Wednesday, March 28, 2007


I'm going to stop blogging, at least from unladenswallow.blogspot. I found this place at a time when everyone was doing it, and while I still want to have my own domain where I can toss certain portfolios, articles of interest and opinions, I find this current site well, uninteresting.

Too many options, yet too limited, and I'm not bothered at all to keep a site unless I have something more concrete to back myself up than the constant inane writings of a 23-year-old university student.

Adieu. This is the penultimate post. The last one, if I ever plan on announcing it here, will be to link anyone who actually comes here to aforementioned new domain.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Of the spirit of cow

I'm frying two eggs for lunch. Sunny-side up, as some people may call it, or just bullseye, though it doesn't look anything similar. And I'm going to eat it with bread, but there's a topping I want to add to it.

But I'm also hesitant. The topping is cheese. Six-hundred-and-twenty-grammes of Colby Australian cheese rest in the second lowest rack in the refrigerator. And I'm afraid to reach for the cheese, and use it. It is like a holy item, that can only be used in the most dire of times.

The packet tells me it's ideal for grilling, but there is no grilling in plain sight. It says it is smooth and creamy, but even as it rests in the palm of my hand, I can feel its tangible texture, cooling my fingers.

I want to use the cheese, but I'm afraid. It's like tapping into a source that I'm unsure of, even if I've seen the outcome a million times before. I tell it like it is, for though I love it, it still frightens me, and I lay awake at night thinking of my next move. Warriors will tell you the same thing, in the calm before the battle, or a husband before his night of consummation. They welcome the danger, the expected thrill, the outcome. It is fear, not of the unknown, because they know what lies ahead, but even then, the consequences are unpredictable.

I must cut the cheese, before it cuts my spirit.


Friday, January 19, 2007

The Power of Destiny

Ever come across the feeling that you were here before, when you entered a room, say for example, and a vague sense of emotion sort of lingers in your mind. Then you begin to ask yourself, "Haven't I been here once before?" In some ways, it can be tied to premonition, what you might have seen in a dream, or a fleeting moment that just came and went without you grasping all the details at once. You saw whatever it was that you saw, but for that moment, your brain wasn't able to decipher it, only for it to refresh out of memory when you enter into that scenario, similar or frighteningly exact.

I'm not really talking about seeing the future, where something that doesn't make sense pops up in a dream, only for it to happen days, months or even years later. For instance, I once dreamt that I had thrown a rock at a friend of mine when we were swimming in a river as kids. Because it was a dream, I didn't pay it much heed, until I actually happened to accidentaly throw that small rock and hit my friend, about two years down the road.

I'm talking about deja vu, as is elaborated in the following passage as thus:

...the experience of feeling that one has witnessed or experienced a new situation previously... experience of déjà vu is usually accompanied by a compelling sense of familiarity, and also a sense of "eerieness", "strangeness", or "weirdness". The "previous" experience is most frequently attributed to a dream, although in some cases there is a firm sense that the experience "genuinely happened" in the past. Déjà vu has been described as "Remembering the future."
- Wikipedia: Deja vu

Though in some sense, deja vu can be argued as a prophetic access of things, perhaps an inherent ability that humankind is able to tap into, but is only able to do so in rare occasions. But that, is an argument for another day, and though I'd very much like to bring that to discussion, my topic for the day concerns the latest production by Tony Scott, starring Denzel Washington, in the crime thriller of the same name as the feeling which I'm talking about right now.

As I was walking about in Melbourne this afternoon on various errands, I received a call from one of my friends, who then asked if I was free later tonight to watch a movie. I wasn't expecting him to suggest anything of note, until he mentioned Deja vu, because I knew he wasn't one of those types that would go for films with sad themes in them (or so I was told), such as Pursuit of Happyness, which some girls I had known had seen it over the previous weekend and were touched by the storytelling. Not that I was particularly interested anyway, as I told myself that I was going to set aside my viewing time for two movies this year: 300 and Transformers, and not really care about any other movie unless it was recommended.

Wiki Deja Vu pic

When I came to meet my friend, I found out what movie we were going to watch, and it clicked back in my mind (out of memory this time) that I had seen the trailer for the very movie a few months back after watching Inside Man, and was very interested. Then I forgot all about it and went on with my life, until today that is.

While sitting down to watch this movie, I could not help but point out the similarities between this one and Man On Fire, other than being directed/produced by the same person, starring the same frontman and taking on a quicker pace than most movies, darting from one scene to the next but not without explaining the general outlook of each given scene, and leaving the nitty-gritty details to the viewer to gauge.

The movie starts off innocently enough, in the months after Katrina hit New Orleans, where a ferry begins to charter hundreds of sailors to presumably a Mardi Gras celebration. The faces of each person are clearly expressed, something which will remain a norm throughout the rest of the show, the little girl who dropped her doll into the river, to the band playing in the background as it is slowly replaced by a growing distinct car radio.

Then the unexpected happens, just as a bomb is discovered on one of the vehicles within the ferry, it goes off with one explosion and in doing so, ignites the fuel compartments of the ship, and the destruction is total, and soon bodies litter the river in massive numbers.

Enter Doug Carlin (played by Denzel), an enigmatic ATF agent who resorts to quick consideration and lateral thinking to solve the dilemma faced by the government - to apprehend the terrorist behind the crime. He discovers the body of a beautiful woman washed ashore, made to look as though she were part of the explosion, but when he takes a closer look at the details, Doug discovers that the woman's death was not tied to the ferry in any way, except to the actions of the perpetrator. He figures out that solving the murder of the woman (known as Claire) will then in turn lead him to the terrorist.

Because of his findings, he is brought by one of the FBI agents on the scene (Val Kilmer) to a machine that takes up the space of an entire warehouse, that is devoted to looking into the past by means of satellite imagery gathered from the past until the present, and through a number of other factors (of which I've forgotten), will enable people to look into the past not from a recorded point of view, but in real-time. The only catch is that they cannot rewind or fast forward what they'd be watching if they felt that they missed a point, and would have to be forced to go along the full of it, a four-day-and-six-hour view into the past. As George Carlin would say in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, the clock in San Dimas is always ticking.

Which is where Doug comes in, as he points to the scientists where they should look, and they focus on the day-to-day activities of Claire's life, and how she is tied to the terrorist. However, the machine tends to show more than just the past, as Doug confirms that it is also a link to the past (by means of a little experiment involving a laser light, which sends out a blackout to the entire city), to which it can be changed to suit the present, though always at a great cost: Who would know what the future might bring if even a small part of the past was changed?

Even so, nothing can seem to change the fact that the disaster will happen even with the intervention from the future. Even after they have apprehended the terrorist, Doug comes to rethink the concept of catching criminals after they have done their wrong, a subject he has faced all his life, to the possibility of preventing the crime from ever happening.

Deja Vu is graced by dynamic characters who seek to solve the crime behind the terrorist attack in a manner that would be deemed in other movies as science-fiction, though the machine is never seen as a conduit to the cyberpunk genre, but more to the criminal thriller sense. The cinematography is interesting, as the camera shifts from one character to the next, focusing on Doug as he hunts the killer, and then to the people in the past, who feel as though they are being watched.

Deja Vu also shares a common theme with Man on Fire, sacrifice. Where one man seeks to change the world, and by doing so, gives up himself in order to see it through, even at the expense to his own life, on several occasions. It also sees evil portrayed by individuals who are misguided in their ways, and would do anything to prove their point, even if it means the deaths of hundreds of innocents.

All in all, I left the cinema feeling very satisfied, and I would like to recommend this movie to anyone else in the mood for a good Friday evening.

Peace. I'm off.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Music and Me

Let me tell you a little something about myself.

I told someone tonight that: "My mind was born in the 80s, my spirit formed in the 70s, and my soul created in the 60s. The body formed with the power of Van Halen, in the year 1984, with the song of the same name."

I forgot to mention, shaped in the 90s, to find new meaning in the 00s. But so is the power of music, is it not? From Creedence Clearwater Revival to Queen, from Judas Priest to Pearl Jam, from Smashing Pumpkins to Blind Guardian, I'd say that my music taste varies from age to age, but in the end, I enjoy them all.

Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A Botched Brew

I doubt that nothing sickens me more than the smell of mold, you know, the rotting essence that covers sandwiches after you forget to eat them and happen to store them in an otherwise-forgotten compartment in your backpack, which took place one fine day after a football session in my last year as a secondary school student. I opened my bag to look for a place to store my sweat-soaked T-shirt, and came across the packed sandwich that I had packed away, three weeks ago.

It was stored in a loaf packet, you know, the types where a whole commercially-cut loaf comes with, and despite it being zipped away without me knowing about it for that many days, there was enough bacteria to invade the former goodness of the intended meal and transform it into The Smell That Should Not Be. I only had to open the top a little bit before my sense of smell was overpowered by a waft that emanated from the greenish-brown wave that swept across the bread, and perhaps the ham as well.

Being the responsible person that I was, I kept my nose in the other direction as I reached the classroom window, the first floor of the school building, and tossed the offending material out onto the grass next to the likely-mosquito-infested drains that were commonplace in Malaysia at the time, and if I'm not wrong, still is at the moment. If I were to dump it into the open wastepaper-basket that sat in the corner of the classroom, it would stink up the area in no time at all and perhaps result in a disrupted afternoon class session.

Perhaps I shouldn't have thrown it out the window after all, but I remember gagging and coming close to throwing up there and then that I simply chose the quickest means of disposing. The problem was solved, and I doubt I had encountered any more episodes that concerned massive amounts of mold, particularly those that resulted from my own negligence.

Until now, where a certain odd smell began to permeate my room space, slightly pungent and not that overwhelming, at least yet, but enough to cause some form of nostril annoyance.

It came from the wardrobe, the built-in-robe that was part of my medium-sized room, from under the beer keg that I had left alone for a few weeks since Decemberish, with the thought that if I were to let the brew stand and ferment on its own, it would produce the proper range of alcohol and taste that I was hoping for.

Yes, I homebrew, or at least, I'm trying to. A thirty-litre keg with twenty-three-litres of water, mixed with perhaps a kilogram worth of malt, another kg of glucose and yeast. I added a bit more yeast when I thought I didn't put in enough because my previous brew came out tasting not much stronger than orange cordial.

Then I found out on Friday afternoon that the tap at the bottom of the keg was not sealed tight, or at least tight enough not to allow a few drops to come out one by one and stain the carpet below. I suspect it was the yeast from the brew that caused the mold to form from the leak to the carpet 'stalks' so quickly. As soon as I lifted the keg, a sightless cloud that stinked of alcoholic puke swept itself at my face, and I gagged before running out of the room.

Enjoy the next picture at your own risk, or scroll down to the next paragraph. I feel that I knew what the Stinkymeat scientists were smelling when they experimented with the process of decomposition.

Greenish Brownish ring, ugh

It was at this point that I held my nose and walked back into my room, lifted the keg to my bathroom and proceeded to empty the contents of the failed alcoholic mixture into a bucket, and from there into the adjacent toilet bowl.

Bye bye beer
Bye bye beer again
All that juice

For one, as it flowed from the tap to the bucket, it smelt like beer, what with all the foam and all, but I dared not taste it, a thought which was enforced by this following picture, noticing the leak itself, though it wasn't as much a leak as it was a case of not-so-tight-capping. Next time I'll just use a wrench to seal it.

Not drinking from that

As I had never encountered cleaning mold from a carpet before, I proceeded with all manner of experimentation in order to remove the smell from the atmosphere of my room. With the cleaning supplies that came with the homebrewing kit, was a 500-gram bag of sodium metasulphite powder, which I had used to sterilize my beer keg, and out of curiousity, sprinkled some onto my toilet bowl and after a single flush, it seemed to clear the hole of any brownish residue. So I then sprinkled a bit of that over the molded area on my carpet, and then I poured hot boiling water out of the notion that hot water pretty much clears everything in terms of dirty dishes.

Of course, I tried to rid the mold with some toilet paper, but that brought me too close to the scene of the crime, and I almost puked there and then. The smell of shit and piss I can take, as I had grown used to it in a sense, walking through badly-maintained streets on many occasions, but not this, which caused me to retreat in a very hasty manner.

The hot water and sodium metasulphite only sought to make the smell worse, even more pungent than it was before. I was hoping that the powder would at least kill the organisms that infested that area of the carpet, so with a shirt wrapped around my nose and with bated breath, I sprinkled washing powder, well, if I couldn't clean it totally, at least I could make it smell nicer. I scrubbed the spot with a brush, and after some minutes, it only served to make the mold spread out more, and while a bit of the smell was gone, it still remained.

Even after I sprayed some Febreeze on the carpet, reducing the stench by loads. But the main part still smelled, so I covered it with some newspapers and placed a phonebook atop, in some sense that it could have suppressed the waft more than it would have without.

It worked to an extent, as I opened the doors and windows to let the smell dissipate, and even as I type this, some hours later, I can still smell the mold-sodiummetasulphite-washingpowder-fabriccleaner mix, and it's not really helping me to breathe easier than I'd like. I probably would have to sleep on the couch in the living room as I did last night. Again. Just to get away from the smell of it all.

So does anyone have any pointers on how to remove mold from a carpet? I have considered cutting out the piece of carpet, or even burning it. But anything really, so long as my nasal functions can operate regularly again.

Currently listening to: Twilightning - The Delirium Veil

Thanks to for hosting this image.

Labels: , ,