Sunday, 23 February 2014

We're here for the art..


A sudden reminder of the past. This can be brought about by hearing a song from high school, seeing an ex, puffing on a j in your old puffin spot, etc. Similar to a flashback

For some reason I've been thinking about the last time I visited London. It was a pretty memorable trip. I was with my parents and we were there to visit my sister who was living there at the time.

This was some time ago, back when Trafalgar Square still had pigeons (thanks Mayor Ken) and tourists had the pleasure of getting pigeon poop on them after feeding them. It was one of the things tourists did when they were in London; feed pigeons and harass the Queen's guard. At least some things remain the same.

Some highlights from the trip:

  • Convincing my Dad to take me on a open top bus tour of London. My Dad enjoyed it so much he ended up falling asleep. We did pass by Trafalgar Square and stopped under a tree full of pigeons. Earned our tourist badge right there.
  • My sister took us to an art museum. Because that's what you do....especially when your family has absolutely no interest in modern art. I did almost touch one of the paintings and ruin a security guards day.
  • Spending a large some of money at Funland and SegaWorld playing the arcade machines. Money well spent in my opinion. I just found out that Funland no longer exists and that the building is going to be permanently closed TOMORROW to be turned into a hotel :( #cestlavie

The most memorable and excruciatingly painful part of the the trip was when my sister was taking us on a tour of London. This was after the trip to the art museum; we had little to no fun there and we were walking back when it started to rain. And as luck would have it we didn't bring an umbrella.

I can't remember what street we were on but my sister quickly led us into art gallery to get out of the rain. And luckily for us there was a photography exhibition being held there. The first photograph that I laid my eyes on was of a naked pregnant woman lying down in a field.

I was 12 years old at the time and this was the first naked picture I'd ever seen. I was a little embarrassed and diverted my attention to another picture. Which featured the same pregnant woman standing in a courtyard with an elderly man and woman. Nude of course.

Now apparently there is a big debate as to whether photography is art. I don't really care either way, I'll just leave it up to the “experts” to decide. But I will say that I don't think the photos on display that day was art. The photographer it seems, took a trip through Europe and asked a lot of regular people if he could take nude photos of them. And apparently a lot of them said yes.

I didn't know where to look so I just turned around and faced the entrance. Long story short, after a few brief moments we all left and went back out into the pouring rain. And never spoke of what happened again.

Some links to check out:

Sunday, 9 February 2014


Like I mentioned in the earlier post, growing up I was never really hit. Maybe a handful of times by either one of my parents. So when it did happen it was not something that I forgot easily. Especially, an incident that took place one particular night...*cue ominous music”*..

I was about 9 years-old at the time and I was following my Dad to the Mosque for night-time prayers. Now being a somewhat energetic and mischievous child when not in school (as a student I had decided to take a vow of silence) I was given very simple instructions by my Dad. I was NOT to play or run around the Mosque.

Since I was a somewhat energetic and mischievous child I forgot what he had said the moment he left me alone. Maybe if I was alone I could have behaved myself; unfortunately the presence of other children made that impossible. It's like asking Dexter not to murder people (albeit people who we wouldn't mind being murdered) or asking Sherlock not to solve crimes with style.

Besides being energetic and mischievous I am also accident-prone. Which is a very bad combination in a 9 year-old (I've mellowed quite a bit in now.) Anyway, long story short I ended up playing hide and seek with a couple of other children. In an effort to avoid the seekers I decided to climb a low wall (roughly 6 feet); I managed to climb up on one side but the moment I got my foot over the top I lost my grip and fell head first onto the concrete. (#Fail)

For some reason as I was writing this post I thought of a line out of the Mighty Ducks “Take the fall! Act Hurt! Get indignant!” Well, I couldn't “act” hurt I was hurt and I was dazed and confused. I was really “lucky” since there was a drain close by and I could have easily fallen into that.

I don't know how long I blacked out for, the moment I came to I had a headache and I touched the side of my head and realized I had blood on my hand. I was still in shock and slowly I made my way back to the Mosque and I knew I was in trouble when one of the guys there saw me approaching and looked panicked.

I was surrounded by a few adults at this time and someone had gone to fetch my Dad. When he got to me he took one look and that's when it happened; I got one quick slap to the face. In my Dad's defence it was on the spur of the moment. It still hurt though. I guess a few people held him back a bit and told him to calm down. He then took me by the hand and we went straight to the car and headed for the hospital.

That was probably one of the longest car journeys of my life. I exaggerate of course, it was only about 5 minutes; but on top of the headache and my face hurting, I got a severe telling-off for not being able to listen to simple instructions. On the bright side getting slapped in the face really cleared my head.

I did end up having to get a few stitches and luckily I didn't require a serious operation. The Doctor just gave me local anaesthetic and proceeded to stitch my forehead. I think was scared at the time and I asked my Dad to hold my hand, which he did. I'm pretty sure at this time he felt really guilty for slapping me in the face.

There's one important thing you need to know about my Dad; he is afraid of blood. Maybe “afraid” is too harsh (I wouldn't want him to read this and give me another slap for making him look bad.) Let's just say he wasn't fond of the sight of blood. A few years back when I required a little surgery it was my mother who held my hand while my Dad sat in the corner reading my Archie (erm..I meant my sister's) comics.

For my Dad to hold my hand was a pretty big deal. Of course, he didn't want to look directly at my injury so he held my hand while he was crouched next to the operating table. It's kinda funny now that I think about it, Gawd only knows what the Doctor and nurses thought.

I guess I can call myself lucky if that was the worst punishment I ever received in my life. And I did talk about it with my Dad recently and he regrets what happened. Some people would say that I should have listened to my father; or say that my father shouldn't have slapped me in the face in the fist place.

For me, it's a memory I can always look back upon as a moment when I realized that my Dad really did love me (not that I had any doubts)..

Me and the ole man- #lovemydad

P.S. In an update to that story of the Malaysian couple - Their children have finally been brought back to live with their relatives in Malaysia. The couple are still being remanded and will soon be charged 

Links to check out:

Sunday, 2 February 2014

I (don't) Gotta Feeling..

The internet is an amazing place, you never know what you might accidentally come across. It's not all cat porn..I's not all cat's and porn (I don't even want to know what happens if you do happen to Google “cat porn”; probably the NSA will call the SPCA to drone your house.)

Anyway, what I had come across by accident on Youtube is Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) and according to the Wikipedia ASMR is “ a perceptual phenomenon characterized as a distinct, pleasurable tingling sensation in the head, scalp, back, or peripheral regions of the body in response to visual, auditory, olfactory, and/or cognitive stimuli.” Or as I would put it simply certain things make you “feel stuff” or to put it even more simply you could call it “sound porn”; I just Googled “sound porn” and the results are quite interesting.

And apparently it feels really nice. For some people it helps them relax. Since I'm curious and sceptical by nature (and had nothing better to do), I decided to watch a few of these ASMR videos just to see what this “pleasurable tingling sensation” feels like. And for science of course; plus I thought that my scalp could use a little stimulation.

I found out there are many channels dedicated to ASMR. Most of these videos require you to wear headphones to get the most out of the experience. What are ASMR videos like to watch? Well..somewhat strange would be the best way to put it. There tends to be a lot of whispering and brushing; one of the first videos I watched had a woman touching a microphone (that's not a euphemism.)

I watched the WHOLE 21 minute video and she basically scratched and later brushed the microphone. I didn't get much of a tingling sensation but it did make think “WTF am I watching?” and make me wonder what I was doing with my life. She did have nice fingernails though..

The next video I watched was of a woman whispering into a mic in Italian; I have no idea what she said (she could have been quoting Hannibal Lecter for all I know) but I now realize that the Italian language is really beautiful and I'm going to learn Italian on my Duolingo app as soon as I'm done with my Spanish.

There are many types of ASMR videos; besides trying to induce ASMR by making sounds with various objects, there are also a lot of role-playing videos. For example the person making the video will try to simulate a doctor's appointment; getting a head massage (seriously) or getting a haircut. The strangest one I saw was a “girlfriend role-play”; I think having a girlfriend IRL is a lot more appealing.

I admit that these videos made me a little bit sleepy; not because they were making me relaxed. But only out of boredom since nothing was happening. Maybe if I had experienced these mind blowing tingling sensations that some people claim to feel I would feel differently about ASMR.

I conducted a somewhat less-than-scientific study by asking a couple of people to watch ASMR videos and based or preliminary results I can say that ASMR doesn't seem to affect Malaysian or Canadians. Further observation is required..

Before I get hate mail from ASMR enthusiasts let me say that I'm not saying it doesn't work, I'm saying it doesn't work for me. And when I say “strange” I don't mean bad; it's just different. It's more of a personal thing; when I need to feel concentrate on writing or relax I just listen to a website dedicated to the sound of pouring rain. It's “strange” to some people but it's not a bad thing; not like cat porn. I also like to play Planetside 2 and kill for the Terran Republic (Go TR!)

But check out the ASMR links and go see for yourself, don't just take my word for it. So ASMR didn't work for me and I didn't enjoy it but like Pope Frank who am I to judge? Plus my scalp might not be as virile as it used to be..

Some links to check out: