warning: some truth may no longer work
"Right now I'm having amnesia and deja vu at the same time."
-- STEVEN WRIGHT
December 23 2000
Man, it never rains but pours. No sooner than tim.org gets back up and normal email service resumes than when Mike (my computer) decides to pack up and refuse to boot properly. Diagnostics don't work because they can't trap the fault before it happens so I had to track down the conflict manually, and before I figured out what was wrong did a hard drive format and a reinstallation of the OS and assorted thingummies (that's a technical term, by the way) which took me the better part of 2 days.
This means something. God never gives me this much crap unless He wants me to pay attention. Maybe He was just trying to get me to really relax by cutting off my Net access. Nice going, Big Guy.
Anyway, I'm back up. BP's hovering around the 150s and 160s still, but I'm feeling fine, as usual. Thanks to all those who wrote wishing me well. I appreciate the good wishes, and here's hoping it really does all work out in the end.
December 18 2000
Ladles and gentlemints, I have good news and bad news.
The good news is, I'm home from work resting until Christmas. The bad news is, I've just discovered that I have hypertension.
I went in Friday afternoon to see the doctor for that cough I had in October - which never really went away. She decided to take my blood pressure and then kind of went, "Um, take this letter to the Accident & Emergency Department at the hospital." Turns out my BP was 190/130. At the time, I didn't know what the hell that meant, but indications were that it was a Bad Thing and I shouldn't be walking around. Given my family history and high-stress job (not to mention my incredibly sedentary lifestyle), I guess this was going to happen sooner or later.
Anyway, I got admitted overnight - they poked, prodded, did tests and drew all kinds of bodily fluids which I won't mention because it's kind of gross, and sent me home with medication. If I can believe this cheap-ass electronic BP monitor, right now I'm hovering at around 154/113 or thereabouts with the drugs they've given me and I'm scheduled to see a cardiologist in a month.
Oddest thing is, I felt - and feel - absolutely fine (asymptomatic, as the doctors put it... Oooo, big word), which is why the discovery was so startling. It was kind of like someone telling you casually that you've got a time-bomb strapped to your neck. It's so surreal that all you can really do is do a double take and quietly say, "Well, uh, could you remove it, please?".
I'm scheduled for a couple of more tests, so the jury is still out as to whether this is a one-off thing or one of those medication-for-life and low-sodium and low-fat diet forever deals. Which, frankly, I'm not looking forward to because I really, really like meat. I'll keep you guys posted. In the meantime, guess I'll just have to try and relax, and catch up on lots and lots of reading.
Man, am I glad I bought all those DVDs now. Merry Christmas, all.
P.S. The tim.org server has been cut off from the rest of the net due to a power failure. Until it's fixed, my incoming e-mail is dead as well, so if your mail to me bounces, try firstname.lastname@example.org. It should all be okay by week's start, hopefully.
 translation: lazy-ass
December 11 2000
I know I've been quiet for a while, so let's update people a bit. I've been keeping a rather weird sleep schedule lately for some reason - feel really exhausted when I come back from work, power sleep through the weekends, and then wind up mildly insomniac but with no creative energy. Weird. Aside from that life's been plodding along. Plus ca change... and all that. Due to depletions and reshuffling at the office, our manpower problem has gotten much worse and I have a lot more stuff to do - which probably accounts for my sunny disposition. But enough kvetching.
So I get this package a couple of weeks ago from Amazon.com. First, that's not too surprising because I've been buying DVDs like a... DVD-buying-thing. I've just got hooked on Stargate SG-1 and have been devouring whatever they've put on on DVD (thank God for the Brits who are obsessed with archiving TV series even while they're on the air). But I digress.
What was surprising is that it was a gift from someone I didn't even know, who saw and liked the website and noticed I just turned 30. Wow. I didn't know whether to be flattered or start checking for stalkers. But then I noted they were from San Francisco, and female, so I figured, hey, appreciate it in the spirit its given. It's not like I'm in a position to turn away women's attentions anyway.
I sent them a thank-you note, but if you're reading this, thank you again, email@example.com - whoever you are. It really, really made my day.
You guys out there should follow her example. Really.
November 21 2000
New song. I'm still tweaking it, so expect a couple of changes, maybe, in future.
November 8 2000
Okay, so I missed Halloween as well - sue me. I've been having a bit of writer's block lately after the writing spurt of last month, and the fact that I'd been stuck in a particular odious duty at work hasn't helped my sense of humor. But, that's done with for the moment.
In the Lensmen books by E.E. "Doc" Smith, which I have had the absolute pleasure of reading again in the form of the Old Earth Books facsimile editions, the song of the Galactic Patrol is called "Our Patrol" and is described as the most inspiring song ever written.
This is probably a poor reflection of what the real thing must be like, but I wanted to try to capture that absolute sense of right-and-wrong and enthusiasm that epitomizes the spirit of the Lensmen Saga. It may be corny, it may be simplistic, but that's how the Lensmen were, and thank Klono for that.
As a side note, as I write this, the US Presidential Election is still up for grabs, with Florida hanging in the balance. This is way cool. I just hope Bush doesn't take power. Somehow I can't take the idea of someone who looks like Alfred E. Neuman being the most powerful man on Earth.
October 19 2000
Christ Almighty, I'm thirty years old.
October 4 2000
Well, the doctor confirmed it - I've got a mild case of bronchitis. He's given me these pills that stop the coughing but apparently have the side effect of making my fingers tremble. Unfortunately, except for a tightening of the muscles in my wrists, I don't feel much else. Side effects are cool.
Also revived an old song. I wrote this about halfway way back in 1993. It started out as a sarcastic commentary on guys with slick lines getting the girls and became something both a bit more and a bit less. I never quite got around to finishing it up until now. It's not SF related, but I thought you guys might like to have a look at it.
October 2 2000
I've wanted to write this song for a long time, ever since I first read this little piece of Doctor Who fan poetry called "The Companions' Holiday". Sadly, the writer of the piece is unknown (definitely dates to around 1984-5, though), but you can read it here.
I'll get around to doing the recording one of these days. The meters don't really match up, but all I can say is, thank God for grace notes and really quick pronounciation.
I was also down over the weekend with a fever and a sore throat, and now I'm faced with a really raspy throat. I tried recording just now and couldn't get past two verses without hacking a lung out. No good.
Birthday's coming up on October 19. I have an Amazon Wish-List (look for firstname.lastname@example.org). Hint. Hint.
September 26 2000
Be vewwy vewwy quiet. I've just written a new song.
September 24 2000
This is a song about how I felt when I attended my first Worldcon (Aussiecon) - and this feeling was increased when I attended my firist Worldcon in the US (Chicon). Being in Singapore all my life (except for a few years in the UK), I've never had a chance too see most of my childhood literary heroes in person, or be a raving fanboy lunatic around them.
Now that I'm (nearly) 30, and supposed to be societally respectable, it's just not nice to start screaming like a hyperactive teenager who's just spotted the Backstreet Boys when I'm shaking the hand of and talking to Greg Benford or Harry Harrison, EVEN THOUGH I WANT TO.
September 19 2000
Remember I said I was gearing up to start Dungeon Mastering again with 3rd Edition Dungeons and Dragons? Since I'm psyching myself up to regain my reputation as Singapore's most evil Dungeon Master, here's a D&D song - not a parody, but a raucous drinking, alehouse kinda song - summing up some feelings I have about exploring the old haunts of my imagination again.
September 13 2000
A slightly rearranged filk page awaits you, with truth to the MP3'd recordings of my set at Chicon 2000. The sound quality on a couple is less than I'd like, but I'm working on fixing that.
Be kind. It was my first full concert and I was nervous. Yes, there are chord flubs. Embrace the spontaneity. Embrace the suck.
September 11 2000
Well, I'm back from Worldcon, one and all - bought lots of unnecessary stuff and got my ego stroked all the way through the filking, so that was great. I'll give you guys a full report, as well as some mp3s of my set once I get over this jet lag. I know, I'm getting old.
August 20 2000
I know, things have been pretty quiet lately. Been reading voraciously (reviews coming soon), couple of off-the-cuff filks on rec.music.filk, and added a new song to the filk section in early August, but that's been about it.
I've been busy at work, and also putting together a set for this year's Worldcon in Chicago. I'll be on a couple of panels during the convention as well as performing a concert, so if anyone attending wants to come up and say hi, here's your chance. I'll also be attending most of the late night filk-related programming in Worldcon, so that's where you can also find me, caterwauling during till the wee hours of the morning.
Here's my scheduled talks, for those interested:
Are Comic Book Plots 'Real Literature'?
On: Friday 1 September - 13:00 to 14:15
Participants: William E. Priester (M), Terence Chua, Elaine Oldham, Matthew Springer, Mel. White
Comic plots can be surprisingly complex and involved. So why aren't they "real" literature yet?
Filk: North America Meets the Rest of the World
On: Friday 1 September - 22:00 to 23:00
Participants: Terence Chua , Dave Luckett, Dave Weingart
My concert will be in the West Tower, ballroom level, Acapulco Room from 12.05 to 12.35 p.m. on Sunday, 3 September. In addition, I'll be chatting on IRC from #Chicon on Thursday at 16.00 (more details here). All times are CST. See you there!
P.S. Check out the new 3rd edition Dungeons and Dragons. They seem to have fixed most of the crap that drove me away from that system 15 years ago. I may even take up the wizard's hat and start tormenting players again...
July 23 2000
After a three-month silence, a new journal entry. Book reviews!
July 19 2000
July 16 2000
"The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And even if he is not romantic personally he is very apt to spread discontent among those who are."
-- H.L. MENCKEN, Smart Set Magazine, December 1919
Just something to remember.
July 13 2000
I bought the 12-episode DVD set of "From The Earth To The Moon" recently - which I highly recommend, by the way, for those who haven't seen it - and it just filled me with such wonder during the course of the show to sadness at the end when I thought about what we gave up with Apollo.
What with Stephen Baxter's vision of us going to Mars in 1986 and Robert Zubrin's post-Apollo technology taking us to that same planet - one wonders, and dreams... and one almost weeps. As the saying goes, "If we can put a man on the Moon, why can't we put a man on the Moon?"
But hey, Zvezda just made it into orbit, so things are looking up a bit. If we can get the space program back on track... and as a true international effort, we can be eagles again.
Thus endeth the sermon. Here's the song.
July 8 2000
July 1 2000
Oooo, the joys of selling out.
Turns out, by the way, if I want to buy my own T-shirt, it's going to cost me US$30.99 inclusive of shipping, from the US. Oh, the irony, the irony.
June 29 2000
At last, a filk with some local flavour. For those not in the know, every year, La Nina comes around this neck of the woods and wreaks her havoc around South-East Asia. The weather patterns go out of whack - it gets warmer, and air currents just linger.
Now this wouldn't be as bad if the farmers in Sumatra didn't take the opportunity at the same time of the year to burn down forests to make room for arable land. This causes huge plumes of smog which then drift over to Singapore and just stay there, contributing to respiratory infections and other fun stuff like that. The only good thing is once the Pollution Standard Index (PSI) hits 300, kids don't have to do gym.
Anyway, that's the local context... here comes the filk.
June 20 2000
June 9 2000
By now, you've probably heard about Judge Jackson's final ruling about Microsoft, which he basically signed off on the Justice Department's proposal to break the company up. Here's an obvious song - the third in my ongoing filk coverage of US v. Microsoft - "Breaking Us Is Hard To Do".
May 26 2000
This time out, a new/old song, one I wrote mid-last year but didn't spread around much, until now.
By the way, I worship at the altar of Rhino Records, purveyors of fine music, who do amazing archiving work of classic hits, with brilliant production that sounds magnificent even on my dinky little Altec Lansing computer sound system. Recent purchases, all beloved, include The Look of Love: The Burt Bacharach Collection (titter ye not - this is good stuff!), Go Simpsonic With The Simpsons and Superman: The Movie. They've just released The Remains of Tom Lehrer, a compilation of everything Lehrer has done - including unreleased recent recordings, something which I am sorely tempted to grab a hold of even though I own most of the stuff on CD already. They're that good a label. Check them out.
May 20 2000
New song - a bit early for Christmas, I know, but what the hell.
Earlier in the week I added another recording, this time of "The Rest Of Forever". While "Pipes" was too soft for my liking, "Forever" turned out way too loud, picking up lots of background noise. Can anyone point me to some decent recording software for the Mac?
May 13 2000
Recorded an MP3 of myself performing "Do You Hear The Pipes, Cthulhu?". I may add recordings for the others when I have the time to do it, because recording them then converting them to MP3 format is a pain in the ass, and as often pointed out, I'm really lazy...
May 8 2000
Added a little essay on why I write such really weird stuff as Cthulhu/ABBA filk.
May 7 2000
Added a brand new section to the site and shifted some stuff around. Now all my filk is up in its own little space. May God have mercy on my soul.
May 6 2000
As many of you may know by now, there's this nasty little worm called the "Love Bug" running around the Internet. I haven't been hit because I use a Mac. Nyah nyah.
Sorry. Had to gloat. Now, given my rather perverse frame of mind, I also just had to do this song quickly, before anyone else beat me to it. It's too obvious not to. Ladles and gentlemints, I present - "The Worm Of Love".
May 3 2000
I can't believe I missed noting that the night of April 30 / May 1 was Beltane. I'm not a pagan, but basically, any festival that involves subverting the role of the clergy and inciting rowdiness has got my vote. Okay, maybe I could do without the Morris Dancing. Still - here's a few truth for your education and edification - remember, All Information Is Useful.
Ah well. Let's wait till Samhain, then.
April 30 2000
April 25 2000
Mike (my Blue & White PowerMac G3) has been acting up a bit lately - or more specifically, his hard drive as been, especially after I upgraded to MacOS 9.0.4. Rather than struggle with the upgrade, I decided to downgrade back to OS 9.0 and do a complete overhaul on the drive.
Thanks to the fact that Macs these days allow IDE drives, I've gotten myself a new Maxtor DiamondMax 20 GB relatively cheaply (well, compared to say, a SCSI version). Now Mike's whirring away happily with the Maxtor as his main drive and the old Quantum 12 GB I'm leaving empty until I figure out what to put on it. Probably my games and MP3s, since that's taking up ungodly amounts of space.
Oh, forgot to mention that some time back I switched my net connection from dial-up to cable. It's not as fast as it may sound, because there's this damned bottleneck between Singapore and the rest of the world still, but the provider's apparently working on it. Still, it's cheaper than my old dial-up account, faster on average and I get a constant net connection, so I'm not complaining that loudly...
April 23 2000
April 19 2000
April 18 2000
April 16 2000
God, I'm a lazy bastard. The old page hasn't been updated for months and I'm still plodding along not even giving version 2.0 a go. Anyway, I've finally done the redesign (such as it is) for the remaining pages, set up the new structure, coded the style sheets, and we're pretty much good to go once I get some actual content up...
Well, since we're at it I might as well bring you up to speed with what's been going on since... June 1999. I got back from London, and then went straight into 2 weeks of Hell in Reserve training - the less said about the better. Then I got told by my office that I was being transferred. To the Subordinate Courts.
Yes. I'm a judge now. Just a tiny one, though. It's been an interesting experience, and a hell of a lot more stress and work, and I sometimes miss being on the other side, litigating my lungs out. But it's a nice change from four years of criminal work, and I'm working the civil law side of my brain for once. Updated my biography to reflect it.
The divorce becomes final May 14th. End of a long road. Probably a good subject for a rant sometime.
July 15 1999
Put up the first page of version 2.0 of this site onto cache.cow.net. Looking good so far.
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