Friday, March 31, 2006

Chapter 7: "Sign"

Phew! Just in time to finish off March with one more post than last month's dismal record of seven. Was actually typing out this post in the office (where I started unofficial work yesterday) before I came to the realisation that it was still too early and too risky for anyone to find out that I was getting paid to blog. So here I am, in the still of the night when I should be sleeping, crafting a masterpiece for people so owe me one.
But hey, you know what? I did spend some of my time in the office today making a list of characters for Blogspot 2, their skill sets, and even imagining how their fights against one another would be like. Fancy that! This brings back good ol' memories of "re-scripting" those potong stim (anti-climatic) Ultraman battles I watched when I was much younger. And heck, looks like my unknowing employers still aren't getting their full money's worth yet. Muahahaha. I so should get fired.

Ouch. I tried opening my eyes, but my head was hurting too much for me to do anything. Someone was talking around me. I tried to listen, but he was too distant to make out any words. It sounded like U, though.
"Ah!" I accidentally cried out in pain as my throbbing head rested against a stony surface.
"Why look, Linnie. He's come to."
Slowly I parted my eyelids. I was apparently in some sort of cave. Standing before me was U and another girl I didn't recognise. She appeared tiny and frail in her tattered clothes, barely twelve or thirteen, peeking shyly from behind him.
"You all right?"
"Yeah," I stroked the tender spot at the back of my head and winced. "Guess so. What happened?"
"Heh," U smirked. "Basic war strategy - if you can't beat the enemy, grab the spoils and flee."
Sheesh. Being referred to as "the spoils" wasn't exactly a roller-coaster for me.
"It was brilliant, really. Knowing that the Archiver uses a lot of energy in Loading every detail from a scene, I purposely timed my Paste to coincide with the moment he Loaded. Once he had to add in the detail of me Pasting, I Cut and Pasted myself in rapid succession to create even more work for him. Eventually, he couldn't bear the overloading and the entire scene crashed on him. Which brought us back here."
I nodded in understanding. Then shook my head again. " you're making me even more confused! Who're the good guys and who're the bad guys, really?"
"Hm," U pondered for a moment. "It wouldn't mean much if I claimed to be the good guy, that I'm sure. Let me try to explain it all to you. Then you make the decision."
"The new Him's mission is simple - after he inherited Blogspot from his predecessor, he found too much "dead weight" lying around - blogs that add nothing to Blogspot's legacy of excellency. Therefore, he wants to rid Blogspot of all blogs deemed mediocre and unite every blog into a single master blog monitored by Him. From then on he shall have total control over what they say, what they think, what they look like...all these blogs must adhere to specific guidelines and templates provided."
Rid Blogspot of all mediocre blogs? That was a come-from I couldn't agree with more.
"However, Garrick, there is one thing you must understand. For each blog that is created in your world, an inhabitant of Blogspot - or Blog - is born. Should His plan become reality, it would mean..."
"Death for the scores of so-called mediocre Blogs?"
I stared at him wide-mouthed. "That can't be right."
"He begs to differ, however. Now that the sign of the Revolution has arrived, the battle can no longer be avoided. Sooner or later, He will seek us out and come for you. The time to fight draws near."
"What's the sign of the Revolution?"
U smiled at me. "You are."

Monday, March 27, 2006

Chapter 6: "Reload"

Omigosh! It's already the 27th, and I haven't even pushed all of last month's posts out of the most recent posts you can see if you scroll down! Yikes! What a far cry from the mad, mad days of 2004 and early 2005 when I would do 20+ posts a month.
Oh, and by the way...screw the reCAPPENINGS. Don't pretend you'll miss them. =p

Archiver stepped forward, psyching U out by pretending to pounce. U didn't finch. He sure seemed overly calm for someone who was fighting a losing duel.
"YAH!" U charged with his sword raised.
"Fool! You already tried that!" Archiver reached for the sword and tried to grab it. However, U deftly lowered his sword and spun out of the way. When Archiver spun around to face him, he was no longer there.
"Buying time again. A foolish tactic to use against me."
He perked his ears and readied himself for U to show up. "Come on now," he swung his fist at the air around. "This would be a pitiful end to the first battle Garrick is watching. Eh, my child?" He winked at me.
That was all the opening U needed. He Pasted himself behind Archiver and delivered a swift kick to his knees, followed by a swipe of his sword. It struck him square on the back, forcing him on his knees.
"You have gotten quicker." He said through gritted teeth.
With agility you wouldn't expect from a frail old man Archiver sprang back to his feet and somehow managed to extend his grip around U's sword. U tried to wrench it away from his grasp, but he was too strong.
"Not good enough," Archiver drew the sword to himself, making U go forward. "I win again."
Even with both hands around the sword trying to wrest it back, U could still muster a smile. "That's what they all say before they burn, old man."
"What the..." Archiver's eyes went wide. With a furious roar he flung the sword in the air along with U. Only the sword came back down, embedding itself neatly into the ground.
"A Cut in mid air? How impressive. You sure have run out of tricks." Archiver sneered. "Time to start all over."
Everything stopped moving. He was Loading the scene again!
One second...two seconds...three seconds...suddenly I could feel a my hands jerking like hiccups. Before I knew it, they were shaking violently out of control. I looked around. It was happening to everything else in the scene as well! And this freeze sure was lasting longer than the previous one when Archiver Loaded.
Then I felt this incredible force tightening around my head. I tried resisting it, but it was rapidly grew so intense that I passed out.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Chapter 5: "Loading"

Oh yeah! Sing along with me now, WELCOME WORKING WORLD! That's right, I finally got myself a job as a copywriter in a medium-scale ad agency opposite Mid Valley. Really gotta thank my brother (who recommended me the job as he knows someone there) and God (who well, did His God stuff =p), it's such a dream job in terms of working hours, transport, salary, learning experience and all! Starting work on April 3rd, let's hope that doesn't translate into even less blogging for me...

"You dare challenge me?" The Archiver's nostrils flared in rage. "It shall be the last thing you ever do!"
U charged forward and thrust his sword at him. Archiver caught it with one hand and punched him in the gut.
"What in the world..." U clutched his gut in pain.
"Surprised? Many things have changed since the last time we fought, you fool. He has bestowed me with far more powers than you could ever dream of. Give up, and go home. You cannot touch me."
"Hm." U got up and ran at him again. Moments before reaching him though, U vanished.
Archiver's eyes darted left and right. "You Cut yourself."
Pow! Without warning his left knee bended awkwardly, making him fall. As he tried to steady himself, another unseen force twisted his arm. He screamed in agony.
"You are finished." U reappeared, wrenching his arm behind his back. He held the tip of his sword at Archiver's throat. "Take me to Him now."
"Heh heh heh heh heh." Archiver cocked his mouth one side. "How quickly you forget, my dear."
Suddenly everything froze. I couldn't even move my eyelids. Another spell?
It lasted no more than five seconds, but what happened after that was truly weird. I found myself back beside the Archiver with U drawing out his sword. Just like before the fight started.
"In all my eternities as the Archiver of this land, I have lost only once. And that is because of the power of Save and Load which nobody but I possess."
Save and Load? What on earth was he talking about?
"Oh," Archiver glanced at me. "Our friend here wonders what the secret behind my Save and Load is."
"You see, as the Archiver who sees all and lives through all in this world, it was only fitting that He gave me the power to capture a single moment in time and relive it whenever I want. Only then, He deduced, would the precious moments of excellency never be lost."
"And I have taken this to a whole new level by incorporating it into my battles. You see, I never was the stongest or fastest fighter around, but no matter what my enemies do to me, all I need to do is to Load the scene before the battle began and we are back at square one. Time will run out on them eventually, but it never does for me."
My lips quivered at his words. Indeed, there was no way U could win if the Archiver kept reloading the scene.
"You seem perplexed." Archiver grinned at U. "Why not come over and find a way around my powers?"
U gripped his sword tightly and swallowed.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Chapter 4: "U"

Hello! It's been waaay too long since I last updated the story, so though I still claim a lack of inspiration and motivation, Chapter 4's coming at cha today.
Yesterday in church we had a disruption of power supply 20 minutes before Sunday service, and a big kudos to the worship team for managing to string together an impromptu song set of all hymns. It was kind of surreal really, having to worship with no microphones (save for a cheapo "pasar malam" one), PA system, air conditioning, and the little electric-powered things we take for granted. In an utterly nice way, of course.
But enough talk for now. Let's head on to where the action is.

I whirled around. It was a tough-looking guy who couldn't be much older than I was.
"I knew I would find you here," he said, quite out of breath. "My name is U."
"Yes, U as in the letter U. I'm sure the Archiver has told you about Antagonists. Well, I was once one myself."
"Wait...then that makes you a bad person, right?"
"Not any more. Fortunately, when I fought my Protagonist he made me see how I was merely a pawn for the Writer. Eventually we teamed up and went on to defeat the Writer."
Slowly I began to understand. So this was the Antagonist of the guy who defeated the Writer, or the previous Him.
"But then where is your Protagonist now? Are you the only one left here?"
U looked dumbfounded. "Y-you mean you don't know?"
"Don't know what?"
"It's sad, really. My Protagonist went on to succeed the Writer as the new Him."
What? That guy was the new Him?
"Oh, now I get it!" I exclaimed excitedly. "The Writer brought your Protagonist in, but apparently he rebelled and joined forces with you to fight the Writer!"
"And after he defeated the Writer, he went on to take his place as Him!"
"Precise to the last word."
Now that I had sorted out who this Him was and how he came about, something else befuddled me - was U working for the Him?
"Speaking with the enemy, I see." It was the Archiver!
I fidgeted back over to his side. Better the devil I knew than the devil I didn't.
"Garrick," murmured the Archiver. "Stay clear of this man. He is the enemy of our master, and he is mightily dangerous."
"Still as charming as ever with the newcomers, eh? You used the same lines on Him once, I believe."
"Save it, U. There is nothing you can do to stop the Revolution from happening, and you know it as well as I do. As well as He knows. As well as Garrick will soon know."
"You speak as though it were already a foregone conclusion. Not if I cut you down myself right here." Blurry sqaures formed and shaped themselves into a sword in his hands. "Prepare to fight!"

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A Ride On The LRT

This is an idea I had in my mind for a good few months now, I just never found the right message to nail it down with. Last week in 95 Percent though - sorry I never explained it to you guys, it's a part-time copywriting course I've been taking for six weeks - it finally hit me smack in the face when I presented my Cause To Champion and received some excellent feedback for it. My cause was ending racism in Malaysia and the way I saw it, governmental policies harking all the way back from the British colonisation was the root cause of segregation - and ultimately racism - in Malaysia.
A brilliant plan then alit, inspired mostly from my college second year Malaysian Cultural Studies where we had these small group discussions about May 13, ISA, national identity, and the like with a certain Marion D'Cruz and Mark Teh. These were basically issues I had never cared to give much thought to before, and it really opened up my eyes to the big picture that had never existed in our little coccooned worlds. Suffice to say, the three months that subject lasted were three of my most patriotic and wanting-to-make-a-difference months.
And my plan to overcome racism? To go round having these little discussion-cum-forums for teens all over Malaysia. In other words, issues which were swept under the carpet and deemed taboo would be slowly brought up again in the open for the next generation. After all, if they were going to bitch about it after work in the mamak stalls anyway, why not let them bitch publicly and channel the negative energy into a positive one? A foolproof plan, or so I thought.
It all became crystal clear on a ride on the LRT...

Bing Bong! "Stesen berikut, Sungai Besi." The LRT announcement guy mumbled in his usual incomprehensible tone.
The doors puffed and slid open, swallowing in an exodus of workers and students back from a long day. Those who were standing shifted uncomfortably to make space for them. Of course, most didn't bother and mind-numbingly continued clogging up the entrances. Dumb Malaysians.
An ominous beep sounded, counting down the five seconds before the doors shut again. The train whistled down the tracks, making everything whizz by too quickly.
I stared at the advertorial board plastered on the LRT wall. "CINTAI MALAYSIA" , it said. Feh. I took a good look at everyone again. How in the world do you Cintai Malaysia when everyone from the giggling schoolgirls in tudungs to the loud-mouthed Chinese towkay booming on his handphone for all to hear was sitting with their own kind?
Suddenly a crazy thought overpowered me beyond rationality.
"Hey!" I jumped up from my seat. "Look at all of you! Look at all of you, I said!"
Dead silence. A million pairs of eyes trained themselves on me.
"You!" I pointed at a Chinese lady in a tacky suit. "You despise him for his sepcial privileges, right?"
The Malay apek I was pointing at glared at me, indignant. "And you!" I continued at him. "You think she should just shut up and be happy that you're allowing her to stay in your land, don't you!"
Everyone looked to the ground and shifted uneasily.
"Speak up, you morons! You!" I pointed to an Indian schoolboy with his uniform untucked and messy. "You think I'm a self-righteous leech who only accepts my own culture, don't you! Well, I think you're a hopeless gangster destined to contribute to our country's escalating crime rate!"
A heavy hand slapped me on my shoulder. "Kau ni orang Cina memang bannyak tahu cakap je...siapa yang merdekakan negara ni, ha? Siapa? Bapak kau ke?" A moustached ustat burned his narrow eyes into mine. I swallowed.
"Malay pigs," Someone whispered too loudly. "So unrefined."
"Apa tu?"
A spectacled Chinese businessman stood up. "My father had to work himself to death beacuse your Malay government did everything they could to make life difficult for him. And how have you pigs repaid him? You can't even speak English, for God's sake!"
"You want to talk about working to death?" A pakcik in a skullcap roared, all red-faced. "My father was in the army fighting the communists for your satefy, and what were you Chinese doing? Planning how to suck us dry and hightail back to China? Ungrateful dogs!"
"Malay pigs!" Someone else shouted.
"Chinese dogs!"
Without warning a punch landed against the face of the ustat, making him fall to the ground. At once loud screams sounded as a group of Malays in the carriage got up from their seats and beat up the Chinese man responsible. A mad melee of fistfights and brawling ensued. I could only watch in horror at the sea of Malay and Chinese bodies swarming over and tearing into one another.
Crazed cries of Malai si and Hutang darah dibayar darah drowned out the terrified screams of the women and children clawing frantically at the shut doors. The handlebars were ripped out from their places and bashed against heads and stomachs, splattering the floor with blood. A bloody body was sent flying through the window to the tracks below, then another. And another. All cried out in agony as the speeding carriages crushed them to death.
Bing Bong! "Stesen berikut, Salak Selatan."
I nodded dreamily and opened my eyes for the umpteenth time. The Chinese towkay was still blabbering away too loudly for me to sleep. The ustat had started a conversation with his friend beside him as well. The advertorial still beamed "CINTAI MALAYSIA" proudly with a boy in a songkok with his fair and dark friends standing plasticly beside him. And all around, everyone was eager to get home safely.
Maybe when it comes to racism in Malaysia, doing nothing is the best thing.

Writer's Block

Dang, I was hoping not to do any non-Chapter posts (preambles, Writer's Blocks, poems etc) for this entire story to give it a more "realistic" feel, but...stuff happens, you know. Heh heh.
My past week went from being a terribly low one to peaking at a nice little high on Sunday. High or low however, it was all non-stop breakneck speed from the unbearable church 30th anniversary souvenir booklet design deadline to my computer threatening to die at anytime to even the flurry of copywriting classes BOTH in college and 95 Percent (this is gonna take some explaining). Then on Saturday came my graduation ceremony plus dinner, followed by almost the entire Batch 26 storming into an overcrowded Halo Cafe. The grand finale? Not quite yet. That came on Sunday, where I groggily woke up on Sunday at 6.30am and rode all the way to Port Dickson for Gospel Camp one day late. Of course, it was already the second day where you had games, games, and more games. Urgh.
But much as I expected myself to be dead tired and all stressed out by the time Monday came along, I was actually quite "feeling it". Yeah, dead tired was a given but I don't think I've felt more relaxed and happy in a long time. Sure, some of the games we organised reeked of last minute preparations and sounds-good-on-paper-only, but the newcomers seemed to have a fun time! And thank God really, that the way the participants played Capture The Flag fitted perfectly into our message of how everyone has broken the rules and sinned in their lives. Not to mention Mafia as well! It's now like the official "unofficial" game of camps. =^)
Okay, that's all for now...gotta catch some sleep. Will update later in the day - stay safe, kiddos!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Chapter 3: "History"

"Whoa!" I expected the usual spiral staircase going downstairs, but only barren brown earth met my eyes. What had happened to my house?
"You are no longer in your world, of course," The Archiver answered my thoughts. "Welcome to Blogspot! A world where only excellent things happen. Then we tear them down and make even more excellent things happen. Excellency never ends."
Oh-kayy. I nodded cluelessly.
"You do not comprehend, of course, for you have yet to meet Him. Absolutely understandable."
"Who exactly is this He or Him that we're meeting? And what am I supposed to do when I meet Him?"
He stopped in his tracks and cackled softly. "You are asking too much for your own good, my child. Just like how He once did."
"Just like how He once did? You mean, you brought Him into Blogspot as well?"
"Why yes, I did," The old man stroked his beard. "For entirely different reasons, though. You see, the previous He, also known as the Writer, had another idea to bring back glory to Blogspot. He took in people from your world and created Antagonists - exact replicas of those people, just evil. The people who came in would then seek out their Antagonists and battle them, providing Him with the great stories that He desired so."
My mouth grew wide in amazement.
"Then He had another bigger, wilder idea. Unlike the previous people He brought in who were weak and easy to manipulate, He would bring in someone that was strong-minded and rebellious in nature. The mere thought of having such a character battling his Antagonist made us tremble in anticipation."
"Heh heh heh heh heh," Archiver laughed so hard his whole body shook. "Glorious days! What glorious days they were! OH, YES THEY WERE! HA HA HA HA HA HA!"
Suddenly his euphoria evaporated. His eyes flared with a consuming rage. "That is all you need to know. That He I mentioned is gone, and now we have a new He."
He marched onward in an apparent temper, leaving me behind utterly clueless. Maybe the best thing to do was to tag along and not ask too much till we met Him.
"Pst!" Out of nowhere a finger tapped my shoulder sharply, making me jump.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Chapter 2: "Revolutions"

I went agape, dumbfounded at how this scraggly old man with a ridiculously long beard could've materialised out of nowhere in my room.
"Who in the world am I?" he grinned like a madman. "I already told you, I'm the Archiver. But perhaps that does not suffice as a proper introduction."
"Are you familiar with the Blogspot Revolution?"
"It has happened only twice before. The first time around, He was successful and it spawned an utterly mad flurry of blogs around the world, mushrooming faster than anyone could have imagined. I was there; I watched on proudly as each blog was created and lovingly authored into becoming a part of everyone's lives."
"Then years went by, many new Hes came and went, but none were able to grab Blogspot by the reins and steer it to true greatness. I wanted so much for that to happen...but all that happened was the downward spiral. Blogging became a dirty word. Everyone associated it with mediocrity and irrelevancy. The second Revolution was just waiting to come about. Eventually it did, but something went wrong."
"It failed," he shook his head sadly. "I could not believe my eyes when Climax City burned to the ground and this one boy - just one boy, mind you - defeated our Writer."
He paused, presumably wiping a tear from his white eyes.
"But you see, some good did come out of it. Because of the failure of the second Revolution, the seeds have been planted for a third. Now, nobody in the world knows it yet but something big is about to happen; something that will change the way everyone perceives blogging. All He needs is someone who shares the same passion like we do. Together, we will rid Blogspot of all that has tarnished it and restore the glorious days that once were! What say you?"
I didn't even hesitate to answer. "Sure thing."
"Excellent, truly excellent. Follow me."
I stepped out of the door of my room behind him.