Archive for March, 2005

The way real writers do

March 31, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

Normal people would go: “oh man, I have so much work to do, but I keep procrastinating.”

Neil Gaiman, writer of many fantastic things, on the other hand:

Work beckons.

Actually right now it doesn’t beckon; instead it holds up a megaphone in front of its mouth and is shouting “OY!” through it, and then making rude gestures as soon as it’s got my attention.

With the +2 font and all, too.

Song Lyrics Nonsense This Week

March 30, 2005  |  Tags: ,   |  

Someone took They Might Be Giants’ “Istanbul (not Constantinople)” song and rewrote it using first-order logic (and some set theory).

Original song lyrics here. Excerpt:

Every gal in Constantinople Lives in Istanbul, not Constantinople So if you’ve a date in Constantinople She’ll be waiting in Istanbul

First-order logic lyrics here (part of a LiveJournal community creating similar hilarity). Excerpt of the same lines:

∀ Gal ∈ Constantinople, Lives(Gal,Istanbul) & ¬Lives(Gal,Constantinople) Conclusion: Date(you,Constantinople) → Waiting(her,Istanbul)

CS103X, “introductory discrete math”, might have been the most painful class I took in school — observe, though, how thousands of dollars of education have been put to good use in helping me understand geek jokes.

So total defence

March 30, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

I drove the dad’s car to work yesterday so I could pack and bring home most of my stuff from camp. Having lost my duffel bag to one of the OCs who borrowed it for an overseas exercise last year and never returned it, I had to move my gear to the car separately, with the help of some colleagues.

Upon returning home, however, I had way too much crap to carry upstairs by myself, so I left my SBO, helmet and boots in the trunk. It struck me that this was just like the military defence bit in the recent Total Defence TV ads, where the guy was mobilised and had his gear all ready in his car trunk (with, oddly enough, nothing else in there). (Quote from a regular watching that ad: “Har? Where got people so operationally ready one? I don’t even know where my SBO is!” — at which point we stared at him and questioned his effectiveness as a regular combat platoon commander.)

I think I’ll leave them there to amuse myself whenever I open the trunk.

Ahh, operational readiness, here I come.

Do something worthwhile

March 29, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

There have been recent reports on trainee teachers failing NIE, inadvertently breaking their bonds, then having to repay their entire tuition and allowances owed with interest. The total amount for repayment was a non-trivial $70,000 for a four-year diploma course. In one report, the trainee in question failed her practicum course twice — I can’t remember the exact reasons reported, but they were something along the lines of her having deviated from class material and not submitting her lesson plans on time.

Great, that doesn’t bode too well for my upcoming NIE PGDE course. When I was teaching as a graduate course assistant in school, I had the habit of making up lesson plans while walking to class, among other random stupid shit I tried to get away with. Which I realise I shouldn’t talk about now that I know one of the people who used to manage the course staff reads this blog. Ah, what the hell.

My favourite was when I got my friend Kirk to pretend to be me for the first class while I sat in as a student (the class had students from all levels, so it wasn’t too difficult to blend in). I then proceeded to behave like the obnoxious know-it-all I’d always dreamed I was capable of being, attempting to correct everything Kirk said, until he got all annoyed and yelled “If you think you’re so smart, why don’t you teach this class, then?!”, and left. At which point I took over the class, having earned the, umm, trust and respect of my students. Mwa ha ha! I don’t know how they were so easily convinced a white guy could be called “YJ” (full name undisclosed) though (they knew the course assistants’ names beforehand).

I’d also managed to sleep through a couple of 9am classes after either sleeping too late programming or getting horribly drunk the night before. On the occasions I did wake up on time, though, often after four hours of sleep or so, I received feedback that I was very much unintentionally funny attempting to teach while half-awake. At least they got some entertainment out of it.

The one prank I never managed was getting Luis to show up to class in his Batman outfit and just sit there throughout, while I pretended nothing was going on. It would’ve been hilarious, especially considering his costume:

A primitive Batmobile Oh, Batman, you should never have gone eco-friendly with your Batmobile

To my credit, though, I did stuff my students full of snacks, ensuring they left the class enriched with much potential towards developing coronary diseases (though not as much in education).

Alright, back to work. Three and a half more days before I clear leave!!

Too awesome for words

March 25, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

From MIT Media Lab (via /.), Clocky!

Clocky is a clock for people who have trouble getting out of bed. When the snooze bar is pressed, Clocky rolls off the table and finds a hiding spot, a new one every day.

Clocky-Closeup

It’s adorable, too! Details here.

I could definitely have used one of these in college…

Indie Album This Week

March 25, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

I usually get my recommendations off the metacritic music section and assume anyone who cares can find interesting new albums on their own (Pitchfork, Allmusic, etc.), but since nearly nobody will find these guys, I thought I should point them out.

I already knew Bryan Lee O’Malley does great art (as seen in Hopeless Savages: Ground Zero, one of my favourites). He also does some very infectious indie pop-punk with his band, Kupek. Best thing is, all their albums are available for free download from here.

Compilation Giraffe 2004

I downloaded the two albums above — Nameless Faceless Compilation and Awkward Songz — and thoroughly enjoyed them. Kinda Ataris, somewhat Plain White Ts. Worth a listen. After all, it’s freeee!!! (And legal.)

Found via Warren Ellis, discoverer of the strangest and best things online.

Sketches This Week

March 24, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

Maybe I should archive my (more presentable) sketches instead of throwing them away…

Anyway, yesterday I was at the SAF Wargaming Centre to play the world’s most boring Real-Time Strategy game. This was mainly because it took “Real-Time” to new levels of realism; the bloody icons took an hour to move a few pixels. Aaargh! Mind-numbing boredom!

Thank goodness for the sketchbook (and a two-hour canteen break with TTK, coincidentally in the opposing force). However, only one sketch interested me enough to keep it, other than sketches for the community service logo I’m designing (ML, do you know how embarrassing it is to draw hearts all over my sketchbook for ideas?! In public, among Army people?! Stupid design requirements).

Sketch

Various (very rough) concept sketches for a possible comic strip, done in a half-working pen because my boss stole my good one. Hmph.

Comics This Week

March 24, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

Actually, last week. But no matter.

I also bought Paul Pope’s 100%, but every search of his name on Amazon gives me something by the Pope, so I give up on linking that. Haven’t read it yet anyway.


“Conan Volume 1: The Frost Giant’s Daughter And Other Stories” (Kurt Busiek)
Barbarians! How can you go wrong with barbarians? Oh, and that beautiful Cary Nord art.


“Ultimate Galactus Vol. 1: Nightmare” (Warren Ellis)
I don’t understand why critics everywhere have been jumping all over Ellis for his decompressed storytelling style here. Sure, we all know what the big mystery is about (it says so right there in the title: GALACTUS, EATER OF WORLDS, sans EATER OF WORLDS), but it still reads very well, and I found the pacing just right for the kind of sci-fi horror story Ellis is so successful at disturbing our fragile psyches with. Trevor Hairsine does a half-decent job of imitating Bryan Hitch for the art, and Steve Epting turns in a great fill-in issue. I quite enjoyed this.

There goes the neighborhood

March 22, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

So ye good ol’ nonsense rag (uh, Straits Times Interactive) has started charging for access, with their solidly loyal online readership of 2171 subscribers (out of 280,000 registered users).

I’d be a pretty upset web-advertiser if my audience shrunk 10,000% overnight, but, hey — at least the Straits Times got some “news” articles out of it, saving themselves the trouble of actually reporting on things that matter. For example:

  • “STI now costs money. Suckahhs!!!@~!”
  • “Aren’t we generous, 50% discount for print subscribers!”
  • “STI gets first subscriber, OMG OMG”
  • “Forum users both complain about and commend STI; see, we can do balanced reporting even if it’s on trivialities”
  • “STI will cease to be free tomorrow has already 2171 subscribers! OMG r0x0r $$$$ we r teh w00t”.

(Note that these articles actually did get published, except I can’t link to them so I had to paraphrase just a little for the titles.)

Not to mention giving their graphic designers a great chance to use the ubiquitous Singaporean “BANNED” sign to stamp out the “free” in a “FREE ACCESS” banner.

Going to the site now, you’ll notice that even the headline summary pages aren’t accessible to non-subscribers. All is not lost, though: you can still subscribe to RSS feeds of STI’s headlines (with short summaries) using the old feed addresses. Here are some you can add to your newsfeed client (e.g. NewsFire for Mac, or BlogLines for the web).

I don’t have addresses for the rest of their sections (really, why would I get world news from ST?) and the RSS page is now subscribers-only, but you can probably guess what they are. Try replacing the URL with world.xml or sports.xml.

“Do not settle for something ordinary”

March 22, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

One can sign up for the world’s longest email address at this site: http://www.abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz[…]abcdefghijk.com/. It’s too long to even fit on this page.

The site proudly declares on its front page:

It is so long that: – Some web forms are unable to read your web address – Some email software cannot be configured – People have a hard time typing in your email address – Companies think your email address is fake … and it’s FREE!

Freeee!! Quick, get one!