Thursday, June 29, 2006

Gone Revisited

"Those who are born with the possession of knowledge are the highest class of men. Those who learn, and so readily get possession of knowledge, are the next. Those who are dull and stupid, and yet compass the learning, are another class next to these. As to those who are dull and stupid and yet do not learn; -- they are the lowest of the people."

- Confucius

It's very interesting to read back your old entries over the past one year. In my own case, I saw a progression of sorts, an evolution. Some parts of my life have progressed while some others, have regressed.

One of the posts I most vividly remember is this one written in January last year. It's very important to me because I made an important decision in that post. It was while writing that post that I decided to stop "trying" and forget about "it". I decided to stop lamenting about being alone and just quietly ride the "storm" so to speak.

Things have gotten a lot better for me since then.

When I read that post and other posts like that, it's quite strange in a way. And so different from the present. Only January 2005 and tonight, it felt like it was written a lifetime ago. So what has changed since then? Not much really.

At least not on the outside. What once was an overwhelming obsession, is now.... well, an afterthought really. It's a major change for me.

Ever since I wrote that post, I've been reading a lot about all kinds of things. I encounter websites like this one and this one. It makes me ask myself, why did I not take the initiative to look for answers when I needed it. I also wonder, if I had known the things I know now about myself years ago instead of now, would things be different?

Anyway, like I like to say, it's very eerie to read an article about something and see yourself in it. I've been having this feeling a lot over the last year or so. At the same time, it's such a relief to see your own issues laid out before you. The most important discovery was the so-called nice-guy issue that for the life of me, I never realized I had. As it turns out, I was never a genuinely nice person and I kind of deserved what I got. In a way, it's a good thing that I never managed to start a "successful" relationship. Imagine what kind of mess it would've been, what with all my unresolved issues and emotional baggage.

If only I had known ten years ago, heck TWO years ago, instead of now. If only.

I was going to write about this issue myself, in fact I did write about it before. But recently I read a reader comment from HBI that sums everything up quite nicely. It's so compelling, it'll be such a waste not to post it, both as a reminder for myself and hopefully for the benefit of readers. The comment is as follows:-

"I can kind of sympathize with the Nice Guy and his affliction. I was once kind of there myself nad it's a twisted little world. Maybe I can bring some insight into it, in the hope one of these poor souls might see the light. At the same time, it'll be therapeutic for me.

Here's how it works, for the most part: insecure guy with little self-esteem gets this idea that if only this one girl could be his (Yep, just like a sofa or T.V. can be yours) it will make him whole and worthy again and all will be good with the world. So he fosters all his attention on an unsuspecting girl who's being nice to him because she happens to be a nice person. At first, she might have some genuine interest in him, but he's so grabby and clingy she quickly runs away, leaving him broken-hearted and wondering (ALL TOGETHER): Why do nice guys never get the girl?

Well, for one thing, guys - and get this in your head - you're not in love with that girl. You're in love with the idea of being in love. You're also horny and lonely. There's nothing wrong with being horny and lonely, happens to the best of us. It becomes a problem when you don't face the issue head-on and won't even admit it to yourself - much less another person. You see, you can't possibly be in love with someone you're not at least trying to communicate openly with and there is no such thing as love at first sight (Lust at first sight, yes). Love takes time and communication. It is to be grown and nurtured like a garden. The garden will only grow in an nourishing athmosphere and will suffocate in the absence of absolute mutual freedom. In other words it cannot be rushed, nor forced. Nor can you predict with certainty if it will flourish. It is always a gamble. So grabbing on to a girl and saying: OH! Love me ! Love me ! We must fall in love! is terribly misguided (and creepy - it will nip your garden in the bud)

Also, one last thing - and this can't be stressed enough - looking for a girlfriend is not a full-time occupation. First, it will get you in a horribly self-defeating cycle and second, if having a girlfriend is all you ever think about, what on earth will you possibly talk about when you finally do get a woman to sit down with you for an hour? The weather?

Get a hobby. Exercise. HAVE A JOB. Get involve in stuff. Study a subject. Repair computers. Play an instrument. Read books. Whatever. Don't just sit around waiting for HER to magically appear and save you from your inner emptiness. Acquire substance.

Now, I know some of you guys are thinking: Oh, I get it... I'll get a hobby and make myself interesting and THEN, I'll get the girl, because I'll be in something. I wonder what girls are into these days?

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no... Pursue something you are genuinely interested in. For yourself. In order to grow as a human being. Don't go around studying the Victoria Secrets catalogue figuring you can talk about that. She'll think you're gay. (Not that there's anything wrong with that... But that's not what you're trying to, here). You need to do something that will make you feel better about yourself and that will give you substance. And then, you'll realize you don't actually NEED another person to define you. Strangely enough, that's the only way you will reach a path to love. By rejecting its necessity. You may actually never fall in love in your life, maybe it's just not your destiny, but at least you'll be a whole person and you'll stop walking around beating yourself up.

And just one more thing: Please, please, please, for Heaven's sake, drugs and alcohol are neither an occupation nor a hobby. In fact, they will make you considerably less attractive. And the people you will attract are usually people you wouldn't want in your life. (I'm not talking about smoking a doob now and then and enjoying scotch - but don't ever make these things an occupation

Peace out. Cheers. Thanks for listening to my rant. God bless you all."

I know for a fact there are other people with the same issues described above. The same issues that wasted more than a decade of my own life.

I hope we all can learn what this. I sincerely hope this post will somehow save someone else 10-15 years of his/her life.

And so, have I decided to go back "in the game" so to speak. Am I ready to use my new knowledge and start trying to date again?

The answer is no.

Because one other thing I learnt is that a man needs to get his own shit together first before trying to meet someone else.

That's another very important lesson.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Some New Stuff

I discovered this brilliantly made WoW machinima from the WoW website this morning. See it here. It's great. It's made by Taiwanese fans. It's bloody brilliant. The song they used is great too. Reminds me of a great many anime intros.

I think it makes a nice promo for WoW.

This machinima phenomenon is great. The idea of using a game engine to make a film is very intriguing. I've watched a couple and they're amazing.

Another interesting thing I discovered recently is an online webzine that I linked to in a previous post, The Escapist. It's a gaming mag, only not really about games. Every article is interesting and almost exactly the things I wonder about myself. Go and read it.

I've been listening to this particular Third Eye Blind song, The Background. I love it.

Three nights of work left.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Frustrating Week

What a frustrating (and expensive) week.

My home internet connection is a little unstable. Sometimes I can't sign in to Blogger and Yahoo.

I sent a notebook for repair last week and I got back a few days ago. It is repairable, but the cost would have been so great it would've been pointless to do so.

My car's battery problems got worse and this morning I had no choice but to buy a new battery. Since it's so early in the morning, no service centres were open and I had to get it from the first shop I saw. That shop is bloody expensive. But it was either expensive battery or yet another jumper assisted start in the office parking lot, so the choice was obvious.

My router is still dead and looks like I have to buy a new one. This may be a good thing since I was thinking about changing to wireless anyway.

And right now, I am sitting in the office feeling slightly rushed and unsettled. Last minute call back. Of all the things I dislike about work, this last minute call back thing is what bugs me the most. Things are so crazy these days at work, I can expect this last minute call back thing to happen regularly.

Funny how things started to get really busy as soon as we hired the two new guys....

So yeah, I'm feeling a little bothered. My schedule is all out of whack. And we still don't know who burnt our neighbour's house down.

The house is ok for the most part. Things are more or less normal again, apart from some parts of the house which still has no power and smells like a charcoal kiln. Every now and then it rains and water gets in the house but that's not too bad.

Also, this week I yet again, attempted to apply for some kind of credit card. I think this is like the fourth time. The credit person I dealt with is a friend of a friend. And yet again, my friend offered to set me up. I answered that with a polite no thanks.

She was ok. Nothing wrong with her. I'm still not in the mood for that kind of thing. I've seen her around before. She lives quite near.

In other news, I watched Fragile. It was great. Very, very good in fact. Horror movies are so cliched these days, but Fragile worked very well. Heck, it scared me. Great to see Calista Flockheart again.

A few weeks ago, I watched Date Movie. I like Alyson Hannigan, but let's be honest. That movie sucked. She made a big mistake picking that movie. I hope she does something to redeem herself, and fast.

In World of Warcraft, I think I've finally found a server I really enjoy. Since this is a "normal" server, where players can't kill each other willy nilly, I don't have anything to worry about. It's much, much more relaxing. I've already made some new friends and joined two guild, one for my Horde characters, one for my Alliance ones. It's been really fun and play is a lot less mean spirited and competitive.

If the line doesn't drop, that is. Or if the server doesn't inexplicably lag for no reason, which it sometimes does.

To sum up, this week's been one of those weeks when nothing works quite the way they should.

Back to work.

Monday, June 19, 2006


On Saturday night, two men broke into our neightbour's house and set it on fire.

That's actually not surpring at all. Our neightbour is one of those shady characters with unsavoury dealings. This is probably something to do with gambling debts. Things like this are bound to happen.

Unfortunately for me, we live in a semi-detached unit and the house that burnt down is attached to ours.

I had just arrived at home around midnight when I saw a column of smoke coming out of the neighbour's house. The Fire Dept came after 20 minutes. By that time, the fire was spreading and the roof was burning. Our roof was on fire too. We managed to move all our things out.

In my head amidst all the commotion of evacuating all our valuables and papers, I quietly thought that if the fire dept didn't get here within half an hour AND if the fire managed to get into the neighbour's kitchen (where the gas tank is), the houses are gone.

Luckily, in 20 minutes there they were with hoses and spotlight and everything.

And luckily, we had other neighbours and they came in droves to help out carry things and point out sources of fire to the fire fighters. They needed that help. There were only four of them.

By 3.00am, it was all over. The place was a mess but everyone was ok. Except now we don't have any power until Sesco comes and reattaches our power. Obviously, the fire department had to cut it because of all the water.

We moved almost everything back in, but some things needed to be left outside.

The middle part of the house is not very habitable at this time.

It wasn't the most pleasant experience. But in the spirit of finding the silver lining, this disruption in our routines will hopefully have a positive effect in the long run. Hopefully.

I for one, will probably not take electricity and fire safety for granted for awhile.

Also, molotov cocktails are very effective if mixed properly. I also found out that the houses in my area are not up to the fire code standard, structurally speaking.

It's possible that we have need to have the house practically rebuilt, especially the roofing and the ceiling in one part of the house.

Which is more than I can say for the neighbour's house. It's just a burnt out shell now.

We'll have to see how it goes.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Not Really About Football

I watched England play Trinidad and Tobago early this morning.

England sucked. They were too slow in the 1st half and too rushed in the 2nd. They wasted a basketful of chances. They could've and should've buried Trinidad. But they only won 2-0.

Trinidad played very, very well with no sign of nerves whatsoever. All credit to them.

Having said that, I'm happy England have won both their games, despite the rather dubious way they won them. England all the way!

I'm also behind Australia. And of course, I hope South Korea and Japan do well too.

Ahh the World Cup...

I've only managed to catch bits of it so far. I've only watched one full game. I'll try to catch two games this morning. I can forget about the 9.00pm games. My mom watches Akademia Fantasia...

In other news, I gave up on looking for a driver for my phone. I bought a USB Bluetooth dongle instead. It's great and it opens up a whole world of possibilities, peripheral wise. Speakers, printers, cams etc.

The dongle cost RM65/- and is by MSI. Not bad at all. Now my ring tone is the intro to Metallica's Whiskey in a Jar.

In WoW news, I've decided to ditch my current US PVP server and move to an Oceanic PVE one. I got sick of being ganked and murdered by people 30 levels above me. I did not pay 14.99 USD a month just so some prepubescent puke could get his/her ya-yas off by killing me while I'm checking my ingame mail.

PVE would be a lot less stressful. For those who don't know, PVE means that players can't fight each other unless they really, really want to. PVP means you can fight other players almost anywhere.

Some people get off on PVP. That's understandable. I don't.

Also, Oceanic servers have a friendlier timezone, +10GMT. In my old server, people are asleep when I'm on. It can get very quiet. And dull.

And finally, a friend of mine called me out of the blue on Thursday morning to tell me that she loved one of my posts.

This kind of thing really makes my day. Thank you so much, you know who you are and I hope to see you soon. Please call me when you're in town.

Monday, June 12, 2006

OMG Girlz Don't Exist on teh IntarWeb!

The anonymity of the internet often brings out the worst in people, especially men. It can be quite embarassing, being a guy myself. Sometimes, women bash guys for assorted bad behaviour and general chauvinism and a lot of times, I can't say jack squat in defense because it's true, sadly.

Painful to listen to, but true.

I most certainly hope male chauvinist stereotypes don't apply to me.

Anyway, I found this very good article while reading before leaving work today. A good study of stereotypes.

More later.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

A New Phone and A New Place to Hang Out

On Friday night, my usual cell phone (E398) suffered from a problem with the keypad. The only button that worked was the on/off button.

Yesterday, I wanted to use back my C380 but my brother was using it and there was no available backup phone. So while I was out, I decided to buy a new phone. It's about time to anyway.

I've always liked Nokia phones, so I figured this would be a great time to bo back to Nokia. I was looking around and noticed some nice 6-series Nokia phones around the RM500 - RM600 range. Very nice. That was when the sales guy offered some Motorola phones as well.

I ended up buying a Motorola L6. So much for going back to Nokia...

Anyway, it's a lovely phone. It has all the basic features. MP3 playback, 1.3MPx cam, bluetooth etc. And no unnecessary features. On top of that, unlike most cellphones, it's case was METAL! And it's wafer thin. Really thin.

The package also came with a USB connector (but oddly enough, no drivers) and a handsfree kit along with the charger. I also got me a nice transparent outer shell for the phone.. Usually I don't like those horrid phone "condoms" but this one was a nice rigid clear plastic case instead of rubber.

The price? RM450. Considering the phone, that's bloody cheap. Later today, I'm going to pass my old E398 to my colleague to repair. That's a nice phone too, I still want it around.

Also, on Thursday night, I went to Chillax for that Plush Toy Party organised by Tarlia. It was a great success. So many people came. I didn't have a plush toy though. I had an unassembled Zoid in the car which was not plush at all.

Anyway, the gathering was a blast. It's been such a long time since I've been to a gathering like that, when lots of new people come. Chillax was also a blast. What a great place to hang. Such cosiness. I'll be back for sure.

I went to Nick's house on Friday night to assemble my Zoid (Salamander) and to play games on PS/2. Once again, I find myself contemplating getting a console. Console games these days are so seriously mind-blowing.

Suddenly, considering games and technology, I shudder to think how games will look like in 10 years. Also, I shudder to think that in 10 years, I'll be 43. *Shudders*

Ten years. That's not really a long time. It "seems" like a lot of time, but in reality, not really. Scary thought. I better stop thinking about that now.

In other happenings, remember that time I had problems with my Friends Season 10 episodes that had no sound? I solved it.

I found what is probably THE most comprehensive codec pack ever, the K-Lite codec. It was smart enough to uninstall all my older codecs while I installed it too. I have quite a number of codec files. It worked flawlessly with all my videos. I'm very, very pleased with that.

I heartily recommend it for all your video needs. It's very good.

I have a long week at work ahead. And June is proceeding fairly quickly. More than half the year has gone. How has it been for everyone so far?

This will probably be a subject for a blogpost very, very soon.

Have a nice Sunday.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Tid Bitz

I was reading and found this nice post about Christianity.

Too many "religious" people forget what their faith is all about. It's very sad. It's very easy to be judgmental, very easy to fall into the trap of smugness with ones own "greatness". Most easy when religion is involved. Oh yes, I know theology and such therefore I'm better than you all haha. That kind of thing.

This is one reason why we often have fire and brimstone specialists when it comes to religion. It's not so much serving the Church as much as serving the ego or their own personal crusades.

Most unfortunate that the Bible itself foretold such behaviour from "believers". The Devil is a wily enemy after all, using the most seemingly trivial weaknesses to undermine people. How often do religious people forget that? Often, I say.

I sometimes write about faith (mainly my own) and I think about it quite a lot, despite my regular failure to go to church (of which I'm not proud of). I would like to say that I'm not religious and I don't claim to be an expert.

I feel bad sometimes when I think about religion, seeing as I'm not the most outwardly religious person around. This is one reason why I don't really say much in real life. I could be talking about it and a potential detractor could use the fact that I'm not "qualified" to invalidate anything I say that they may not agree with. Frankly, I have no time and energy to get into things like that.

Yes, faith. This faith, is so hard to maintain in the face of the world. Sometimes, I wonder what it is all about. I wonder if it's all worth it. To keep believing that God is somehow doing what is right behind the scenes, especially considering the things happening in my own life. The boredom, the drudgery, the disappointments.

Yet there it is, the mystery of that faith. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, there it is, a tiny smidgen of it, hanging on, hoping against hope that someday all the things that I go through will be worth it somehow.

By definition, faith is irrational. It's a good thing that it is. In some ways, perhaps that is the beauty of it.

In other news, the cafeteria food is sucking even worse now than ever. Also, I notice with some distress that they are slowly and quietly taking less and less ala carte orders. They won't even fry an egg!

I guess their management doesn't know that their contract is about to be terminated very, very soon... I can't say I'll feel bad for them when it does happen.

Human nature is like that. Things look easy, you're getting fixed income and slowly you take it for granted that somehow it will never, ever end. And pretty soon, you develop a sense of entitlement and expect people to put up with your lackadaisal behaviour.

Human nature sucks.

On a lighter note, I've finally completed downloading Friends! All ten years worth of it. I will be looking for another Season 10 source though, because of that sound codec problem I had with the one I have now. Half the episodes have no sound. Fortunately the last few (especially the all important finale) isn't affected.

Next week, I'm considering buying a new hard disk. Those things are so cheap now. I might get a 250Gb one to replace my current 40gb. I only hope I have enough power to supply both my hard disks. I'm also thinking about buying a bluetooth module for my PC. With this, I can download and upload things from my phone.

I will probably do this on Thursday or Friday along with my banking chores. I also need to send a friend's notebook for repair.

The Last Few Days...

"As a girl (child), you see the world as a giant candy store filled with sweet candy and such. But one day you look around and you see a prison and you're on death row. You wanna run or scream or cry but something's locking you up. Are the other folks cows chewing cud until the hour comes when their heads roll? Or are they just keeping quiet like you, planning their escape."

- Justine Last (Jennifer Aniston), The Good Girl

I watched The Good Girl again last week. I was at home, it was very early in the morning and no one was around. What a great film it is. I quite enjoy bittersweet films like this one. I love that quote in the beginning of the movie. I can relate. There are days that I too, wish I could escape from the drudgery of work and responsibilty, of routine and expectations, to be free from it all.

That freedom looks good on paper, but in real life, things are hardly so simple, as you know. It comes with a price. Justine (the main character) yearned for this freedom too. She is a woman who is bored of her life and sees no way out, until the day that she meets Holden (Jake Gylenhaal). But deep down, she knew it wasn't that easy and there is a price to pay.

Anyway, that movie is good and I urge everyone to watch it if it can be found. Or downloaded even.

I just feel like writing down thoughts today, nothing specific. Just things I think about and things I did over the last few days.

I need to cull my blogroll again. Remove some blogs and add new ones. Except that I haven't really found any blogs I want to add yet. To be fair, I've not been blogrolling as much as I used too. There are other things now. MMORPG, different groups of friends, the cat, old TV shows, etc that occupy my time.

I also need to change my links list. I have many things to add and remove. Also, the time has come for me to change the template again. Perhaps it's a good idea to make template changing an annual exercise.

I've been testing Internet Explorer 7 Beta at the office. It's not bad. Certainly less annoying than IE 6 ever was but not quite as quick as Firefox. Definitely more stable than IE 6. All in all, it's quite good. I love the new "warmer" fonts. My favourite browser is still Firefox though.

On Sunday night, we hung out at a friends place and played an Ultraman fighting game on his PS/2! It was hilarious. And nostalgic. And yes, you can see the zippers on the Ultramen suits! It's unbelievably lifelike and the detail level of the game was amazing. Did I mention that it was hilarious?

As usual, when I'm off work, I spend at least 4 hours playing World of Warcraft. I've had the most fun over the last few days.

I'm going to discuss WoW now, so feel free to skip this and go to the end.

Me and three other guys went to do Shadowfang Keep. For the uninitiated, Shadowfang Keep (SFK) is a low level 5-man dungeon with a really difficult boss at the end. It didn't bode well at first, there were only 4 of us doing a 5 man dungeon. My priest was the highest lvl character, it was down to me to keep everyone alive.

And there's the matter of not knowing how strangers online will act. Will they be nice? Will they be assholes? Will they ninja loot your treasures while you fight to stay alive?

As it turns out, this raid was the most fun raid I've ever had. We swept all before us and the other guys were real pros with good tactical sense, despite their low level characters and general noobiness. Unfortunately, we couldn't finish the raid because two of them had to sign off to go to work.

The worse part of that we had killed all except Arugal, the dungeon boss. Just one enemy left, but a real powerhouse with unfair powers like teleportation and huge magic attacks that do huge amounts of damage. Eliminate him and who knows what treasures he might've dropped! So close and yet so far.

Still, it was an awesome raid with three really great players. This is what MMO is about man.

Early yesterday morning, I took another character to do quests and was joined by two other guys. These two guys were great too. I've had a good two days of WoW and met some great characters online. My friends list has a few new entries over the last few days.

That's the funny part about WoW and many other MMORPGs.

On the two servers I play at least, the so-called "bad" side (Horde) are so much more honourable and altruistic than the "good" (Alliance) side. Frankly, also over the last few days, I've noticed the so-called "good" guys have been acting like terrorists, skulking around and killing noobs with their level 60 rogues and running away when higher level Horde players hunt for them.

How cowardly.

Still no reason to complain. I'm on a PVP (Player vs Player server) and things like this are bound to happen. Just have to suck it up.

Vengeance will be mine one day *evil laugh*

And that, was the last few days.

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Housekeeper

It's Gawai. There's no one at home, only my brother and myself.

Having the house to myself is quite nice. It's really peaceful. We had a gathering on the 31st and my brother just had one just now. It was great.

Also, this Gawai is kind of different from the previous ones. I didn't get drunk. The urge to drink is also not there. I guess I'm pass that now. Been there done that eh.

Anyway, it's nice to have a quiet "festive" week.

I used to hate housework. Apparently, now I only hate it when certain people are around the house. Certain people get really angry when they do housework, and it's not fun to be around them when that happens.

I'm watching Friends right now. Two more seasons to download.

Nothing much is happening now and nothing really much to write about. That usually means I haven't been reading the paper.

Here's wishing everyone a merry and prosperous Gawai.

*PS For those who don't know what it is, Gawai Dayak is the Harvest Festival.