Wednesday, 26 November 2008

A Monster Of An Imagination

I've had a brace of drawing assignments and requests in one of the worst possible times ever - exam week - but one of them had a rather promising proposition. I was asked if I wanted to help an insurance company do illustrations for an upcoming project and I naturally went for it. However, they needed some samples from me just as a form of QC and while I've got tons of digital caricature pictures and other random shit I could use, none of them seemed relevant for an illustrator's job. So I decided to create material and came up with the half assed comic above.

Pretty much a result of leftover inspiration from this, as some people might recall:

Diplomacy is the art of saying good doggie while looking for a bigger stick.

Audio Candy:
Angels And Airwaves - Secret Crowds

Monday, 24 November 2008

Doused In A Cacophony Of

I was walking home from the MRT station today at about midnight and zoning out to music as usual when, at the quieter area around Serangoon Ave 4, I suddenly realised that there were two Indian construction workers lying on the pavement I'm walking on a few metres ahead of me, probably trying to get some sleep.

As with how thinking goes, we are often more aware of the result of our thought processes than the thought processes themselves. A barely noticeable flurry of thoughts came and went and at that moment, all I could be bothered to be aware of was that I felt a very profound sadness about the whole situation.

I was reading stuff when I just suddenly thought about how terrifyingly influential the things we leave around the house can be especially to our other family members. Pills, knives, dollar bills and watches, to name a few. The innuendoes people associate with things we drop in insiduous, subconscious but visible corners can overlap with the angst and fears amongst other bad emotions they have from their day to day lives, and become a sickening constant reinforcement of how they eventually perceive the world to work, even without knowing it.

Anyway, I also just considered and entertained the possibility that I might be someone who prefers it that people do not change. It's not that I feel threatened by the unpredictability of people that I know and much less the longing for specific moments in time (especially the good ones) to remain as they are, but rather more of in a dynamic sense - that people have their roles and characters to play within the social framework that makes up my life as a stage and I'm fond of that. I guess in particular I treasure uniqueness and personalities, even if they're bad ones.

One aspect of this is happening with increasing salience as people grow from kids into adults. Before university, everyone had a personality that was more or less concrete in a reckless manner, especially because JCs and secondary schools provided the comfort of cliques we thought would last forever and we were accepted as who we were that way. Once broken up and individuated into a more 'serious' place, as declared by society, like university - the precursor to being completely accountable for everything we do - we hide our past because we do not know everyone, while functioning according to the new norms of adulthood which we can only learn along the way. And everyone assumes that we won't be understood if we continue behaving with the quirky and idiosyncratic personalities we had back then. Not wanting to make mistakes and to make things as smooth sailing as possible, who we once were gets compromised. The final sparks of childhood are fading away.

Childhood quirks aside, principles and values in people and the opinions that they have that make up their personalities and character can change too, and that is another aspect I'd prefer to remain the same if possible. I have no idea if it's just me, and even then with adequate thought I've concluded that it's merely a preference.

The exams are FINALLY here. Space between now and the papers always breeds a certain degree of denial which can be a bother to put down. Now life is beginning to have a degree of certainty.

Love may be blind but marriage is a real eye-opener.

Audio Candy:
Alexisonfire - Rough Hands

Monday, 17 November 2008

City Lights Lay Out Before Us

A little piece of paper with a picture drawn
Floats on down the street till the wind is gone
The memory now is like the picture was then
When the paper's crumpled up it can't be perfect again


"A man's sexual choice is the result and sum of his fundamental convictions. Tell me what a man finds a sexually attractive and I will tell you his entire philosophy of life. Show me the women he sleeps with and I will tell you his valuation of himself. No matter what corruption he's taught about the virtue of selflessness, sex is the profoundly selfish of all acts, an act which he cannot perform for any motive but his own enjoyment - just try to think of performing it in a spirit of selfless charity! - an act which is not possible in self-abasement, only in self-exaltation, only in confidence of being desired and being worthy of desire. It is an act that forces him to stand naked in spirit, as well as in body, and to accept his real ego as his standard of value. He will always be attracted to the women who reflect his deepest vision of himself, the women whose surrender permits him to experience - or to fake - a sense of self esteem. The man who is proudly certain of his own value will want the highest type of women he can find, the women he admires, the strongest, the hardest to conquer - because only the possession of a heroine will give him the sense of an achievement.

"He does not seek to gain his value, he seeks to express it. There is no conflict between the standards of his mind and the desires of his body. But the man who is convinced of his own worthlessness will be drawn to women he despises - because she will reflect his own secret self, she will release him from that objective reality in which he is a fraud, she will give him a momentary illusion of his own value and a momentary escape from the moral code that damns him.

"Love is our response to our highest values - and can be nothing else. Let a man corrupt his values and his view of existence, let him profess that love is not self-enjoyment but self-denial, that virtue consists, not of pride, but of pity or pain or weakness or sacrifice, that the noblest love is born, not of admiration, but of charity, not in response to values, but in response to flaws - and he will have cut himself in two. His body will not obey him, it will not respond, it will make him impotent toward the women he professes to love and draw himself to the lowest type of whore he can find. His body will always follow the logic of his deepest convictions; if he believes that flaws are values, he has damned existence as evil and only the evil will attract him. He has damned himself and he will feel that depravity is all he is worth enjoying. He has equated virtue with pain and he will feel that vice is the only realm of pleasure. Then he will scream that his mind cannot conquer, that sex is sin, that true love is a pure emotion of the spirit. And then he will wonder why love brings him nothing but boredom, and sex - nothing but shame."

- Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, pages 453 - 454

I've always had an idealistic view of love and that it should be held in the highest esteem not in the sense of priority but rather to be intertwined amongst the things that one values the most, if not it isn't worth one's pursuit at all.

But Ayn Rand's piece is mind-bogglingly something else altogether.

"We live in deeds, not years: In thoughts not breaths; In feelings, not in figures on a dial. We should count time by heart throbs. He most lives Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best."
- Aristotle

Audio Candy:
Adele - Chasing Pavements

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Hmm That Was Adequately Amusing

The SMU student's real income for BOSS bidding is decreasing. Market prices are steadily increasing (that I'm cock-sure about) while our eDollars are stagnant.

I forgot all about BOSS 1A, but thankfully there's the 2nd window.

On a side note, RMSS term paper is almost done. Approximately 2 more weeks to socially-accepted slacking! :]

{ben174}: If they only realized 90% of the overtime they pay me is only cause i like staying here playing with Kazaa when the bandwidth picks up after hours.
{chrislmb}: If any of my employees did that they'd be fired instantly.
{ben174}: Where u work?
{chrislmb}: I'm the CTO at
*** ben174 ( Quit (Leaving)

{t-wolf}: man, my girlfriend left me for some faggot named robert
{rdawg20}: you don't live in Hope mills do you?
{t-wolf}: ya, why man?
{rdawg20}: lol, just wondering, was her namne alisson?
{t-wolf}: you mother fucker

{Guo_Si}: Hey, you know what sucks?
{TheXPhial}: vaccuums
{Guo_Si}: Hey, you know what sucks in a metaphorical sense?
{TheXPhial}: black holes
{Guo_Si}: Hey, you know what just isn't cool?
{TheXPhial}: lava?

Warning: Dates in calendar are closer than they appear.

Audio Candy:
Mono - Life In Mono

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

I Know St Peter Won't Call My Name

While walking down the street one day a US senator is tragically hit by a truck and dies.

His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

"Welcome to heaven," says St. Peter. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you."

"No problem, just let me in," says the senator.

"Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity."

"Really, I've made up my mind. I want to be in heaven," says the senator.

"I'm sorry, but we have our rules."

And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.

Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people.

They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne.

Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go.

Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises...

The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him.

"Now it's time to visit heaven."

So, 24 hours pass with the senator joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.

"Well, then, you've spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity."

The senator reflects for a minute, then he answers: "Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell."

So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.

Now the doors of the elevator open and he's in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage. He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above. The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder.

"I don't understand," stammers the senator. "Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there's just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?"

The devil looks at him, smiles and says, "Yesterday we were campaigning. Today you voted."

"He'll double-cross that bridge when he comes to it."
- Oscar Levant on a politician

Audio Candy:
Bright Eyes - First Day Of My Life

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Remember, Remember, The 5th Of November

With Barrack Obama elected (we shall continue to optimistically presume) as the new president of America along with the country, as well as the rest of the world, slipping into further economic distress, one can't help but think about how his arrival as he takes office in January likens that of a much-needed saviour of sorts.

America hasn't had a president as seemingly gifted as he is in a long time and his talents - composure, intelligence, compassion and portrayed competence - fit the times well and have given many young Americans and people around the world a renewed sense of hope, perhaps since Franklin Roosevelt in 1933 (with a similar economic situation to boot except that he didn't have the weight of the world on his shoulders).

While we ponder if all that jazz over the pre-election months were just a fresh sense of charisma over a beckoning doomsday with this rather untried Democrat as opposed to the experienced war hero in John McCain, the way his campaign was so meticulously run is telling when it comes to garnering confidence in the way he would then run his administration. By infiltrating into the very hearts of your everyday citizen and conquering predominantly Republican states before your opponent has even started his pre-campaign morning jog, here is a man who has shown that he can get what he wants in a carefully thought out, intelligent and fair manner.

To McCain's credit, it was a reasonable fight while being constrained to the ideologies he represents. The cyclic American swing from social to liberal and then back can be, afterall, seen as a surrogate to revolution and Obama is the representation of the people's call for change, as huge banks dying in the economic crisis continue reporting record losses and ensuing unemployment and crime rates increase amongst other consequential problems. McCain's role as a presidential candidate had consumed McCain the man, and many have seen the best of him as he rose to prominence in 2000 and agree that, in fitting to his role as a presidential candidate, we ended up seeing the worst of him. McCain's speech as Obama won has, for me at least, sought him some degree of redemption.

But it's time for a change, and with that change comes renewed hope as to the shape of things to come in the world. It can't take one man to make it happen - the people are the ones who define and contour socioeconomic movements - but if Obama can inspire that change simply because people believe he can, and in him we have someone who, fortunately, doesn't suffer from a chronic lack of good temperament and common sense, then it augurs well for the future.

Somewhere along the line the Straight Talk Express lost some wheels.
- Barrack Obama on John McCain's policy softening

Audio Candy:
Edwin Rivera - Quema, Quema

Thursday, 6 November 2008


An example of all hell breaking loose due to a lack of economic regulation: Free foosball tables.

All we need are a few tables and we'll see hoggers free-riding off the low cost limited resource.

Anyway, come to think of it, economics is the only field in which it is possible for two people to get the Nobel prize for saying completely opposite things.

It's like. Economists know hundreds of ways to make love but don't know any women.

Audio Candy:
The Script - The Man Who Can't Be Moved

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Praying For Love In A Lap Dance And Paying In Naivety

I just finished a supposedly hour-long psychology experiment in 20 minutes, because 2 out of the 4 of us scheduled for today's experiment gave a no-show and the rest of the experiment hinged on some interaction between us. For that, I'll still get my 2 course credits (for a whole hour) because, in Daniel Balliet's words, "it is not your (our) fault the others did not turn up."

I know this shouldn't bother me as much as, at least I would think, it should. But I'm quite incensed that all that prep for today's hour-long experiment would have to go to waste, that research based on today's findings would be rendered void, that slots have been taken up for nothing, and above all there's nothing the experimenters or anybody can do about peoples' disregard for the importance of their attendance.

Coupled with the fact that a huge proportion of those who did not show up were seniors (one can tell from the module associated with the participant in the attendance list we have to initial against), by virtue of association I have more gripes about the whole thing which I'm too lazy to elaborate about.

Of course I have no idea either as to why the others were absent, and they might have perfectly decent reasons. But I suppose it does not discount the fact that I still harbour these thoughts and that there are many other instances in life when my judgment and anger directed in this sense proves valid.

On a side note, Barrack Obama wins by a landslide, thankfully. 8 years of ridiculous governance from Bush has seen the world suffer much turbulence, and though Obama's now bestowed with a major economic crisis, 2 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a nuclear showdown with Iran for which he has no initial responsibility for, I can't think of someone else better for the recovery job right now.

A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you will look forward to the trip.

Audio Candy:
Leona Lewis - Bleeding Love

Sunday, 2 November 2008

To The Moon And Back

I really should be engaging in more grounded things like doing my Economics readings or starting on my research methods assignment, and yet.

I feel as if I'd just travelled a millenium and back, and suddenly fast-forwarded images of spear-wielding soldiers, farmers, popes and minions are flashing past, and then there are tanks and temples and children in tattered clothes chasing after a rag ball. You are but one of them to walk this ground. Who else before you have graced these lands, what words and ideas have filled the air?

I think I could stay inebriated this way for the longest time.

Somewhere between the Facebook games, four walls and bright lights, Subway meals, parallel sticks flicking a ball around like a pinball machine, drinks passed around in a circle and rhyming games over food we weren't hungry for, a picture was taken. To think of, see or hope it to be anything more than its static, somewhat lifeless state, would be as pointless and futile as a handbrake in a canoe. Hold a memory, and then move along with the currents. Whether that image value-adds to your yet-to-be traveled life is a personal choice.

Audio Candy:
3 Doors Down - Right Where I Belong