30 January 2009

On the end of subscriptions

My McAfee subscription ran out today! Good riddance. It is time to remove that confounded programme and install another anti-virus package. 

Likewise, I have replaced my Forbes magazine subscription with National Geographic. Anyway, when it comes of business magazines and news publications, my rankings in order of merit and interesting articles are as follows:

1. Financial Times
2. Wall Street Journal
3. Bloomberg Markets
4. Businessweek
5. Fortune
6. Forbes

*The Economist is not exactly a business publication in the strict sense, hence, I didn't rank it.

26 January 2009

Quiet morning

This would be the most important day of the year for 1.3 billion people, the start of a new year. For me, I am not into these festivities, it's a nice, quiet morning, for that matter, a quiet day to settle into a book. Whee!

22 January 2009

Of a Malaysian press which publishes a controversial tome

The funny thing is that there is a local bookstore chain that carries books from a Malaysian press that publishes 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion'.

Yes, that bookstore carries '
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion' here. The book can be described as anti-Semitc hate literature in a sense? This book has been proven as a fraud but many in the Islamic world believe it as real and as evidence of a Jewish Illuminati-like conspiracy to rule the world.

From the Wikipedia entry:

Malaysia In 2006, Masterpiece Publications issued a version of the Protocols under the title World Conquest Through World Jewish Government (ISBN 983-3710-28-X). Copies of the book are held at the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia."

Hamas The Charter of Hamas explicitly refers to the Protocols, accepting them as factual and makes several references to Freemasons as one of the "secret societies" controlled by "Zionists". The Article 32 of the Hamas Charter states: The Zionist plan is limitless. After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying"

I don't advocate the banning of such books but I do worry about the impact these books may have some of the more impressionable and less critical folks.

Of brand-worship and cult of personalities

There is always a cult of personality or the worship of a created brand belonging to a large, faceless entity isn't there? And people buy into these things easily. The worship and the support of these things do bring quite a bit of monetary return for the corporation. A worshipped brand from a faceless corporate entity will, of course, outlive a cult of personality especially when that personage were to die during a liver transplant for instance. In this insidious instance, the brand will live almost forever barring a PR disaster. I guess some worship personalities, while others brands and not to forget, for some others, it will be beliefs and ideologies. Those states like North Korea and other communist states do have a religion, it's called ideology. Sometimes, it is replaced by a cult of personality. When a mode of thought is totalitarian like an ideology or religion, well, it is not hard to guess what will result. With regards to religion, the USA is presently undergoing a crisis of sorts, not unlike the hysteria and witchhunts of McCarthyism, it will not be years later when historians will recognise with hindsight the hijacking of American society by conservative Christians. Some people in this age and living within will not recognise it. Hopefully, the current rise of Christian and Islamic extremism in the USA and the Middle East, coupled with the ever changing population demographics will not see a rise in more theocracies in the world.

On the motivation of working for something

In a recent online conversation on a post about how poorly Google paid their employees and the response from the top Google management was that working for Google wasn't about money*, Z. recounted an incident where he was asked to review some code for free as 'training' for a nonexistent and prospective job. In Z.'s own words:

"Funny how these rich men think that we, the poorer people, willing to make them richer just with them giving us words of encouragement..."

That reminded me of an incident some years ago where this person had just lost a needed person in his personal project. Well, he positioned it to me in an off-putting way, 'How would you like to work for ME?' with an emphasis on the 'ME' bit, positioning it as if it were a privilege to work for him. Knowing the uncertain payoff  which equated to being almost zero, the impossibility of working with and for him mainly due to his slowness of pace, his indecisiveness and his lack of creativity, I politely told him, that I was busy and had many things on my plate then, which was true. Paraphrasing Z., I think it is funny how these self-important people with a personal mission think that we are willing to support their self-indulgent goals with them just being themselves!

*According to that posted item in Facebook, this was 'rich' coming from the billionaires in Google. Yes, this free blogger service is from the billionaires in Google.

20 January 2009

No to True Fitness

I hope not ever to receive any sales calls from Standard Chartered Bank ever again. This afternoon, I received the fourth or fifth such call from True Fitness. Don't this people understand 'no'?

14 January 2009

A call from Standard Chartered Bank

Finally, someone from Standard Chartered Bank called me and he told me that he has personally put my name and number from the DO NOT CALL list and has sent email to all the promotion companies that the bank has engaged. Thank goodness!

13 January 2009

New order

I placed an order at A Different Drum for these CDs:

The Azoic - Re-Illumination / The Remixes

Elegant Machinery - A soft exchange

Elegant Machinery - Feel the Silence

Elegant Machinery - Move

Imperative Reaction - Minus All

Kiethevez - Non-Binary

Rotersand - I cry

Ashbury Heights - Morningstar in a black car

Ashbury Heights - Three cheers for the newly deads

I am looking at Cesium 137's 'Proof of Life', Informatik's 'Beyond' and Seabound's 'When Black beats Blue' in the next order. I wonder about Funker Vogt's 'White Trash K-17'. Heh.

The bank did not do anything

I called up Standard Chartered Bank and informed them of another sales call. After checking my particulars, the officer at the other end said that they would look into it.

I said I had called before on the 12th of December last year. She said it was lodged in their system but no one did anything. I told them that I expect an apology letter from Standard Chartered Bank over the calls. I was told to expect a call from their management.

I had also asked if I could get a guarantee that there would be no further calls. The only reply I received was that they would look into it.

Another pesky call from Standard Chartered Bank

Happy 2009! Another pesky Standard Chartered Bank sales call, trying to promote some new deal or something. I have called the bank to ask them to remove me from their list. Well, their promoters called me just now. Doh.

12 January 2009

The return of Red Flag

I placed an order for the following Red Flag CDs a few days ago:

  • Time is the Reaper (Album)
  • Remnants
  • Once Past Twice Future
  • Halo
  • Time is the Reaper (Single)
  • My Door is Open
  • Misery Loves Company
  • Unleash all Hell

Red Flag, a classic Californian electro-gothic and synthpop band, is finally back with albums and singles. YES!

11 January 2009

A missed concert

I went online to purchase tickets for the Beethoven concert on the 14th and was astounded to find that the tickets were completely sold out! Wow!

I guess I should have known, Beethoven is popular to say the least. Oh well. A missed concert.

10 January 2009

A forgotten trail in the depths

Pigment ink sketch. 21cm x 15cm. Faber-Castell Ecco Pigment, 0.1, 0.2, 0.5. Pilot Drawing Pen 0.8.

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Pigment ink sketch. 21cm x 15cm. Faber-Castell Ecco Pigment, 0.1, 0.2, 0.5. Pilot Drawing Pen 0.8.
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08 January 2009

Lazing cat

Mao Mao lazing on my sister's bed.
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My Canon N670U scanner crashed

My Canon N670U scanner has just crashed twice. Way to go Canon!

This scanner has been crashing frequently. I think it is probably at the end of its lifespan. Built-in obsolescence. Four years.

Entrance and wall, Finca Miralles

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Gate and stables, Finca Güell

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Gate and Stables, Finca Güell

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College of the Teresianas

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100,000 hits

It's surprising that this blog has arrived at the 100,000 mark in hits and it's taken a few years. Some blogs achieve this number within a day or two.

07 January 2009

Anfiteatro Romano, Tarragona

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Casa Vicens

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Casa Vicens

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Casa Vicens

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Nigerian scam

I have received hundreds of Nigerian scam messages on email. This latest one that I received is quite inventive. Imaginative even.


Received: from User ([])
by OMTA06.westchester.pa.mail.comcast.net with comcast
id 0Zfs1b0024ZUY9t3SZg5mQ; Wed, 07 Jan 2009 09:45:09 +0000
From: "Sgt.xxxx"
Subject: VERY URGENT::::
Date: Wed, 7 Jan 2009 01:45:09 -0800

Dear Sir,

My name is Sgt.xxxxx, I am an American soldier, I am serving in the military of the X Armored Cavalry Regiment, Patrols Tal Afar, in Iraq.. I am presently serving in one of the horrible prisons in Iraq now. I apologized using this medium to reach you for a transaction of this magnitude.

Please view the links to see my pictures.

http://www4.army.mil/armyimages/armyimage.php?photo=xxx and http://www4.army.mil/armyimages/armyimage.php?photo=xxx.

We have in our possession the sum of US$124,000,000.00 (ONE HUNDERED AND TWENTY FOUR MILLION US DOLLARS),which belongs to Saddam Hussein. These funds have been moved and kept safe in a Security Company, please view this link for more details:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2988455.stm Basically since we are working for the American Government, we cannot keep these funds, but we want to move the funds to you, so that you can keep it for us in your safe account or an offshore account.

I have the authority of my partners involved to propose that should you be willing to assist us in this transaction, your share of the sum will be 20% of the US$124 million, 70% for us and 10% will be kept aside for expenses and be rest assure that this business is 100% safe on your part provided you treat it with utmost secrecy and confidentiality.

Therefore, if you are interested, please reply immediately via email with your Full Name, Current Mailing Address,your confidential Telephone and Fax numbers for easy communication and write me immediately.

Upon your response, I shall then provide you with more details that will help you understand the transaction.

Please observe utmost confidentiality, and be rest assured that this business is risk free.

Respectfully submitted to you.
Sgt.xxxxx Tal Afar, Iraq.


A friend who is in the US Army has told me that there is a real sergeant by that name in the USA. I have taken the liberty to remove the name as to protect him.

A Borders visit

I just got back from Borders! Whee!

I picked up 'Eyewitness Travel: Czech and Slovak Republics', 'Panic! The Story of Modern Financial Insanity', 'Warlords of Republican Rome: Caesar versus Pompey' and 'The Encylopaedia of Modern Aircraft' (<-- mainly for the development history of airliners)

Two other volumes that I saw on Saturday and wanted were sold out.

I also picked up CDs. Enigma 'Seven Lives Many Faces', 'Tchaikovsky: Complete Symphonies, Overtures' and 'Chopin The Piano Sonatas, 5 Etudes, 4 Mazurkas'.


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