Pacific Rim: Thought bucket

What is a Kaiju image from Pacific Rim's Facebook page

I finally decided to watch Pacific Rim in IMAX on a whim yesterday. My initial reaction was one of absolute squee and enthusiasm; I’ve not been tossed into a world where I can suspend my disbelief and just simply watch a movie without my brain automatically engaging the analytics engine in a long time.

Besides the fact that it was IMAX and thus everything seemed real, Pacific Rim did a pretty damn good job of distracting me from the plot holes. Here’s the spoiler-free things you SHOULD know before you watch the movie:

  • Mako is a badass and everything is visual in this film. Pay attention to the way shots are composed, colours are used, and body language is emphasised.
  • The action distracts you. Really! If you grew up watching Ultraman and other monster series I did, the action here is fast, furious, and AWESOME! So distracting my brain didn’t have time to process it all.
  • As much as it pains me, I find it much easier to enjoy Pacific Rim than I did Star Trek. The latter had so many plot holes, I found myself enjoying it for no other reason than Benedict Cumberbatch and watching Spock get his ass handed to him by Uhura. Pacific Rim, on the other hand, was pure, unadulterated violence and bashing. They were unapologetic about it too.
  • Leave your brain at the door. Watch it in IMAX. Be prepared to squee. Also cute yaoi couples everywhere!

And this goes into spoiler territory: Continue reading

Musings

Updates, updates.

Well, as you can tell, I am alive. The first half of the year has come and is almost gone. There’s just a few more days left till June is gone, and with that, I will have to admit to myself that I will finally be hitting the mark that everyone says a woman is no longer delectable.

Yes, I will be hitting thirty next year.

Honestly, I find it quite amazing that I am even alive this long. I’m a little disappointed by the way my life has turned out, yet I’m surprised at the same time that I’ve come this far.

When I was 5, being 21 seemed like a long way to go. It felt like I was going to be ancient. Not ancient like Roman history, but ancient in the sense I was going to be on this Earth for that long. I never really quite had the long term view of things. It’s mostly all vague ideas and thoughts.

I ended up in writing mainly because as a kid it seemed to be something easy to do. When I was a kid, I thought I would be a nun or a nurse. I wanted to do something to help people. I grew up wanting to help people. It wasn’t enough to simply help though.

My family has a history of helping people. Depending on whom you listen to, the stories either warn us against helping those who weren’t part of the clan, or that sticking for your principles could lead to ruin.

In the family, my godfather is considered one of the straightest in the family. Straight in the sense that he would stand up for his principles. I know my grandmother and grandfather were alternately pleased and yet had a wry amusement about that. He is possibly the only person I know who was let go from his job two months in because he was such a straight and honest guy, he could not deal with the consequences (his job was a legal but ethically wrong kind of job). Some people have that temerity; he didn’t.

That was one of the stories I grew up with.

There’s a strong sense of ethical principle and morality in the family. Comes from being a Catholic, you see.

A Catholic, and I was sometimes impressed upon, from being a Malaysian Eurasian.

No lying, no stealing, no cheating.

There’s a reason why my grandmother was completely ok with her kids and grandkids doing any kind of job, as long as we were not used car salespeople or lawyers.

But I digress.

I remember very clearly my thoughts as a kid. I was lying in bed, looking up at the ceiling. I wondered if I would see my 21st birthday. I didn’t think I had much to look forward to. Age was literally just a number to me then.

So I lived in the moment.

Almost 25 years on, I find myself recalling that with incredible clarity. And I’m a little amused too.

If I had told myself at 5 that I would be a writer, that I would be writing for pleasure, and that I would read for pleasure, I would have looked at myself in surprise and laugh.

Actually no. I was a much more polite and brattier kid then. I’d have nodded my head and then went on to play. I’d then have told the story to anyone and everyone who would listen.

I still do that sometimes.

I found it very hard to believe that I would live to be 21, much less 30.

And if I did make it to thirty, I thought I would be married. I’d still be working, but I’d be married and have my own kids. And that my grandma would love to have played with my kids.

Funny how life turned out.

Hotel packages

So I just discovered that my hostel in Japan is fine with receiving packages in my name before we go there. This begs the question; if you can use hotels as drop off points, why don’t most people write these in? Hm…

Throwaway words, throwaway thoughts

Woman is dancing with an umbrella with the words

*Blows dust off journal*

Doing what you like, is freedom. Liking what you do, is happiness. – Frank Tyger

There is a difference in these words. Many of us are thought in this day and age that doing what we love represents the ultimate in happiness, that if we could do what we want and get paid for it, that our lives would be happy.

I’ve come to believe that is no longer the case for me.

As time goes by, doing what you love becomes a chore. We humans are creatures of variety, of the novelty. We look for new sensations, new things. shiny new everything! This shininess though, is not all-encompassing. We look for the new ways our favourites are interpreted, new ways for what we are interested in is expressed, new ways of marrying and joining similar interests. In that way, we go for the same old, same new.

The music fan, who loves listening to music, looks for the new ways in which is expressed. They look for the new ideas in which sound is taken apart, reassembled, and then compiled together to make new notes in new mediums. The book reader looks for stories that are printed on paper, and then are brought to almost life in a movie, in a game, on the radio.

And so forth.

Doing what we like then, is freedom, because it is not something that gives us joy all the time. Sooner or later, unless what we love change, we will find it boring and insipid, drained of pleasure and life. The same task, done over a thousand times, will eventually tire us. Our muscles remember what our brains once fought to master. There are no more challenges left.

Liking what we do, now that is the secret.

What we do changes from day to day. If we have a job, this means the task at hand. If we are starting our own business, then it encompasses all that we are doing.

Liking what we do, I feel, refers to the business of living. What we choose to do every day, how we choose to survive, that is what determines our happiness. It is also the reason why people often ask another, “Why are you stuck doing what makes you unhappy?”

The answer isn’t to say that you are doing what you hate so you have the freedom to do what you love. I think you have to ask yourself, what would you like to do, that you could probably do the rest of your life?

Mengagumkan

Kagum.

Mengagumkan.

In English, as a child, I was taught that the two words above meant “awe” and “awesome” respectively (I am aware that DBP says otherwise, but bear with me here). These days, I feel the word awesome is kinda overused, at least among the net generation like myself. We use the word awesome to admire things that are really respectable and admirable, but they don’t often inspire awe. I don’t feel the word “awesome” has as much punch as the word “awe” does these days, and that is rather sad when “awesome” means so much more than just regular “awe.”

Kagum, and mengagumkan, on the other hand to me, still signifies that awe. It’s that moment of wonderment, that moment of discovery, that moment when you can feel, within your entire being, that the world stops and you simply bask in that awesomeness of the moment. It is that moment that takes your breath away, that moment when you learnt the joy of learning, the moment when you see the sun set and you think, “That is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my entire life” and that moment when you feel you have been swept off your feet and the world has simply stopped.

This is in a joyous kind of way, might I add. Kagym inspires a kind of joyful wonder that grows lesser the older we grow.

Kagum can be used in so many different ways too. As the root word, it can also carry the meaning “amazed” if used in the first person perspective.

“Saya kagum,” can mean “I’m amazed/impressed.” Mengagumkan, on the other hand, has just the meanings “Awesome” or “admired.”

“Dia mengagumkan” is “He/she is amazing.” There’s also “Saya mengagumkan dia,” which translates to “I admire him/her.”

Such a simple word that rolls off the tongue. Kagum is pronounced as “KA” as in car with a silent r, and “gun” with a more rolled off M? Not too sure how to describe it, but I’ve always loved the word “kagum” instead of “awesome.” It just… describes things better.

So the next time you see something that’s struck you with awe, try saying “mengagumkan” instead to them, especially if they know Malay. Tell me how it goes.

*poke poke*

Well, alive for now.

Today is kinda the first time in a long time I’ve been home earlier than 9 and thus I have enough time to actually write, but I’ve been procrastinating by playing games, watching Chinese serials on TV and trying to edit my novel that I don’t think I’ve gotten much done.

I have, however, reached a part in the novel I’m editing to look at it and say, “This does not feel right. Nothing in it does.”

I know what the scene is supposed to do. I know what it leads to. However, it feels very unnatural at this point in time. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I understand how the setting works. I understand why they meet in that particular kind of setting. However, it doesn’t paint the world richly enough.

Hmm… instead of clarifying the details, I should add more dialogue. There’s not enough observation in that scene. Or rather, I forgot how to look out of that character’s eyes. If I’m going to write that scene through her eyes, the first line needs to change.

I think it’s time to make the reader aware of that character from that character’s point of view, not from a third person limited point of view. Nope, not going into first person (I hate that kind of writing, it’s really difficult to get right for me), but I think I’ll need to modify her consciousness a bit.

BBL, playing with brain.

A general reading of myself

By Tarot.com’s Peace and Harmony reading.

Self Card: Six of Cards
Although a fond look at the past is pleasing and refreshing, your fulfilment lies in the future.

The card in the Self position touches on an aspect of how you perceive yourself right now, including how at peace you are with and within yourself.

The Six of Cups symbolizes nostalgia and its power, illustrating two sides of your nature. When you look back at the past, your emotions soften; you feel tender, open and sentimental. When you look to the future, you know your will must harden; you need to be more powerful, directing the flow rather than following.

In the past, you were younger and lighter. Issues were also less complex and confusing. You were not empowered in the way you are now, however. The present is full of fresh potential while the past is two-dimensional, a snapshot of times gone by. It’s fine to enjoy nostalgia and sentimentality, but when you have finished refreshing yourself in the waters of memory, come back to the present with energy for the future, where your scope is so much broader.

Verdict: Too true. And painful.

Situation Card: Four of Cups

The situation contains potential. You will need a strong, clear sense of direction in order to fulfill it.

The Situation position refers to the general set of influences that surround you and affect your personal experience of peace. We all have to deal with conflict and are affected by the process.

When the Four of Cups is in this position, your situation is filled with possibilities not yet activated. Vast potential is languishing, taking a nap in the sun as it were. Something exciting, focusing or catalytic is required to get things moving in the direction of fulfillment.

The situation is begging for direction or a new statement of purpose. This is both good and bad. On the upside, anything is possible; all the raw ingredients for success are in place. On the other side, without leadership and a clear goal, the results are likely to be unfocused and chaotic.

Look inside yourself to get a sense of whether you are the hand bringing in the fiery cup or whether you are the one witnessing an opportunity that is waiting to happen.

Verdict? Hmmm…

Challenges Card: The Lovers

Opposites can be brought into harmony.

The card in the Challenges/Opportunities position reflects how you can use creativity and skill to turn conflicts into harmonious understanding.

The Lovers challenge you to distill the best from seeming opposites and create a new mixture. Rather than thinking of them as opposing each other, consider these two elements as right and left hands.

Harmonize these opposites and you will heal a rift that will greatly expand your awareness. If you pit one side against the other, however, you will slide back into unconsciousness. Share whatever you learn from this experience.

Verdict? There is much potential here…

Be kind

The past few months have been quite a turmoil for me. I’ve been moving through moodswings like no one’s business, and I’ve not been feeling too well as a result. There’s been a lot of drama in my life than I’m used to, and quite a fair bit of politicking as well. I’ve done things I’m not proud of, and I’ve said nothing with my silence on other things.

So overall, I have a sad view of myself, and even more so, perhaps, I have a sad view of the human race. The amount of poisoning, backstabbing, sheer idiocy and simple maliciousness has gotten to the point that I really wonder if there is any hope for us in the future.

Then I read this. Go ahead. Click on the link. She does amazing work, for someone who’s just a girl on the Internet, but I think it says that a lot that she does take her own advice.

Because that Boggle strip is unbelievably kind. And it reinforces my faith in humanity. There are often so many of us, caught in our own business and priorities, that we forget what it’s like to be human. To treat each other with love and compassion. To respect ourselves and accord that same respect to others. To acknowledge another human being’s existence and presence.

To simply be kind.

Why I write

The reason writers must bare their souls on the page is because someone out there in the world desperately needs to hear our story.
– Cherrie Moraga, as quoted by Ollin Morales

Several years ago, I read this particular quote on Facebook, before it got big. And it struck a chord in me. It reminded me of the many times I have read other authors, other writers, and come away far richer than I had been before I read them.

Yet I could not often reply to these authors to thank them. Some I could, because they were still alive and had an email address I could write to. Others were long dead or intimidated me because they had achieved a greatness I could only dream of.

Yet for a very long time, I thought long and hard about the words I wrote. Not about the actual words I wrote, but the reasons for writing. Why spend hours writing when I could be busy gaming, listening to music, checking out Facebook, Twitter and Google+, or even just reading other author’s words?

The answer came back to me as I was looking back on one of my older entries with a reference from another friend.

The words I needed to hear were my own. They are my immortalised dreams, a point of reference to look back on. They remind me of the spirit I had, of the promises I made to myself, of the grandiose statements I made.

Statements which I see, for now, are ashes.

Ashes, however, often hide ember. And ember can be stirred to create new fires. The trick is to get some flammable stuff to catch the fire first, then build it into a long-burning passion.

That starts now. *blows dust from journal*

Hi everyone.