Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Problem Of Suffering And The Loving God (Pt 2)

Suffering. I'll be frank: I don't know what that word means. I'm not wanting for any of life's basics, and I even have many of its non-basics: I've always had food in my stomach, friendship and love (whenever I wasn't busy botching my relationships, that is), a roof over my head, and plenty of entertainment. When I read about persecution, torture, rape, and war, I think to myself "That's terrible", but I don't know *how* terrible. I shrug and think "People are like that, that's why we do those things to each other", but I don't actually know what exactly drives a person to those extremes, and I have less of an idea what it is to be the victim of such extremes. When I read about natural disasters -hurricanes, tsunamis, whole families displaced, loved ones missing- I have little or no personal experience that helps me relate to people who suffer like that. I haven't even had someone I love die on me yet. The most honest emotion I can muster, when I read about the horrors the world endures, is disbelief. There may be some sympathy, but I can't say there's any empathy.

Still the question of suffering gnaws at us, even those of us who have all the basics of life many of its comforts. We ask questions like "Why them, why not me?", and rightly so... there appears to be no rhyme or reason to who gets their particular lot in life. We see suffering, and something inside us protests at what we percieve as something inherently unfair and unjust, but tragically rampant in the world. I had the same question Templeton asks in Strobel's book, which I'll just paraphrase: "If there is a loving God, why do innocent people suffer?". I have to admit, I avoided the question entirely for a long time. I had ideas of my own, but no strong conviction if any of them held up. I did read the bible's musings on suffering (especially in Job), but I still wasn't certain if it had any intellectual answers. Even the answers I've gotten since from outher sources were not answers I went out of my way in search of. I was simply there when this or that sermon was preached, or happened to glance through this or that article. I confess that I've dealt with the subject in a decidedly lazy manner.

I guess my reason for blogging about suffering is to lay out the various ideas I have about the concept of the loving God and see how it all holds up. Now I'm not going to have a very objective opinion. I'm going to use scripture and previous works of Christian apologetics quite a bit. I'll even throw in the occasional "My pastor said..." statement. I will try to hypothesize a bit, and use my (very) rudimentary knowledge of philosophy wherever I find it applicable, but I'm still a staunch Christian. If pressed I'll most likely say I am a Christian by faith alone. I'm not like C.S. Lewis, who claims he became a Christian by induction. I didn't read some reality-altering apologetic that convinced my mind beyond any doubt that Christianity is true (I'll still allow, from an intellectual point of view, that I'm completely wrong, there is no God, and life is devoid of any true meaning). I did not examine scientific or archeological evidence nor require anything specific in that regard. I'm where I am mostly because of intuition; Christianity makes sense to me, so I choose to believe it is true. A Christian may say God lead me here. The unbeliever may say I'm a Christian just because I want to be. I'm not sure how to tell the difference.

If you're not a Christian and you're reading this, here's a warning: I'm not going to be 100% philisophically fair or politically correct. What you're going to read is what this Christian thinks about suffering and why the Christian God makes sense to me in light of suffering. You may wonder why pay any heed to someone whose entire worldview and philosophy rests on something so tenacious as faith. I'm not sure I will answer that here, nor will I intentionally attempt to. I'll say this much: If, after I'm done, the Christian God makes sense to you too, or at the very least seems plausible, then that's as close to an answer as I'll get to for now.

An initial word about Strobel's book, 'The Case For Faith', and it's chapter on suffering: In style and content, this book is made very much of the same substance that 'The Case For Christ' was. The chapter's interviewee appeals to the Judeo-Christian view of God for answers, and you will have to allow for the plausibility of that view of God for the book's arguments to have much power over you. I do think you could arrive at a picture of God very much like the Judeo-Christian God by pure reflection (as G.K. Chesterton says he did), but this book does very little to demonstrate the viability of that approach. In other words, if you think the bible is bunk, and you want a purely philisophical defense of the assertion that there is a God and He is a loving God, this book may not help you much. Strobel's book argues for the plausibility of that particular view of God; if that's what you're looking for, it may be worth checking out. I might elaborate on how well Strobel's book does that here... I'll need to read it again more carefully, though. I will say that my initial impression is that labelling the 'Case For...' series as "beginner-level apologetics" would be a fair evaluation of his work.

Alright, I guess I'm done with the prelims. Over the years I've built up a number of ideas that frame my approach to the issue of suffering. I think it's best, if I want to see if the whole thing holds together, to summarize all the ideas I've gathered into my head one by one. I'll do exactly that next time.

Monday, December 26, 2005

The Problem Of Suffering And The Loving God (Pt 1?)

I've never been much of a holiday person, but I guess Christmas went well. I quite enjoyed the party CDPC put on. They had a pretty good spread plus a message from Peter Rowan and a lot of presentations from various groups within the church. My favorite had to be the kid's ministry skit. The kids were surprisingly adept onstage, and recovered from goof and gaffs with more grace than most adults could muster. The carolling I did with SIB was a less graceful affair (I kept getting the rhythm and timing wrong), but it turned out alright nonetheless. I would've liked a few more practice sessions, but something tells me the whole exercise wasn't about getting the performance technically right 100%.

I had been involved in a little discussion at the SNK-Capcom forums about the plausibility of the theory of Intelligent Design, which asserts that the marks of an "unidentified intelligent cause" are observable in nature. Obviously a fighting game forum is not the best place to have such a discussion, but the topic came up and I pounced on it in ernest. The central concern is the origin of life: is the inherent complexity of life compelling evidence of an intelligent cause (i.e. God, or space aliens, depending on who you talk to), or can life be explained as the result of sheer chance, borne of a primordial broth with the right ingredients and the right conditions?

Well, after that discussion, I was browsing through the stuff at Summit's Salvation bookstore, and I saw Lee Strobel's "The Case For Faith". I'd read his earlier book "The Case For Christ" before, and actually didn't like it much (if he was trying to present a purely objective view, he mostly failed. His choice of interviewees, for starters, would seem highly suspect to most objective readers. If he was writing for a Christian audience, the back cover is misleading.), but after thumbing through his chapter entitled "Objection#3: Evolution Explains Away God", I decided I'd give him another chance. It helped the book only cost RM17.

That chapter was good enough, based solely on the strength of the answers of the guy he interviewed. It also pointed me in other directions to look for answers on the topic, which is always helpful. I then started reading the introduction to the book, in which he narrates the interview he had with Charles Templeton, the once-preacher turned agnostic, and close friend of Billy Graham (at least at one time). Templeton was once tapped to be the greatest evangelist of his time, not Billy. Then he had a change of heart, found he could no longer believe the things he preached, and left his ministry.

In Lee's account, Charles' crisis of faith came about because he could not accept that a loving, all-powerful God would allow the sort of suffering we see in the world. He recounts how a photo of an african woman with a dying child in her arms struck him profoundly. She was looking at the sky, wishing for rain. Templeton's simple objection was this: if we don't control the rain, and God does, why would a loving God allow that woman to watch her child die for lack of rain?

Reading that, I couldn't help but think about my own objections to faith that I have made periodically in my own spiritual walk (and even on this blog itself, as some of you may remember). Up til now, I think I've only let the question rest for the most part. I do have certain beliefs on the matter... but does my system of beliefs hold up? I think I'll explore that here for a couple of entries and see what happens. I haven't read the chapter that deals with suffering in Strobel's book, by the way, but I'll be sure to include what he writes in my musings.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Carolling Pilgrims

This past Wednesday I took part in the first (of two) SIB Young Adult carolling practice. It was a first overall for me. I've never taken part in a carolling choir all my life. I'd always thought it'd be a fun thing to do, but the opportunity never came about, I guess. The practice itself went alright, though I'm a little nervous about there being only two practice sessions. The carols are split into two medleys, and the melodies are a little funkified in places, so there were actually some new notes to learn even for carols I already know. I guess the good thing about singing with a group is that if it all goes south, you can point at somebody else and say "It's his fault".

Last Sunday evening I went to Subang Parade to hear CDPC's carolling choir perform. They had a small band and only five singers, but those guys did a really good job. The singers sang part harmonies and solos and everything, with some complex jazzy rhythms to boot, and there was nary a cringe-inducing moment. I asked Mei Sin (one of the folks in the CDPC cell I'm attending) if they were professionals. She told me the only professional musician of the whole bunch was the keyboard player, which surprised me very much. The singers either put a lot of effort and practice into the arrangments or they are just that naturally talented. Maybe both.

Mei Sin also said they were encouraging folks to participate in the worship team. I recognized three of the singers from the various worship teams that rotate at CDPC. It'd be great to be in a band with any of these folks. If it turns out I'm staying in Malaysia (which to be honest I'm really hoping for at this point), then I'll definitely ask about that. Actually, there are a bunch of things that make me want to stay. It's not really up to me, though. If my visa application succeeds, I really ought to go back to the states. A lot of money and time went into that endeavour, and it'd be a poor thing to do to back out now. Besides, it's not like Knoxville's a bad place to be.

But like I said, I hope I get to dig my heels in. There's lots I'd love to do here and it'd be a drag to have to start over again. That seems to be my life in general, though. I never did get to be in one place for very long. I guess like the old song says, I'm a pilgrim, I'm a stranger.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Rainy Day Women #12 & 35
Bob Dylan

Well, they'll stone ya when you're trying to be so good,
They'll stone ya just a-like they said they would.
They'll stone ya when you're tryin' to go home.
Then they'll stone ya when you're there all alone.
But I would not feel so all alone,
Everybody must get stoned.

Well, they'll stone ya when you're walkin' 'long the street.
They'll stone ya when you're tryin' to keep your seat.
They'll stone ya when you're walkin' on the floor.
They'll stone ya when you're walkin' to the door.
But I would not feel so all alone,
Everybody must get stoned.

They'll stone ya when you're at the breakfast table.
They'll stone ya when you are young and able.
They'll stone ya when you're tryin' to make a buck.
They'll stone ya and then they'll say, "good luck."
Tell ya what, I would not feel so all alone,
Everybody must get stoned.

Well, they'll stone you and say that it's the end.
Then they'll stone you and then they'll come back again.
They'll stone you when you're riding in your car.
They'll stone you when you're playing your guitar.
Yes, but I would not feel so all alone,
Everybody must get stoned.

Well, they'll stone you when you walk all alone.
They'll stone you when you are walking home.
They'll stone you and then say you are brave.
They'll stone you when you are set down in your grave.
But I would not feel so all alone,
Everybody must get stoned.

But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"

"No one, sir," she said.
"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

John 8:1-11

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Onion Does U2

The actual article is way more fun than I anything could possibly say about it, so here it is.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Even More Ps2

Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks
Rating: 7 out of 10 Misuses Of The Letter 'K'
This is one of the games I've that I've never bothered playing alone. It's got a 2-player ko-op mode that just begs to be played exclusively. The game's not too long, but it's a lot of brainless fun while it lasts. There's a rudimentary XP system that lets you buy more moves as you level up, but I didn't really use a lot of the more 'advanced' moves even after I bought them because a handful of lower and mid-level moves seemed to dominate well enough. Carol just kept using Kung Lao's dive kicks from start to finish... that got a bit annoying. The over-the-top fatalities are fun the first time around (especially Kung Lao's rabbit fatalities), but after a while they just began to grate on my nerves (you can't skip the fatality cut scenes, some of which are really long).

Capcom VS SNK 2
Rating: 7 out of 10 Magic Fireballs
Ok, personally, I'm a sucker for this game. When I had it on my Dreamcast in the states I just couldn't stop playing it. I had a couple of friends that could give me a good challenge over there, too. It doesn't get many great reviews, though, and probably for good reason. The graphics aren't technically as good as, say, Guilty Gear XX's are (the low-res, pixelated sprites are just plain ugly). The fighting system is also a bit of a mixed bag. It is, however, a BIG mixed bag, made up of three systems from the Capcom side and three systems from SNK's side. That and it's got a HUGE roster of characters. And who doesn't get a kick out of seeing Haohmaru VS Akuma? Or Rock VS Geese? Or Mai VS Chun-Li? What's that you say? You don't? Well... booger!

Capcom Fighting Evolution
Rating: 2 out of 5 Whiffed Throw Attempts
Ok CVS2 I like. This game... not so much. It's got less characters to choose from, you don't have the luxury of mixing and matching fighting systems with characters from different games, and I don't really care about the guys from Red Earth. It does have one thing going for it though... the endings drawn by Udon are well drawn, and usually pretty entertaining. Bison VS Gill... now that's a great matchup. Only in Bison's ending though.... sigh.
Some Songs (and Two Riddles)

It's coming close to the end of the year, so I thought I'd compile the lyrics to the songs I wrote since I got home from the states. I don't think I've quite lived up to the 'song' part of 'riddle and song' too well on this blog. Actually, I don't think I've lived up to the 'riddle' part either, so here's a couple to start off:

Q:What do you call a deer with no eyes?
A:No-eye deer.

Q:What do you call a deer with no eyes and no legs?
A:Still no-eye deer.

I guess it's a good thing I don't put up too many riddles here.

I wrote 'The Lord Your God Is With You' after Gretchen Paxton emailed me about her trip to Mexico. In it, there was a reference to the book of Zephaniah. I picked it up, read it, and liked it a lot. There were parts of Chapter 3 that sounded like they would make a good song. So I took the words, paraphrased a little, and came up with a fairly simple but (I think) singable tune to go with. The tag came to me a while later than the rest of the song. I was playing the song to myself last week and started freestyling at the end, and realized that what I came up with at the time was good enough to keep. I think a lot of good songs come about like that.

The Lord Your God Is With You

The Lord your god is with you
He is mighty to save
The Lord your god is with you

Verse 1:
He rejoices over you with gladness
And stills your heart with His love
He rejoices over you with song
O daughter of Jerusalem
Do not fear!


On that day you shall not be put to shame
For all the evils of your past
Upon His holy hill, He glorifies the meek
O Israel, shout aloud
And be glad!


Sing a new song unto Him
Sing a new song to the Lord
Sing a new song to your God...

When I started writing 'I Will Come To You Again', I had it in mind to write something you could safely put on a contemporary Christian CD without confusing too many people. Folks familiar with the stuff I have written in the past know that I tend to be too cryptic, angsty, jokey, folky, or a combination of these to ever be classified as mainstream CCM. I wanted to write something fairly pop-ish, mainstream, and heartfelt, but would yet be something I wouldn't detest singing over and over again. I guess time will tell if I've fulfilled that last criteria.

I Will Come To You Again

Many are the times
I'd hidden my heart in a box
And pretended I'd lost the key
Many are the times
When you pointed at the locks
And said "I rolled away the stone... what's this to me?"

Well you know I'm good at hiding
And you know how far I've run
It's no further than you've come
To find me

Many are the times
I'd lost myself in stuff to do
Looking for a brand new thing to start
Many are the times
You said "Well, just look at you"
"Your hands look full, what's in your heart?"

Well this heart is prone to wander
In search of what the fall had stole
But only you can make it whole

So I will come to you again
In times of joy and times of pain
And speak with you as a man speaks with his friend
To let your grace wash me like rain
I will come to you again

Many are the times
I'd found a good thing on this earth
And desired it more than it was made to be
Many are the times
In darkness that my heart had birthed
You broke the silence and made your plea

Not just to me nor just with words
But with blood poured from your side
And with arms that stretched out wide

And I will come to you again
In times of joy and times of pain
And speak with you as a man speaks with his friend
To let your grace wash me like rain
I will come to you again

And you knew my heart so well
Its darkest rage and deepest fear
But it's your grace that makes me holy
And it's grace that draws me near
Oh, to You Lord

So I will come to you again
In times of joy and times of pain
And speak with you as a man speaks with his friend
To let your grace wash me like rain
I will come to you again

Something my friends in the Navigators impressed upon me was the sheer beauty and theological heaviness of the old reformation hymns. A lot of them had attended various Reformed University Fellowship (RUF, and acronym that I had a lot of fun saying) meetings, and I think maybe that's where they got that love of hymns from. These old hymns made up the bulk of the songs we would sing during the smaller Nav meetings. We sang mostly the versions that came out of the Indelible Grace project (a bunch of people putting new music to the old words) and the RUF hymnbook, and quite a few of those made it into the staple of songs I like to do for private worship ('Arise My Soul Arise', 'Thy Mercy My God', 'Come, Ye Sinners', 'O Love That Will Not Let Me Go', among others).

I suppose at one point I wanted to try writing something along the same lines. I know of one contemporary song that sounds like an old hymn (In Christ Alone, the only worship song I know with the word 'babe' in it!), so there's a precedent for that at least =). I'm not sure I succeeded as thoroughly as I would've liked (the grammar seems a little off here and there), but I like the result as a whole. It has guy and girl parts, which is my favorite thing to have in a worship song, so I think that helps me like it.

Lift Up Your Voices

Lift up your voices, brothers, sing
Your great Redeemer’s praise
Recall your hearts’ first wakening
To love Him all your days

Recall that first bright fledgling light
The cross’s quiet demand
Repledge your heart, your soul, your might
To His strong guiding hand

Sing Praise! Sing Praise!
Lift up your voices, sing!
Sing Praise! Sing Praise!
O let His praises ring!

Lift up your voices, sisters, sing
Of wonders Love has wrought
For His dear cross, let praises ring
For mercies Christ has bought

As far as to the East and West
Our sins, our misdeeds cast
Forgot’n by Him who knows us best
And loves us to the last

Sing Praise! Sing Praise!
Lift up your voices, sing!
Sing Praise! Sing Praise!
O let His praises ring!

Lift up your voices, heaven and earth
From sea to hill and plain
All creatures laud His matchless worth
Declare the Master’s reign

Join with the songs of starry host
Let swell a gladdening sound!
O ransomed man, now take your post
With grateful heart, resound

Sing Praise! Sing Praise!
Lift up your voices, sing!
Sing Praise! Sing Praise!
O let His praises ring!
Sing Praise! Sing Praise!
Lift up your voices, sing!
Sing Praise! Sing Praise!
O let His praises ring! X3

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

More Ps2

Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
Rating: 4 out of 5 Wrecked HulkBusters
Hulk Smash! This Hulk's game! Hulk's!!! Hulk smash, and smash... and SMASH! What more you want Hulk Do?! Hulk no solve stupid puzzles, unless puzzles need Hulk to SMASH! Hulk no turn into stupid Banner! Only in cutscenes! In gameplay, just Hulk, and Hulk SMASH! Hulk get to buy new moves, but not with money Hulk find in stupid chests! NO!! Hulk SMASH, and get money! HAHAHA! Hulk's game rocks!

Ultimate Spider-Man
Rating: 3 out of 5 Wrecked HulkBusters
Hulk no done talking! Hulk's game, Hulk smash! Spider-Man's game, Spider-Man no smash! Spider-Man lame! Spider-Man talky too much and swingy too much! Swingy sorta fun, but SMASH more fun! Hulk's game has mini-games, where Hulks gets to run, and jump and SMASH! Spider-Man's game, you get stupid swingy-races! You also get stupid combat tours! Spider-Man no smash, Spider-Man just punch-punch-punch and get shot all the time! Stupid!!! Hulk play Hulk's game! Idiots play Spider-Man's game!

Shadow Of The Colossus
Rating: 4 out of 5 Beautifully Rendered Landscapes
This game is pretty unique compared to the others in my collection. It's basically 16 boss fights interjected with uneventful journeys to the locations of said boss fights. That makes it sound pretty blah, but it isn't. The fights (with 16 colossi, hence the title) are some of the most cinematic encounters I've seen in a videogame. For no-nonsense omg-that-guy-is-fikkin-huge gameplay, I'd say this game takes the cake. Aside from the boss fights, there isn't much else, which may turn some folks off. Worked for me, though.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Starbucks Rocks

My internet at home was down last night for some reason or other. It still is today, actually. So I didn't get any work done yesterday or today that I would've liked to. Ironically, it's Thanksgiving this weekend in the US, so most of my colleagues at work aren't going to be there tonite or tomorrow anyway. Half of them had dissappeared from my Yahoo messenger list by Tuesday, so I'm sure I'm not missed. I was thinking of working today and Friday to get my list of tickets down to a manageable number, but it looks like I'm being forced to take a day off or two. And so I'll blog a bit.

Right now I'm sitting in a Starbucks in Taipan that has WiFi access. It just occurred to me a few minutes ago that this is exactly what I used to do at the Starbucks in the commons area of the UT library. Different laptop, but same table (almost... it's wooden and it looks very yuppie), more-or-less the same coffee (I think I moved on to warmer beverages), and the same soft lighting. One thing this Starbucks has that the one at UT lacked is mood music. One thing the Starbucks at UT had that this one doesn't was a semi-constant parade of beautiful young women walking in and out the door, bookbags or laptops in hand.

I like to come here to Starbucks occasionally, and read a book. They have large, soft, comfortable chairs here you could sit in forever if not for the slightly odd smell that emanates from them. Your nose gets used to it after a while, but it still kinda bothers you at the back of your mind that there was a smell in the first place, and so eventually you do get up and leave. Perhaps they don't wash the chair cushions on purpose, for that very reason. I've been doing quite a bit of reading the past few months, more than I ever have in a year. It started, I think, with a book a friend loaned me that was a condensed picturesque version of Philip Yancey's 'What's So Amazing About Grace?'. I started reading that at the cafe we have down by the pool of my family's apartment complex. Then I realised what fun that was, and I started buying books just to read at the cafe. Eventually I found out Starbucks was a good place to do that too, albeit more expensive.

I don't remember the exact order I read them in, but the books I've gone through this year are 'Orthodoxy' and 'Francis of Assisi' by G.K. Chesterton, 'The Bible Jesus Read' by Philip Yancey, 'Protestant Biblical Interpretation' by Bernard Ramm, and I've started on C.S. Lewis's 'Out Of The Silent Planet', which Marci gave me as a going-away present, but that I'd forgotten I'd had until now, shame on me.

Chesterton is always good fun to read, simply because the man was obviously insane (as the world today might count insanity), but yet, paradoxically, was so given to being right on a good many number of things. It is, however, a strange book in many places. I would consider 'Orthodoxy' a book to return to at different seasons in my life, just to see if the whole makes more sense in that later time than it does to me now.

'The Bible Jesus Read' was a book I picked up because it was about the Old Testament, and I have been trying to read through the Old Testament. It was a good read, though, and very edifying, but I'm not certain how helpful it has been with regards to keeping my OT reading on track. I finished Yancey's book a few months ago. I'm still stuck at Deutoronomy.

'Protestant Biblical Interpretation' was one of my more random selections. It had never occurred to me in the past to read an entire textbook (for that is what it is) on the subject of hermenuetics (which means... bible interpretation. Woah!). It's not the handiest reference ever (it does a poor job of organizing and categorizing its ideas), but it did impress upon me the importance of getting some sort of biblical encyclopedia(s) in the future to help with my understanding of the cultural and philological aspects of any passage of scripture. I also learned the meaning of the word 'philological' :p.

So that's what I've been reading this year. I'm pretty grateful that I've had a year like this, if only because I found some time to read, collect my thoughts, and write a couple of songs. I don't think it can be this good for much longer, which is just as well. Too much more of this and I fear I may get too comfortable. There's stuff out there to do, and which I've started poking my head into. I haven't committed to anything yet, simply because I'm not sure I'll be here or in the states next year. Once I know for certain, I can start jumping into these things wholeheartedly.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

PS, Too!

Well I kinda dropped the ball on that review, huh. I thought about it a bit and decided I couldn't be bothered to say much about each and every game I got, so instead, I'll give each game I have a score and a short comment. Serves my short attention span and yours much better that way!

God Of War
Score: 9 out of 10 Minotaur Horns
Comment: This is one of the baddest games I've got. It's set in ancient Greece, so there's lots of monsters, small and big (and some get... very big), to kill. Kratos, your protagonist, is out to kill the God of War, Ares. The game's puzzles are decent, if not overly taxing. The art direction in this game is incredible. Nothing like seeing a thousand-foot tall war god stomping on armies in the distance to establish that it's going to take some effort to kill him.

Resident Evil 4
Score: 4 out of 5 Zombie Heads
Comment: Ok so officially there are no zombies in this one. The folks who shuffle around slowly and try to kill you are still sentient, apparently. Ok. Whatever. Nobody cares. What matters is this game is a lot of fun to play once you figure it out. It's all about blowing zombie-like people up with as little ammo as possible. That means you sometimes have to get creative. Mostly it means you just need to whip out the shotgun and get them all to gather in one spot before blowing them all away with on pull of the trigger. Booyah! Instant gratification.

Tekken 5
Score: 3 out of 4 Dysfunctional Male Members Of The Mishima Family
I have a feeling that this is actually a great fighting game, but I can't verify that because I've got no one who wants to play this with me. What's the point of fighting the AI? Ah well. Everything else about it looks and sounds great. The ending FMVs for each character are pretty well done and entertaining to watch. I haven't unlocked all the endings yet, though... hmm I think I'll go work on that right now. I'll get round to the other games later :p.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Go Away, I Busy

I finally got a PS2 about a month ago. That's why I haven't posted anything in that long. Between that and the reading I've been doing, I kinda just slipped out of blogging mode. Also, I feel guilty about not having finished the new blog site I was building. Someone needs to give me a good walloping.

Anyway, since I've played my way through quite a few PS2 games, I thought I'd start doing the world a favor and review them one by one over the next couple of weeks. I think I'll start with God Of War. Tomorrow.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Lover, You Should've Come Over
Jeff Buckley

Looking out the door I see the rain fall upon the funeral mourners
Parading in a wake of sad relations as their shoes fill up with water
And maybe I’m too young to keep good love from going wrong
But tonight you’re on my mind so you never know

When I’m broken down and hungry for your love with no way to feed it
Where are you tonight, child you know how much I need it
Too young to hold on and too old to just break free and run

Sometimes a man gets carried away, when he feels like he should be having his fun
And much too blind to see the damage he’s done
Sometimes a man must awake to find that really, he has no-one

So I’ll wait for you... and I’ll burn
Will I ever see your sweet return
Oh will I ever learn

Oh lover, you should’ve come over
’cause it’s not too late

Lonely is the room, the bed is made, the open window lets the rain in
Burning in the corner is the only one who dreams he had you with him
My body turns and yearns for a sleep that will never come

It’s never over, my kingdom for a kiss upon her shoulder
It’s never over, all my riches for her smiles when I slept so soft against her
It’s never over, all my blood for the sweetness of her laughter
It’s never over, she’s the tear that hangs inside my soul forever

Well maybe I’m just too young
To keep good love from going wrong

Oh... lover, you should’ve come over
’cause it’s not too late

Well I feel too young to hold on
And I’m much too old to break free and run
Too deaf, dumb, and blind to see the damage I’ve done
Sweet lover, you should’ve come over
Oh, love well I’m waiting for you

Lover, you should’ve come over
’cause it’s not too late

Monday, October 03, 2005

Man On Fire

It's Bison week. Don't let that man work the grill at a barbecue.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Some Scars Never Heal

It's Sagat week, and he's thinkin back to the day Ryu gave him some sho-ryu-lovin'.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Monday, September 05, 2005

My Back Pages

When I was 15, I started to keep a journal because the cathecism teacher I had told the class to do so. It was the year of our confirmation and so I think it had something to do with that. That was also the year I first met God, and the things I wrote in my journal were interesting, to say the least. I was reading it a couple of weeks back and I'm looking at it again now, and I'm still a little surprised at what I see. For about a third of the journal, this nut sounds very little like me. It's weird. It's my handwriting alright. Exact same scraggly "You should've been a doctor" stuff all these years. But this guy who was writing in my handwriting was shameless. And very happy. Well ok so some of the stuff I've written on this blog have been pretty shameless too. But NOT so happy. I think the closest I ever got to happy was muted joy. That's just my take on it.

Back to the topic. So tonite I decided to collect all the songs I ever wrote from 2001(which is when I started writing these things) til today, that I still have lyrics for. I am putting them in one Word document. I'm not quite done yet( but so far the index says I've got 35 of them). One thing that struck me when glancing through them was how much they were like a journal. They weren't so much a record of actual things that were happening in my life at the times I wrote those songs (though many of them were semi-biographical), but they did reflect my state of mind pretty well. I was, for the most part, dealing with a lot of crap at the time. In a very eloquent fashion of course.

Well I decided to look at my journal again tonite after looking at those songs, and I found that towards the end of the journal, things were actually starting to break apart as I was realising that I couldn't do this whole Christian thing very well on my own (which unfortunately at the time I was forced to do since I lived in the middle of nowhere without a driver's license). Some of the stuff I wrote got pretty angsty in a psalmy kinda way... I wonder if I had actually been peeking at the psalms by myself at the time. I suppose that's where my talent for waxing poetic in the midst of spiritual depravation first began to rear its ugly head. Well that talent would eventually lead to at least a couple of good songs, and a load of bad ones.

Here, I'll share a couple. :)

Bringing It All Back Home (yes, it's the same title as a Bob Dylan album)

I take a long walk down liquored avenues
And arrive at a room I've just come to know
Where strangers meet and trade how-do-you-dos
And all the yellow lights are turned way down low
Like sweat-bees my thoughts itch, my memories ache
With all the crap that has gone before
Just one more dance, it'll be a piece of cake
To drop to my knees and say "no more"

And now chief among my fears
Is that I'm bored beyond my years
I can't bring myself to tears
In this land that I now roam
And it don't matter what I see
It don't matter what I touch
Baby I know this much
I'll be bringing it all back home

Laying still in a spinning room
My skin feeling like it's six days old
A friend on the phone foretold my doom
Well not all tales end well or so I'm told
Like dancers on the street, deaf to the tune
Caterwauling to the very end of time
I don't know when it all ends, but I hope it's soon
All this waiting's enough to blow my mind

And now chief among my fears
I still got a lifetime of years
To leave behind a trail of tears
In each forsaken place I roam
And it don't matter what I say
It don't matter what I do
Baby this much is true
I'll be bringing it all back home

Well I shuffle out to the place next door
Call it a hijrah if you will
The guy there sleeps with the lost and poor
These are some funky shoes I get to fill
Satterfield's his last name, I call him Walker
But I think his mother calls him Sloan
Last thing he says, he's going off to Alaska
He's gonna find a piece of mind to call his own

And I ain't decided since then
But for now I call him friend
And I guess it does depend
On the highways that we roam
It don't matter what he'll perceive
Or the lies that he'll believe
It's been written what he'll receive
He'll be bringing it all back home

Summer comes, the memories begin to fade
I play the part of the guilty child
Stumbling around in every evening shade
Like Nebuchadnezzar in the wild
Preparing them tables and hauling those trays
Setting up a banquet of emotional flux
Glancing aside in cautious ways
That girl looks just too damn good in a tux

It was hard to decide back then
What to do to be the perfect friend
But sometimes it don't depend
On where your imaginations roam
And it don't matter what I fear
It don't matter what I feel
But half of this is real
And I'll be bringing it all back home
Consider a while everything I ever did
The ticket's in my hand and it plainly tells
The information's there, it has not been hid
But each time I look I see something else
The damn plane's left now, oh what have I done
The midnight Greyhound is all I've got now
To get to Detroit before the noonday sun
Before my spirit is completely shot now

In my seat I bowed and prayed
For every second I've delayed
A black lady said every debt's been paid
For every bad road that I roam
And it don't matter what I do
It don't matter what I've done
I'm there before the stroke of one
Soon I'll be bringing it all back home

Now I feel safe in the colors and skin
Of a two-story shop lot and a round-the-clock din
But I should know I can never quite win
Yeah she comes and invades the state I am in
Making up signs to hang over the can
Exaggerating pouts just to catch her eye
Of frustration, I'm an undisputed fan
I'll be leading that charge til the day I die

In my seat I bowed and prayed
That the term won't be delayed
I learned she had not stayed
When I upped and left to roam
It don't matter if she's not there
I'm not there to care
I'm on the road to anywhere
I'll be bringing it all back home

Yes the pages look full to me now
Oh my head feels full to me now
The pages look full to me now
My head feels full to me now
By and by the pages turn
By and by they turn
I don't lift a finger
But by and by they turn

And chief among my fears
I'm getting ahead of my years
I have no right to shed my tears
Over the distances I roam
And it don't matter how I ache
It don't matter how I break
There's mercy for each mistake
Though I'm bringing it all back home

Now I spend my time in a room I rent
With four good friends that I've got
Their names are Moira, Grover, Brent
Well Mutley really lives on the parking lot
But something comes a-rattling my skull once more
The calm of evening bites me to the core
Where on earth have I seen this lady before
I won't get to ducking out anymore

And chief among my fears
It'll be like this all of my years
A different thing each time to start the tears
In every mockery I roam
And it don't matter if I end up bound
It don't matter if I remain alone
Baby it's all set in stone
I'll be bringing it all back home

Black and White in Berlin (inspired by the Wim Wenders movie 'Faraway, So Close!')

The darkness of temptation
Like a lioness on a rock
Hunts me in the twilight
As I rage against the clock
I heard, I spoke and faltered
I embraced the written word
But it's time itself that binds me
To the good news I heard

I made no promise to her
Though my heart was filled with hopes
Tossed about in raging storms
Hanging from the ropes
Would not penetrate the waters
To rest within their calm
But time itself compelled me
And eased me with its charms

Now everything is scattered
Living by the gun
Cast out of the garden
And dying in the sun
We recall when Adam was
Cursed to work the mud
When time itself exploded
In a litany of blood

Wrongs I did against you
You didn't need to hear
I would have left them all unsaid
Bound up in my fear
But they would have surfaced anyway
In a manner long foretold
For if time does not accuse you
It'll strand you in the cold

Now everything is wounded
Shattered where they lie
Between Gehenna's growl
And the red arch of the sky
Unwanted foundlings in
Anticipation of the son
Since time itself exploded
And kept us on the run

Monday, August 29, 2005

Zangief In Training

Don't worry bout the bear... it's a friendly match :).

Friday, August 26, 2005

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Dhalsim Is Late

Both my Dhalsim and Ryu pics were late entries in the Character Select thingie, so I put Dhalsim on an elephant to hurry him along.

Ok that was lame.

Ryu In Romantic Mood

Well, as romantic as an asexual can get anyway...

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Rose and Rolento

Someone at started a pretty good thread in the fanart forum. Basically everyone's invited to post a character-of-the-week for Streetfighter Alpha 3. I missed the boat for the first two (Ryu and Dhalsim), but I'll get back to them since we're allowed to submit late stuff. In the meantime I made two pieces for this and last week.

This week's character is Rose:

She wears a dress and a funky hairdo. While you're laughing at her costume she whips out her Cloth Of Death and kills you. Great stuff.

And last week's guy was Rolento:

Someone pointed out to me that it looks like TinTin art.

He might have a point.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Checking My Pulse

I hate to use tired old cliches (and yes, saying "I hate to use tired old cliches" is itself a tired old cliche), but life is full of surprises. I never thought I'd find myself

a) attending a charismatic church and actually getting along with folks,
b) earning USD while I work at home in Malaysia from my bedroom, and
c) buying land in Canada.

But that's exactly what I find myself doing right now. The church thing has been a unique experience... I don't think I can ever be a true charismatic, but I've found it encouraging that there are charismatics in Malaysia who want to balance their mega-spirituality with a desire to know what scripture says, just like there are evangelicals in Knoxville who are desiring more and more to follow after the unction of the Holy Spirit. I don't think there was ever a complete abscence of either the Word or the Spirit in any true facet of the church, but I guess I've seen or heard of extremes of one or the other. I'm just glad I don't have to speak in tongues to be part of this bunch. I'd hate to choose between the joy of fellowship and good ol' evangelical theology.

Earning USD from home is something my father always wished I could pull off but which I wound up doing almost without any conscious effort on my part. I guess I can only be grateful for that. It helped me save up a bit, which allowed me to do the land-in-Canada investment thing. Of course I'm back to square one after paying the downpayment for that. I still need to save up some to make sure I got money to set up shop if I do go back to the States. But I'm about to own land in Canada. It's not a specific piece of land, but a big piece of land carved up amongst me and a bunch of other people I don't know. But still, that's just plain weird.

There all a few of things that have me kinda down and in a prayerful mood these days. There always are. My relationships with various people, family and friends, are being tested and new lines are being drawn. I've never been very sentimental about relationships, but it's still a trying time for me, since I'm not sure if I'm getting everything right. I'm doing my best to be true to what I believe... but I think in a lot of cases I have screwed up or I am going to screw up. There are days I wish I could just be left alone.

Gretchen did introduce me to a great piece of old testament scripture that's completely passed under my radar all these years, and it's been a source of some comfort to me. From Zephaniah 3, here's an excerpt:

The LORD has taken away your punishment,
he has turned back your enemy.
The LORD, the King of Israel, is with you;
never again will you fear any harm.

On that day they will say to Jerusalem,
"Do not fear, O Zion;
do not let your hands hang limp.

The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."

The book actually start out really depressing, which is why I feel an affinity for the message of this book, because I was in pretty bad shape last year. I'm not sure I'm quite at Zephaniah 3 yet, because all that excess rejoicing seems a little disorderly to a crusty old churchgoer like me, but like the old hymn says: "I feel the promise not in vain".

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Holy Revisionist History Batman!

Okay it's been almost a month since Batman Begins came and I've already seen it twice (not because I particularly loved it, but because I just felt like it), so here's my thoughts on the movie.


Major Spoilers is one bad military mofo. You see him everywhere on the net these days with the words "WARNING" preceding his name. He sent me and email demanding that I include his trademark warning in my next blog entry, otherwise "the puppy gets it". He couldn't mean Sassy! She's so cute:

Aaaw don't annihilate my puppy Major Spoilers!

Seriously, though, I'm gonna devulge quite a few things you may not want to know if you haven't seen the movie. I'm too lazy to do that swipe-and-reveal thing with text fonts so this is purely read-at-your-own-risk.

First off I must say I loved the first half of this movie. They did a great job setting up Bruce Wayne's character and explaining his means and his motivations. They did take a few liberties with the character... Lucious Fox is now the scientific bat-brain, which is alright. I guess you can't expect one man to do everything all by himself. Bruce also gains a fear of bats when he's just a kid. I thought that was cool. This aspect of his youth also served to add more depth to the defining event in Bruce's life: his parents' murders. This time, instead of leaving a theater showing The Mask Of Zorro, they are leaving an opera filled with folks dressed up as (what else?) bats. A frightened Bruce begs his father to leave the opera house, and it is right after that Joe Chill shows up and commits that fateful crime. That sows the seed of guilt in the young Wayne, and the desire to redeem himself somehow.

We get other interesting divergences from the comicbook: Bruce attempting to murder the man who kill his parents (he fails; someone else beat him to the punch), Bruce travelling the world in an angry and (perhaps) misguided attempt to understand the criminal mind, Bruce training with the League of Shadows under the watch of the enigmatic Ra's Al Ghul, Bruce forming a bond with his mentor Ducard, Bruce refusing to subscribe to the League's extreme philosophy of justice... all good stuff.

I even liked the middle act quite a bit. The important aspects of the Bat-getup and his gizmos are explored and explained. The beginnings of Batman's relationship with Jim Gordon are poignant and amusing. Alfred throws in a few great one-liners. Bruce Wayne experiments with the foppish playboy persona he uses to throw off any suspicion that he might be the Bat.

Ironically, it's when the superhero stuff kicks in when things start to fall apart. The first appearance of Batman is a little dissatisfying. The whole scare-em-first-then-kick-their-butts idea is good, but I wasn't entirely convinced with the execution. I wasn't certain why the mafia thugs got as scared as they did as quickly as they did. Then when Bats finally comes out with fists flying, we see... nothing. Really. I can't tell you how Bats takes down the thugs because the camera is spinning past the scene of the fight too fast for you to tell what's going on. He could've gotten into a pillow fight with them or pepper sprayed them for all I know.

Then when the final plot to destroy Gotham is unveiled, I just could not believe how convulated it was. Let's see... there's some crazy gas you need to inhale, that makes you scared of everything, and someone's put it in the water supply, but oh! the people of Gotham need to breathe it not drink it, so a big WayneTech microwave emitter is stolen, and get this, it heats up all the surrounding water so that it vaporizes instantaneously! So that's how they're gonna get the crazy gas into the air! But first they need to put it on this bullet-train that goes around Gotham, so they'll blow all the water lines! Yeah! And then all of Gotham will inhale crazy gas and everyone will start killing each other because... they're scared? Huh?

Finally, when it's revealed who the big bad dude behind all this overly complicated evilness is, it's another huge letdown. Firstly, it's cliched as hell. Oh, Bruce's mentor and "friend" Ducard is behind this? You don't say. But wait, this one I wasn't expecting... Ducard isn't Ducard. He's Ra's Al Ghul! What the hell. When did Ra's turn white? That's like revealing at the end of the upcoming Superman Returns movie that Lex Luthor is actually a bisexual woman. It's just a little unneccessary, and feels like a very cheap attempt at creating shock value. I hope Ken Watanabe comes back in the next movie and tells Bruce, "That Ducard was just messin' with ya, I'm the real deal and look, my Lazurus Pit brought me back from the dead! Like it does in the comics! Muahahahaha! Oh btw here's my really hot daughter Talia played by Zhang Ziyi, that cute chick from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon:"

"You likey?"

The final act is not all bad. Dr Crane/Scarecrow is entertaining when he's doing his thing, though he does get a really lame sendoff (he gets electrocuted while riding a horse and rides off into the night screaming like a sissy). I like what Rachel has to say to Bruce at the end, about him really being Batman, and Bruce just being the mask. I like that she tells him she'll wait for the day Batman is no longer needed in Gotham.

In the end, I'm two minds about this movie... I think it's because it seems more like two movies: a good origin story and a lame live-action version of a saturday morning cartoon. I'll still watch the next one though. Especially if Zhang Ziyi is in it.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

WOAH! Where'd my month go?!

Holy smokes!

Errr... my review of Batman Begins, coming soon.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Thinking About Yams... mmmm

From Psalm 127:

"Unless the LORD builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep."

Monday, June 06, 2005


I haven't had much time lately to think up stuff to write here, but I guess I oughta say something since I just found a little breathing room and I don't feel like collapsing in bed. Firstly, I've been working on putting stuff up at a little web domain I bought a couple of months back. I'm currently focused on rebuilding the Blog Of Doom using PHP and mySQL. Why? Because I want to, dangit! I also want to know I can, if that makes any sense. It might be worth mentioning in my resume too, some day :D. The stuff there isn't quite ready yet, so I'll hold off telling people the addy til later. Most of you who read this blog know already anyways :p.

What's going to happen to *this* blog in the meanwhile? Well I'm going to see if there's a way to export everything that's in the archives (hopefully they'll spit out a giant xml file or something for me), but if there isn't, then I guess I'll leave it here for posterity, with a helpful link to my new blog as the final entry.

I'm also going to learn a bit of .NET soon, I think, once I'm done with getting the blog off the ground. I'm helping Jason with his business website and he wants it done with ASP.NET. I might be working with C# somewhere down the line, so there's no harm getting some exposure to the .NET framework. He asures me ASP.NET is easy, and since I got a bunch of queries set up to create databases in mysql already, it should n't take too long to get that website going.

Does anyone out there know what ".NET" actually means?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Revenge Of The Sith: My Two Cents


The Good
1. Artoo Kicks Butt: The first 15 minutes of the movie seemed more like Attack Of The Astromech Droid. I wished he had a little more to do throughout the whole movie, but since the movie is supposed to be tragic, it's just as well he didn't. Why didn't they come up with this stuff for Episodes I and II?
2. Jar-jar Does Nothing: ...Aside from looking really bummed at the end. I don't think they even gave him any lines to say. I kinda wondered why Ahmed Best was in the credits.
3. Ani And Obiwan Settle Their Differences: This battle makes their final duel in A New Hope look like a pillow fight. I just wished I had a joypad.
4. Darth Vader Shows Up: Hey! I know that dude!

The Bad
1. Chewie Does Nothing: Really. The few times I saw him, he was either getting ignored or Yoda was saying bye to him. Is this Star Wars or Intergalactic Celebrity Cameo Night?
2. Ani Turns To The Dark Side: I don't mean bad as in he turns, but bad as in the moment he turns seemed a little off. He goes from asking himself "What have I done???" to telling Darth Sidious "Ok boss, anything you say boss" in like five seconds. The reasons for turning were there, and the setup was adequate, I thought, but the payoff wasn't as satisfying as I'd hoped.
3. General Grievous: Ok he wasn't BAD, just blatantly suited to be mass produced and placed on toy shelves. Aside from that, he's a superficial distraction. He does give Obiwan an excuse to say a really good line: "*SO* uncivilized".

The Ugly
1. Coruscant 90210: Ani: "You look so beautiful" Padme: "That's because I'm in love!" Ani: "No it's cause I'm in love!" Me: "I'm so embarrased to be sitting here."
2. Darth Vader's final "NOOOOOOoooooOOOOOOooooooo": Ok it's more Funny than Ugly. But there'a no 'The Funny' category... so there.
3. Star Wars Gets Political: I mean that in two ways. First, anytime Yoda says the words "Trade federation", "Republic", or "Separatist", some of the mystique of the character vanishes. It just does. Putting these kinds of words in his mouth was detrimental to the character in the first two prequels and that trend continues here. Secondly, a lot of folks on the net think George was making a political statement about a certain war in a galaxy not so far away. Not too sure if that's true, but if it is, Star Wars is a poor podium to speak from... after all, what does "escapist" mean?

Monday, May 16, 2005

Why Christians Hate Pink

"... Thus, the double charges of the secularists, though throwing nothing but darkness and confusion on themselves, throw a real light on the faith. It is true that the historic Church has at once emphasised celibacy and emphasised the family; has at once (if one may put it so) been fiercely for having children and fiercely for not having children. It has kept them side by side like two strong colours, red and white, like the red and white upon the shield of St. George. It has always had a healthy hatred of pink. It hates that combination of two colours which is the feeble expedient of the philosophers. It hates that evolution of black into white which is tantamount to a dirty gray. In fact, the whole theory of the Church on virginity might be symbolized in the statement that white is a colour: not merely the absence of a colour. All that I am urging here can be expressed by saying that Christianity sought in most of these cases to keep two colours coexistent but pure. It is not a mixture like russet or purple; it is rather like a shot silk, for a shot silk is always at right angles, and is in the pattern of the cross."

G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Monday, April 25, 2005

From The Ethics Of Elfland

"WHEN the business man rebukes the idealism of his office-boy, it is commonly in some such speech as this: "Ah, yes, when one is young, one has these ideals in the abstract and these castles in the air; but in middle age they all break up like clouds, and one comes down to a belief in practical politics, to using the machinery one has and getting on with the world as it is." Thus, at least, venerable and philanthropic old men now in their honoured graves used to talk to me when I was a boy. But since then I have grown up and have discovered that these philanthropic old men were telling lies. What has really happened is exactly the opposite of what they said would happen. They said that I should lose my ideals and begin to believe in the methods of practical politicians. Now, I have not lost my ideals in the least; my faith in fundamentals is exactly what it always was. What I have lost is my old childlike faith in practical politics. I am still as much concerned as ever about the Battle of Armageddon; but I am not so much concerned about the General Election. As a babe I leapt up on my mother's knee at the mere mention of it. No; the vision is always solid and reliable. The vision is always a fact. It is the reality that is often a fraud. As much as I ever did, more than I ever did, I believe in Liberalism. But there was a rosy time of innocence when I believed in Liberals."

G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Monday, April 18, 2005

Death and...

I was looking through the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia's website today, and I found this under 'Types Of Income Chargeable To Tax':

(i) Gains or profits from a business for whatever period of time carried on.

(ii) Gains or profits from an employment.

(iii) Dividends, Interests or Discounts.

(iv) Rents, Royalties or Premiums.

(v) Pensions, annuities or other periodical payments not falling under any of the foregoing paragraphs.

(vi) Gains or profits not falling under any of the foregoing paragraphs.

(vii) Special classes of income.

Upon reading vi and vii, I just had to wonder...

Why did they bother listing i, ii, iii, iv, and v at all?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
Harry McClintock

One evening as the sun went down
And the jungle fires were burning,
Down the track came a hobo hiking,
And he said, "Boys, I'm not turning
I'm headed for a land that's far away
Besides the crystal fountains
So come with me, we'll go and see
The Big Rock Candy Mountains

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains,
There's a land that's fair and bright,
Where the handouts grow on bushes
And you sleep out every night.
Where the boxcars all are empty
And the sun shines every day
And the birds and the bees
And the cigarette trees
The lemonade springs
Where the bluebird sings
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
All the cops have wooden legs
And the bulldogs all have rubber teeth
And the hens lay soft-boiled eggs
The farmers' trees are full of fruit
And the barns are full of hay
Oh I'm bound to go
Where there ain't no snow
Where the rain don't fall
The winds don't blow
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
You never change your socks
And the little streams of alcohol
Come trickling down the rocks
The brakemen have to tip their hats
And the railway bulls are blind
There's a lake of stew
And of whiskey too
You can paddle all around it
In a big canoe
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains,
The jails are made of tin.
And you can walk right out again,
As soon as you are in.
There ain't no short-handled shovels,
No axes, saws nor picks,
I'm bound to stay
Where you sleep all day,
Where they hung the jerk
That invented work
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.
I'll see you all this coming fall
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

Monday, April 11, 2005

It Can't Rain All The Time
Jane Siberry

We walk the narrow path
Beneath the smoking skies
Sometimes you can barely tell the difference
Between darkness and light
Do we have faith in what we believe?
The truest test is when we cannot see

I hear pounding feet in the streets below
And the women crying and the children know
That there's something wrong
It's hard to believe that love will prevail

It won't rain all the time
The sky won't fall forever
And though the night seems long
Your tears won't fall forever

When I'm lonely I lie awake at night
And I wish you were here, I miss you
Can you tell me
Is there something more to believe in?
Or is this all there is?

And the pounding feet in the streets below
And a window breaks and a woman falls
There's something wrong
It's hard to believe that love will prevail

It won't rain all the time...

Last night I had a dream
You came into my room
You took me into your arms
Whispering and kissing me
And telling me to still believe
(Within the emptiness of
The burning cities against which
We set our darkest of selves)
Until finally I felt safe and warm
I fell asleep in your arms
And when I awoke I cried again
For you were gone
Can you hear me?

It won't rain all the time...

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Thoughts While Driving Home

Was I clever enough?
Was I charming?
Did I make at least one good pun?
Was I disconcerting? Disarming?
Was I wise? Was I wan? Was I fun?
Did I answer that girl with white shoulders
Correctly, or should I have said
(Engagingly), "Kierkegaard smolders,
But Eliot's ashes are dead"?
And did I, while being a smarty,
Yet some wry reserve slyly keep,
So they murmured, when I'd left the party,
"He's deep. He's deep. He's deep"?

"Telephone Poles and Other Poems."
John Updike

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Sacred Love

Take off those working clothes
Put on these high heeled shoes
Don't want no preacher on the TV baby
Don't want to hear the news

Shut out the world behind us
Put on your long black dress
No one's ever gonna find us here
Just leave your hair in a mess
I've been searching long enough
I begged the moon and the stars above
For sacred love

I've been up, I've been down
I've been lonesome, in this godless town
You're my religion, you're my church
You're the holy grail at the end of my search
Have I been down on my knees for long enough?
I've been searching the planet to find
Sacred love

The spirit moves on the water
She takes the shape of this heavenly daughter
She's rising up like a river in flood
The word got made into flesh and blood
The sky grew dark, and the earth she shook
Just like a prophecy in the Holy Book
Thou shalt not covet, thou shalt not steal
Thou shalt not doubt that this love is real
So I got down on my knees and I prayed to the skies
When I looked up could I trust my eyes?
All the saints and angels and the stars up above
They all bowed down to the flower of creation
Every man every woman
Every race every nation
It all comes down to this
Sacred love

Don't need no doctor, don't need no pills
I got a cure for the country's ills
Here she comes like a river in flood
The word got made into flesh and blood
Thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not kill
But if you don't love her your best friend will

All the saints up in heaven and the stars up above
It all comes down, it all comes down
It all comes down to love,

Take off your working clothes
Put on your long black dress
And your high heeled shoes
Just leave your hair in a mess

I've been thinking 'bout religion
I've been thinking 'bout the things that we believe
I've been thinking 'bout the Bible
I've been thinking 'bout Adam and Eve
I've been thinking 'bout the garden
I've been thinking 'bout the tree of knowledge, and the tree of life
I've been thinking 'bout forbidden fruit
I've been thinking 'bout a man and his wife

I been thinking 'bout, thinking 'bout
Sacred love, sacred love...

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Lift Up Your Voices
Bernard Ng, 2005

Lift up your voices, brothers, sing
Your great Redeemer’s praise
Recall your hearts’ first wakening
To love Him all your days

Recall that first bright fledgling light
The cross’s quiet demand
Repledge your heart, your soul, your might
To His strong guiding hand

Sing Praise! Sing Praise!
Lift up your voices, sing!
Sing Praise! Sing Praise!
O let His praises ring!

Lift up your voices, sisters, sing
Of wonders Love has wrought
For His dear cross, let praises ring
For mercies Christ has bought

As far as to the East and West
Our sins, our misdeeds cast
Forgot by Him who knows us best
And loves us to the last

Sing Praise! Sing Praise!
Lift up your voices, sing!
Sing Praise! Sing Praise!
O let His praises ring!

Lift up your voices, heaven and earth
From sea to hill and plain
All creatures laud His matchless worth
Declare the Master’s reign

Join with the songs of starry host
Let swell a gladdening sound!
O ransomed man, now take your post
With grateful heart, resound

Sing Praise! Sing Praise!
Lift up your voices, sing!
Sing Praise! Sing Praise!
O let His praises ring!


Okay so I like hymns. Sue me!

Saturday, March 19, 2005


Well this has been a month of firsts. Saw my first wild boar, saw my first pet monkey, saw my first Orang Asli village... and now I can say I saw my first Malaysian movie at the cinema, 'Sepet'. It was pretty good too! I'm glad Emily (from my cell/small group) asked us to go and watch it. I was a little skeptical at first, because local movies are notorious for sucking big time (a fact that one of Sepet's main characters actually points out). But this time I decided I'd give it a go, since I'd never dished out 9 RM for a local movie at the theater before.

Sepet is a Malaysian movie through and through... it's not exclusively in Malay. Far from it, in fact. The dialogue is a mind-boggling mix of Malay, Hokkien, Cantonese, English, and Manglish. It's set in my parent's hometown of Ipoh, which I thought gave it a nice Not-In-KL feeling. I mean, I live in KL. The less I see of it, the better. The story, a tragic interracial romance, is pretty interesting... to us Malaysians. To the rest of the world it may lose some of it's power, since these sorts of issues have been dealt with over and over in cinemas abroad. We're only just starting to learn to talk about interracial matters locally without getting huge sticks shoved up our nether regions. However, Sepet handles its subject matter extremely well, and should strike a chord with many Malaysians on several levels.

The plot is pretty simple: An Ah Beng named 'Jason' Lei Siew Loong (the definition of 'Ah Beng' has been handled on this blog previously) meets a Malay girl named Orked, and they fall in love. Said love ends in tragedy. Sounds very done-before... but this movie manages to avoid most of the easy cliches associated with such tales. Instead, it delivers something far more poignant and insightful.

This movie is a really good showcase of the hodge-podge of cultures that makes Malaysia what it is. A bunch of racial and cultural stereotypes are laid bare, with hilarious results. Sepet doesn't stop at the surface, though, and digs deeper into its characters motives and desires. Along the way it kinda makes the point that while the stereotypes may be true in a lot of cases, that doesn't make the targets of those stereotypes any less human and worthy of esteem.

Sepet doesn't get preachy, however, and there's plenty of humor and joy to be had along the way. This movie is genuinely funny, and it's pure gold when the stereotypes come out and give you the full monty. The romantic interludes between its ill-fated lovebirds do tend to get really bad... but that's understandable in a way. Chinese folk can get pretty corny and melodramatic when they're in love. But that still doesn't stop the movie from grinding to a screeching halt when Jason drops stuff like "I've been waiting for you all my life". ACK. That said, I couldn't think of a better way to portray an Ah Beng in love. Another thing I found distracting was the stoner look that Loong had on his face the whole time... but yet again that's classic Ah Bengness right there. At the very least I cannot fault the movie for realism!

In an intellgent twist, the parents of said lovebirds are not stumbling blocks to the relationship. The movie forgoes that cliche for something a little more complex and fulfilling. Orked's dad does voice his hangups, but mostly towards the end, and even that is used as a setup for a poignant and heart-wrenching response from Orked's mother. Apart from that, Orkid's parents are just plain fun to watch, as they play out the their old-folks-who-love-each-other-and-their-daughter roles with aplomb. Jason's family life is much darker; his father, before he was crippled in an accident, was abusive and adulterous. In the few moments in which you see Jason's mother, you get a sobering sense of the cycle of anger and tragedy her life has become.

Jason's and Orked's friends also get some screentime along the way, and that time is well spent. Characters are just solid all round... it didn't feel like anyone was given the shaft (save for a few perfunctory characters whom I certainly didn't feel the need to know more about).

When all is said and done, this has been one of the more pleasant surpises of the week. Kudos to Yasmin Ahmad (who's blog can be found here, FYI) for making a great movie. Nevermind that it's Malaysian. We really need to get over that Boleh-land hump. We can do great things... this movie proves it. For crying out loud, can we stop reminding ourselves of that, as though we aren't sure?

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Finger-pickin'/Wild Boar/Mafia

To everyone who reads this blog, yup I've been a slacker. However, I've not been completely unproductive. I've finally updated my music page with a couple new songs. The second submission is still under review (it takes a couple of working days I think), but it should up soon. I mean, I didn't cuss or anything on it. The page is here. The music was recorded in my own bedroom, and the mixing was done using my friend Jason's pirated copy of *AHEM* *AHEM* *AHEM* well, I can't say now can I? Hey, I would've bought in in the states if I knew there was a piece of recording software this good. Considering all I have is a cheap karaoke mike, my laptop, and my bedroom as a studio, I thought the results were pretty sweet (if somewhat lo-fi). To add to the randomness, I noticed the other day I'm actually on the list of's editors' picks under the Folk category. If you bother to download any of the other songs from artistes on that list, you'd understand my confusion :p. I really don't compare very well.

Over the past weekend, I've been roughing it out in the jungle with the SIB young adults. This was a mission trip to an Orang Asli village. 'Orang Asli' refers to the indigenous folk who've been living in this land right from the start. Well they called it a mission trip, but we didn't really do any hard labor... just made friends with the locals and saw what life was like for them. I guess you could call it a practice trip.

It was plenty hard though. The village was located up in the hills somewhere in the state of Pahang, and several kilometres into the jungle. We first had to get to the base camp which was accessible only by hilly dirt roads. City vehicles couldn't make the trip so about 40 of us had to pile into the backs of four 4x4s and hang on for dear life for about 45 minutes before we got to base camp. We had to be dusted at the end of the trip!

After resting at base camp for a bit, we had to leave a bunch of luggage behind and take only what was necessary for one night. Another 20 minutes in the 4x4s and we reached the start of the trail that went up through the hills and the jungle. As one other fella put it, we used up what we ate for lunch that day, what we ate for dinner the day before, and what we ate for lunch the day before just hiking through the hills. That was almost as tough as the time Brent and Matt took me to Cameroon Mountain (not sure if i spelled that right) and didn't tell me it was a 14-mile hike.

When we finally did get there, though, it was absolutely worth it. The Orang Asli village was next to an ice-cold unpolluted river. Jumping in for a bath after three gruelling hours of trucking and hiking was a different feeling for me altogether... it'd never felt so good to be freezing to death!

Living with the Orang Asli, even for a night, was another revelation for me, and a humbling experience. The houses were all made of rotan and tree trunks (with the exception of the roofs, some of which were zinc). The only electricity they had came from a single generator. I didn't dare look in the outhouse! There were quite a few pet dogs running around, and one home had a monkey tied to a post. One thing I saw for the first time was a female boar, which I was told was also a pet. It had better be... it had free reign of the village of the whole time, and I wouldn't want anything wild that big running around outside my doorstep.

The villagers were friendly, though a few of them were quite shy. I did manage to get a few words in, though my Malay was rusty. I asked one of the penghulus (village elders) to let me call him 'Datuk' (a Malay title... probably the equivalent of 'Lord'). He gave me a half-toothless grin and said 'Boleh!' (Which was an affirmative). They definitely had a sense of humor.

These villagers were all Christians. Watching them worship was pretty special. They didn't have any projectors or transparencies or even cheat sheets to help them with the songs... they learned them all by heart. All... um... thirty or so songs it seemed like. They would sing them in succession, not pausing in between, and the guys with the guitar would basically play all the songs in the same key and they segued from one song to the next. The kids sang the loudest, and never missed a beat! It reminded me of how the Israelites did it in ancient times, memorizing whole books of scripture by heart. Those kids (some of them barely above my knee) had a connection to our spiritual ancestors many of the YAs probably didn't have. This kids didn't have access to cars, air-conditioning, or hot showers, but at that moment, it seemed like they had everything. It was written on their faces and it resounded in their voices.

The next day, we bid the villagers adieu and returned to base camp. From then on it was pretty much fun and games. We had a barbeque under the stars, played Mafia (the Malaysian version is a little different, but still entertaining), and had a service the next morning. In a somewhat knuckleheaded move, I volunteered to be gamemaster for the Mafia game. Only after the game started di I realise a few of the rules were different, which lead to quite a few techinical difficulties. The beauty of mafia, though, is that even if the gamemaster screws up, it's the players who make the game fun. Malaysians are nothing if not eager to accuse others of wrongdoing. They do so with gusto, and the accusees defend themselves with just as much determination :p.

They had communion during the service, for which I was very glad. They also had a time of sharing, and an icebreaker game. Jessy told me before the trip that one of the clandestine purposes of these trips was to pair up single YAs, and I saw this nefarious scheme come to fruition during the icebreaker. Basically pairs of guys and girls were chosen (NOT at random) to ask each other three questions and answer them for all to hear. Not too subtle :p. I was in one of the pairs... and I won't say anything else on the matter.

I guess I'll end with some of the lyrics to one of the songs that the Orang Asli sung during worship... this one kinda resonated with the slacker in me :D.

Dalam kerja Tuhan ada susah ada senang
Walaupun susah hatiku senang...

(In God's work there is difficulty and there is ease
Though there is difficulty, my heart is at ease...)

Friday, February 25, 2005

Movies Of Myself
Rufus Wainwright

Stop me falling down, stop me making movies of myself
Put that old dog down, stop me making movies of myself
Bring that carriage round, get me to the garden of sleep
Make that high gate speak, Perrier out of a paper bag
Looking like a hag
And start giving me something
A love that is longer than a day
Start making my heart sing something that it doesn't want to
I'm handing it over, I'm saying that you're the only one
Don't run for the border, turn that corner
Already you've run in movies of myself
Darling don't you ever let me go
Wrap your loving arms around me
While the cold winds blow
Tell me what I really want to know
'Cause I'm looking for a reason, a person, a painting
A Saturday Evening Post Edition by Jesus
An old piece of bacon never eaten by Elvis
So I'll say start giving me something
A love that is longer than a day
Start making my heart say something it doesn't want to say
I'm handing it over, I'm singing that you're the only one
Don't run for the border, turn that corner
In movies of myself
Oh I've seen it all before in movies of myself

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Talk Shows/Old Songs/Wankers

Well it's been a little more than a month since I got back. I've been having a pretty good time here, I'm glad to say, though I do think I miss Knoxville sometimes. It's not so much the place (though I do pine for Borders... how sad). But I do think about the folks I knew back there that I can't just call up or meet at church. I suppose that's normal when you spend seven years of your life in one place.

I went to a Youth group do at SIB (Sidang Injil Borneo) church last week. They did it up kinda like a talk show, with cushions up on stage for the interviewers and interviewees to sit, live jazz music, and video clips produced just for the occasion. I kinda wished they'd just keep it simple, but maybe "AWE-some!!!!!" productions are par for the course at this church :p.

The theme of the night was 'There And Back Again' (ack! LOTR!), and they interviewed three folks about their experience coming home and adjusting after having been overseas for a while. Apparently some folks have a rough time of it, which I understand. There's a tangible difference between the way we do things here in good ol' Malaysia and the way things are overseas, and I suppose you could get pretty wound up thinking about those differences. Then again, I spoke to a couple of folks at cell group last night who didn't have any problems adjusting at all after coming home. There's all kinds.

I'm guessing right now I'm not having too hard a time settling in. I don't spend the whole day pining for this or that. There's a lot of stuff here to take joy in and be grateful for (The food's better!). But like I said, it does hurt sometimes to think about stuff I've left behind. The other day I caught myself talking to my Toyota Tercel from afar, sending it luv and best wishes. I hope Ruby's topping up the oil levels like she's supposed to :(. It's mostly small things like that, but it's enough to put me in a quiet place for a bit.

These days I mostly work or game. I've also been spending a lot of time learning the worship songs I used to sing at Fellowship Church and with the Navigators. I think maybe that's a piece of my life in Knoxville that I've got with me wherever I go, so I may as well learn the songs by heart. I do a little church stuff... cell group on Wednesdays, church on Sundays (either SIB, which is where Jessy goes, or Full Gospel Assembly, which is where Jason and Jeevan go), but nothing too committal yet. I feel like I got license to float a little, so I may as well use it :D.

I guess now's a good time as any to say I'm kinda using a new email account. The old Netlearning account still works, but folks can now contact me also at I guess once I'm done with Netlearning, that'll become my main email addy. There's the old Hotmail addy... but I think it was established here long ago that that's my wankers email, so don't bother with it.

Unless you're a wanker.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Disease of Conceit
Bob Dylan

There's a whole lot of people suffering tonight
From the disease of conceit.
Whole lot of people struggling tonight
From the disease of conceit.
Comes right down the highway,
Straight down the line,
Rips into your senses
Through your body and your mind.
Nothing about it that's sweet,
The disease of conceit.

There's a whole lot of hearts breaking tonight
From the disease of conceit,
Whole lot of hearts shaking tonight
From the disease of conceit.
Steps into your room,
Eats your soul,
Over your senses
You have no control.
Ain't nothing too discreet
About of disease of conceit.

There's a whole lot of people dying tonight
From the disease of conceit,
Whole lot of people crying tonight
From the disease of conceit,
Comes right out of nowhere
And you're down for the count
From the outside world,
The pressure will mount,
Turn you into a piece of meat,
The disease of conceit.

Conceit is a disease
That the doctors got no cure
They've done a lot of research on it
But what it is, they're still not sure

There's a whole lot of people in trouble tonight
From the disease of conceit,
Whole lot of people seeing double tonight
From the disease of conceit,
Give ya delusions of grandeur
And an evil eye
Give you the idea that
You're too good to die,
Then they bury you from your head to your feet
From the disease of conceit.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

There's More Haitians Here Than I Remembered

Well it's been a while since I posted anything, and to everyone who checks in regularly, semi-regularly, or at all... I apologize. I've been meaning to change the look of the blog before I started blogging again, and I thought I'd get round to last week, but my latest gaming habits have kept me from doing so. Between 'W40k:Dawn of War' and work, there really isn't time to figure out how Blogger's tags work and revisit all my buried CSS knowledge. So for now, the site's going to retain it's pastel flavor.

Nothing has changed much in Malaysia since I last left it two years ago. There's a couple of new shopping malls, to which the Ah Beng (those of you unfamiliar with the term, this Singaporean definition kinda works) population congregate. Couldn't be bothered much with those, though Berjaya Times Square does have a cool-looking indoor rollercoaster to suck in the Ah Beng's ringgit. I went to good ol' Sungei Wang Plaza with my old secondary school friend Mr Jason a/l Jaganathan a few weeks back, and was taken aback by the massive numbers of Ah Bengs and Ah Lians cramped shoulder-to-shoulder in between pirated DVD shops and Levis outlets. We theorized that a missile attack on Sungei Wang on a Sunday would effectively take out a tenth of Malaysia's Ah Beng population.

A lot of afternoons (and evenings on weekends) are taken up playing Dawn Of War at Adrian's house. We don't have LAN parties, we have LAN-Round-The-Clock. I think my mom still misses me and wonders when I'm coming home. We call our gaming sessions 'foam' sessions, and there's a point during the game when you need to start 'foaming'. There's a bit of history in that terminology I won't go into right now, but most initial etymological theories would most probably be close enough.

I'm having a lot of fun with culture shock jokes right now... basically it's just fun to pronounce things in a painfully fake and heavy American accent, so that place names like Subang Jaya and Kuala Lumpur come out just a little bit wrong. Okay a lot wrong. It's more fun telling people you live in "Sue-BANG Jay-uh" though, as opposed to plain ol' Subang Jaya. It's a little mean, but I also make it point to tell everyone what stuff costs in USD :p, and then say "hey, I'll pay for it, it's only X USD!" That one's gonna bite me in the butt soon, I'm sure.

I also wonder a lot to folks about where all these Haitians in Malaysia are, since there are all these signboards with the word "Perhatian" on em. Like where are all these Haitians and why do we need to deal with them on a Per-Haitian basis?

On that note, I think I'll stop and get back to work.

Happy Chinese New Year!

Friday, January 28, 2005

If Life's Getting You Down...

... just be glad you don't have this kinda crap to deal with!

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Down There By The Train
Tom Waits

There's a place I know where the train goes slow
Where the sinner can be washed in the blood of the lamb
There's a river by the trestle down by sinner's grove
Down where the willow and the dogwood grow

You can hear the whistle, you can hear the bell
From the halls of heaven to the gates of hell
And there's room for the forsaken if you're there on time
You'll be washed of all your sins and all of your crimes
If you're down there by the train

Down there by the train
Down there by the train
Down there by the train
Down there where the train goes slow

There's a golden moon that shines up through the mist
And I know that your name can be on that list
There's no eye for an eye, there's no tooth for a tooth
I saw Judas Iscariot carrying John Wilkes Booth
He was down there by the train

If you've lost all your hope, if you've lost all your faith
I know you can be cared for and I know you can be safe
And all the shamefuls and all of the whores
And even the soldier who pierced the side of the Lord
Is down there by the train

Well, I've never asked forgiveness and I've never said a prayer
Never given of myself, never truly cared
I've left the ones who loved me and I'm still raising Cain
I've taken the low road and if you've done the same
Meet me down there by the train

Meet me down there by the train
Down there by the train
Down there by the train
Down there by the train
Down there where the train goes slow

one love
one blood
one life
you've got to do what you should
one life
with each other
one life but we're not the same
we get to
carry each other
carry each other

One, U2

Monday, January 03, 2005

Waking From The Sliver Of A Dream (2001)

strangers in the park
downtown after dark
through the thick of the day

yens of many songs
woes of many shapes
all hanging from the drapes
in whispers

a man comes up to me
says salvations from the jews
i think i believe that
i've heard old zimmy's blues

some things are too deep
we search until we weep
till we're cryin out like sheep
in whispers
in whispers...

woke up from a dream
about what could have been
lost my mind listening
to whispers

on the streets of lafayette
you can come you can place your bets
on what you can and cannot get
with whispers

this heart is angry
hurt and lonesome too
stranded without mercy
and mad with love for you

some things are too clear
it's like cairo in your ear
some days you wish it all came to you
in whispers
in whispers...

guy comes up to me
says salvations from the jews
i think i believe that
i've heard old zimmy's blues

you're a stranger to me too
but i know who comforts you
with your drops of moonlight falling in whispers
sidle to him slow
and let this evening go
share all you are
in whispers
in whispers...

Sunday, January 02, 2005

The Messenger (2000)

I'm not a prophet
I'm a word-writer
I'm not the prospect
I'm a word-writer
I'm not the promise
I'm a word-writer
I'm not the message
I'm just the messenger

I walk unseen
And whisper into your ear
For each broken dream
I shed a single tear
For each newborn stream
I raise a single cheer
As I was made to do
As I was made to do

I'm not a prophet
I'm a word-writer
I'm not the prospect
I'm a word-writer
I'm not the promise
I'm a word-writer
I'm not the message
I'm just the messenger

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Conversations (2000)

Tell me about all of the things you'd thought you'd figured out
And learned a little later on what you'd been wrong about
I need to laugh bout something
I need to smile bout something
Thought I'd told you once before there is no fatal line
You use them right in combination they'll fit right in each time
You need to laugh bout something
You need to smile bout something

See the pieces of a story falling from their place
We'd catch them if we were only freed up from the race
Of a world that's been our cradle and our cell
Since before there was history to tell

Once there was a girl I knew with whom I fell in love
Strange how their smiles fit round your daydreams like a glove
I need to laugh bout something
Now I need to smile bout something

Tell me stories from your book, do not withhold your peace
Fill this empty heart with smoke and bid the daylight cease
Within a perfect brew of clouds and flames
Let's make up songs about old lover games

You know between the two of us
We don't think we know or need to know that much
And what is our main concern
Sunday 1 o'clock it's hey man what's for lunch
You go up to the mountains
To get frozen to the bone
I look up and curse the sun
Leaving us on our own

When it's late and I come home and you're too asleep to speak
I announce I'm giving in with a shuffle and a creak
I need to laugh bout something
I need to smile bout something