Sunday, July 29, 2007

What's This Ah? Very Rock???? Duh

Here are some pics from the Banda Fantastika gig in Bar None..

Norman and Pavarotti me... Looooooooooorrr

Me and Nathan, eye contact ayiiiheeeeee

Hmm, a nice monitor speaker..

There's a sun in my head, sun in my head..

More pictures (without me) here . I'm such an egotistical jerk.

I am taking a leave from Mesh Potatoes though.

This is actually the worst time to take a leave because the bands are starting to pick up. But I have to focus on work in the meantime. Thanks to those who've seen us play. And to those who haven't. You know who you are haha. Mesh Potatoes lives on, and I'm excited to see them from the sidelines for a change :)

I have not, however, turned my back completely on music. As many of you know, I joined this group of fellow songwriters here in Singapore. Check the blog here.

No pressure, I attend when I can. This is a chance for me to play my songs freely without requirements. Unlike a full band, I only have to worry about myself, music-wise. If I f*ck up, it's my fault and mine alone.

I love my songs. Some better than others, but I love them to death. I do think they're crap but I love them. The last thing I want to see is someone from the band, or from the crowd, with that "argh-this-is-such-a-waste-of-time-song" look in his or her face. I've seen it before, in a band, and in the crowd. I started to *really* hate my songs after that.

So I create new ones. And I love them. I enjoy playing them in my head and in my room over and over. And now here's a group of like-minded people, who make songs because they want to please themselves and not necessarily other people. Perfect.

I have serious issues man, take it or leave it :D

Here's a recording from the last session (songs I played - "We Are", "Invisible", and "Ashes").

Monday, July 23, 2007


Thurs - beer (ktv with andy and aimee)
Friday - beer + wine (balaclava, met with colleague)
Saturday - a bit more beer (banda fantastika in bar none)
Sunday - korean wine (haha soju! thanks to Cheng)

Monday (today)

I almost drank again! (The Library). It's good Andy, Aimee and I steered to a coffee + cake shop instead. Andy's treat! (plus some free counseling too).

The waitress was weird. Sweet but weird. Andy said she's from mainland China.

I'm still f*cking sad what's wrong with me.

I'll just take it out on this silly high chair in the MRT station..

What is up with this bench?! Have you tried sitting on this bench? Unless you're a long-legged six-footer, you're going to slide slowly and would end up adjusting your butt to keep you from falling every 5 seconds. Shaping the seat in that convex fashion actually made it worse. It's supposed to take the shape of your bum, not against it duh. I'd rather sit on the space beside it, the narrow flat area that's part of the post's base. I wish they'd just take it out. It's a pathetic excuse for a seat. Frustrating to say the least. You want to sit on it, but it won't let you. What's wrong with you bench! Be a real bench! I command you! Transform! Transformers!!

Transform!! The laptop won't tell you if the walls can spit out cans of coke!! In the end they'll all rain like buttons being sewed through telephone wires! Keys will be another hope to take my cellophane dreams into flour! ...

Uh oh I think I still have my DC mini on..

Paprika, now showing..

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Uh Oh


Stop it.

If you really want to know, you can ask me.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Scientific Faith

The weather almost always puts a twist in our mundane everyday lives. Two days ago it was raining very hard when I woke up. Being in Singapore for about a year now, I knew the rain would stop in about half an hour or so, just enough time for me to fix up before I go to work. An hour later it was still raining. So I called up a cab and waited by the guard house.

Whenever I pass by the guard house I always greet the guard-on-duty "Good morning," or whatever the time of the day is. I never knew their names, but my housemates and I call them "Mario and Luigi." One guard being chubby, and the other a bit skinny. This morning it was Luigi who was on duty.

"Heeeyy, raining very hard eh?"

"Yeah", I replied. "I called up a cab."

"So where do you work?" asked Luigi.

At that point I found it funny that we knew very little about each other, as our conversations are usually limited to good morning and good night. I've been staying here for one year now.

I've been asked many times where I work, and you'd be surprised that not many people know what Microsoft is. For non-IT workers at least. So I just showed him my ID. I think the blue Microsoft logo helps.

"Oh Microsoft, the software company eh? I used to work in Apple a few years back."

Yeah I have the habit of underestimating people, kill me.

"Oh you're a Muslim? Isma-el?"

I've done this a million times before.

I replied, "Ah nope, not a Muslim. My name's Christian though, so it's kinda funny."

Someone once commented that my name's a complete contradiction. I think my parents didn't see that coming. They were very creative when they named me after the season of Christmas, since my birth date falls on December. They could've named me Claus for all I care. But I've come to like Christian. Anyway, my full name describes me very well. I'm a lukewarm practioner of my religion. I'm Catholic (not Christian, but I won't delve in the differences ok?).

I go to Church every Sunday (or at least I try to). But sadly I cannot describe myself as someone who's really deep into my faith. I believe there's a God, a higher being. Yes. But I think I lack the effort to be a good Catholic. Anyone can be a believer, but if you lack action your faith is almost as good as nil.

Some people may criticize me for being a hypocrite. How can you say that you believe there's a God and yet you do not act like a good Catholic should?

I do sin. We all sin. And we all feel guilty about it (I hope). And the idea that we can be forgiven just like that is sometimes very difficult for me to swallow. If I sin, I need to be punished. Confession will not release me from my sin. This is contradictory to what the Church teaches. So I guess I'm doomed. Or I really just want to punish myself.

You have to understand that I prefer to see things in black and white. It's either you are, or you aren't. In or out. No gray areas. And a lukewarm Catholic to me is a great sin. SO..

I want to know why I believe God. It's funny the other day my colleagues Stanley, Darren, and I were talking about religion. Stanley knew a lot about the stuff, so I just took a mental note of what he said, and I think it explains perfectly why I believe (and why he believes) there's a higher being out there.

He points out the idea of the First Mover. Everything in this world is moving, caused by some action, which in turn was caused by an action before that, and before that, and so on. Eventually you'll backtrack until you have a single source of all these movement, events, etc. I think most of us will relate to the Big Bang theory, where it all started (scientifically at least). Whatever started that Big Bang, or whatever was before it, we couldn't possibly know. And the fact that we cannot know is both a scary and comforting thought. Scary because humans in nature seek out answers. If we don't find answers, it's like humanity has failed in his existence. On the other hand, it's comforting that we don't know because we can take on "faith" that something out there is higher than us, and is in control.

I was able to relate this "take on faith" thing to a book I bought a few years back when I was in LA called "A Shortcut Through Time." No it's not a religious book, it's a very scientific book about quantum computers. I was bored ok? LA isn't really a place for me. Good thing man invented bookstores. Anyway, in a nutshell, quantum mechanics involves a lot of probability computations and taking on faith stuff. Einstein was heavily against quantum mechanics back then. He quipped that "God does not play dice" as a retaliation to quantum mechanics.

So what the hell is quantum mechanics? It's big stuff and I won't bother explaining to you (wikipedia duh). There is this one major theory in quantum mechanics though, that at a quantum level (that is, atomic level, very minute particles), normal rules of physics don't apply. In our normal world, when a basketball spins one way, it will only spin that way. If it's on the ground, it stays on the ground. However with quantum physics, when you go at an atomic level, atoms could be spinning clockwise and counterclockwise, AT THE SAME TIME. Or atoms could be at one place and the other, AT THE SAME TIME.

You might say that this is science fiction. Well it isn't. It's happening now. And what do our scientists say about this? They're clueless as to how this is happening. What they do have are equations that take into account this weird quantum behavior, and everything still falls into place. The equations hold. Formulas, after all, are man-made. They are simply ways by which man chose to describe the world around him. So it's malleable.

What I'm trying to say is, these scientists have taken on "faith" that these quantum particles behave in this way. It's just the way it is, and they have to accept it, else they would all go crazy trying to relate it in the usual physical world that we normally see.

I can understand Einstein when he criticized against this. We are, after all, humans. We should be able to explain how things work. It's scary if we just let things happen the way they are without proper scientific explanation.

But for cases such as these, quantum mechanics, or in whatever science, I believe that we'll all come to a point of the unknown, and there's no knowing beyond that. We could probably go beyond quantum mechanics a few years from now and understand fully what or how it works, but there will always be that stumbling block. At that point we just have to jump and take on faith that things will work out.


I was on the bookstore the other day (oh where else would I be anyway) and I saw this international bestseller called "The God Delusion". I think the book explains faith. At the back of the book I was horrified to see some suggested agencies that you can seek out to get help in getting out of your faith. I quickly put down the book and I swear it sent shivers down my spine.

It's good to know I'm still scared of such stuff.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Simpsons Movie

Create your own Simpsons avatar here.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

It Pays To Be Alone

A long time ago I said I'm gonna post why "it pays to be alone."

Well, when people start expecting too much from you and you expect too much from them, the relationship is just not worth pursuing anymore.

Solution: Severe existing ties with EVERYONE, start over, and make new ones.

I've been on this sick cycle for as long as I can remember. It's like I'm cursed with people relationships. They have an expiry date. Some expire after about a week, a month, and some have the guts to stick with me for a year. They come and go, for reasons which I probably will never know. I don't care anymore. Maybe I'm not supposed to know anyway.

I'm sorry for you, and me. Well there's actually a lot of you who took upon themselves to expire recently. And I'm so f*ckin sad to the bone right now.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Gig on July 21 - Bar None (Marriot Hotel - Orchard)

Band practice..

Hmm, the floor.. is flat.

More pictures from Glenn here.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Rain has eaten away at our makeshift clothesline - a bench-like furniture (which oddly has a "Sony" logo marked on it) that we turned sideways. Water has softened the wood inside, causing the base to be unstable.

So, I bought two adjustable aluminum rods and four plastic clamp thingies that I saw in a do-it-yourself shop in Novena Square, to hold the two long main bars where we hang our clothes. No screws or holes in the walls :)

Did more laundry to stress-test the thing

I'm satisfied hehehe. Time to sleep, under the laptop's warm glow ooooh

(And as usual, it would take me an hour before I could really sleep, figuring alternative solutions to web semantics, replaying for the millionth time in my head conversations I had with people today, hopelessly trying to recall names, humming new melodies, running through a long imaginary list of "what if's", thinking of work, reminding myself that I'm getting old, thinking of ways to avoid people I don't want to interact tomorrow, rearranging pillows, what I'm doing now in a parallel universe, did I say thinking of work?, a breakthrough pizza, mmmm, zzzzz...

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Another Tiring Week


Presented to sgdotnet on OpenXML. Good crowd. Especially my friends who turned up and blasted me with questions. Shih, Andro, Joel, Jonathan, and another girl (I forgot her name). Thanks guys.


Company Event - Dragon Boat in Kallang Water Sports Centre. We all got wet because whenever the boats passed by each other, we'd splash water to the other boats using our paddles. This ensued for about an hour before we did the actual race. We won! We went to Oasis after that (in No Signboard Seafood) and ate a lot of (crab) food. Everyone else was turning red (because of the beer). Took this panoramic picture from the restaurant. (Click to enlarge)

Hmm this reminds me of..

Ah nevermind.

Had to go to jamming after that. Went home after jamming, finally.


Woke up at 12pm wow! Deep sleep yes! But my body was achin' in all places! Err not all actually. The pain areas form an "L" pattern. (Probably for "loser").

This is why you have to row with your "body", not just with your arms. We all learn the hard way.

Hermes, Joel, Dang, and I went to Ikea Tampines to buy a clothesline. Our makeshift clothesline - a bench turned sideways with two bars on top, finally gave up. Rain has softened the bench wood, and the base can't support the whole thing anymore. However when we got to Ikea, we found out that they don't sell a clothesline. Only drying racks.

Went to office after that.


Now here in the office again, working and blogging.

And now going to church. Brb.

Friday, July 06, 2007


I thought this game was meant to be played as one whole box of 9 x 9 squares where each vertical and horizontal row should have non-repeating numbers from 1 - 9. Stupid.

Aimee told me that the whole thing is actually divided into 9 parts, of 3 x 3 squares that was also meant to be filled with numbers 1 - 9. From then on, my sudoku life became much easier.

Share the pain.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Music Oldie

I need to take a break.

I went to HMV earlier, and was quite disappointed. I was browsing through every listening machine and every new album they have in display. Maroon5, Transformers soundtrack, Linkin Park, Kelly Clarkson, even Julio Iglesias, and all albums in their charts. Nothing seems to satisfy me anymore, music-wise at least.

It's a scary thought.

I went back to my roots, and bought Pearl Jam's "Ten" album. One of the albums that redefined the grunge era. I could've bought Nirvana or Soundgarden, but I owe it to myself to buy the album that made Pearl Jam Pearl Jam.

I think I'm getting old. I used to criticize older generation music enthusiasts for being unable to adapt to new music, which at that time was post-grunge. Now, I see myself in that situation, which is a bit discomforting to say the least.

It's getting difficult to choose music that I like. I'm pretty flexible when it comes to music, but with the current trend, my choices are getting slim. And it couldn't have arrived at a worse period. Buying cds back then was very difficult, simply because I had to save up for it. Now that I can buy them, there's almost nothing to buy.

Why is this so important to me? I don't know. As long as it makes the hair at the back of my neck stand up, or gets my head banging, or my feet stomping, it's fuckin' good. It's like food. I have high tolerance for repeatability. I can listen to the same music over and over. But eventually it will leave a bad taste in your mouth, and you'd be craving for new food.

I am currently feeding off from my own leftovers, recycled music. I'm afraid that when I reach thirty, I'd be listening to the same music I was listening to 10 or 15 years ago. (Wait, that's happening now!)

I wish some kickass band comes out with a new type of music, that has a little bit of everything in it. Angry, passionate, experimental, flowing, and most importantly, unique.

I think I've given up on that dream of being part of that music savior thing. People are content with what's coming out nowadays. There's no point to save anyone anymore. I just need to save myself, from getting music-old.

Monday, July 02, 2007

OMG I'm still in the office

@ 1am.

Some random stuff..
  • Went to the grocery and overheard a young girl shouting at her mom. "I don't wanna be your daughter if you don't buy me this and that!!" -- Exact words. I'm amazed with kids today.
  • Passed by the building security guard a few hours ago, he was staring at himself in the big wall mirror. The best way to beat boredom is to scare yourself to death. I do that often.
  • We're living in the stone age. Public WiFi is so cumbersome. Tagging is so manual. iPhone is obsolete. Robots only kick ass in movies. Humans still need to sleep. Am I being so demanding? Fast-forward man!
  • Rode the Night Rider bus last night (thanks to 2.5 hours of Transformers I got out of the movie house quite late). I was feeling lonely and pathetic, until I realized I had Sudoku in my cellphone.
  • Why do Filipinos in Singapore stare at each other like they've never seen a Filipino before? Really. Why?
  • I did a Major General cleaning of my room today. Realized that the bulk of the stuff I need to throw away are plastic bags I've accumulated for a year. And since I'm a passive environmentalist, I'm keeping the paper bags.
  • I've been missing out on a lot of stuff lately, band practice, blogging, coding, eating, socializing (the online type), getting inspired, songwriting, skydiving, bunjee jumping..
  • Any of you got a sound clip of an Autobot transforming? Figured I'd make it my ringtone.
  • Sheesh am I taking the NR7 again?
  • Sometimes I really wish someone would just come up to me and say everything that's in my mind. Whether such person does not exist or I'm just too busy being alone, I don't know.