Sunday, November 25, 2007

Here We Go Again...

What a spoiler. I wanted to write about games today...

I read something rather disturbing in the papers recently. A reader wrote a letter to this newspaper calling for censorship of suicide scenes in films and tv shows.

I shook my head when I read that letter.

Obviously, this kind of sentiment is a reaction to that 12 year girl who hung herself the other day. It's unfortunate and symptomatic to a bigger underlying problem affecting today's society.

The mass media is not one of those problems, no matter how hard some people insist that it is. Seriously.

Here we go again, more calls for censorship. It's as if censorship is the cure-all solution to every social woe that we have.

I notice this happens a lot. Whenever something negative happens involving kids, a lot of people say that censoring media is a solution. I understand how one may come to such a conclusion but I also know for a fact that mass media has nothing whatsover to do with social problems like suicide and violence. Many, many studies have indicated no direct link between entertainment and mass media and things that happen in real life. No need to link here, anyone with a brain and a working internet connection can look for this him/herself.

And yet...

Censorship is a lazy "solution". That way at least some people will feel better because something was done. Even if it doesn't help at all. Frankly, it's ridiculous.

To say that someone committed suicide because of something that was shown on TV is a crazy notion. Suicide is something much, much more serious than that. Whether or not TV and films are censored, the unfortunate fact is that people will still kill themselves if they are stressed or desperate enough.

No, I don't buy the reasoning that suicide portrayed mass media makes suicide more appealing. I don't think it's logical to say that people will consider suicide is to be "cool" if they see it on TV. Do you know anyone who tried to kill him/herself because he/she saw it on TV? That's right. No one.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Mass media is a convenient scapegoat for lazy people who can't/won't address the actual causes of the problems they see. When things like violence and suicide and other social problems occur, the problem is with the individual who commits the act and not with mass media.

Millions of people have watched violent movies, played violent computer games and read violent literature. Out of this millions of people, how many have been driven to violence by these things?

Would it really make any difference if there was no violence in mass media? Some people would like to think so but seriously? Would it make a difference? It won't. Because these kinds of problems come from within society itself. In fact, I feel that the violence found in films, TV and other forms of entertainment is a reflection of the violence and other problems in our society.

Art imitates life. Not the other way around. Such a simple fact and yet...

This is getting rather long and rambly. My point is if people really want to address issues like suicide amongst youth and other issues, they should stop making dumb suggestions like censoring mass media and deal with the actual causes of the problem.

People really need to stop blaming mass media for everything and start taking more responsibility for the things that happen around them.

Enough of this shit. And now for the things that really matter: games!!

Need For Speed: Prostreet is bloody awesome. It's the best Need For Speed game yet!

It may not be a car simulator like Gran Turismo but damn it's fun! And it looks gorgeous too. I just wished it featured more cars and more real world locations. To be honest, that's my only real complaint. That and the game's physics engine doesn't work as well as some other racing games' engine when it comes to capturing the "feel" of driving. Compared to the cars in Gran Turismo 4, the cars in Prostreet feel a bit more "dead" if you know what I mean. But to be fair, Prostreet doesn't make any claims about being a realistic simulator so this is no issue for me.

Complaints aside, the game rocks and I heartily recommend it to racing sim enthusiasts. Oh yes, the game needs quite a powerful rig to run with all the graphic bells and whistles on. I myself have to play in in medium/low detail right now. We''ll see how awesome it looks like when I upgrade to a GeForce 8600GT...

In yet more gaming news for those of us who play Football Manager 2008 and it's variants, the official 8.01 patch is out. The patch features many minor fixes but the biggest fix are updates for the match engine. It fixes the "closing down" bug which is the single biggest issue that was plaguing the game when first it came out. So go and download it. It really, really helps.

The patch is available from the Sigames website.

That's all for today. Time to get back to work. Have a good Sunday.

PS: I found a cool list of the 50 greatest fictional weapons of all time! Go and read.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

They Know Now

After months of hiding it, my parents finally found out about me going to see a shrink this year.

Unfortunately as is usual in my household the circumstances of that discovery was not very good.

A few weeks prior I had requested a report from the doctor about the results of the treatment. Incidentally, the doc says I had dysthymia. Which was exactly what I thought it was. So how did Mother find out?

I told her.

This post has gone through a number of rewrites and I've decided to keep the details of the circumstances to myself. All I can say is now both my parents know what I feel about the things they do and that they should back off, for the love of God.

Now that they know, does it mean that things will change around the house? I would like it very much if it did but I don't think it ever will. Force of habit is very strong and to expect changes in the near future is simply asking for too much.

I guess things may never change at all. Perhaps that's just my fate, punishment for whatever unforgivable sin I may have committed.

I'll just get on with it then.

I got to thinking about the story so far, so to speak. If I were to write a book about myself, how would it sound like? I somehow feel that it would be a story of survival. Of making do with what is at hand.

So how would it end? Will there be a happy ending?

As much as I try to keep positive and be optimistic, I can't help but feel that the end would not be a happy one. I'm in my mid 30s now and I've only just begun to pick up the pieces. No thanks to depression and emotional problems.

When I was a kid, I made some plans and by my current reckoning, I'm about 10-12 years behind schedule.

I don't really feel sad about it. It's just like that, I guess. There's no longer any use lamenting all that wasted time.

It's not all bad though. At least I'm able to enjoy myself now without any unnecessary weight. Being free from misery and depression makes it all so much more worthwhile.

Like I said before, I only wished that I did it sooner...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

What Do I Know, Really?

I'm going to talk about relationships again. But not in the way I usually do it.

I was reading Kenny's blog and felt compelled to leave a rather long comment about what he wrote. This is not the first time that I've done it and not only at Kenny's either. I suddenly wondered why I like to talk and think about relationship and express opinions about it as if I'm some kind of expert.

I'm no expert obviously. Most of the opinions I express are based on theory. When you think about it, it's kind of sad. Most of it is just theory. How would I react if someone disagreed with me and put me on the spot?

I could quote stats and other peoples' experiences but is that as strong as personal experience?

Yes, if someone asked me to "back it up" it would be rather embarrassing because to be honest I got nothing to back up all these things I write about relationships. Especially about what makes it work. As if...

I sometimes scoff at people for making terrible mistakes in the relationships but suddenly I thought what right have I to do that?

They may be the ones making the mistakes but they are the ones who managed to start a relationship. Unlike some overly opinionated people.

I guess one could say that this post is a reminder for myself to back off a bit and let people who have the practical experience talk about what works and what doesn't. Especially on what works. I may have my opinions but damned if I know if any of it is true.

Except maybe what NOT to do in relationships. That, I have plenty of practice. It's something I need to remember.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

K800i First Impressions

See the photo. It's quite clear and sharp no? It was taken from my car while I was driving home yesterday morning. The car was moving at a good rate of speed.

I was testing the K800i Cybershot cam image stabilization and quick shoot function. I simply flipped open the lens cover, pointed the phone at the road side and hit quick shoot (the joystick). I did not look through at the viewfinder and I did not have to hold down the regular shoot button. In other words, I didn't endanger myself or other road users while carrying out this experiment...

Judging from the photo, the test result was very satisfactory don't you think?

Yes, I finally received my phone from my colleague on Monday evening. Overall, I'm very satisfied with it.

After a few days of fiddling with it, there are many things I like about the K800i.

Obviously, there's a camera which is the number 1 reason why I wanted a K800. Most camera phones are phones with cameras built into them. This one however is a camera with a phone built into it. A camera bearing the Cybershot name has quite a lot to live up to and the K800 cam has no trouble maintaining that rep.

It's got everything a camera is supposed to have. I especially like the quick shoot function. Point and click, no setup needed and the resulting image will be top notch most of the time.

Media players are bog standard features of practically every phone these days. Obviously, the K800i comes with it. The sound quality is awesome, especially with hands free earphones. The external speakers ain't bad either although I wager the Sony Ericsson W series will have better media features.

Still, the media player on the K800i is enough for me. It's nothing fancy but it works quite well.

I love the radio tuner on this thing. At least now I can listen to the radio at the office. Especially on nights like this.

I like the keypad. After many years of using the small keypad on the L6 a large keypad is a breath of fresh air. It's nice to text with and I text a lot.

The rest of the phone is pretty standard obviously and some other features I haven't really explored yet. Overall it's a nice phone and it has exactly what I want, no more, no less.

However, there are a few things that's not so good about it.

One thing, the OS isn't the most user friendly thing in the world. I wish it had a "Home" key. Without a Home key, I have to keep pressing the "Back" button until I get to the main screen. That's a lot of button pressing particularly if you're going through a lot of submenus to fiddle with settings.

I wish the screen was tougher. The K800i screen is a little fragile and will scratch rather too quickly for my taste unlike the L6 screen. I guess I'm going to have to buy a screen protector.

And an external case to protect the rest of the phone. The phone feels quite plasticky and kinda fragile so I wouldn't drop it on a hard surface. No such worry with my old L6 which did survive being dropped many times and feels quite tough, what with it having an aluminum case and all that.

Despite all that, the pros outweigh the cons by a ton so I would still heartily recommend this phone to anyone who wants a high quality camera phone.

At Rm850/- brand new, I think it's a freaking bargain considering it's capabilities.

Now excuse me while I go to and download themes and other stuff for my new phone...

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Last night (and this morning) two of our friends got married. Our best wishes for the both of them and honestly, it couldn't happen to nicer people. When the dust settles and normalcy returns, I'm looking forward to hanging out with them again. Obviously, they've been very busy the last few weeks.

The dinner was quite nice. All of our friends were there. The setup was very impressive. Hopefully my wedding dinner will run as smoothly as that. If it ever happens that is.

While we were having dinner, I told a story of yet another dinner I went to some time ago. That one wasn't too smooth. Especially when the parents of bride and groom hijacked the function and turned it into "our-families-are-better-than-you-all-nyeh-nyeh-nyeh-nyeh-nyeh".

I wasn't very impressed by that. It's one thing to be proud and pleased about your family and another thing hijack your kids wedding function while doing so. How inconsiderate...

It's a good thing that the bride and groom were very understanding about the whole thing. I pitied them though. That wedding dinner was supposed to be about them not the parents.

In the end, it didn't matter. The two of them are very happy and that's all that counts. Again, it couldn't happen to nicer people.

I'm lucky that way. I know a lot of very nice people. My only hope is that I can be as nice to them as they are to me.

In other news, I've been a very bad blogger.

It's getting harder to motivate myself to blog. I used to blog a lot about my feelings but these days I feel quite pleased and contented and therefore have much less to whine about. I occasionally wrote about social and current issues but those topics stress me out. I get enough stress at work so I don't feel like getting more stressed out away from it.

So what do I blog about apart from games and gadgets? I know at least one friend who found my emotional, touchy-feely posts very, very entertaining. I guess she might be a little disappointed these days. Sorry honey, I guess we'll have to wait until the next time I get dumped...

Anyway, gadgets... Tomorrow I'm receiving my K800. Barely used. Cheap. Very nice. I'm happy.

Pretty soon I'll be getting a new graphics card, a Gigabyte GeForce 8600GT. I'm also getting a new AMD 64 X2 5000+ processor. My loan should come out either end of this month or early next month.

I consider it an early Christmas present.

This also means I have a used handphone, a used GeForce 7300GT graphics card and a used AMD Sempron 3000 to get rid of..

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I Won Something!

I opened my big mouth and left a rather long comment on someone's blog. Usually, nothing much happens. This time I actually won something. How about that huh?

Since I'm rather busy I haven't really gone out anywhere the last week or so. So obviously nothing to write. Again.

Oh yes, something did happen. My PC got infected by a freaking virus. Serves me right for not manually updating my antivirus for more than 3 days. Anyway, it took me three days of scanning and manually replacing files to get my system back up.

Now that it's ok again, I've been playing Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts.

It's bloody brilliant. RTS fans must try it. It's awesome.

It's awesome enough to make me contemplate upgrading my graphics card and processor again.

Talking of new stuff, I managed to snag a used K800i for cheap. I'm receiving the phone on Monday. I'm very excited.

I'm playing instructor to the new guy in our department. As tiring as it is, I find it oddly satisfying...

Saturday, November 03, 2007


Look! It's November already. Final quarter is rolling and the end is near! End of the year anyway...

I'm looking forward to the end of the year as usual. It promises to be quite a good end to a very, very good year thus far.

This is despite the fact that November will prove to be very tiring what with all the work days.

That's all I have to talk about unfortunately. Just work. I already talked about something else in the last post.

Apart from that everything is quiet here. The best part of this week still involves gaming. A few days ago, I got Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts. Very nice. I need a Directx 10 graphics card. And a dual core processor.

I have a wedding dinner to attend next week. I need to do some shopping.

I'm at work this weekend. Hopefully, everyone else's weekend will be better than mine..