has also taken to wasting SMSes on Hoe, and Hoe seems to take carthartic pleasure in venting his frustration (read his rant to get a better understanding of it.)
I suppose we are, to a certain extent, better off than Hoe is. He's alone, "free of familiar social contact for a two-kilometre radius", and he's sitting in an office cubicle undergoing slow torture as the ubiquitous and friendly sounds of your neighbourhood industry reverberate around him. I can't say for sure because honestly I don't really know the extent of his tasks, but Hoe isn't one to complain, and when he does, and does so to the extent he's doing so now, alarm bells would be a good sound to have.
Leon seems to have the best of it all, ironically. Even alone his primary activity seems to be partaking in online games as his co-workers fluster and flail about looking for things for him to do.
That's about it for now.
Hayley Westenra is good.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Tis the joyous time of year, after the exams, where we collectively venture forth and watch movies, flagrantly spending money, painfully accumulated by our parents over the course of the rest of the year, that could be used to buy more useful things, such as illegally harvested kidneys or slave-concubines. Or perhaps literary classics such as Amber Brown is Not A Crayon.
Yes, movies. Except that in the case of Corpsebride, it was more of a collection of still-ies. Each and every frame was painstakingly captured, one by one, by moving intricately painted scale models a fraction of an inch each time, culminating in what I must commend as one of the most stylized, intriguing and ultimately enjoyable “animated” movies of the year.
Many people bemoan the fact that the movie is only about an hour and fifteen minutes long, and “absolutely not worth Seven Dollars”. Well, lets do some math.
(/open calculator) Assuming that the movie runs at the bare minimum of 24 frames a second, that’s 24 x 60 x 85 frames, which is a whopping total of 122400 seconds . Giving about (and this is really the minimum) ten minutes a frame, that’s about 20400 man hours or 840 days! (/close calculator)
Now think of it this way. Assuming that your parents work as Chinese coal miners at a rate of about 1 USD a day (not including health insurance fees), and by buying that ticket you’ve spent about eight days of their salary, that’s still a miniscule fraction of what Tim Burton and Johnny Depp put into the making of this show! Value for money huh.
Corpsebride doesn’t strike me as cheesy. In fact, because of its novel concept and the undeniable charm of little plastic figurines, the show and its characters grow on you, so much so that the effect of *spoiler-ending* is irresistibly heartwarming. At the first meeting of the Corpsebride herself, one is, quite frankly, spooked. After all, not many people are charmed (or aroused, for that matter) by a decaying, rotting pile of flesh (other than perhaps our dear, albeit necrophilic, friend). But as we get to understand the rationale behind her actions, her needs and wants, and share the many sweet moments between her and Dan Dort, one cannot help but feel that in a way Dan Dort is far more suited to her than that shallow, mortal-plane-dwelling creature who he is officially betrothed to.
As many critics are quick to point out, the underworld is garishly lit and decorated, whereas the mortal city is grey and drab. As it should be, since (and I quote), “everyone is just Dying to get there!” Literary analyses aside, this whole notion of death being more attractive than life (what with skeletons doing the can can) crafts an overwhelming sense of absurdity. This, combined with a Confucian skele-sage, a bone-dog (I wonder what he gnaws on, then), and lots of magic potion, is, quite simply put, a recipe for hilarity.
The lyrical nature of the movie is also endearing in the extreme. From the beginning the movie is introduced with a decidedly queer rhyme about the town. The songs, far from reaching a Titanic style soppy crescendo, are actually an eclectic mix of Adams Family and Elton John, contributing greatly to the gothic and yet intentionally cartoon setting. Also, there is something inherently appealing about a drunken skeleton jamming on a keyboard. (Oh dear, I fear I too am lost.)
Anyhow, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen something this cute, artsy, funny and yet touching, without sacrificing a significant portion of the female lead’s clothing. And some of the plot. Hell, this movie is truly something to Die for.
(and for SOME dumb reason I keep typing Corpsebride as Corpsebridge. I’ll post my little sketch of a CorpseBridge once I find out how)
Fully two-thirds of the hitherto unconverted, whether determined agnostic, atheist, or just plain apathetic, have abandoned their erstwhile dispositions to take up the new faith, (to them, that is) one that offers some unfathomable appeal. Once converted, they go to it with unrestrained fervour, preaching their newfound wellsprings of religious exultation to the skies. Christianity is almost as fully outspoken, aggressive, and intolerant as a wildfire in the harmattan. There is something about Christianity that releases the dam of restraint, once one has fully embraced it.
It may not be as xenophobic or insecure as it was in the Middle Ages; nevertheless, the harmonious blend of fervour and reward inherent in Christianity has made it one of the most successful ideological contagions of human history. Unlike the encompassing serenity of Buddhism (which has become a religion, whether or not it claims to be merely philosophy) or the unyielding and unbending natures of Islam and other such religions, Christianity thrives on the force of passion. Islam's most passionate adherents strap bombs onto themselves and make martyrs for a misguided cause - that passion hardly helps Islam's image. Islam, itself, like so many other religions, is identified with certain races. Christianity used to be, but with the British Empire and other European powermongers, Christianity has lost its racial bias and has proliferated into the world's first truly multiracial religion.
But the Christian mindset is inherently bigoted. This is an imperative of all religions, of course, if that were not so religions would not be what they are. But Hinduism preaches tolerance. The tenets of Christianity do not preach religious tolerance. Christianity advocates ideological and religious domination in order to achieve the ultimate ends of their purpose. Here, in Singapore, especially, that mindset cannot be allowed to persist.
Christianity is but one among many, and who is to say that one of them isn't true, or doesn't hold the reins of a greater nobility or purpose than Christianity? What is Truth that Christians preach, smug and sure in their Biblical assurance? Why is their creed necessarily Truth? And what right have they to push their opinions onto others, preaching their own Truth at the expense and exclusion of all other beliefs?
What right have they to condemn the teachings of religions as old and as wise as they to the dustbin of Untruth? What right have they to assert their complete ideological and moral superiority over other religions? Only among themselves, but not unto others who do not share their belief.
So please, when preaching, respect the teachings of others.
Friday, October 14, 2005
I've noticed that Karan and Colin have posted about their emancipations. Therefore I'll post about mine too !
The End Of The Examinations. A Narrative.
*dramatic hoeshua-style matrix quote*
Confucius he say~! Every beginning must have an end.
The most significant, memorable, and unexpected event of this bout of examinations actually occured AFTER the papers themselves. Due to unfortunates (such as karan) who had to make up for exams they skipped (in favour of the infinitely more torturous hindi o levels), and the various geologists-to-be, we had to be herded around like a...herd of docile, grass munching bovines, to ease the return of desks to the classrooms.
I will never forget standing behind my desk (i was in row three) , at the direction of that great conductor, Mr Chew, watching as my comrades in arms passed, one by one or in groups of five or so, from the gep side to the...um...other side. Anyhow, this created an adverse psychological effect, akin to the old soviet commisar scare tactic of executing every other poor conscript to "encourage" the rest. except that in this case, the "rest" would consist of no more than five people (come to think of it, it was more like lining up for the gas chamber). Or perhaps sending cows to the slaughter! or was that sheep. nevermind.
Okay, bad analogies aside, the meatshields in front of me disappeared slowly but surely, like a poor guard unit facing the awful wrath of the tyranids. Before i knew it, i was first in line, quivering in my boots (probably more because of the fact that the auditorium was, as always, cold as hell (or heaven, since its got to be cold so high up there) than any fear i may have painted so far).
It was at this moment that Conductor Chew wrenched his jaws apart to pronounce my sentence. "All the rest of you are free to leave, your work will be done by 4.13". Like.. What? Confused glances were exchanged between the survivors, before reality dawned on us, and we smugly strutted out of the auditorium, providing encouraging kicks for the serfs as they carried our desks for us.
Anyway, as josh put it, we're "1= 12 3 3!". (This translates roughly into Merdeka for all you un133t speakers).
So, back to Liberation. Sudden, sweet liberation. we've deposed that dictator on stage at last! (haha hi mr chew). No oil wells here though
To my great consternation, however, we ended up having to wait for everyone else, including the 4.9ers, since we had planned an outing with them. damn you, poetic justice! *shakes fist*
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Don't mistake me; I'm not commenting on my feelings, which are, predictably, relief combined with anticipation. But the capricious weather is so moronically, well, capricious, that it puts a dent on the post-exam euphoria that I inevitably feel. I do feel deflated, however. The vast mad mugging climaxed in the showdown on tuesday, where the twin giants of core math and history merged in apocalypse. Apocalypse was averted, fortunately, and after the last word was written the exams were effectively over. After all, only one subject remained, spread out in two days. So all the tension radiated into formless limbo, and my unconscious was torn as to whether to impose upon my unwilling mind euphoria or concentration. I admit it seemed to choose the former, which, of course, resulted in the tension evaporating slowly instead of in the pleasurable rush of more traditionally-scheduled exam timetables of yester (and yester-yester^n) year.
Today didn't exactly help either, because I found that there is a large possibility of me losing at least five marks over an unfortunate oversight. So, packing up, listening with half an ear to Mr Chew's last moments of unconditional omnipotence up on stage, some of that post-exam relief vanished upon hearing the (suprised?) exclamations of "no, I didn't get that answer" several times over in unanimous ferocity, whereupon I felt a strong temptation to keel over and beat the ground with my fists.
(I shall now use this oppurtunity to state that my POD textbook was also unfinished, but that it now is and is inside the pigeonhole.)
But Locke did postulate that the universe is empirical in nature, so as all empirical observation indicates, the exam is over, and so I'll not need to worry about trying to convince myself that I've been most productive to-day. But that ideally remains an idealized day-to-day resolution. I'll keep it in mind.
Friday, October 07, 2005
A bouquet of flowers - cast upon
The dank brown listless pungent maw-
Of a dustbin, yes, you think in scorn.
I stopped and stared. Whatever thus?
The flowers were wreathed with silken class.
So fresh and new, but cast forlorn
Spirit and body asunder torn.
What spirit of Cupid has wreathed
Has unweaved. Unraveled
In the silken caress that falls apart
And the bared flowers, born again, start.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
What really matters is that ability to focus on the present.
Only 8 days span the yawning gulf between where I stand and the other side, with its promises of bounty. 8 days is not usually a long time. Einstein was right in more ways than one.
In other news, Black and White 2 was supposedly released yesterday, but the official sites still claim that BandW2 still lies in those large brown cartons, being uploaded to cargo transports.
Ah, the post-exam time.