Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Alo? Salut, Sunt eu un Haiduc

"Vrei sa pleci dar nu ma nu ma iei
Nu ma nu ma iei nu ma nu ma nu ma iei.
Chipul tau si dragostea din tei"

- Dragostea Din Tea, O-Zone, Disc-Ozone

Four day weekend coming up. Possibly going to watch Aeon Flux tomorrow.

I forgot to bring my cell phone today. How stupid is that? I have this strange tendency to forget things. If I had to remember 10 things or names or facts, I'll almost always remember only 9.

It's been like that ever since I was a child. Must be a genetic problem....

I downloaded O-Zone's Disc-Ozone last night. Oh! What fun! This means that apart from English and Malay music, I now have Romanian (or is that Moldavan?) music on my PC. I also have Italian music. Luna Pop's Squerez album I got from Rin.

Now if only I can figure out how to include "Dragostea Din Tea" in Need For Speed's EATrax in car music.....

I also need to remind myself to update my music backup.

I'm looking forward to a good rest of the week and a good December.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Sdhider and a Comment About Cops

I'm going to help all those people who've been searching for sdhider. In my hit counter, "sdhider" is the most common keyword over the last few days.

Also, just to inform anyone who is looking for it, there is NO crack for NSF: Most Wanted at present.

Last time I check, sdhider.rar can be found here. If the link dies one of these days, sdhider can probably be found either as a torrent download or on any p2p network.

Please also remember to follow sdhider instructions EXACTLY, or your game WILL NOT run. Do the following:-

- Mount disc 1 and wait for it to autorun.
- Launch sdhider and click Hide.
- Quit Daemon, or any other image mounting software that was used. Be sure to leave all emulation options on when you exit.
- Click play on the Most Wanted autorun menu. The game should run. If it doesn't unmount everything and start from the beginning.
- Once you finish playing, please click Restore on the sdhider menu after exiting Most Wanted.

Sdhider is also useful for other games that use Securom copy protection, like Quake 4.

While I'm at it, get Daemon Tools. It's very useful. Please get familiar with it.

Here ends the public service announcement.

In other news, I'm tired. It's been a tough coupla days at work.

I had originally planned to write about a very hot current issue, the police video thing with the strip search and the ketuk ketampi footage.

I'm not going to write in depth about that. Thousands of bloggers are doing it and I'm too busy to be doing parrot impressions.

While I know that there are nice, friendly, good police personnel out there, my feelings about the cops in general are quite well known to people who know me.

My feelings haven't changed. First, the IGP doesn't say anything (although he could've said something yesterday, I haven't checked the news yet). Then, the Deputy IGP quite blatantly tells the whole country that the police will investigate and GO AFTER THE WHISTLEBLOWER.

The cops are nothing but a bunch of thugs, no different from those triads that they are supposed to be combatting.

I don't trust cops in general. No offense to individuals who are policemen of course. I do know a few personally. These ones I trust.

There are a few more things I want to say about cops, including one or two suggestions that might help raise the quality of individuals who choose police work as a career.

I have a feeling that cops are generally corrupted morons (especially beat cops and low rank desk flunkies) because people who become cops usually do so because they can't find any other work. I personally feel that training standards are too low and have too little emphasis on attitude adjustment. That's why so many moron beat cops have such an addiction to the power trip they get when they harrass innocent people.

And no, this is not a generalisation or a stereotype a sweeping statement. It's happened. To me and people I know.

But more on this some other time. Or when I feel like it anyway.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

What I've Been up to This Week

Some sad announcements. Pat Morita is dead. George Best is also dead. Long live both of them.

Been away from the net. Very busy. Playing computer games....

Last week, I finally got around to trimming and culling my blogroll. It was long overdue. Also overdue is my link list updating. I don't know when I'll feel like doing it.

We have a new toy in the house. Yesterday, my parents and I pooled money to buy a parabolic dish. So now, we have another satellite decoder. Currently it has three satellites programmed into it, one Chinese sat (AsiaSat?) and two Indonesian ones (Palapa C2 and the other one I forget the name). I think I'll need to go around and look for more info on more satellites to scan with the dish.

Also, we need to get a taller ladder because the dish is on the roof and needs to be manually adjusted when switching satellites.

Anyone else interested in parabolic dishes? It's very cheap now, it can be had for a mere RM490. The one with the motorized dish will cost RM1000 plus though.

I also need help with satellite info. Does anyone have any info or links to websites with the info? Please leave a comment. Thank you.

Like I was saying, I've been playing games.

I had a good week in Football Manager 2006 with AS Roma. We won the Scudetto (Italian Serie A league title). I also won the European Champions League, beat Bayern Munich on penalties. In the summer as Italy manager, I won Euro 2008 by beating Croatia, also on penalties. The new season started, and I won the both the European Supercup and the Italian Super Cup.

On top of the league now with 12 matches played. Am on a 31 match unbeaten streak in the Serie A. However, I'm taking a break from football because Need for Speed Most Wanted is getting really interesting.

I'm more than halfway through the game now. It's awesome! I have a yellow Lamborghini Gallardo now. I decided not add to or modify the car's appearance. Somehow, it feels wrong to put things like stickers or those humonguos carbon fibre "ah beng" spoilers on a Lambo....

And bloody hell, the Gallardo is fast! It goes 0-100km/h in less than 5 seconds and I've clocked speeds of 300+km/h on that thing. If I had a Gallardo in real life, I wouldn't know how to drive it without special training.

The Gallardo is my favourite car right now.

I also kept all my old cars and the cars I won from rival drivers. Currently, I have a Mitsubishi Eclipse, a Merc SL500 (nice!!), a 'Vette C6, a purple Mustang (classic!) and my good ol' Fiat Punto.

And the thing about the Fiat Punto, when it comes to running away from cops, the Punto is my most "notorious" car. That car is so much fun to drive, especially now with stage 2 turbocharging and with upgraded transmission and brakes.

And how rich must a person be to actually own something like a Gallardo? I think it'll cost about 2 million ringgit.... And lets not talk about fuel consumption shall we? At least in Need for Speed, I don't need to buy gas.....

Apart from all the gaming, I've been out with friends as usual. And as usual, the conversation's been great. Like on Friday night when we discussed world changing topics like how chick peas resemble a horse's ass and the merits of different shoelace tying methods.

Yes, we indulge in some vital, serious discussions.....

But seriously, I had a good break from work. And look at the date, the end of the year is coming already.

And with that, I've made an observation.

...No year end blues this year.....

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

What Makes A Pirate

Long long ago, I had a reluctance to buy CDs because they were expensive. I was but a poor college student then.

Nowadays, I don't want to buy audio CDs anymore because they might have malicious software in it. Or they have some other "copy protection" feature that makes the CD either too bloody inconvenient or totally useless to someone like me who likes to keep my original CDs unplayed and therefore unscratched, unmisplaced and unmissing.

I understand why record companies do this. All it did to me is just turn me off buying genuine music, perhaps forever.

While we're on the subject, sometimes I listen to these adds on TV and radio about piracy and how it's a bad thing and all that. Yes, intellectual property "theft" is not a good thing, in principle. Any moron knows that.

What I don't get is how some quarters paint people who download stuff off the net or make backups of their audio CDs or buy pirated CDs like they are some kind of criminal. No, I don't appreciate the guilt trip factor. It insults the consumer's intelligence.

Have any of these people wondered WHY people resort to downloading and buying 5 ringgit pirated CDs?

It's not because they deliberately want to deprive artists and others in the entertainment industry of their income. It's not because they purposely want to support the underground organized crime syndicates that produce the pirated goods. And it's not because they wake up in the morning and say,"Oooh, I feel like stealing today..." while booting up their DSL modems.

I dont' know about how it is in other countries, but in Malaysia, the reason is very simple. Original CDs are TOO BLOODY EXPENSIVE!

That is why people buy CHEAP pirated ones. Being considerate or not has NOTHING to do with it.

I don't buy the industry excuse that the prices are high because of the cost of promotion, recording etc is too high. It's high because some people, especially promoters and other middlemen are too greedy and too cowardly to slash profit margins and bet on incresed volume in sales that would result in lowering of prices. This is what I think.

Don't get me wrong, I do have a conscience. I do feel sorry for some of the less well known artists who need those CD sales to record more music.

I can't say the same about music execs who complain that sales are down and yet earn 1000 times more income than the average consumer. What does this excess wealth imply to me?

It implies that they can afford to fight pirates by reducing their profit margins instead of targeting school children and old ladies and threatening to sue them.

And yet have they taken this very proactive and practical step of reducing prices? Nope, at least not in Malaysia they haven't.

Why not? The answer is very obvious...

I have this sense that people who are either in powerful positions or in possession of great wealth or both have lost their pragmatism so much that they can't see the ground anymore and can't grasp reality. They've lost touch with the rest of the people.

So far, I have seen nothing that changes that opinion.

I mean, look at what politicians argue about these days.....

Here endeth the rant....

Sunday, November 20, 2005


I have obtained a copy of Need For Speed Most Wanted! Unfortunately for me, I slept the whole day and woke up one and a half hours before going to work so I didn't have much time to explore the game much. Plus, there is no crack. I had to download all the CD images (there are four CDs), use Daemon tools to load it up to install the game, trawl the net for a virtual drive hider called SDHider and fiddle around with it until I could get it started. That took a while.

So far as I can see, the game is absolutely gorgeous graphics-wise. I'm starting to think that another graphics card upgrade is a very good idea now. Plus, there is a PC Fair less than a week away..... Hmmm.

Anyway, back to NFS:MW. It's brilliant so far! There are a few things that you can do, a few more things than the previous NFSes. There is your usual career mode, where you start out as a out of luck street racer with no money and you've just lost your very nice, modded blue-silver BMW 3 series to some asshole who cheated while racing with you.

I've just gotten to the part where I buy my first car, in this case a white Fiat Punto. I haven't driven around town yet.

The game's "levels" are represented by drivers on the so-called "Blacklist". There are 15 of them, the number one driver being the bastard who stole your BMW and is now using it to win races.

Before you are able to drive against a Blacklisted driver, you need to get a certain amount of reputation. You can do this by winning races and dressing up your ride, just like the old NFS games. And ....and this is what intrigues me.

You can get rep by causing trouble.

There are "landmark" events such as surviving a police pursuit for a certain amount of time. Another challenge is have you car tagged by a speed trap at a certain speed. There are other challenges I suppose, like the classic time trials and getting your car on DVDs and magazines. You can also get on the police wanted list by being a nuisance (I suppose).

These extra things are the things that really, really spice the game up for me. And did I mention there are cops in the game now.

There are 32 cars in the game. I know the Supra is there, the Mustang, the Nissan 350Z. I also know there is the Murcielago and the 911 Turbo. And the BMW M3, Fiat Punto, IS1300 and the VW Golf.

Also, beating a Blacklisted driver advances the story. I like the fact that NFS games have background stories. This time, your main helper is this girl named Mia, played my the jaw-droppingly hot Josie Maran!! She drives an Mazda RX-7 in the game, by the way.

I really hope 15 drivers mean 15 levels. I hope the game will be very big and will take a long time to complete.

This also means that I will have to either suspend or slow down my FM 2006 game. Which is too bad because in my current (3rd) season, my AS Roma is unstoppable and at the top of the table ahead of Juventus and Inter. The only team that has a reasonable chance of beating me right now is Juventus.

In the Euro Champions league, I qualified to the second round and my next game is against Benfica in Portugal. That game should be easy.

I'll come back and play again from time to time. And one thing for sure, when I'm done with everything else and have nothing to play on the PC, I'll go back to FM2006.

So yeah, I've been very busy....

Friday, November 18, 2005

Calmly Calmly Now

I watched the new Harry Potter movie the other night and I must say out of all the Potter movies so far, I like this one the most. It's also the longest one, weighing in at 2 hours plus.

One probable reason is that the earlier ones were a little "young" for me. It's hard to explain.

Just came back from the office after one of the longest meetings I've ever had. I went off and bought chicken after that.

I must be getting old. Once upon a time long long ago, I would be able to polish off one entire bbq chicken in one sitting. I did this regularly too. Just now, I couldn't even handle half.

I made a new musical discovery thanks to Rin, Jump Little Children. Very very good.

As you all can tell, one side effect of being calm and tranquile is the lack of drama and therefore the lack of blog fodder. Not much is happening with me nowadays. Touch wood, I'm not asking for any angst inducing incidences or anything like that, no sirree.

I like my calm.

On the football management game front, my new Roma game is going very well. First season, qualified for Champions league by finishing 3rd and beat Hamburg SV to win the UEFA cup. December into the second year, I'm sitting pretty at the top of Serie A, one point ahead of Juventus. The tactical problems that plagued my previous attempts have been solved. One of my strikers somehow managed to score 44 goals in 42 appearances!!

I also managed to get the Italy national team job again.

Good times, good times.

PS. Anyone know any interesting rock/punk/alternative stuff to listen to nowadays?

Monday, November 14, 2005

Some Football

Football related talk...


I seem to be getting nowhere with my FM2006 game with Lecce.

Yes, I was fired by Parma for not doing enough to reduce the club's debts. Lecce's old boss went to AS Roma and Lecce offered me the manager's post. They even gave me a better contract and more support than Parma. Unfortunately, my home form is very poor, having lost 4 of my 6 home matches so far.

Luckily, my away form is better. But on the whole, still far from being good enough. I'm getting quite frustrated.

Also, the save game size is giganourmous now and takes forever and ever to load and save.

I better quit now before I get fired again.

So tomorrow after work I'm starting a new game with a smaller database, which should improve game speed. I haven't decided whether I should try another AS Roma game or try another team in a different league all together. Top flight or lower league? Serie A or EPL? La Liga? Eredivisie? MLS? Ligue 1? Where?

Anyone have any suggestions?

Hopefully, I can get sorted out fast enough and get my tactics right. The problem I'm having now with my current game is a tactical one. I keep getting overrun in midfield. 4-4-2 isn't working for me....Maybe it's time to try 3-5-2 or 5-3-2 with a sweeper?

Strangely, this only happens when I play home matches. Away from the Via del Mare, my counterattacking 4-4-2 tactics are working very well.

I might resort to stalking forums and downloading other people's tactics.....

I'm at work right now and it's a very slow night again.

I'm taking the day off on Wednesday and working again next Sunday. This week we get paid and I have bills to pay. Apparently, I forgot to pay last month's car loan. I also owe some people some money. I hope the Raya overtime comes in this week.

While we're talking about football, England's win over Argentina the other day was a good one.

It was a boring match actually. One reason why I much prefer club football to international matches is that players play with more urgency for their clubs and the tempo of the match is usually faster. International matches can get very, very slow.

It's not surprising how many people from non-footballing countries fail to see the beauty of the game. I understand how some people don't get it. After all, I could never understand cricket, even after careful explaination...

The World Cup is coming! Isn't that amazing? That is going to be so much fun!

In other completely unrelated news, from what I've been reading about cats, our cat Ning is a Calico Oriental Domestic Shorthair moggy.

And Ning's "chattiness" is apparently a Siamese/Burmese trait.

That's very interesting.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Now and Then

This article caught my eye. It's about the notion of the good ole days. So was life really better then, back in the old days?

It's not really true, but it's a wonder how we always feel like it is.

I feel that too. I sigh and reminisce and speak fondly of the days when I was in school or in college. I always say that life was simpler then.

But when I honestly think about it? For most part, my early twenties and late teens were a living hell. And life being simple? It's only because I was more naive and my "world" was smaller then.

I think that's the reason why the past seems "nicer" somehow. When we were young, a lot of things we don't notice and think about. Everything that had anything to do with us was in our immediate surrounding. It wasn't the world that was simpler, it's us. We were.

I think that's true. At least for me it is.

I mean life is always complicated one way or another. It's all a matter of perception.

I think about it now and I find that nowadays, things are better. My life now is actually simpler than it was back when I was in college.

Sure I miss some of the things that I experienced then. But to be honest, I wouldn't go back there.

It was a confusing time, full of disappointment, frustration, loneliness and heartache. It was the height (or it is depth) of sadness and depression. I was very unhappy about nearly everything. And even worse than that, I felt I was completely useless, out of place and I had no self confidence at all.

Nope, the good ole days weren't so good for me I'm afraid.

Life is much better now. I do well at my job. I seem to have kicked the depression thing for now. I have many friends, enough in fact to barely have enough time for all of them. I make enough money for most of the things I need. I no longer feel bad about myself all the time (sometimes it comes back but now I know that it doesn't last).

It gets lonely sometimes, but I can deal with that now. At worse, I can go talk to someone about it. For a while now, it hasn't gotten to the point. I no longer measure myself with friends and family who have girlfriends and wives. I guess I no longer care so much and I guess part of why I was so desperate before was possibly because of my wanting to "be normal" and "measure up".

I can quite honestly say I've gotten over that and it doesn't matter all that much any more. It happens, cool. It doesn't,...*shrug*

It's not perfect by far, but I'm pretty satisfied with how things are going.

My only lingering regret is that it took me this long to get where I am now. Sometimes I catch myself asking,"If only..." If only I was more self assured, stronger. If only I was less dependant for the approval of other people, many of whom never had my best interest in mind. If only I knew what I wanted earlier?

What things I could have done? What people I could have met? Would I have had so many personal disasters?

How far would I have gone now? Where would I be?

But that's all water under the bridge now.

There will be days when I will drink with friends and we will speak of better, easier times and laugh about how stupid we were. But in the back of my head, I'll remember how grateful I am that things have changed since then.

Or should I say how I have changed...

Friday, November 11, 2005

This Post Is About Nothing In Particular...Again

I've decided not to have a so-called footie blog. Who am I kidding? I barely have time to maintain the one blog that I have. Biting off more than I can chew sounds about right.

Blogger's spellcheck function apparently doesn't recognize the words "blog" and "blogging". I find this extremely funny.

I'm feeling very content. Whatever problems I used to have, I think I got them all licked for now. I was about to say it's a strange place to be in, then I remembered I've said it before and it shouldn't be like that. No one should have to feel that it's wrong to feel contented.

I've heard some people say that people who are content are being stagnant. I say that's a whole load of horse hooey. Isn't it better to want to strive and work out of love and our own free will instead of out of people's expectations?

I'm also finding rather peaceful to take a long break away from the internet and blogging. The net's a great place and blogging is great. Stupid, petty arguments and blog politics aren't so great.

But really, one of those things that you learn from the net is how blind, stupid, self centred and close minded some people are. It's a real eye opener sometimes.

It's also unfortunate. I feel sorry for some of these people. For some others, not so sorry.

I'm going to look at the brighter side of things and laugh the next time I read something that doesn't make sense.

A friend of mine posted an LJ icon recently. On it were the words,"I reject your reality and substitute my own!".

I find this very funny.

On the other hand, it's tragic when people allow idealism to cloud reality. Trust me when I say naive idealism does more harm than good, no matter how politically correct it sounds like.

And it's because reality isn't ideal.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

A Footie Blog?

Movie night tonight. We're going to watch the second Zorro. The actual title eludes me at the moment.

I've had a great week at work. In fact, I've had a great week in general. There's two new guys at the office, totally inexperienced. And yet, far from being annoyed like I thought I was going to get, I feel great pride in showing the two guys the ropes.

I thought my job was pretty simple. For these guys, apparently not. So I am the "master" and these are the apprentices. Feels good actually.

Master, haha. That's a word I never ever associate myself with.

And talking about being master, I have an idea. I am, as everyone knows, playing Football Manager 2006. I was thinking how about blogging it. I could create a separate blog for the manager I am playing. There are stories I could tell.

Like in my current game. AS Roma. Italian Serie A. First season was a great success. UEFA Cup champions. Second place in the Serie A.

Second season, not so good. After losing very narrowly to Inter Milan, the Roma board sacked me. I have played the FM series since the mid-90s and I have NEVER been sacked.

I thought about quitting and starting a new game, but two weeks after losing the Roma job, Nevio Scala quit Parma. Guess who the Parma board wanted to replace Scala with?

That season is gone. We finished sixth. I lost to Genoa in the Serie B playoffs in June. (Parma got relegated the previous season). Money was tight and morale was low.

This season? Leading the Serie B four points ahead of Genoa with promotion to Serie A an absolute certainty. It is now December 2007. 22 games played. Lost 2, drew 3, won the rest.

I'd write more but I need to go to the movies now.

See ya.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Tis a Funny Ole Game

I'm back.

I've been a little busy. Also, I had some trouble logging on to Blogger last week.

It was an ok week. Hari Raya came and went. It was good. I went to friends' houses as usual. I had to work on the first day of Raya, but that was ok too. Could use the extra money.

A swift glance at the calendar and what do we have here? It's November already. 2005 is almost gone. Some days it feels like it hasn't even started for me, strange as it may seem.

Strange. That would be a good word to describe my year. So far, it's full of revelations and epiphanies. It's all about changes in priorities and what I want for myself. One more month, let's see what the year end brings.

It's quite refeshing. A lot of times, I sit here at my Blogger console chock full of negativity. I haven't felt any real negativity in what it seems, months. Probably less, if I could be bothered to check the contents of my blog. Much less, probably.

And old blog posts. Some of them feel like they were written a whole lifetime ago by someone else. Changes are like that aren't they. Sometimes, we go years and years being the same people, then suddenly within weeks, things change.

Not much else to tell here. Been playing Football Manager 2006. It's a lot harder than the older versions of the game. My AS Roma isn't doing too well now, and last I checked, there's a real chance I could lose my "job" as manager.

Football, tis a funny ole game. And football management is a funny ole game too. It can be so exasperating sometimes, so frustating and annoying when you're not doing well. And yet I can't stop. I mean, people play games to relax, not piss themselves off. But I can't stop playing FM....

Crazy huh?

Work now. More later.