Thursday, July 31, 2003

DVD Recaplet

A few random thoughts about a few upcoming DVD releases now available for pre-ordering at Amazon.com

Matrix Reloaded
I actually missed the first 10 minutes of this movie the day that I bought tickets to see it at my local cinema. Somehow I didn’t realize that my watch was running 10 minutes late and knew about it when I went in to find the movie had already started. Of course by that time, I couldn’t find my favorite seat and had to settle with another. As a whole the movie was a disappointment compared to the first one but then again I didn’t get to see the whole movie. I might consider revising my views once I get to see the film on DVD.

Star Trek V: Final Frontier
Universally panned as the worst ST feature film, this is the only ST feature that I have never seen in my life. As a card-carrying Trekkie, I’ve made it my quest to watch it someday and it seems that I would finally get my wish. I actually like the 2-disk Special Editions that they have been putting out for these classic ST movies so getting this next one is actually a non-brainer regardless of the reputation this film has.

Tick: The Entire Series
I didn’t get to watch this show while I was in the States and wasn’t even aware that they had cancelled it. I only manage to catch a few episodes when they had it on one of our local TV stations but didn’t really follow the series due to the ungodly hour it was on. What little I did get to see, I totally liked. No one had to twist my arm to want to add this DVD set to my collection.

Dawson’s Creek: Series Finale
Definitely a hot item to get for this year! After reading the recaps and forum responses on TWOP about this 2 part finale, I knew I had to have it. To sweeten the deal, it seems that this release will actually have the extended cut of the finale with scenes that were never shown during the original broadcast. Not that I needed any more excuse to get it other than to watch Joshua Jackson in action.

Smallville: The Complete First Season
I’m actually a big fan of this series and have been watching it week after week on TV3. I’ve only missed a few episodes from the first season but that’s enough reason for me to get the complete set. Of course, trying to spot HoYaY moments between Clark and Lex would be an added bonus now that I have full control of the remote.

The Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers (Platinum Series Extended Edition)
I initially bought the first installment of TLOR Extended Edition because I wanted to see the extra scenes integrated into the movie. With the seamless integration of the extra scenes and magnificent hours of extras, I immediately knew that I wouldn’t want anything else than extended edition DVDs for the rest of the trilogy. I have to say that this release format is the best value for money that you can get in the DVD market today.

The Adventures of Indiana Jones Box Set
One of the most requested DVDs among fans, the Indiana Jones movies have been a long time in coming. I can’t really imagine why George Lucas is so reluctant to move to DVDs. Technically, DVDs would be superior to the VHS and Laserdisc releases that we had before and yet fans of his movies had to wait for ages for his movies on DVD. I don’t really know if the Indy set will be release on individual disks but I’m actually looking forward to the extras on this box set that I don’t mind getting it.

Will & Grace - Season One
One thing I like about buying DVDs is that I could get box sets of series that would never see the light of day on local TV. If it were not for Amazon.com, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy both versions (UK and US) of “Queer as Folk”. Of course there is the possibility that customs would confiscate my copies as they come in from the States but I’m lucky that I only had that happen once to me. I really hope that my copy of “Will & Grace” will come in safely as I’ve heard a lot about it and am really looking forward to see what the fuss is all about.

I won’t promise anything but I may review these DVDs for my online diary entries when I get them. Until then, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for their safe arrival.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

The Silent Objector

I’ve never considered myself as an activist whether it is for social, political or any other causes. I’m too entrenched in my “live and let live” attitude towards issues that surround our fair country today. Activism, by my limited definition, is more the agenda of the upper middle class groups in our society who may have the opportuinity to devote their resources to the pursuit of their passions. It is actually hard for me to be passionate about issues that do not directly impact me when it is hard enough to try to go on with day to day activities. Some may consider me apathetic as a result of my views but I just don’t see myself having the luxury to devote time and resources to change the world one person at a time.

Recent reports in the print and electronic media on gays in Malaysia have given me pause to reconsider my views on social activism. The unbalanced reporting has given cause for many to feel that we have been unfairly singled out and condemned in the broadest terms without proper representations of our views. Some of the mailing lists that I am a member of have been buzzing for weeks about putting our views out to the public to counter these one-sided depictions of the Malaysian GLBT community. Some, more than others, actually have action plans set up to let our voices heard in a public forum which while should be commendable would need the support of those, like me, who would rather be out of the spotlight and run into the deep recesses of our closets.

I believe that with this particular issue, fear of being outed in public plays a major role in my reluctance to throw my support behind their plans. I’ve often told myself that the only way I would be comfortable to come out of the closet is only when I can find the support network that I would need to help deal with the repercussion of my choice. Since that support network is non-existent for me to fall back to, I have to be content in staying in the darkness. Being the only choice that I have at the moment, it wouldn’t really make sense for me to “rock the boat” and risk the exposure of attention. And yet, I feel that I would be perpetuating the lies that I’ve been telling myself by not voicing out publicly my concerns about the unfair depiction of gays in Malaysia.

As a society, Malaysians are open and tolerant of new ideas as long as they do not run counter to religion and deep-seated core values. Since many see homosexuals as the antithesis of those values, the GLBT community here may never be accepted as anything more than a deviant aberration of nature. To get up in arms and call for recognition would be tantamount to walking around with a neon sign on our heads for all to see when all this time we have been trying so hard to hide who we are. So is it really necessary? I have to acknowledge that in an ideal world recognition and representation is very necessary but unfortunately we are not living in that ideal situation. The way I see it, I would be willing to lend my voice to the cause but would never be able to contribute anything more of substance.

Are we actually ready to have our own “Stonewall” in Malaysia? I have to truthfully say that I am not ready to answer that call.

Monday, July 28, 2003

Weekend With The Parental Units

As far as weekends goes, last weekend was a slow one. Spent most of it at my parent’s house since I had to cancel on them last weekend. I did take my parents out for lunch on Sunday in part because I also wanted to look at some furniture concepts for my new apartment. Of course I got an earful of advice from both of them about the apartment. While both of them were supportive of my decision to get an apartment, they are still asking if I intend to live alone for long. In a roundabout way, they are in fact trying to find out if I had found anyone that I’m thinking of bringing home to meet the parents! Same old story.

One thing I noticed when I was at my parents’ house was the number of Korean serial VCD sets they had at home. It seems that my mum has been following more than a few serials lately and has been collecting them like I collect comics. Personally I don’t really get the recent obsession of Malaysians with Korean dramas. I guess that the stories are quite good for what little I’ve seen and the actors are quite pleasing to the eyes if that sort of thing is what you’re into but I can never follow the sappy melodrama episode after episode. Maybe I’m too entrenched in American TV culture that I have little patience for Korean, Japanese or Chinese serials.

I guess others are thinking the same things when they are trying to figure out my obsession with Star Trek, reality shows and WB teen-dramas!

Friday, July 25, 2003

Friday Five

Decided to post today's entry earlier than usual since I may not have enough time to do it after work today. I'm planning to spend the weekend at my Mum's house so I'll be leaving right after work. Anyway .... the following is this week's Friday Five.

1. If your life were a movie, what would the title be?
Heh... tough one. I guess it could be "Dinner, Party of One" in reference to the fact that I always seem to eat alone and always trying to find the one to have meals with.

2. What songs would be on the soundtrack?
I would say something like the soundtrack from "Sleepless in Seattle" with wacky love songs. Definitely it needs at least one torch song ... maybe one from Ella Fitzgerald or Judy Garland. Or the soundtrack could be selected entirely from British boy-bands :)

3. Would it be a live-action film or animated? Why?
Definitely live-action. My life is embarrassing enough without having cutesy animals playing the characters.

4. Casting: who would play you, members of your family, friends, etc?
In a perfect world, I like the thought of Richard Ruccolo playing. Mom and Dad ... most probably be the parents from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding". For the part of the unattainable guy that the main character is lusting after ... maybe someone like Dean Cain? Of course, my life story must have a fag hag that I never had in real life ... someone stunning like Julia Roberts?

5. Describe the movie preview/trailer.
Light drama-comedy film that revolves around the search for true love. The problem is the main character is gay but not ready to come out of the closet yet. To make things worse, the main character always seem to fall for straight guys that he thinks that he would never find the one. With his parents pressuring him to get married, our main character decides to get his favorite fag hag to pretend to want to marry him to get the pressure off. The deception goes smoothly until an attractive stranger comes into their lives. Both characters are attracted to this newcomer and wacky situations ensues as both try to get in bed with him. With the newcomer seem to be responding to both people, who will be the lucky one to get the prize?

It sounds like an episode from "Will and Grace" doesn't it?

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Deconstructing Writer's Block

I’m trying hard to think about what I am to write about tonight but all that I came up with is a blank page. So instead of consciously thinking of a particular subject for tonight’s online diary, I guess that I just write about this writer’s block that I’m currently experiencing. At least it would be better than just a random collection of words.

Why do people draw a blank when they don’t have anything to write about? Is it because their life is dull and uninteresting that they do not have any experiences to draw from? If that is so, is it only those who have led remarkable lives who would make good writers? I don’t really know that many writers so I don’t really have much to compare with. I realize that I am actually less well read than I would like to think of myself. However, I think it would be logical to assume that not all writers live exciting and thrilling lives. There would sure be some great writers who actually live a quite unassuming life and yet managed to produce great works. With that assumption, where do their stories come from?

Maybe it comes from their imaginations. That place where they go to escape the dreary daily routine that had become mind numbing. But then how long with one’s imagination lasts when it is slowly chipped away by the monotony of life? Is imagination like a bottomless pool that ripples outward every time a pebble of idea falls into it? Or is it more like a limited oil reservoir that becomes worthless when it is all tapped out? I like to think of it as being an unending pool that occasionally will become still when no winds blows across the surface. It is calm but yet still holds a promise of waves and ripples when the right moment comes. Waves and ripples that would resolve into sparkling wit and brilliant insights.

There are no winds blowing tonight. This pool is calm for now.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Totally Nothing Happened Today

Today was one of those days where nothing even remotely interesting happened. I’ve been attending process orientation training for the past 2 days that would have been more interesting if the presenter didn’t have a voice that would even put dead people asleep. Of course in better days, this training would have been conducted in Singapore instead of being done through a phone conference. At least then, I could get some sight-seeing time in between trainings. I kinda missed those good old days. Anyway … today was actually a welcomed respite since it seems that I have a packed day tomorrow. Somehow I managed to schedule myself to 3 different meetings back to back. I should take more care before I accept meeting appointments in the future!

In between the training breaks I managed to logon to the TWOP Dawson’s Creek forum and noticed that they have posted news about the upcoming series finale DVD. It seems that it would be available sometime later this year and would also have some of the scenes that were cut out before included. This is actually good news since I am really looking forward for that release. I was afraid that I had to wait until they release the final season set on DVD before I could see it. Hopefully I would be able to fit it into my budget for DVDs this year which will be hard since there are a lot of new DVDs that I’ve already preordered. I guess that something has to go but which will it be?

I’ve also finally figured out how to reduce the font size on my blogspot website. Hehh … that took awhile but it was worth the effort. My blogspot site looks better with blog entries in smaller fonts. I think that I’ll keep it as it is for awhile before I think about changing it again.

Irresponsible Reporting

Tuesday, July 22, 2003
It seems that the laugh fest never ends.

I managed to catch the segment highlighting STD among gays that was shown during the main news bulletin on TV3 today. At first I noticed how clinical they made it out in the beginning. The funny thing was they were referring to the STD cases as though they are an exclusive gay phenomenon. It quickly became laughable when the report began to link it to the prevalence of gays in the community as if straight people never get syphilis or VD or HIV. If what they say is true that 10% of all societies are practicing homosexuals, who would then have a bigger percentage in the numbers that they bandied about when referring to STDs. Gay people don’t get STDs just by being gay. Stupid gay people who don’t practice safe sex get STDs and they are as likely as stupid straight people to get it. To infer that gay people are more prone to get STDs due to their promiscuous lifestyle is just generalization and irresponsible reporting to say the least.

What was even more hilarious was that they even said that the first AIDS patient in Malaysia was a homosexual person. What about the rest? I can truthfully say that the majority of confirmed AIDS and HIV positive patients in Malaysia are intravenous drug users and exclusively heterosexual people who did not practice safe sex. This is evident from the statistics gathered by the Ministry of Health and yet the report suggests that gays are the root of the AIDS problem in Malaysia! As I have voiced out in my previous entry, it seems that gays are the new “scapegoat” of the month. A new group to be picked on while the interest is still there to divert attention from more pressing issues.

Once done with the clinical aspects of STDs among gays, the new segment continued with so called expert opinion on how to avoid turning into a homosexual. I just had to laugh out loud at the ridiculous notion that one could stay true on the path of straighthood by concentrating on their studies and work. Kinda of reminded me of that movie “Jeffrey” where the main character tried to avoid having sex but concentrating on his work but we know how that ended up. It was hard trying to stomach the malarkey that they were spewing out on TV while I was trying to push down the bile that was rising up my throat.

I guess I should be thankful that they didn’t trot out some religious figure to serve up a dish of cold hard guilt or I would have surely lost my dinner right there and then. I guess that to some the idea of “live and let live” doesn’t mean a thing.

Monday, July 21, 2003

On The Subject of Effeminate Males

I had planned to watch “Paloh” over the weekend since I’ve heard a lot about this local film production through the local media and word of mouth. Unfortunately, when I woke up last Saturday I found myself in a fair amount of pain in my left ankle. It felt like I had sprained it but I could not remember how I would have done so. I had to wear an ankle brace for the whole weekend and until today I don’t really know how I would have sprained my ankle. I’ve never had this experience before so it is kind of unnerving. Anyway … the pain subsided by Monday and I was able to go to work ok. Still, I have some questions on how I could have sprained my ankle and not remember about it.

Another unsettling thing happened over the weekend. There have been more than a few reports in the printed media on the issue of effeminate males in our local universities. More than a few misguided individuals have suggested that there is a need for them to “butch” themselves up for the good of the country. Some have also suggested that the prevalence of effeminate males in universities will lead to an explosion of gay culture and the destruction of the institution of marriage no less. In their opinion, these groups will influence others who enter those universities to be like them though peer pressure and in the long term will contribute to the current moral decline in the country.

For starters, I find everything that have been written about this as pure bigoted bulls*it. It is easier to put a target on a group of people like the “fairies” in the local community than it is to solve other more important problems. As for effeminate men leading an explosion of gay culture in Malaysia, I think that they are a few years bit too late. For what I can personally attest to, not all effeminate males are gay and the opposite also holds true. I would imagine that if only the effeminate males are gays, I would surely have a big problem since I’m not attracted to them in the slightest bit. To be honest, drag queens actually scare the heck out of me.

As for these groups exerting peer pressure to other to become more like them, I find the idea ridiculous especially based on my own experiences when I was in secondary school and after that college. For one, they usually travel in highly exclusive cliques that hardly ever let anyone in unless they are similarly inclined. They don’t go around campus trying to covert anyone into their cause as suggested by these biased articles. If there is a higher visibility of this group of people in the local universities it must be because there are more of them coming out in the open. If so, one must wonder what happened to the so-called “butch” students after secondary school. Or is it just because the effeminate groups are now more visible with their successes that some people feel threatened by them.

Whatever the reason for the recent spotlight on effeminate males in the news lately, I still believe that it is just pure sensational reporting and a scapegoat hunt to deflect the people from other more pressing issue. I’m sure that this may escalate for awhile until people start losing interest and it becomes part of yesterday’s news. I just hope that until that happens, cooler heads will prevail.

Friday, July 18, 2003

Friday Five

It has been a pretty hectic week at work. My boss just assigned me to a new project that would entail some traveling sometime in September. I still have to get more information about this project but the prospect of being able to finally get to travel on company expense is really something to look forward to. Of course it is only to Penang and Singapore but still it means that I could make some extra cash on my travel allowances. The last time that I traveled on company business, I managed to make close to $3K which was quite a substantial sum. I don’t really hope to make that much the next time around since it would only be a local travel allowance but any little bit helps.

Anyway … I found this on Jase’s website and thought that it is interesting. At least it saves me the effort of having to think of something insightful to put into my Friday entries. The following is my answers to this week’s Friday Five:

1. When was the last time you cheated?
Truthfully I don’t remember when the last time I cheated on something. I guess that I could say that I cheated at my last income tax return form by under reporting my income and over deducting some expenses. I don’t know if you would consider it more as lying than cheating.

2. When was the last time you stole?
This one is easier. The last time I stole anything of any consequence was when I was 10 years old. I had stolen some money out of my mother’s purse to buy something that I can’t remember. My mother caught me on it, dragged me to the kitchen and put a meat cleaver on my arm while threatening to chop my hands of for stealing (it’s a Malaysian thing … don’t ask)! That really put the fear of God in me and I’m proud to say that I never stole anything after that. The thought of stealing something just gives me some really wiggy flashbacks.

3. When was the last time you lied?
I would say that this would be last weekend when I was hanging out with S at his place. I was giving him some bulls*it lie about the type of girl that I would like to be with while all the while it was him I was thinking of. It’s just came out like second nature and I felt really rotten about not being able to tell the truth of how I feel about him every time we meet.

4. When was the last time you broke or vandalized another's property?
I might have purposely broken some of my sister’s toys as a kid but I have to say that I have never consciously vandalized any one’s property to my recollection. If I did break anything, it would have been accidental instead of intentional. I actually despise people who intentionally vandalize public property.

5. When was the last time you hurt a loved one?
I think I would have to say just now before I sat down to type out this entry. I just called my Mum to tell her that I would not be going back to her place this weekend. I could tell from her voice that she was a bit disappointed as she must have been looking forward to see me this week. I’m feeling more than a little guilty while I’m writing this. I better make it up to her next weekend when I see her.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

My Relationship With Tabacco

I have a sinking sensation that they stopped making my brand of cigarettes lately. I had the most difficult time of trying to get a pack these past few days. Every shop that I went seems to stop carrying it which is a bit strange since it is one of the more popular brands. I guess that this is one will be one more reason for me to finally stop smoking.

I started smoking at the age of 10 years old. At the time I would steal the occasional cigarette from my father’s stash and smoke somewhere far away from the house. My father would never notice that this because he kept a lot of cigarettes in the house. Other than the occasional puff, I didn’t really get into the habit until years later in secondary school. At the age of 15, I started to buy my own cigarettes out of my lunch money. Of course, going to a school that was an hour away from my house gave me a lot of opportunities to light up without anyone in my family knowing about it. Thanks to my reputation of being a straight-lace student and being the “dependable one”, I managed to fool quite a few people about my smoking habit. No one who knew me back then would ever thought that behind the nice boy fa├žade, I was fast becoming a nicotine freak.

Things didn’t change once I got accepted into boarding school. I could always find ways to beat school rules to sneak the occasional fag. Of course, I seldom risk smoking on school grounds unlike some of my peers so I avoided the possibility of being caught red handed in school. At the time, I would only smoke when we were allowed to leave school grounds on our weekend outing. Even then, it would be at truly out of the way places that I was pretty sure that none of the students or faculty went to. There were some close calls that happened in the two years I was there but basically almost nobody knew that I smoked during my time there. Most of my mates were very quite shocked to see me smoking during the final exams week when everyone else was also doing the same thing.

Once I left school and started working at my first part-time job, I decided to tell my family about my smoking habit. My father was of course a bit disappointed with me but he didn’t really say much since he had set the earlier example himself. My mum, however, absolutely went through the roof when I told her. She even brought back pictures of lunch cancer victims she got from the hospital she worked to scare me into quitting. After awhile she gradually accepted the fact that I smoked and that it would be my own decision to decide to quit. She still occasionally throws dirty looks at me when she sees me light up though.

Looking back, I actually regretted taking up the habit so young. It is hard for me to quit smoking now. I don’t really know if I’m becoming addicted to nicotine or just the habit of lighting up a fag. I’ve tried to quit twice before but it never took. The last time I tried, it lasted for about 3 months and during that time I gained over 20 kilos in weight. I kept getting cravings the whole time I was trying not to smoke. I became really depressed at that time and decided that it was not worth it. It took me close to 7 years to lose all that weight!

I am now faced with the possibility of having to go through that experience all over again soon if they stop selling my cigarette brand. Hopefully I would be able to learn from my past mistakes and finally be successful in kicking the habit.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Officially A Housebuyer

The final set of bank documents were delivered to me yesterday and I am officially a homeowner today.

Owning my own home was something that I had been thinking of for quite some time and it was not until I turned 30 that I really did anything about it. I guess the thought of not being able to get a home loan for the maximum amount of years was one of the reasons why I decided to buy a house this year. Most of my friends also encouraged to do so as it seems that the property market is currently experiencing a slump and some pretty good deals are out there. So after thinking long and hard about it, I decided to bite the bullet and start the journey of home buying.

The first thing that I had to think about is what kind of residence that I would like to procure. Initially I was looking for a double-storey link house since I’ve been living in one apartment after another for the past 12 years. I was actually sick of apartment living and yearn to have a yard to call my own. Of course, once I started looking at the prices of link houses, that quickly had to change. The houses that I looked at were either too expensive for me or too far from where I worked. I must have looked at least at 15 different places before I decided to revise my choice to buying an apartment. I’ve always been a finicky buyer.

Buying apartments in KL is actually easier than getting a house. I guess that this is unavoidable since there are more people coming into KL and land space is becoming more expensive. I just hope that we don’t become like Singapore or Hong Kong someday where apartments are cramped and expensive. For the time being, apartment buyers in KLM need only to look at their budget and match it to the offerings out there. For most, to find a good financial fit wouldn’t be too difficult as there is a broad range of apartment choices that cater for most of the income groups. After looking at least at 8 more apartment sites, I decided to take a service condominium in Sunway.

Frankly speaking, I don’t really know the difference between a service and non-service condominium. From the brochures it seems that the facilities are the same as any normal condominium complexes that I’ve seen. Anyway … the price was right and the location was hard to resist being so close to other more developed facilities. I’m thinking that even if I decide not to live there, this was a piece of property that would appreciate in value quite fast once completed. Once that was decided the process of the sales and purchase agreements, EPF withdrawal for down payment, lawyers and applying of bank loan was relatively painless. Although it took some time between each process, I was actually surprised at how smooth the process went all the way to the final documents that I got yesterday.

Now I just have to wait for my apartment to be completed by Aug 2006.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

What Would You Do With A Million Dollars?

What would you do if you were given one million dollars?

I guess that after I use that money to repay all my debts and setup a nice little nest egg for retirement, I would use it to go on a travel around the world. Not just to the major tourist destinations but to at least one country in all the major landmass on Earth. I’ve always dreamt of doing this. As a child, Geography was my favorite subject in school because I got to learn about all that faraway places. I used to be able to name all the capitals cities of all countries on the map at one time. I remember having a map of the world on my bedroom wall with little post-it notes stuck on them with details of what I wanted to do if I ever went there. I loved that map a lot and was devastated when I lost it the last time we moved house.

I dream of standing in the rolling green of Ireland on a bright windy day. I would like to go hiking on a trail that leads up to the ruins of an ancient Aztec temple in Mexico. I would like to walk the length of the Great Wall of China and see the Victoria Falls in Africa. Watch the ancient turtles on Galapagos Island and ride the horses in the Pampas of Argentina. Experience the excitement of Halloween in Louisiana and the tranquility of a traditional tea ceremony in Japan. Taste exotic food in India and learn how to cook authentic French cuisine. Walk into the Coliseum in Rome and go to a all-day rave in Ibiza. These are just among the things that I would do if I ever get the chance to go there.

As I grew older, I never lost that sense of wanderlust. I guess that it is partly because I’ve never been comfortable being in one place for extended periods of time. Maybe it is also because I have a feeling that there is something wonderful for me to discover just beyond the end of the street that I live in. To date, I’ve only traveled to most of the states in Malaysia, Hong Kong on business and the US for my studies. It maybe quite a lot of traveling done if compared to someone who has never traveled before but for me it just whets my appetite for more. Nevertheless, the chances of me getting a million dollars are about as good as hell freezing over so all this may just be a pipe dream. Regardless, I still hold on the hope that I may well be able to travel the globe one day. I may never be able to do it but at least I dare to dream it.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Say No To Spam !

I had a really interesting request from a user this morning. It seems that his email account has been flooded with spam about penis enlargement pill ads and he wanted to know how to block them. After showing him how to block spam from coming into his email account, he thanked me profusely and told me that it was embarrassing for him to get these types of email in the office. He then proceeded to tell me, right to my face, that he definitely did not need any penis enlargement pills and winked at me. Needless to say, I was absolutely floored by that extra tidbit. Was this a pickup line? I wouldn’t even know one unless it came dressed in a pink tutu with flying elephants circling around it. I wasn’t even sure whether I should feel flattered or scared at the insinuation. I actually turned my head around to see if he was talking to someone else but it turns out that I was the only one there. Blushing to the tips of my ears, I quickly beat feet out of there before I embarrass myself more.

The point to this anecdote is that spam is so prevalent today that there is no escaping them. On a normal day, I get at least 60 emails in my home email account and out of that 90% are useless spam. The types of spam range from email from people in Africa who wants to give you money to cheap herbal Viagra and sexual performance drugs to free porn. The worse of the lot has to be spam for incest sites that really use very graphic language to describe sexual acts between family members. I find even the thought of it disgusting and I can’t image anyone who would find any of this stuff interesting. The subject of incest sex really wigs me out in so many levels that I really think that anyone who is into this subject really need to seek professional help. It’s right up there with people who are into kiddie porn and scat/golden showers in terms of things that turn me off.

No matter what I do, spam still comes into my home inbox everyday. Good thing that I have a spam blocker in my office email system so I get to be spam free there. It is up to the point that I’m considering of terminating my current home email account and applying for a new one. The downside to this is that I wouldn’t have my current email address anymore and have to tell all my friends about the change. I guess that I could invest in one of those home anti-spam software that I see advertised in Yahoo but I still need to do some research on them before I decide which software would be the best for me. Until then, I just need to continue to delete useless junk from my inbox the old fashion way.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Horrible Photo and Misc DVDs

I went to pickup the photos that I took yesterday for the new staff badges after work today. Frankly speaking, I was actually dreading it the whole day. I despise taking photographs because I never like how I look in them. They say that the camera adds ten pounds to your face. In my case, they always seem to add twenty instead. I hate taking photos of myself so much that I developed a habit of ducking out of the way every time someone walks into a room with a camera. Of course, there are some occasions that I can’t escape the evil eye of the camera lens no matter how hard I try. Getting photos made out for official purposes is one of them. I hate seeing how bad I’m aging through the years. I used to have a single chin when I was younger. Heck … my Adam’s apple was visible before but now you’ll be hard pressed to find it in this photo. I have to admit, looking at this photo doesn’t help me with my self-esteem issues. But at least it is better than the last ones I took. I totally looked like Shrek in that one.

Work is moving along in a steady pace. I get to dabble more into computer security that I did before so that is interesting. I’m thinking of even asking my boss if I can try that full time instead of what I’ve been doing for the past 7 years. Regardless, I still get to find time to browse the Net at the office. The one site that I go to most often is Amazon.com. I practically check them out everyday for updates of future DVD releases. Anyway … it seems that my CC will really get a workout come September. A lot of DVD box sets that I look forward to seem to be scheduled to be released by that month. One thing good about Amazon is that if you put in a pre order for these future releases, you get at least a 25% discount of the retail price. That discount actually offsets my shipping cost so I actually get the DVDs cheaper than if I were to get them in a local store. With DVD box sets, this savings are even more and plus they are really hard to get locally. Of course if you can get them at all … I don’t think that I would be able to get “Will and Grace” or “Queer as Folk” box sets locally.

One of the most anticipated sets will also be available during that same time period. A lot of people have been patiently been waiting for the “Indiana Jones” movies to go on DVD. In fact I read some where that it is the 2nd most requested movies for DVD after the original Star Wars trilogy. Well … it seems that all the fans prayers has been answered and then some. Instead of releasing Indy on individual DVDs, all the Indiana Jones movies will be packaged and sold as a 4-DVD collector’s set sometime later this year. I think that the price is quite reasonable for such an esteemed and anticipated collection. Of course this means I just need to save up a little more to add it into my collection.

Of course, there will also be the “Battlestar Galactica” and "Smallville" sets that will be released in later of this year. That would surely put a dent in my finances this year. Too bad I can get a tax deduction for them.

CD Review: "What My Heart Wants To Say" by Gareth Gates

Man ... I had the most difficult time getting online with my ISP tonight. Anyway ... the following was suppose to be Monday's entry.

Monday, Jul 07, 2003
I’ve missed one entry to my online-diary last Friday.

Came back from work and decided to take a short nap before supper like I usually do. It turned out, last Friday, I dozed off longer that I wanted and when I did wake up, “Charmed” was already on TV. Like any good gay boy, I had to choose the power of three over my daily web entry. By the time I was done watching TV, midnight had rolled along and I’ve missed my deadline. I’ve got to be more disciplined about my entries next time.

Last weekend, I went down to the local music store and bought the soundtrack of “Ada Apa Dengan Cinta” like I planned and also a copy of Gareth Gates CD “What My Heart Wants To Say”. Gareth’s music video for his 2nd single “Anyone of Us (Stupid Mistake)” has been getting some airtime on the local TV and it was on one such occasion that I happened to catch that song. For the moment I heard the song, I was instantly smitten with it. It had a certain catchiness that stuck to my mind long after I heard it. It didn’t hurt that Gareth is also a total cutie in the looks department. He reminds me of a younger Scott Neal who is one of my favorite Brit TV actors.

From the soulful rendition of “Unchained Melody”, Gareth Gates proves that this young man has talent to spare. Discovered in the Brit “Pop Idols” TV series, this young lad went all the way to the finals only to be defeated by Will Young in a hotly contested match up. Gareth’s “What My Heart Wants To Say” CD has a range of fast to slow tempo songs. I have to say that Gareth excels in his mid tempo ballads like the title track, “Too Serious, Too Soon” and “With You All The Time” where he lets his velvety smooth voice stretch out and touch the listener. My favorite song from the CD has to be “Anyone of Us (Stupid Mistake)”. It hooks the listener in with a very catchy tune that really stays with you especially the chorus. Some songs were written by the same team that wrote songs for the last Westlife album so there is a definite boyband vibe to the CD. Since I’m already a fan of boybands, this didn’t really bothered my at all. Overall, this CD was a good buy and a very enjoyable listen.

Speaking of enjoyable things, I came across the most delicious bit of gossip while trawling about in the TWOP Dawson’s Creek forum. It seems that two of the main actors were reported as not being entirely straight. The consensus seems to be that they might even be bi if not totally gay. Of course all these gossips have to be taken with a big grain of salt but I couldn’t help myself when I read about it. The thought of the 2 of them going for some hot MM action just gives me the vapors (hehee). I have to be truthful that I am more than a little smitten JJ’s roguish charms.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Bean Counters

My boss can be a royal idiot sometimes. He tends to jump into things head first disregarding the advice of those under his supervision. Sometimes it just takes all the patience that I can muster to not inflict bodily harm to him when he pulls a stunt like that. It is very difficult for us to support him if he goes half-cocked without really seeing the big picture that we are trying to tell him. I would think that after 20 years of experience, he would at least know better before making a complete fool of himself and his direct report staff. Today’s staff meeting was one of many examples of the extent of his stellar idiocy. Most of the staff in that meeting was struck dumb at what we were hearing coming out of his mouth. I don’t know of anyone who can give out so many conflicting priorities in the same sentence. Frankly speaking, he does not inspire our confidence in his guidance of the way the department is being run.

At the moment, there are a lot of things that will see change in the near future. With the recent outsourcing, we have been requested to change the way we do business and our relationships with our ex-peers. In the meeting today, I quickly realized that one of my fears about the company has been true. I have joined a company of bean counters!!! Not only do they expect their staff to charge for every service rendered to our customers but we are also expected to report them back to the HQ in a series of daily meetings. The way I see it, half of my workday will be dedicated to getting all the charge reports together for a lunch time meeting. That would only leave me with half a day to work on any service request that come my way. If that is how things are done, I’m sure that we will be getting a lot of irate calls from our customers.

Sometimes I think that I’m living in a Dilbert cartoon. I’m just waiting if a “Wally” type turns up in the next employee change to complete the collection.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Outsourcing Orentation

I spent the whole morning today attending a new employee orientation briefing at my new company HQ. After the customary meet and greet with the new management team, we were given a tour of the site. I must say that I was impressed initially by the scope of their operations. It was definitely larger and far reaching that the one that I used to have in the old company. I have yet to figure out where I will fit in such a large operation. This was one of my earlier fears about the whole thing. I’ve been working all this time to position myself to be able to move up the ranks of my previous organization but now those plans need to be redesigned depending on how many more layers of management I have to go through. I hope I have an answer to that soon.

After the operations tour, we were showed all the other department offices and I have to say that I am a bit disappointed by what I saw. I would think that after seeing such an ultra-modern operations center, their offices would at least be a bit better than what I actually saw. They had people bunched together in small cubicles that could really do well to learn the principles of proper house keeping. I would imagine that most of the cubicles clearly never seen any sort of natural light since they were so clustered together. I think that even Dilbert will balk at the office arrangement! Good think that I don’t have to move into this office or I’m sure I would have a claustrophobic attack daily. At least for the time being, I get to keep my airy and well lit cubicle in my old office area.

I still have questions after today as to where I fit in and how best I can plan to move up the ranks. It may take me a while to adjust to this new working arrangement but hopefully that adjustment will not be too painful. Until the greater picture is revealed, I just have to go on with business as is and continue to take small steps. It could well be that it’s the journey that counts rather than the destination.