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Valar Qringaomis

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Saturday, February 04, 2006

Address to send hate mail to from now till late/end June:

Gabriel Seah
Cambridgelaan 777 K.2013
3584 DW   UTRECHT
The Netherlands
"The trouble with being punctual is that nobody's there to appreciate it." - Franklin P. Jones

***

Guestbook entry:


Name: spammer

Message: you're
1)fat
2)ugly
3)got disgusting long hair that looks like shit on you
4)think you're smart
5)fat

xiaxue is what better than you!


I must be making too many people think and/or questioning their prejudices, for I also got this in the feedback form:

"u can fuck off"

Someone: you must be doing something right. congrats. i haven't had hate mail since my blog started.


Someone else: do you ever think of it as a ....i dunno.... a calling or something?

i mean... it takes a really really big person to laugh off the kind of things you been getting
and it's not an occasional thing either...

Me: really big person indeed =D

***

Someone: OO [Ed: Open Office] 2.0 is way better than it's previous incarnation and microsoft office too
But um...cross platform formatting not terribly stable

Cross platform formatting is important. Even if you save it in microsoft word or office format it sometimes comes out weird
Maybe it's a law thing but formatting is pretty important for us

Me: in arts we care about content
hehe

Someone: *snort*, content is of course important but we have strict formatting guidelines.
I blame the common law system

***

A Legend - "The session did not go very long before it ended abruptly... 'You are right. I do not need the scholarship at all to go to this (ivy) college. So why am I wasting my time here?' Then she turned around, gathered her file and left the room."

Funkygrad: The Online Teenage Textbook - "Funkygrad.com writer, Sylvia Ang, 21, a second-year social science student in NUS, appreciates that freedom. "The site allows me to explore the theories I learn about, such as existentialism and feminism, and gives me a channel to express myself.""
Exploring existentialism and feminism in a lifestyle mag for tertiary students? Who is she kidding?! They'll run away in droves! And Teenage isn't the right adjective for this age group anyhow.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Muton: Offensive cartoons

"The interesting thing is that there are regularly far more offensive and violently anti-semitic cartoons in the arab press. And racist and religiously offensive lies are viewed as entertainment in the muslim world. The hypocrisy is galling, and the threats of violence are an anathema to anyone who cares about freedom."


MUIS unhappy with caricatures of Prophet Mohammad in European papers

"MUIS says that in Singapore, no one is allowed to ridicule or cast aspersions on the faith of a person under the cloak of free expression."

Does that mean I can't mock the Flat Earth Society?

How about question the Church of Scientology?

Can I object to Creationism, since it is based on people's faith?

Who cares about critical thought? We can throw it out of the window!!!

"The JI is an exclusive group that mistakenly believed that they had found the path to salvation." - Dr Yaacob Ibrahim

Does casting aspersions on Jemaah Islamiah's, or indeed other fundamentalists' extremist and violent interpretations of their faith count? Oh wait. The last isn't "free expression", but "clearing the air" and "promoting religious tolerance and understanding".

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" - Voltaire. But then, if we're not allowed to question the absurdities, how do we prevent people from believing them?


[Addendum:

Dhimmi Watch has coverage of how the outrage is unfolding.

Interestingly: Jordan makes the leap

"Meanwhile, a Jordanian gossip tabloid on defiantly published three of the cartoons that have triggered outrage in the Arab and Muslim world.

"Muslims of the world, be reasonable," said the editor-in-chief of the weekly independent newspaper Al-Shihan in an editorial alongside the cartoons, including the one showing the Muslim religion's founder wearing a bomb-shaped turban.

"What brings more prejudice against Islam, these caricatures or pictures of a hostage-taker slashing the throat of his victim in front of the cameras or a suicide bomber who blows himself up during a wedding ceremony in Amman?" wrote Jihad Momani.

He told the AFP news service he decided to publish the offending cartoons "so people know what they are protesting about... People are attacking drawings that they have not even seen.""

I remember Ayatollah Khomenei issued the fatwa against Rushdie without having even -read- the Satanic verses.]
An exchange:

Anonymous said...
Psalm 14:1
Thursday, February 02, 2006 11:43:49 PM

Agagooga said...
Matthew 5:22
Friday, February 03, 2006 12:04:42 AM


Someone: fuck.
thats like playing blind chess.

After that, it became unblind. Whee.

***

Subject: Thanks for your feedback.

Senders email: themindcafe@themindcafe.com.sg

Message:
Hi,
Really thank you for your feedback.
We will look into those problem area that you have mention.
We will strive to be better...

Regards,

The Mind Cafe
@Prinsep
@Boat Quay


Wah, proactive. I like.

***

Why does everyone keep asking me if I've finished packing?! Gah. I feel like eviscerating the next person who does so.

Someone: it's like asking about the weather

Me: gah
it's equally inane *facepalm*


Source: "The slogan for the Sentosa Flower Festival 2006 is 'Let a million flowers bloom' :P"


Someone: (@$^& salesgirl at the apple store in wheelock place tried to evangelise to me.

she came up to us and was like "are you guys pc or mac users?"
then gave us this card "how to switch to a mac" with 10 steps and offering of a free workshop.

this is like church, only worse.

i wanted to say something mean but she looked like one of those waiting for A level results types and i didn't want to make her cry.

i saved the card
i'll take a photo and post it.

my friend was contemplating buying an ipod
but i convinced her that best denki had better pricing and free coupons..... hee

we were only there to ogle and check out the cases....
damn, did not expected to get preached to.

Me: card?

Someone: yes, she gave me a card! 10 steps to swtching and free workshop!
i told you it's like one of those "how can my soul be saved?" pamphlets.

Me: uhh
at least she only pounced when you were in the store

Someone: it was after i told her we were only browsing

***

The Youth.SG Blog » Blog Archive » Guess Who? Post #1

"I am Youth.SG because I represent modern youth who always think of ways out whenever we meet challenges. To me, nothing is impossible if I really want it.

I dare !

I’m a carefree person, open to new ideas and always striving for the best. I love challenges. The more difficult the challenge, the more excitement I get. There is nothing to lose. I have nothing to worry about. I dare to make mistakes and learn to be wiser by making them. I just do my best in everything I do.

As youth in Singapore, we’re really spoilt for choice! It’s easy to find like-minded people who I can spend time with. I’m a very active person who cannot just sit down, always wanting to do something in my free time. I will usually go shopping with friends, watch movies with my girlfriend or play snooker - my favourite past-time. I’m quite good at snooker, you know. :-)

I can also be an armchair sportsman if my favourite sports are on TV eg. the EPL. Most of the time, I hang out at Orchard Road, as it has many shopping centres, and I can also people-watch…"

Me: Do you pluck eyebrows for a living?

ignoreme: do you like yellow color?

Julian: eyebrows… hahahahaha…
might want to drop by tangs and ask him yourself? :)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

"If you cannot convince them, confuse them." - Harry S Truman

***

The Universal Packing List

This is good stuff covering everything you'll need (and more). I wish I'd known about it back in 1993 when it was started!


"Hygiene (Other): After taking a sneek look at some womens makeup "equipment", I realize that this list could easily grow to ridiculous proportions."

"Condoms
Can be kind of hard to find in some countries. Don't go abroad without them! As for birth control pills/devices, these can cause some raised eyebrows (or worse) at customs checks in some countries if the woman is travelling alone. Wearing a wedding ring even if you're single is often recommended.

"Bring your own condoms and plenty of them. Buying them in a foreign country can be embarrassing, especially if you're allergic to nonoxynil 9. I bought some in Spain that were small thick and had some of the most powerful spermicide known to man. The words burning sensation should be enough warning to all. Anyhow, condoms are waterproof, if nothing else you can put your money in one and safety pin it to the inside of your swimming trunks." - Christina"

"Music media ( Music cassettes, CDs )
If you bring too many, they take up a lot of place in your backpack. If you bring too few, you get sick and tired of them in a flash. One option is to leave them all at home with your music player. That way all your music will be like brand new when you come home."

***

Someone on sex education in schools: the O-level biology course has bits on STDs, etc. but many teachers are simply too squeamish to teach it effectively as far as I recall

and then there are questions of where and when
I recall NYPS getting some Dr Quek to tell all the 10? 11? year olds about sex
she went into rather too much detail, I suspect, including such tidbits as what her husbands semen tasted like, etc

Me: wth?!
eh how come I don't remember
hahahahaha

Someone: I was hiding under a desk after the first 15 minutes (:
maybe your batch missed out (;

***

You Ignorant Offspring of a Cockeyed Camel! - "Mind Your Language was screened on local TV in the 70's when I was still in primary school... This show would never have seen the light of day in current times because people are more sensitive and less tolerant today."

Despair.com: Addressing Employee Complaints - "The good news is that it really doesn't matter whether the complaint is legitimate or not, because the 'It Could Be Worse' program works whether the complaint is legitimate or illegitimate... I could waste thousands of dollars on unnecessary headsets or I could simply remind my employees that despite their dissatisfaction, it really could be worse, so what I chose to do is I got a brochure from an outsourced call-center... It's one thing to be unhappy with your headset. It's another thing to lose your job. So as a result, complaints about headsets have virtually stopped."

MOE: Literature in English Teaching Syllabus
"Restricted" - Security Breach! Heads will roll!

The Vanishing Tattoo - "A global odyssey in search of the last authentic tattoos"

Toilet Monster - "Scare the crap out of your family and friends with the Toilet Monster! Halloween isn't the only time for scary fun! Painted, rubberized Toilet Monster easily attaches or deteaches to your toilet seat in seconds with 8 built-in suction cubs. It's nearly impossible to tell it's there under the lid, waiting to shock your unsuspecting victim! 13 x 15" and washes clean with mild detergent. You'll scream with laughter as the Toilet Monster scares the crap out of one person after another."

Putfile - Unavailable In Your Region - "Due to persistent abuse we regret we are not providing service to your region at this time."
Balls to you, Putfile.

Top 10 weirdest USB devices ever - The top one's no surprise, really. I'm disappointed - I thought they wouldn't cop out like that!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

"Never judge a book by its movie." - J. W. Eagan

Random Playlist Song: Chanticleer - Il Est Ne Le Divin Enfant

***

Someone: btw have you been following the papers about the pap and the wp manifesto?

friend of mine at the ST wants to solicit opinions from quote unquote "thinking young Singaporeans" about the debate.

if you have any friends who want to have a say, do ask them to email me at ellayxg@nus.edu.sg.

will make [him] promise not to misquote

***

Someone: tips for sending intimate messages to your boyfriend:

when you are both standing in a bookstore, nudge his shoulder gently. this will let everyone know that oyu are a couple.

and if you are sitting in a group in a cafe, rest your hand gently on his thigh. this will send the emssage that you are his and want to share an intimate moment with him.

walk towards him as he is walking towards you and put a big smile
then as you approach him give him a big kiss
this shows you are welcoming him and really excited to see him cos you are taking step forward to meet him

(relationship advice courtesy of class 95FM)


Me on a joke in a textbook: These Americans are very funny.
Someone: They spend most of their time telling jokes

Someone else: university of california in santa barbara = university of casual sex and beach

Someone (2): i like the one for my ex unit
GSMB
Going Soon to Medical Board


Seen in a school uniform thread in the Cowboy bar: "hello what does SPSS have to do with sale of uniforms? I need a dependent variable, or an independent one. What exactly are we looking for? Are we running a linear progression? Histogram? Normal curve?"

A theory on sexual repression in religion: "At first, these assholes appear merely insane. After careful study, the diabolical nature of their attack on self-esteem becomes apparent. What they seek are sexually frustrated and ashamed individuals to become drones in their money machine. Sexual repression leads to religious ecstasy, shame leads to money in the collection plate. They are morally bankrupt control freaks. Onan forever!"

***

akikonomu informs me that modern historians believe that "the die is cast" was not actually uttered by Caesar, and is a later interpolation for dramatic effect. I also recall that classical histories have a tradition of putting words into the mouths of historical figures, in the absence of actual recorded utterances. Those studying historical or semi-historical documents from this era would then do well to cast aside their pre-conceptions, even if it led to the collapse of their whole discipline; self-indulgent intellectual masturbation in a vacuum is always a waste of time.

What the hell is a digital perm (I'd heard of and managed to find information on ceramic perms, but not on digital ones)?!

I highly doubt there's a difference between hand lotion/cream and the equivalent one for the foot. It's just a scheme to make money.

I thought 8am classes at NUS were bad, but it seems UC Davis has 7am classes. Ouch.

***

NUS Anti-Spam

"What do you do with the Spam?

There are basically a few categories of spam, namely:

* Adult
* Racial
* Make Money Fast
* Phishing
* Commercial
* Bulk

Only Commercial and Bulk spam will be delivered into the Spam folder of your mailbox. The rest will not be delivered at all."

Gah, they censor my mail! And what the hell is racial spam? I've never gotten it.
A great way to raise money. The bid as of time of posting - US$187.50 (S$305.72):


Send an Atheist to his local Church! (item 5660982226 end time Feb-03-06 19:45:27 PST)

I'm a 22-year-old Atheist from Chicago.  I stopped believing in God when I was 14.  Currently, I am an active volunteer for a couple different national, secular organizations.  For one of them, I am the editor of a newsletter that reaches over 1,000 Atheist/Agnostic college students.  I have written several Letters to the Editor to newspapers in and around Chicago, espousing my Atheistic beliefs when Church/State issues arose.  My point being that I don't take my non-belief lightly.  However, while I don't believe in God, I firmly believe I would immediately change those views if presented with evidence to the contrary.  And at 22, this is possibly the best chance anyone has of changing me.

So, here's my proposal.  Everytime I come home, I pass this old Irish church.  I promise to go into that church every day-- for a certain number of days-- for at least an hour each visit.  For every $16 ($10) you bid, I will go to the Church for 1 day.  For $82 ($50), you would have me going to mass every day for a week.

My promise: I will go willingly and with an open mind.  I will not say/do anything inappropriate.  I will respectfully participate in service, speak to priests, volunteer with the church if possible, do my best to learn about the religious beliefs of the church-goers, and make conversation with anyone who is willing to talk.  (Though I do reserve the rights to ask the person questions about the faith.)

I will record my visits through a journal, pictures, or whatever other method of proof you'd like-- I will uphold my promise.

Will I become religious?  Well, I don't know.  I really do have an open mind, but no one has convinced me to change my mind so far.  Then again, I have also never attended a real church service.  Perhaps being around a group of people who will show me "the way" could do what no one else has done before. 

If the Irish Church doesn't work for you, we'll just find some other place local to me.  I'll go to any place of worship-- a Christian Church, a Catholic Church [revision: I realize a Catholic Church is a Christian Church... so let me rephrase.  By Christian, I mean Protestant], a Mosque, a Synagogue, etc.  They're all nearby.  Makes no difference to me, but perhaps it's your faith that could change the mind of this Atheist. 

I also assure you that if you bid on this, I will write an article about my experiences in the newsletter mentioned earlier.  The article would reach over 1,000 college students who share my current views.  Even if you don't end up changing my mind, perhaps you can change theirs.

If you have any questions about this auction, I'd be glad to answer them.


There's also a blog: An Atheist Walks into a Church...

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

"Happiness is an imaginary condition, formerly attributed by the living to the dead, now usually attributed by adults to children, and by children to adults." - Thomas Szasz

Random Playlist Song: The Cambridge Singers Collection: Sing A Song Of Sixpence

Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye;
Four and twenty blackbirds
Baked in a pie.

When the pie was opened,
They all began to sing.
Now, wasn't that a dainty dish
To set before the King?

The King was in his countinghouse,
Counting out his money;
The Queen was in the parlor
Eating bread and honey.

The maid was in the garden,
Hanging out the clothes.
Along there came a big black bird
And snipped off her nose!

Snopes: Lost Legends (A Pocket Full of Wry)

"Many of us fondly recall the rhyming ditties we learned as children, such as "Jack Be Nimble" and "The Farmer in the Dell." But how many of us realize that several of our most fondly-recalled nursery rhymes (e.g., "A Tisket, A Tasket" and "Little Jack Horner") were not mere nonsense songs, but actually originated as coded references to such dark events as plagues and religious persecution? Such was the case with another childhood favorite, "Sing a Song of Sixpence"...

The surprising truth is that this innocent little rhyme, which dates from the early 1700s, actually represents a coded message used to recruit crew members for pirate vessels!"

***

Synaesthesia: Seeing Sounds, Tasting Shapes - "Synaesthesia, the blending of the senses, once thought to be a mere curiosity, provides important clues to understanding the organization and functions of the brain. Why do some people have a certain sensation of color when they hear or see the shape of a number or letter?... Look at this test designed by Wolfgang Köhler. Which one of these figures bears the name 'booba' and which one is called 'kiki'?"

THE DECLINE OF REDEMPTIVE TRUTH AND THE RISE OF LITERARY CULTURE - "To be sure, there are still numerous religious intellectuals, and even more philosophical ones. But bookish youngsters in search of redemption nowadays look first to novels, plays, and poems. The sort of books which the eighteenth century thought of as marginal have become central. The authors of Rasselas and of Candide helped bring about, but could hardly have foreseen, a culture in which the most revered writers neither write nor read either sermons, or treatises on the nature of man and the universe."
I should get a job summarising people like Rorty. Or reorganising, restructuring and/or rewriting rambly, confusing and opaque essays such as this. And I actually think the other essay was easier to understand.

Was Hitler A 'British' Agent? - "Hallett says Hitler spent February to November 1912 being brainwashed and trained at the British Military Psych-Ops War School at Tavistock in Devon and in Ireland. "War machines need war and [that means they need] funded, trained and supported double agents to be their patsies, their puppets and their puppet enemies," Hallett writes... "Hitler was a British Agent" is useful as an alternative paradigm. (Usually we cannot recognize truth because we have the wrong paradigm, i.e. our "education.") When Hallett says "British", he means Illuminati, the Masonic cult of super rich bankers who control an interlocking network of megacartels. This cult is based in the City of London but uses England and most nations and ideologies, as sock puppets in a the Punch and Judy show called modern history."
This beats Chick tracts.

Fed up with Jamie? So try roadkill - rat or badger - "This man is a connoisseur of roadkill flesh and among the dishes likely to be served in his kitchen are casseroles made from squashed badger, hedgehog, otter, rat, rabbit or pheasant. His recipes may in future garner a wider following because he is writing a roadkill cookery book"

Supernatural selection - "Dennett opens his book by comparing religion to a parasite. The lancet fluke is a microorganism that, as part of its unlikely life cycle, lodges in the brain of an ant, turning it into a sort of ant zombie that every night crawls to the top of a blade of grass and waits to get eaten by a grazing cow or sheep, in whose liver the lancet fluke can propagate. Dennett is being provocative, but he is also making a point: Certain religious behaviors-abstinence, for example, or martyrdom, or ritually sacrificing livestock in the middle of a famine-can look decidedly, almost inexplicably, irrational both to nonbelievers and behavioral scientists, so much so that it might be worth asking who or what is actually benefiting from them."

Diary: Richard Dawkins - "One of my TV locations was a London school that follows the (American) Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) syllabus. The day after watching my show, three colleagues told me they had interviewed, for a place at university, a young woman who had been taught (not at the same school) using ACE. She turned out to be the worst candidate they had ever encountered. She had no idea that thinking was even an option: her job was either to know or guess the "right" answer. Worse, she had no clue how bad she was, having always scored at least 95 per cent in exams - the National Christian Schools Certificate (NCSC). Should my colleagues write to Ofsted about ACE and NCSC? Unfortunately, Ofsted is the organisation that gave a rave review to Tony Blair's pet city academy in Gateshead: a Christian school whose head of science thinks the entire universe began after the domestication of the dog."

100 Signs that you’re a fundamentalist Christian - This is even better than the Top 10 list. I tried to pick out my favourite 10 but there were too many.

Fear of Girls - True Love is but a +2 Broadsword away. - "Society has always scorned the truly unique, but that's a burden you choose to bear when you can bend the very walls of reality with the power of your imagination. That's a gift to be respected... It's like we're waging an epic battle"


This was taken during the Economics Society bazaar in Week 1 (Friday the 13th).

"i am youth.sg because... 'I do not conform to archaic norms of proper behavior'"

The girl in charge of taking photo asked me, "What do you study, psychology?". I guess she thought I was trying to screw with her mind.

I gave away my ice cream coupon to Gilbert, though because it was valid only at the NUS Macdonalds, and I wouldn't be in school in the week before it expired.
Sent via the feedback form:


It is obvious that Malaysian will eventually overcome Singapore in all sectors , the fact that the singapore goverment streams their students in primary school makes me happy.

Education systems , IQ test and academic instituitions in general can measure left brain funtions better than right .

There is a lot of articles in the internet that attest that right brained genuises tend to score average marks.

A right brained person tends to think in "whole picture" whereas left brained person then to think sequentially , logic by logic , right brained persons are perfect for pure science .

I bet that you have met a LOT people that are good at maths but cannot speak intellectually about things.

For your information Feynman officially is not a genius but he has a noble prize to his name (In his biography he has was quoted to think in pictures) , Einstein is also visual thinker.

Singapore will create generations upon generations of robots (I'm sooooo happy)one day whatever abilities that singaporean can do the whole world can do hahahhahahahha.

Your goverments is killing your country bit by bit

For your information I was never a scorer but now I'm a R&D Engineer , if i was in your country i might be a punyapu jalan , thomas edison jadi macdonalds attendant , einstein still jadi mamat pejabat patent

I'm so happy when I heard that singapore streams their student at primary schools and i said to my self - the is the point of their downfall , and robotization of their masyarakat .

If there is not a lot of lectures in your university which is BLUR or MESSY then there is something wrong with your university because thats the HALLMARK of conceptual thinkers.

One more thing i want to add there is a fine line between racial acknowledgement and racial integration.

Thank you


I agree with some parts, but I don't know what his beef with streaming is.

[Addendum:

Kreps: "If anything, this is an illuminating example of the correlation between education and ability. The inability to conduct proper research (for example, asking people to read Feynman’s biography when one has not read it himself, and worse, being exposed for such sloppiness) seems to be linked to the person’s self-professed inability to do well in tests."]
"The big thieves hang the little ones." - Czech Proverb

***

I saw this girl who looked like both the straps of her top had fallen down her arm just past shoulder level. I was wondering when she'd realise that her straps had fallen when I realised that it was part of her outfit, and I feared for when she raised one or both arms.

I went to Alaturka, a Turkish restaurant, with my brother-in-law and there was an exotic-looking drink called 'Spray' on the drinks menu. I asked the waitress what it was and she got excited and proclaimed it was her favourite... before admitting that it was a typo. There was also "sprakling water".

After dinner, we walked in the general direction of Mustafa Centre, then decided against entering because we would have to surrender our bags (I had my laptop in mine and he had his camera in his). We then milled around, until I saw a bustling back alley which I suggested we walk down. As we walked, we saw a lot of red-lit lintels providing access past dilapidated walls, beyond which sat mostly old, bored-looking women who looked to be of Indonesian stock (my brother-in-law said some looked like transvestites or transsexuals). Standing outside one doorway, there were a lot of Indian men (who made up almost all of those walking down the back alley) staring in. And at various intervals, there were makeshift stalls selling cheapo-looking and doubtless expensively-priced sex toys. The best bit was that there was a large CCTV camera mounted at the end of the alleyway, so both of us are now ripe for blackmail for our walk down a Desker Road back alley.

***

Zlad's back - "Clearly-devastated, "ZLAD!" insists his song "I Am The Anti-Pope" is not an attack on Christianity - rather, a light-hearted ballad recounting the short reign of little-known Beelzebub the First – the only Vicar of Christ to have been crucified at the stake."
I preferred his older piece. This one isn't funny.

Human-buttons of the UNHCR and the refugees - "I am SAM, an Iraqi refugee living in Lebanon at the moment... This is my newest campaign, it’s about the illegal and humiliating actions of the UNHCR, who using photos of refugees as banners and human-buttons to collect money. This is an abuse of the dignity and humanity of the refugees and must stop immediately and a clear public apology present by The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees."
I don't know what this guy's problem is.

What a Difference 365 Days Makes - "As a single person in Singapore I have had the opportunity, dare I say the priveledge, of reviewing a few personal profiles on the local singles sites. You would be amazed how many girls list sleeping as a hobby or interest that they enjoy. Yep you guessed it, right along side shopping for shoes, coffee with girl friends, re-runs of Sex in the City, and walking hand-in-hand on the beach watching an amazing sunset is sleeping. People who list this fascinating hobby get the automatic delete from me, because the last thing I want is someone to break out into a narcoleptic attack right in the middle of delightful bowl of pasta and conversation all for the sake of pursuing their passion for snoozing."

Sin Cleaner Products - Wash Away Your Sins! - "Wash Away Your Sins Hand Cream Pump - A Full 8 oz of Smooth on Salvation in Easter Lily Scent. This Healing and resurrecting hand cream will delight you and everyone else (including Liars, Cheaters and Wrongdoers)."
First seen at an NUS bazaar

Bible belt around the ear as old-time religion takes a hold - "Adonis, in real life a school teacher by the name of Rob Fields, began wrestling professionally in 1999. The idea for a Christian wrestling group, he said, was born when God appeared to him in a dream two years ago."

Monday, January 30, 2006

I went to The Mind Cafe recently, and having visited Settlers Cafe previously, I had the opportunity to compare the two.

On paper, Mind's Cafe is cheaper than Settlers Cafe, and they even undercharged us by a bit, yet just as with Enzer products, you get what you pay for.

At Settlers Cafe, the staff member assigned to your table helpfully explains the rules of the game before you play, and even goes through an example round to familiarise you with the flow of the game. There's even a button at the table to press when you want to summon a serving wench. At The Mind Cafe, they either do not explain the game to you or do a bad job of doing so, such that you get confused; we tried Saint Petersburg, for example, but no one understood how the game was supposed to go, so in the end, we ended up playing games which at least one person at the table knew how to play already. Above all, they were slow - to refill our water (even when asked), serve our food, get our bill and basically do everything else.

At Settlers, the food was alright, if nothing to write home about. At The Mind Cafe, the food was similarly mediocre (the chicken wings I had were horrible - neither crispy nor tasty, though the keropok garnishing them was good), but Johnny Malkavian asked for them to replace his salad with extra fries, and they didn't do so. Also, they didn't refill our water when ours cups were empty, and we had to prompt them.

Furthermore, at The Mind Cafe, some of the games we played had missing rule booklets and/or game pieces. At Settlers, even if the boxes and pieces were somewhat battered, everything you needed to play the game was there.


On a side note, playing many board games makes one realise why they invented the computer - to automate the troublesome gameplay mechanics so that they may be made more complex without sacrificing playability, and everyone can concentrate on having fun. Though I must say that there's something to be said for rolling a 20-sided die.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

"There are grammatical errors even in his silence." - Stanislaw J. Lec

Random playlist song: Bach - Suite française No 5 - Ouverture dans le style français: Piotr Anderszewski - French Suite No 5 in G Major, BWV 816 - 1. Allemande

***

If anyone has information on how to contact Royston Tan (of "Cut" and "15" fame), it would be much appreciated.

***

Someone: *quotes from my RJ review*

haha...he is my teacher now
he is crap, man... total crap

Me: haha
one does one's best
half the teachers probably hate me
ah well. this is the price of editorial probity

I used to be more raw
unfortunate that I have slackened
the price of fame and too many real world consequences coming back to haunt you!

Someone: haha
i notice though, that you sound really mysogynistic

Me: hahahahahahaha
pray tell ;)

Someone: i am not sure that is the view you really hold
but you speak of girls in a tone reserved for a particular savage tribe, who practices you don't quite approve of, but have to accept anyway

Me: hahahahahahha
and how about now?

Someone: toned a bit... but still there
well, i am just inferring from the tone you take in your articles
i am not sure you really hold those views, or it is a way to attract attention

Me: verily, I am amused

Someone: well, your ultimate savage-practices-of-girls post :P
and your RJ post


Someone else: i cant be pedantic with anyone without being rude, except you. haha

Me: you're welcome
I should charge for my services man


Me: are the systems by which bacteria resist antibiotics irreducibly complex?

Someone (2): not exactly
there are differing mechanisms among antibiotics and thus antibiotic resistance

like say, some bacteria evolve cell walls that are impermeable to antibiotics
some bacteria develop enzymes to digest a particular antibiotic
some baceteria develop different parts to make use of different nutrients/substrates/whatever that the antibiotic makes it poisonous for them to make use

y'know, sorta like instead of eating poisoned rice, you switch to noodles

Me: but these mechanisms can be claimed to be irreducibly complex right

Someone (2): well, yeah, at a cellular and molecular level, i suppose so

***

"Q: Why does TRUE use non-standard punctuation marks around quotation marks?

"Standard" depends on your point of view. An average American would write

I like "This is True," which I get every week.


while a typical Brit would write

I like "This is True", which I get every week.


See the difference in the placement of the comma? The American system is idiotic: the name of the publication is, in fact, "This is True". Its name certainly does not include a comma, as implied by the quotation marks! "British punctuation style" is much more logical and correct. American schools teach the former because it means the writer doesn't have to think -- they can just follow a simplistic rule. Accuracy? Forget it -- it's not even considered. True is about thinking, about accuracy, about education. It follows logic when punctuating, not lazy school rules."

Hah!
A PRAGMATIST VIEW OF CONTEMPORARY ANALYTIC PHILOSOPHY - "The idea of ontological commitment epitomizes a confusion between existential commitment on the one hand and a profession of satisfaction with a way of speaking or a social practice on the other. An existential commitment, as Brandom nicely says in MAKING IT EXPLICIT, is a claim to be able to provide an address for a certain singular term within the “structured space provide mapped out by certain canonical designators”. To deny the existence of Pegasus, for example, is to deny that “a continuous spatiotemporal trajectory can be traced out connecting the region of space-time occupied by the speaker to one occupied by Pegasus”."
This was recommended to me as being "Quite accessibly written". Later: "ok, i realised after sending it to you that it wasn't that accessible"

Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World - "In "Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World," Brooks pursues an ambitious idea and then doodles so aimlessly that he loses the thread. The movie has a perversely unifying effect: Muslims, Christians and Jews may not be able to agree on exactly who the heck Jesus is, but they're fully capable of bonding in boredom."
India = Muslim World?!

The Superficial - "The Superficial is a brutally honest look at society and its obsession with the superficial. It is not satire. It is not social commentary. It is the voice of our society at its worst. It is first impressions without sense of social obligation. It is the truth of our generation. It is ugly racism. It is jealousy. It is honest. Just kidding. Our goal is to make fun of as many people as possible."

The Official Site Of "The Lawn Chair Pilot" - "When Larry Walters was 13 years old, he went to a local Army-Navy surplus store and saw the weather balloons hanging from the ceiling. It was then he knew that some day he would be carried aloft by such balloons. This obsession would be with him for the next 20 years. On July 2nd, 1982, Larry tied 42 helium-filled balloons to a Sears lawn chair in the backyard of his girlfriend's house in San Pedro, California. With the help of his ground crew, Larry then secured himself into the lawn chair which was anchored to the bumper of a friend's car by two nylon tethers. He took with him many supplies, including a BB gun to shoot out the balloons when he was ready to descend. His goal was to sail across the desert and hopefully make it to the Rocky Mountains in a few days. But things didn't quite work out for Larry. After his crew purposely cut the first tether, the second one also snapped which shot Larry into the LA sky at over 1,000 feet per minute."

The Straight Dope: Do near-death experiences prove there is life after death? - "Blackmore points out that you don't have to be near death to feel you are floating through a tunnel. It's common "in epilepsy and migraine, when falling asleep, meditating, or just relaxing, with pressure on both eyeballs, and with certain drugs, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline." Why? Blackmore guesses it has to do with the structure of the visual cortex, the part of the brain that contains a "map" of what the eyes see. "There are lots of [cortical] cells representing the center of the visual field but very few for the edges," she says. As the brain begins to lose control, whether due to oxygen loss, drugs, or fatigue, random neural firing apparently begins to occur, which the mind interprets as light. Since there are more cells in the center of the visual field than at the edge, you get the impression of a light at the end of a tunnel. As random firing increases, the "light" takes up a larger portion of the visual field, making you think you are floating toward the light source."

Democrats and Republicans Both Adept at Ignoring Facts, Study Finds - ""We did not see any increased activation of the parts of the brain normally engaged during reasoning," said Drew Westen, director of clinical psychology at Emory University. "What we saw instead was a network of emotion circuits lighting up, including circuits hypothesized to be involved in regulating emotion, and circuits known to be involved in resolving conflicts.""
I love cognitive dissonance.

Robert and Susan Irwin's Sexual Satisfaction For The Christian Wife - "Why Some Christian Wives Experience Frequent, Intense And Multiple Orgasms...And How You Can Too..."
Now I know why they've managed to convert so many people... (There's a "What would Jesus eat?" book too, but this is particularly ironic considering that Christianity hates sex). And how come all sites selling dodgy looking eBooks look the same? I swear there're legions of copywriters behind all this, and the revenue all gets funneled to a central source. Either that or there's a generator for making dodgy-eBook-websites.

Death of an Infidel - "The Internet Infidels regrets to announce the death of a well-known, prolific participant in the Internet Infidels Discussion Forums, "WinAce," Richard Allan Glenn. As WinAce, Allan became active in the Internet Infidels Discussion Forum (IIDB) in spring of 2002."
He even wrote his own obituary. And so the Wonderful World of Winace will never again be updated...

How to Harmonize Your Holy Book - "To defend inerrancy, all you need to do is come up with a logically possible solution. It doesn't matter how improbable it may be. If it can be harmonized in any way imaginable, it is not a demonstrable error. Be creative as we are dealing with a "high context" society."
Enzer sucks.

Back when I was a slave, our bunk pooled some money to buy a portable VCD player (reminiscent of a Discman) to help the nights of our indenture pass more quickly. Presumably deciding on the basis of price, the people detailed to purchase an Enzer VCD player from Soong Brothers in Jurong Point.

All was well and good until we had problems playing VCDs - very often they skipped during playback. The solution was to turn the VCD player upside down, so the top of the VCD was facing the floor, and the VCDs then played acceptably.

A few days ago, my parents bought an Enzer cordless phone set (1 base station, 1 charger and 2 handsets) for $100 (it was on sale: usual price $150) to replace the 2-3 year old Philips DECT cordless phones we had (the buttons on one were almost impossible to press, and the second had stopped being able to recharge the batteries a while back). I did not go along, and so was unable to advise them about how shitty Enzer products were.

Today my father, while using the Enzer phone, walked from the hallway to his room, and the connection cut off. I managed to replicate this result even without making a call. Now, I've used many brands of cordless phones, but this is the first time one cannot even be used throughout the house.

As they say: Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, but three times is enemy action.

I sure as hell am not going to try Enzer a third time.

(Incidently, Enzer is a Singaporean brand)


Someone: my fren's family who bought Enzer phones to replace the failing philips ones also experienced shit over the new phones


Me: creative mp3 players suck right

Someone else: YES

Everyone's complaining
the headset thingie
the connecting pt between the player and your headset
wont work
"People who get nostalgic about childhood were obviously never children." - Bill Watterson

***

An advertisement I saw in Lucky Plaza read: "Cultured pearls. Classic and elegant.. A woman's acquired taste'. Now, the question is about how to stop them from acquiring this taste in the first place.

I wonder if it's possible to find Terry's Chocolate Orange in Singapore. Mmm.

I thought the Ketchup Song in Chinese was bad. Then the other day I saw part of the music video for Numa numa in Chinese. D'oh!

***

3 fish were swimming in the canal.

1 fish hit concrete and floated there, stunned.

The 2nd fish hit concrete and said "DAM".

The 3rd fish didn't hit anything, and swam on through some turbulent water, into a wide area.

The 1st fish said "How did he do that?"

The 3rd fish yelled back at the other 2,

"That wasn't a Dam. That was an Malaysian bridge. When 2 fish run into it, It falls over!"

***

Religious figures : Epilepsy.com - "Saint Paul's seizure-like experiences are the best documented of the major religious figures. On the road to Damascus he saw a bright light flashing around him, fell to the ground and was left temporarily blinded by his vision and unable to eat or drink. Paul is thought by some physicians to have had facial motor and sensitive disturbances coming after ecstatic seizures; they have diagnosed him with temporal lobe epilepsy which occasionally developed into secondary tonic-clonic attacks."

The Shock phone for self defense - "The shock phone has a huge battery and when triggered by a switch, activates the shock mechanism. One simply touches the body of the hoodlum and that is enough to send him into spasms. The device will not cause any permanent damage; however it is enough to make him forget his motives. The other features of the phone are not worth writing about, it has a monochrome display and extremely sub-standard features (those that are remind us of the handsets that were in the market about 304 years ago). It is primarily a self defense weapon and that also explains the optical effect of a charge (as shown ) howver if it is not enough to deter the menace then the phone is more than capable of givng that person a shock."

Apple caught cheating on RSS standard - "The Photocasting feature in Apple's updated iPhoto application violates numerous internet standards, according to several dignitaries from the RSS community."

The Workers' Party of Singapore Website / Manifesto 2006 - It is finally online. Notice also how media reports frame it as the government attacking the Workers' Party, rather than the PAP attacking the Workers' Party. Man = Party = State = People = Nation.

Rationally Speaking: Vatican confused about Intelligent Design - "What does it mean for Facchini to go “beyond the empirical horizon”? And doesn't his conclusion invalidate his plea for separating science and religion? Such are the contradictions of people who use their brains in the lab but have to hang 'em outside the Church doors on Sunday mornings. And yet, it is precisely this sort of logical incoherence that makes fundamentalism and creationism so attractive to many people: when one rejects the empirical-scientific worldview altogether one doesn't have to reconcile the way things are with the way one wishes things were. Will we ever grow up emotionally as much as we have developed intellectually?"
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