Wherein I take the gun test

Many of my friends seem to like taking online quizzes – personally I’m not too fond of the idea of taking a quiz wherein I give someone generic information about myself so that they can tell me something about myself based on the information that they gave me. Also I always have the sneaking suspicion that no paper (or electronic-form) test can truly capture a person’s personality or the entire scope of circumstance surrounding an issue.

This was fully evidenced when I visited a site promoting the use of firearms for self-defence.

Take the test (click on “Firearms are a liability” on the first screen) and see a quiz where the “None of the above”s are conspicuously missing and logical fallacies parade themselves like porcelain ducks at a shooting range – the most devious of all (in my opinion) being the False Analogies.

Note the evil usage of Socratic questioning.

Or perhaps because I’m pacifist and firearms are prohibited in Singapore that I feel pretty strongly against them. If anything, Singapore is proof that even Bubble Gum CAN be prohibited for the general well-being of the majority of citizens. Take that, anti-Probitionists!

Wherein I empathize with salari-men

Possibly the worst things about working life is the gradual atrophying of my mind – as evidenced by what counts for entertainment these days.

She is Ai Otsuka and she appears in several other similarly sugar-poppy MTVs.

For some reason it makes me feel happy watching these, even though I have no idea what Ms Otsuka is screaming (though I harbour a suspicion that might be a good thing). That she wants me to be “Smily” and have “Happy Days” is good enough for a poor sa-la-ri-man like me. The girls (stretching that term) in my office don’t smile like that at me and tell me that they feel strong and pretty, not even when take my shirt off, put on a hula dress and bang a drum around the office.

Despite looking like one of those sadly overpublicized, undertalented Japanese idols, it turns out Miss Otsuka has some ability in songwriting, having written most of her own songs – including the lyrics, which leads me to believe that Miss Otsuka has a very good smack supplier. She can also play the piano and the guitar, as proven (in a vague and utterly falsifiable way) in this video:

Here’s Miss Otsuka’s entry in Wikipedia, which contains a not-very-cute picture of her and some information about her career, as well as her shoe size – 22.5cm – which would mean she would have a pretty small penis if she were a man. Here’s a fansite in French about Miss Otsuka, which proves that singing in an incomprehensible language is no barrier to making fans if you smile enough and look like your breakfast consists of grass and milk.

Miss Otsuka is also a talented graphics artist who seems to specialize in post-modern sketches of cutesy stuff. You can see samples on her official website which looks to have been aligned thematically to suit her latest album, LOVE COOK. I am unsure of Mis Otsuka’s ability with the English language.

… I guess it won’t be long now before I start watching videos in the dark in my underwear and… doing stuff whilst Miss Otsuka (or generic female Japanese artiste) proclaims her joy and willingness to do anything to make you happy to the world.

I swear, another few more rounds of Miss Otsuka and I’ll get back to reading my Nietzsche, I promise.

Wherein work takes over my life

Sumimasen! Gomenasai

These days, I begin speaking thus to a colleague of mine, a Japanese lady who works on a computer that always seems to have irreversibly bad things happend to it. I’m not too sure what the two words above mean, but I’m hoping that they are phrases offering apology. One basic Learn-to-Speak-Japanese course and over ten years of watching Japanese anime have only served to give me a vocabulary of Japanese terms that would only be applicable if I were a rude and narcissistic ((insert robot name here))-pilot who regularly engaged in sexual activity.

Of course, that side seldom comes up in my conversations with my colleague.

I suppose I should also be apologizing to my readers as well, whom I have neglected with over a week not posting. It’s just that work is terrible at the moment (and, I suspect, the moments to come).

My main role as a graphic designer has been somewhat superceded by my abilities with a computer. Over the past weeks, I have learnt many an Outlook 2003 trick and actually performed a full system restore on a Windows Server 2003 PDC. I have learnt the fragilities of IIS, and the sad and sorry state of Microsoft’s CRM software. I am on call almost 24 hours of the day in case the email server goes down, which as all sysadmins must know is one of the most critical points in business. Learning how to do a system restore is an affair that will potentially stop your heart when you’re actually doing it on a production server.

I lost two weeks of data on our database. That took a lot of Gomenasais. It’s a good thing I’m lowly paid and it’s highly unlikely they can ever find another person to take my position at my pay-scale, or I’d have been fired, though to tell the truth being so lowly paid I’m not too sure I’d be unhappy being fired.

There were days when I barely touched Photoshop at all.

Weekends sucked, too, due to the First Aid course I’m attending now. Due to the nature of my company’s business, several staff members had to attend a First Aid course, and I tagged along since it was to be paid for in full by the company anyway.

First Aid is a depressing topic, really. The actual series of actions for CPR are simplistic enough that you can learn them in half a day, or even an hour. Here’s the (almost) complete procedure, in three simple drawings:

Actually remembering what to do in case of an accident and having the guts to do CPR is another matter altogether. You see, CPR is a life-saving technique. Having played a glut of RPGs in my life, I have this tendency to think of human life as having a measurable value, with a maximum HP (hit points) and 0 being death. Actual life, though, is a lot more complicated. CPR may save your life, but it risks permanent disability, puncturing lung and liver, damaging the heart and will most likely end up in a couple of cracked ribs. The definition of Life in CPR, it turns out, is a medical one – meaning as long as your brain is receiving blood and oxygen.

Even doing CPR might end you up in a hospital, since you risk infection from the person you do rescue breathing on. Worse – you might get sued for malpractice if you do something wrong and kill or permanently injure someone (which is why torniquets are illegal in Singapore).

First Aid can save only about 30% of lives (given that proper medical aid can arrive in time) according to the statistics our instructor provided. It’s a depressing figure, but like our instructor said – if you didn’t do anything, wouldn’t you regret it for the rest of your life? Also, there have been cases of people having no pulse or breathing for hours who have been saved through unceasing CPR performed by trainee doctors and nurses at hospitals (no wonder the necrophilia). CPR is actually the final hope for a casualty, not defilibration.

Which is not to say all casualties should be pumped and blowed-into. Being able to differentiate which you can do such things for takes up a large portion of the course.

The test is tomorrow – with any luck I’ll pass it and be certified to perform CPR. I’d recommend it to my friends, but unfortunately, First Aid is the kind of course you hope all your friends go for but you will probably never take up yourself.

If doctors weren’t paid so highly, would so many people want to heal?

Wherein I am in need of help

C’est terrible! The worst has happened!

I can’t find my copy (pirated) of Wit anywhere! I must have lent it to one of my friends, who probably fell asleep watching the first ten minutes of it and never returned it to me.

I’m ordering the DVD from Amazon, but as it will only arrive in two weeks time will the friend who has it please return it to me before I watch Nanny McPhee and forever lose all respect for Emma Thompson?

In case you’re wondering, Wit is a wonderful made-for-TV movie about a professor who dies of cancer. As you may have guessed, it is one of my all-time favourites and I am of the opinion that Emma Thompson deserved to win that BFCAA more than some woman playing Judy Garland. The story goes like this – literature professor is told she has cancer, undergoes treatment for it, and dies. The plot is stunning, brutal and touching (if you don’t know or don’t care about the difference between story and plot, watch this instead). It requires tissues (well, at least I did, though I have been known to be rather tapsy for a guy) and yet I wouldn’t classify it as a tragedy. It’s one of those films that claim to reveal something of the human condition, and in my case I think it does.

It is better than Tuesdays With Morrie, because the main character spirals into despair and despondency as she succumbs to the disease instead of being an insipidly heroic role model (eyes… rolling… can’t… stop…). If you’re looking for something show the kids so that they can be brainwashed into being good citizens and upright pillars of virtue, look elsewhere.

It is based on a play, meaning there are no fast cars or exciting gunfights. There is a lot of slow camera work centered on people talking, which to my experience means will not appeal to most people (ie none of the people I know). If you do watch it and want to share the experience, I am most willing to have coffee with you, Dear Stranger, and talk about the film. Of course, since my readers are mostly my friends (who have shown no interest despite my waxing) and pokemon-hentai seekers, I’m guessing the probability is miniscule.

Save me! Before Nanny McPhee!

Reading back a couple of posts, I realize that some people seem to think I said that Jack Neo’s I Not Stupid Too was a good film and are incredulous about it. I did. Jack Neo knows his audience well. Unfortunately I am not in his target audience, and because of that it is entirely understandable that his latest work has failed to move me. On the other hand, its efficacy on his target audience is applaudable. If pesticide doesn’t kill you because you’re not a bug, but works wonders on cockroaches, I’d say it’s pretty good pesticide.

(And Aside to those of you who watched Le Divorce with me: I never liked Le Divorce. It was a horrible film experience for me. I think we watched it because there was nothing else screening at the period and we were sad little people who had nothing else to do with our time. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the one who made the decision to watch it (or if I was, I am truly very sorry for it – I had no idea what the movie was about). So please stop bringing up as an argument that I have poor film taste. Not that I don’t, but to be nailed for something like that!)