Sunday, January 28, 2007

A Good Dream...

... is as good as anything when you need a lift.

But first...

... The last few days I've been furiously experimenting on my PC. To my dismay, I've discovered that TMNut, our belover Internet Service Cartel Provider has not only capped P2P and BitTorrent speeds but has recently resorted to shutting down communication with overseas torrent trackers.

Which means that it's impossible to download anything via BitTorrent.

I've looked through various forums and according to some posters who took the trouble to ask Telekom, the usage capping was done ostensibly to save the already limited bandwidth due the that earthquake last month.

I have a bad feeling that TMNut won't unshackle tracker communications even after full capacity restoration.

I just have this feeling in my gut.

I'd like to know how the hell would World of Warcraft players receive their updates when they can't use BitTorrent?

I've also read somewhere that TMNut has started blocking iTunes, of all things. Is that true? Some verification would be nice.

Maybe I'm just being my cynical self, but despite all those posters on various forums writing in and complaining I seriously doubt TMNut big wigs will give a shit. We're not corporate users so...

If they did care enough, they would've done something a long time ago.

What can you do, as long as the TMNut monopoly lasts this is how things are going to be.

Enough of complaining today then.

Anyway the dream.

It was great. I can't remember what it was really about. All I could remember was that I was happy. And there was somebody there with me.

Even more interesting was the fact that that person actually exists.

Unfortunately, that person is very extremely unavailable in real life.

This is me after all, with my unhealthy proneness to being attracted to women who are impossible to have relations with. Is anyone even remotely surprised?

So it's kind of a good thing that I don't really feel (and have never felt) like THAT for her in real life. It would be rather awkward if I ever did.

Oh well. I refuse to dwell on that. A lift is a lift and this morning I felt great because of it. Perhaps it was God giving me a break and letting me sample what happiness might be like. If it was, I appreciate it. It was nice.

Meanwhile back on the Material Plane, life goes on as it usually and inexorably does.

I have one more day of work tomorrow.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Disturbingly Racist Malaysians

I was actually going to write about D&D today, but this topic is more fun.

The new style blogger template has a nice feature which I like a lot. The archive section has a post counter. It tells you how many entries have been posted in a particular month or year.

My post count has been going down steadily. In a way it's a good sign. Fewer posts means fewer complaints which must mean that my life as a whole is getting more satisfactory. Unfortunately, fewer complaints makes Riding the Mellow less fun to read.

Oh well.

Anyway, I do have something to say this morning.

A good friend of mine recently told me how a certain friend of hers has stopped supporting a certain football team because they have a Jewish player on their books.

He also apparently said other choice, fascists remarks implying that association with people of a certain faith is a bad thing.

You know what's the saddest thing about this? The saddest thing about this is that I'm not in the least bit shocked.

This sort of anti-semitic (and other overtly racist and bigoted) bullshit happens a lot in this country, especially by people who live in a certain part of the country that I (thankfully) don't live in.

Malaysian people are in general, quite nice. They only become idiots when some gallery-playing politician wannabe or some headless religious fanatic fires them up.

See? Sometimes being too afraid and respectful of authority figures can be a bad thing. People need to exercise the right to question even their leaders and use their own eyes and ears for a change.

Anyway, by some strange coincidence I was reading the papers this morning and there was a hell lot of articles about national unity and such. Specifically, apparent lack of said unity. It is very strange actually. Apparently 30 years ago, things are more relaxed and less people made a big deal out of other peoples' races.

There were also articles about the new Ethnic Relations module for public universities which is good. At least someone's trying to do something.

There are things that can be done but I doubt it will be done because of how things work here.

There's local politics and how it's always organized around racial/religious lines. The original idea was to have a vehicle to bring up issues pertaining a certain racial section of society. Which is fine and dandy.

Unfortunately, race/religion based parties also breed zealots and ultras who villify "the others". Some of these people are crap wannabes who offer no real innovation other than defending their race from "threats". Some others really believe in their master race ideology and some are really driven by hate. Which ever kind they are, they play to the gallery and that sort of rhetoric filters down to the people.

You'd figure that level headed leaders will come down on their less than enlightened party members. They can't. Ultras and zealots command some serious influence and coming down on them will mean losing that influence (and votes). So once in a while they need to do things so to appease their more radical following. Which doesn't help with the national unity thing.

Some people know better and ignore such crazy talk. But some other people don't know better. Even worse than that, some of these chauvinists manage to find their way high up the political system. Their presence has a subtle effect on how things work. Like our education system, which is a whole different blog post so I won't talk about that now.

And there's religion. I personally feel that many Malaysians are more obsessed by the appearance of piety rather than actually being pious. These include some people in high places. Being pious is hard work. It's a long journey of discovery and enlightenment regardless of which faith one professes.

Appearing to be pious is so much less of a hassle. It's very simple. Dress like a religious person. Talk like a religious person. Ocassionally say something incredibly crass about women. Or talk about "unbelievers" and remind supporters of how much of a "threat" they are. And let's not forget the "All Jews are evil" boilerplate. Always a winner there.

This method works because there are Malaysians who are too respectful of "religious scholars" and believe everything they say. Once again, failure to ask questions and verify facts leads to ignorance and bigotry. So we have "religious" people who refuse to associate with "the others" for fear of losing their faith or worse, being accused of infidelity themselves.

How is that going to help reduce racism and promote unity?

I've always said that mixing religion and politics is a very, very bad idea.

Our entire social and political system needs a revamp away from religious and racial lines. Will it happen? Can it happen? Everyone has eyes to see and ears to hear. See and hear and come to your own conclusions.

Our leadership has to take a long hard look at itself if it really wants to change things.

So what am I doing about this racism thing?

I posted before about everyone having racial biases and prejudices, shaped by their experiences and the stuff you get from older relatives and people around you.

So yeah, I have had some less than flattering opinions about certain kinds of people based on what I hear and experience. But I also know that it's not right to have such feelings. So the onus is up to me to suppress and override and eventually disprove those feelings. My feelings and opinions are my responsibility after all.

In other words my part of the deal against racism is to not be a racist myself, despite some residual prejudices I might have. After al, no one is truly completely impartial.

It's not huge, but at least I'm not a fascist scum which is more than I can say for some people.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Schedule Change/RPG

My life is about to get kind of complicated because...

... it's that time of the year where my work shift changes. Therefore, my working days will be even less predictable than they are until everything stabilizes at the end of February.

I don't like this. This is one part of the job I don't particularly enjoy. The other parts that I'm beginning to get really bored with include working at night and working on public holidays\weekends.

Too bad decent jobs are hard to come by in Kuching, otherwise I'd move. I'd love to work normal hours again and be free when everyone else is free. I suppose I could move to where the grass is "greener" but my situation isn't that dire so I'm staying put.

And that place where the grass is "greener"? Actually, the "greener" grass comes with a price I'm not really willing to pay unfortunately. Speaking off which, my brother will be flying back there after his extended break from studying and job hunting. I hope he will be fine and he will get a nice job.

Not much else happened while I was away from the internet.

I went to check for music downloads and again, I didn't find anything I wanted. I think I may be suffering from download burnout. My intermittently crap connection didn't help and the bad weather over the last few days makes it even worse.

The guys have started to play D&D again. I got all nostalgic. I played a long time ago. The best part of the whole thing this time is the fact that some of the new group are RPG newbies. Always great to see people adjusting to the whole "acting" and "being in character" thing. Takes a bit of getting used to.

Occasionally I do contemplate being a DM. I do have some decent story ideas. The problem I have now is that I'm not really a good story teller. A good DM must be a good storyteller first and foremost. Also, he needs to be fast and be ready to take the story in a new direction when a player or players do something unexpected.

But if I was a good storyteller, I think it would be so much fun. I'm just watching this time around and already it's so much fun. If I had more time, I'd play too. But alas...

So, this means that I'm still playing Football Manager 2007. It's still excellent and I can't wait for the new patch coming out at the end of the month.

Life is pretty decent so far and the year 2007 hasn't felt "old" yet. More to come...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

New Template\More Magic Bullets

Just upgraded the template. You will notice some minor differences if you look closely. Overall, I'm happy with the new widget-based template editing. Takes the headache and intimidation of trawling through lines of code.

Blogrolling seems to be down. What a bummer. I have links I wanted to add/remove.

Oh yes before I forget, I read this nice article about Hang Tuah and how they are actually TWO parts to his story and not just the one where he kills his best friend because the Sultan asked him to.

Read it here. I'm suddenly quite interested to read the other half myself.

Anyway, apart from that things are pretty much normal right now.

I felt much better after the rant in the last post. A visitor suggested a link to Cultivate Greatness, which was a nice gesture. Some of the stuff on the website is quite good reading.

There is something that I want to say about inspirational or self help stuff though.

Of course it's a good thing and it helps. Sometimes. But sometimes, self help literature can be very vague at best or very cliched at worst. I sometimes wish I could find something more specific and definitive to the things that ail me. I'm sure a lot of people would want more specific advice about getting over their issues.

Like the self esteem issue for example. The most obvious bit of advice would be "have confidence in yourself". But how exactly does one get that confidence. Surely it can't be pulled out of thin air and surely it can be as simple as snapping ones fingers and proclaiming,"I'm confident!" I think that method is called "being delusional"

I've looked around and again, no one seems to have a definitive method to boost self confidence. I'm aware that each case is different and different methods have different results for different individuals. But I'm thinking surely there must be some things that are true for all cases. Surely there must be a common initial step that one can take. Preferably without wiping out your life savings by doing pro therapy in the process.

Yeah, I guess I'm still looking for the magic bullet. I'm also probably going to get a lot of stick for this, by wanting a so-called "easy" solution. In my defense, I don't care whether it's "easy" or "hard". I just want some kind of tangible answer, a shove in the correct direction, if you will.

Self esteem isn't the only issue that doesn't seem to have a black and white solution. I could write an entire separate blog about each and every question I have about a lot of things.

Perhaps I'm just too blind to see. Or too thick to find the answers. Perhaps this is my so-called "Cross"?

Anyway having said all of that, things aren't as bad as they used to be. It used to be a LOT worse. I feel I'm getting better all the time. I just wish I would get better faster before I'm too old to really enjoy my life.

Tomorrow I get off work so I don't think I'll be posting.

Oh and yesterday I found a blog belonging to someone my brother used to go out with. It was very.... unsettling to read.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Yourself or Someone Else

"Cos all I really want is to be with you
And feel like I matter too
If I didn't blow the whole thing years ago
I might be here with you"

- Hey Jealousy, Gin Blossoms

Let me give an example of stupidity.

A long, long time ago, I envied guys who are more "popular" than me, so to speak. Of course, these days I know why I wasn't "popular". I was an introverted geek. Obviously, one must be outgoing and social to be "popular" and have many friends. Like my brothers for instance. Since I was an introverted geek with huge, cheap glasses and a stutter, there was no way that was going to happen.

Stupidity no.1. The reasons were right there in (on?) my face. I didn't see it.

You'd figure that knowing why would help one feel better and stop wishing for things that ain't gonna happen right?

Stupidity no. 2. Nope.

I'm 34 this year and guess what? Even to this very day, I look at people and still wish I was "popular", so to speak. Like my brother. He probably envies me because I have a stable job and I seem to have endless amounts of money. Probably.

But I still turn green when I consider how well known he is.

I know why I'm not like that. I'm not really good at being an extrovert. I get self conscious very quickly in a social situation, particularly if I have no "wingman" who can back me up. I'm much too cowardly to even try and "break to envelope". Unless I get a sudden shot of courage, get hit in the head and get amnesia or have a personality transplant, being the centre of attention is just wishful thinking.

I have a good idea why I am like I am. So I ought to just relax and accept the way I am.

And yet there are times I catch myself wishing I was someone else.

When you're 16, that's kind of normal. Expected even.

At 34, that's just stupid. This wishing to be other people malarkey is a symptom of low self worth isn't it?

A 3o-something isn't supposed to have such childish issues anymore.

Now, how do I stop being stupid? How do I increase my "self worth" without deluding myself into thinking I'm "better" than I am?

What I need now is some kind of Magic Bullet that will permanently remove these idiotic occasions where I wish I was someone else and make me permanently satisfied and grateful for being who I am.

Anybody have a magic gun?

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Shopgirl/Football Snippets

There is this sundry shop across the street from my house that I go to when I want to get canned goods and cigarettes.

There is this very friendly shopgirl there, always smiling and always in a good mood. I think she's either the towkay-neo or someone related to the family who owns the shop.

With each visit, I'm beginning to find her increasingly more attractive.

Of course since this is me and my this self-destructive attraction to unattainable women we're talking about here, this means that she is probably (a) married but doesn't want to wear her ring or (b) involved in a long term relationship or (c) unattainable in some other way.


Anyway with all honesty and seriousness, I don't think we're each others type.

Enough of that then.


Sports fans of all kinds would no doubt know that the biggest news this week involves a certain ex-Manure and soon to be ex-Galactico midfielder.

He claims that he wants to move to the US because he wanted a new "challenge" and to make a difference in American soccer. I would like to believe that actually. I really do.

Unfortunately, I have this nagging suspicion that his wife had a hand in his decision to move.

Whatever the reason, the good thing is at least football (soccer) is suddenly hyped in American news and this kind of publicity will do it good. I would like more Americans to like the game and become fans.

Talking about football, the ASEAN Football Championship is currently on in Thailand and Singapore. The national team is playing in Thailand and grouped together with Philippines, Myanmar and the hosts. So far, 1 win and 1 draw. Tomorrow, Malaysia play Thailand with qualification at stake.

Why is this remarkable? This is remarkable because for the first time in my life, I'm not laughing at them and instead am actually hoping that they do well.

I don't know why.

Anyway, this is our only realistic chance to win anything. Later this year, Malaysia host one group of the Asian Nations Cup and frankly, there is no way in hell we are getting out of our qualifying group which consists of Iran(!!), China(!!) and Uzbekistan. I'd love for us to be able to qualify but I don't think we're good enough.

The last few days have had a lot of football in it. Been playing Football Manager quite a bit. But this week, I also made it a point to break up my gaming sessions more frequently and go do some other thing, like watch TV. It's a nice change of pace.

Talking about TV, I watched a documentary about Japan. Ahh Japan, what an intriguing place and what intriguing culture they have. One day, I must go and visit.

I'm working this week so I expect another post within the next few days.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Weird Science?

I was reading this. From there I discovered this. And that led me to this. And then this.

This makes good reading too.

Is flirting and meeting people of the opposite gender an art? Or can it be considered a science? Is it both? I'm beginning to think that perhaps it IS a science. Psychology to be more exact.

I'll be honest and say that if it does turn out to be a "science" and if it does turn out that there are certain "methods" that work in flirting with women, I'll be quite disappointed.

Disappointed as in most of the advice that I've gotten and most of the ideals that I used to believe in are all mistaken. Yes, I admit despite some of the stuff I write about this I still kind of hope that at least some of our romantic ideals would turn out to be true.

At least it work for many people I know.

One common thing I kept getting was,"Be yourself" or "Be true to yourself". Sounds good in theory doesn't it, all noble and all that. No need to change anything about yourself. You are good enough.

Are you?

In a previous post, I mentioned certain individuals that we had noticed. These individuals are so messed up and laden with so many problems, no amount of trying will be enough to get them female attention. Something to do with personality flaws from what I can see.

Be true to yourself? What do you do when being true to yourself IS actually the problem.

So you change your personality I suppose. Spank the inner moppet, get over it, identify and solve your problems. But suddenly I remember someone said a long time ago (or was that a comment someone left on this blog, I can't quite remember) changing your personality is the same as faking it, i.e you can't change who you are.

I'm confused. How far do you take "self-improvement" before it can be considered "faking"? And if a gormless, charmless, Average Frustrated Chump gradually changes into someone better and more socially adept, is he still himself or did he become someone else?

This doesn't sound like being true to yourself at all.

More importantly does it really matter?

One other thing. I get stuff like this in my mail too, i.e how to approach and get a woman's (hopefully positive) attention. The thing I don't really like about stuff like this is that at first glance it appears that it stereotypes and objectifies women. That's on one hand.

On the other hand, you have to admit (I'm sure many women will too) that some guys really do need some help when it comes to this. Some guys really need help so that they stop being creepy or being hapless chumps who can't handle themselves in company. I'm quite sure that many "creepy" guys don't want to be creepy. I know I wouldn't want to be. Likewise for people who are "annoying". For the necessary help to be conveyed sometimes abstract concepts need to be quantified, I guess.

Hence the "objectification".

This is the thing, when it comes to love, relationship and all that stuff I find myself constantly being pulled apart in two distinctly different directions. Do I let it flow naturally and be myself, which incidentally I've tried. So far it hasn't worked but I won't discuss the possible reasons here. That's a whole 10 page essay all by itself.

Or do I get a so-called "Players" Handbook" (or use a dating website or a forum) and use the "methods" therein? I haven't done this because frankly it sounds so "artificial".

I would love to fall in love again. It's been so very long since that happened and I'm not getting any younger. But when I think about it and all the confusion and potential trauma that can result from it, I wonder. Is it really worth it all.

Perhaps I've become too cold but I sometimes think that luck and fate are the ONLY things that matter and any other futile attempts are exactly that.

One final question, to women especially.

If you discovered that your husband/boyfriend whom you so adore first attracted you using a "method" or a "pickup" he found in a book/website/dating seminar/etc, would it matter? Would it upset you?

I would really like to know.

Whisper it Quietly...

...Buffy is back. (Pic from Darkhorse Comics)

According to the information that I've been reading. Issue #1 of Buffy Season 8 will come out on 7th March 07.

Sure they've been other comics, but this one is extra special as it is written as a direct continuation of the TV series and will be written by the same people i.e Joss Whedon and co.

Hence, it will be 100% canon!

I'm very excited. This is very good news.

So far, all I know is that Buffy is in Italy and the rest of her old crew are scattered all over the world looking for new Slayers.

I wonder who the Season 8 Big Bad will be...

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Still Here

It took 10 minutes to log in to blogger today. That's very annoying.

The newspapers say that our internet situation will be back to normal on the 20th. I hope so. It's hard enough to find motivation to post while my connection speed was good, never mind when it's slowish like today.


The most remarkable thing that I can report from the last few days is the fact that I didn't read anything annoying in the news. That's very remarkable. Or perhaps all the annoying idiots are still on their holidays?

The first weeks of January is always interesting in that it still has that "new" feeling. I would like to find out how long the new year will feel new. I'm going to try and post the very second I feel like it's old hat. I think it'll feel old in another 2 days.

Yes, I'm bored and can't think of anything interesting to do with my spare time, apart from playing and fooling around with FM2007.

Talking about football, the last two weeks have been great of you're a fan of English football. First there was that crazy 4-games-8-days Christmas period and then this weekend was the FA Cup 3rd round. I bet fans of Swansea City are feeling very good at the moment...

I need to steal some double sided tape to stick up some posters on my wall. They are still bare at the moment. I'd like a poster of Sarah Michelle Gellar actually. Or a Buffy one. Where would I find such a thing?

As you can see, I have no idea what to write today.

All I wanted to say is that I'm alive and doing fine. I hope everyone is also fine and will have a good week.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Countdown? Countdown What?

The full horrors of the broadband meltdown struck me early yesterday morning. I spent half the day fielding calls from panicked people who can't receive/send stuff and who are cut off from our other offices which are overseas.

It's fun to be tech support. Really.

I also noticed that many people got rather unwell this last week. Myself included.

For the first time in many, many years (four to be exact) I did not participate in your usual New Years' Eve merry making. I slept. I had to since the next day was a working day and I had to get up at 5 bloody am as usual.

Plus, gastric was still there making me quite uncomfortable.

Anyway, as it turns out missing out on the so-called countdown didn't really bother me all that much. Not as much as it used to. The last time I missed New Years' Eve, I got very sad.

Working on the 1st didn't ruin my mood either. In fact, oddly I feel quite elated for no reason at all.

Maybe it has something to do with the 1st day of the new year. Yesterday, I felt like a great weight had lifted off my shoulders and I felt quite alright despite the flurry of panicked phone calls that I mentioned earlier.

The cynics would insist that the 1st of January is just one day in the year with no actual, material significance. That may be so but is it really? Perhaps deep down I'm thinking,"Finally, a chance for a fresh start. Time to close the book on last year and start anew with a clean slate!"


I'm not questioning it though. I would like to enjoy this positive vibe that I'm having while it lasts because I know that it won't.

And so, what does 2007 bring and what do I hope it will be? I do hope that this year will be more memorable than the last. This year I resolve to be happy and content and to accept the life that I have. I resolve not to begrudge other peoples' good fortunes. I admit last year I did feel that way a few times.

I resolve not to ask "why?" too much.

I hope to become less cold and less cynical somehow. I'm not sure how to do this yet. It is quite likely that I won't be able to pull this off.

We'll have to see.

At the end of this year, I hope I can say that I did well.

Cheers to the New Year and may all our hopes come to pass.