Narcissus' Echo

Thoughts, tears, rants, ruminations, hopes, fears, love(s), and prayers of just another being passing through this wracked sphere...

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A round peg in a world of square holes...

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Five quotes

"The United States and its allies did not provoke the terrorists; the terrorists attacked America," he said. "There was no war in Iraq or Afghanistan when America was attacked on September 11th. And there was no war in Iraq or Afghanistan when terrorists attacked the Beirut barracks in 1983, in the Khobar Towers in 1996 or the African embassies in 1998, or when they attacked the USS Cole in the year 2000" (US Secretary of Defence, Donald H. Rumsfeld).


"Pacifism is objectively pro-fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side, you automatically help out that of the other. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, 'he that is not with me is against me'" (George Orwell).

In the words of the late Steve Vincent, this is a war against "“Islamo-fascism" (The Christian Science Monitor). No quarter should be given to the enemy.

Even the British have had it with the Muslim extremists:

Blair said the government also would compile a list of Web sites, bookshops and centers that incite hatred and violence. British nationals involved with such organizations could face strict penalties. Foreign nationals could be deported, he said.

"They come here and they play by our rules and our way of life," Blair said at his monthly news conference. "If they don't, they are going to have to go."


Last but not least, is that the sound of a liberal's head exploding?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An international organization representing police chiefs has broadened its policy for the use of deadly force by telling officers to shoot suspected suicide bombers in the head, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.

According to the newspaper, the guide recommends that if lethal force is needed to stop someone who fits a certain behavioral profile, the officer should "aim for the head." The intent is to kill the suspect instantly so the person could not set off a bomb if one is strapped to the person's chest, the newspaper said.

Among signs to look for listed in the police organization's behavioral profile are wearing a heavy coat in warm weather, carrying a backpack with protrusions or visible wires, nervousness, excessive sweating or an unwillingness to make eye contact, the Post said.

According to the newspaper, the new guidelines also say the threat does not have to be "imminent" -- as in traditional police training -- an officer just needs to have a "reasonable basis" for believing a suspect can detonate a bomb.


[Enter Liberals from Stage Left]

LIBERALS: Waah! Waah! Waah! It's not fair! It's not fair! Waah! Waah! Waah!

Sushi fights back

Check out this WMV clip (2MB) of a hungry octopus and a unwary diver.

Friday, August 05, 2005

In memoriam

Steve Vincent, journalist, author, and blogger is dead.

Vincent graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in English in 1980, and have been writing and traveling most of his life. In 2003, in an effort to find out more about the daily life of the local Muslims, he left for Iraq on self-financed trips, two months or more at a time. In the Red Zone: A Journey Into the Soul of Iraq is the one result of such fact-finding missions.

Vincent was slated to return to USA in mid-August, having collected enough material for a new book. After being abducted from the port city of Basra on August 2, he was found by the side of the road with gunshot wounds to his head. His translator was found alive, albeit seriously wounded.

National Review has published a tribute to him, as well as a list of all the articles he wrote for them.

San Francisco Chronicle also published news of the tragedy on Thursday August 4th 2005 (although I beg to differ, how does being a supporter of the war make one a "radical"?).

There is some speculation that Vincent was murdered for his writings against Islamic fundamentalism. Others suggest that he was murdered for traveling openly with his translator, who is a Muslim woman.

Rest in peace, Steve.

Reasons why the terrorists are bombing us

Protein Wisdom assembled a tongue-in-cheek list of possible reasons why Islamic terrorists are attacking Western institutions and interests:

1. Abu Ghraib / Gitmo
2. Supporting Israel
3. Women drivers
4. Allowing homosexuals to live
5. Infidel boots on sacred Muslim soil (though not sacred enough that keeping open the option to target that sacred soil might conceivably act as a deterrent against WMD attacks in US cities)
6. R-rated movies / freedom
7. Pork
8. An unwillingness on the part of the majority of Westerners to submit to the will of Allah and Sharia law… 9. Harry Potter

More (outrageous and hilarious) reasons have been submitted by readers under "Comments."


Ever been the recipient of a "door prize"?
I have, and let me tell you, it is very painful. It tore a gash on my left hip as I slid along the asphalt after being tossed over the handlebars. The "battle scar" still exists today.

A group of cyclists actually banded together to create a website documenting such accidents: Your Car Door is A Deathtrap

There is also a discussion on this topic on MTB Review, a mountain biking forum: Ever been "doored"?

While I am certainly not a Critical Mass eco-thug (as illustrated by the picture above), and deeply disapprove of the inane manner in which Critical Mass bicyclists terrorize pedestrians, flout traffic laws (e.g. "corking," which involves blocking cross traffic so that the riders can freely proceed through red lights.), and infuriate drivers, I do believe that drivers or passengers who "door" cyclists should be made to pay and pay dearly. As such, the following pointers are my suggestions should one be unfortunate enough to score a "door prize" whilst riding:

1.) Unless you are in danger of being run over by traffic--DO NOT GET UP. Wait for EMS personnel.

2.) If #1 is not possible, move or better yet, let passerbys assist you to a safe place, but INSIST ON AN AMBULANCE. An ambulance ride will cost anywhere from US$500 to $2000 or more. Your goal here is to inflict maximum financial damage to the driver and/or passenger. Do NOT forget to bring your helmet along (you will see why later).

3.) The police must be contacted. A case number will aid in your lawsuit later.

4.) At the hospital, INSIST ON MRIs of your spine, your limbs, your knees, your neck. Unlike X-rays, MRIs do not possess the risk of damaging your cells, but cost large sums of money.

5.) If your helmet has scuff marks, say you are dizzy, or have a headache, and REQUEST FOR A HEAD CAT SCAN. This costs monjo bucks. (NB: This procedure involves X-rays though.)

6.) #5 and #6 will take a lot of time, and you will have to be warded overnight for observation. By this time, you would have easily racked up US$15,000 to US$20,000 in medical bills. And you haven't even started factoring in the cost of your bicycle and lost wages, pain and suffering yet.

7.) Get an injury lawyer. The idiot who "doored" you is already facing heat from your medical insurance company for the immense bills racked up so far. Double his/her pleasure with your injury lawyer.

8.) Start seeing a psychologist for post-traumatic flashbacks of the accident. At US$350 a session, it adds more heat on the moron who "doored" you.

9.) Visit a physical therapist to rehabilitate your soft-tissue injury. More bills for the you-know-who.

10.) All these bills must be very upsetting to the recipient. If you even receive one angry phone call from the individual who "doored" you, have your lawyer file a restraining order. This can only help your lawsuit.

Fight all the way, unless they give you a satisfactory settlement. Righteousness is on your side. The person who doors a cyclist is almost always in the wrong (unless the cyclist is cycling against the flow of traffic, does not have lights cycling in a dark street at night, blows a stop sign, or a red light, etc).

If you do it right, you will easily rake up at least US$35,000 in bills to the defendant. Even if their insurance covers it, their premiums will rise to crippling rates for a long, long time.

Make them pay.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

French Raise Terrorist Alert Level

In light of the recent London bombings, Le Monde and Agence France have reported that the French government announced that it has raised its terror alert level from Run to Hide.

The only two higher levels in France are Surrender and Collaborate. The terror alert rise was precipitated by a recent fire which destroyed France's only white flag factory, effectively paralyzing their military.


Serviced my bicycle this evening and discovered that the rear Richey Logic brake pads were totaled from the last descent in Marin county--they melted. It's good that I have a spare set of brake pads lying around (Kool Stop). Also, the front Kool Stop brake pads were slightly scotched and glazed--nothing a little buffing with sandpaper won't rectify though.

Can hardly wait to go back there again.
*manic grin*

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Fry's Electronics Employment Application Online

OMG! Too funny and too true!
Be a Fry's Sales Associate!
Apply Today!

Excerpts from a flamefest

Warning: The (strong, politically-incorrect, controversial and racist) opinions expressed in this post may be are offensive. Chinese-educated Chinese are strongly urged to skip perusing this entry. Liberals, please change your diapers before continuing.

Had an interesting flame war versus a bunch of Chinese Cultural Chauvinists (CCCs) on a diving forum today.
All nicknames/handles have been changed.

Written by BubbleFish:
I don't think the word "ang moh" is impolite, it's just the chinese way of saying caucasian. And if any caucasian thinks otherwise, then too bad.

My reply:
That attitude is so typical of Singaporean Chinese: i.e. "We will call you what we like. It is how we do it here. If you don't like it, too bad!" That partially explains why, despite the country's claims to a First World status, economy / material wise, culturally, Singapore's (frog-in-a-well) mentality still ranks below that of many Third World nations. For goodness' sake, even today, Singapore's print media persists in referring to the Japanese with the derogatory term, "Jap." "Jap" is NOT an abbreviated form for "Japanese." Look it up.

Then again, perhaps it is easier to hide behind the label of:

"So solli! We ah nod native shpeakers of Ingrish! You ready now order? You order one from Column 1! And order 1 from Column 2! And 1 order from Column 3! All for $9.95! Ah so! OK? Velly good, Sar!"

So, make up your mind: are you a native speaker of English or are you not? If you claim to be one, then jolly well master the nuances of the language, and--at the very least--be able to distinguish between abbreviations and disparagements.

Maybe I should start referring to some of the Singaporean Chinese on this forum as "slopes, gooks, slants, chinks, yellows, gomers, zipperheads, dinks, coolies, slope-heads, slant-eyes, yes-men, dry-cleaners, rice-eaters, rice-niggers, buddha-heads, yellow-bitches, cyber-coolies, Chinamen"? After all, that's how certain Caucasians refer to the Chinese around here.

How about that?
If you don't like it, too bad.

One good turn deserves another, won't you say?

How do you like the taste of your own medicine now, Ming the Merciless?

Loose cannon,

P.S. I refrained from listing "WOG" (Well-educated Oriental Gentleman) as only a miniscule minority on this board (none of them from your tribe, of course) qualifies to the label.

P.P.S. You offended now? Quick! Call me a "Chao Ang Moh"! I've got another surprise waiting for you!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Doing it yourself

My car needed a new radiator as the old one was leaking.
As a new radiator costs about US$310 + shipping, I figured, hey, why not let the mechanic do it for me since his offer seemed reasonable (i.e. US$410 including original parts + new themostat and gasket and labor)? That way, I didn't have to worry about the UPS goon tossing my new radiator over the fence, and spare myself from looking like a refugee with dirt under his fingernails.


2 miles after collecting the car, a geyser of steam began sprewing from under the hood. For a moment there, I thought my car was on fire. The temperature gauge was pegged at "H." Then I smelled the sweet sickening odor of coolant. When I managed to pull over into a parking lot and pop the hood, the source of the problem became immediately apparent. The mechanic(s) reused the old hoses and also did not position the clamps properly over the indentations made by the said clamps, thereby allowing pressure to leak and coolant to boil over. The upper radiator hose was sprewing coolant in quantities that would make a Japanese porn star blanch.

Brilliant. Simply brilliant.

So, my housemate and I went to the nearby Walmart (*sob!* Walmart parts in MY car!) to get some worm-drive hose clamps to replace the stock spring-loaded ones. And, lo and behold! Walmart has 50/50 pre-mixed coolant too! They even have McDonalds and a pharmacy in there. Now all they need is a wedding chapel, wedding dresses, a funeral parlor, and they will be all set: Life and Death: Walmart style.

Anyways, so there I was, ghetto-fixing my car in a parking lot--with Walmart parts. Oh, the humanity.

Somewhere along the way to dinner, my housemate lost me. And then, like some bad B-grade movie (or SBC/TCS/MediaCorp feature), the same crap happened again. I see steam, smell coolant, and the temperature gauge creeps up again. I pull over in the next parking lot, popped the hood, and this time, it's the lower coolant hose that has decided to do a number on me. Oh joy.

To cut a long story short, long arms, desperation, equal measures of cajoles, threats and curses (those who work on machines will know what I am talking about), 1.5 gallons of coolant, and lots of dirt under my fingernails, managed to rectify the problem (however temporarily)--though I had to lie on the asphalt in my street clothes, somehow clenching a flashlight between my teeth, holding the spring-loaded clamp open with a pair of wide-mouth pliers in one hand, whilst shoving the radiator hose against the fitting with the other. Yoga? Who needs yoga? Rodney Yee can kiss my ass.

Tomorrow, I'm going to order new coolant hoses from Toyota. If the engine-side of the lower radiator hose can accommodate a worm-driven hose clamp, I would go that route as well.

If there is one thing I learned from this rather interesting day, it is never to pay anyone to do something you can do it yourself. Why would anybody change out a radiator without changing the hoses is beyond me. That is like changing a clutch and not changing the rear main oil seal and pilot bearing, or changing a front main oil seal and not changing the timing belt. WTF? It's cheap insurance.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Am I a geek?

Another quiz from zeenie:

The Deviant Geek
You answered 84% of the questions as a geek truly would.

You're a geek and you know it. You've got all sorts of fringe hobbies and socially unacceptable tendencies. Chances are, whenever possible, you hate to be grouped with other people and sometimes go out of your way just to be different.

You're smart too. You're more willing to depend on your own brainpower to solve problems, instead of relying on others to pull you through life. You probably read a lot, and generally enjoy learning new things.

So what's it all mean? You may be considered by some to be uncool, but you probably don't care either. In social situations you may be either slightly passive or slightly loud (geeks always fall into the extremes).

In a nutshell, you answered enough questions correctly supporting a geek philosophy to be considered a more potent geek than 60% of the population.

My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 88% on geekness
Link: The True Geek Test written by ambientred on Ok Cupid

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Body of a champion (and others)

Seven-time Tour de France Champion Lance Armstrong's body:

This is a body that has won, seven times over, the most prestigious and grueling bicycle race in the world; a race which ranges from 3500 kilometers (2187.5 miles) to 4000 kilometers (2500 miles), and lasts 21 days.

His body is so uniquely efficient, he is literally one in a million.

His heart can pump nine gallons of blood per minute, compared to five for the average person. In fact, Coyle estimates that the 5-foot-10 Armstrong had a heart proportional to the size of a 6'6 man.

Armstrong's lungs can absorb twice as much oxygen. His muscles produce half as much lactic acid and expel it faster, allowing him to ride harder up the Tour's notoriously brutal hills and then recover quickly.

An average person turns 20 per cent of the oxygen he breathes into muscle power. Armstrong gets 23 per cent -- close to the highest ever recorded in a human.

Armstrong's body is so unique, if he didn't train at all, he would still be in better physical condition than an average person in top condition.


And then, there is always power-to-weight ratio, as well as the length of one's legs (leverage).

On the flippant side, perhaps the following picture is the reason why Lance is so friendly to Ivan Basso--check out his younger sister, Elisa:

Another shot of Elisa Basso: