I Talk, You Listen.
Friday, June 24, 2005
So what have we learnt today?

Squeezed.

Most of you probably already know that I participated in some Star Wars costume contingent during the Revenge of The Sith scene eons back. So I will not elaborate on what I did; for example: "... and then we saw Darth Vader in full costume choking kids in Mid Valley Megamall resulting unnatural deaths...". I know alot of people hate this. So, I will just leave that to personal conversations if we meet in person. Believe me, I'm a talking radio. You get more talking to me than reading my blog.

I was in class today thinking about Star Wars (SW) again. As I drew my rendition of General Grievous that I was trying to hide from peeking eyes, I realized how SW has been such a big impact in my life; molding me into the sci-fi geek i am today. 2 or 3 years ago when I say I like, adore science fiction, most people around me will stare at me and when go, "You. Puhlease. You? You're not kidding right?"

"No. I'm serious."

So I entered my first year of my major in MMU some years back. Registered some subjects that I eventually failed and joined CF within the same timespan. With my results spiraling down the drain, I grew lethargic of being a student and decided to spend/waste (depends on whether you are a nerd or a considerable-ok human being respectively) time on games and science fiction. Back to what I loved and craved since childhood.

Now you see, my dad introduced SW to me when I was a little kid, when I barely hated Michael Jackson. Occasionally it would appear in television, scaring the shit out of me. Imagine a kid with giant specs watching a giant TV set when suddenly he hears a low but menacing breathing. Lights flashing and eerie music building up, he catches a glimpse of a character donning jet black armour and a face that looks like a cross between Ultraman and a bucket, chopping off his son's hand.

Son's!

Dad must be punishing me.

It was the ideal show every dad would want to show to their sons. Here, make a mistake of not following his footsteps, step out of the line and CHOP! there goes your finger. I was traumatized.

The existing TV channels were so smart they never show all 3 episodes at a time. So, when I actually got to watch episode VI, I was about to scream my head off because I didn't remember for the love of God who Han Solo was. Suddenly he was in carbonite. Suddenly he was getting the Leia when I thought she loved Luke. Suddenly Chewie reminded me of a teacher in a bad hair day.

There was once it was Chinese New Year and they finally agreed to show The Empire Strikes Back (the dreaded episode which I hated equivalently to The Neverending Story 3). I escaped the living hall and jogged up to my room to play with my figurines. When I went down to take a sip of water, uncle called out to me to watch with him. NOOOOAAAHH! I decided to say that I hated it. By now they were at the part where Vader and Luke were squaring off on Bespin's ventilation shaft.

Okay, so I sat down. And the images of nightmares recurred as Vader lifted his lightsaber and wooped Luke's right hand off. (When I tell people it was dad who introduced SW to me, it is relatively true because he was also the one who traumatized me with it.) Vader's breathing again.

"Join me and together we will rule the galaxy!"

a.k.a.:

"Jia Wern, clean up the room the way I like it before I mangle your head."

It must have been crazy. Until the special editions started to come out in '97 was I not really interested in SW. The new found faith was a sort of rebellious teenage fury that was going sweeter by the minute. I found out how Luke liberated the galaxy and how he got his dad to kill the Emperor and thus change him back to INSTEAD, join him - Luke. Notice why I liked SW now?

George Lucas kept it sticking because I eventually heard of The Phantom Menace being in production. I lept with joy and spread the good news around till some pals of mine in school labeled me SW freak. I made a scrapbook with approximately more than 200 pages of what I deem now as a waste of paper and gum and scissor work. It was the dawn of science fiction in my life with episodes of Babylon 5 and Star Trek reruns on TV. I followed them religiously - whenever I could. Even when I was taking my SPM (Form 5 Government Exams), I kept awake after David Letterman for a daily dose of lunatical political upheaval in space via Babylon 5. Oh, Gawd.

In my first year in campus, I was introduced to the intranet - students got together and made an impressive network of ftp sites, some that look like they were monkey's behind sites. Others, that can give graphic designers and programmers a run for their money. I chanced upon The Edge; full of U2 whatevers and a SW gallery of videos, music and videos. MAN! This is what I wanna do! Leeching my way through the site, I just took what I wanted and remained anonymous for a few months, until...

A CF friend introduced Terry to me. We met in Yahoo Messenger and that was the birth of the Jedi master - apprentice trait that had me going for the pass 3 years. I was sort of discovered, if you get what I mean, and brought to Coruscant for training. Well, I did learn alot:

1) WHERE AND WHAT TO DOWNLOAD.
2) HOW TO FIND NEW STUFF AND UPDATES.
3) CONSULT THE SW BIBLE WHENEVER SOMEONE ACTS SMART AND CRAP ABOUT THE SW UNIVERSE.
4) LEARN TO LAUGH AT PEOPLE WHO CALL YOU NERDS BECAUSE AT THE END IT'S YOU WITH THE FORCE NOT THEM.
5) IT'S A PASSTIME, AND I DON'T LIVE THIS LIFE 24-7. IT'S A FANTASY WORLD I LIKE TO ESCAPE TO WHEN I FEEL LIKE I WANNA HUMP A GIRL.
6) FAN MOVIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD KEEP US GOING SO WE CAN SEE OTHERS WHO HAVE VIRTUALLY NO SEXUAL RELATIONS.

Whenever I traveled with Terry we had this mutual understanding that each one of us still has a connection with the Force, therefore knew what we were supposed to do and how to act EG: still downloading a lot of crap online so we know what to talk about. Episode 2 just came out and so it was the fever of the year which eventually died off with the appearances of Hermione Granger and Arwen Undomiel. But we kept persevering.

Along the way, we met some fellow KL nerds, which in time, became friends in disguises. We joined this Science Fiction club. It sounded cheesy to me and I felt humiliated whenever I had to mention about it to people, but like i said: 4) LEARN TO LAUGH AT PEOPLE WHO CALL YOU NERDS BECAUSE AT THE END IT'S YOU WITH THE FORCE NOT THEM. And besides, these friends of us in the club are nice people and they 'understand' you like no other. Let me ask you a question. Do you find comfort in friends who like the same things? Simple. Just like you, I do. And when I found someone who can understand the jokes I crap ala SW style, I love them. It's a rare breed considering the population of the world. People who can understand if we make a sentence metaphorically in SW lingo. Phwoar!

I wanted to embark on a final journey with Terry before he graduated. So we decided to join the club when they organized a full costumed outing. Terry has always wanted to do it, he said. For me, I was kind of pessimistic of the outcome and the effects or scars it would imply on me since I am not graduating yet and have to face a legion of fans, I mean friends, in campus.

The ordeal of making a costume was not without it's hardships, no. Listen up, yo. DO NOT GO TO BLOODY COSTUME SHOPS TO MAKE A FANTASY/SCI-FI/PORNO costume if you can avoid it. They are Sharks. The will milk you dry even if you think you are getting the better deal. The shop that was suggested to us to tailor our costumes was going to charge us 250 bucks just for workmanship alone. Now, that is insane!

I learnt a thing or two buying fabric too. As a guy, I don't really go shopping, let alone shopping for pieces of cloth. Mom came into the picture to save the day by helping me sort out the colours (stop laughing) a Jedi would wear and asking a distant relative to help create the costume. She couldn't read English and I had to figure out how to tailor the costume in my head. In a way I was grateful, it only took 2 weeks and she charged me only 20 bucks - less than 10 % than that of the BLOODY COSTUME SHOP. Family mah, hor?

I did remember being the ring bearer for my aunt's wedding - and her husband is my tailor auntie's brother. So there.

Organizing a considerable giant outing for Episode 3 was experimental and I wouldn't call it exciting. But I gained a lot of experience on how to handle people and I learnt that some people are better off not invited. We had a marathon in the midst of the Cyberjaya desert and the rest was history.

That could be read elsewheres.

I will be branded by friends as a SW freak forever because that is what I will be remembered as and infamous for. SW is far from over, the movies might have come to an END (those who are waiting for ep7-9, go to hell, GL won't do it), and we can expect some more stuff in 2007 as it's the 30th anniversary of SW.

At the end, Terry knighted me so I could creep out of my Padawan status after 3 years of training. Oh, boy. Another year and even I'll attempt to kill him. He was holding me back.

That's what we've learnt today.
posted by onions at 10:59 3 comments
Thursday, June 02, 2005

A Day In The Life of J.R.R. Tolkien

So what have we learnt on April 19th 2005?

It is good to see the world I painstakingly created come to lucid vivid life.

Just a little background on what I am famous for: 'The Red Book of Westmarch' or more commonly known in the world of Men as the 'The Lord of The Rings' hexad, was something that I had started to work on since 1937. I did it because children like your grandparents loved 'The Hobbit' and wanted to know more about bloody elves and orcs and whatnots that can never roam under the sunlight. Released soon after the War ended, my book was read by millions, loved by billions. What started as letters that I was writing to my son who was serving in Africa with the RAF is now considered a masterpiece of fantasy and heroic pirouette.

Yes?

You think I am bragging about my work? The legions of fans at my doorstep do not seem to think so.

Not so chatty now, eh?

So I was invited to reincarnate my piece of work. Rachel(TM) buttered it onto my undead spirit to get to work and to come out with something in the area of team-building for a Christian camp. Ridiculous - it's a Christian camp, but they wanted it to have some secular villainy hovering around. Ironic. Since I would get paid for the event and garner much more stature and self-confidence amongst the undead community (haven't been getting my share of respect ever since I died in '73), I took the job.

And then I got to work - almost immediately, which is to say around 2.5 weeks later, if you catch my perspective of time and leisure. I had some ideas here and there but overall it was just all groundwork and no action. So, as to not waste anymore precious time, I did what every evil genius in an organization starts with first doing - recruitment.

excerpt:
"Dementors and Dementees,

So, you will be part of a death-defying-revolutionized-rpg-game-that-doesn't-reek-of-cf-2003. Think of it this way, YOU GUYS ARE BETA TESTERS!

Her Majesty's(TM) Service,
jiawern."

I got 7 pathetic-looking goons. At the risk of either them or their own girlfriends/boyfriends giving me a major face lift, I shall say this again - you, pathetic useless GOONS!

None were helpful. No, none actually paid much respect to their poor old employer sending e-mails to them. I was trying to maintain some good PR before we got on to work. A good dictator has to start somewhere, doesn't he? To contradict some of my previous sentences, yes, there were the few who DID reply. And for that, I thank you for being my shoe shiners. But for the rest of you, I loathe you. Gloomy, it seemed, as if Mordor cast its shadow once again on the land of Men.

Things seem to look up when I had my regular checkups in the mortal realm and ate edible beef jerky. I realized I had to pen down my ideas real quick and that I needed a great walking human LOTR encyclopedia to proof read everything I say or do so I will not offend my legal lawyers who sue everyone just to feed their insatiable hunger. At least this morning glory spotted the mistakes I made (spelling, story inconsistencies and mispronunciation of names) and corrected them all, if not most of them before it was made public. You got your reward in the form of the recent StarWarsEp3 costume contingent unlimited access to Employees Only places. See? Who says working for me doesn't take you places? Stepping stone to stardom!

What I was missing was this. I needed someone who will play the villain in the game. Someone who will be respectable and whom orders are well carried out and taken heed of. Someone with moral integrity. Someone less contraband than methamphetamine. Someone who might still bring a smile on hobbit faces while maintain a steady iron grip of the game. Voila, Sauron!




I personally requested for a night out of the campsite to a haven for a grueling 5.5 hour briefing with the 9 that lasted till early 6am (at least for me). Some had started meeting Isabel in their dreams half way in the meetings - my eyes hurt when I saw boners.




The next day I woke wide awake and realized I had an amazing 45 minutes of dreamless silence. We had our breakfast and got to work.

Basically the game can be broken into 2 different events.

Firstly, everyone will be divided into 4 hobbit groups and their aim is to live a very materialistic, modern and hedonistic lifestyle - be the richest buncha hobbits in the game. It had to start sometime; I had to educate the little creatures on business bartering. So we give them all a number of 1 cent coins and they will have to use their talents to gain more. This is how it is done: find another 2 opponents from rival groups and then the 3 of them will flip their coins and the one with the odd one takes the other 2 coins. Simple, huh? Yes, I ripped this off from another game. Sue me.




So?




Thought you wouldn't dare.

There are 2 major things that the hobbits have to look out for when they are busy gambling: 'Marketplace Open!' and 'Marketplace Closed!' When it is opened you can run out of your clan grounds across the field and do business in the marketplace while various situations can be activated like Taxation, Prosperity and the occasional get-more-coins-if-you-do-this-for-me. The danger is when the marketplace gets closed down. Sauron will ring a bell and everyone will have to scamper back to their hobbit holes. Aha, here's where my goons come in. They become orcs who will capture those running back through the field and populate the slave trade. Then, you can bid and buy them back in a directly humiliating auction.




I am so into this.

The second part of this game is where the heroes in my book come into play. For the first half of the game we had sessions where the first 9 to reach 'Rivendell', will be the fellowship of the ring. One had to die since Gandalf 'died' during the stunt with the Balrog, remember? Go read my book. Or go watch Peter Jackson's rendition of my masterpiece. He ruined it. During the second half of the game we had another 8 'heroes' running around. Now, hobbits, if you thought all I planned for this game was just torture you with coin tossing, solving riddles, building presents or presenting a queen for Sauron, here's something for your puny minds:

Your friends were busy out there breaking their necks solving quests so that they can come back and morph into Elves and Orcs; who can protect you or attack opponent yous during 'Marketplace Closed!' There. Twist added to the interactive part of the game. To end the game, the tenth phase - the finale war of my sixth book, was kicked into overdrive. Not to say that I wasn't prepared for what I had pictured in my mind, but nothing could have prepared me for this spectacle.




War! I got the rival groups and with all their hobbits, orcs and elves, gave them one final instruction. In the field were the 7 goons dressed up as Nazguls who will attempt to kill as many hobbits as possible provided 2 orcs and 2 elves kill them at one go. The bad guys were going to go down so why not go down with style and take some with them?

It was total mayhem. Frodo, the Slave Trader and I had immunity from all this.

And then it was Sauron's turn to be taught a lesson since Isildur maimed his finger eons ago.

Tolkien's shell wasn't spared either.

That's a wrap guys. Elen Sila Lumenn Omentilmo. I can set sail for the Grey Havens once again but now with a billion thankyous for making this happen.




A conundrum, because I said I hated you.

Within 30 minutes I was snoring away.

That's what we - (ah, scrap this.)


posted by onions at 04:07 1 comments
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