Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sail on silvergirl,

*troubled over the lyric of Bridge Over Troubled Water*

Whatever 'silvergirl' means and I'm not the first one who wonders about it. A quick check on the Net led me to this page. Quite a research, I'd say. Heh.

Anyway the picture above--taken in Chiang Mai--is still of the original resolution and it's posted just to gauge how fast such an image is uploaded. It's the beginning of my sunburnt days. Guess that figures how memorable the "Wear Sunscreen" advices are. [1]

PS. [1] Memorable Advices - March 2006

Monday, October 30, 2006

There’s A Place Like Home…

…Unfortunately. As I didn’t feel like going back.

The last 2 weeks have been Fun even though the plan had been changed at the very last minute. Initially, I decided to start my backpacking quest with Chiang Mai, then to Chiang Rai, followed by Phitsanulok, and Sukhothai from which I’d return to Chiang Mai. I was told by one of the guesthouse operators about the flood and advised not to visit their towns (I was impressed. Considering I only emailed them to ask about the room availability, they went the extra mile by giving me that advice. They would rather lose a customer than have a dissatisfied one.)

The itinerary was modified. Chiang Mai, Pai, and Mae Hong Son. About four to five hours trip each using a bus. Back to Chiang Mai using the southern route that passed Mae Sariang which took approximately 9 hours.

Coming soon: more details and photos, photos, and more photos! With 300-something were snapped, I’ll need to organize them first (Categories in mind: temples, statues, paintings, sceneries, people, animals). And to resize them too. I really shouldn’t have chosen the 2048 x 1536 resolution.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Sound of Her Wings

Touch-up keywords: greyscale, brightness / contrast, gamma.

That's the title of Sandman #8 which is the ending part of the first volume, titled "Preludes and Nocturnes" as well as the starting part of the early editions of the second volume, "The Doll's House".

Now it's quite difficult to tell the story without spoiling it. Hmm. Suffice to say, vaguely, that Dream has just fulfilled his quest and felt some sort of emptiness. He had thought that he'd be happy once he achieved his goals. But he didn't.

Enter Death. (Yes, she is the one at the right.) As a good older sister, she tried to cheer up Dream. On that day, Dream accompanied Death to do her 'daily tasks'. In the end, he came to realize that he too had his own 'daily tasks'. And perhaps, the Nike ad screamed at the back of his mind to "Just do it."

Like this excerpt best:
I find myself wondering about humanity. Their attitude to my sister's gift is so strange. Why do they fear the sunless lands? It is as natural to die as it is to be born. But they fear her. Dread her. Feebly they attempt to placate her. They do not love her.

Many thousands of years ago I heard a song in a dream, a mortal song that celebrated her gift. I still remember it... That forgotten poet understood her gifts. My sister has a function to perform, even as I do. The Endless have their responsibilities. I have responsibilities.

I walk by her side and the darkness lifts from my soul. I walk with her, and I hear the gentle beating of mighty wings...

PS. Original art (here) by Mike Dringenberg and Malcolm Jones, III. The Sandman written by Neil Gaiman.

PPS. The Endless are anthropomorphic personifications and thus named accordingly as Destiny, Death, Dream, Destruction, Desire, Despair and Delirium. More about them: here

Monday, October 09, 2006

Scoop...an ice cream for a sunny day.

Watch the movie, "Scoop"! Woody Allen is hilarious. His facial expression, his repeated lines: 'the bottom of my heart' thing & 'credit to human race'. *grin*

Oh and you won't forget his insight about 'half-full' or 'half-empty' glass which is usually to describe whether someone is being optimistic or pessimistic respectively. He brings it to the next level: 'half-full' glass...with poison.

Sorry, didn't mean to spoil the story. (Nah, didn't mention about the plot anyway, did I?) And pay attention about the 'bribe' part in the beginning of the show. ;)

PS. Touch-up keywords: brightness, contrast, gamma.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Mid Autumn Lantern Carnival in Chinese Garden - 06/10/06

0. Right top: Qilin (?) - Added on 09/10/06

Before I forgot, the last day to witness the event is today. Went to Chinese Garden yesterday. As usual, I found myself a need to face more challenges. Ehm. And for this occasion, I have been wondering how the haze would affect photos taken with 'Night Scene' mode.

No touch-up on the colors and brightness, the following pictures were only resized. Just one of them snapped using 'Auto' mode . See whether you can recognize which one it is. The answer will be at the end of the article.

All in all, I am quite happy with the results. But I always welcome more feedback or advice. Thank you in advance! ^_^

1. A stall selling some sort of figurines. Like the way customers flocking to see how the little statues are made. A similar marketing tool that local bakeries use? Heh.

2. An artistic name-painting stall. You give your name, the guy will paint it and the lady will blow dry the paper with a hair dryer and laminate it. All were done in situ.

3. Impressive sketches by another stall. Couldn't resist not to capture it. Don't ask what the green & red text at the above of the poster said. :(

4. Taken near the lake. It's quite a change to see how children could be so quiet (unlike the monsters in the train or in the public library). While aiming for a shot, I was pushed away (That's my excuse for the above photo to be 'shaken') by the parents who demanded me to explain why I took the photo. Yeah right. *grin*

5. Thanks to the crowd, I managed to slither away from those opportunistic, exploitive parents and took this photo. The central piece was rotating & the statue I believe was that of Chang'e. Didn't manage to capture that clearly, did I? :-\

6. I'm lovin' them lanterns...

7. ...and these ones as well as their reflections. :)

8. The theme of the carnival is about world's wonders. So I better shot some samples. Here's one: a Maya temple...

9. ...and Taj Mahal. Oh, and I used "Auto" mode for this one.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Remember, Remember, the Fifth First of November

Remember, remember, the 1st of November
When a Muse shall be robbed for a plot.
The whole 30 days of writing; what a season!
No way will I forgo...

Copyright ©2006 Anonymous_X

Seeing the above chart, I hardly think anybody needs any reminder to register--yes, it's October & you can register now--for the National Novel Writing Month, in short NaNoWriMo 2006. Don't ask why it is 'National' instead of 'International'. It's not covered in their FAQ.

Just realize that I myself didn't read their FAQ last year. So I am not sure whether the below excerpt is new or if it had been posted from the beginning of the event in 1999. Otherwise, I'd have shared this hilarious piece.

Why are you doing this? What do you get out of it?
NaNoWriMo is all about the magical power of deadlines. Give someone a goal and a goal-minded community and miracles are bound to happen. Pies will be eaten at amazing rates. Alfalfa will be harvested like never before. And novels will be written in a month.

Part of the reason we organize NaNoWriMo is just to get a book written. We love the fringe benefits accrued to novelists. For one month out of the year, we can stew and storm, and make a huge mess of our apartments and drink lots of coffee at odd hours. And we can do all of these things loudly, in front of people. As satisfying as it is to reach deep within yourself and pull out an unexpectedly passable work of art, it is equally (if not more) satisfying to be able to dramatize the process at social gatherings.

But that artsy drama window is woefully short. The other reason we do NaNoWriMo is because the glow from making big, messy art, and watching others make big, messy art, lasts for a long, long time. The act of sustained creation does bizarre, wonderful things to you. It changes the way you read. And changes, a little bit, your sense of self. We like that.

PS. [1] Heh. With an apology to whoever originated the "Remember, remember, the 5th of November". Read what the rhyme is about: here.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

File keeping issues with the Dossier?

Thanks to Cavalock for the bad news.

I expect Wikipedia article about the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen could have been more informative. Especially about why the delay of the book launch.

"The release date (of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier) was originally May 30, 2006, then officially solicited for a release of October 25, 2006, it has currently been postponed indefinitely."

PS. Touch-up keywords: crop, layers (4 layers: cropped image, green, blue and red layers), 50% opacity levels.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Be an engineer.

"Prison Break" is surely a show which has one of the objectives to glorify engineering professionals. Specifically structural engineers. Yes, people! Be such an engineer, who knows one day you will design a prison and who knows one day your knowledge of the prison that you designed can be used to save your loved one. Heh.

Unlikely? Duh, it's a fiction after all. Still it is interesting to watch the show Thursdays 10 pm at Channel 5 or its repeat telecast Saturdays 4 pm.

There's a faint echo of "The Shawshank Redemption" here as both of the convict have some sort of superior knowledge. In "The Shawshank Redemption", the convict is a banker & he uses his financial expertise to his advantage. Whereas in "Prison Break", the main character is a structural engineer who 'happens' to be the one who designed the prison.

Touch-up keywords: crop, graphic pen. Original image: here.

The Man Who Turned Into Himself

This book will compel me to reconsider my stand whether I truly dislike Science Fiction books.

Perhaps for some, “The Man Who Turned Into Himself” written by David Ambrose can be classified as one of such books. I beg to differ, though. The book is a thriller and the excitement is introduced since its first chapter!

The Science Fiction element is due to the book brings in the complex Many Worlds theory (Doesn’t ring a bell? Try multiverses or parallel universes then).

Still confused? Never mind. It is the element of suspense that dominates the story.

Pages will be flipped impatiently to discover whether Rick Hamilton, the publisher is just a figment of imagination due to shock-induced trauma after a car accident that a real estate agent, Richard A Hamilton suffers. Or what if Rick is indeed somehow thrown to another universe (to Richard’s) as a way to escape the harsh reality of his universe where he has just witnessed his wife killed in a car accident?

Those who watched that TV series Quantum Leap will not find the theme of the book as completely new, however they still definitely can enjoy it because of the familiarity of the idea. Likewise, it is still a treat for those who abhor Science Fiction due to its drama. You would be entertained with the process of how Rick and Richard get to accept each other. And in the end of the book, you will not help but wonder about that little voice in your head.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Sandmen

From left: the original image cropped from The Sandman: King of Dreams let's call it (A), (A) + blur effect: radial, (A) + blur effect: motion, (A) + blur effect: fragment, (A) + blur effect: zoom.

The one touched up with 'radial' looks okay. That with 'motion' I hardly notice much difference. And those blurred with 'fragment' & 'zoom' make me dizzy. Nothing beats the original.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Do NOT abandon appetite all ye who enter...Ayam Bakar Ojolali at Lucky Plaza Level 3

"And I stood upon the counter, and saw two potential customers approaching. Though it had been a busy evening, I still welcomed them with hospitality that uniquely Indonesian and was told solemnly, A table for three, please.

And as I requested them to wait, my logic gracefully retreated as my sight deceived me, and I saw their images seemed to flicker to that of the Maneless Dragon and of the Loan Wolf.

(And I knew I should have gone home & rest)

And the dragon, I noticed, was not so talkative; his silent fury had been thinly disguised with a smile as he attentively listened, as he curiously observed his surroundings.

And the wolf, on the other hand or paw or whatever, brimming with positive energy—despite the Fed had paused the rate hike—exuded the spirit of familiarity of this little place of mine as he recommended to his companion which delicacies to savor.

(And I knew he had been here before)

And I beheld another expected buyer swiftly coming up through the escalator; he had the knack to come to an appointment late without upsetting the rest; and realization hit that I had just glimpsed the Subsonic Hedgehog.

And the three of them exercised their power, and caused the occupiers of the nearest table to where they stood finish their meals faster.

(And I knew I had to quickly clean that table & let them sit)

And as they enjoyed their meal in silence, I realized this would not be the last time I saw them.

Here is a wisdom. Let him who has understanding serve his customers as he his own family; and his eatery will never have an empty table."