Fight World Hunger

the answer to below-average internet content

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Is the grass greener?

If ignorance is bliss, would you prefer to remain ignorant? It is, in reality, perhaps safer to do so. As much as we'd like to believe what we portray our country as being free, safe, and harmonious the underlying social factors prohibit this from really happening. We are finding solutions on top of the problem at hand. Its a solution for solutions sake. Just like how they're marketing an anti-snatch theft handbag with detachable straps.

I personally witnessed the anger and fury of our citizens beating up a snatch theft caught right in front of my house. Everyone wants in on punishment and justice, but why does it remain a rampant problem for society? We are wired for thought differently, perhaps. Most of us remain and choose to be in our respective comfort zones. We gloriously defend that, and it is with this glory that we are unable to progress, and if we do, at a slower than expected pace.

To know where I'm getting at, do read the article here. Its the kind of news that do not get published here because we can get arrested or detained indefinitely but it provides a rather interesting picture of what is going on in the fabric of the people with power in this country.

However, if you choose to ignore it, everything seems fine. It is, really. People do what they have to do without being bothered. But when you come across a different perspective of reality, the underlying corruption that we face or have the possibility of facing, you really have to wonder if the grass is indeed greener on the other side.

I've met so many people who want to escape this reality for a bigger and better life. The promise of less work, more pay. Better quality of life, cheaper education, and a better future. Read this interesting article on the US's Green Card Lottery program. I won't reiterate on it because its so well written.

Greener grass does not necessarily have a positive correlation to a better future. The term evokes the image of someone running away from a problem, and with the stories I hear gives me the perception that nobody is truly happy wherever they are. So what really is greener grass?

Perhaps it is what we keep seeking but do not understand. Hope.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

In your own hands

VR28 Black Iridium. That's what causes the sepia tint on whatever I see. The chrome lining of the aviator-styled Crosshair gleamed in the overcast skies with little but occasional blast of the sun's rays hidden above the atmosphere. It was one of those dusty days where it felt like you were just rolling around in the desert looking for shelter of some sort, or just an escape.

I got irritable.

I closed the door of my truck, my fingers leaving behind a trail mark of clean lines on the otherwise dust-covered exterior of the paint. It would otherwise have been a nice shiny black car if I had bothered to wash my car. Polishing sounded like a waste of time, like...making your bed, or cleaning up after you're done, or using a glass to drink milk. It was all very unnecessary. Life was too short to be spent on doing unnecessary tasks. I should blog that, I told myself. That's some good shit.

Trying to compose yourself is an art form. It takes a lot of resources to do the right thing. It takes almost no resource whatsoever to vent. Anger, I found, if properly managed is like nuclear energy, it can do more good than harm. Its all a matter of control. That's the kind of art they don't teach you at art schools. I do what I always do, take deep breaths, and try to remain calm. The thing about taking a deep breath is that when I do that under pressure, the structure of my nose changes, I swear, and I start breathing audibly. Its the sound of a rhinoceros waiting to charge. I think its that sound that calms me down. Or freaks you out, whichever way, it works for me.

I don't have time for this.

But at the back of my head, well, actually just sitting on my left shoulder, was a voice telling me otherwise. I have all the time in the world for this. I was feeling better already. I paced slowly, step after step closer to the vehicle in front of me. Confrontation is going to be the highlight of my day. I tapped on the window with my wooden stick. I love my wooden stick. It weighs approximately 8 kilos or something of that sort, measures a good 1.5" x 1.5" and strong enough for me to use it as a leverage for anything, or smash anything. The fact that it hasn't broken nor split can only confirm that it can do what its supposed to do. I like that. I like knowing something is working like its supposed to, you know? The world makes more sense that way. There's less confusion, there's less figuring out, and more time to drink my beer.

'What did you think you were trying to do?' I asked in the nicest way possible.

You can tell an asshole from the way he manouvres his vehicle. Cutting from lane to lane and then trying to squeeze your way and being irritable only confirms that God has given you a brain to use and even though you're only using about 8% of it at any time, you are outdoing yourself by going below 0, because punk philosophy teaches you to do exactly that. From all the songs on the radio that you cannot seem to decipher the lyrics, or the goth movement that encourages you to dress up like the living dead, presumably in preparation for a short lifespan, these unnatural acts of nature reverses the polarity of the brain and thus allowing you to attempt such feats as; not keeping to your lane, speeding and expecting no consequences, switching lanes without signaling, and not being able to make a decision where or when to turn, for example.

Deep breaths. Calm down.

The stillness of the air didn't even create any resistance as I swung the stick at the A-pillar. Smashing the side mirror in a beer-can crushing movement I've practised for the longest time. He recoiled in shock at the horror of the sound of crushing glass. Which instantly created an irony of sorts. People who aren't afraid to die, are actually afraid to get injured. How about that. Perhaps their minute brain wasn't developed enough to understand that. Irony. 'Thats kinda ironic isn't it?' I should've said.


'Please. What?' Nothing can save you now. Fear is how you learn. Fear is a double promotion, or an entire Dummies novel condensed into as little time as possible because you really, seriously, absolutely want to learn. Its the learn or die concept that should be quite useful in the rebellious years of school. Yes, yes, you would of course get more deaths than now but you are getting real people in the world who seriously use their brains for a greater good. What's not to like? I like it. I like this.

'If I catch you doing that again. You're going to be next, do you understand? What are you going to do now? Are you going to make a police report? Do you really think I can't find you again? You do not want to see me again, do you understand that? I need you to tell me that yes, you understand. If not we can be here all day. I have all the time in the world.'

I see a glint of sparkle emanating from the end of my stick. The bits of glass shrapnel probably lodged itself into various geographical locations into it during impact. I'd probably need to clean that up later. I felt at peace again. The wheezing has gone, even though I was breathing deeply in and out. I think its only natural to want to do that, to remain calm, and to resolve your personal issues wherever and whenever it presents itself. I swung the stick over my right shoulder and walked towards my truck. Man, the heat is killing me, but at least I don't feel as irritable.

I like solving problems. Its so...therapeutic.

* * *
No individuals were harmed during the creation of this fictional story. I just have powerful descriptive feelings.

Monday, January 16, 2006

being sensible

People who know me would usually associate me with gadgets of some sort. I'm glad to report that I've been cutting down because there isn't anything really that interesting to buy. Plus I ought to save that money anyway. Recently I've been doing some read up on the Windows Mobile 5 OS for PDAs and SmartPhones. Its quite interesting that all they did was shrink Windows to be deployed over various mobile devices.

Of course you would have noticed of late the infiltration via SmartPhones such as the O2 series and some of the HP models. These have a selling point of being a true converged device, the ability to check your mails, edit documents and spreadsheets and surf on the move. But the problem with converged devices are it can do everything, but it may not be everything you want. Most SmartPhones are not really good phones per se, if compared to a dedicated mobile phone (like the excellent Razr V3). Plus battery becomes a real issue especially for people like me who are on the go most of the time.

So I decided I'd just get a PDA instead, and stick to my guns about carrying multiple devices simply because I have the option to bring either or, or a combination of devices depending on the situation. That way no device is too big to lug around because it's been brought along for a purpose. I settled on a HP iPaq hx2400 series model. I can't for the life of me remember which model I have, perhaps its the sign of old age that I'm not too concerned with life's trivialities. But its a fairly simple device, runs on Windows Mobile 5, has a 65k color screen, Bluetooth, and WiFi, and of course Pocket Word and Excel which would be the 2 most used programs, also the reason why I bought this in the first place.

I must say getting a mid-range device without any bells or whistles is very intriguing. There is nothing to show, there is nothing to do. Its just for work, pure and simple. There are no bells or whistles or anything fancy, even though there is a model with a biometric fingerprint sensor, which I thought was a tad too excessive. Cool, yes of course, but I'm not involved in some super secret industry where people will want to cut off my fingers to get access to the information in my PDA. I've yet to try the WiFi capabilities as yet because I don't wander into a hotspot often, but I'm quite happy with it at the moment. I can at least connect to the internet via Bluetooth over GPRS. Its slow but I can do that anywhere. The battery life is somewhat disappointing though because it seems to have a thing for the cradle. Tsk tsk.

Another thing I noticed is the lack of FREE programs. I am so used to the freeware world of Palm, where simple programs like Converter for converting various metric measurements can be done on the fly, have to be purchased for USD5! But that was all that I purchased. I hit myself for stopping at the Myst page where a full version had been converted for the PDA, because as soon as I got there a plethora of games just opened up. Hmm. No I shan't.

As far as Windows Mobile is concerned, it seemed pretty inefficient for a mobile device. I like the instantaneous response of my Palm, and the logic behind it. Windows just seemed messy, and having to reset the device seemed to be a norm to keep the system running 'fresh'. One thing about the Calendar function though, on the Palm I used to enter everything in the Datebook, which was similar, I just entered it directly on the Date and Time I thought I would do it, on the Windows one, however, I had to enter Location, time, priority, notes...and a plethora of other fields that really meant that if you say if you're gonna be there doing that, you'd better be doing that. I was quite used to the Palm one where I'd write 'Dinner with (person)', and if I can't make it, I'd just drag it to the next day (yes that is the ultimate organized laziness), same goes for things I want to postpone, which as you can tell right now, I did fairly often.

I guess that holds the whole Personal Digital Assistant concept together. Except that now I really have an assistant who wants to know where I am, what I'm doing, and for how long because the next one is coming up soon. I suddenly feel like a fraction of my freedom disappeared, out of my own initiative at that.