Wednesday, 28 March 2007

You CAN be Nerdy/Geeky and Cool at the SAME time

Bill Gates. Filthy rich mofo. He lied, tricked and grinned his way to the pinnacle of pinnacles. Back when his competitors were still thinking in 8-bit terms his thoughts were in 128-bit. And guess what, he even dropped out of college. I mean, wow, dude! If I’d dropped out of college I would have ended up selling Portuguese egg tarts, fake Rolexes and savoury biscuits in Petaling Street. Yet, the only thing in common between me and Mr. Gates is this:

We are nerds.

We’re fascinated with things that make our lives simpler and more enjoyable. We are the reason why we have technology. While that may sound arrogant it is the truth. What the consumers want, we giveth. Nerds are so fascinated with the world that they forget the most important aspect that could alter their lives completely: that they’re actually a part of it too. Nerds are the people you want when your computer crashes. You want a nerd to tell you that your bank account has been terminated. You want a nerd to tell you that hey, your dog’s dead, I ran him over with my new radio-controlled Hummer. Why do you want a nerd for all the above you may ask? Simple! It’s because in the first case, you can shout at the nerd to hasten and repair your computer unless you want your boss all over your ass. Second case is that you can pound his sorry face with your bank book. And lastly, you can destroy his toy, trample on it and then trample him.

That was too much of me. I went overboard with the rhetoric and I sincerely apologise. But what I did was to illustrate that nerds help the world spin and are oft looked down. Why? Because it’s terribly easy to tease and mock them.

I am also a geek. I love computers even though I couldn’t be bothered with keeping up with the latest in technology these days, they end up being obsolete by the time I’m done reading the last paragraph anyway. I talk about Gundam from time to time and note how beautiful some of the models are. I gush over the latest McFarlane toys like a school kid seeing cleavage (hmm, I still do gush…).

And I still wear glasses when some of my contemporaries have gone the way of contacts (sounds kind of lame but I do love my Adidas glasses and I couldn’t be bothered with all the hassle wearing contacts entails). I wear dorky cargo pants when I go to the market. I couldn’t be bothered with making my hair stand so high as though I was aiming to skewer a lizard which decided to plummet unto my unintentional death-trap. Most of my working shirts are branded (cheap brands tend leave very tough stains) but always bought during sale. The only thing I’m willing to spend a lot is on footwear. There’s nothing like wearing a pair of good running shoes.

I am proud to be a nerd. But I also am a proud nerd that knows some bit of fashion and more often than when to put down the striped pink bicycle shorts. Nerds around the world, UNITE!

This is Chris, signing off.

PS: Nerdy girls are strangely attractive.

PPS: All right, I looked up the etymology of both Nerd and Geek and suffice it to say (I even looked this up) I'm going to add on a couple of things to the post, so, please check back again.* It's one of those things where you think you know but actually don't. TTFN.

* Thanks to Lia for pointing it out to me.

Addendum: After going through a research of sorts involving lots of Wikipedia's resources, I've come to the conclusion that a Nerd and a Geek are totally two different things. Personally, a nerd is someone who is really into something whereas a geek has a more practical approach to his hobbies. Of course, there are other factors to the equation but for the sake of simplicity, that's my take.

I sound like a dork now.
Have a great weekened, yo!

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

What’s so super about the supernatural?

I wish I had these two to help me. If only they were girls, though...

My legs were thanking me for not putting them in agony any longer. I had walked for almost 5 hours straight, with a few breaks in between. It was a humid day, my sweat drying up as fast as they came. The clock struck 12. It was midnight yet I still was not sleepy. The hotel room was black all over except for the little crack of light emanating from the bathroom. Eventually as I laid my head on the pillow or rather the cover since the insides bore a strong similarity to the consistency of air, my eyes could no longer open and sleep soon swept over me.

Cars could be heard outside as my room faced the highway and at 3 a.m. what were these people doing? I paid no more attention to the hullabaloo outside and closed my eyes. I was on my back, dreaming of nothing when something vague came into view. This was a dream that turned real. It was an apparition, female from the features I could barely make out, and it was on top of me, slowly trying to drain my vitality. My whole body was enfeebled, my arms held back by invisible hands and I was desperate to scream. I prayed to God, asking Him to help me. I yelled “Get off of me!” with all the strength I could muster but it came out in a hoarse croak. I fought for life. My life. I didn’t want to die in a cheap hotel! With this new willpower came vigour and I opened my eyes. For a split second I saw the apparition for what it was and shouted, “Go away!” I was in a cold sweat. I thanked God and reluctantly went back to sleep, exhausted and afraid.

The next night—at the same time—the apparition came back again and this time it invited its friends along to torture me. Visions of people with nooses around their necks in pallid drapes forced me to wake up before they could conjure any more sickening and terrifying things. Even then they did not stop. They still came to me in my dreams. Each time I closed my eyes they got nearer and nearer. I had no choice but to wake up and call out to my mom and sisters. After making sure that it wasn’t anything more than a Sixth Sense moment, I went back to sleep where strangely yet extremely thankful that the torment was over.

The above re-telling is true. I don’t really make it a habit of telling people that I was attacked by a ghost one night but this was the first time I actually felt something in a hotel room. Normally you hear stories about a haunted hotel and one of its rooms had a lady who killed herself after finding out her lover is actually a she, doesn’t strike me as something that should be told to patrons. Bad for business. Really, if you were to tell people that you’ve seen ghosts or experienced the paranormal, you either find yourself talking to no one or you’ll get someone saying, “I know how you feel.” Then they run away.

Now, I’m not one to disbelieve such phenomena. I just don’t feel the need to dwell on it. There are things in this world that science may never know of its origins, history and on the whole, what the hell it is. The paranormal does exist. It has to. They exist because we make them exist. Ah, I tried to sound all knowing and mystic at the same time, no?

This is Chris, signing off.

PS: Have any of you guys experienced any paranormal happenings? Share them!

PPS: To marz: this happened in Singapore the last time I met you. So, my advice is, don't stay in cheap Singaporean hotels!

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Who wants to buy a post title? I sell for cheap one. Don't worry.

Have you ever participated in one of those business talks with various speakers all chanting motivational slogans at the top of their lungs? Have you realised how silly they look, especially those who don’t look like the sort who can actually motivate someone let alone sell something? Or did you hear how loud that lady, who given the right make-up and proper push-up bra, laughs as though her funny bone had been rudely yanked out of her body and then bashed on her head?

I have.

And it was one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever been a witness—and reluctantly—a participant to.

A jamboree such as this will always feature people from all walks of life. More than half of them will be annoying. There was, of course, the obligatory funny man, or as we say in Malaysia, in reference to someone who makes people giggle and titter like silly sorority girls, Joker (said in the most Chinaman of ways and you’ll get the idea of how annoying it really is). Every sentence, every innocuous-looking explanation of the product’s benefits becomes fodder for this irrepressible, and most of the time, unfunny individual. There was of course the quiet one who would devour your soul if you so much as look at him wrongly. The rest were older men who range from the almost senile to the I’m older than I really look and it’s all thanks to this revolutionary and patented yodel. At another one of these brainwashi…enlightening sessions, lamps of all shapes and sizes were on proud display. They emitted pungent smells that made my eyes water. Older people peered into the displays with upturned noses and looked at the lamps with such serious expressions you think they were going to buy a castle.

I never felt so young in my life.

These people are the kind that devours marketing books like their lives depended on it. And rightly so. Back in my days of trying to sell land in a country where people have a fascination for playing games on ice, each and every person in the sordid organisation was a disciple of the School of Robert Kiyosaki. Everyone, from the low-level struggler to the grubby bigwigs, all could spout Kiyosaki epithets better than they can recite the national anthem.

I’m not a business-minded person even though my grandfather was quite a successful businessman in his own right. What does that have to do with anything is still a mystery but I have a theory that the business acumen my granddad possessed didn’t get pass down to his grandchildren. Probably the only thing I inherited was his notorious parsimony: terribly generous to no one, not even his own flesh-and-blood. I consider myself a smart consumer, for example, if I want a pair of shoes I’ll go to one shop after another, looking for the best price.

I don’t need rah-rah or effervescent cheerleaders (though they may help in ahem, other departments, *wink wink*) to get me motivated for money. Just show me how can I rake in the dough and I’m off. Network marketing. MLM. Call it what you will but it’s a tough trade and truly only the strongest survive. I’m a survivor but this is one thing I don’t think I’ll ever get the knack of it. (I’ll keep you guys updated, nonetheless.) As for now, I’m off to sell some whitening cream product thingy to that old lady down the road. She’s been winking at me for no apparent reason.

Maybe it's the pink bicycle shorts of mine?

This is Chris, signing off.

PS: No pink bicycle shorts were harmed during the making of this post.

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

If the moon and the sun were balls and aligned so that they would…

Last Saturday’s newspaper had a revelation. According to one article bearing the title, “Beware the moon for it will conflate with the sun under its iniquitous bosom,” it said that due to the lunar eclipse one should be wary. It also mentioned that the moon would be very moody (kind of like a woman, eh?) thus will rays of badness. I thought it was a load of rubbish.

That day I had an uneasy feeling. I was knackered. I had no idea why. And besides, I had already gone to the warehouse sale on books (argh! I saw a number of the books I had bought a few weeks earlier at half the freaking price!) where my mind went wild and my wallet suffered anorexia. So what could I possibly want?

Hot dogs.

Not the variant where the wiener is no longer than my pinky finger (which is long but you, um, get the idea) but the ones at the world’s biggest emporium for chairs and butt massagers, IKEA*. I had to fetch my sister from the train station and it was off we go. On the road leading to the station, I trailed this beat-up junk of a car, no faster than a speeding tortoise, with a table strapped to its boot. Now, any person with the intelligence of a six-year-old knows that you have to really strap it in lest if falls off whilst you drive. In fact, that same kid will tell you’re being a total oaf for doing such a thing. What are the chances of it coming loose? Well, if you were me on that soon-to-be horrible day then the chance will occur and it will be right in front of my face. I managed to brake in time and swerve my car a little otherwise I would have been obliged to call a carpenter to extricate pieces of wood sticking out of my car. Or worse.

Next up, as I was heading to the shopping mall, the road that I normally take has potholes and more potholes. I always manage to avoid them. That day, no such thing. Thankfully, none of my wheels came off. After having our butts jarred by the uncomfortable thumps to its soft nature, it was time to act like sharks on the hunt: finding an elusive parking spot at 3 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon. (I’ll tell you guys about Malaysian shopping habits soon.) Round and round we went, like hammerhead sharks going in circles to find their prey. Every time a spot opened itself I would put pedal to the metal only to find that another person had spotted it and duly parked their car faster than you can say Bugger. After what seemed like eternity, we decided that we should just go home. According to my sister, we didn’t need to pay for the ticket since the machine spat it out saying payment wasn’t necessary. However, when I put the ticket into the ticket-eating machine I saw the words, “Please pay the damn ticket you fool,” I knew we had been punked. It ended with me reversing the car and people stared at me as though I had brought a chicken with H5N1.

Oh, and I broke the toilet handle at a restaurant where I ate a spaghetti bolognaise which in turn burned my tongue.

Bad luck struck me like a porcupine skewering a hapless lizard that fell onto its deadly spikes. It was that bad. You see, while I may not believe in the study of numbers that should govern my life or that feng shui can predict whether or not my future wife would be a homicidal maniac with a penknife, that day left me pondering over the article’s—I say this with a straight face—“power”. Did I unleash the terror simply by glossing over the words? Or was this the Big Guy’s way of compounding my wretched week? Whatever it was, it worked.

But you know what? Those incidents were a wake up call to me to stop being all depressed and crappy. By the time I complete this post, I should have already sent more than a dozen or so applications. I shall carpe diem!

Until the next depression that is.

This is Chris, signing off.

PS: * I don’t about you guys, but I can’t spell IKEA as Ikea. I feel…odd.