Penguin sighting

Ok, this picture looks like those photos of alleged sightings of ‘Big Foot’ but thats the best that I could do with my phone camera. Found this on a screen in a plane. Linux is going places!

photo_0001.jpg

By hellfried Posted in Linux

JPod

41mjsa4cz0l_ss500_.jpg

It was a momentous event! I finally finished a book after more than a year of not doing so. Well what else could I do on an eight hour flight? This of course is selling the book in question short but let me assure you here that Douglas Coupland’s ‘jPod’ is a great read. Its about a group of video-game programmers seemingly caught in a limbo of boredom, bone-crushing cynicism and weird hippie parents.

It must have been a nightmare trying to balance the geeky in-jokes and conventional story telling without alienating the mainstream reader. For example, it must been strange for regular folks to come across multiple pages of numbers and nothing else nestled between the paragraphs of prose. Only the geek squad would appreciate the beautiful symmetry of the 8,363 prime numbers between 10,000 and 100,000. Do you know all the 972 three-letter words allowed in Scrabble? After reading this book you will. Will it alter an inch of your life? Probably not but nevertheless it holds a certain cosmic allure. Coupland is privy to this and milks it for all its worth.

Ultimately the characters are vacuous and bumbles along aimlessly in life. Far from being stupid they however choose to warp their mind with useless factoids and inconsequential sound bytes. They remind me of people in the real world who can remember the birthdays and favorite colors of their pop idol but cannot even get the days of the week correct. Coupland’s eye for details is peerless and this smartly observed book is further testament to his reputation as a literary force of nature.

A play

Went for a play in the Sydney Opera House this afternoon. The play “Holding The Man” was basically about 2 gay men who go through the usual stuff of meeting up, coming to terms with their sexuality, the disapproval of family and friends, contracting HIV, guilt and then death. Not a barrel of laughs but they did incorporate some humor in certain parts. The thing was quite predictable but still quite refreshing in its own charming way. The language can get coarse and there were a lot of onstage french-kissing between people of the same sex. There goes the hopes of the actors ever getting to stage their play in good old Malaysia!

It was surprising the number of people who came for the show at 1pm on a working day. It was mainly an older crowd but still a lot of thirtysomethings including moi. Sitting right beside me was a Singaporean who is working in Sydney. We had a good chat before the show. He was telling me that this play was quite hot when it first premiered in Sydney and how he could not get tickets earlier on. Well I had absolutely no problems buying my ticket on the spot this morning.

Took a 35 minute walk to the hotel after the show and am just amazed at how things are all connected in this city. The walk took me through well manicured lawns of public parks and beautiful old churches. The weather was great and the walk did not even register in my legs. Usually I would be beat after 15 minutes of walking under the hot sun in Malaysia. Being cut in half by the Equator really makes a huge difference.

Will be flying home tomorrow afternoon. Will miss this place but I can’t wait to get back to my Hainan Chicken Rice!

Borrowed time

When you are a tourist you know you are living on borrowed time. You are not meant to be here and yet you are; like a fish out of water. My 4th day in Sydney and I am trying to cram in as many tourist attractions that my little head can handle. Went on a whirlwind city and Bondi beach tour in an open air double decker bus. I hopped on and off quite a bit and you are permitted to rejoin the tour as often as you want in a 24 hour time-frame.

Bondi is a small stretch of beach compared to ours in Batu Ferringi but man is it well kept. The water is crystal clear and you can see a vehicle much like a road sweeper running lovingly over the sand to even out all the foot prints and trail marks left by both animals and humans. It leaves an immaculate layer of sand in its slow, lumbering wake. You  can see that the beach is well cared for by all the taxpayers’ money.

Spent 2 hours there and then straight into the city. Spent another few hours hopping on and off the bus and then before I knew it, I was at the end of my tour. Tried out the microwave oven in my room by preparing a TV dinner of rice, bits of beef and (of all things) oysters and some instant soup. This can’t be good for me in the long run. At least I had my fruits to balance out all the toxins I am inviting into my body. After this its off to bed!