I am the revolution

Kudos to Andrew Ironside – he was a geek voted to be valedictorian by the “popular” classmates as a stupid joke, but he had the last laugh.

Which is probably far more than what I would have done in his place. It’s just as well, since this situation would have never happened in my high school. Sadly, I cannot say it’s because my school was not full of petty, snickering teenagers who congregated in cliques; it was because valedictorian hopefuls had to consciously run as candidates.

I did get placed in my graduating yearbook as “Most Likely to Reach Puberty” by a part-time yearbook staffmember who used to bully a shorter, smaller me in Grade 9. Such creativity and hilarity! Frankly, if you read that sentence carefully, you would agree that he should have spent less time picking on people and more time polishing up on his English semantics.

They say high school are the best years of your life. That’s a total crock. It was only when I entered university that I met people who miraculously didn’t harass you because you thought or looked different from them.

Fortunately, as Andrew so helpfully pointed out, we generally never see any of our high schoolmates ever again.

Luck is one of my many skills

I don’t believe in luck. “I’m down on my luck”, people would say, as if the forces of the universe had conspired against them and they are helpless in the face of their own destinies. I believe there is the element of chance, however I just don’t believe it controls your life. I believe that with proper planning and time management, the damage from random events can be minimized. For example, to avoid missing an important appointment, get up earlier. To avoid debt, save your money for a rainy day. Life will kick you in the shins sometimes, but if you have a backup plan, there is always a way out.

Oddly enough, it fits.

I used to take showers at night, and I have no idea why.

88 ways to know you’re chinese…

  1. You look like you are 18.
  2. You like to eat chicken feet.
  3. You suck on fish heads and fish fins.
  4. You have a Chinese knick-knack hanging on your rear view mirror.
  5. You sing Karaoke.
  6. Your house is covered in tile.
  7. Your kitchen is covered by a sticky film of grease.
  8. Your stove is covered in aluminum foil.

Continue reading Oddly enough, it fits.

And knowing is half the battle

“According to Pentagon sources, the five-foot-three, 100-pound Lynch, who made a name for herself earlier this year when she fought to the death several hundred Iraqi doctors and nurses and performed open heart surgery on herself when she was injured, was among the 200 soldiers conducting manoeuvres near the former dictator’s home town of Tikrit when she said she “had a feeling” that they might find something of importance at a farm in the town of Adwar.”

Mighty Masterslide PowerPoint Rangers

14powerpoint.184.jpg The devil is in the details, they say, but hell will certainly have PowerPoint slides. They say PowerPoint was first conceived as a marketing tool, a quick and dirty sales pitch, but now it’s used by teachers, engineers, and, oh, even top government officials trying to convince their country to go to war. Even NASA has been criticized for relying too much on PowerPoint as an information delivery device – and investigators have suggested that a slide of jumbled bulleted lists may have caused NASA engineers to overlook safety issues that caused the Columbia disaster.

The NYT obliquely points out that PowerPoint is even useful if you want to obscure the facts. After all, the terser your message and the faster you pitch it, the harder it is for people to notice they are being deceived.

Granted, it is oversimplification in itself to blame Microsoft PowerPoint for the world’s troubles. In this Age of Technology, where workload is an all-time high and attention span is at an all-time low, where every sales rep and news anchor attempts to condense the essence of data into a single catchy phrase, how can you blame people for trying to be brief? How many times have you sat in a seminar where the idiot presenter maddenly regurgitated the points on his/her slide?

Perhaps if we keep PowerPoint in its place – as a primer or executive summary – and augmented it with real information. But how do you make people read it? After all, no matter what you do, people would rather read Cole’s Notes or rent the video rather than having to actually read an actual book.

Madness in a cabinet

While the FBI doesn’t have “X-Files”, it does have the Zero Files. While the Zero files are officially dedicated to chronicling “non-actionable” items rather than actual paranormal cases, many of the items can be described as equally “out there”. The Zero Files contain schizoid, paranoid ramblings on all kinds of crazy conspiracy theories. In one file, a person claims he/she is being stalked by dozens of celebrities, from Bill Gates to Rosie O’Donnell. In another file, a woman claims she is a long-lost Russian princess.

What’s interesting is that the FBI keeps them at all – because, no matter how crazy it sounds, you never know.

Super blog

A San Fran LiveJournal blogger, on the way home from the bar with friends, begins posting an audio blog entry from her cellphone, only to get into a street altercation with another group. The argument suddenly turns into a mugging. They even steal her cellphone – and it was still recording. They got the muggers’ license plate number, and now they have recorded audio evidence.

Is there nothing blogs cannot do? 😉

Expert on many things

Pud, aka Phil Kaplan, a dotcom entrepreneur most famous for his F’dcompany site, seems to have entered the Dear Abby gig as well with his Ask Pud site. He dispenses sage advice on picking up women (“NEVER approach a girl standing alone”), how to eat healthy (“Chives”), and, of course, how to make it big (“Fear is the biggest obstacle”)

This site is interesting in that it cultivates Pud’s image as a paradigm-shifting, playboy jet-setter. Perhaps it is also a good indicator that a person need not know all the answers (for example, how can he know what the best swim-up bar in the world is? It is doubtful he has visited every swim-up bar in the world), but you give it your best shot and you deliver yourself with dignity and confidence.

For truly arcane technical questions, however, I look no further than Dan’s Data, where hardware (and a cat) is examined, and all manner of electrical and computer puzzles are solved.

And I must admit, Pud’s outlook on the IT economy isn’t enthralling: “Move to India”.

More like the CGA Awards

Saw SpikeTV’s Video Game Awards last night, boy was it a travesty, although I probably only have myself to blame for expecting anything more.

The nominees were selected based on sales, I believe, and then the winners were voted on from the VGA website.

Between David Spade’s stripper jokes, NFL cheerleaders, ska bands, and gratuitous wrestling fights, you can guess what kind of demographic they are appealing to…

In short, the kind of demographic that would vote DOA Beach Volleyball for Best Animation, WWE Smackdown for Best Fighting Game, and Nascar Thunder for Best Racing Game (aka, the “Pontiac GTO Driving Award”).

However, I now have hope that, someday, I will be People’s World’s Sexiest Man, because if Enter the Matrix can win an award other than “Best $70 Frisbee Which Is Green”, I surely have a chance of one day seeing my non-existent biceps flexing in supermarket newsstands everywhere. which Yes, it beat out Star Wars: KOTOR for the “Best Movie Game” award. I was shocked and dismayed that Deer Hunter 2004 wasn’t given a trophy. Amusingly, Matrix was the only game that wasn’t shown onscreen after it won; I guess none of the VGA staff could tolerate playing it long enough to make a decent video capture.

KOTOR, having been snubbed of the the Best Movie title, did grab the Best Fantasy award, although this may have something to do with Atari/Bioware spamming their mailing lists to urge players to vote.

It was disappointing to see GTA: Vice City receive the dubious distinction of “Best Performance By A Human” – Ray Liotta, who seemed embarrassed to be there, appeared for about 20 seconds – while Madden 2004, a football simulation which frankly hasn’t changed much since 1995, got the “Best Game” award. Although even this is odd, as the award goes to the PC port of Vice City, not the PS2 original from 2002.

Nominee selection was strange. There was Battlefield 1942, a first-person multiplayer game, vying with subscription-based MMORPGs such as Final Fantasy XI in the ambiguous Best Online category. The rest of the RPGs were lumped in the equally vague “Best Fantasy Game” category, although Xenosaga ended up in the “Best Animation” slot. To make things even more nebulous, The Sims: Superstar expansion pack, which isn’t even an actual full game, was on the Best Game shortlist. XIII was also nominated, even though it was only released in late November.

In the end, they didn’t even invite the actual game developers to the shindig. When an award as announced, the camera just panned off to a random table and showered the occupants with confetti.