Friday, July 27, 2007

Out of context

Like many, I enjoy watching films. One of my all-time favorite is Fight Club, which I own the disk and watch it from time to time even now. Then there are movies like Lord of the Rings, which I think is epic and enjoyable, although I don't think I will watch again.

I enjoy listening to other people's opinion (and especially ones who agree), so I asked my roommate and his girlfriend about how they felt about GATTACA She didn't like it because it wasn't realistic. I paused.

I asked her why she didn't like the fact that it wasn't realistic. She answered with the reason why it wasn't realistic. A few months later, similar critique came from her for another film, The Matrix, and the same for Lord of the Rings.

It is difficult why she was demanding realism in a film that that clearly belongs to fantasy and science fiction. Maybe what she was trying trying to say was that she likes a movie which portrays real life, and not fiction. But somehow, I cannot persuade myself to think that is what she meant - I have the feeling that she will say the same thing if she saw La Strada or Persona.


A while back, I have taken someone to a concert. The performance by the string quartet was beautiful, and while I was not a big fan of classical music, I was deeply moved.

After the concert, I have asked my date how she had liked the music.

"I like piano music better." She replied.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


I was browsing for a rental, and picked up a disc of a television series. The owner started talking.

Owner: So do you know what this show is about?
Me: No. Is it any good?
Owner: Yes, I liked it.
Me: What is it about?
Owner: Well, I won't spoil it for you, but it starts like this...what happens when one of your friend commits suicide? She sends email to you.

I found his description of this premise far more interesting than the show itself.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


My wrist is going to break if I am asked to fix fonts figures that are already in TIFF...a word of advice - if you aren't sure whether the editor will accept your manuscript, PLEASE keep the original file, for chrissake...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Did you know that memories are water-soluble? This is why you cry.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Hey, I thought it was a good advice!

A co-worker's wife was pregnant with a girl.

Co-worker: "So, we're thinking of Fatima as her name."

Me: "Hmm, I don't know. I wouldn't name my kid with word 'fat' in it."

He hasn't spoken to me since.

Monday, July 16, 2007


About sisters:
  • Eldest: Gregarious but overbearing
  • Middle: Well-adjusted, responsible, and tolerant.
  • Youngest: Spoiled and fun.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


To the lady with her baby (hey, that rhymes!) in the coffee shop:

You think you own the world 'cuz you managed to get knocked up!? Damn you!

Ambition and Friendship

I've heard this story once:

There were two young boys who were close friends in ancient China. They did everything together. One day, the boys were studying in a hut, sitting on the same rag. A parade passed in front of the hut. One of the boys looked out the window to watch the processions pass. The other boy has cut the rag in half, and never talked to his friend again. He kept studying and became a high-ranking government official.

This anecdote was told to encourage young children to study hard and become successful, even if it comes at a personal cost.

My reaction to this story is this:
  1. The guy who cut his friend off is an asshole.
  2. Couldn't he help his friend concentrate? The guy was just curious, you know...
  3. I don't think being a loner guarantees studiousness.
  4. Although he attained high status, I doubt that he would have made much of a leader.
Unless I'm missing the point, I feel that this story is likely to encourage pathological behavior in children who follow this boy's example. What the hell are people teaching children nowadays??

Friday, July 6, 2007


I am standing in the checkout lane of local supermarket.

Older bearded man with glasses: ...he is a pretty popular Norwegian writer. I highly recommend the book. So, what do you read?
Younger woman: (pauses) I liked reading "The Kite Runner"...

I roll my eyes.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Raison d'etre

So you have come to read my blog. Why do I write this blog?

One of the major reason for blog is to share interests and to gain attention. Academic writing is much the same, except your livelihood likely depends on it. Reputation is the most precious commodities in modern society, and you need both interests and attention to gain it.

Unlike academic writing, many blogs, like this one, is written by an anonymous writer, with oh so clever title and pen name, and maybe a nice picture in the profile. Anonymity is necessary in some cases, but only because the writing causes some harm to his or her reputation. It is possible to write a blog with your name on it, except that it only causes you to be less emboldened. Serve the content with weakest of sauce so as not to harm anyone. It is the bigger brother of your superego which holds you back - the social consequences of revealing the point of contention to the public audience.

Public writing is an art. I, for one, had another blog to my name. It was anonymous, but of course only one to two people read it for one article that reviewed a product. Is that worth the effort spent? No, I think not. Some are diaries - some friend have invited to view her blog diaries, and I have read it from time to time. I don't do it anymore. There really wasn't any point in reading about someone's life where I had almost nothing to do with it. I don't reside in her city and most of her writing was about her social life. The other was about her personal life. She is my friend and while she insisted in visiting her site, but was told not to say anything about what she has written to others. I found it rather perverse to not be able to acknowledge the blog's presence to my other friends: so I stopped reading.

But I do search the web from time to time and encounter some beautifully written personal essays. It's like how I use Amazon from time to time, or some listens obsessively to a political rant, or subscribes to a podcast which eats up half an hour or more of your time during the week. It's the fact that it can be searched and picked up and enjoyed for minutes at a time which makes a blog such a wonderful thing. I want people to agree with me. I also want to hear the other view (but of course not so much as the other, and you know you are lying if you say do don't). I want to be validated by others as much as many people do who read the web.

As I said, public writing is an art. And it is a very strange art. It is for public viewing, but it is not invasive in any way, unlike sound and sight - you need the reader to collaborate by reading. This makes public writing a personal art. You have to read this to hear me*, and you are alone in this act. But I would like to tell you that you are sometimes a lot like me, and would like to know that I am not alone to feel this way.

- WiS

*Unless you are reading this aloud to others, in which I would like you to stop right now - I think most beyond the age of preschoolers would prefer reading the material by himself.