elb's hovel of thoughts

Saturday, April 30, 2005


Its been 6 months since I have started going to the gym seriously. It's starting to pay off too ;)

During that time, I have come across various people at the gym.

Here are some of them categorized:

Hardcore musclemen - These people have a bicep circumfurence that an anorexic/ bulimic girl would die for her waistline to be. Often can be found pushing and pulling their way through the maximum weights available. Strong contenders for Mr Muscleworld and other muscleman competitions.

Fitness buffs - People who are maintaining their fitness at high levels. These are the people who can do 12 unassisted chin ups in a row, and jog at a speed of 10km/h for half an hour straight. Some of the women overdo it though, in my opinion :/

Skinny teens - The skinny teens on a crusade to add some bulk. These usually come in as a small group and try to impress each other.

Halfbaked 'beefcakes' - These people seem to only concentrate on their upper body and arms. Their leg muscles are underdeveloped in comparison. Usually wear tracksuit pants to cover their skinny legs whilst enhancing their overall muscularity.

Whales - The obese people on a mission to lose sufficient blubber to halve their waist size. Usually disappear after a while.

Toners - The group of people (mostly women) who lift light weights in an effort to tone their muscles, and do plenty of stretching. They also do lots of cardiovascular exercises. Fit and yummy! ;)

Getting fit group - Those who have decided to get into shape instead of staying at home and lazing all week. Yours truly fits inside here.

Now the next thing to do: compare with the types frequenting Malaysian gyms. Stay tuned for the October writeup of this part.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Foie Gras

When I was browsing around London during my last trip, on impulse I bought myself a small quantity of foie gras. For those with blur faces, it literally translates as 'fatty liver', and typically refers to ahem, oversized, liver of geese and ducks. Geese is the way to go, both gastronomically and bankrupt-wise. We'll let the SPCA and various other organizations debate over the issues of oversized livers.

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The glass jar of goose foie gras

It was a pretty solid and heavy glass jar; the lid and main container had a rubber gasket in between to help minimize contamination.
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The top view with red gasket visible.

Then it was time to open it. I almost felt like throwing up with the combination of the decayed wrinkled cheese beancurd texture and pungent smell. There were small globules of what I initially thought was mold at first; but I managed to convince myself that it was fat globules or something. Its supposed to be a fatty liver, after all?

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Feel the fat ooze out at you, all 40grams of it. No its not yellow in colour. Lighting conditions.

This is my second encounter with foie gras. Also the first time I have ate it in a few years (the first encounter was rather... weird); so the first time I had to disguise it into a meal of chicken vermicelli (pasta, not rice). But I soon got used to it, and actually began to enjoy it simply by having it with slices of olive oil grilled bread.

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The livelier, pinkier bits of the liver showing up.

It soon ran out though. Not bad actually! (this coming from someone who is usally strongly anti-liver). Much better than the sandpaper texture of chicken livers :P . But a very expensive luxury that I don't think I'll buy again anytime in the near future.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

5 more weeks to go!

I cannot recall another time in my life where I have worked harder. Definitely never for my SPM (equivalent of 'O' levels). Neither for my 'A' levels.

The past 2 months have been a very hectic time. But it is the write up of the report that kills you, especially during the final week before the deadline. For the last 3 days before the deadline, I believe that I managed to get a grand total of 8 hours sleep. It was not as good as Mir, the lucky fella managed to grab 9 hours a night, but certainly much better than two other friends: one of them had difficulty breathing and suffered from double vision due to her tiredness from lack of sleep, and another friend went with only a grand total of 2 hours of sleep out of 80 hours. Ouch!

But what really bugged me were two things: I had 'finished' my project the day before and had binded it, when during the evening I was flipping through and realised I had forgotten something. It was a big enough change that I only managed to grab 3 hours of sleep the same day.

The second was that I was searching for a ruler in the middle in the night; needing to measure the gradient of a couple of graphs. But I just couldn't find one. Dammit. I spent 20 minutes looking for one desperately. Just a few nights previously I had one on top of the subwoofer. But no good. I eventually managed to settle it though, using very enlarged graphs with a fine axis, and it was all handed in yesterday afternoon. I swear that when I eventually clear my room properly, 10 rulers would pop up from nowhere.

Only five weeks more to go!! Woohooo.... or urgh, I do not know.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


In Europe, this term refers to juvenile herring. It is termed 'whitebait' because it is generally translucent/ white in colour, and is used as bait to catch larger fish. But really, it looks just like anchovies aka ikan bilis.

Taken from www.pugetsoundflyfishing.com

Once processed, it quickly turns into this:
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Deep fried ikan bilis whitebait

It is considered a delicacy, mainly because legislation restricts the catching of these fry (pun so intended!).


Taken from New Zealand Department of Conservation

quickly turns into
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Deep fried whitebait obtained from Selfridges & Co, London

How does it taste like? Like anchovies coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Holiday plans

Me and a couple of friends were discussing plans for a trip to Europe during the summer hols:

CL: Anywhere except Benelux and Koln. I want to take the train ride from Switzerland to Germany along the Alps!

Wai: Switzerland or Scandinavia!

Me: There is no snow at this time dear...


Me: Okay la, tell you guys what. Let's take the Trans-Siberian railway. We can start right at the Pacific end of Siberia. Or we can take it from Beijing or something. Then we'll travel across Russia/ Mongolia, and we can get off at various stops, ending at Moscow. Then we can spend a couple of days looking around at the capital of the land of Kalashnikovs and vodka. Cost: From 509GBP onwards. Single way.

Then, we can take the Inter City trains from Moscow and travel by rail around Europe. We'll make sure we include the Switzerland-Germany Alps scenic route. Then eventually we'll end up in Paris, and we catch the EuroStar back to London! Simple!

CL: You're mad. Over 4 weeks in trains?

Wai: Ahahahaha chee sin (crazy)!!!

Me: Just a suggestion... after all its something different!! We can make it less boring... errr, painful on the pockets by flying one way.

CL: Nuts ah... total cost as little as 1000GBP? And as much as 2000GBP?

Wai: We can wash plates to pay for the trip :P

Me: Aiyoyo. We'll just smuggle back some AK47s during our trip and sell them off to cover for our expenses!


Sunday, April 17, 2005


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My landlord's cat, apparently somewhat around 18 years two very long decades old as rumours go according to the landlord and Yuen Li, is a big fat cat. It is not contented with its meal of salmon and tuna flavoured cat food; most people feed it extra milk and fish and all sorts of food that keeps its tummy in a state of permanent expansion.

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Toby warming up to the camera

As all cats are, Toby is lazy and just gazes at you from its state of utter laziness. Unless it wants you to let it out of the door or something. Then it meows non stop and walks fast and follows you around. But not as fast as it runs when it gets whacked for being a naughty pussy for climbing onto and overturning the kitchen bin to get to chicken bones and leaving a huge mess.

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Toby feeling ashamed and sorry after its latest escapade

It also has a knack for pushing its claws out and scratching the carpet and retracting its claws in mid air. Scary. You'd never know when it might jump up and attack you. But not as bad as this:

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This is Toby reminding you how scary it can get when being angry at being carried

I can't say I would miss Toby much at all when I leave despite knowing it for a few years. Any memories, Yuen Li? :P

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Self-Organization of Slurry in A Dynamic Rotary System

This, folks, is what I have decided to name my thesis. I know it probably sounds all grand and pretentious, but then again, 99.9% of the the published thesis (plural = ?) do sound all grand and pretentious, don't they? ;)

My research is really quite simple on a basic level. Create a slurry, pour some of it into an enclosed circular system, and allow the system to tilt and rotate at various speeds simultaneously. Watch and observe and get all dizzy as your eyes lose all sense of balance. Watch the resulting films several times and get even more dizzier and confused. I might be writing a special entry describing the project in a bit more detail, with some pretty pictures.

Write a dissertation, which involves many late nights and even some stretches of over 30 hours without sleep just because your various drafts are due in the next morning. Watch your supervisor tear apart most of your work. Be prepared to spend your time from 9.30am right up till 8pm just doing stuff in your lab. Go home, sleep, watch a quick tv episode of 24/ Amazing Race/ enter-favourite-tvshow and continue. Kiss goodbye to whatever remnants of social life you have.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Missing book miracle

The problem: a missing book with the asshole who lost it refusing to take responsability

It was a cold day at the end of February. Our lecturer gave us a literature search assignment to complete to familiarize us with data finding. There were only 5 copies of the two books we were supposed to use for loan in the library. I had to place a hold on one of the books; within a few days I had gotten it.

Mir: Pat, can I borrow the book, I'll get it scanned for all of us to use
Me: Sure *hands book to him*
A couple of days after the book was due:
'Where is the book!!'
'Let me check..... the guy said that he is still scanning it'
'Tell him to quickly return it! Other people want it as well!'
A couple of weeks later:
'Dude, where is the book! The holidays are about to start!'
'Shit, he hasn't still returned it? Let me check before I go back for the hols!'

For the record, Ald, the guy he passed the book on for scanning, has a notorious reputation amongst everyone he knows for never returning anything without constant reminders. If I had known Mir was passing it to Ald, I wouldn't have allowed it! Shit shit
By the time the holidays were 2/3rd through, the fines had exceeded 5GBP. I could no longer renew the other 17 books I had.

End of holidays: 'Dude, he has told me he had lost the book'
'What the fuck?'
This Monday: Ald: Here, take my library card and transfer over the book.

Librarian: Sorry, but you can't do that due to the Data Protection Act. You need to report the book as missing and pay for it
Me: How much?
Lib: *Checks* 30GBP. Its an out of print book unfortunately.

*Cue thoughts of profanities and despair and an empty wallet*

Ald: Alright, I'll pass to you some cash tomorrow.
But he didn't answer my calls and gave Mir excuses.
Yesterday night: Mir: Hey Pat, do we have a lecture tomorrow?
Me: 'Yup, material selection module at XYZ place at ABC time. I won't be coming, I need to finish my report.' Fines for 6 books start coming in. Started to consider withdrawing 40GBP because I knew the asshole was running away.
This morning: *Ring* 'Dude! I think I found the book!'
'What? Where was it!'
'I found it behind the projector in the lecture hall. That idiot must have forgotten it'

Thank God for the miracle! I was just about to get ready to go up to university and pay off the damn book....

Sunday, April 10, 2005


*Knock knock*

'Come in!'

L: Hullo.... did you cook fish for dinner?

M: *blur look* I cooked chicken for dinner, not fish!

L: I could smell it all the way from my room just now... and I thought it was coming from your kitchen!

M: Oh, it must be the belacan that I cooked with my chicken just now!

L: Sounds familiar, what was that already?

M: Some sort of dried shrimp paste.

L: Oh... I thought that it smelt a little bit familiar! We thought we smelt a dead animal, and we (she and her boyfriend) were going to investigate it on our way out....

M: Awww, surely you've tried it before when you were growing up in Malaysia

L: Well, the school next to us used to cook it before, and the smell would drift over to XYZ International School, and half the school would be deserted!

M: Aww... it's good stuff!

L: *slightly doubtful look* Maybe! Anyway we're going out now. Tatah!

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Cooling tower

What is your first impression when you see this picture?

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Taken on the train

If 'nuclear plant' springs out, well, you are partially correct. These structures are known as (natural draft) cooling towers. Thanks largely to games (Command and conquer, anyone?) and movies, the mere sight of (natural draft) cooling towers would make people associate cooling towers with nuclear plants (or any sort of energy plant). These type of cooling towers are for cooling water flowrates of over 200,000 US gallons/minute. Otherwise a mechanical cooling tower is used.

Cooling towers are nothing more than a huge heat exchanger, to remove heat from water prior to disposal to a natural source.

For a general description: http://www.nucleartourist.com/systems/ct.htm
For an engineering description: http://www.cheresources.com/ctowerszz.shtml

A funky looking pair of cooling towers, Johannesburg. Taken from http://www.southafrica-travel.net/

Picture from www.jazzmold.com

Smaller cooling towers you might be more familiar with; used for commercial buildings, and associated with outbreaks of Legionnaire's disease.

Paintball 5/5

Then the marshals took a vote for the final scenario: a repeat of one of the earlier maps. Aiyo. We had thought we were going to have an urban match amongst stacks of barrels, ala one of the damn small CounterStrike maps (I don't know, I've only played CS a couple of times in my life). We narrowed it down to the castle and village maps, and vocal support confirmed it would be the village. Good, the castle was a stupid map anyway.

One round of 15 minutes. If you are shot, you are not out, but you need to go back to base and restart. When you run out of bullets you have to quit. Most huts wins the round - and the entire battle. We were low on firepower - a third of us had no bullets and did not start! But our teamwork would see us through..

Again, I took the right flank. Quickly shot a couple of snipers - one of them cheated, and the marshal had to go over and tell him to restart since I had shot him. We took quick control of 2 of the huts, while control of the middle left hut was swaying and the furthermost hut firmly with yellow. And my gun started to give problems - the bolt frequently dropped to safety mode and low gas pressure meant that some of my shots only travelled a metre or so, scaring some of my teammates as I attempted to shoot from their side, whilst others flew in the wrong direction.

There were a couple of times when some of us muttered 'cibai' because some of the others (read: angmohs) were in their own world and wouldn't work as a team eventhough they were within earshot. To cut the long boring story short (enough war stories for the past few entires), eventually we captured all 4 huts, and won. 5 blue, 0 yellow! Muahahaha.

It started raining heavily less than a minute after the game - good timing, if you ask me! Then the cleaning up began - luckily, I wore my pair of waterproof Timberlands which made cleaning the outsides a breeze, but that didn't stop the tap water from damping the insides. Oops. Eventually we made it back - I was around 63 pounds poorer [that is approx RM500 for some of you] (all of us spent a minimum of 50GBP), and I had fired an estimated 1000 paintballs.

CH: WHAT???? I AM SO GLAD I STAYED BACK!!! I could use that 70 for like, a really really really nice pair of boots, and throw in a top as well!!

The souvenirs?
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Plenty of bruises, the most obvious one here

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A certificate for the champions! Bwahahaha

Also received a bleeding ear with temporary deafness - showering is difficult and I can't go to the gym for a week or so. Gun got shot in the neck - both the front and back. Ouch! There is no protection for the neck, which is the most vulnerable followed by the ears. WC woke up the next day feeling sore all over, J had plenty of bruises from throwing herself onto her belly multiple times, etc. CL even woke up after dozing off in his chair to imagine that someone was going to shoot him! That shows how vivid and realistic the experience was!

But it was an awesome day - not everyone gets to experience something (which I believe is) quite close to real combat. And if people want to brag to me about CS or whatever, I can show off that I did the real thing - almost. :P

Paintball 4/5

Bought another 150 painballs. Muahaha. Fast getting broke.

Scene 5: Bridge

Either team has to retrieve the bomb from the middle of their base and plant it in the opponent's base. A muddy trench ran alongside the length of the battlefield, and it was very very muddy overall.

Tactics: We agreed to sacrifice two people to quickly run forward and retrieve the bomb before slowly advancing forward.

Round 1: Two people ran forward, one with a gun, to retreive the bomb. We got it! Slowly pushed it forward, passing from person to person and from cover to cover. Tried to take out a couple of enemies hiding on the other side of the bridge. Could have sworn one was hit, but most probably s/he was cheating.

Eventually the bomb was passed to me. We were almost halfway to the opposite side, on the right flank. While pinning the enemy down, I quickly dashed forward to the next cover in front. So far so good. Enemies notice that I am carrying the bomb and try to take me out the moment i let even an inch of myself get exposed from cover. A teammate then ran forward to draw fire while I moved forward to the next tree. Shite! It was too narrow. Bullets kept raining down on me, and eventually I got hit on the shoulder. Urgh!

Lifted my arms to show I was dead, and shouted to my teammates to tell them I was dead and to continue. When at the dead zone: 'Urgh!!! The paintball didn't burst! I could have continued!'
Yellow managed to retrieve the bomb and made a dash for our base, but were denied.

Round 2: Again, we retrieved the bomb first. Focused on the right flank. Managed to push until we were just over half the length, when D and me were pinned down by F. A 6 minute battle with the two us on our bellies and F hiding behind a tree ensued. Eventually we took him out. Noticed that an enemy had passed our flank and had his side fully exposed near the bridge and took him out. However the silly ang moh fella got so mad and shouted back at his team 'Who the fuck is shooting at my arse?!?!?!'. Stupid idiot. SURRENDER LA YOU'VE BEEN KILLED.

No idea what else happened on the other parts of the battlefield though.

Cumulative score: A draw.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Paintball 3/5

Lunch break: Most of us bought and had the barbecue provided for at that place; the rest of us just brought along our own food. Bought a couple of smoke bombs for the next scenario:

Marshal's comment earlier before the second scene: We have some hardcore people here! *referring to the fact that the group of us had battlepacks* Wahahaha!!

Scene 4: Castle

One team defends a two storey castle. Headshots against those on the upper floor of the castle count as a kill. The defending team is not allowed to leave until three minutes have passed; by that time it would be suicidal. Attacking team has to raise the flag inside the castle to win. Plenty of pockets of mud throughout.

Round 1: Blue defends.
Defended a rear corner of the castle. Attacking team was swarming all around us. Much mayhem but difficult to penetrate the castle. One teammate ran out after a few minutes and got killed instantly. Enemy attacked with smoke grenade halfway through, but we only had a weak purple smoke that stank of sulphur. Took quite a few headshots, including one which bloody hit the weak point of my helmet and left my right ear temporarily deaf and with some bleeding. Shite. Not easy defending 360 degrees! Stupid cheaters as well; they clearly got shot but did not admit it. Goons!

Round 2: Blue attacks.
Some of us moved along the sides to surround the castle. I took part in a frontal assault; however while diving to hide myself my canister flew open and I wasted some time reclaiming paintballs while the marshal was shouting at us to move forward. Managed to crawl forward and dart from cover to cover, dodging resistance and pinning the enemy.

*Checking all around* Nobody... crawl crawl crawl forward slowly

Suddenly: *Whack whack whack* paintballs all on my thighs. Shite! I could have sworn there was nobody at all. Argh!! My suckiest round of the day. Didn't even know if it was the enemy or friendly fire.

Score: Yellow leads by one.

Paintball 2/5

Then we had a short break back at the gathering area before

Scene 2: Fortress

One group starts from a fortress while the other starts from the outside. Another capture the flag scenario.

Round 1: Blue defends

Not too shabby, managed to brave mysefl enough to crawl on my stomach. Muahaha. Killed a couple of people; didn't get killed :P I hate it when small branches just inches in front of me burst the paintballs prematurely. Makes positioning and aiming super difficult.

Round 2: Blue assaults

We started short of 4 to 5 people because they didn't have bullets (from here onwards blue was at around 75% of its full strength because of this problem. Attacked from the left flank. Omg teammate ang mo girls had no sense of cover!!! And got shot down within a minute or two -_-. Wriggled slowly towards the fortress and took out a couple of enemies. Took a couple of headshots, one which made seeing extremely difficult. Suddenly got ambushed from the side :( Went to dead zone to find half my team dead with only one opposition. What the hell!! Yellow captured the flag. Overall: Yellow leads by three points.

It then rained for a couple of minutes during the intermission, making everything muddy.

Scene 3: Village huts

4 huts in a diamond formation. Capture and hold! Various cutouts positioned throughout with reasonable cover. Shallow muddy trench running along one side.

Round 1: Took left flank. Knocked out one fella but the idiot refused to quit. Idiot. Made him eat a few more muahahaha. Survived round. Poor J's hopper popped open while she was moving and spilt paintballs all over (must have gotten caught with a small branch or something.

Round 2: Took right flank. Pinned down and took out a couple of enemy snipers, provided cover, and took a few out while assault team captured all 4 huts! (stupid opposition fired at and hit J at the very last second as she captured the last hut eventhough the opposition was meant to surrender, so we didn't get the point.)

Lunchbreak! Finished roughly 430 paintballs :( Bought another 300. Score is at a tie.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Paintball 1/5

Woke up early in the morning, 6.30am to be precise

8am on the bus:

D: Eh, these 5 people fong fei kei (abandoned) us ah?
L: Looks like it....
In the bus: 'Hoi! Group harimau (tiger) looks fiercer than kuda belang! (zebra)'
*Team rearrangement*

Arrived at the Delta Force paintball centre at 9.15am, seeing a triple decked vehicle transporter along the way

Registered, used VIP tickets, got our one piece black coveralls, face masks and 100 paintballs.

'Not enough lah!'
*Proceed to purchase 5000 paintballs for 250GBP for 12 people, and returnable deposits for 'battlepacks' to carry paintballs with*

'Muahahaha..... 516 paintballs to start with!' *Fills up battle pack and the remainder into the hopper*
'Tiu... bloody balls falling out from the hopper'

*Everyone present gets divided into two teams, blue and yellow; plenty of Brits*

Marshal: Okay guys! Attention! *Bla bla safety rules.... do not fire too close.... hurts like mad... etc etc etc* Each scene has 2 ten minute rounds with teams swapping sides after each round
'Head shots do not count!!!!!' *Awwwwwwww....*

*Enter area and obtain paintball guns; affix hopper to gun*

Scene 1: Jungle assault

Plenty of wood cutouts spread out, reasonable tree cover throughout. Some mud.

Tactic: Split into teams of two, and push forward on all sides

Didn't dare to adopt tactics like crawling on belly, etc. Kena shot at within 4 minutes. Urgh! .
Arghghghgh sprained thumb. Cannot remember if it was because I was propping myself up to get stability while falling, or whether a damn paintball hit my thumb.

Repeat: Lasted 8 minutes before running out of bullets. Decided not to reload so gave up.

Blue leads!

p.s. no pics. no one brought a camera because we thought there would be no lockers, and getting your camera smashed by flying paintballs is a bad, bad idea

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


Cashier: *Krrrriiingggggggggg!*

Staff approaches

Cashier : Could you check out the price of this bread?

Staff: Sure *takes the bread and disappears*

3 minutes later:

Staff: I can't find the price for this bread. Did you see what it was?

Me: Nope, sorry *shakes head*

Staff: Never mind, just take it *hands the bread over to the cashier*

Woot! Free Spanish style seeded pan Gallego bread!

p.s. I think I am starting to develop a taste for olives. Oh no!

Monday, April 04, 2005

Transport Revolution

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The original engine; picture taken at the British Science Museum. Apologies for the colour; the display was lighted using yellow light. The yellow sign requests the public to refrain from touching it (which I could easily have done, the technological relic was just centimetres in front of me). (In Malaysia, a barrier to keep humans several metres away would be erected. Bleh.)

The Rocket, designed by Robert Stephenson (1803-1859), was the clear winner in the locomotive trials held at Rainhill in 1829 to decide the motive power for the Liverpool & Manchester Railway. It marked a change from horse-pulled wagons to automotive power.

It represented a substantial technical advance over previous designs, bringing together in one machine such developments as the multi-tube boiler and the blast-pipe. The speed of progress, however, meant that Rocket was substantially rebuilt within 18 months and laid aside within 10 years.

It was preserved in 1862 incomplete and semi-derelict but it had set the pattern for the future and remains the most significant of all early railway locomotives.

Have you had anosac?

The nurse on the other line: *Welsh accent* Have you had anosac?
Me: Pardon?
Nurse: Anosax
Me: I don't quite get you, sorry
Nurse: Have. you. had. anal. sex. ?
Me: Uhhh... no no no! *arrghhh wtf!* *bang head bang head*

That was the first question posed to me when I was forced to call the 24 hour NHS helpline at 4am a few days ago, because I was feeling very sick - plus when ever I took a dump, even the toilet water turned a clear shade of red. (I swear that a woman having her menses doesn't stain the water that badly. But not like I've seen that before, so)
Juee: Pat, I think you have bisul (warts)
Me: What? *panicking* How on earth? *research research*
Juee: Or it could be a tumour gone bad. You need to see a doctor urgent!
Me: *Even more panicky*

Silencers: Could be nenah?
Me: Eh? That's pus isn't it? Mine's bright red, not some disgusting yellow.
Silencers: That's true.

Eventually after asking me a few questions, the nurse just advised me to drink plenty of water - something I had seemed to neglect because I've been busy with my assignment. Not to mention the constipation pill which I had taken a few days before, to ensure an incident free 'business trip' to London and Manchester. So I chugged down over a litre of filtered water within minutes (which helped me get up out of bed much quicker than usual when I woke up), and even more and more later.

I am pleased to announce that I am visiting the toilet more often, and that the cubicle water turns brown, as it ought to be.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

St Malachy's prophecy

The news is out - Pope John Paul II passed away aged 84. Next, the cardinals would have an election and the next pope gets to be the head of the Roman Catholics. Normal stuff, you might think. But not according to St Malachy, who in the mid 12th century received a prophecy, and he listed down all the names (coded, of course) of the popes who would emerge, right from the next pope of his time, right until the end of the world. The prophecy was sealed in the Vatican archives and emerged in the 16th century.

And on that list, Pope John Paul II is the third last pope named.

So, if Malachy's prophecy is real, there would be only two more - one named as 'gloria olivae', and the other is described as follows:

In persecutione extrema S.R.E. sedebit Petrus Romanus, qui pascet oues in multis tribulationibus: quibus transactis ciuitas septicollis diruetur, & Iudex tremêdus iudicabit populum suum. Finis.(In extreme persecution, the seat of the Holy Roman Church will be occupied by Peter the Roman, who will feed the sheep through many tribulations, at the term of which the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the formidable Judge will judge his people. The End.)

How true is it? Some people believe that it will play out as it is; some say that there might be a long interim between 'gloria olivae' and 'Peter the Roman'; some people believe the medieval Jesuits added the Peter the Roman bit, et cetera. Of course, not to neglect those who think that the whole thing, and religions themselves, are a scam, too.

But it certainly isn't very far from the general belief of the Christians that our world is reaching its end.

To be taken with a pinch of salt, any one?

Further reading: http://www.catholic-pages.com/grabbag/malachy.asp

Is a car or an eye worth more?

Many of you by now should be familiar with biometric systems - security systems that require identification of a unique biological feature - the most common being fingerprints and retinal patterns - before the system is unlocked. Voice recognition and facial characteristics are also common; however the former can be affected via changes such as accent and simple things such as a sore throat. The latter is just too inaccurate. Also, besides the fact that fingerprints can be lifted from certain surface, it should be pretty safe, right?

Wrong. Determined thieves would not hesitate to do what is necessary - including cutting the fingers off victims. An accountant in Subang, Malaysia had his finger cut off, because the S-class (shouldn't a young man like him have a better preference for BMW or another marque?) he owns, which was hijacked, refused to mobilize without his fingerprint.

The lesson is: there is probably such a thing as too much security. Especially with thieves that are ruthless enough to be willing to do what it takes. If the car's system worked on retinal recognition (which is more secure), the thieves would probably have not hesitated to gouge his eyes out - nothing no amount of money can replace. Yet.

See also:


Friday, April 01, 2005


While I was out searching for some fancy furniture the other day, guess what I saw?

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Does anyone want to sit on this gorgeous pair of lips? Mmmm... come on, its giving this seductive look. It looks comfortable! Really....

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See, I told you its harmless!

Pictures taken at the British Science Museum