Friday, 30 May 2008

Doctor Who and the Infinite Library.

(Those who don't follow Doctor Who can just skip this post, thanks.)

Woohoo! I am totally stoked about tomorrow's episode of Doctor Who, mostly because it features an infinite library! Shades of Borges anyone?

While I'm on that note, I think Donna Noble is excellent as a companion. Who would've thought? I found her absolutely annoying in that one Christmas Special, and before the current season started, would have preferred Kylie Minogue staying on as companion. Alas! It was not to be.

I don't have any opinions about Martha Jones because after Rose left, I was left very upset and decided to boycott the show...only for The Master (played by that cool bloke from Life on Mars!!!) to return in that season's finalé! So yes, I regret that now.


I just hope the Doctor's daughter returns in style.

(If I was bothered to update my twitter account, I would probably type in: "is humming the original synthesized Doctor Who theme.")

Haruki Murakami Interview in the Mainichi Daily.

It used to be that Haruki Murakami was very shy with the press, especially the Japanese press. But in recent years that shyness must have cast off a little. It looks like he's in the news every other month now.

While I won't be surprised if he gave a comprehensive interview to a foreign newspaper (it's outside the shores of Japan where he's celebrated as a literary sensation, while he's seen as more of a hack within), it does surprise me that Murakami would give such a long and interesting review to a Japanese paper–the interview spans 5 webpages over 5 days. (Personally I've been hopping with glee with all this Murakami news pouring in!)

I guess times must have changed?

There's a lot of new and interesting nuggets spilled by Murakami in the interview, which discusses his work translating English classics into Japanese, his next novel(an epic worthy of The Wind-up Bird Chronicle!), how English literature and translating English literature influences his writing, and his writing process.

It's a great read, especially if you're a big Murakami fan like me.

Here are the links:
  1. Haruki Murakami opens up about translating America's literary giants
  2. Murakami says American contemporary classics 'really significant' for his writing
  3. Murakami's next epic poised to become his biggest ever
  4. 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' helped inspire Murakami to write for his daily bread
  5. Murakami aims to find harmonious balance between globalism and regionalism

Monday, 19 May 2008

Gift of Rain Reviewed by Complete Review.

Finally! Link.

Sponsored Link:
Get Tan Twan Eng's Gift of Rain from!

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

I Voted For Swifty. (A Chicken Rice Mystery Post)

Fellow blogger and pal, Swifty, has had his short film, Chicken Rice Mystery, become one of the finalists in the BMW Shorties 2008 competition.

I've seen it and I think it's an enjoyable watch. Combining elements of noir and several bits of comedy, which to me is very reminiscent of Chow Sing Chi's work in the Nineties, Chicken Rice Mystery is about a boy whose mother used to make really good chicken rice, a dish that everyone in the family remembers with great fondness.

But ever since he was born, his mother stopped cooking it and now his father has grown to miss that particular chicken rice. But then there's that issue of his mother not really being able to cook very well... So how is it that his mother was able to cook this magnificent dish that everyone seems to praise?

He then takes it upon himself to solve the mystery of why his mother doesn't make her particular brand of chicken rice anymore.

The movie is only about ten minutes long but totally worth loading the BMW Shorties website to watch, even if the site is full of crappy Flash. (Ad agencies! There's something awesome called AJAX and CSS! It's totally better than flash! Look into it, you fools!)

There's also a cameo by Suanie who the other blogs seem to make a big brouhaha about. I don't read Suanie's blog so I don't really know her or even care. But you might!

Don't forget to vote for the movie when you've watched it! There's still one day left!

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

KLAB Haul.

Before I get my new hard drive though let me show off my haul from the KLAB.
  1. 10x10 : 100 Minutes to Change the World - The Winning Plays of the Kakiscript Playwriting Competition (free, but had to fill in survey form and give up my private and personal details)
  2. Colonel Sun by Robert Markham (a pseudonym of Kingsley Amis; free, but obtained via Bookcrossing so will have to pass it on when I'm done reading)
  3. Cerpen-cerpen Terkemuka Akutagawa (free, but obtained via Bookcrossing so will have to pass it on when I'm done reading, but at least I can say I read Akutagawa in the original Malay)
  4. Vox by Nicholson Baker (free, but obtained via Bookcrossing so will have to pass it on when I'm done reading)
  5. Ask the Dust by John Fante (free, but obtained via Bookcrossing so will have to pass it on when I'm done reading
  6. Bruce Chatwin by Nicholas Shakespeare (free, no strings attached)
  7. The Malay Peoples of Malaysia and Their Languages by Asmah Haji Omar (free, no strings attached)
  8. Generation (hardcover and autographed by two of the writers) by Amir Muhammad, Kam Raslan and Sheryll Stothard (free, no strings attached)
  9. Work In Progress, a chapbook by Patricia Low (RM5)
  10. Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet (RM5)
  11. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (RM5)
  12. Mencari Jalan Pulang by Kassim Ahmad (RM35)
  13. Keganasan, Penipuan dan Internet by Isham Rais (RM25)
So all in all RM75 for thirteen books. Not bad, considering most of the books I got for free!

Monday, 5 May 2008

KLAB Teaser.

So even a blogpost needs a teaser? Naw... it's just that I took a lot of photos and even several videos of the KL Alternative Bookfest that I'd like to upload and post on the blog but I seem to have run out of space on my hard drive. Only 300megs left!

I'm going out to buy a new drive tomorrow so I'll blog about KLAB then.

Other things to get tomorrow: a Mawi haircut. All this long hair is driving me crazy!

Friday, 2 May 2008

Prophets in Battlestar Galactica.

I've only recently jumped on the Battlestar Galactica bandwagon. Until recently, I didn't watch a lot of TV and due to recent changes in my life I finally got round to watching some good TV shows (What? Watch them on terrestrial TV? You must be joking!) thanks to the internets.

One of the shows I finally got round to watching is the very much acclaimed new version of Battlestar Galactica. I've watched the first four episodes of season 4 already and so far, I like what I see! (I haven't got round to downloading the rest of the episodes but will do so once I get a new hard disk drive for the PowerMac.)

The story so far, as I understand it, includes a certain very interesting character by the name of Gaius Baltar. Throughout the series he's been a politician (namely the President of New Caprica), and now, he's becoming some sort of prophet promoting a monotheistic religion, very much in contrast with the more popular polytheistic religion of worshipping Roman-style gods (Apollo, Zeus and gang).

There's been speculation that Gaius Baltar is an allegory of Jesus, and there's even talk of him being actually an allegory of Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet.

Personally I see more parallels with a much closer prophet, one who I am well acquainted with, but cannot mention due to fear of having the wrath of fundamentalists, terrorists and Malays (among other people) directed towards me.

But I'm sure you know to whom I am referring to.

For context, let me just copy-and-paste from the blog I just referred you to:
Jesus was the Son of God. Gaius, like Joseph Smith, is just a regular person and not divine himself. Joseph Smith was visited by the angel Moroni on numerous occasions (or so he claimed). Gaius is visited regularly by some supernatural entity that reveals itself as a Cylon model Number Six. Or maybe Gaius is just insane, but the Number Six in Gaius’ head is supposed to represent the angel Moroni who visited Joseph Smith. Just as Joseph Smith received religious instructions from Moroni, Gaius receives religious instruction from Number Six.

Joseph Smith and Gaius were both politicians. Joseph Smith was the mayor of the town of Nauvoo, and he announced his candidacy for president of the United States in 1844. Gaius Baltar ran for president of the colonies (and won too). See the similarities?

Unlike Jesus, who was convicted at a trial and sentenced to death, both Joseph Smith and Baltar managed to evade any serious jail time at their trials. Joseph Smith was killed by a mob, and not by the law. It seems to me that the writers of BSG are also setting up Gaius Baltar to be killed by a mob. Every time he's out in public, the mob wants to kill him.

Of course, the biggest similarity between the prophet Joseph Smith and Gaius Baltar is the polygamy! Joseph Smith had two dozen or more wives. Gaius has a harem of female followers. Jesus never had any wife at all.

Thus we see that Gaius is Joseph Smith and not Jesus.
The constant mob attacks, the supernatural entity, the harem... dude! sounds more Prophet M than Joseph Smith to me!

Running Hot.

Yesterday was hotter than I thought it was.

When I came home from work yesterday--yes, I was working on Labour Day; we had an exhibition launch at the gallery--the studio room where I house my computers and book library was like a greenhouse.

This has happened before of course and I've never had problems with my two computers overheating or anything like that before. The only things overheating were the puny humans inside.

I'm lucky the PowerMac has smart internal fans that rev up when they sense the CPU is above a certain temperature, usually 60˚c. With the Windows PC, I wasn't all that concerned about it overheating either because the huge noisy internal fans are blasting away all the time anyway.

And yet a strange thing happened yesterday. I had some extra time on my hands yesterday, so I took it upon myself to install the new SP3 update for Windows XP on the PC. The install went smoothly. And then it asked for a reboot. One reboot later, and Windows booted up into SP3, with no visible issues. Or so I thought.

As I was confirming that SP3 was properly installed, the internal speaker suddenly gave out a siren call and the computer shut itself down.

Uh oh.

My first diagnosis was that SP3 fucked up my system. Okay, no biggie, I guess I'd have to reinstall Windows and NOT install SP3 (thanks for nothing Microsoft!). But even when I tried to boot into the Windows Setup CD, the same thing happened. The siren call, then pop, the computer shuts off.

So a few hours later and after many head-scratchings I finally thought of checking the BIOS settings for the PC Health status...and there I saw the CPU temperature was at 90+˚c!!! Yikes. No wonder the computer was shutting down. Something was wrong with the computer's cooling system, so I had to unplug everything and open up the computer to check its innards.

An initial glance saw that all fans were properly working. A more thorough check finally revealed the problem. The CPU heatsink (it was VERY VERY hot, by the way), was not covered, but totally caked and enveloped with dust.

For the benefit of people who don't know what a heatsink is, here's a picture of something similar that's in my PC:

Okay, so you see those grooves in the shiny metal part right? Those are the fins of the heatsink. Air is supposed to travel through those fins to cool the heatsink, which in turn, will cool, the CPU which sits below the heatsink. So like I was saying, my particular heatsink didn't just have dust covering it, the space between the fins were practically filled with dust; there was no space in between them. And when there's no space for the air to move between them, the heatsink doesn't cool, and the CPU doesn't cool either.

I wish I could have taken a picture of the dust. But I was too busy dusting and coughing from the huge amounts of dust clouds being thrown about. I have never seen dust packed in that tight before.

I've cleaned it out now, so the CPU should run okay even during the hottest temperatures in the studio. At least until the next time the heatsink traps that much dust. Which will probably be in the next four years's time.

Right now my main worry is when the same will happen to the PowerMac. It's a little harder disassembling the PowerMac internal fans. Hopefully that won't happen for a while yet at least.

So in the end, it had nothing to do with the SP3 install and so it's not Microsoft's fault for ruining my PC. Hurray!

Thursday, 1 May 2008

If a picture is worth a thousand words...

We have new information on the Murakami Diary 2009 but still no clear idea what it actually is.

Why do diaries need book teasers anyway? If it's just a plain old diary, just say so. We don't need the hype.

Currently Available E-Books

Available from: Amazon | Smashwords | iTunes | Google Play | Kobo
Available from: Amazon | Smashwords | iTunes | Google Play | Kobo
Available from: Amazon | Smashwords | iTunes | Google Play | Nook