Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Luang Prabang

There is nothing here. Seriously. There is NOTHING HERE. Move along please. And take your tatoos, wannabecool hippie sadal clad feet and just kindly take the next bus,boat or plane out of here. It's too quiet here. If you really want sex and debauchery you might want to head on down to Thailand. There they'll love you long time. You want the most happening and hippest party scene you definitely need to go to Singapore or Jakarta. They've got the most sophisticated women around. You want to party without the high SIngapore prices come on down to Kayel. And ladies I havent forgotten you. You want flings with surfer gods go to Bali or you'd find some beach heads in Pehentian and Krabi.

Seriously there is NOTHING here. Please move along. I think I'm going to marry a local girl and buy some land here and then all you're going to get is grief from some grumpy pissed off Chindian.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Leaving On A Jet Plane

This is the picture that made me change my plans to hike around Luang Prabang in Laos. I leave tomorrow morning. My first break this year. I'm now only spending one full day in Luang Prabang, then I head further into the mountainous region close to the North Vietnamese border to check out the Plain of Jars. I saw this picture on some website. I'm not expecting much. That picture looks too good to be true but I just want to be there. I don't know why. I need to make my way by road probably by bus up the mountain. I have engaged a guide as all these stories about land mines does tend to test one's testicular fortitude.

It's going to be a rushed trip, far from my original plans of frolicking in the Luang Prabang hills and just chilling in some little cafe reading Kinky Friedman. I was so looking forward to visiting the newly discovered Mount Solo ;) But anyway let's see what happens.

Peekaboo has been briefed on work related matters but its kinda weird. I feel like someone who has forgotten something. Something's missing.

Didn't lock the car? Nope.

Soap in ears? Nope.

Little Johnny peeping out of opened zipper? Nop..Back boy! Back! Back I say!!! Whew...

I think its just the feeling of freedom setting in because that gnawing feeling is simply the realisation that there is nothing more on my mind but simply the thought of prepping myself for the next 5 days in a foreign country. The only things I'll be thinking about will probably be:

1. How to get from point A to point B

2. Where is the closest bar.

3. Hope the weather holds up.

4. Where is the closest bar.

5. Where to find a land mine shaped key chain and hope it's close to a bar.

Tomorrow I will head to the airport. The first flight that I will be taking in more than 6 months where work will NOT be on my mind. Somewhere along the way I will probably hum the Chantal Kravaziak version of 'Leaving on a jet plane' as is my habit when travelling. Hmm...think I'll start of the day with a roti canai and teh tarik at 30,000 feet.

Lovely.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Astronomy Picture Of the Day Revisited

ENLARGE THESE PICTURES FOR MAX EFFECT!

Thought I'd share some more pics from Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD). Always the best balm to remind me that we are simultaneously insignificant micro organisms on a universal scale but at the same time we live on one helluva gorgeous beautiful planet that we are systematically destroying by the hour.

The picture above was taken from either the space station or a satellite. It was dedicated to the first man in space Yuri Gagarin. Oh yeah, this time around I've included some of the explanations from the team of professors at APOD. And I HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend you enlarge the pics to really appreciate these breathtaking shots.


Night sky from 13,500 ft. (about same height as Kinabalu Mountain!)




ABOVE THE WORLD
Explanation: From the windswept peak of Mauna Kea, on the Big Island of Hawaii, your view of the world at night could look like this. At an altitude of about 13,500 feet, the mountain top is silhouetted in the stunning skyscape recorded near dusk in early December of 2005. The volcanic peak rises just above a sea of storm clouds illuminated by a bright Moon. Planet Venus is setting near the Moon as the brilliant evening star. The scene also includes the faint, milky band of our own galaxy's disk of stars and cosmic dust clouds stretching from the horizon into the sky along the right edge of the frame.

Say NO to light pollution!



PROTECTED NIGHT OVER FLAGSTAFF

Explanation: This sky is protected, the first lighting ordinance ever enacted, which restricted searchlight advertisements from sweeping the night skies above Flagstaff, Arizona, USA. Flagstaff now enjoys the status of being the first International Dark Sky City, and maintains a lighting code that limits lights from polluting this majestic nighttime view. The current dark skies over Flagstaff not only enable local astronomers to decode the universe but allow local sky enthusiasts to see and enjoy a tapestry contemplated previously by every human generation. The above image, pointing just east of north, was taken two weeks ago at 3 am from Fort Valley, only 10 kilometers from central Flagstaff. Visible in the above spectacular panorama are the San Francisco Peaks caped by a lenticular cloud. Far in the distance, the plane of the Milky Way Galaxy arcs diagonally from the lower left to the upper right, highlighted by the constellations of Cassiopeia, Cepheus, and Cygnus. On the far right, the North America Nebula is visible just under the very bright star Deneb.

Sunset from the International Space Station



SUNSET:PLANET EARTH

Explanation: Today, the Sun crosses the celestial equator heading north at 0548 UT. Known as the equinox, the geocentric astronomical event marks the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere and autumn in the south. Equinox means equal night and with the Sun on the celestial equator, Earth dwellers will experience nearly 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. Of course, for those in the north, the days will grow longer with the Sun marching higher in the sky as summer approaches. To celebrate the equinox, consider this colorful view of the setting Sun. Recorded last June from the International Space Station, the Sun's limb still peeks above the distant horizon as seen from Earth orbit. Clouds appear in silhouette as the sunlight is reddened by dust in the dense lower atmosphere. Molecules in the more tenuous upper atmosphere are preferentially scattering blue light.

How come we don't get night skies like this?




SKY DELIGHTS OVER SWEDEN
Explanation: This night was a sky enthusiast's delight. While relaxing in Sweden last week, many a cosmic wonder was captured with a single snapshot. They are described here from near to far. In the foreground are nearby trees and more distant snow covered mountains. In silhouette, Clouds can be seen just above the horizon, and a careful eye can even discern the more distant green and red auroras which occur in Earth's upper atmosphere. Red emission nebulas dot the sky, including the Heart and Soul Nebulas, IC 1396 and the North America Nebula. Running diagonally from the upper left to the lower right is the majestic glowing band of our Milky Way Galaxy's central plane.. More distant than everything else, appearing as it did over two million years ago, is the Andromeda galaxy, visible above the horizon toward on the lower left.


My future bar WILL be called...


THE WHALE AND THE HOCKEY STICK


Explanation: NGC 4631 is a big beautiful spiral galaxy seen edge-on (top right) only 25 million light-years away towards the small northern constellation Canes Venatici. This galaxy's slightly distorted wedge shape suggests to some a cosmic herring and to others the popular moniker of The Whale Galaxy. Either way, it is similar in size to our own Milky Way. In this gorgeous color image, the Whale's dark interstellar dust clouds, yellowish core, and young blue star clusters are easy to spot. A companion galaxy, the small elliptical NGC 4627, appears above the Whale Galaxy. At the lower left is another distorted galaxy, the hockey stick-shaped NGC 4656. The distortions and mingling trails of gas detected at other wavelengths suggest that all three galaxies have had close encounters with each other in their past. The Whale Galaxy is also known to have spouted a halo of hot gas glowing in x-rays.

Inter-stellar Cam Whore


Orbiting Astronaut reflects Earth

Explanation: Astronaut self-portraits can be particularly interesting. Visible in the above picture, working in from the outer borders, are the edges of the reflecting helmet of a space suit, modules of the International Space Station (ISS), the Earth, the arms of Expedition 15 astronaut Clay Anderson, and the digital camera used to snap the image. This picture was taken during the shuttle orbiter Endeavour's mission to expand the space station last August. The large curvature of the Earth appearing in the visor reflection is not the true curvature of our spherical Earth, but rather an artifact of the curve of the space helmet. Earth's horizon appears only slightly curved when viewed from the height of the ISS -- approximately 400 kilometers. The next space shuttle mission to the space station is currently expected to take place next month and includes the installation of the scientific Columbus Laboratory.

For more magic from APOD go HERE. For more pics from my earlier post go HERE.

Somehow after this the office politician seems less significant..

Friday, April 25, 2008

Indiana Jones vs Iron Man

"Yeah? Well Mr. 'Han Solo', I'm only Half CGI! What about you? Botox AND CGI doesn't make you look any younger than a 250 year old steak!"

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wrestling and Politics

Holy Unlikely Bedfellows Batman! Heh! Trust the Americans to trawl the length of the Earth to get their votes!

World Wrestling Entertainment's Monday Night RAW saw US presidential candidates Hilary Clinton, Barak Obama and John McClaine deliver taped messages during a special 3 hour special screening of Vince McMohan's flagship wrestling TV program in an effort to reach out to America's white collar males.

This was of course followed by an extremely hilarious in a extremely stupid sorta way(depending how many beers you had) when they had Obama and Clinton stand-ins take on each other in the ring to beat the crap out of each other.

Maybe BN candidates should have made appearances at the local Saturday Night Rempit Night Races or on Mambo Jambo nights at Zouk to try to reach out to younger voters? "C'mon Samy, sing it with me! "You to me are every thing, the sweetest vote that I can bring, oh Samy! OOOOH Samy...!"

Go HERE and HERE for more about the WWE and the US Prez candidates.

Olympic Flame in Malaysia

Some random shots from the Olympic Torch Relay Run that kicked off in Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 21st April 2008.

Some of the pageantry at Dataran Merdeka in the early afternoon.


Shots of some of the sponsors booths. Samsung looked like they splashed out quite a bit to get their max exposure.



A whole bunch of cheer leaders were on hand to provide some distraction from the heat. And gentlemen before you start, they're all under-aged.



I gotta get me one 'o these! Can you imagine the joy, zipping down the aisles at Carrefour imagining it's the Death Star trench attack?


One of those mascots with a fan.

The 'imported' supporters. The chat around the Dataran was that a chartered plane flew in about 200 of these vocal supporters of the Olympics to help promote their cause. I give them credit though, they did a good job and seemed like they were having fun. I was not able to see any of the protesters that were arrested.



The supporters stumble upon Tony Fernandes, Group CEO of AirAsia, who was torch bearer Number 5 and managed to grab some pics with him shortly before his turn to run with the torch.


Organisationally it was a bit chaotic, at least for Tony's section. He was standing just in front of Selangor Club when the entire torch entourage descended on him. Torch bearer Number 4 (not sure who was the dude) was preceded by some FRU and army dudes and what looked like Chinese Special Ops fellers (they all looked cloned from the same stern, tall military look at a glance) who were in running gear. And that whole group was surrounded by supporters and some spectators who decided to run along with the torch. The scene above is a a couple of seconds before the flame is passed on to Tony (you see him right in front of the Malaysian flag, with the shirt with red sleeves).



This is 8 seconds later! Total kan cheong action. Tony's engulfed by the crowd. All ended well though and the torch was on the way around the rest of the route. I understand it was more controlled on the roads as it was not that an open affair after the circuit around the Selangor Club field.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Chiling Falls, Kuala Kubu Baru

Yesterday after a long while I went out with some friends to check out a new outdoor site. Woon and Lam were kind enough to guide GavOLoon and myself to this quaint picnic spot in the every cool Kuala Kubu Baru district.

The entrance to the Chiling River Fish Sanctuary. It's on the right just after the little steel bridge from Kuala Kubu Baru (KKB) on the way to Frasier's Hill. There is some unofficial space about 20meters ahead on the left that acts as a car park.


Map to Chiling waterfalls from the old camp site. There are 5 river crossings to get to the Falls.

The first crossing is the newly repaired wooden bridge. We were warned that it will take the weight of 4 adults only. Well they allow 4 adults at any one time anyway. Must be the quality Made in Malaysia workmanship...

The river here is a lot more aggressive then the Janda Baik little dudes. Lotsa rocks. We were greeted with a full, engorged river that seemed to be fuelled by the rains. Unfortunately this turned the normally clear river into a muddy teh tarik affair.

The first part of the trails is tackling the Fern Alley. Beauty contestants who wish to remain unscathed should wear longer pants/capri action as the dry ferns and shrubs tend to attack your calf's and ankles with vigour.

The first river we had to wade through. As the river was very, very strong we had to take it slowly and carefully. Some parts were chest deep and if we were not careful we would have been swept away where we'd probably come to a stop with the help of a well placed boulder further downstream. Suggest also to water proof backpack and contents.




The trail is relatively easy except for the river crossings. Relatively leech free on land (depends on weather I guess) but 2 of us picked up the freeloading hitch hikers when crossing the rivers. One for me and 2 for the Mat Salleh. Poor ulu kampong suckers never tasted Guinness fuelled blood before. Hehe!

I didn't have time to take proper shots as most of the pics were taken on the move and I didn't want to keep Lam and Woon who were first time hiking buddies with me waiting.






After the fun river crossings the waterfall is a nice encounter. I hear when the water is clear the small lake at the foot of the waterfall is full of fishes. It's great if you tapau some hot coffee and bring some sandwiches to just chill out. The force of the water is impressively powerful and the spray drifts all over the little area surrounding the waterfall. Magic!


Ok, Woon said this rock dude looks like a gorilla. I thought it looked like a cross between Mr Magoo and Jabba the Hutt.

GavOloon getting rid of his little blood sucking hitchhikers.


A Chiling Waterfall lizard chilling in the sun.



Some Chiling River bug that looks like the bastard love child of a roach and a scorpion chilling in a stream.




Chiling River Rocks! ;)


A balak chilling by the river.

Actually the entire hike up the Chiling River Fish Sanctuary is an experience of it's own. Not just thinking of the waterfall as the sole target of the trip. The river crossings, crossing jungle terrain and then jumping into the pool at the waterfall. The water fall itself is peaceful (depending if there are other groups about and there is much to see. Butterflies flit among overhanging ferns as the spray from the pounding waterfall spread out among the rays of the early morning sun that breaks through the thick canopy of trees above.

Breakfast or lunch in quaint KKB town is also a must. Or if you're familiar with the territory head to Ulu Yam for makan.

Basic info:

The place is open from Tuesday to Sunday.

Open from 8am to 6pm.

Info call - Selangor Fisheries at 03-55190169 or 03-551 90170.

Getting there : Take the scenic trunk road via Batu Caves/Batu Dam/Ulu Yam road or turn off at the Batang Kali exit if you're on the North South Higway and look out for signs to KKB. The hike up to the falls is about 50 minutes to an hour (one way).

Go HERE for Google Map reference to Kuala Kubu Baru. After hitting KKB town just keep driving straight ahead and the entrance is about 15 minutes after the dam (depending on your speed la)

For more information on Chiling Falls go HERE. The official website http://www.chilingfalls.com/ is currently under construction.


On the way back we stopped over at the Sungai Selangor Dam for a quick 'pit stop'. Nice.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Hindu New Year Sunset

Just a picture I took last Sunday when I got back to KL from Seremban after visiting the folks for the Hindu New Year . A good end to a day chock full of eating home cooked food and sleeping it off, Seremban style :)

Letting Go - The Last Bits

She's getting married in May. May Wedding. Nice. Exactly 2 years to the month she left for Blighty and she's found the man she will spend the rest of her life with.

No Indian drama here. This is just officially filing away the last bits of whatever still reminds me of her and to move on. Plus she doesn't read this blog anymore so its easier to write. Although last year I thought she had stopped reading the blog too.

Anyway, I've stopped subconsciously looking over my shoulder to expect seeing her tapping away at her laptop on the dining table.

I've stopped waiting apprehensively for a sharp order for me to turn back to Gilmore Girls whenever I switch on wrestling on TV.

Not sure why I'm doing this but maybe it's just the simple fact that many songs still remind me of her. When they play on the radio or such I'm reminded of her. Not the pour-kerosene-on- myself-and-set-arse-on-fire emotional drama, just a simple memory while the song plays itself out on the radio.

So here goes:

Top 5 Songs that remind me of her:

1. Tears of Jupiter - she hates it now but she would sing it happily in the car whenever it came on the radio then. Always singing it happily. Nice sound that singing.

2. Aerosmith and Bon Jovi - She was a rocker at heart. Nirvana and also the Chili Peppers but she got me hooked on Aerosmith. Bon Jovi's only association with her is only because she had this insane crush on John Bon Jovi and would merajuk big time whenever I called him a skinny no ass pretty boy rocker.

3. If you needed somebody by Bad Company - OK one of those '80's ballads that I'm a sucker for. I used to like this song even way back when but the hook here is that her cousin is the lead singer of the band.

4. Superman by that band, whatsitcalled? 5 For Fighting? Stupid ass name byt anyway, this one is weird. Just that first reaction when she first heard it on the radio. She turned to me at the lyrics and said plaintively " Poor thing he." Chuckled and added, "loser." Yeah, this song pulls me back to that moment. Weirdopallooza man...

5. Soundtrack from One Fine Day - this Clooney/Pfeiffer movie album always seemed to play during the quieter moments in the apartment. Nice one especially at nights.

Then there is still some little fragments of moments in day to day situations that needs some fill-in-the-blank-action. Here goes:

1. When I'd return from any trip overseas the first message when my phone comes back to life would normally be, "You landed yet? Call me k?" Now the first message I get when I land in KLIA or the LCCT is "Welcome Home! Keep in touch with your friends and biz partners. Enjoy Maxis IDD rates..."

2. The inspiration and the predecessor for the Toy Bits posts of this blog - I used to pose some of my action figures on the bed with messages written for her that she would see when she got back from work(after I'd left for an extended trip). Just the standard I miss you but Spidey will take care of you, etc. On the day I get back, I would find a US Navy Seal humping an Army Ranger with a note saying, "Welcome back Moron!" :)

3. ...Um, well, looks like that's it really. No Top 5 moments. Just 2 only. Hmm... interesting.

Not bad.

So that's it.

End of this chapter.

Lovely.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Subliminal Holler

Holler!!!! Sean Kingston in da house, making your booty bounce!!! Yeah say my name y'all!!!

Rappers, pseudo-rappers, Jamaican/West Indian singers are perpetually peppering their songs with references to themselves. Notice they're normally butt ugly motherfuckers that keep throwing their names about like confetti. Little John, looks like a hobbit that tried to eat Paris Hilton's tiara and Sean Kingston, well he's...cuddly, to put it nicely.

"My mama called me Kanye and I'm gonna make you sway!"

I dunno man it never really got to me until I heard Sean Kingston and his own self adulated crooning. C'mon fat boy, we know who you are. Your record label paid off the station to play the tunes and mention you like you're the next coming.

" Say it, say my name! X! Yeah baby! Xzibit and I'm sexy like a cheongsam slit!!!"

And the best stroke fest MUST the the Final Fantasy 'collabo'. Now TWO clowns with egos, sitting on the dock of the bay holding each other's dicks in their hands going - "

Usher - "Timbaland got the guns like trees and his dick is sweet!"

Timbaland layans back - "You call on Usher and he'll make you a gusher!

Wank, wank, wankwankwank wank wank.

It reality its probably just the record labels attempts at subliminal marketing. When you're up against all them hot women running around with their bobos in full MTV glory, a gazillion Westlife remakes, and your OWN producers pushing their own albums then you just know you're in trouble, whether you're Neyo or Chris Brown. And holy shit! what is that in the distance gyrating with Timberlake? Its frikkin' Madonna man. Fuk that Ho be back. Better throw in more references to my self in the second single before the old bitch gets her marketing machinery up to speed or heaven help us, she drops another coffee book table on an unsuspecting public.

"Little John King at the Showdown of Playas! Holler to my homies Little Bow Wow and Little Romeo! We rolling onto your streets, you be hiding your eyes from the bling on our grills because got so much gold leh and then ah...sigh... this shit is hard work. Moving on...

so yeah I think that subliminal shit is working. in a way... I just know it is, because every time I pass a toilet my mind goes, "Yeah baby Little John smokin like a big ass bong!" or I see a stray mutt humpin his lady friend, my brain thinks, " Little Bow Wow aint so little now, he goin to lay the pipe cos his game is tight!" And whenever I see Nicole Sherzinger I just think "Damn you Timbaland! Damn yoooouuuuuuuuuu!!!!!"

Yes, competition in the market place has made us desperate to reach out and make sure that clown on the streets remembers us. But. BUT I don't see the rockers, punk rockers, country singers, industrial rockers and even frikkin Celine Dion throwing out their names in song.

Billy Corgan - "I'm the King Pumpkin and all youse rappers are my Munchkins!!!"

John Legend - "You ladies come enjoy Heaven under the Legend..." coupled with some gelek gelek moves he likes to do.

Elvis - "The King gonna make you shake, rattle and roll!!!" - followed by some violent hip thrusts, like he's trying to shake off his balls.

Well it has worked. I wont buy a Sean Kingston album or an Akon T-shirt but I do remember them. It wont change my perception of them but they're there at the back of my mind, somewhere between 'file income tax' and 'trim nose hairs'.

So yeah, yay for subliminal messages...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Magic Carpet Ride - Steppenwulf

One of my fav road trip tracks. Just a diff version with footage shot by the US Navy F-18 Hornet pilot.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Jakarta for A Day

Two words. AirAsia and re-timed.

I just got back after spending 5 hours in Hatta Soekarno Airport. Actually I got there 3 hours before my flight which was at about 6pm. After my 1pm meeting my hosts quickly bundled me into one of their cars to send me to the airport as they were afraid I would miss my flight as there is ongoing roadworks along the Priok highway and the normal journey to the airport from Jakarta is taking between 2 to 3 hours instead of the normal one hour. I got there in 45 minutes. AND found out that my flight was now RE-TIMED to 8.15pm.

I start running through the checklist of time killers:

1. Lap top battery time left - 2 hours. Check

2. Outline of 2 proposals to jot down in note pad - less than an hour. Check.

3. Have breakfast/lunch/tea - one hour. Check.

4. Back up Rm9 discount store book of unknown quality - one minute to 2 hours.

Then I stumble on a small foot reflexology booth- maximum 1 hour. Perfect. Check!

As usual the company web mail was acting up so I decided to just walk around the airport and take some pics to satisfy the millions and millions of fans of this compelling blog. layan lah its 2am and i cant sleep...






Asian ingenuity. We've solved the delima of the ULTIMATE superhero movie. C'mon Hollywood just throw those whiny, striking script writers into ocean with concrete shoes! Just hire...TADAA!!! The Asian Copyright Infringing Pirate who brings you the blockbuster hit, The Sense of Right Alliance!!! Who WOULDN'T want to see Batman, Superman, Spiderman, the Fantastic Four and a frikin Power Ranger team up to take on the forces of Evil???

I've been told I have this thing for shiny light up things. Couldn't fit this into my back pack...

One thing I do miss in moments like this. That someone who I could call or play sms ping-pong when I was stuck in some far flung locale, twiddling my toes waiting for some piece of metal to drop out of the sky to pick me up and wing me back home.

It used to be cool even if I would get the somewhat reprimanding "eh so rich? Dont waste money. I'll wait up for you. Moron : )"

Damn, gotta get me one a those soon!