darthfar: (Default)
Dear City Council/Paybills,

I submitted a service subscription request two days ago for your Assessment Billing. Now, I understand that you, the City Council, is responsible for a great many things, and that it is in the interest of the public for you to offer online billing services through Paybills to better accommodate those who find it inconvenient to move their unfortunately oversized arses out of the house, what more to say all the unfortunate souls who are unable to make physical payments at your town office. However, it has become unsettlingly clear that you have also been hiring cretins whose brains were previously substituted with boiled cabbage, the proof for which is this:

Your company rejected my service subscription after an inconveniently long wait of two whole days (which amounts to 48 hours, or 2880 minutes - considerable, when you consider that E. coli generations are only 20 minutes apart). Now, if I'd managed to inadvertently mistype the reference number, or somehow misspell the address or name... why, I'd cheerfully admit that I'd screwed up royally and that would be that. BUT. Your reason for rejecting my application was this: that I'd somehow, horrifyingly negligently, managed to insert a WHOLE FULL STOP after the prefix, "DR". How utterly shocking! What a monumental error! it changes the meaning of EVERYTHING, and there is no way for me to repent of such a horrendous mistake! NOT. [I should point out that it was your own assessment bill that carried the original full stop to begin with, and that I was simply following it faithfully; in any event, your affiliated payment site failed to supply any guidelines on where to insert or remove punctuation marks, so please go suck on an egg.]

In light of this, I would suggest that you, the City Council, root out whoever it was who wrote the code for Paybills and whoever it was who typed your assessment bills, drag them outside, and systematically exsanguinate, pulverise and reduce them to road-surfacing material with extremely gratuitous violence. It would save my having to go postal on your arses on account of a pathetic little punctuation mark.

Thank you. Have a nice day.
darthfar: (Default)
So I was finally well enough to go for orchestra practice last night, even if I coughed and choked my way through it, and ran out of breath a half-hour before it ended (and, as luck would have it, we did Harry Potter at the very end. Gah!). The orchestra's received quite a bit of money from the ministry, so we'll be doing *four* concerts this year... beginning with one on 12th March. Which means that, once again, I won't be celebrating my birthday, because you can bet that there'll be an intensive final rehearsal on the 11th. Ah well.

Anyway, we had Rimsky-Korsakov's Capriccio Espagnol dumped in our collective lap... and, to my horror, as I scanned the piece, I found OMG  A SOLO awaiting me right at the beginning of the first variation section (with more solo and soli bits scattered elsewhere in it). Okay, so I managed to avert major disaster while sightreading that, but there was this frantic little voice in the back of my head blabbering, are you kidding me, I have been playing this wretched thing for only how long and you want me to play this in front of everyone at the concert, quite possibly at the end of the programme when I haven't any breath left in me?! [flail]. (And the irony of it is that I'm terrified of playing slow, sweet, soft passages, but I'm perfectly fine with long, loud passages crammed with notes. Go figure). Whatever other elements I may be made of, brimming confidence isn't one of them. LOL.

The practice *had* its hilarious moments... or should I say Moment: The trumpeter and trombonist showed up halfway through Alborada (the third section of the Capriccio); after we'd finished the section, our conductor said, "Now let's go back to the beginning." AND LO THERE WAS HIDEOUS CACOPHONY, WHERE THERE WAS NONE BEFORE. And I almost swallowed my mouthpiece in my attempt to suppress the paroxysm of giggles (no easy task when you're playing at the same time), because I immediately realised what the conductor did not: instead of going way back to the beginning of the *piece*, those two had gone back to the beginning of the third section. And, because the two were virtually identical, except that they were a HALF TONE APART, the resulting mash was a perfectly appalling dissonance. ... And one that went on for half the section before our conductor realised that something was horribly wrong with the music and stopped the orchestra. ROFL ROFL ROFL.

And finally, an updated WIP of that ridiculous thing I started before I went on vacation:

I still think I'm bananas for even starting it.
darthfar: (Default)
Just the other day, I managed to smoosh my left ring and pinky in between a couple of 45-pound weights while unloading the plate press at the gym. Admittedly, 45-pounders are pretty good implements where tenderising meat for hamburger patties is concerned... though not so much the Ethical Treatment of Personal Digits. And then, of course, my left thumb decided it wanted in on the fun and jumped into the kitchen drawer as I was shutting it, that same night. Final score: Fingers 3, Far 0.

I wouldn't have mentioned it, but for the fact that said thumb and pinky have had no time off because obviously it is not possible to practice the french horn with only two fingers. (If anyone knows of a way to get an A flat without using the third lever, please let me know). On the plus side (I think?), said pinky is now quite thoroughly numb from tonight's practice, and so does not feel like it's about to explode like an overcooked sausage. Har har.

In other news, a friend just linked me to the following awesome video:

History of the Soviet Union to the theme tune of Tetris!!!! <geeklove> Now, if only high school history classes had been conducted in a similar fashion, I might have been far more interested in the subject. (Though I did still get an A for my O levels-equivalent, which is probably the biggest mystery in the history of my education since I distinctly remember cooking up the entire Meiji Restoration bit).
darthfar: (Default)
Would anyone like a drawing, or would like to suggest something for me to do? I really need to get my painting muscles going again, but my brain's still frozen thanks to all the meds and peppermint drink.


I actually went out for dinner at a Japanese restaurant tonight. California temaki, and a whole plate of salmon sashimi all to myself. [Yes, I'm greedy. Yes, my degree was in microbiology. Yes, I eat raw fish. Deal with it.] It's officially my first real meal for the week: I'd been eating very poorly before, thanks to the cough (which was clearly opposed to my having anything digesting in my stomach), and everything had been pretty repulsive anyway. So yeah. Score one for me this time.

It's ridiculous how long this cough has been going on. It even got *worse* at one point, if anyone can believe it, and my mother became desperate enough to try the remedy from her friend, which she insisted would get rid of the cough. This was the remedy: coating the soles of my feet with Vicks VapoRub, and then stuffing said feet into a pair of very thick socks. Obviously, I hate having my feet touched more than the rest of me combined, and I protested vehemently that the day it worked was the day our sun rose from the west and set in the south, but she insisted anyway, so we wound up wagering an iPad. The result? Not only did I keep the neighbours up all night with seemingly never-ending paroxysms of violent coughing, the soles of my feet were so well lubricated that I spent the next day slipping, sliding and skidding around the house like a demented dog on an ice skating rink. At least my coughs are now respectable sporadic bursts, rather than the hacking variety with enough power to forcibly pop out my eyes and eject my brain through my nose.

Still waiting to regain hearing in my left ear, though. Left ear currently feels stuffed with sound-absorbent material; I lost a great chunk of my hearing earlier this week, following the ear infection. On the one hand, it's much easier to tune out and *not* hear things I'm not interested in (eg. market noises, horrible music from the radio); on the other hand, if I'm sleeping with my good ear in the pillow, you could detonate several bombs in our neighbourhood and I'd still sleep right through it. That is, if the coughing didn't keep me awake. Haha.


A good friend of mine - whose taste I never had cause to doubt up to now - recently started reading Twilight and, believe it or not, actually liked parts of it. After getting over my incredulity, I decided I would give the book the benefit of the doubt (I did read Harry Potter, didn't I? even though I had no intention of doing so?) and actually read it for myself before I passed judgment. And now, having finished it, I can really, honestly say:

It's not a bad book. It really isn't.

It's unspeakably horrible.

Yes, I know it's a book for teens. Yes, I know it's romance. But even with the knowledge that all teens are angsty and have percolating hormones, and believe in soppy things like One True Love Forever... it's still horrible. And it's not just the romance because surprise surprise, there *is* actually such thing as - thought it hurts me to say this - tastefully written romance. (Which, incidentally, you won't find anywhere in this book). For one, Bella Swan is about the most spineless, lamest, most vacuous and insipid protagonist I have ever come across in the world of teen fic. Apart from her name, which should already send alarm bells ringing (beautiful swan???), she's a Mary Sue who doesn't even bubble and dazzle like her sisters; she's like a Mary Sue with all the fizz and glamour taken out of her. She's supposedly a disaster magnet, an accident waiting to happen - but apparently that adds to her charm because she manages to attract people (particularly boys) like flies, never mind that she's a new girl in a little town where presumably everybody has known everybody forever. Her range of emotions range from angsty/snivelly to needy to blindly enamoured to more-depressed-than-a-wet-mop. And that's just her.

It gets worse once Edward the sparkly glampire enters the picture. If you have read Les Miserables, and were annoyed by how Victor Hugo kept reminding his readers about how beautiful and statue-like Enjolras was... well, at least Enjolras was still human, and he did die at the insurrection. Not to mention Enjolras would've looked like a drippy wallflower next to Edward Cullen. Seriously, every few pages we are treated to Bella's fawning descriptions of how devastatingly beautiful and gorgeous and perfect Edward was. It was nauseating. And really? If a boy, in real life, kept breaking into your bedroom to watch you sleep at night, and stalked you everywhere, and claimed that he was nothing until he met you, and that his whole life revolved around you, you'd get a restraining order. But apparently it's perfectly all right if the boy is a vampire? Eh?

The tragic part is that there *are* interesting fragments of the story that, perhaps, in the hands of a much better writer, might have become midway readable (especially, say, if it had been written in the 3rd person rather than the 1st). But this isn't it. It's a jagged mountain of painfully clunky narrative, unrestrained blathering and angst and emo and angst and emo. And major characters so two dimensional they could've been printed on floppy typing paper. And at the end of the day, all there is to he book is a perfect, smouldering, angsty sparkling, stalky vampire, and a girl whose only purpose in life is to be around him, and be rescued from danger by him. It's as if someone collected the dreams of every sad, lonely, overweight, deluded teenaged girl who wanted to be loved by a perfect guy, and distilled it into a 500-page novel. *facepalm*

It terrifies me that not only teenaged girls but also middle-aged women all over the place are reading (and loving) this because, really, what does that tell you about their evaluation of love and romance and desire?
darthfar: (Default)
Caterpillars create cocoons by spinning a casing of silk around themselves from head to tail. Humans do this by wrapping themselves in soft silk floss duvets from head to toe. Well, at least, this human did.

The Martian Debilitating Cold virus has launched another offensive against the Sprawling Nation of Far on Monday, causing another onset of apocalyptic nuclear winter. However, while initial casualties were high, it would seem that Far's body is slowly fighting off the invaders, as suggested by the fact that the cough is now of the "persistently annoying" variety, rather than the earlier "hacking up pieces of lung" one, although commentators have pointed out that this may simply be due to the fact that there *are* no pieces of lung left to hack up. Of course, this is not necessarily an impediment since, as Far currently feels as holey as a giant slab of Swiss Cheese, oxygen can now pretty much be relied on to get into Far's body on its own. Or maybe it's Far's brain that's Swiss Cheese. Kind of hard to tell, really.

In other news, Far has lost mass. It is unlikely that this is due to dehydration as Far has been drinking enough water to fill up a medium-sized reservoir, so it is probable that disgusting quantities of energy are being used somewhere to mobilise the machineries of molecular war. Far is planning to develop this as a new diet regime called "Catch a Bug, Lose Weight Fast!", which is sure to become a viral marketing hit. Stay tuned for the latest updates.
darthfar: (Default)
I am currently harbouring fugitives. Their names are Martian and Debilitating Cold, and they're currently in hiding, probably somewhere in the vicinity of my lungs.

My first clue that my body had been invaded by rogue microorganisms was when, following lunch on Thursday, I developed an annoying persistent cough. By Friday, said annoying cough had blossomed into a conspiracy to keep my erythrocytes from effectively transporting their little oxygen passengers to the gazillions of cells populating the Sprawling Nation of Far, and thus just as effectively kept me out of the gym. Said pathogens apparently seized control of my communications centre yesterday, which probably wasn't hard to do at all since I practically handed it to them on a plate, having spent two consecutive hours burning a hole in my throat by talking non-stop at Biology class like a Chatty Cathy on stimulants. Meanwhile, my respiratory tract, sensing the inevitability of war, was busy stockpiling mucus and phegm in some remote part of my throat that no amount of throat-clearing or coughing could dislodge. Come evening (and my aunt's party) I was viewing the food served at dinner as unspeakably vile little buggers that would, if given the opportunity, cheerfully invite the contents of my lunch to join them on the serving plates; indeed, vile little buggers with the general appeal of large lumps of celery-flavoured booger. Left in time to get to orchestra practice, where we spent a very merry night playing Various Christmas Songs With A Liberal Sprinkling of Phlegm, and then returned home to play my own Death Rattle Concerto, Opus 44, featuring a very impressive Hacking Cough Solo. To add to the mood, the local temperature dropped to several degrees above absolute zero - and when I say "local" I actually mean, "restricted to the area confined by my skin", since outdoor temperature was registering a nice balmy 27 degrees Celsius - thus necessitating the application of a long-sleeved denim workshirt, socks, one very warm silk floss duvet *and* one comforter the thickness of several loaves of bread. Which, as you may have guessed, did absolutely nothing to bring the perceived local temperature back up to normal, while actually steaming the covered person (ie. me) to palatable tenderness.

However, am very pleased to report that my internal thermostat was fixed by very grudging molecular repairmen early in the morning, and, after spending most of the day comatose, I am reasonably back up to speed (though pieces of my lung are still coming up with each cough...). Except that I was astonished to find, upon waking up today, that I had been transformed into a frog, and thus can only utter the words *croak* and *ribbit* - something that will probably require a kiss from some member of royalty to rectify.
darthfar: (Default)
Perhaps the strangest book I've read this year:

Review here )


Want to know more about quorum sensing, or what happens after death? Check out these articles:

Small Talk in the Microbial World
The Processes of Death and Decomposition

[Yes, I wrote those as a student.]
darthfar: (Default)
Having to run from the Tank alone *once* is not cool. Having to do it *twice* in ten minutes suggests you did something very horrible in your past life, and your karma's now biting you in the arse.

Holy Flamin' Tanks! )


My sterling ability to make plans and then completely veer off course amazes me. [shakes head dolefully]

Given that I don't even *like* plants, why in space did I even feel compelled to put so many in this picture?
darthfar: (Default)
I always keep my phone handy at Chinese restaurants, because who knows when I might be presented with the opportunity to document hideously mangled English like these gems below:

I wasn't aware that beans had musculature, let alone tendons.

"Why yes, ma'am, we do serve paste. And we have gum and cement as well."

Run for your lives! Mongols have invaded your food! (Or worse: they're *in* your food!)

... I don't think I want to know.

Special Seafood Clap Pot. What you get for free if you order Seafood Blow at a shady restaurant.

Apparently, light fixtures are edible here.

And a sign I noticed outside a grocery store:

I guess the thief ran away.

Oh wait, it says "theft". So you just convict the act of thievery, but not the person committing it? I'm sure it does wonders for the crime rate here.

Of course, my favourite Mangled English Menu/Sign of all time is still:

Pig Spare Parts. Order them in bulk! Available only from Chinese restaurants.
darthfar: (Default)
Dear Mr. Camille Saint-Saëns,

I appreciate the lengths to which you go in reinforcing the "Death calls at Halloween" theme for your Danse Macabre tone poem, but do you not think that deliberately depriving your First Horn of breath for sixteen bars is perhaps a little extreme? After all, your horn player is also human, and requires oxygen for important bodily functions, such as staying conscious for long enough to play your composition to completion. Or perhaps it is your goal to have said horn keel over dead as a result of anoxia? I suppose it might be terribly apt - although you should bear in mind that, contrary to the French superstition you based your piece upon, your horn player will not be rising from the dead to dance to the tune of your violins.

1st Horn (deceased)

PS: I might have survived the ordeal too, had it not been for the fact that I was playing host to a large Halloween party of bacteria that was having far too good a time in my respiratory tract to even consider the possibility of leaving.
darthfar: (Default)
So I was going through some of my old backup CDs tonight, checking to see what was in them, when I found a number of truly horrible things that served to remind me that some things should *never* be unearthed again.

On the other hand, perhaps this will serve as a lesson for everybody else who reads this post.

Now, as anybody who's known me from the old KotOR Fan Media Forum days, I was first inspired to learn to draw properly in December 2005 after seeing all the incredible fan art by the likes of Aimo and Eji. But what people didn't know, and what I apparently blocked out for the past five years, was that, two months before *that*, I attempted to do a digitally coloured picture:

[the reference for the woman's face was Kate Beckinsale. Yes, that's how bad I mangled it]

And there's this, drawn in the same month, which I didn't even remember drawing until I found it in my old folder (another case of suppressed traumatic memories? haha):

Don't ask. Just don't.

I also found a couple of equally horrible pictures dating back to my early days of portraiture and digital painting, both time-stamped February 2006:

I'm assuming it's so bad you can't even tell who that is; it's Uma Thurman from The Producers...

[Also known as, "The time when the women Far drew didn't even look female", according to Natalie. Or, for that matter, human...]

And of course there's this truly hideous portrait that everyone from KFM knows, which dates back to the same period (and which was actually referenced from a photo and a couple of pictures, believe it or not):

[it kills me that this picture channels "Jimmy Smits" more than "Carth Onasi". ROFL!]

Mind you, it's not as if I even paint particularly well these days, but back then, if you'd told me that, in four years, I would be painting things like

Invictus by =DarthFar on deviantART


Sun, Surf and Espionage by =DarthFar on deviantART or deviantART


[my latest, not-yet-finished project for a friend]

I'd have said you were bloody fucking insane.

Which goes to show that *anybody* can learn to draw and paint reasonably enough, given enough time. Because if someone like me, who was never regarded as having *any* talent or ability in art when I was in school, can go from "sucks like a black hole" to "adequately mediocre" and learn to draw humans who actually *look* human, there is no reason why *anybody* else can't either. [And claiming, "But I have no talent!" is just a fucking lazy excuse for not working harder at it.]

Oh, and one last, ghastly picture I accidentally unearthed:

Seriously, what the hell was it with that horrible hair?! I can only thank the Force that no larger copies of this photograph exists *anywhere*. [facepalm]
darthfar: (Default)
Every time I go out for drinks with friends.... I come home stone cold sober. Without even any change in colour. Without any behavioural changes, or even an increased tendency to talk. (Still about as chatty as bedrock). I wonder if that spells some kind of Social Fail. Haha.

I guess I definitely score fail points tonight for spending the better part of three-quarters of an hour playing math games on my phone. Not the most social of behaviours either, although, when one has nothing to add to the conversation subject and is not included in it anyway, one finds more interesting ways to engage oneself.
darthfar: (Default)

God! Three days of internet failure! During which time I could not work/ surf/ read the news/ chat/ contact people/ do research/ play games. It's appalling how much of life as I know it depends on my connection to the World Wide Web. Oi.
darthfar: (Default)
Bug Bait: hey, i noticed cataclysm is watching you.  cool
Mincemeat: i KNOW, right?
Bug Bait: :D
Mincemeat: i almost flipped, lol
Bug Bait: you deserve to be with the big guns and not us schmucks, lol
Mincemeat: i HAVE a big gun
Mincemeat: so i AM with it ;)
Bug Bait: oi
Mincemeat: his name is etienne, and he sleeps on my bed ;)
Bug Bait: he sleeps on your bed?
Bug Bait: wait
Bug Bait: which gun are we talking about?
Mincemeat: my cavalry carbine you idiot
Bug Bait: he sleeps on your bed?
Mincemeat: yes....
Bug Bait: .......
Mincemeat: shut up
Bug Bait: ..........
Mincemeat: SHUT UP
Bug Bait: ...............................
Mincemeat: [smack]
Bug Bait: .........        .......... ..     ......
Mincemeat: [throws bucket of baby spiders at tory]
Bug Bait: .
Mincemeat: [snarl]
Bug Bait: why do you sleep with your gun?
Bug Bait: do you cuddle it?
Mincemeat: because i sometimes like waking up in the morning and firing it at imaginary enemies.
Mincemeat: shut up
Bug Bait: omg, i'm drawing this
Mincemeat: go to hell, you jerk!
Bug Bait: you cuddle the gun don't you
Mincemeat: SEE ABOVE
Bug Bait: that still gives no reason to sleep with it
Mincemeat: i sleep with my books as well!
Bug Bait: the only reason to sleep with it is for cuddling purposes
Bug Bait: omg, the imagery
Mincemeat: i don't cuddle it! it just sleeps on a couple of extra pillows!
Bug Bait: OMG
Mincemeat: oh god. i've only made it worse, haven't i
Bug Bait: [dying with laughter]
Bug Bait: [uncontrollable laughter]
Mincemeat: [empties fresh bucket of spiders over tory's head]
Bug Bait: [spiders join in laughter]
Mincemeat: !!!!!!!!!!!
Mincemeat: [grabs loosh and goes into a sulk]
Bug Bait: would you like me to hand you your gun to cuddle?
Mincemeat: i'll smack you over the head with the barrel!


Mincemeat: i gotta go though
Mincemeat: i'm barely awake
Bug Bait: okay
Bug Bait: lol
Bug Bait: oh it IS late
Mincemeat: yah
Bug Bait: go cuddle your rifle...
Mincemeat: [snarl]
Bug Bait: lol
Bug Bait: [fluffs rifle's pillows]...
Mincemeat: [splutters]
Bug Bait: aww, poor sprite wanted to sleep on those pillows
Bug Bait: but now he has to be on teh floor while the rifle gets the silk. [sigh]

darthfar: (Default)
Ever drawn a picture and thought how the pose seemed strangely  familiar, and then sometime later browsed through a friend's gallery and OH FUUUUCK it turns out they have a picture done in about the same pose, that in all likelihood subconsciously inspired you to do yours? >.<

I feel like a complete idiot. Or worse, like some kind of idea thief.
darthfar: (Default)
MOULDY BREAD - A mysterious black dust cloud has settled around the neighbourhood of Spooky Hill, baffling both residents and officials alike.

"It's most peculiar," says Affected Neighbour #1. "I was in the kitchen yesterday, getting the salad ready, when all of a sudden the sky went pitch-black. At first I thought we'd been hit by a storm, but there was no thunder or lightning. It turned out to be a massive cloud of dust."

"We've never seen anything like it before," admits a Department of Environment officer who declined to be named. "It's not like your regular haze, that disperses over wide areas. This black dust cloud seemed to just - hover in one area, like an insect swarm."

Experts have pinpointed Ground Zero as a red-gabled house in the neighbourhood. Several people living in the are have confirmed seeing the mysterious black dust blow out of a northern upper window at approximately 6pm, shortly before the area was plunged into darkness.

"The question is not so much how the dust got out, but where it even came from in the first place," says environmental expert A. Cyd Raynes. "And quite frankly, we have no idea. I propose aliens."

Affected Neighbour #2 has his suspicions."If you ask me, I'd say that the reclusive little geek who lives there has something to do with it," he says, pointing out that Occupant #3 of Red Gables has already been responsible for numerous bizarre happenings in the neighbourhood, ranging from a mysterious rain of pebbles upon the roof of the house next door several years back, to the frequent emission of Massively Burnt Toast Aroma on slow mornings, and occasional ear-splitting shrieks of what sounds like buffaloes being murdered by motorcycles. (According to sources, Occupant #3 is also an aspiring musician).

And the neighbours are mad - with good reason. The black dust, it seems, is attracted to surfaces, particularly light-coloured ones. Green plants have turned black, laundry has turned sooty, and carp have turned to crap. "Not to mention our lungs are probably also coated with a nice layer of black dust," Affected Neighbour #3 mutters darkly. "Sure, I got insurance, but what kinda insurance protects against Strange Black Dust Caused By Rude Neighbour? eh?"



Okay, maybe just a little.

My computer fan has been making tortured little animal noises lately, so I decided to open up the tower and give the fan a good clean. I turned the back of the tower towards me so I could get at the screws - and noticed a thick layer of dust gathered around the vent. Oh, that's not good, I thought, as I removed the side panel. After unscrewing the fan, I pulled it out and HOLY SHIT IT'S BURIED IN FINE BLACK DUST. Think of the meteor that hit the earth about 65 million years ago, the one that supposedly sent up a massive dust cloud that Plunged The World Into Darkness. Now multiply the cloud by three. That's about how much crap I cleaned out of the fan. Some of it even looked like it had evolved sentience.

It took me a good half-hour to get things nice and sparkly clean again, by which time I (and everything around me) was nicely coated in said black dust. Even so, I'm feeling a tad nervous. Because who's to say that, as I lie sleeping tonight, the Enraged Sentient Brothers of the Black Dust won't come to seek retribution, creeping over me and into my gaping nostri

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