Tuesday, 31 January 2006

May The God of Prosperity appear in YOUR Bucket!!

Monday, 30 January 2006

This Chinese New Year's for you, Grampa!

I have to admit, before the Chinese New Year, I was a bit apprehensive about this year's celebratiosn. You see, every year, my family goes up to Penang to spend Chinese New Year, and we did the same this year, liek all those years before.

But this year, things were slightly different.

You see, this is the first Chinese New Year my family is celebrating since my grandfather passed away last year, and though some things were the same (all the ang paus, all tons of relatives, the questions on when it's gonna be my turn to give ang paus...), some things were not.

But fortunately, my family members are a really jolly bunch, (I have 9 aunts and uncles on my mom's side of the family), and come Chinese New Year, we all congregate in one tiny apartment and just generally have a lot of fun.

This year turned out to be no different. we had a nice gathering, a big family dinner, and even had a big family gambl... er... card playing session (which we hadn't had in ages). After all, with that many relatives, you can also expect a lot of angpaus, lots of laughing, eating and a much merry merriment.

Yup, this year was a CNY that grampa would have been really happy about, since he was always one for happy and merry occasions.

Oh well, all is well in the world then. Happy Chinese New Year, everyone!!!

Friday, 27 January 2006

I went to Taiwan and all I got was an Absolut Yuna...

Yup, I went all the way to Taiwan, and all I bought was a Yuna soft Vinyl statue and a bottle of vodka. Not a bad haul eh?

Here's another photo of my haul:

Isn't Yuna hot? Yes, so she's an anime character, but hey, that statue of Yuna (who is the main chick from Final Fantasy X-2, BTW) is not cheap ok? But I still got it for RM100 less than what I'd have had to pay in Malaysia... BUAHAHA!

And that Absolut was from KLIA, not even bought from Taiwan. Heh. Duty free mar... could not resist shiny red bottles....

Anyway since I'd just read a book on all those Absolut ads, I figured I'd do one of my own here (never mind that Yuna looks like she's advertising an armpit deodorant instead...)

Thursday, 26 January 2006

How to get Eyeris to Join a Gym: An Expert Guide

My plane touched down at 2pm yesterday, and like any other technology-dependant Malaysian, the first thing I did was to turn on my mobile phone to see if anyone caleld me or sent me any messages. (I only got one... sigh... but at least it was from my larling, so I was happy. So happy. Whee!).

Anyway, as I was walking through KLIA, I received a call on my phone, almost immedietely after I'd turned on the phone.

My first thought was, "Wow! I'm so popular! Just turn on phone only already got people call me!" (Yes, I don't get many phone calls, can you tell?).

Happily, I answered the call, only to be greeted by: "Hello! My name is Blabla Blab from Curry Fitness!"

GAH! Telemarketer!

I've managed to keep my phone line relatively telemarketer free for years now (I've only recieved like TWO telemarketer calls in the past two years, more on that in a later post), so I was curious as to how he managed to get pass my defences.

Then I found out, basket, this particular telemarketer got my number from one of my friends, who decided to include my name and phone number in his 'guest list' so that the gym can call me up to offer me free trials.

(Guys, if you have my number, PLEASE ASK ME FIRST before you give out my phone number to anyone, can or not???)

Anyway, being the nice telemarketer-friendly guy I am (I used to do a bit of it myself, and did a story on them before, so I know how hard it is for them), I listened for a while, and told him sorry, I don't go to gyms.

So he asked, "why don't you go to gyms? Don't you exercise? Don't you wanna be fit?"

RIGHT. Halo, kawan, there are a lot of other ways to stay fit and exercise lar. It's called SPORTS. And it doesn't cost a few hundred bucks a month.

Anyway, after I managed to fend him off, I started to think. What would it actually take for someone to convince me to go to a gym?

So I came up with this 5-step guide on 'How to convince Eyeris to Join a Gym":

Yes, I'm cheap, so sue me. I'd rather not pay just to exercise or for something I can get for free elsewhere, Besides, I'm not gonna pay a leg and an arm for some membership for a fitness centre that I wouldn't go to if there was no badminton to play. Which brings me to...

2) Build a Badmintin Hall
Get rid of all those thread mills, bicycles, and bla bla bla, and build me a badminton hall, goddammit! (preferably with a rubberised court and good lighting). You see, I don't do gyms, but I play badminton. A LOT. So if your fitness centre got no badminton hall, chances are I won't go there...

3) Serve Beer. Or Coffee (preferably both)
Of course, this would defeat the purpose of a 'fitness centre' in the first place...

4) Offer me a bevy of hot female personal trainers in bikinis
Well, you know what they say about people who sign up for gyms to meet guys/girls...

If I want to join, I'll join ok? No need to call me up and tempt me with free trials or anything. Stop talking down to me like I'm an idiot for not joining a gym just because everyone else is doing it.

I've had my fair share of gyms in the past, and frankly speaking, any exercise that does not involve any opponents, points rules and so on (READ: SPORTS) is just no fun, no fun at all.

So I don't like gyms, so there. I wrote about it in Eye on Sports HERE long time ago: The Gym Germ, where I wrote :

It's like a GERM is going around. EVERYONE wants a gym membership. While it's good that they want to EXERCISE, why is it the very first avenue of exercise they think of is joining a GYM?

I'm not gonna rehash the entire argument here, but like I said, I don't do gyms, ok? So can you PLEASE stop adding me to your 'guest list'? Sigh...

The Taiwan Times: 40 Minutes, Queues and Airplanes

I like travelling alot, but if there's one thing I hate about it, it's the airports.

I HATE airports. It's not just because so much time is wasted checking in, going through security, and then waiting for the flight. Sigh...

Today, when coming back from Taipei, I was stuck in the LONGEST AIRPORT LINE I've ever been stuck in. Maybe it's because of the Chinese New Year holidays coming up, or the airline was short of staff, but only ONE line of counters were opened to process six flights to South East Asia. Hence.... my little adventure at the Taipei airport today:

Wahlau, even walking to the end of the line took us forever!

When we finally got to the end of the line, we couldn't even SEE the counters anymore!!!

Lalala, doo di doo... Wah, ten minutes oledi, still cannot see the counter...

YAY! can see the counters already! Hmmm... more counters are open oledi...

Yes, it's lame. I had nothing much to do mar....

Anyway, kudos to the airline staff who were actually pretty efficient, and were working feverishly as fast as possible to process the check-ins. Considering how long the line was, it could have taken us forever to get to the end...

By the time we'd finished checking in (and hanging around near the luggage conveyor belt to make sure our luggage went through all right. Yeah, we had to do that as well), we just had enough time to rush through the security gates, where I actually had to drop my pan... er, I mean just take off my belt, which had a metal belt buckle that set off the metal detector, and rush to the gate where we only had to wait ten minutes before boarding the plane....

And the rest of the story, as some imaginary people say, was somewhere over the ocean (the South China Sea, to be exact), and ended happily ever after in my nice cozy bed.

Now to get some sleep....

Wednesday, 25 January 2006

The Taiwan Times: Pretty Smiles, Nice Accents and General Good Feelings

One thing I really like about Taiwan a lot more than China or Hong Kong (and to a certain extent, Singapore) is that I have never felt intimidated or harrassed when going around Taipei.

On my recent trips to Shanghai and Beijing, I've always had a feeling of annoyance whenever I go around. When I go to shopping-centric places, I've felt harassed, and constantly feel like all oer the place, people are just shouting at me to buy their stuff.

Here, even in a night market like Shi Lin, I could walk around without feeling like I was being constantly hounded into looking at the various wares. It's kinda like how I feel in the Old Jalan Petaling back before it was all touristified. It was a strange feeling of being in an foreign environment, and not feeling at all bothered that I was not in my homeland.

In Hong Kong, I don't feel harassed, though I sometimes feel that it's a little soulless. Comparing the feeling of walking about Shi Lin here and Nui Yan Kai in Hong Kong (both popular shopping/night market areas), I feel like there is a lot more 'soul' in the Taipei one'.

I also tend to feel safer in Taiwan than anywhere else in Asia I've been to. Don't ask me why. Maybe it's just a false sense of security, and I've not been REALLY out that much here. But still...

Maybe it's the generally friendly people here. Maybe it's all the smiles I seem to see everywhere I go. Maybe it's because I prefer the slightly more melodious and somewhat polite Taiwanese way of speaking Chinese compared to Cantonese or Mainland Chinese' Mandarin (which always sounds like the speakers are arguing with each other). Maybe because the chicks here seem to be a lot cuter.

Either way, I like coming to Taipei more than any other city in East Asia (so far, that is).

(Plus they have 24-hour bookstores!!!!)

Tuesday, 24 January 2006

The Taiwan Times: Funny Fried Frog Food Fetish

You know how Malaysia's pasar malam is always filled with little food stalls selling fried this, fried that, tau foo far, lok-lok and so on? Well, Taiwan's night market in Shi Lin is also like that.

And just as any foreigner going to a pasar malam in KL would probably be amazed at the funny smells and sights there, I was quite captivated by all the different kinds of weird food on sale here as well.

So much that I spent most of my time there going around taking pictures of the food (and not TRYING them though, because I was too full.

(After all, what else does one do when your travelling companions are three girls who spend one hour going through clothes and shoes, and only covered half the length of the street in the time I used to go up and down FOUR times?)

Some of them really looked weird. And the SMELLS. GAWD. There were so many different types of smells, and some of them were so overpowering I could only wonder if this is how a Mat Salleh who smelled a durian for the first time feels.

Anyway, here's a few pictures of the food I saw in the night market. Don't ask me what they were, because all I did was take the pictures and run away when the stall owner glared at me...

The red ones are some kind of candy I think. I have no idea what the black ones are.

Fried Stuff seems to be pretty popular here, especially seafood...

These stalls remind me of all those fried fishball on stick stalls we have in OUR pasar malams...

Sausages anyone? Huge lap-ciong-like sausages on top, and some weird deep fried sausage thingy on the bottom. I wonder how they get that yellow stuff around it.

This is the noodle stall where I ate my first ever proper roadside Taiwanese meal two years ago. I was so happy to see it was still located where I remembered it was, and took a picture. It's a noodle 'mien sien' shop, and the taste was... well, interesting.

And what's this??? "Wow, Frog's Eggs?" hmmm... interesting... though it turned out to be this:

Gee, those green fruit in it DO look like frogs don't they? No, I don't know what it tastes like either. Maybe next time I'll actually TRY the damn thing and stop wondering what it is...

I also have a few more from my LAST trip two years ago, but I don't have time to go through them now. Maybe next time. Now, excuse me, I need to prepare questions for my interview...

The Taiwan Times: Greetings from Taipei!!!

Greetings from Taipei! It's bloody cold here, and I'm still feeling the after effects of too much drunken cussing last night. (Note to self: Never drink too much the night before a flight.)

I arrived here at about 9pm, had dinner, then headed out to the night market at Shi Lin, where the shops open way pass midnight!

Anyway, I'm not gonna write too much write now, cos I gotta prepare for the interview tomorrow, plus I need to sleep, especially since I had a hangover this morning.

Anyway, my hotel happens to be just next to the building that took the title of World's Tallest Building away from the Petronas Towers... the Taipei 101 Tower!

Since it's almost Chinese New Year, the Taiwanese are also getting in the mood. The 101 Tower is nicely decorated to wish everyone happy Spring Festival (They call CNY that here).

It's a nice sight, and here is a picture of it. Not too clear though, cos I could only take it from behind the window in my hotel room (yes, those are my curtains you see in the reflection).

Anyway, like I said, I also went to this night market street called Shi Ling, and it was almost as crowded as Petaling Street back before SOMEONE had the bright idea of making it more 'tourist friendly' and take away the charm of Jalan Petaling in the process.

But I digress.

Anyway, I was in Shi Lin, taking pictures of all the weird types of food they had there (More on this in the next post!) and then I came across this cool temple lit with lots of lanterns.

Nice eh?

Okok, enough for now. More adventures of Eyeris in Taiwan in the next post! Now I need to go sleep....

Monday, 23 January 2006

Random pre-flying thoughts....

Woke up hungover just now.
Came back at 5am last night.
Damn Manure won the match. Gah.
Too much beer before flying is not good.
Too much beer WHILE flying is at least better.
Flying off to Taipei in five hours.
No camera, but I got my laptop with me.
The Blog goes on with the Taipei times tomorrow!!!
(Or maybe tonight.)

Friday, 20 January 2006

The Pointlessness of Dissing Musical Tastes

I always find it kinda pointless when people diss each other just because they don't like the music the other person listens to.

I'd read somewhere this dude who decided to diss a reviewer just because she likes Britney Spears. Ok, I really hate Britney Spears as well, but sometimes, music taste is all a matter of personal preference. Just because a reviewer doesn't agree to your personal taste doesn't mean he or she sucks. It just means that they like that particular brand of music that's all.

Sure, I turn my nose up at hip-hop, Mando- and Cantopop and the Pussycat Dolls, but then again, people also think that MY favorite bands like Oasis and Green Day are over-rated and are crap. Erna especially can't stand all the jangly emo bands I listen to in the car and would rather listen to annoying Hitz.fm DJs than put up with Jimmy Eat World for the umpteenth time, while me, on the other hand, can't stand the Daniel Bedingfield stuff she liked a while back.

My point is, all of us like different types of music, and may hate or love different bands and singers. HOWEVER, we all have guilty pleasures too, artistes we don't want to admit listening to when actually you have that one song by the artiste on constant loop in your iPod. Because whether you like that particular singer or not, if the song is good, then it's good.

For instance, one of my worse guilty pleasures last year when it came to songs was that over-played but bloody annoyingly addictive song You're Beautiful, by James Blunt.

Yes yes, I liked that song. So sue me. It's catchy, ok? So FRIGGING WHAT if you think the song was crap and over-played? SO FRIGGING WHAT if you think it's all just commercial pap? Since when did the world's music lovers have to agree with YOUR taste?

Anyway, back to You're Beautiful. I liked it because whenever I was feeling emo or just missed my larling, I'd sing that song and somehow, even though it's a damn emo song in the first place, I'd still manage a silly smile whenever the verse, "She could see from my face that I was f**king high.." came on.

Also in the past year, despite not having a very good impression of Coldplay's X&Y album, there was one song that I always put at the top of my iPod playlist, and would sing everytime it came on - Fix You.

The video for this song was pretty crap, only featuring Chris Martin walking around, and then running when the break came on, only to come to a stage and sing in a concert. Lame lame lame.

BUT. Whenever I listened to Fix You on my iPod while I'm walking around in a mall or some place else, I always end up pretending I'm in that video, and pacing myself to the beat of the song (though I usually stop short of breaking into a run and hurtling up stairs or escalators when the break comes on). Yes, it's pretty dumb, I know, but that's the power of a good song, dude.

When a song can transport you places, fire your imagination, make you feel emotions and make memories resurface, it's a song worth listening to over and over again. To me, THAT is good music.

So frigging WHAT if they 'sold-out' or are 'commercial pap' or are just 'good marketing'? If it's a good song that I like, I'll listen to it.

Sure, you can have your technical excellence, your slick production, your super sexy album covers, your experimental and 'credible' musical styles and all your 'non sellout' music, but the HELL with all that if I don't feel anything when I'm listening to your song.

Because like it or not, my favorite songs are MY favorite songs for MY own bloody reasons, and SO WHAT if you don't like the songs I like. You go listen to YOUR music, I'll listen to mine. So there!

Thursday, 19 January 2006

Jimmy, Stay on my World Tonight

For today's Eyeris' Music Week post, I shall talk about one of my favorite bands - Jimmy Eat World.

You see, they have a new EP out, called Stay On My Side Tonight, and I only just got a listen a few weeks back when I was in Singapore.

Now, why do I like this band? Well, not only are they the pioneers of emo rock, I like their music because of all the reasons stated in my last post - nice tunes, good clean vocals, and meaningful lyrics. Plus it helps that their songs are good for singing in the car as well.

Anyway, The EP consists of five songs - Disintegration, Over, Closer, Half-Right and a so-called 'Styrofoam Remix' of Drugs And Me, which was originally on the Futures album. Of these songs my favorites are Disintegration and Half Right.

Disintegration is another of the band's trademark super-long, more-than-seven-minutes epics, in the vein of Goodbye Sky Harbour (which clocked in at almost 15 minutes long!) and 23 (which is one of my favorite Jimmy Eat World songs EVAR).

Anyway, Disintegration has got the usual mellow and emo verses, and a catchy hook and chorus that you can't stop singing over and over again. Everytime you hear that line 'Hanging on a cigarette', you just wanna sing a long as well. It's my favorite type of Jimmy Eat World song, and definitely my favorite on this EP.

Half Right is a cover of song by Heatmiser, and although I have not heard the original before, the cover is good enough that I thought it was their own song. Sure, it tends to repeat itself over and over again (the tune I mean), but the way they sing it is just classic emo rock. And I have to say that I have never heard the word 'motherf**ker' sung so delicately and sensitively before. haha.

As for the other songs, well, Over is quite catchy, but Closer was a little to bland for my liking. HOWEVER, both songs did not really stand out for me. They can be categorised as part of another of Jimmy Eat World's typical songs - the rather unremarkable filler song that no one really remembers. The band always seems to have one or two of these fillers on their albums - songs that are just THERE, and don't really stand out or make you go WHOA I wanna hear that again! I just never expected it on an EP of only FIVE songs.

And as for the final song , the 'styrofoam remix' of Drugs and Me... lets just say I hope they don't remix any of their songs again, shall we? Unless it's an acoustic version, of course.

Anyway, if you've never heard their stuff before, I suggest you get either of these albums first - Clarity, Futures or Bleed American - and NOT this EP.

For fans like me, this EP was a welcome distraction, as it satisfies our hunger for more of their stuff while we wait for the next album.

Now, if only we could get them to come to South East Asia to perform...

Wednesday, 18 January 2006

Getting Strokes over First Impressions

Been busy lately, and that coupled with the internet being down at home because I forgot to pay the bill, blogging transmission may be slightly sporadic this week.

Anyway, with two concerts coming up that I'm gonna be going for, AND with all the new songs I've been listening to, most of my blog ideas lately (which usually come to me while I'm driving on that 30-minute journey back from my office, surprise surprise, with the radio on as well), so I figured, why not do a series of music-related posts?

Therefore, I decided to declare this week as the Official Music Week on EoE!!!


*clap clap clap*
*Mexican wave*


Anyway, like I said, I'd been listening to a lot of new stuff lately. Well, new AND old stuff. Anyway (again), one album I recently got my hands on was The Strokes' latest album - First Impressions of Earth.

HOWEVER, My first impression of the album was - WHAT CRAP.

Probably the only song I thought was listenable was Eletricityscape, which besides having a pretty cool title, was also the only song that I repeated more than twice. The rest of the songs merely served to remind me why I HATED the band's music so much.

Some people may think they're pretty damn good, but I personally have NEVER liked The Strokes. Not even when they were being labeled the 'next big thing' a few years back.

I'm not sure whether it's the lazy drawling vocalist (I can never tell if the guy is singing or chanting a Buddhist mantra), or the annoying beats or the somewhat disjointed and messy feel of their songs. Maybe it's just me, but sorry, I just don't like that kind of music.

Me, I prefer:

  • nice meaningful lyrics (as opposed to "Nobody can see me, everythings too easy, standing in the lightfield, standing in the lightfield, waiting for some actress, waiting for some actress...")
  • good proper guitar playing (as opposed to those that sound like the guitarist is using a stick of tofu as a guitar pick)
  • proper SINGING (as opposed to singdrawling, which often makes me wanna go into strokes)
  • and a semblance of MELODY in the songs.

So I like emo rock. Sue me.

Hence, my usual "HUH?!?!?" reaction whenever I read a music critic that says The Strokes' music is the best thing since peanut butter and sliced bread. I can't understand what's so great about The Strokes. I think they're crap. If you don't think it's crap, well, good on you. But I do.

Andnow if you'll excuse me, I need to go delete those MP3s in my hard disc before they invade and suck the fun from my iPod's playlist...

Monday, 16 January 2006

The Morning Glory Lives Forever, Whatever.

Some people love them, some people LOATHE them.

They've had two GREAT albums, then two CRAP ones, though with their last two records, they've managed to pull themselves up and come up with much more listenable stuff.

HOWEVER, say what you want of them, but Oasis, the band that is so 90's Britpop it hurts, is still one of my favorite bands. Now, a lot of people don't like them, I know. The Gallaghers are probably the least like characters in Britpop.

And I'm so excited about going to see them live in concert next week that I've been dusting off all my Oasis CDs and listening to them on loop.

Anyway, I first started listening to Oasis when (What's The Story) Morning Glory was released, and Don't Look Back in Anger was (and still is) one of my favorite songs EVAR. I could memorise almost the entire album, and when I got sick of that, I went and bought their debut, Definitely Maybe, and memorised half of THAT album loved THAT as well.

So it was in 1997, I was one of many who were eagerly awaiting the release of Be Here Now. And what a dissapointment THAT was. It's widely regarded as the most bloated and self-serving album that Oasis have made, and unsurprisingly, no one really lieks it all that much. Even I liked only TWO songs on that album, and the rest were pretty much crap.

Their next new album Standing on the Shoulder of Giants was another huge disappointment, and that is the only Oasis album that I really can't memorize any of the songs in it. Yeah, they were THAT unremarkable.

Between those two dissapointments, they also released The Masterplan, which to me it was one hell of a masterstroke even though it was not a new album per se, since it compiled the best of their B-Sides, many of which were MILES better than ANYTHING on Be Here Now AND Standing on the Shoulder of Giants put together.

Anyway, their subsequent album, Heathen Chemistry was much better, IMHO. Songs like Songbird and Stop Crying Your Heart Out rank among my favorite Oasis songs, and even the first single The Hindu Times, though a bit TOO er... NORMAL for my liking, was strangely addictive after a while.

I wrote about their newest album Don't Believe The Truth HERE before, so I'm not gonna say anymore, but let's just say that they've restored my belief in the band.

Now, the songs. Over here in Malaysia, most people only know the more popular Oasis songs such as Wonderwall, Don't Look Back in Anger, maybe Live Forever, and perhaps some other songs from Morning Glory.

To tel lthe truth, I hardly know anyone who listens to them anymore (so sad, no one to talk to. sigh...), and I've hardly ever heard stuff from their other albums on the radio (not that I listen to radio much ANYWAY).

Therefore, in the spirit of sharing, I present to you now, ten of the best Oasis songs you may not have heard before:

1) The Masterplan
The title track of The Masterplan B-sides compilation, this song is one of the best songs Noel Gallagher has ever written, IMHO. And he sings it himself as well!

2) Songbird
A short and light ditty from Heathen Chemistry that is one of my favorite Oasis love songs.

3) Take Me Away
An acoustic ballad only found on the No Boundaries compilation album, which was a benefit for Kosovar Refugees, and also featured other bands like Pearl Jam and . It's as touching and mellow as I've heard Liam Gallagher get.

4) Don't Go Away
One of the songs on the bloated and almost horrible Be Here Now album, this song was one of only two songs that I liked in that album (the rest were shite).

5) Rocking Chair
My second-favorite song from from The Masterplan. It's catchy, and makes you wanna sing along most of the time.

6) Stop Crying Your Heart Out
IMHO, Oasis' best 'Coldplay-like' ballad (The Gallaghers would FLIP if they saw themselves compared to Chris Martin's wusses).

7) Fade Away
This song is my favorite hard-rocking song by Oasis, and it's most memorable to me for the lyrics "While we're living, the dreams we had as children fade away..."

8) Whatever
From the Whatever EP, this song is NOT on any of the albums. Very Definitely Maybe-like tune, though it IS really catchy as well.

9) I Hope I Think I Know
The only other song from Be Here Now that I kinda like. It's also my second-favorite hard-rocking song, and is GREAT for screaming in the car.

10) Slide Away
They like to use the word 'Away' in their titles a lot, don't they? This is one of my favorite songs from Definitely Maybe, I just LOVE the style of the song, and the way Liam snarls the 'SLIDE AWAAAY' verse.

NOW, is anyone else going for the concert? :D

Sunday, 15 January 2006

Book Review: The Science of Discworld III: Darwin's Watch ( Pratchett, Stewart & Cohen)

I finished this book last month, but I didn't get around to reviewing it until now, mostly because I had other books to read first, and I also didn't know how to write this review... sigh.

Oh well, here goes, in the latest installment of Eyeris' Hopefully-Weekly-Book-Review which is turning out to be a Hopefully-Fortnightly-Book-Review - Terry Pratchett's co-written Science of Discworld III: Darwin's Watch!


Title: The Science of Discworld III: Darwin's Watch
Authors: Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart & Jack Cohen

(We all know who Pratchett is, but who are the other two? Well, according to the book sleeves, Ian Stewart is Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick and an outstanding contributor to the public understanding of science. Jack Cohen is a biologist and science writer, and long-time collaborator of Ian Stewart’s.)

Synopsis (From Amazon.com):
This is the third book (duh) in the Science of Discworld series, in which apparently Earth (called 'Roundworld' in Discworld) was 'created' by the Wizards of the Unseen University, and they are the ones who have to take care of it. Or something like that. Anyway, in this book, the wizards discover to their cost that it’s no easy task to change history.

Roundworld is in trouble again, and this time it looks fatal. Having created it in the first place, the wizards of Unseen University feel vaguely responsible for its safety. They know the creatures that lived there escaped the impending Big Freeze by inventing the space elevator — they even intervened to rid the planet of a plague of elves, who attempted to divert humanity onto a different time track. But now it’s all gone wrong — Victorian England has stagnated and the pace of progress would embarrass a limping snail. Unless something drastic is done, there won’t be time for anyone to invent space flight, and the human race will be turned into ice-pops.

Why, though, did history come adrift? Was it Sir Arthur Nightingale’s dismal book about natural selection? Or was it the devastating response by an obscure country vicar called Charles Darwin whose bestselling Theology of Species made it impossible to refute the divine design of living creatures?

Can the God of Evolution come to humanity’s aid and ensure Darwin writes a very different book? And who stopped him writing it in the first place?

What I liked:
  • I learned a thing or two about the theory of evolution
  • The Wizards are funny
  • The part when the Wizards appear are like oasis' in a book of dreary science
  • The writing is simple enough and explain the science quite well at times. AT TIMES.

What I Didn't Like:
  • A little tedious lor... no, make that MORE than a little tedious.
  • Also a little too long-winded at times
  • Not enough Pratchett
  • I didn't see the point in some of their analysis'

What I Thought:

Despite being a big fan of Pratchett and Discworld, I'm not exactly enamoured with the Science of Discworld series. I started the second one, but somehow I couldn't quite finish it. Don't ask me why.

Anyway, I managed to finish this after a few MONTHS, and I have to say, I'm not sure I wanna start on the first two.

You see, I'm not very fond of science and non-fiction. SCIENCE FICTION I can handle, non-fiction that involves science, I really don't like. So sue me.

But well, some people may like this kind of books. After all, it explains scientific stuff in a relatively simple way, and it keeps Pratchett-fans happy by interjecting a few chapters of the Wizards running around saving Roundworld in between mutiple chapters of Cohen and Stewart babbling on about steam engines, evolution, DNA and... well, you get the drift.

Well, they give relatively simple explanations about the topics they are talking about, but somehow... it didn't make me wanna read too much in one go.

Sorry to folks who might have liked it, but this is one Discworld (well, somewhat Discworld) book that I really couldn't get into. Maybe it's just me and my non-interest in science and non-fiction, but if the purpose of this book was to make me understand science better, well, it worked, somewhat, but not as effective as it should have been.

Oh, if you insist on learnign about science in an easy and funny way anyway, I'm guessing Bill Bryson's book A Short History of Nearly Everything would be a slightly better bet I think.

Saturday, 14 January 2006

The Undetermined 10 Words Essay Meme


When Erna told me she got this meme from Suanie, I SPECIFICALLY told her NOT TO PASS IT ON TO ME.

And what does she do? She passes it on to me.


Oh well, since I'm stuck halfway on my Hopefully-Weekly-Book-Review, and I have nothing else to blog about, I'll do it.

Anyway, This particular meme is called the 10 Words Determined Essay. Why it's so determined, I don't know, but anyway, here are the Golden Rules for it:

1) write an entry of between 100-200 words, with these words have to be included once, and only once:

- I
- me
- blowjob
- grapes
- random
- power
- loneliness
- water
- robot
- blue

2) Out of the 10 words, you can only change 2 words.
I've changed 'me' to 'coffee' and 'loneliness' to 'shuriken'

3) Your essay must make some kind of sense. if it's not cool, then it won't get published…
RIGHT. And who's gonna stop me from publishing it HERE? :D

4) Send to 5 people.
And here it goes, to The Visitor (even though he probably won't do it because I never do HIS tags...), Scorkes (That's what you get for pestering me to update! :D ), Athenos (HAH! I can FINALLY tag you dude!), Jesscat and Kampung Gal.

And here is my essay:

Eyeris' 10 Words Determined Essay

Once upon a time, there was a robot called Chunk-of-Metal.

Chunk-of-Metal was blue in colour, and he liked to say random vulgar things like “I love Bob Saget”, and he especially liked getting a blowjob even though he didn’t have any sexual organs to er… blow.

Anyway, one day, Chunk-of-Metal was at home, sipping on a cup of coffee and watching the entire season collection of Bob Saget’s Full House, when an Angel on Fire came swooping in on her fiery wings, and DEMANDED that the mechanical man give her some vodka.

“Eh, My fridge only got grape juice and water. Got no vodka, how?”

When she heard that, the Fiery Angel got really pissed off, and began hitting Chunk-of-Metal with her shuriken and attacking him with her awesome Drunken No Jutsu. After the Fiery Angel had hit him with multiple attacks, he finally fell apart into small bits and his nuts and bolts scattered everywhere.

At this point, the writer of this stupid story didn't know how to finish it and decided to sod it all for a lark and go watch Naruto again.


(Final Word Count: 185 words)

Thursday, 12 January 2006

National Fornication in the Geographic Wild

So.... I've finished the entire season of House, watched almost every episode of Samurai Jack, Justice League AND their reruns, and I can't be bothered to watch Desperate Housewives. With no football on Mondays, what's a renewed TV addict to watch?

Why National Geographic, of course!

Yes, I don't only watch Cartoon Network, AXN and ESPN, I also sometimes watch the documentary channels as well. See, I believe in education as well!


Anyway, this month on Mondays at 11pm, National Geographic has one of the most entertaining documentaries I've seen in a while, the very intriguingly named..... WILD SEX!

Now, now, don't get excited, it's not a documentary about porn, and neither is it about anime (sic). It's a show about the er.. sexual activities of animals in the wild, hence the name 'Wild Sex'.

Well, the sex may no be THAT wild (unless you're the type that likes er... doing it with er... animals, in which case, I don't really wanna know you), but the show itself is pretty cool. After all, a documentary with a intro that goes "The world's a marketplace, and what's on sale is the wildest sex in the world", is always interesting.

Anyway, the last two episodes on the last two Mondays have been about 'Libido' and 'The Hard Sell'. I only managed to catch 'The Hard Sell', but what fun it was.

In one short hour, we saw how chimpanzee males bring food to females in exchange for sex (Primate prostitution!), how the sweet smell of dung is the ultimate turn-on for the male dung beetle (Some fetish THAT is. EWWW), and how for one species of crab, size really DOES matter (size of its claw, that is).

the funniest thing about this show is the way the narrator talks. Instead of the usual semi-enthusiastic yet monotonous tones that usual documentary narrators use, this guy (I can't remember his name right now) uses an incredibly deadpan voice, something like the way a British comedian would deadpan his punch lines. It's hard to explain it here, you have to hear it for yourself.

To be able to say lines like, "The rejected male is unsymmetrical but still horny", and "they've got each other, and a ball of excrement, now they need a place to have sex" with such a deadpan voice is just pure brilliance I tell you.

And what about this line about the way red deer males roar out for mates - "During the red deer mating season, it's the males that give deep throat." Eheh.

Oh, and don't forget the one about seabirds - "because the feces passes through the same opening, it is important for males to go before they come."

All together now: EWWWWW!!!

Anyway, the narrator's voice is just one of the amusing things about this show. There's also the somewhat porn-movie style music that accompanies the scenes of animals mating. Makes the whole er... package very tongue-in-cheek, and so funny.

So, if you've never watched a single NG documentary in your life, try Wild Sex, on Mondays 11pm, on Astro, and learn how wild animals fornicate!

Now THAT'S sex education for you!

PS: I wonder whether if a certain sorry excuse for a reporter caught wind of this documentary, would he decide to generalise ALL National Geographic documentaries as porn and print it on the front page of his paper? I'd LOVE , just LOVE it if he really did that, really. haha

Tuesday, 10 January 2006

How the Goddamn Seed Slam-Bonked Samurai XXX's Dragon Balls

With all that furore regarding a certain sorry excuse for a 'reporter' who thought all anime shows are 'animated sex', I figured it would be fun to speculate what kind of 'anime' that dude has been watching. After all, SURELY he has been watching the WRONG sort of anime if he can mistake stuff like Pokemon, Dragonball, Naruto or Inuyasha for er.. alternative entertainment.

So, I get the feeling that while doing his 'research' on the story, he must have accidently asked for the wrong type of anime (go HERE to find out what sub-genres of anime is out there), and gotten these titles instead:

(WARNING: Contains references to REAL anime, cute or otherwise. The Writer is not responsible for any childhood memories shattered or crude mental images you may get after reading this post)

Dragon Balls - A manga-cum-anime about a spiky hair dude with a tail, who goes around the world looking for seven male studs with balls that have stars on them. May include monkeys and violent transformations

Slam Bonk - Sports flick about a team of basketball players going around the country partcipating in mass orgies, led by a red-haired doofus who is also a virgin.

Spit-it Away - An award-winning anime about a woman who gets trapped in a village full of porn stars who spit instead of swallow.

Samurai XXX - A period film set in medievel Japan, where Samurai warriors roam the land looking for mates. May include long swords without sheaths.

Pokey Man - A hardcore documentary about the life and times of a notorious pervert who goes around in a cute yellow-teddy-bear-like costume kacau-ing girls.

Clitorial D - Fast Cars, skimpily clad babes and one tau foo fah seller. Nuff' Said.

Silly Moon - About a team of (legal-aged) girls with superpowers, dressed in skimpy sailor uniforms who go around mooning demons who have escaped from Hentai Hell.

Cowboy Be Bonked - About a team of mercenaries who earn money on the side as part-time pimps and amateur porn movie directors

Goddamn Seed - Giant robots sowing their seed. Go Figure.

Fairy Fantasy XXII: I Hate Children - Blonde hero called Cloudy Stuff wielding big sword goes on a crusade to eradicate kiddy porn, because he is sick and tired of child porn giving the porn industry a bad name. Has to fight off a big bad guy called Suckmeoff, who has an IMPOSSIBLY LONG sword. Features lots of androgynous pretty boys and one hot babe in leather. (Disclaimer: All actors in this film are above legal age.)

Ranmate 7 1/2" - A male porn star becomes a bisexual after being sprinkled by some, ahem, magic juice, and gains the power of turning into a lesbian when taking hot showers.

Will add more if I think of more. :D

Monday, 9 January 2006

Me and My Plan B Mags

I was going through my archives the other day, and I came across this post "Me and My Mags"that I wrote at the very beginning of this blog. That was ONE AND A HALF YEARS ago since I last wrote about the magazines I read.

Anyway, since it's been THAT long, I might as well rehash and update it a little. You see, where I used to choose my magazines mostly on how hot the cover girl is and how cheap the magazine is (in price, not content, mind you), these days, my tastes are more er... refined.

(Meaning I still like looking at girls, but I only buy those where the pictures look good. Last time everything also buy, as long as got boobs to look at. Heehee.)

Anyway, I stopped buying Empire and Q last year, mostly because these imported mags are too damn expensive for my budget. So for my movie mags, I'm still only buying Singapore's First magazine, though sometimes I'll pick up an old issue of Q or Empire in the budget bins. I still like readingthem, just can't AFFORD them.

As for men's magazines, I don't choose the mags based on the cover girls anymore. I choose the mags on how hot ALL the girls in the magazine are. :D I also haven't been buying FHM much these days, mostly because they have the tendency to over do the make-up on their models, which makes them look like a pink poodle. I DO still buy them once in a while though, mostly for the calenders, but that's about it.

Oh, as for the other men's mag NewMan I usually buy, well, I'm still buying it. Why? Because it may not have THAT many girls to ogle at, but at least it still has some interesting articles to read, instead of the umpteenth FHM article about beer in the different countries (which always features the SAME beers). Oh, and their pictures of girls DO look a bit better (READ: not so Ah-Lian-ish).

Speaking of men's magazines with good articles, there IS one Malaysian men's magazine that I've been buying regularly every months for the past five issues now - Plan B.

Surprisingly enough. Plan B hardly has any pictures of girls. In fact, the cover models are always GUYS. Nope, not a single boob to be seen. Well, not on the cover that is. Well, most of the time. Gah.

Anyway, this is one magazine that I'm obviously not buying because of the pictures. It's a pretty good read, to tell the truth, with the emphasis on good and interesting stories rather than just a testosterone-filled bikini overload.

The layout, the cover and the design of the magazine is also quite classy, and the pictures are pretty cool too, in a very 'art designer' kind of way (don't ask). Instead of cover girls, they have cover features on Tash Aw, Shebby Singh, Izham Omar (that 8TV dude) and er.. Robbie Williams. The kind of stories it features are the kind I like to read - smart, witty and not overly trashy. It's the kind of magazine I'd love to WRITE for as well. :D

Anyway, I'm not too sure how the readership for this mag is like, and how big the market for a more mature men's magazine (READ: No bikini girls) is like in Malaysia (I think their target is late 20's-30's male readers).

But this is one magazine that deserves to stick around for a while longer, because it's possibly the only magazine that can you can keep reading for a couple days longer than the average 'flip-thru-in-seconds and ogle-girls-pictures' mens magazines out there right now. Plus it costs 10 bucks, just like most magazines with lesser value anyway. So go support!

Thursday, 5 January 2006

I'm gonna see the wusses live!!!!

If there's one thing I wish Malaysia had more of, it's decent rock concerts. So far, I think the only decent one that's been here was Linkin Park, which was too damn short and too much Too Phat. The Alanis Morissette concert in Shah Alam I went to once now seems like an eternity ago. Oh, and that Beyond concert two years ago was rocking, but it's more Cantopop than proper rock. It DID rock though.

Anyway, all we get in KL these days are lame Hoobastank and Simple Plan concerts, and nice little indie gigs in clubs that are occasionally mistaken for Black Metal devil-worship activities. there ARE some cool gigs around, but you'd have to ask Lainie about those.

Oh well, at least there's always Singapore. Be thankful you get great concerts, you lot down there!

Anyway, that brings me to this:

I'm going to watch OASIS live!!!!! WOOHOO!!!!

Bloody hell, I've been LONGING to watch Oasis for AGES, especialy since they're one of my favorite bands, being one of the first bands I listened to when I started listening to modern rock.

Three years ago they were SUPPOSED to play in Singapore. I was so excited then, and had actually BOUGHT the ticket already.

Then, the first Bali bombings occured, and the bastards chickened out. The infamous Gallagher brothers chickened out of coming to SINGAPORE, a few HUNDRED MILES AWAY from Bali.

And what made it worse? A BOYBAND (I can't remember if it was Blue or Westlife) played there around the same time.

BLOODY HELL, a wussy BOYBAND dared to come to Singapore for a concert at the same time OASIS cancelled because of 'security reasons'.

So much for the tough guy image eh, Liam?

Anyway, that's not gonna stop me from going to watch it THIS time around though. I'm all set to buy the tickets, and now all I gotta decide is whether to get the SGD160 standing space ticket (which is right in front of the stage), or the SGD90 standing space on, which is BEHIND the SGD160 one.

Sigh, decisions decisions....


PS: Speaking of concerts in Singapore, I know some of you might be interested in this as well:

Mosaic Music Festival 2006 presents....
Kings of Convenience (Quiet is the New Loud)

Date: 16 Mar 06, Thu, 7.30pm
Venue: Esplanade Concert Hall, Singapore
Ticket prices: SGD48 (30 for Students)

(picture of Oasis taken from http://www.bbc.co.uk via Google)

Wednesday, 4 January 2006

In the House of Addictive Cynicism

I'm not much of a TV-watcher, in fact, the only TV show that I've watched almost EVERY EPISODE of is South Park, and the original Transformers cartoon series.

Sure, on and off I've been somewhat addicted to the X-Files (first two seasons were great, then the conspiracies got silly), The Practice (Kellie Williams is HAWT), 24 (bloody addictive), Charmed (gotta love those chicks) and so on, but my interest in these shows only lasted one or two seasons before I got bored with it.

Recently though, I've been watching a lot of TV again, and it's not just Cartoon Network or ESPN. I've been watching a lot of all three CSIs (Sundays on AXN are a CSI feast!), Numb3rs, and even Medical Investigation (who cares that it's kinda boring. That Kellie Williams is HAWT. Wait, I've said that already.)

However, there IS one series has got me REALLY addicted - House MD.

No, it's not about real estate agents doubling as doctors. It's about a doctor called Greg House played by Hugh Laurie, who is a genius in diagnosing patients' ailments, but is also the person with the WORSE attitude, most ill-mannered and cynical doctor in the hospital.

Hugh Laurie is a GENIUS I tell you. Who could imagine that THIS silly idiot in the Black Adder shows:

could become this,

... the CYNICAL, RUDE, SARCASTIC, BOORISH yet oh-so-compelling-to-watch Doctor House?

The English actor was so silly and stupid in Black Adder (which also starred Rowan Atkinson in his BEST role EVAR, BTW. the hell with Mr. Bean), and so different from House that I didn't even realise that House was that stupid Prince Regent character in Black Adder until my brother pointed it out to me recently.

As House, he spits out insults and cynical one-liners that make you wish you'd thoght of that. The script is great, funny, and Laurie's deadpan cynicism and his facial expressions are a delight to watch.

His co-stars may be less compelling, but at least the chicks are hot. Oh Boy, that Dr. Allison Cameron (Jennifer Morrison) is HAWT. just check her out in this Stuff magazine shoot:

(picture taken from Stuff magazine)

If ALL female doctors were as hot as this, I'd be happy to get sick more often.

Ok ok, enough drooling.

Anyway,the stories told in the episodes of the first season are also compelling to watch. Besides the usual medical cases they have to solve, it's also amusing to see House reluctantly go about his clinical duties, and his interaction with the other characters.

Yup, House is my favorite TV show for now. I just finished watching the entire first season on DVD, and now I can't WAIT for the second season to get here. Without giving anything away, let's just say I think it's gonna be VERY interesting indeed.

Now if you'll excuse me, the new season of Charmed on Astro is also showing now... Cleavages and magic! Woot!

Monday, 2 January 2006

Categories of an Eye on Everything (2004-2005)

This is a repost of the old 'Categories of an Eye on Everything' post a while ago, updated of course, to include ALL the posts from 2004 and 2005, which is the ENTIRE history of this blog.

I'll be starting a new archive post later for posts from 1-1-2006 onwards, so this is gonna be the last time I'm reposting this. Heh.

anyway, here you go, a nicely categorised post of all the posts ever published on this blog.

Have fun. :-)



Book Reviews:

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Kempen Belog BM Merdeka 2005

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