Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Chris and the, um, insert your own witty Harry Potter reference here

If you didn’t know already (shame on thee!), my favourite authors are Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, and J.R.R Tolkien. They’ve influenced me in some ways, more so in my writings; from the structure, narratives, stories and the enthusiasm to tell stories of my own. I’ve read and own most of their works and will continue to do so. (But not really Tolkien’s, there’s far too many books on why hobbits are hirsute.) Therefore, this brings me to my next statement:

I don’t have any favourite female author.

I’m a fan of both Enid Blyton and J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter 8?) works. Full stop. But their way of writing never did anything for me. Of course, their works are for children, and since I’m no longer a child (though I do act like a prat whenever someone scores against Manchester United) I find it difficult to ally myself with their brand of storytelling.

I remember my first boss telling me that women are the better writers while the men are better at coming up with ideas. Um. I’m not sure since I’m pretty good both. He he. But seriously speaking, there is some truth to it. It all depends on whatever it all depends on, I guess. I find women write best about life in general. Men, on the other hand, are more inclined to be technical and would gladly spew babble that is actually coherent to any man. We men can scrutinise every single facet of a fact, trying to find out if there’s anything wrong with it in the hopes of being called right. Women’s sarcasm and men’s sarcasm differ considerably in that women tend to poke fun at everything and are able to laugh at themselves while men poke fun at, well, women mostly.*

And something off topic but nonetheless something I need to get out of my system:

Who here thinks the last Harry Potter was a success or a failure?

Personally, I think Rowling manages to exonerate herself. Since HP6 was a gigantic WTF, the “repairing” she did here somehow placates the general dissatisfaction towards that unfortunate book. To be honest, the series started going downhill after the third. Subsequent books got longer, heavier (I reckon I can do a few quality arm curls), bloated and had unnecessary plotlines. Seeing as she had the ideas mapped out for all seven books as well as the eventual end being fait accompli, all this even before writing the first, it seems futile to discuss whether or not she could have done it better or differently.

Like in The Lord of the Rings, I was also left with a hole when I finished it. It made me rethink a lot of things, the majority of which I have completely forgotten about. But I do remember the feeling; it was sanguine and uplifting. And I felt it again with the last Harry Potter.

I wonder if reading a chick lit book would be as efficacious…

This is Chris, signing off.

* = Generalising to a certain extent, I know, but bear with me and ask me again what I think in 10 years’ time. Maybe it’ll be different.

PS: My favourite line from HP7 and quite possibly the entire series is definitely this one: “…thought the sun shone out of my brother’s every orifice.” Golden!

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Me and my handkerchief

With my last post being an exercise in extreme abhorrence and basically a direct middle-finger to all hypocritical establishments and individuals, I’ve decided to tone things down a notch. Or two. I can’t count. Anyway, I would like to share with you fine people the third thing I can’t leave my house without. (The first is my brain and the second is, um, I forgot.)

My handkerchief.

I’ve always carried with me a handkerchief for as long I can remember. My mom would make sure I would bring one as I tended to sweat like a certain porky animal. In kindergarten, the others kids also brought their handkerchiefs, and no, we didn’t compare designs. It was normal and it still is, though, I must say that I have seen kids with face towels. Now that’s progress. I carried this habit well onto my years in college where I graduated from using old-man styled handkerchiefs to slightly more contemporary cotton hankies.

My brief tenure as a salesguy came up with this rather strange conversation:

Me wiping my hands with my handkerchief.

Colleague 1: Eh, I haven’t seen a fella carry a hanky in a long time.

Colleague 2: (he turned and looked at me) You gay, ah?

Colleague 1: Normally, only old fellas will carry one, right?

Colleague 2: Ya lor. You old man, ah?

Me: Go to hell.

I proceeded to bash them senseless and to add insult to injury, I wiped their blood with, yep, and you guessed it, my little pink hanky.

Okay, okay. I didn’t exactly bash them senseless. What I did do was to tell them that hey, so what if I have a handkerchief? You use your hand to wipe your mouth after eating. Don’t give me grief when you’ve been giving me yours in abundance.

You would to think that a guy in Slayer t-shirt doesn’t know much about personal hygiene but look again. I use my handkerchief to wipe sweat, um, more sweat and sometimes sauce on my cheek.

I hope that when I have a kid or two, (I still can’t count) this legacy of mine would be passed down to them. It’s a good legacy, don't you think so? You see, we all are sometimes guilty of negligence when it comes to hygiene and general cleanliness. When the urge becomes uncontrollable and unavoidable, my hand will act like a good stopper of sneezes and coughs whenever I am unable to reach for my dear handkerchief. Mercifully, I am mindful of the fact that there could be audience who may have seen me. It is precisely at this moment I shall whip out my beloved handkerchief. But most of the time I just wipe my hand on my pants.

So there you have it. A post where I don’t curse and swear and threaten to lop heads of idiots who cross me. Tata! *waves a little pink hanky...*

PS: I wonder if Rihanna wants me to write her next hit. The first draft of the lyrics is as follows:

I will wipe your sweat with my hand…ker…chief…chiefchief…chiefchiefchiefchief...

PPS: This is the oddest site dedicated to—what else?—handkerchiefs.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Live Pfftt

Last Saturday was all right. At 6:50 a.m. (I set the alarm), I woke up and switched all the lights off. Since there were no plans in the morning, I slept again. A few hours later, I finally woke up, brushed my teeth and a rumbling in my tummy signalled the need for food. Since it was almost noon, I had brunch with the family. After brunch at the nearby restaurant and narrowly avoiding hitting an old lady, I turned on my laptop, put in the new Dream Theater in my stereo and throughout the whole day did nothing but entertain myself. The rest of the family were downstairs watching the telly. All this seem innocuous enough, yes? But guess what:

We just contributed to global warming which in turn leads to the imminent extirpation of the Earth.

But mostly we just contributed to a higher electric bill.

It would seem them celebrities and their fame and their celebrityness can somehow miraculously manufacture feelings of affection for the Big Guy’s Green Earth. And that was what Live Earth tried to achieve. Seeing Jennifer Garner using a filter for her coffee will make everyone make a mad dash for filters. Um, nope. Let’s not forget there’s Esther, Madonna, the singer who looks like a transvestite, who tried to pull the wool over somebody’s eyes people but has justly been vilified.

Do you care what a celebrity has to say about protecting the Earth? These are the same people who earn millions and most of the time they spend it on themselves. Would Snoop Dogg clear weed out of his garden as opposed to smoking it? What the fuck does that scumbag, lowlife, useless Kanye West and the rest of the sordid ilk known as rappers know anything about saving the planet? They have entourages the size of a small village! Does singing about a Gold Digger make you want to stop driving and ride a bicycle? Before you think I’m a prejudiced metalhead, what the hell does Metallica’s Enter Sandman hope to accomplish? Will it help impoverished and destitute children in war-torn countries? And don’t get me started with Rihanna and her god-awful brainless Umbrella and its even more meaningless lyric. Mainstream music entertains, not elucidates.

As I went for a quick jog in the evening around my neighbourhood, I saw children running around, chasing each other, laughing. But tell them that the empty packet of junk food they just ate will make the Earth sick they’ll just smile and continue chasing each other. Or better yet, why not go up to their parents and tell them that their child was just seen littering. Since apathy is intrinsic to most people’s nature, they’ll just laugh it off and tell you to mind your business. I had a friend once who kept throwing garbage in the parking lot of our college. When admonished, he simply laughed. My smoker friends chuck empty cigarette packets onto the ground. I’ve seen men with their chunky rings and necks the width of small trees in their Mercedes and BMWs throw stuff out in plain view of everyone. Women so immaculately dressed in their designer clothing don’t bother to pick up their tissue paper when they miss the bin. I could list out more but I’ll just be wasting anger.

Sometimes I feel as though I have enmity coursing through my veins, which makes me act like a bitter old man. Again, I don’t know how many times I’ve said this but I’ll keep on saying it: education is the key to a better future. Teach a kid that it’s wrong to litter and he’ll remember it. It’s that simple. Having concerts that promote global issues and such does nothing to change a person’s habit. “But if one out of a thousand changes, then, that’s good, right?” I hear you say. Yes and no. It’s good that one person has changed but what about the 999 others who had a great time and is looking forward to another entertaining extravaganza. It is precisely because of their indifference that makes it ineffectual.

Simply put: just being alive contributes to global warming, and ultimately, the Earth’s end. Think of all the things you do; the baths that you take; the food that you eat; the place where you go to hang out; the shows that you watch on TV, and so on. But we also have the power to make things right and well (Al Gore would be so proud of me). We fete people who entertain us, make us laugh, who make us wish we were like them. But they aren’t heroes. The real heroes are the ones who make it their life’s work to make the world a better place. They are the ones we should be lending a helping hand. We don’t know them. But we can help them.

The world doesn’t need any more concerts. It needs our immediate attention.

This is Chris, signing off.

PS: During the course of writing this piece, the author did not rush out to buy a paper filter for his tea. He used a teabag.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

This is a continuation of last week’s, “Why a guy named Chris is blogging and why the heck is he so annoying?

Early incarnations of my blog were—to put it mildly—bloody pathetic. The reason being was that I thought, “Hey, my English’s excellent. I can write fairly well. I think I’ll give this blogging thing a go.”

Boy oh boy was I darn wrong. Darn bloody wrong, if truth be told!

I started blogging roughly four years ago. I don’t remember what it was called then but it was something to do with wantonly slaughtering rabbits. Just kidding, kids. I just skinned them. The early days of my blog could prove to be about as embarrassing as finding out that I actually like cute things. I’m not ashamed about my blog’s early days but damnit, I get red in the face just reading the past posts. Thankfully, this period of ignominy lasted about a year before I closed the blog and took a leave of absence.

A year or so later, came the time where a new blog was born. It was to be jointly written and updated almost daily. And there was no-one better time to share it with my then girlfriend. Granted, I’ve always told my friends that I was the better writer but in actuality, it was her. She* (* = Thank you. You know who you are.) really put in a lot of effort to make it look cool. In my attempts at trying to be the rather witty and at times sardonic boyfriend, I took it upon me to say things only a dingbat could say to impress everyone, from her friends to mine. I don’t quite remember what was written, but suffice it to say, it wasn’t anything that garnered any meritorious acclaim.

After some time, I reverted back to the “What I did today” style of blogging. The writing was marginally better, if I may be so bold to say. It was still entrenched in juvenile meanderings but at least it didn’t sound as though a 10-year-old was writing it. The word count certainly got higher to the point where it was simply me saying the same things repeatedly albeit in different ways. Don’t believe me? Just read the 2004 posts and you’ll see what I mean.

Over-confidence tends to triumph over lack of creativity.

After much thought, a makeover was in order and as a result Whacker Inc was born. This present incarnation is where I write about topics where I have an opinion on or whatever I’ve experienced in my incredibly dull life. There are, naturally, some topics I wish I could write about but at present, I don’t feel that I’m properly equipped or learned enough to convey my true thoughts. I try my best to write in a manner that is both satirical and thoughtful at the same time. I want people who read my blog to smile, mull things over and to ultimately feel that they’ve read something worth their 5 minutes. I strive for perfection but I know that it is the imperfections that give my writing that certain chutzpah. (I sincerely hope so otherwise my licence to use “chutzpah” will be revoked indefinitely.)

As you all know, I am never satisfied with any of my writings. Granted, I’ve used some pretty fancy words in my posts but that’s all thanks to the thesaurus. I always think they’re not up to par or worse, not interesting enough. This is good in some way I suppose. It drives me clinically insane now and again but at least it drives me mad to better myself as a writer and storyteller. I intend to write for a very long time (GASP!).

I give thanks to all my family members, friends, idiots, Karma and Life for providing me with the inspiration to write. Without their (voluntary and involuntary) contribution, my blog would be as dull as watching paint dry on a wet Sunday. I raise my glass of milk and salute those who take the time to read and to those who leave comments.

Till the next time, happy blogging everyone!

This is Chris, signing off.

PS: I don’t remember exactly when my blog was unleashed unto the cyber world, so I’m going to make it today. Happy Anniversary to Whacker Inc!