Let the madness begin...

...as the plot emerges from within.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) 2006 has started with 171 authors registered Singapore for their location. The numbers will definitely increase (madness is contagious) as more participants can register during this month. Welcome to the race against yourself!

I've been psyching myself by re-reading my past articles about NaNoWriMo.

My Game Plan is Day 1 for organizing the novel structure (plot & chapter breakdown), Day 2 to 26 for typing the story (2000 words/day. Hmm...) & the last 4 days for reviewing & editing.

Today is already Day 1. Dang! Should have included 'psyching myself by re-reading my past articles about NaNoWriMo' as part of the Plan.

Sail on silvergirl,

*troubled over the lyric of Bridge Over Troubled Water*

Whatever 'silvergirl' means and I'm not the first one who wonders about it. A quick check on the Net led me to this page. Quite a research, I'd say. Heh.

Anyway the picture above--taken in Chiang Mai--is still of the original resolution and it's posted just to gauge how fast such an image is uploaded. It's the beginning of my sunburnt days. Guess that figures how memorable the "Wear Sunscreen" advices are. [1]

PS. [1] Memorable Advices - March 2006

There’s A Place Like Home…

…Unfortunately. As I didn’t feel like going back.

The last 2 weeks have been Fun even though the plan had been changed at the very last minute. Initially, I decided to start my backpacking quest with Chiang Mai, then to Chiang Rai, followed by Phitsanulok, and Sukhothai from which I’d return to Chiang Mai. I was told by one of the guesthouse operators about the flood and advised not to visit their towns (I was impressed. Considering I only emailed them to ask about the room availability, they went the extra mile by giving me that advice. They would rather lose a customer than have a dissatisfied one.)

The itinerary was modified. Chiang Mai, Pai, and Mae Hong Son. About four to five hours trip each using a bus. Back to Chiang Mai using the southern route that passed Mae Sariang which took approximately 9 hours.

Coming soon: more details and photos, photos, and more photos! With 300-something were snapped, I’ll need to organize them first (Categories in mind: temples, statues, paintings, sceneries, people, animals). And to resize them too. I really shouldn’t have chosen the 2048 x 1536 resolution.

中峇鲁,拐个弯就是一道风景

没有到过中峇鲁,你很难想像繁忙的城市里还有这么一片清凉之地。

它范围不大,小小的住宅区里都是战前的旧式组屋,空气里弥散着一种悠闲的味道,偶尔会看到有人走过,但多数时候看到的只是趴在墙角的懒洋洋的猫。

一个地方的气质跟历史的厚度有关。

中峇鲁发展于1936年,是英殖民政府兴建的第一批公共住屋,经历了战火,仍然完整地保存下来。 2003年,政府宣布中峇鲁为保留区,它与众不同的建筑外观,它的一砖一瓦,将永久成为我们历史遗产的一部分。

中峇鲁是繁忙市区的一片清凉之地,空气弥散着一种悠闲的味道。

看到、听到、嗅到生活
老区的房子,连一楼都住满了一户户的人家,黄昏时分从他们的门前走过,生活,可以看到、听到、嗅到。

中峇鲁从很久以前就是一个令人垂涎的地方,咖啡店、菜馆、餐厅、煮炒店,加起来超过15家,镇中心的巴刹与熟食中心远近驰名,翻新以后,很不幸的变得格格不入,反而成了区内最煞风景的地方。

每一条街都是一部人物史
中峇鲁一带都是蜿蜒的小路,转一个弯就是一道风景。

从中峇鲁路转进忠坡路(Tiong Poh Road),包括英云街(Eng Hoon Street)、林烈街(Lim Liak Street)、成保路(Seng Poh Road)、成保巷(Seng Poh Lane)、永发街(Eng Watt Street)、齐贤街(Chay Yan Street)、永锡街(Yong Siak Street)、茂源台(Moh Guan Terrace)、源全街(Guan Chuan Street)、有进街(Eu Chin Street)、金榜路(Kim Pong Road),都构成中峇鲁的命脉。

根据《南洋年鉴》和《南洋历史》记载,这些路名都是为纪念19世纪华社名人而取的。如金榜路是为纪念大慈善家刘金榜,有进街是为纪念义安公司的主要创始人佘有进,忠坡路是为纪念福建籍富商邱忠坡,齐贤街则是纪念陈笃生的孙子陈齐贤。他是新马橡胶业的开路先锋,最早把树胶作为园丘式经营。每一条街都是一部人物史。

在中峇鲁,还有百年老庙、古早的咖啡店、50年不变的杂货店和当铺、伤痕累累的防空壕,以及郁达夫在《星洲日报》担任副刊编辑时,曾经住过的房子。

今年底,中峇鲁第53和第54座组屋将改建成酒店,届时,可以想见,这个老区将有另一番风景。



找到中峇鲁的字典
写中峇鲁的故事,最大收获是认识了吴玉桂老先生。

吴玉桂肖猴,今年76岁,是齐天宫的顾问,庙里理事说:“他是第一百零一个老中峇鲁,其他的搬的搬、走的走(故世),现在只剩他一个了,中峇鲁的历史你问他吧,他最清楚。”

吴老先生为人风趣,学养很好,问起我的父母亲,都用令尊令堂。他老当益壮,但不认老,开一辆马赛地轿车,每天还到自己的公司上班。开头我叫他老伯,他作恼怒状,于是我赶紧改口叫他大叔。哈哈。


看着一栋栋房子建起来又看着它们拆除
吴大叔在中峇鲁出世、长大,父亲是齐天宫的乩童,一家人就住在齐天宫楼上。他指着英云路上的老房子说:“我看着它们一栋栋建起来,现在又看着它们一栋栋的拆除重建。”

吴大叔一直住在中峇鲁,间中有段时间搬到乌节一带,不久又搬回老地方,现住在金殿路,跟我算是街坊。

大叔是中峇鲁的“地方领袖”,担任中峇鲁联络所主席有30年之久,现在还是联络所的顾问。

他看尽中峇鲁的变迁,在情感上,一辈子与中峇鲁有着千丝万缕的关系。他说:“中峇鲁以前都是有钱人住的地方,生活起码要在中等以上才有资格住进来。这里住了很多文人,也有很多人在这里包二奶。”


齐天宫斜对面是忠坡路,吴大叔说:“郁达夫当年就住在忠坡路的一个单位。”后来我回报馆查资料,发现记载的是第65座组屋三楼24号。大叔还说,中国大画家刘海粟也住过中峇鲁。

访问第二天早上,约了吴大叔拍照,他知道我想到防空壕看看,慷慨的充当我的车夫,用他的马赛地把我载到茂源台。

茂源台的老房子俗称五层楼,建成一个马蹄形,楼房后面是停车场,废弃已久的防空壕就在楼房后面的底层,面对停车场,大门深锁,并不是我原先所以为的什么秘密通道。要不是吴大叔带路,我恐怕找上一天都找不到。

大叔说,这是英国人设计的老房子,建得铜墙铁壁,坚硬非常,钉子钉不进,大战期间炸弹下来,也只是打穿一个小洞,底层拿来做防空壕最合适不过。

大叔曾经带电视台的摄影队到里面拍摄,被蚊子叮得全身又红又肿,他问:“你想进去吗?可以跟市镇会申请,让他们给你开门。”我想到他的惨痛经历,当然不敢轻举妄动。

<联合早报>(编辑:陈颖佳)

lopsided cat


Blackie misses her step and ends up in a cast, so she's been wobbling around on one pencil arm and one sumo arm. but it didn't take long for her to rejoin the others on their nightly capers. usually involving a pink ball with a bell inside at 5am in the morning...


The Sound of Her Wings

Touch-up keywords: greyscale, brightness / contrast, gamma.

That's the title of Sandman #8 which is the ending part of the first volume, titled "Preludes and Nocturnes" as well as the starting part of the early editions of the second volume, "The Doll's House".

Now it's quite difficult to tell the story without spoiling it. Hmm. Suffice to say, vaguely, that Dream has just fulfilled his quest and felt some sort of emptiness. He had thought that he'd be happy once he achieved his goals. But he didn't.

Enter Death. (Yes, she is the one at the right.) As a good older sister, she tried to cheer up Dream. On that day, Dream accompanied Death to do her 'daily tasks'. In the end, he came to realize that he too had his own 'daily tasks'. And perhaps, the Nike ad screamed at the back of his mind to "Just do it."

Like this excerpt best:
I find myself wondering about humanity. Their attitude to my sister's gift is so strange. Why do they fear the sunless lands? It is as natural to die as it is to be born. But they fear her. Dread her. Feebly they attempt to placate her. They do not love her.

Many thousands of years ago I heard a song in a dream, a mortal song that celebrated her gift. I still remember it... That forgotten poet understood her gifts. My sister has a function to perform, even as I do. The Endless have their responsibilities. I have responsibilities.

I walk by her side and the darkness lifts from my soul. I walk with her, and I hear the gentle beating of mighty wings...

PS. Original art (here) by Mike Dringenberg and Malcolm Jones, III. The Sandman written by Neil Gaiman.

PPS. The Endless are anthropomorphic personifications and thus named accordingly as Destiny, Death, Dream, Destruction, Desire, Despair and Delirium. More about them: here

Scoop...an ice cream for a sunny day.

Watch the movie, "Scoop"! Woody Allen is hilarious. His facial expression, his repeated lines: 'the bottom of my heart' thing & 'credit to human race'. *grin*

Oh and you won't forget his insight about 'half-full' or 'half-empty' glass which is usually to describe whether someone is being optimistic or pessimistic respectively. He brings it to the next level: 'half-full' glass...with poison.

Sorry, didn't mean to spoil the story. (Nah, didn't mention about the plot anyway, did I?) And pay attention about the 'bribe' part in the beginning of the show. ;)

PS. Touch-up keywords: brightness, contrast, gamma.

Mid Autumn Lantern Carnival in Chinese Garden - 06/10/06

0. Right top: Qilin (?) - Added on 09/10/06

Before I forgot, the last day to witness the event is today. Went to Chinese Garden yesterday. As usual, I found myself a need to face more challenges. Ehm. And for this occasion, I have been wondering how the haze would affect photos taken with 'Night Scene' mode.

No touch-up on the colors and brightness, the following pictures were only resized. Just one of them snapped using 'Auto' mode . See whether you can recognize which one it is. The answer will be at the end of the article.

All in all, I am quite happy with the results. But I always welcome more feedback or advice. Thank you in advance! ^_^


1. A stall selling some sort of figurines. Like the way customers flocking to see how the little statues are made. A similar marketing tool that local bakeries use? Heh.


2. An artistic name-painting stall. You give your name, the guy will paint it and the lady will blow dry the paper with a hair dryer and laminate it. All were done in situ.


3. Impressive sketches by another stall. Couldn't resist not to capture it. Don't ask what the green & red text at the above of the poster said. :(


4. Taken near the lake. It's quite a change to see how children could be so quiet (unlike the monsters in the train or in the public library). While aiming for a shot, I was pushed away (That's my excuse for the above photo to be 'shaken') by the parents who demanded me to explain why I took the photo. Yeah right. *grin*


5. Thanks to the crowd, I managed to slither away from those opportunistic, exploitive parents and took this photo. The central piece was rotating & the statue I believe was that of Chang'e. Didn't manage to capture that clearly, did I? :-\


6. I'm lovin' them lanterns...


7. ...and these ones as well as their reflections. :)


8. The theme of the carnival is about world's wonders. So I better shot some samples. Here's one: a Maya temple...


9. ...and Taj Mahal. Oh, and I used "Auto" mode for this one.

Miss Singapore, Miss India…your comments please?

“It was something out of the movies!” Miss Malaysia, Angie Goh exclaimed about the hijacking of a Turkish Airlines where she and the other 3 beauties (Miss India, Kansksha Mehta, Miss Philippines, Jamie Liz Castillo, and Miss Singapore, Mia Yan Tan) were involved with.

They were victims, people! Not hijackers. Let’s establish that clearly first. Sympathize, will you?

Now come the confusing part. Were they or were they not aware of their ordeal? Two beauties and two different stories. Your choice.

It was something out of movies, alright. Especially one of such shows where you couldn't tell the truth until the end. And this case, until the other 2 beauties share their stories.

Version 1. I know what happened on the plane according to Miss Malaysia. (Full story here)

“Just as we were reaching Turkey, the captain announced that the plane was changing course towards Italy,” said Goh, who was seated by the window.

“We were tired and did not pay much attention to it until the plane landed and we saw fire engines and police cars with sirens trailing us.”

The stewardess had told them that the plane was having some technical problems and the passengers believed her.

Her three friends played cards during the four hours that they were held hostage.

“We did not know what was going on as the announcements were mostly in the Albanian language,
” said Goh.


Version 2. I know what happened on the plane according to Miss Philippines. (Full story here)

“I was the only Filipino in the airplane so it was all the more scary,” said Castillo, the 2003 Mutya ng Pilipinas who was with fellow contestants from Singapore, Malaysia and India.

“I was confused. I did not know what was happening,” she told GMA Network’s Channel 7 news last night in an interview from Istanbul, Turkey, where she spent the night before flying back home to Manila.

The other girls were on the verge of a breakdown ... I was just praying. I wanted to be strong for the other three girls,” said Castillo, who won several awards but missed out on the top prizes.

Remember, Remember, the Fifth First of November

Remember, remember, the 1st of November
When a Muse shall be robbed for a plot.
The whole 30 days of writing; what a season!
No way will I forgo...
[1]

Copyright ©2006 Anonymous_X


Seeing the above chart, I hardly think anybody needs any reminder to register--yes, it's October & you can register now--for the National Novel Writing Month, in short NaNoWriMo 2006. Don't ask why it is 'National' instead of 'International'. It's not covered in their FAQ.

Just realize that I myself didn't read their FAQ last year. So I am not sure whether the below excerpt is new or if it had been posted from the beginning of the event in 1999. Otherwise, I'd have shared this hilarious piece.

Why are you doing this? What do you get out of it?
NaNoWriMo is all about the magical power of deadlines. Give someone a goal and a goal-minded community and miracles are bound to happen. Pies will be eaten at amazing rates. Alfalfa will be harvested like never before. And novels will be written in a month.

Part of the reason we organize NaNoWriMo is just to get a book written. We love the fringe benefits accrued to novelists. For one month out of the year, we can stew and storm, and make a huge mess of our apartments and drink lots of coffee at odd hours. And we can do all of these things loudly, in front of people. As satisfying as it is to reach deep within yourself and pull out an unexpectedly passable work of art, it is equally (if not more) satisfying to be able to dramatize the process at social gatherings.

But that artsy drama window is woefully short. The other reason we do NaNoWriMo is because the glow from making big, messy art, and watching others make big, messy art, lasts for a long, long time. The act of sustained creation does bizarre, wonderful things to you. It changes the way you read. And changes, a little bit, your sense of self. We like that.

PS. [1] Heh. With an apology to whoever originated the "Remember, remember, the 5th of November". Read what the rhyme is about: here.

File keeping issues with the Dossier?

Thanks to Cavalock for the bad news.

I expect Wikipedia article about the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen could have been more informative. Especially about why the delay of the book launch.

Quoted:
"The release date (of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier) was originally May 30, 2006, then officially solicited for a release of October 25, 2006, it has currently been postponed indefinitely."

PS. Touch-up keywords: crop, layers (4 layers: cropped image, green, blue and red layers), 50% opacity levels.

Be an engineer.

"Prison Break" is surely a show which has one of the objectives to glorify engineering professionals. Specifically structural engineers. Yes, people! Be such an engineer, who knows one day you will design a prison and who knows one day your knowledge of the prison that you designed can be used to save your loved one. Heh.

Unlikely? Duh, it's a fiction after all. Still it is interesting to watch the show Thursdays 10 pm at Channel 5 or its repeat telecast Saturdays 4 pm.

There's a faint echo of "The Shawshank Redemption" here as both of the convict have some sort of superior knowledge. In "The Shawshank Redemption", the convict is a banker & he uses his financial expertise to his advantage. Whereas in "Prison Break", the main character is a structural engineer who 'happens' to be the one who designed the prison.

Touch-up keywords: crop, graphic pen. Original image: here.

The Man Who Turned Into Himself

This book will compel me to reconsider my stand whether I truly dislike Science Fiction books.

Perhaps for some, “The Man Who Turned Into Himself” written by David Ambrose can be classified as one of such books. I beg to differ, though. The book is a thriller and the excitement is introduced since its first chapter!

The Science Fiction element is due to the book brings in the complex Many Worlds theory (Doesn’t ring a bell? Try multiverses or parallel universes then).

Still confused? Never mind. It is the element of suspense that dominates the story.

Pages will be flipped impatiently to discover whether Rick Hamilton, the publisher is just a figment of imagination due to shock-induced trauma after a car accident that a real estate agent, Richard A Hamilton suffers. Or what if Rick is indeed somehow thrown to another universe (to Richard’s) as a way to escape the harsh reality of his universe where he has just witnessed his wife killed in a car accident?

Those who watched that TV series Quantum Leap will not find the theme of the book as completely new, however they still definitely can enjoy it because of the familiarity of the idea. Likewise, it is still a treat for those who abhor Science Fiction due to its drama. You would be entertained with the process of how Rick and Richard get to accept each other. And in the end of the book, you will not help but wonder about that little voice in your head.

The Sandmen

From left: the original image cropped from The Sandman: King of Dreams let's call it (A), (A) + blur effect: radial, (A) + blur effect: motion, (A) + blur effect: fragment, (A) + blur effect: zoom.

The one touched up with 'radial' looks okay. That with 'motion' I hardly notice much difference. And those blurred with 'fragment' & 'zoom' make me dizzy. Nothing beats the original.

Do NOT abandon appetite all ye who enter...Ayam Bakar Ojolali at Lucky Plaza Level 3

"And I stood upon the counter, and saw two potential customers approaching. Though it had been a busy evening, I still welcomed them with hospitality that uniquely Indonesian and was told solemnly, A table for three, please.

And as I requested them to wait, my logic gracefully retreated as my sight deceived me, and I saw their images seemed to flicker to that of the Maneless Dragon and of the Loan Wolf.

(And I knew I should have gone home & rest)

And the dragon, I noticed, was not so talkative; his silent fury had been thinly disguised with a smile as he attentively listened, as he curiously observed his surroundings.

And the wolf, on the other hand or paw or whatever, brimming with positive energy—despite the Fed had paused the rate hike—exuded the spirit of familiarity of this little place of mine as he recommended to his companion which delicacies to savor.

(And I knew he had been here before)

And I beheld another expected buyer swiftly coming up through the escalator; he had the knack to come to an appointment late without upsetting the rest; and realization hit that I had just glimpsed the Subsonic Hedgehog.

And the three of them exercised their power, and caused the occupiers of the nearest table to where they stood finish their meals faster.

(And I knew I had to quickly clean that table & let them sit)

And as they enjoyed their meal in silence, I realized this would not be the last time I saw them.

Here is a wisdom. Let him who has understanding serve his customers as he his own family; and his eatery will never have an empty table."

sometimes a princess, sometimes a foot rest




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