Saturday, June 28, 2003

i'm back! for a while at least...
training's fine, food sucks, but it's all ok so far.
"they say that in the army,
the food is very nice.
you ask for curry chicken,
they give you chaotah rice."

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Hi, it's me again, his "brudder".
Come Sat and he'll book out, i think.
Very little communication from him to me so far, only 2-3 phonecalls and occasional SMSes.

But he did say he's getting along well with the training but having some difficulty getting along with the people. He was not specific on this and he told me this approx. a week and a half ago, i think.

Pray for him still yah? Thanks!

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Hi I'll be helping Aaron blog while he's in there. His "Brudder" here.

Sent him in today. He was actually quite nervous though he didn't really express explicitly. For those of you who are interested to know, Aaron's in Hawk Company, Platoon 4, BMTC School 1.

Please pray for him yah?

Here's what he has to say on his first night: "Very hectic. I'm up at 5 tmr. I miss you guys oreadi. =)"

this is the LAST entry for 3 weeks. take care all of you. do SMS me in the evenings. =]

Monday, June 09, 2003

25 hours to go...

So the chicken and the egg are sitting on the bed. The chicken is smoking a cigarette, and says: "Well I guess that answers THAT question!"

Sunday, June 08, 2003

whoa. ONE more full day left.
An old farmer decided it was time to get a new rooster. The
current rooster was still doing okay, but he was getting on in
years, and the farmer figured getting a new rooster couldn't
hurt anything. So he buys a young cock from the local rooster
emporium and turns him loose in the barn yard. The old rooster
sees the young one strutting around and he gets a little
worried. "So, they're trying to replace me", thinks the old
rooster. "I've got to do something about this".

He walks up to the new bird and says, "So you're the new stud in
town? I bet you really think you're hot stuff, don't you? Well
I'm not ready for the chopping block yet. I'll bet I'm still the
better bird. And to prove it, I challenge you to a race around
that hen house over there. We'll run around it ten times and
whoever finishes first gets to have all the hens for himself".
The young rooster was a proud sort, and he definitely thought he
was more than a match for the old guy. "You're on" said the
young rooster. "And since I know I'm so great, I'll even give
you a head start of half a lap. I'll still win easy," said the
young rooster.

The two roosters went to the hen house to start the race and all
the hens gathered to watch. The race begins and all the hens
start cheering the roosters on. After the first lap, the old
rooster is still maintaining his lead. After the second lap, the
old guy's lead has slipped a little but he's still hanging in
there. Sadly, the old rooster's lead continues to slip each time
around, and by the fifth lap he's just barely in front of the
young rooster.

By now the farmer has heard all the commotion. He runs into the
house, gets his shotgun, and runs out to the barn yard figuring
a fox or something is after his chickens. When he gets there, he
sees the two roosters running around the hen house, with the old
rooster still slightly in the lead. He immediately takes his
shotgun, aims, fires, and blows the young rooster away.

As he walks away slowly, he says to himself........ "Damn,
that's the third gay rooster I've bought this month!"

Friday, June 06, 2003

Wake up call
It would probably be fairly easy to convince people that they had left the Matrix when they actually were still in it. Just play a realistic simulation of "waking up," unplugging from the Matrix, and seeing a familiar "real world" environment such as Zion. Would the victims of this trick be able to tell they were not in the real world after all? Other people who are awake in the real world would notice that the person remains jacked in, but this might not seem suspicious if the victim had not exceeded the usual amount of time for staying in the Matrix. Or a whole group of cybernauts could be tricked at once, preventing one from noticing that the other's "exit" was not genuine.

A fairly well-known video game contains a false "game over" sequence, which tricks the player into thinking the game has ended even though it continues, and the controls are still active. (I will not identify this game in case you have not played it yet.) The film Waking Life also deals with the theme of believing one has awakened from a dream when actually the wake-up sequence is still part of the dream. Could something like this be happening in the Matrix series?

Every time a character exits from the Matrix, we could ask, "was that really an exit or just another part of the simulation?" Can we tell the difference? Can the characters tell the difference? What if nobody has ever left the Matrix, and the "desert of the real" is just a different scene in the simulation? One argument against this, from a storytelling perspective, is that it could make the story weaker if the contrast between the Matrix and the real turns out to be an illusion.

Some schools of Buddhism emphasize the non-differentiation of samsara (illusion) and nirvana (freedom/realization). The Heart Sutra says, "Form is emptiness; emptiness also is form." Is the Matrix Zion, and Zion also the Matrix?

How deep does the rabbit hole go?
Warning: Reloaded spoilers. Material contributed by Neal and Karen M.

My wife and I left the theater thinking that Matrix: Reloaded was good, but nothing quite as special as the first groundbreaking movie. The fight scenes were incredible, but the story line seemed to be just continuing along with no added depth. Neo is the human savior whose special abilities, which he randomly possesses, will enable him to save humans from enslavement to the machines they created. Statistically after billions and billions of humans had been born within the energy harvesting fields of the machines, one was sooner or later bound to have the unique gifts to do this job within the Matrix. It wasn’t until my wife uttered six simple words that the house of cards of what I thought the movie was about began to tumble in my mind, and we both realized that the rabbit hole may very well go deeper.

"I think Neo is a program."

She went on to explain how Neo could actually effect the sentinels outside of the Matrix. He shouldn’t be able to do that, we both realized. Unless he is still in the Matrix, which leads to our second shocking conclusion: the ships, the transfer process into the Matrix, Zion are all part of the elaborate house of mirrors that is the Matrix.

In Hollywood movies, we know that there is always one last pocket of human resistance fighters left to battle the aliens with their rag tag equipment that they salvaged. We root for Zion because they are us, our last hope. Even the critics mocked Zion in their reviews (left over sets from Mad Max Thunderdome, cliché characters etc.). This ironically works well if Zion is indeed a divergent reality for those who do not accept the Matrix. Wouldn’t this be what our human minds expect Zion to be like? The human dance/orgy ceremony that was so tribal and seemingly primitive would also be exactly how the machines would view human behavior: lives spent in a continuous rave party of debauchery, humans gratifying their every carnal lust.

As the council member said to Neo, the people of Zion do not even know how the equipment that they need for survival works, and most never ventured down to see those machines. How would this even be possible when their very existence depended on them? How did they get set up to begin with? It is all part of the series of programs, allowing people to spend their time sweatily dancing and partying while thinking they have rejected the Matrix. They think they are separate and superior to the zombie horde that accepts the Matrix, when in fact they are just as much playing their "part" as the others are. They are the cliché rebels.

The Oracle is a program whose purpose is to give hope to those who opt out of the traditional Matrix and choose Zion, and to steer the program Neo toward his sole mission: rebooting Zion. The Oracle and the Keymaker programs get Neo to where he needs to go. The Oracle makes corrections to Neo's code if he becomes errant. Her "most programs run smoothly and you don’t even know they are there until they mess up" speech seems to be aimed directly at Neo. "You are messing up, quit being distracted and do what you are programmed to do," seems to be her message. The Keymaker allows access the mainframe. Both programs do their job.

There are several references to previous Neos doing this task. The appearance of a One cannot be something that the Architect leaves to chance, but instead it is designed into the system. When the system is ready the One program is activated. Neo is not a random anomaly, as the Architect later confirms he was "designed" to do this job. He was written with the abilities to defeat the security programs (Agents) and gain access to the mainframe to deposit the code that will reboot Zion.

"The function of the One is now to return to the source allowing a temporary dissemination of the code you carry reinserting the prime program after which you will be required to select from the matrix 23 individuals, 16 female 7 male, to rebuild Zion. Failure to comply with this process will result in a cataclysmic system crash killing everyone connected to the matrix. Which, coupled with the extermination of Zion will ultimately result in the extinction of the entire human race."

Neo is not the least bit amazed by being told that he carries the needed code that must go into the mainframe. This is where he begins to understand his true nature, which allows him to do what he does to the sentinels at the end of the movie. (Another irony is the critics trashing Keanu’s acting as wooden or robotic. Wait until they find out there is a reason for such a performance, just as there was a reason for Zion being so formulaic.) Neo falls into a coma at the end of the movie. The program, now working far outside its normal parameters, has become very unstable. It is also becoming aware of itself and its true nature.

The directors put in easily 45 minutes of explanatory dialogue outlining this "world is an illusion" stuff -- most notably that distended, bloated speech by Morpheus, which was delivered with less grace than a Powerpoint presentation. Yet in reality, the idea is so painfully simple that it could have been compressed easily into, say, two or three lines of dialogue:

Morpheus: Dig this -- the world is a massive illusion, created by machines to keep humans docile. You're actually a body floating in a jar.

Neo: That would explain a lot.

Morpheus: Cool. Now let's go kick some robot ass.

... and honestly, the movie would have been 44 minutes shorter, and a lot better.


If Doctor Seuss wrote the Matrix

I am the One and I am free.
The Oracle is fond of me.
I need that dude who makes the key.
You only dream that you are free,
Look all around -- causality:
It's in the wine, it's in the steak,
It's in this chocolate cake I bake.
See yonder blonde? She sure looks fine.
One bite of cake, and she'll be mine.
Then in the restroom where we're meeting,
You can guess what she'll be eating.
So, goodbye.
NEO: But I am free,
And he is not the boss of me!
He is a pig, she is a whore,
I've seen this scene twelve times before.
The tricks he's pulled, the lies he's said --
I'll shoot his werewolf in the head!
I'll fix him good for being sly;
I'll give you the key maker guy.
But first, a kiss to seal the deal;
Just make me feel that it's for real.
This bargain does have some appeal . . .
OK, a kiss, and now we're through.
I'm very cute, curvaceous too,
Is that the best that you can do?
It must be true, the things they say --
The tabloid stories that you're . . .
NEO: Hey!
Let's try again, you are a hottie.
Here's a kiss that's really naughty.
(Trinity will hate this night.
She'll bring it up each time we fight.)
PERSEPHONE: Now, that was better, way to go!
I feel a tingle, head to toe.
Let's have another.
TRINITY: Back off, ho!
Or taste a bullet from my gun.
Too bad you're with her, she's no fun.
Well, come with me, we won't get caught.
I'll let you in my secret spot:
A steamy, dark place down below,
A tunnel deep in my chateau.
MORPHEUS: Could this be symbolism?
Come through this door and take a peek.
This little guy is the locksmith geek.
I've got the keys to every lock.
I jingle-jangle when I walk!
And can you get me to the Source?
I have that key. Of course! Of course!
I'm on your side, just don't take me
Through airport gate security.
Why is Neo the sixth One and not the seventh? In numerology seven is the number that represents the end of a cycle, such as the 7 days of Genesis or the 7 days of the week. Also in numerology, the letters of "Neo" mean 5-5-6 which when all added come to 16 or 7 (1+6).

But on the seventh day God rested as he saw that his work was completed, which also points to the fact that the seventh Matrix might be the final product, ready to be shipped out for sale. And it was on the sixth day that man was created. Either way, the possibility of Merovingian being a former One would tie neatly into the seven Ones theory, but there are other possibilities. There was a mention of him on the comments as being Hades, the Greek god of the underworld who was Persephone's husband. However, another more likely choice would be associating him with Lucifer, the leader of the fallen angels who were cast away from heaven by God because of their actions. This would tie together the fact that the Merovingian keeps werewolves and vampires around him and they are described as "older programs."

The scene of the cake also points to that aspect since his action is worthy of a demon, and the descendents of the Merovingians, the sect of the Cathars, were considered as heretics by the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages and accused of witchcraft. The Agent on the highway calls the Keymaker an "exile." Another indication that points towards the angelic nature is the Oracle's bodyguard, Seraph, whose name is that of a class of angels.

In that case the Merovingian could be either be a One that never completed its mission or a fallen angel, a program designed to look over the Matrix that rebelled against the keepers of the Matrix. But if he is a former One, which one then? I suspect that the Architect has left out something very important in his conversation with Neo about the past of the Matrix.

For example, he says that the first Matrix (the one where humans lived in pleasure) was a monumental failure, but how did it end? Would it make any sense to send a One to bring it down? The Architect mentions that this is the sixth Matrix but that the concept of Zion was only created after the failure of the first so it would make sense if Neo is the fifth One, and in biblical symbology 5 is the number of man (5 senses, 5 fingers, 5 members including the head). The restaurant is at floor 101, or 5 in binary. The first Matrix also has some interesting points in common with the Bible. It was a Paradise for humans but they ended being cast away from it, like Adam and Eve who were also expelled from Eden for disobeying God's command.

p.s. Remember the 314 seconds mentioned by the Keymaker as the time they have for entering the building? Also, do you remember what the Architect says right afterwards? Now, how is this for a coincidence? “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion” – Jeremiah 3:14.

3 more days!

Thursday, June 05, 2003

4 more days!
She creeps stealthily, a cat with sheathed claws. She flits from host to host, lighting up the place with her Cheshire smile. Her intentions are pure - yet impure - because she knows perfectly well what she wants: she has spotted the big catch. The big, fat wallet if you will. There it is, that smile again. Already she fills my thoughts. Alas! she is gone as quickly as she had come; she is nowhere to be seen. Gone. Hail to the thief, for she has stolen my heart.
Along with that gentleman’s wallet.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

One day, Saint Peter was interviewing a group of men to see if they should be let into Heaven...
He asked the first man what good deeds he had done in his life. "Well, I struck it rich in the oil business when I was young. While I was alive I earned a few million and donated half of that to charity." "Very good. Go on in," said Saint Peter.
"What did you accomplish in your lifetime?" he asked the second guy. "I invested in Microsoft and made three billion dollars. I left it to my children so that now none of my children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren will ever have to work," he proudly replied. "That's amazing!" exclaimed Saint Peter, "Go on in".
Now the third person walked slowly up to Saint Peter. "What did you do to better the world?" Saint Peter asked. "Well, I only made five thousand dollars", he replied humbly. Saint Peter then asked, "What sticks did you use?".

i got a free Matrix Reloaded t-shirt today, in rather acrimonious circumstances, along Orchard Road.
germaine, annie and i spot a booth.
Me: Hey look they're giving away free t-shirts.
We look.
Annie (wondering aloud): I wonder how?
Alert staff member: Oh you have to sign up for Samsung FUN Club.
Annie: Do you need to buy a phone?
Staff: No.
Me: Do you need to own one?
Staff: No.
Me, disbelieving: So you just... sign up?
Annie proceeds to fill up an online form, with giggles when she puts "just graduated" as a excuse for unemployment. At least i could put down NS Man.
Annie then realises the t-shirt is a tad too big - XL. She gets a cap instead. I on the other hand, will try to beef up myself to fit it.
6 days to go!

Monday, June 02, 2003

Worst children's book titles!

You Were an Accident
Strangers Have the Best Candy
The Little Sissy Who Snitched
Some Kittens Can Fly!
Getting More Chocolate on Your Face
Where Would You Like to Be Buried?
Kathy Was So Bad Her Mom Stopped Loving Her
The Attention Deficit Disorder Association's Book of Animals of North America-Hey! Let's Go Ride Our Bikes!
All Dogs Go to Hell
The Kids' Guide to Hitchhiking
When Mommy and Daddy Don't Know the Answer, They Say God Did It
Garfield Gets Feline Leukemia
What Is That Dog Doing to That Other Dog?
Why Can't Mr. Fork and Ms. Electrical Outlet Be Friends?
Bi-Curious George
Daddy Drinks Because You Cry
You Are Different and That's Bad
Dad's New Wife Gerald
Pop! Goes The Hamster-And Other Great Microwave Games
Testing Homemade Parachutes With Your Household Pets
The Hardy Boys, the Barbie Twins, and the Vice Squad
Babar Meets the Taxidermist
Curious George and the High-Voltage Fence
The Boy Who Died from Eating All His Vegetables
Start a Real-Estate Empire With the Change From Your Mom's Purse
The Pop-up Book of Human Anatomy
Things Rich Kids Have, But You Never Will
The Care Bears Maul Some Campers And Are Shot Dead
How to Become The Dominant Military Power In Your Elementary School
Controlling the Playground: Respect through Fear

Sunday, June 01, 2003

i want to thank 5 great guys who made my last football stint for a long time a memorable one. edgar, theophane kenneth, zakai and laifu - God bless you all. i was totally off-form but did it matter? not at all, cos playing alone is a privilege. edgar mesmerised all and sundry once again, and dribbled like we weren't there. actually we were rolling on the grass laughing. even got entangled in the net. merci beaucoup. =]