Saturday, November 28, 2009

Google OS - Doomed to Niche-dom

Despite the fact that practically nobody is reading this or any other blog as the Noughties draws towards its close (in another years time!), and that no-one who does come to this blog expects reliable comment or timely advice on things geekish, except in the negative sense of following the discontinuous narrative of my reports on things that are fucking up on me, I am going to make a brief comment about what I understand of the upcoming Google OS.

Doomed. To. Niche-dom. Why?

a) no-one trusts 10% cloud computing let alone 100% cloud computing. I use Evernote for writing things like this these days as everything I scribble on one computer is automatically backed-up on up in the clouds (or so I believe), plus on every piece of physical hard-ware I have - iMac, Laptop, Netbook, iPhone. Hard-disks crash. Even big ones. (I'd use OneNote, but it doesn't work on the iMac.)

b) not everyone can connect to the internet all the time. We are NOT all living in Amerika! I can't use Windows Live for example unless I am hooked up, and even then it is SSSsssoooo slow as to be unworkable. Even more crucially, if you are not connected to the net when you use Google OS, nothing will work. Nothing at all. If you're sitting on some lonely beach at Koh Samui (lonely? ha!) trying to pen the next "The Beach" or "Losing The Plot" on your little screen, trying will be the operative word. You'll have nothing to do.

If you love paying for everything all the time (and who doesn't?) and you can you can keep forking out WiFi or 3G expenses, presuming that there is WiFi or 3G coverage where you are (on the beach in Koh Samui? - maybe WiFi from the lobby of your hotel, but there is no 3G in Thailand), then, and only then, can use your tiny Google NetBook to write your thesis, create your masterwork, or surf for suitably ejaculogenic porn (not on the beach in public, please!).

If you want to just type, forget it. You'll have to buy a real OS. Or keep the one you've got.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Why Men Can Read Maps And...

You Are Here
28 November 2008 at 10:58

Any good map would already have that information printed on it.
28 November 2008 at 14:57 ·

A map cannot tell you where you are (except for those talking ones in the car) - the map moves around with you. How can the map tell where you are? Map-reading, it's an ancient interpretive arcane art-form and a relative thing. Motion, position, directional vector, velocity, acceleration; these things come into play. If the map was a picture affixed to a fixed position, then yes, it should have "You Are Here" printed on it, such as you find all too infrequently in labyrinthine places like Vivocity to aid one in their retail orientation, but not a fold up map you put into your pocket. A person could be anywhere on the planet and pull out that dinky map of Sentosa, and if he read the words "You Are Here" on it, he would think there had been a printer's error, or maybe someone had written the words on as a joke in poor taste, because in actual fact he is somewhere else, like in Kuwait, or in Chicago, to give merely two hypothetical examples. If he was in Chicago and for some reason and saw the map saying he was in Sentosa, it could provoke an existential crisis, a geographical conundrum, a metaphysical paradox, a psychological dissociation, cause a slight moment of disquiet to flutter in his breast and, until he realized that the words there were either due to the aforementioned printer's error or jape, he might rip all the warm clothes from his body run screaming with misplaced joy from his conference venue of McCormick Place into the swirling snowflakes on whatever that road outside is that goes past Wrigley (or whatever) Field, to get ready for a game of beach volleyball with some 97% naked teenage girls, or he might not if he was more shy type of person.

Which is why women can't read maps - they don't have "You Are Here" printed on them.
28 November 2008 at 15:44 ·

... are you making fun of me? I'm not sure
28 November 2008 at 16:11

Surely I'd have written "I Am Pulling Your Leg" if I was pulling your leg...
28 November 2008 at 16:46 ·

So basically you were lost on Sentosa and hoped the useless tourist map would help?
28 November 2008 at 19:37 ·

funniest thing i've read in a longg long time i can barely tyupe thru the tears
28 November 2008 at 22:21 ·

Funny? I was lost and serious!
29 November 2008 at 00:58 ·

the two of you are a regular comic duo. you should charge!
29 November 2008 at 16:38 ·

Anon Friend
I am lost. Where were we?
29 November 2008 at 20:44 ·

There's a map around here somewhere. Oh no, it's upside down!
01 December 2008 at 21:53 ·

E@L's Facebook profile pic from last year.

Toilet Humour

Wash your arse, wash your hands - same same.

Some Malaysian hospital, 2008.


More Politico-Economic Surrogate Venting

I was going to write tonight about Schopenhauer's* demolition of Kant's categorical imperative** and how that makes it OK for people to go to strip joints and to visit rather disreputable "world famous" soapy-massage parlours that involve bath-tubs and soap-suds and baby-oil and as many girls as can fit in that bath with you***, but I found this on Alvin's FB page...

In a capitalist system, investors make money not despite hiring workers, but because they hire workers who, if they are adequately managed, create value in excess of the wages and benefits they are paid. This value is called "profit," and the business' owner gets to keep that, after paying taxes.

In a properly functioning capitalist economy, rich people don't "create jobs" for workers; workers, upon having jobs, create rich people.

That's how the system works, in theory.

But the reality is different from the theory. In today's marketplace, the super-rich have become richer in large part by destroying jobs.

They amass staggering wealth by gambling, and fraud, and they depend very dearly on government policies (especially very low taxes on so-called "capital gains") to protect what they have and allow them to grab more.

In "capitalism" as it is actually practiced today, jobs really are a kind of charity, often superfluous to the amassing of multibillion dollar fortunes.

Today's millionaires and billionaires make their money by creating contracts—and a lot of those are, at their core, tax dodges. Baltimore City Paper. [Empharsis mine. I read it every day, don't you?]

Just love that pleasing sound when someone hits a nail directly on the head and slams it home into the wood.


* Yes, I was reading Schopenhauer in the pub tonight, literally too shagged to head out for yet another session at the soapy. Need sleep, and this tome should help induce it.

If you read the Wiki about this book, "On The Basis Of Morality", it tells fascinating story. Schopenhauer was the only person to enter some Danish Society philosophy contest back in 1839, offering this long essay debunking Kant (and Ayn Rand presciently and incidentally - 'morality' is based on compassion), but they refused to give him the prize! They later said he had not answered the question they had posed (don't ask). LOL. Sucks to be Schopenhauer!

** You can't justifiably base a moral system on your subconscious religious values! For God's Darwin's sake man, this is the nineteenth century!

*** Schopenhauer himself would be in there in a flash, all viagra'd up and ready to rock! He was quite the despicable cad rumour has it - copious detailed diaries were destroyed by family after he died. I hope someone clears out the internet for me as well.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Forget All That

I'm the target demographic here in BKK...

(Even with the same dorky sandals, no ear-ring and still no tattoos.)


I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation. And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer. (Nietsche)


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Report #345 from The Planet of Sad Lonely Old Men

A friend was trying to set me up with a girl back at home recently. Someone to grow old with, she was thinking presumably, for each of us.

What would I do with a girlfriend, apart from the obvious? Me, the quintessential lonely bachelor, fated for an alcoholic expiration round a flaming rubbish-bin under a bridge somewhere decayed and post-urban, with someone? Ya gotta be joking!

Sure, I occasionally get those maudlin flushes of regret whenever I get in that mood where everyone I see is coupled up.

Pairs of ideal lovers shopping for their Ikea (self-constructed, temporary, half-arsed furniture symbolic of the relationship according to ex-blogger in HK, Hemlock), ordering complex frappuccinos together, pushing their spawn around in perambulators that cost more than any car I have ever owned. Grandma and Grandad sitting silently in the restaurant as all unnecessary words have been spoken. I see laughing school-kids holding hands and though I know there is nothing coming except the serial disappointment of adulthood, I smile for their wicked innocence. I watch ironically mismatched couples departing from Nana Plaza at 2am and wonder who judges me. I kick at dogs fucking on the sidewalk, smash the gnats/flies copulating on the food scraps on my desk.

Everyone is paired up. Love is on the streets. In the stars, futility and self-deception, but shit to all that, I'd be nice to see someone smiling at me in a special way. (Someone like Sookie Stackhouse preferably. If you could read my mind, not get caught up the negatives of the external me, oh Sookie, ever since you were playing piano on the misty New Zealand beaches... OK enough fantasy.)

Everyone has someone to fuck, except me, I sometimes feel. Someone they are itching to get away from, no doubt and at the same time, that they can't bear to be away from in case they start fucking somebody else. But even that sensation of clinging/pushing away, of hatred/possession, of jealousy/forgiveness - the glorious ambiguity that is love... I sort of miss it sometimes, wonder if I am still capable of interesting someone in the correct way, fooling them and myself into a hope it could work for a while, long enough to call it something. The R word. The L word.

I guess it's because the decade is coming to a close, and the noughties has been a girlfriend-free timezone. No-one special in E@L's life for coming up to 10 years. Yes, I had several interesting and complex relationships in the 1990s... about which, more never. And there are people who have been interested in me over the years, one or two probably reading this blog, but I have not had the required reciprocal interest in them, nice people though they may be. And I have never been prepared to have a relationship just so I could fuck someone. Am I Robinson Crusoe on this?

I have had heaps of great sex in C21, mind you. Just check my credit card receipts for the details.


What's Not Like About Peaches Geldof?

I think I like this clip.

You've all probably seen it already at Joanne's blog, but here it is again.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Another Austrian-Made Sugar Water Energy Drink

Found a new sugar water on sale in Singapore today. Made in Austria, it says on the can. It's called "Naughty G Cola". Also comes in "Original" (WTF? do they mean Red Bull?), Green Tea and "No Sugar" flavours.

It has a rather insipid cola taste IMHO, and is very low in fizz - no Schweppervescence here. But I noticed my hands shaking about 15 mins later.

"Makes you powerful", said the sales lady, which is the usual Asian way of not-saying that it is an aphrodisiac and will give you wood. The name of the stuff, the web-site and the promotional material in general are highly unambiguous about the sexual benefits of this sugar-water for both Men and Women. You're going have "Stamina and performance" in your Naughtieness-

For men that means you will obtain and maintain an engorged penis for the purpose of sustained sexual intercourse and you will have the mindless energy (from that insulin rush basically) to keep going until she tells to for god's sake stop.

For women, the "G" in the sugar-water's name implies enhanced sexual receptivity and arousal at the mythical G-spot which is allegedly about 4-8cm into the vagina on the upper (front) wall just behind the internal urethral sphincter (which is probably what the G-spot actually is, anatomically), to keep her secretions coming (as it were) while the C&I rush will also give her the "stamina" to stay awake during the man's repetitive "bit of the old in-out in-out" performance with his persistently rigid John Thomas.

Just remember True Blood's Jason Stackhouse and his V-induced priapism, how it required several fat needle aspirations of his bloated cock to remove the blood clots. I'm just saying... Maybe Naughty G DOESN'T cause your dick to explode, but... I'm just saying... But be warned...


Why does it allegedly do all this? L-arginine.

The L-arginine they call the Miracle Molecule in this drink is a left spiralling isomer of an amino-acid that in combination with oxygen, reacts with the precusor vasodilator e-nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) to create actual arterial vasodilation, a rush of blood, after some stimulus such as physical activity which will cause an increase of the flow-pressure (the shear stress) on the healthy arterial wall, followed by this simple sequence of events:-

O2 + L-arginine + eNOS (produced by shear stress) -> L-citrulline and NO -> guanylyl cyclase -> guanosine 5'-triphosphate -> cyclic-guanosine monophosphate and then... 'abracadabra' the arterial wall muscle relaxes which increases blood flow. And there's a rush of blood to the sexual organs requiring their immediate and complete satisfaction with whomever happens to be within 6 inches of you at the time.

Got it? No? Maybe this diagram will help.

(New England Journal of Medicine)

Or maybe this one from Da Vinci is easier for my artistically inclined readers to follow.

As you all are no doubt are aware, normally you have enough L-arginine in your system already and the problem with poor vascular function is the lack of supply of eNOS, as it is snaffled up by free radicals or maybe the endothelium itself is damaged and doesn't produce enough eNOS (which is what happens with high cholesterol and smoking and diabetes), etc... so I'm not sure how adding extra L-arginine will help.

So really nothing happens except the usual caffeine and sugar hits.

But as they used say about a glass of water in Get Smart: (shrugs) It wouldn't hurt.

Same goes for the Horny Goat Weed. Maybe this IS what they were drinking at those True Blood Bacchanals.


And after my lunch-time can of this Austrian Zhong Hua Niu Bian, I've been sitting here typing this post (instead of working) and I have not had even one inkling of any malignant penile tumescence and engorged bloating requiring needle aspirations. Not once. Thank fucking cheeeeerist!


Honest Haemoglobin

Fuck, totally suckered in deeply by True Blood. There's no point in waiting for the Singapore release, it'll be about 3 minutes per episode. (The Singapore version of "American Beauty" cut all but the shooting scene from the last 15 minutes. Singaporeans must still be wondering WTF that movie was about.)

The Number One Son started me on this show on my previous trip down to Melbourne with a couple of episodes from Series Two. Now, for the last week or so, Izzy and I have been on our respective couches watching two episodes a night, working our way through Series One and most of Two. (I have a lot of it on my laptop but I also grabbed DVDs of the complete show in Bangkok the other week. The way I am moving across computers these days, best to have a hard copy.)

Except for the fact that every now and then Izzy goes out to get a human to feed upon and that she is scared shit-witless by all the "spooky scenes", we both seem to enjoy it in the same way. We dig the great production qualities, the fun characters (Ooh Lafayette! says Iz), the great blood and guts special effects, and the subtle (sometimes) piss-taking of the vampire and horror genre (I enjoy trying to predict the next line, which must drive Iz crazy), the satirical jibes at prejudice against gays and the church, of course the lashings of sex and completely gratuitous (but welcome) nudity and the general celebration of (eternal) life and (never-ending) lust in this Louisiana garden of fleshly delights.

We're both addicted, need our fix each night like it was V.

And I need to gets me invited to one of them there Dionysian orgies, they look like fun, unless you're the one getting your heart ripped out by a powerful eternal maenad to be made into a "bloody, delicious" souffle I guess.

Me, I'm the kind to sit up in his room still waiting for The Rev Newlin's hot wife Sara to flash her tits at Jason Stackhouse.

And I'm sure I'm not the only one.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Red Shark Bull

Shark is a Thai energy drink, made in Austria, sold by Thai company.

Red Bull is a Thai energy drink, made in Austria and Thailand, sold by an Austrian company and a Thai company.

Note the difference?

So what is going on here? Actually I am not sure, but here is what I can work out so far. Enlightenment is welcomed from those more knowledgeable on this than myself.

Shark is a true competitor of Red Bull I believe, but it is difficult to sort out from the information available on the web who EXACTLY makes (as in manufactures) Shark.

History: both the Thai original of Red Bull, Krating Daeng (Red Guar - looks like a bull IS a bull in my book) and Shark are allegedly based on the health drink Kilane, first created by a chemist in Bangkok over a hundred years ago during a severe crisis of Bangkok Belly.

Osotspa is the Thai company that devolved from the original producers of that drink, but it imports the product they call Shark from Austria: significantly, hmmm? Osotspa also introduced into Thailand Lipovatin, one of the other direct precusors of Red Bull, from Japan in the mid 1960's.

However the Thai drink Red Guar (Bull) is not made by Osotspa but by the Thai company T.C. Pharmaceuticals. Significantly, there is no mention of Red Bull in the Osotspa or Shark websites. T.C. Pharma get 49% of the world-wide sales of Red Bull BTW. Sigh. And they thought they were doing pretty well in Thailand up till that time...

Also there is no information to directly connect Osotspa with now-billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz, the Salzburger who took Red Bull from Thailand to the world. He made his deal with T.C. Pharma. Or is it just hidden in a buzz of caffeine, taurine (NOT from bulls' testicles), choline bitartrate and arginine - not to mention all that vodka?

So why is Shark made in Austria, if it is not being churned out by the Red Bull factories?

Is everything joined in one great headachey-spinning conspiracy in this world or what?


Sources: (check the Heritage section) (in Thai, the T.C. Pharma product)

Friskodude started me on this epic research effort (which has forced me to skip [delay] dinner), by linking to ThaiPulse who raised the question about Shark and Red Bull being exactly the same drink.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Updates Are Available

Hands up if you are sick of computers and programmes updating all the freaking time.

I lost 3 hrs of important work a few weeks ago because I went to lunch and left the pewter running - it automatically downloaded an update and rebooted while I was gone. Tofo! I learned my lesson (twice - for some reason I had Powerpoint's auto-save feature turned off, what a dumb-ass) and have restricted the Austomatic Updates to notify but NOT to download until I confirm, so that I have to press a button before it installs the updates. At least that's how it's supposed to work on my Laptop. However once it's installed the update, it automatically reboots in 10 minutes unless I tell it to wait.

It's just that these updates are SOOoooo frequent! And being a fucking idiot with too much money, I have a) my work laptop, b) my home iMac, which also is running c) Vista under Parallels, and now d) my little Netbook. That's four operating systems that are constantly in need of tuning up, not to mention all the other programmes and bejesus, mother-fucking iTunes which updates everytime someone cracks its security features which is at least once a week. I have three installations of that prick of a programme.

Everytime I turn one of my pewters on it will be after a certain period of hibernation, right, because I've probably been using one of the others, say I haven't been in the office for a few days as I've been out with customers, so when I tuen on my work Laptop... it's PING "Updating You Software - system will need to reboot after intallation!" And other 20mins goes by.

And then I go home, boot up Parallels (I use Microsoft Money on it but only once or twice a month to update my financial comedy) and it happens again... PING "Udpates Are Being Installed"... Something on the iMac will need updates once or twice a week as well, often iTunes!

On the weekend I grab my Netbook to sit in a coffee shop in order to write the Great Expat Novel... PING "Updates Are Available"... and it starts all over again.

It's a constant cycle. Neverending. You just wish they'd got it right first time.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Dr Lim Hock Sie, Nearly 20 years a Political Prisoner in Singapore,

Dr Lim was a political detainee in Singapore, held uncharged and often in isolation, for 19 years and 8 months... and Singapore has the gall to criticize others on human rights issues?

This is him speaking out at a book launch (by Said Zahari, another long-term detainee) in Johor Bahru on Saturday, I believe.

Shot and subtitled by Martyn See at SingaporeRebel.


From a statement Dr Lim released in 1972, when being offered release if met several unreasonable demands:

Special Branch - You must concede something so that Lee Kuan Yew would be in a position to explain to the public why you had been detained so long. Mr Lee Kuan Yew must also preserve his face. If you were to be released unconditionally, he will lose face.

Dr Lim Hock Siew - I am not interested in saving Lee Kuan Yew's face. This is not a question of pride but one of principle. My detention is completely unjustifiable and I will not lift a single finger to help Lee Kuan Yew to justify the unjustifiable. In the light of what you say, is it not very clear that I have lost my freedom all these long and bitter years just to save Lee Kuan Yew's face? Therefore the P.A.P. regime's allegation that I am a security risk is a sham cover and a facade to detain me unjustifiably for over 9 years.


Fucking scary stuff. Libertarians I have met love this place; I can't for the life of me see why.



A few years ago I lost a fair bit of money. And I don't mean I mislaid it, I mean it was stolen from me. Coincidentally the thief, a greedy low-life scumbag called Charles Schmitt, was arrested the week I moved to Singapore from Hong Kong.

I gave the details of this prick in my old blog a few years ago here and here. Schmitt was low-level Madoff-type character, who was using a fund he had set up and sold to gullible saps like me as a great money-maker - for himself! It was his personal yacht-party cash-flow generator and he was able to buy a nice beach-front house in Hawaii.

I have always intended to use this scenario as one of the plot lines of one of my terminally unwritten novels.

A letter arrived yesterday from the company that is managing my meagre remaining investment accounts to tell me that another 25% of the lost funds have now been placed into my cash account, added to previous installments of 35% in Dec 2005, 10% in April 2006 and another 10% on July 2006. Hey I didn't even remember them they were so long ago! Apparently there were some other claimants who came out of the blue back in 2006 and tried to get a chunk of the realised money as well, and the legal proceedings have swallowed both time and perhaps some more of my money. They tell me I can expect to see another 3% (the final installment) within a few more months.

Initial expectations were quite gloomy, about 60-70% return post liquidation but it looks like I'm going to end up with... you do the math. OK, it's 83%. Better than nothing! Mega-salary bonuses all round for Price-Waterhouse, who were in charge of the liquidation.

And, yes it has been quite a while. By the time I obtain the last of my partial refund, Schmitt will almost be due for release from prison - he got 4 and 1/2 years.. He could be out now for all I know.

He suckered in a lot of his Christian Church buddies too. The Protestant Embezzlement Ethic I called it last time. If it's not call-girls or rent-boys, it's embezzlement when these holy rollers go off the rails...

(Ah, that's such a good line - where do I come up with this shit?)


I guess you might have been wondering why I have always been so hard against the stock market in the past. My god I hate it. Now you know why (again). But as has been pointed out by my libertarian friends acquaintances - which may or may not include frequent commenter here, ex-blogger Knobby - my understanding of this fine institution is limited and perhaps blinkered by our misfortunate history.

Well, after reading When Genius Failed (a book I bought before the GFC but never got around to reading) I have to admit that both of us are right/wrong. The stock market is OK after all, it keeps industry turning. But the DERIVATES market and HEDGE FUNDS are other things altogether. Man, here be fuckedness. Compared to the whole derivatives and hedge funds shebang, your typical stock market is a fair and equitable place such as what armchair Marxists' dreams are made of...

The hedge fund "bank" called Long Term Capital Management which boasted Nobel Prize winners Robert Merton and Myron Scholes as partners with their managed risk protocols, nearly blew up the financial world back in 1998 and NOBODY LEARNED A FUCKING THING. Amazing to think that ten years later it all happened again.

Experience is the ability to recognize your mistakes when you make them again.

The other books that I grabbed recently on these armchair Marxist friendly topics are The Predator State by James K Galbraith (yes, his son) and The Divine Right of Capital.

So it's not the stock market I hate, but more the derivatives and hedge funds and all these fancy new "products" that feed into the greed of all of us... I paid my money, I took my chance with a person's honesty and was betrayed.

Wasn't the first time, won't be the last.


Gambling has never interested me, by the way. Which is another reason I am not a stocks player. I've had arguments about this since I was 18. I thought it was all macho bullshit. ("It's a thrill, you put your balls on the line," Max Z said. "SEE!" I replied. He was not the last person to give up in exasperation whilst arguing with me.)

All I can see in a casino are mindlessly optimistic reality-denying morons sitting like they were trapped in an some vast interior traffic-jam throwing away their family's welfare cheques to organized crime and to the government's tax/revenue department (not necessarily in that order and not necessarily all that far apart.) The reason casinos exist is that governments want to get tax income from gamblers, and the conversely the reason non-casino gambling is illegal is that governments can't get any tax income from it.


Those same Governments couldn't put their tax-hungry hands on derivate trading, nor could they regulate it. In the days of LTCM at least, regulations only covered actual trades (in stocks, shares, bonds) whereas derivates, fuck, they are only 'promises' of the intention to trade. Profit on these shadow deals were called "capital gains" thanks to changes in the Reagnomics era and were taxed differently to any conventional profit made on a real trade. Because the trade hadn't actually taken place, the regulators' hands were tied.

This excess (low-taxed) money is where CEOs big salaries have come from according to Galbraith. That's why people running these companies are driving them into the ground with stupid deals. The profit goes directly to the managers as bonuses and mega-salaries...

Greed, rapacious greed.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

No Surprises AT E@L-GHQ

With the new HDTV threatening to blast us all away with its Highly Definitive stuff but not delivering, E@L gathered that as we only had an analogue DVD player the 4 gross of pirate BKK movies in the library weren't going to be all that much better, quality-wise.

There were, mmm, somewhat better but not rip-roaringly astounding.

So E@L purchased an upscaling DVD player (didn't go the Blue-Ray in case it goes that way of the 8-track tomorrow) with HDMI output and the ability to upscale to 1080dpi from the standard PAL of 720dpi. (If these numbers are wrong, blame the research assisant.)

So, being a master at audio-visual logistics, E@L plugs in the new Philips DVD player, which looks an awful lot like the old Philips DVD player except sleekly black and $140 more, and with the HDMI cable running from the extra slot at the back up to the TV he simply...

he simply...

he simply...

He simply CAN'T get any video signal from DVD player through the HDMI cable the the TV! He has to use the same freaking analogue cable as the old DVD player!





Aaargghhhh - pulling of clothes and running naked down the street, screaming all the way (clutching a Warranty Card), is a very frustrated


(p.s. - it could be the cheap TV)

Monday, November 09, 2009


All I wanted to do was raise awareness for Prostate Cancer...

So I shaved my goatee off, left myself with just a moustache and an anti-moustache on the lower lip, going for the 70's pornstar look.

Flatmate Izzy came home last night and sat down on the couch to chat. I had just shaved off my goatee but she didn't say anything. That's right. She looked at me for a second trying not to feel uncomfortable, then she looked away, and then I had to TELL her I had shaved and then she leaped into the air screaming in laughter, realizing what it was that was freaking her out...

Same thing happened at work last time.

So, OK, photo taken to show you all but there is no flash-card reader on the iMac where I am drafting this blog post, and therefore I have to drag out the Net-book.

Mmm. No picture editing software on the Net-book.

So, OK, I download Picasa and BIGTIME Whoopsie! It fucking takes over! I had my work HDD coincidentally plugged in and Picasa immediately started to read every images and video from work going back 10 years and it wouldn't fucking stop!

Finally I manage to calm it down (by unplugging the HHD, probably corrupting every file on it), but by then I remembered ANOTHER reason that I don't use Picasa is that it doesn't allow me to resize my photos before I upload them! Shit!

Ah, but that was back when I wasn't using Blogger, right? Now that I am, I can upload them to PicasaWeb which allows me to be tethered to yet another non-evil(TM) Google product and to specify a file size when I upload.

Righty-o, done. Close the Netbook, come back to the iMac and then I simply...

Then I simply...

Then I simply...

OK, so it seems to be impossible to get a Picasa-Web image across to Blogger, though the other way around sounds feasible, if unhelpful. I should have clicked "Blog This" (did I see this option? Yes, but that was before I knew that I could adjust the size of the upload) while I was running Picasa on the Net-book.

So what do I do? Use the Link or the Embed tools on Picasa Web? No, because Link doesn't work and Embed only puts in a thumbnail. Download the picture from Picasa and re-upload it?

You guessed right. Sigh.


OK, so here's me nekkid chin. Weak, quivering, doubled, slight dimple there I notice when the light is right (since fucking when did that appear?) and no-one is allowed to say the words "Ron Jeremy", OK?


I didn't get around to setting up a charity account myself, but please feel obligated to donate to my buddy's Steve's Movember Fundraiser Team in Australia. Steve just recently had a radical prostatectomy. He is 48.

Do the right thing.


p.s. Comment from Izzy this afternoon - "You look better WITH the goatee." Well, like HELLO! Sigh.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Bruce At Club Romeo

In the pub typing this on my new NetBook, just to prove I can.

As with most 'Bruce' stories - this one is ADULTS ONLY. Be warned.

Parental Advisory!


Paralysis mode struck me earlier on today. After having a coffee with Izzy I went to get some fruit and stuff...

I stood stock still in the supermarket. Cannot move. Decisions. Buy raw foods and cook dinner? Buy prepared food and heat up dinner? Eat out? Head phones in, I listen to singing voices in my head. How to begin? I stand stock still.

The rain is teeming, tropical mid-afternoon rain. I sit in the pub for a Sunday afternoon brew and the sky has opened though the blue is still visible from my vantage and the light is high. I sweat, sip a beer and sweat some more.

The gradient of least resistance took me to the pub, where I open my tiny little computer pull up the files on Bruce.


Bruce is an enigma. The late, great Bruce; I have his disk of collected ramblings here, copied to the fresh HHD of my Samsung computer. (Who would have considered buying a Korean computer 5 years ago?)

He entrusted me to do something with it. But how should I prepare the texts? How to avoid law suits, the loss of friendships of a Thomas Wolfeian "Can't Go Home Again" nature? I am sure he doesn't give a fuck, laughing at us down from whatever stale hell he now inhabits for this time around eternity.

Sometime he writes of himself in the third person, sometimes in the first. I haven't yet determined a way of telling which of them is more likely to be true. Or, if not true then factual. Yes, factual is probably what I mean. No less true for being factual, and no more for being less so.

Sometimes he writes about himself and I realize as I continue that it is a story I have told him about myself or about another friend that he has appropriated and inserted into his personal mythology. For what reason does he need to obscure his actual history, or to embellish it?


Bruce was in town again with a group of his friends to play an expat soccer tournament. One of the many characteristics of expats is their love of playing sports for which they are completely past the use-by age. Back home, there is no way a sports club would foot the insurance bill for these high-cardiac-risk "atheletes". Living a social life week-end after week-end that is almost indistinguishable in alcohol abuse, bad food and moral disreputability from a brief end-of-season footy trip does not mean that they still have the ligaments, joints and muscles to engage in the same physically demanding sports as those partying younger selves. Yet they do. It is all about reliving a life mis-lived on first attempt, pre-expatdom. Remember living as if responsibilty meant something, how fucked was that?

Bruce called me to catch up the day before his sporting efforts were to begin and I contacted some local friends and soon enough we were on Sentosa having an alcohol-based picnic on its (appropriately) imported sands at sunset.

I knew enough of Bruce's dark side to realize that some aspects of his personal demonology had not been completely exorcised and he could be quite frightening in public. He was always fun though as well. But he was not always in control. And after his slow predictable magic of making half a bottle of vodka disappear, the conversation of the party was becoming centered around his habit of making light-hearted provocative statements at a stentorian volume, scaring the children and passing animalia.

- He is joking, right? Some of the less worldly girls from Singapore were looking at me as if I had the answer. Bruce's illness at this time was not widely known and he was nothing if not a healthy-looking, rolly polly Falstaff in the typical outspoken expat mold. If no-one successfully challenges your bullshit, you just keep pushing, right?

- Well, so what if you pull a lady-boy? What's the problem? he had been saying. Just gives you something to steer with as you fuck her. He reached around an imaginary 'girl' and mimicked the idea, making the outrageous statement even more graphic and shocking.

- You can tell if they're a ladyboy by their Adam's apple, he continued. It sticks out a lot more when they're blowing you. But by then, who fucking cares, eh?

There is are several photos of us in the archives, taken at this picnic. One of them shows me with a completely stunned expression as I stand next to Bruce listening to this stuff. I am completely horrified and amused at the same time. If I had slightly more than an inkling of where this evening would go, I was not conscious of it at the time.

When we trundled into taxis later that evening, there was no ambiguity about where we some of us were going for next drinks. OT - the 4FoWs. As there was a Scandinavian couple with us who didn't want to be too existentially shocked by the depravity of upstairs, we first went to DownUnder Bar. This is a drinks-girlie free zone where you could hold a conversation and knock a few Dutch courages down if that was the issue. But it is not particularly chic place. The Scandinavian left looking for some herring milkshakes and so just Bruce, myself and a Brit, a craggy-face Mancunian named Brian, were left contemplating the approach of the small hours by ourselves.

- Time to head upstairs, said Bruce. I grabbed his arm just before he managed to smash his beer glass into the corner.

A Flip bar called Follow Me Home (FMH, done in the font of the FHM magazine) grabbed Brian's attention as we left DownUnder. Dozens of doe-eyed Filipinas beckoned, promising to swamp us with their thick-waisted affection. They tried to remove our shirts and unbuckle our belts the instant we came through the door into the almost pitch-black room. Brian's missus back in Shanghai was a Filipina ex-hooker. He had a weakness still that married life hadn't burnt away or satiated. I said that I didn't want to lose my load so early, and he just smiled back, and we agreed to leave before we spent any money there.

- Hey, where's Bruce? he asked.

Yep, there was just the two of us in the bar. Some weapon in my head fired a warning shot.

- Club Romeo, I said without completely realizing what the implications of that were.

We crossed the foyer and parted the curtain. Instantly, a different Lynchian world of dim lights and strong shadows confronted us. Several girls called out in greeting, huskily. Large hands on long thin arms emerged from silk dresses, grasping at us. Club Romeo was almost empty of customers, as it was still relatively early. Deeper in, up the near the bar, I saw what could only be Bruce's large head turned away from us. He was chatting with several of the transvestites. Brian and I felt that it was our task to remove Bruce from these temptations. We grabbed him and tried to convince him to come out of there. He laughed and agreed, like it was all a joke. I can't recall what happened about the bill. It was timeless, surreal experience and I only have several moments of recollections from what may have taken several minutes.

- C'mon buddy, we're going to Bali Hai.

There was live-music of sorts in there and some table-top dancers in super-short shorts and flashy underwear teased you into buying more drinks without being particularly annoying. We ordered drinks and tried to settle in, but it was quite a few minutes later when it struck me that I was only chatting with Brian. Bruce was not there.

- He went for a slash, Brian said.

- When?

- When we came in. Brian seems to not really care. I wonder why I did.

I looked around. My beer was nearly empty. It must have been fifteen minutes.

- He's gone back to Club Romeo, I said.

Brian was looking down the make-up enhanced cleavage of the dancer who had leaned right over to pretend to kiss him.

- Do we go get him again?

- No, fuck him, said Brian. He slapped the dancer's denim-belt-shorts covered butt-check

Yeah, I thought. Someone will. I just hoped they use a good strong condom.


I realized, when I sobered up next day, kicked out the dancer who somehow I had ended up with, that Bruce's story about that tainted blood transfusion in China had been a complete fabrication. But sometimes when you thought Bruce was joking, he wasn't really joking.


Coffee-Shops and Reading

I have to get out more if I am to read more. This sounds like an oxymoron, but I mean I REALLY have to get out of my apartment to read.

I have my comfy leather recliner chair and a choice of two-seater couches (one also leather, one in chronic need of re-upholstery) but on them I fall asleep in two and half pages. So I put a book or two in my man-bag ("dude, it's a purse") and I have to go to the coffee-shop. Spinellis by preference, although Coffee-Bean and Starbucks will do*. I just can't seem to read in my flat, despite its thousands of books, unless Izzy is on the (decrepit) couch reading/writing/studying too. It's too quiet. I need a background humming with the white-noise of other people's activity, I need people to ignore.

Where's the fun of entering another world if you're not firstly physically enveloped in this one? What is there to escape?


* Here we would need to blog about the relative qualities of Frappuccinos, Ice Blendeds and Spins, but that is not at the level of this blog. We have not yet sunk so low in desperation. Not yet.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Global Warming Solution AND It's Cheap!


Folk Use - Flesh Eating Zombie Drug Reaction? Or Paranoia?

"Folk use all very vare much."


Can't stop giggling about this French lecturer during the seminar I was at last week. Not his fault that he's a Frog, I realize - it's his fucking mere and pere's fault - but he kept pronouncing "focus", as in "Move ze focus of ze beam [yes, ultrasound beams have a focal range, like a light camera does, but... different] to ze dip-air putt, zen to ze ne-air putt."

OK, so he pronounced 'the' as 'ze' too, and said 'dip air-putt' instead of 'deeper part', my French, tray atrocy-mon too, but what cracked me up was the way he said 'focus'...

I kept hearing it as "Fuck you's", like he was doing a De Niro impersonation.

- Fuck you's!

- No, fuck YOU's!

- Hey! Fuck you's, mudderfolker!

OK, it also sounded like 'folk use'.

All day, for three days. So funny. Even when they were doing some scanning on cadavers (and no disrespect to those who donate their bodies for medical experiments is implied here either - you might have me scanning you post mortem!) to practice inserting needles into the jugular (and other) veins under ultrasound control (hey, my GP needs that, the inaccurate bitch!), it was "fuck you's" this, "fuck you's" that!

Ah dear...


On another more serious and a more scary note, the tablets I am currently trying are called Lamictal. They don't seem to be doing much as far as pain is concerned, but at least they are not counteracting my standard tablets (Lyrica) as the Remeron did, leaving me effectively non-doped for a week or two - not a pretty sight.

One of the rare side effects of Lamictal sounds pretty nasty - Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis. Some bad words there. Some scary words. Toxic. Necro. Lysis.

TEN affects many parts of the body, but it most severely affects the mucous membranes, such as the mouth, eyes, and vagina. The severe findings of TEN are often preceded by 1 to 2 weeks of fever. These symptoms may mimic those of a common upper respiratory tract infection.

OK, I know what you're thinking. I am 1/3 less likely to get this problem than a female... Sharpen up, dudes, this IS nasty!

It is basically your standard flesh falling-off in great swathes of type disease. Think fast-acting leprosy, mixed with zombiedom and flesh eating bacteria, all in one convenient reaction to a tablet...

Mortality is 30-40%. 'S ok, I PROBABLY don't have it...


When some conjunctivitis came up not so suddenly today, after a week of sniffles, guess who just threw the tablets in the bin?


(So if there are no posts for a while, please excuse me while the decaying putrid flesh falls from my bones until I die [and I'll donate my body for ultrasound experiments].

On the upside, I won't be needing a costume to play D&D with MercerMachine it seems.

Folk use for listening.)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Close Call

...for our Pakistani distributor, Qualitron Corporation (see the blue sign?)

Here I am giving training to our Asia/Middle-East contingent in Bangkok and the Pakistani team are not in the group. This time they did not come - for whatever reason - but stayed behind to work. Fortunately for those of them in the Rawalpindi branch, business is brisk and many were out seeing customers on Monday.

A suicide bomber detonated himself just outside their building, killing 36 people, injuring dozens more and destroying much of Qaulitron's office. Several company cars and motorcycles were destroyed and several machines that were in the office for repairs were crushed.

No-one on the company's staff was injured. Lucky.

I can't believe I wrote that. LUCKY??


For years the guys have been asking me to come to Pakistan to give them direct training and to visit customers and I (and my various bosses) have been extremely hesitant - to the point of outright refusal.

"It's safe where we are, no bombs there..." they were always saying. Until lately.

E@L nods, "Yeah, right."


This increasing destability in Pakistan is making it damned hard to do business there.


Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Evening of All Hallow's Day

Halloween was spent at a faculty dinner at L'Opera the Italian place on Soi 39. The faculty were French Canadian. Our staff, Thai.

Sigh, yet again at a dinner where I was the only native English speaker. Twiddle thumbs for 4 hours (six course at a leaisurely pace), enjoy the Penfolds Bin 389, check email...


And finally get to head down for at most 1 last Halloween hour at Angelwitch, the emo-goth bar in Nana Plaza. No photos. Velvet-soft, velvet-dark skin everywhere. Sigh. Rock music.

Neither as good nor as bad as expected.

'Nuff said.


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