I just did the most amazing drive ... to the Dealova OST track 10 on repeat ... and don't get me wrong. I know loneliness.
But this night, it was all about the drive. Solo. Nobody else will remember, but when it is only your own self to think about... that is when you can let yourself go.
Thursday, August 31, 2006
I just did the most amazing drive ... to the Dealova OST track 10 on repeat ... and don't get me wrong. I know loneliness.
Posted by Madcap Machinist at 5:31 am
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
The ground below: holds me up as I fall;
On my left: a bent man, here but not here;
On my right: trying to catch her eye, but she does not see me;
Hushed whispers behind me;
my back chafes against the wall.
But before me. Ah,
Posted by Madcap Machinist at 5:55 pm
Sunday, August 27, 2006
What if you woke up one day and discovered that you were a cat who had been dreaming that he was a man?
If you had come by to this blog a few times over the past couple of days, you might have noticed that the poem in the last post has been changing every so often, because I just couldn't be happy with it and kept revising it. I am reasonably happy with it now, and though there is no small measure of discomfort with it left, I'm afraid that I am revising it to death now. Maybe the theme of the poem itself, and the discomfort that I am trying to convey through it, is affecting me too. So I don't know if it works, but I'll leave it alone for now.
Comments, as always, are welcome.
Sharon Bakar put up a Malay pantun (or pantoum; see also Wikipedia entry on pantun, and a penetrating English text on the subject) the other day on Puisi-Poesy, which goes like this:
Kerengga di dalam buloh,In response to Sharon's challenge, I'd like to offer the following translation:
Serahi berisi air mawar.
Datang hasrat dalam tuboh,
Tuan seorang jadi penawar.
Ants blaze in the bamboo tree,Not a very good translation, I'm afraid, but a faithful one, I hope.
A decanter of rose water.
When desire blights this body,
You are the only cure.
I love pantuns, and am always happy to respond in kind. So I replied with another pantun in the comments. I have decided to revise the pantun, and I am happy with this:
Serahi berisi air mawar,Perhaps someone would like to reply to this pantun? :-)
Harumnya menusuk balur.
Saya datang menjadi penawar,
Bisa puan nyenyak tidur.
A decanter of rose water,
Its scent pierces the toughest hide.
I come, my love, an elixir;
That you would sleep well tonight.
Posted by Madcap Machinist at 10:35 pm
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Yesterday I noticed my phone flutter on the table. Yes, flutter, not vibrate. It stirred to life in the faintest of tremors... and then fell silent. The blue "ringing" indicator blinked but not a sound came from it. It was not on silent mode. Uh-oh.
There is a superstition that you shouldn't discuss getting a new car anywhere near your present car, much less while you're in it. Supposedly, if you do, all sorts of problems would crop up with the car i.e. the alternator would fail, brakes go soft, mysterious accidents when parked, etc. etc. Isn't an aging car, due to be replaced, supposed to behave that way anyway? OK, so maybe a sulking car could go off wandering alone in the dead of the night getting into all sorts of scrapes. If it was Herbie. Yes, and my girlfriend is (slurp!) Lindsay Lohan.
Anyway, so what if this idea applies to cellphones as well? I have been shopping around for a new phone these past couple of weeks, even talking about it over the phone. I've filled up my SIM card directory, yup, all 250 slots (even though I can count the number of people I'd recognize on sight with a monkey's fingers)... and the directory in the phone's memory is already filling up fast. As a rule of thumb, 60% of numbers in a single guy's phone belong to (hopefully single) women — though you can bet that the number decreases with age — so you would think that with 180 single women just a phone call away one could get a decent date any time he chooses. Not so.
But I digress.
My too-cool-for-a-model-number (read: dirt cheap) Alcatel phone just cannot handle two separate directories. It scrolls slowly, and most of the time, hangs. So I have to alternate between the two, using one for work and the other for personal purposes. It's just not working out, because things are just not that clear cut. I keep having to switch directories every other occasion, a process that takes interminable minutes. A spanking new phone, with a state of the art directory is what I need, one that you can collect someone's mobile, home and office number on one virtual card, and would at least allow me to write her full name. In short, whatever an entry-level Nokia has.
But I'm going to indulge the long-deprived geek in me. A PDA phone is what the geek wants and an O2 is what the geek will get. Hopefully this Saturday. Miss Tink had better exorcise that little man that sings five times a day.
So yesterday the Alcatel lost its ability to ring. Last night, I found that I can no longer charge it. Once it runs out of juice, probably within the next couple of hours, it'll be dead. Oh yeah, and the last few times I called people there was no ringing tone; there's this long silence and then, out of nowhere, Hello. But that could just be Maxis. Not DiGi; DiGi rawks!
It's not that bad. The last Alcatel I had, it kept mixing up the numbers with other people's names so when I use the directory, select a person to call, it dials someone else's number. Conversely, when a call comes in and I pick up, I would find that the caller is not the same as the one shown on the screen. Go figure*. It was quite entertaining, though not very funny at all to the girls, I bet.
I am probably the only person who has ever subjected so many Alcatel phones to such heavy use so they never knew these sort of problems exist. But next to the geek, there's the pervert.
... or should I say, next to a geek, there's a pervert?
* I figured out that the Alcatel operating system doesn't merge the two databases very well. In the earlier model, the problem was because it kept mixing up the index; in this one I have, probably arising from the same bug, it simply could not process the next item in the list if it is from a different directory. If you work for Alcatel, I'd appreciate it if you'd fix it and send me a free phone. Or at least a paying job as a professional guinea pig. Whatever.
Update: It's dead.
Posted by Madcap Machinist at 3:23 pm
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Friday, August 18, 2006
There was this long and narrow greasy burger shop at the tip of a street corner just down the road by the art college in Plymouth where you can get a quarter-pounder with everything on it for just 2 pounds. Since I lived just a couple of streets away, I'd stop by a few times a week, sometimes sitting tucked away in the corner, reading. Since it was only a small shop — if you think of the place as the size of your finger, think of it like that bit of a fingernail that grew past your fingertip, if you keep it short — hence no dine-in spaces for groups, it afforded some privacy while at the same time providing a lot of opportunities to watch — and meet — people. As long as you keep eating, nobody really complains. That's how I somehow managed to top out at 58kgs that year. If you think that's nothing, then you can bet a million bucks and start saving a dollar a day now if you want to see a roly-poly Rezz, please.
That's part of the reason why I went on a diet of potatoes, turkey ham, mangoes, apples, eggs and tomato soup. That's how you live on 5 pounds a week for home-cooked food in the UK. Milk & coffee, of course, is extra. I went through three large of Gold Blends a week back then, on top of the other good stuff. But for those, I washed dishes and "whore dewves"-ed nights (actually poke "spling lolls?" and "thom yum kaaa?"-ed, but same difference) and woke up to sandy filtered coffee mornings to sweep the council yards. Really, the things we do for food.
Jake's, that's the name of that burger place. I never called the brader burger "Jake." Not like how we'd call them "Bang Ramly" (rhymes with "Bung Rum-Lee", for you anglophones, native or learned) here.
It was a typical November night in Devon: cold and wet and a lot of silly students around busy comparing notes on lagers. I was on the way back from the Yellow Bus myself, right after the 3pm tutorials. By then, it had become a ritual, for that's when I learned how you get your groupwork done at uni — conference till 5, meet back at 8 with a six-pack of Hiney's and get to -ahem- work. Celebrate a job well done until three. They didn't call me the Mad Malaysian for nothing. Of course, it didn't happen every night, but that's how it feels like. I can probably remember only a few nights with any certainty... but even those seem kinda boozy.
Even the bacon on the grill forgot to sizzle when these two cuckoo fuckers walked in out from the street starkers. Cupping their hands over their groins, they were trying to be modest at least, hairy cracks and all, but you could tell that the cold has gotten to them: their hands were clenched over their balls so tightly that there were bits of purple testicles bulging through the cracks of their fingers. And the place was so confined that when one of the girls waiting for her order turned around, saw them, and actually yelped "oh my lord Jesus Christ came twice!" that almost everyone inside recoiled and bumped into each other's burgers.
Jake didn't even seem to blink. The sausages were having apoplectic seizures and the man just turned back to his grill, glanced aside, cocked an eyebrow and asked cheerfully, "what will it be, numb nuts?" Not missing a beat, he flashed a grin at the girl; it was really her shocked reaction that made the whole thing so funny. I turned back to my book, and everyone ignored the newcomers. Dude, it's not like it was a "chastity of the eyes" situation here but this was Double Naked City — beat that Waiter! :-)
The whole thing, it turned out, was a dare (or so the attention-whores claim.) Ah, the things we do for free food. I think that was actually the last time I went to that sorry place.
I streaked around my neighbourhood once. But that's a different story.
So, anybody got any stories about naked people in the streets?
Posted by Madcap Machinist at 4:17 pm
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Glancing at my mirrors I saw the school bus just clearing the junction; it had run the red light, and the motorists who now had right of way were impatiently waiting to move. During its ponderous, tilting turn, the bus must have blocked the road for at least five seconds now since the lights turned green.
Having just made it past the lights myself, exiting the junction at the exact moment that the lights turned from amber to red, I am already three car lengths away from the bus. In 15 seconds, the next set of lights will turn red.
I could see them already. Only light traffic; I would just make it, accelerating.
A teacher's daily report book is a bulky, hefty document to carry, and that's what she was holding close to her bosom, dark blue baju kurung flapping around her figure as she perched on the hard shoulder in the middle of the road, pressing against the yellow and black steel fencing that divides the six-lane road. Trailing close behind her, three girls in white and light blue school uniforms. There is a school nearby. Chuck a yooey at the lights (illegal) or turn left at the junction, turn around, and take the right turn (legal); then, take the turn immediately to your left; a few hundred meters straight down the road, the school will be on the right side.
Braking from 100 to 50km/h, slowing down on account of the gaggle of girls on the roadside. I would pass them only half a meter away. The chances of a pedestrian surviving a collision with a car falls drastically as the car exceeds 50km/h. Should one trip and fall...
Glancing at my mirrors I see the bus take the right lane. It would make that U-turn at the lights. The jaywalkers press in closer to the fence, making room for the bus.
Then, the dark shadow of the pedestrian overhead bridge flits over me. Soon, I will come to the next set of lights.
Posted by Madcap Machinist at 4:47 pm
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Saturday, 5 August 2006
The sun had just set when the speedboat bearing us from Mersing finally drew up alongside a fishing vessel and sidled up to it to dock at Salang Jetty. In the dark waters just off the portside of the boat, beams of white light merrily swivelled and flickered — the night divers were already in the water. The final group of travelers to reach Salang Village on the tip of the island of Tioman that day sighed with relief and then chattered with undisguised anticipation as they filtered out of the boat and stepped onto land.
The journey, which took an hour from the mainland, is noteworthy — the winds were high and waters were choppy, making the trip very bumpy and wet. For some, judging from the screams, it must have been terrifying. For others, it must at least have been rather exciting. I don't remember much of the journey myself for, some fifteen minutes after we boarded the speedboat, I had fallen asleep out of sheer exhaustion from all the late-night excitement partying at the Ministry of Sound in Singapore the night before, compounded with the early drive to Mersing from Johor Bahru. If not for a snatch of video I took with Kukai's digicam as we started out, whatever evidence I have of the hairy boat ride consists of the memory an extremely gray man — he had spent most of it outside on the aft of the boat, getting drenched from head to toe, spewing out whatever loose content in his guts even from the moment the boat had first ventured into the open sea — seated off to one side of the jetty being attended to by his companion, and the dull ache at the back my skull when it had bounced off several times against the low, hard back of my seat as I slept. I do remember those bangs on the head. You might think that I'd have found it impossible to sleep because of them but they were like so many karate chops to the back of the neck that only served to wake me for a moment to register the pain and then drive me back to unconsciousness.
So, it was with heavy eyes and a pounding head that I stood at the end of the jetty and regarded the village in the distance and welcomed myself back to the island paradise I had discovered only three years ago, but had missed desperately. Inevitably, like the waves rushing to kiss the shore, came the memories of the Great Love which had started here and ended in catastrophe like the tempest that accompanied my return. I had often wondered since I started to plan this trip how I would feel when I came back here. Many times also, I had considered choosing a different place, fearing the expected onslaught of memories that could render me incapacitated, for I am such the sentimental soul who is prone to such weakness. The wounds I received from the demise of that relationship — in body and spirit — are still fresh, the proof of which: I am still powerless to resist writing about it. Still, it had to be done. I had to come here, and now it has finally come full circle — this was the 'closure' that people who know about such things bandy about so often. I came in the pretext of a much needed vacation, which is entirely true, but I also harboured some hope that when I got here I would remember much more clearly who I was when I first came here, and reconcile it to how I am now. This is, in effect, also a kind of pilgrimage.
As we made our way through the village towards the chalet for four that we had booked earlier at an agency at Mersing, I let my eyes roam to drink in the festive atmosphere that infuses this village, the (reputedly) liveliest and also the largest of the thirteen villages that dot the shores of this island. The village is infested with tourists, and though the night was still young, the first of the two bars on the beach was already packed with reveling travellers. All along the path to our chalet, right at the northern end of the village, the beach is lined with dozens of cooking fires, and the aroma of barbequed seafood competing with the salty smell of the sea permeats the humid air, and our mouths watered and our stomachs rumbled in response. We passed by scores of holiday-makers, in groups and in pairs, mostly in groups, and here and there smiles were exchanged and greetings were called out. You could already tell that it was going to be a fantastic trip.
It seems that not a lot has changed here since I was here last, except for a monster of a new two-storey glass and concrete building — with brightly lit yellow and blue signboard that loudly identifies it as the SALANG COMPLEX — that had inexplicably erupted at the land end of the jetty like a purulent pimple on an otherwise pleasing teenager's face. Later, Kukai would also agree that it was an eyesore and one of the locals would also concur, that it was an abomination, an unnecessary 'improvement' that they had never asked for. It appears that even here, however much unwelcome and obviously unneeded, the threat of urbanization looms over the island. Are we to expect in five years time there would be more of these structures — hotels, holiday apartments, shopping arcades — all in the name of Progress? God forbid! But even now a barge — carrying earth, stone and iron and a tractor from the mainland — is beached on the shore, signs that this village has not seen the end of 'improvements' to its landscape, the value of which, and its utility, still remains to be seen.
If by this time I still had any reservations about deciding to come here, they were slowly being pushed away to the back of my mind and I could feel myself slowly relaxing and as they melt away. The ghosts of the past still lingered but they never attacked. We passed the path up to the chalet where we — the Ex and I — had once stayed and I was tempted slightly to follow it and... to do what, I don't know. There, the hammock where we had both squeezed into and slept tangled together all night until the heat of the morning woke us up was still there. I still remember, almost word for word, the preceding argument, when she had tried to convince me to come to bed in the chalet, fearing death by mosquito bites, or worse, bled by vampire bats, but then had succumbed to my numbing kisses. By sheer coincidence, the rock that jutted out of the footpath and had once been smeared with my blood when I stubbed my toe on it once again tried to fell me as I tripped on it in the darkness. This time though, I had remembered what happened and had opted to wear shoes instead of open-toed sandals so there was no injury. Perhaps that was a defining moment: I am wiser now; not yet wise enough to watch my step more carefully, but at least had prepared for it (not so difficult to remember, I am that clumsy).
The night passed quickly, us having already arrived late in the evening. After settling down in our assigned chalet, we proceeded to dinner and had the most tender baked fish that had been marinated with a mysterious sauce that somehow made us even more ravenous. The two girls from Los Angeles — Kukai and April — had taught us to exclaim, "that is so tight!" when encountering something that we would say "fucken nayce" and we proceeded to interject in between bites with exclamations of "this is so tayte!" and "nayce!" and "this fish is da bomb!", "the shiznit!" etc. Suffice to say that this was an amazing dinner, and would only be topped by the next night's dinner.
Somehow, we fell into a conversation with a group on the next table and soon found ourselves joining a curious party comprising a pair of Portuguese men, a couple of Austrian girls, a Korean from Dallas, a Johorean Tan Sri, and a local boat captain. They had kindly sent us a dish of sweet and sour fish that they had caught earlier, and had invited us to share their drinks. The rest of the night became a blur as we started to consume one can of beer after another. The girls, tired from the day's exertions, retired to bed early and The Saint and I then proceeded with the group to go the first bar, where the Korean from Dallas, smoking a Monte Cristo, poured liberal amounts whiskey into our beers and encouraged us to drink it all up. Later, we found ourselves at a secluded bar at the end of the beach where a bonfire had been started and people simply sat drinking on the beach and dozed on the rocks, and the air buzzed with conversations and thumped with music. Already warmed to our holiday, we bought a round of vodka & cola for everyone, and the way these things happen, found ourselves, in return, being given even more glasses filled to the brim with less mixer than there was liquor. Then, for the first time in what had seemed like eternity, distanced from all concerns, I let myself go and slipped into oblivion.
Posted by Madcap Machinist at 4:20 am
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
... I am not shy of making small talk in elevators, so I was (with Garbage loudly playing out of my headphones) trying to chat up a chick while on the way up to friends' apartment, a paper bag in one hand.
As I stepped out of the elevator, she wished me "have fun with your girlfriend!"
I wondered why, because I never mentioned a girlfriend in our conversation. Then I realized that the paper bag that I was carrying came from Blush!
You'd have to appreciate her powers of observation then, but if only she would have asked, she would have found that I was carrying a box of homemade pizza in the paper bag, and not edible knickers laced with cheese.
p/s: Muzak should be interesting to have in an i-Pod, yeah? or a caller tune. Hello, thanks for calling, I am lunging for the phone and will be with you shortly. Then, muzak.
Posted by Madcap Machinist at 3:54 pm
Sharon has gone to Cherating and left her readers to play with some magnetic poetry while she is away. Goody... another distraction for my wand'ring mind.
The thing about magnetic poetry is that it is hard to make it interesting and still make sense... that is, if you do it like I do: don't use punctuations; use only the pieces that you are given; construct grammatically correct sentences with as little fragmentation as possible or use fragments but make them rhyme; and the poem should somehow make sense. Yes, I like to make things unnecessarily difficult, so bite me.
This one is from the "Artist" kit:
Maybe if I feel like it I'd do the "Sexual Innuendo" or "Pick Up Lines" kit tomorrow.
Posted by Madcap Machinist at 12:12 am