Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dewey Readmore Books

Dewey: The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World

by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter

Long have I awaited a perfect book to read during the jolly Christmas season, and I'm finally happy to know that I have found a purr-fect book of my choice. I can't resist my temptation of getting my hands (and eyes) on this book with a cover of the famous library cat from Spencer, Iowa, Dewey, even its cute and adorable picture would melt your heart away.

Dewey Readmore Books (or more affectionately called simply as Dewey) was the resident cat at Spencer Public Library. He was found in the book return box on one cold January night in 1988, and he soon was adopted by the library staff the next morning. After approvals from the board of trustees and even the city council, Dewey has been loved not just by his owner, Vicki but also among the library staff, as well as the patrons of all ages alike.

Dewey is a cat so different to all the cats around the world, because other than his share of love for exquisite cat food, boxes of all shapes and sizes, and plenty of places in the library for hide and seek, he loves the people the most. Here is a cat who does not see you differentl, but is a cat who is so friendly, so loving and kind in nature who touched the hearts and souls of all who visited the library and even the world. He sensed people who are troubled and did what he did best, by giving them company. He had a personal mission: To reduce stress for all humans who paid attention to him. And all he wanted back in return is a pet on his head.

He would welcome the patrons once the library is open at 9, naps on their laps, plays with the children, or just be with you when you need him. He was such an inspirational and yet heartwarming cat, and through this book, I see him as a figure who has taught me to be humble and appreciate the life I'm living, but also see everyone as a friend in need.

Dewey has generated a lot of publicity for the library by featuring in numerous cat magazines, and even got his own documentary Puss in Books, and even another one in Japan! He makes the library his home, his palace, and he is the king. However, people see him as a star of the library, and many of them even from far-far-faraway places had came to see him in person.

Although Dewey was gone in 2006, Dewey would be remembered by his owner Vicki and by the thousands of people inspired by just his cheerful presence in the library.

This book has certainly made my Christmas more meaningful, and I am looking forward for a better future in the coming new year.

If only people could be like Dewey... the world would have been a better place to live in.

Equanimity by Ajahn Brahm

Venerable Ajahn Brahmavamso (or more popularly known as Ajahn Brahm) is one of my most favorite spiritual yet inspirational teachers of my life. Let me give you a brief introduction about him, shall we?

Born in London in 1951, he regarded himself as a Buddhist at the age of 17 but his interest in Buddhism and meditation flourished while studying Theoretical Physics at Cambridge University, UK. After completing his degree and teaching for a year, he traveled to Thailand to become a monk. He was ordained in Bangkok at the age of 23 by the Abbot of Wat Saket. He subsequently spent nine years studying and training in the forest meditation tradition of the late Ajahn Chah.

In 1983 he was asked to assist in the establishment of a forest monastery near Perh, Western Australia. Ajahn Brahm is currently the Abbot of Bodhinyana Monastery in Serpentine and the Spiritual Director of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia, teaching and training monks, anagarikas (novices) and the lay people.

Ajahn Brahm is an outstanding but down-to-earth monk, teacher and charismatic public speaker. He is able to make the Buddha's teachings easy to understand, inspiring and even entertaining. His stirring yet humourous anecdotes, stories and talks attract large groups of people just whereever he goes.

I have been to one of his rousing talks yesterday during his meditation retreat in Chempaka Buddhist Lodge and it has certainly made my day. His talk on Equanimity (upekkha) [The state of being calm, stable and composed, especially under stress], one of the seven factors of enlightenment was invoking, but what makes it so interesting is that he isn't just an ordinary speaker on the teachings of Dhamma, in fact, he makes it so easy to understand by using mixtures of jokes, and funny tales to share, I bet even people who is completely new to the teachings of Dhamma will recognize the significance of it.

One of his stories I remembered was about how he described Nirvana: [The complete cessation of suffering; a blissful state attained through realization of no-self; enlightenment]
A story about five children being granted a wish each.

Video games are certainly a lovely favorite for all children at this time. When the first child was given a wish, he says he just wants to play video games all day.

The second child marvels at his idea, and of course, being the second child, he has more time to think over a wish bigger than the first child's. When he was asked what would his wish shall be, he says he wants to be a manager of a game store, so he can play a myriad of video games forever and ever.

The third child likes the second child's idea even more, and he is thinking hard on a wish bigger than the second child's. So when it comes to his turn, he wants to be a billionaire. And when he becomes a billionaire, he will buy all the video game franchises in the world. And as a boy who hates school homework, he will use a part of his billion-dollar wealth to buy his own school. He thinks to himself, if he buys his own school and becomes principal, he does not need to do any homework, and he gets to play video games every day! He believes, he can do anything with the billion dollars, and since a billion dollars is so much to him, he thinks that the money will never exhaust itself at all.

The fourth child was completely astounded with the third child's idea. He really needs to think up a much more huger idea, something huger than having a billion dollars. As he gets his turn, he says that his wish is to have three wishes! The first wish, he will have a billion dollars. The second wish, he will have all the video game stores in the world. And for his third wish, he wishes for another three wishes. And he will keep repeating this process over and over again, believing he shall have an unlimited amount of wishes. He believes that his wish is certainly the grandest among the children.

The fifth child however, is a unique child. When asked for his wish, he doesn't wish to be the richest man in the world, or to have all the video game stores. No, he says that he is pleased with everything he has right now, he wishes that he shall be content forever. And that boy wins the wishing game, for being the modest among the 5 children. And this boy would become enlightened in the future, and becomes Buddha in the end.

This story enlightens me that we should just remain happy with what we have right now. A billion dollars won't just come to us with a snap of your finger, it takes a lot of effort to get yourself a billion dollars. However, being the richest man does not mean you will have the easiest life of all, sometimes you would have to be the busiest in order to be rich, just like how Donald Trump, Steve Jobs and other entrepreneurs strive to deserve that wealth.

From the story, we know that the fourth child has his freedom for desires. The fifth child, the unique child, the young Buddha, wishes for freedom from desires.

Thank you, Ajahn Brahm for your motivational talk, you have taught me so much I needed to know to make my life more meaningful, and your talk, although only a few hours, would have inspired all who have attended your talk.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Bad Att' Dota

I hate it when people do mistakes and they act cute doing so. It tempts me to act cute too.

Dota is surely no stranger to the hardcore gaming generation of teenagers today, and yet even girls, typically the ones who aren't gaming fanatics, knows a thing or two about Dota.

Dota is not just famously known for its addictive gameplay combining teamwork and rationality, it is in fact a battlefield of unethical gaming. No, it's not about the cheats.. which reminds me of the time when one player tried to key in -whosyourdaddy in the game and confused as to why the cheat ain't working.

It's about abusive words, or the F-bombs that you guys are so acquainted with. Typically, there's never a game where not one of the players will curse a F word. Or more appropriately in Malaysia, the F words are in Chinese, in which of course, you can try figuring out yourself what are those words are.

In this game, this form of malevolence cursing gamers online has influenced even the gentlest gamers themselves. Like in college, students got so used to hurling abusive words in the game, they even use it freely outside the game too, without minding how offensive those words might be to others.

Yes, I do play this game myself, to be honest, after apparently getting the habit to start playing this game again during the first year of my college. Although I was worse than a mediocre when I was still a beginner, I somehow managed to get a lil' better. I rejoiced when I am finally on the same level with even the most professional hardcore gamer friend of mine.

Hey, I'm not saying I would be talking bad all about the game, or even bragging my Godlike-achievements. This post wouldn't be interesting like that, wouldn't it?

Hurling F-bombs in Dota is such a normal trend, and to play the game, you gotta have an iron will to do so. Getting offended so easily will only mess up your temper. In fact, Dota has become my greatest teacher - It taught me to be a patient man, and not to fuss or strut when words are being thrown at me. But I won't let this trend to take over my way of life, because it isn't right to offend other people without reason, so I restrain myself from using those words as much as I could =)

Well, to other Dota players who are reading this post, has you notice other trends as well while playing on your local Garena server?

I only took a year to follow up with the gaming life of Dota, so I ought to throw a few other 'bad gaming trends' for fun, maybe even some laughs and a lil' sneering ought to do it.

First Stage: Getting Gamers to Join a Game
1. The host usually closes some slots to give an impression that his game has lots of players joining.
2. People thought that colored names resemble professionals.
3. Creating 'Open' or "Closed' as your name will tick off an ill-tempered host.
4. Players argue with the host over what mode to choose.
5. Players will ask the host to tunnel them, although the fact is, tunneling won't do much good to increase their connection speed.
6. Players who wanted to intentionally annoy others will leave the game as soon as the countdown starts.

Second Stage: Choosing the Heroes
1. Players like to wait for other players to choose their heroes first, until they forgotten the countdown timer is nearing its end.
2. One chooses a wrong hero in -ap mode, and later repicking... not knowing they cannot do so.
3. One buys the wrong stats item for the wrong hero.
4. One curses the host if the game is laggy.
5. Players fought over lanes, and who should solo or follow.
6. A player throws a F-bomb at a teammate who doesn't block creeps.
7. A player uses the creeps to hunt neutral creeps, which results in no creeps defending the tower.
8. Going over the trouble of remaking the game if everything goes wrong.

Third Stage: Moving on to Battle
1. A player backstabs the whole team and giving free kills to its opponents.
2. A player stuns, nets or heals on an enemy creep intentionally.
3. A player curses another player why he isn't using his Ultimate... eventhough his level is less than 6.
4. No one bothers to alert if the opponents are missing.
5. Someone who is so scared to fight his opponents, he rather whack neutral creeps instead.
6. A player using Goblin Techies planting bombs at the wrong place/ Booming at the most dreadfully empty spot.
7. A player intentionally demoralizes the team.
8. A player who is confused over which lane he should take.
9. Having a teammate who has no sense of teamwork.
10. Having a teammate who keeps saying 'Let's one on one lah, see who win'
11. A player fighting Roshan too early in the game.
12. A player thinking he's always right, cursing others about the items they buy, the skills they use, or just calling them plain stupid.
13. A player who curses too much, he dies the most as well! xD
14. A player who leaves the game, leaving the team helpless.
15. A player who curses a lagger to stop downloading porn.
16. Someone blames the host for everything.
17. Waiting too long at the base/ secret shop not knowing how to buy items or recipes.
18. Calling each other racists/ sexists/ homos.
19. Blaming people for not doing something, or for something you didn't do wrong.
20. The host leaves the game when he sees his team losing.(An ultimate annoyance)

Wow, that's quite plenty over there, I wish I could put in more =) How about you guys? Thought of some yet?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

This Merry Jolly Festive Christmas

"What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace." - Agnes M. Pharo

The only blind person at Christmastime is he who has not Christmas in his heart." - Helen Keller

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.
" - Norman Vincent Peale

If there is no joyous way to give a festive gift, give love away.
Me? xD

It's that time of the year again! The jolly Christmas season has come back carolling once more, in our tropical but humble Malaysia. Although Malaysia is a country that only gets hot and wet all year round, and we could only dream of wearing winter clothing bracing for the winter that never comes,nonetheless, all of us Malaysians are looking forward to having a good time celebrating and exchanging presents with friends, joking about our past misdeeds, and maybe munching off some freshly baked christmas cookies that we are all looking forward too.

In a country so diverse with different races and religions, I believe Christmas is a free-for-all season, open for everyone regardless of their background to celebrate, just as uniquely as how we celebrate our usual Chinese New Years, Hari Rayas, Deepavalis and other varieties of festivals.

Although bear in mind, Christmas is not a season for misdeeds and naughtiness, rather more of giving away our love and appreciation to the ones we care so much, not just in forms of tangible goods like cash, presents, and dolls, but even mere words and feelings will bring more authenticity in wishing a good peaceful Christmas to our closest neighbors. Gifts of time and love are the best ingredients of a truly merry Christmas, don't you agree?

(Sadly, being in a major Islamic country, we hardly ever knew how eggnog tasted like.)

Here's a part of an article I fancy off from Justin Raimondo, giving descriptions on his experience celebrating Christmas in Malaysia, obtained from his website

I have to say that I am… astonished by Malaysia. Here is an "Islamic" country where a gigantic Christmas tree sits in the lobby of the hotel I'm staying at, and the cafĂ© waiters in the plaza a few blocks away are dressed like Santa's elves. Here is a city where the nightlife puts San Francisco's to shame. Where the city's oldest gay bar, the Blue Boy, makes Baghdad-by-the-Bay seem like a dive in Podunk, Idaho; where people party well into the morning light, and you can have a good time for a few ringgits (the Malay currency: around 30 cents). The food is fabulous: Malay (spicy, somewhat Thai-like), Arab (there's a great place right off Bukhit Bintang), Chinese (you haven't lived until you've sampled the pleasures of Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown), and too many more to go into here. The place is a gastrointestinal paradise!

Modernity is juxtaposed next to traditionalism: on the one hand you have the soaring heights of the Petronas Twin Towers, the tallest buildings in the world, lit up like a vision of futurity against the night sky, and on the other hand you have women in traditional dress – colorful costumes of bright color and the requisite head covering – traversing its corridors. Two, three, many worlds coexisting: the past and the future converging into a new synthesis of creativity and entrepreneurial energy. The impression one gets is of a tremendous vitality, a restless yet directed life-force that seems to spring right out of the earth.

A final note: nowhere have I experienced more genuine warmth and such a feeling of welcome. When you come to Kuala Lumpur, you are made to feel very special. The gentleness and politeness of these people is a phenomenon that doesn't exist, to my knowledge, anywhere in the U.S. Malays are generally puzzled by the actions of the U.S. government abroad, and do not support the war in Iraq: but they love America, the country, and show great admiration and respect for the American people. And that is the kind of "anti-Americanism" that I can live with.

~ Justin Raimondo

I wish to say that countries around the world should stop having the perception that Malaysia is closing its doors to the world. I wish that they don't look down upon our country or having a wrong idea about our traditional heritage and culture. We are willing to be progressive and be competitive catching up with modern times, but as us Malaysians, we remain humble and modest as much as we could.

I blame the society for being rude and only care about ridiculous conflicts in our country, which only aims to break us apart. Why don't we see anyone willing to unify us, and not fight for power or position in the country? Why do we not see each other as being equal yet? Are we too much down-to-earth or just being lazy couch potatoes? Why do we get so addicted to negative yellow influences that only seeks to poison our minds and our younger generation?

Why are we not willing to... change?

There are so many questions that needed so many to be answered. Why don't we put an effort to improve ourselves for just a moment? Whatever religious background we come from, don't we learn from teachings that we should respect and love our neighbors as if they're our own family relatives?

This isn't the time to bombard questions about our state of mind. Rather, we should focus on efforts on improving ourselves, our esteem, our self-actualization, and realize our potential, not to be kiasu or rise above all others, no no, my hope is to see all of us united together once and for all.

Christmas is a time for us to enjoy peace, respect our differences, but also maintain our humility.

Merry Christmas to all of us! Remember, Christmas isn't restricted to a certain group of worshipers alone, for people who do see it in such a way are stereotypes not ready for a change. Christmas is an occasion for all!

I love Christmas. I really do love Christmas. I love being with my family but I really wanted to taste snow. I love the music and the lights and all of it.

ps: I'm still cursing to the fact that Digi will be suspending my credit period on Christmas Day. Curse you, darn it! (And I thought Christmas should be a merry jolly season to call your loved ones)

What makes it worse is, instead of the intended deadline on 25th December, Digi is violating me by ending my credit the day before Christmas!! (by the time I will wake up in the morning today) I really need to change to Maxis when I have the chance.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Comic Fiesta 2008

What a momentous event that was! Simply one of the most memorable events of year 2008.

Comic Fiesta 2008 is the biggest and most massive event ever held in humble Malaysia, very nicely organized in Sunway Convention Centre. I like it better when the event has finally moved to a bigger place with a so-much-better air-conditioning! D:

What’s making CF so interesting is that it combines an authentic blend of creative and artistic talents, most notably with so many talented artists displaying and selling their impressive works of art, especially with the on surge of local doujins, commissions, beautiful illustrations and posters (I liked the Vocaloid poster so much, but I was depressed I couldn’t get one myself because of its intense popularity), bookmarks, badges and so much more. Certainly a one of a kind event, making it more special as it is during Christmas season.

And I happen to be in the event on CF Day 2. In an awkward manner I wouldn’t imagine.

This would be my second time actually participating in the event. The first time was when I kept a low-profile key stalking cosplayers and buying merchandises. This time, I actually cosplayed.

My first time ever as L. Lawliet from Death Note! >.< To be honest, I wasn’t so sure I could bring out the character of L pretty much. Already waking up on 5am on Sunday to prepare myself, I put on my RM15 long-sleeved T-shirt I bought from Kamdar (Who says cosplay is expensive?) and a pair of common washed out jeans. A notable outfit for L. The only bad thing I was ever so disappointed: I woke up with a bad hair day. My hair was so persistent to remain bad, even after I washed it and putting on Gatsby, it still remained bad. What could I do now… time to remain patient. The show must go on.

And oh yes, I did take the KTM to Subang, and this was the first time ever I took different trains after dropping off at KL Sentral using the Seremban train and getting onboard the old Klang train on my way there. Weirdly enough, the train was such in a state of disrepair because the seats were vandalized, one window had an impression of a rock thrown at it, the air-conditioner was broken, and worse of all, the engine broke just before reaching Subang station. Luckily the train trip was over soon enough (although I am not looking forward to take the train back home). And I get to take a joy ride on my JADC club leader’s comfortable car ^_^

It looks like some members of mine who were sitting in the car have already worn their costumes. KW is cosplaying as Toushiro from Bleach, and Erien got herself pumped up cosplaying as Maka from Soul Eater, although she’s missing the important blonde pig-tail wig. We first decided to urgently move on to another one of our dear JADC member, Ailynn’s house just near Sunway, because apparently KW ringed out a red-alert emergency to ‘do his business’, telling us his costume will take him 10 minutes to remove off before going off to the toilet. xD

Anyway, it was a mad dash getting ready in Ailynn’s house. Ailynn was already in her Enmma Ai costume once we got to her place. Here was the embarrassing moment. I had makeup put on by Ailynn, which wasn’t a pleasing experience, since this was probably my second time I had makeup on since primary school. KW though had trouble spraying white paint on his hair, making the whole room stuffy with deodorant.

Cutting off short, we finally make it to Sunway, earlier before the event even started, and earlier than Sunway is ready to open its business to its customers yet. Already practicing my hunchback posing sucking on a chocolate lollipop, we got ourselves tickets (or entry wristbands). We met with some early-rise cosplayers there, meeting up with a Naruto, Rukodo Mukoro from Katekyo Hitman Reborn, Masamune Date from Basara, a Shinigami, a guy from Detroit Metal City and lots more cosplay wannabes.

And yes, we do meet Wai Keet, we just couldn’t get tired of him =D Oh, and not forgetting Hafiz and his sister too. Hafiz was impersonating as Luffy from One Piece, and his sister? Well his sister rather preferred to support him from behind, of course.

Eva, also one of many of our JADC members, joined in, although not on the same day as we were. But it wouldn’t kill if we put up a few of her gorgeous pictures up in my blog, right? >.> She was cosplaying as Rinoa from Final Fantasy 8, don’t she look lovely cosplaying as her?

Again, cutting off all the meticulous details of the event, we then see the event starting off with a bang! Going through the double doors, and later checking out artists’ booths, and even more exciting, having your pictures taken by fans all over the area seems to be a dream come true! *_* Although I wouldn’t take into pleasure seeing my rival competitors cosplaying as L too, although in my heart, I sneered at them. There was one plump L, and I mean really plump and dark too. And there was one girl doing as L too, easily noticeable by looking at her… ahem*front.

Here are some of my nicest pictures I obtained from Kenny, our most experienced photographer in our club, excited to take pictures of us and giggle at his own posing with Jack Sparrow.

Do enjoy what I can offer you mates! =D Oh, don’t stare at them too long, it makes me embarrassed.

Here are some moments of mine impersonating L as best as I could.

I will be posting the rest of our group cosplay pictures later when I could find the time. Snailymx has crippled my blogger’s ability to upload pictures quickly as I have hoped for.