Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sleeping In Class

Have you ever fallen asleep in class?

I used to do that a lot. Not in class during school, but afternoon tuition at the world-famous Pusat Tuisyen Kasturi.

It always starts with waiting for the Cityliner bus to head downtown. For some reason, I never board the bus that comes right after school. Rather, I take the almost-2pm one. Must be the lesser crowd. Or lunch. Or both.

The bus rumbles comfortably. All is cosy and hunky-dory. My textbook-padded school bag's just soooo warm. And before you know it...


My head bashes repeatedly against the window, as a result of nodding off. Not the blue-black sort, but still enough to warrant an ouch. Strange thing is, I always can HEAR and FEEL it...but there's no pain. Every time it happens, I merely pop awake drowsily and think, "Hmm...that's supposed to be painful, right?". And resolve not to go back to sleep and make a fool of myself. For twenty seconds.

Eventually the bus takes me there, and up the dreary steps of Pusat Tuisyen Kasturi - God bless the place - I go. The creme de la creme of Secondary School Students assemble. Hot hunks, gorgeous gals, nerdy nerds, taikos, your heart out, KFC Variety Bucket!

All ritey, I say to myself. Today I'm gonna get one step closer to becoming a straight-A student and ensuring a better future for the Mok lineage.

"Okei, hari ni kita akan melilhat nota dari slaid."

Dum. Dum. Dum. Off go the lights.

Hummm...aircon's just right today. What a perfect environment to learn about Sistem Feudal: Kedaulatan Sultan-Sultan Melaka.

Ah, yes...long live Sultan Alauddin Riayat Syah.

You know it once you start dozing off. Heavy eyelids, half your usual IQ and attention span, the usual suspects. "Not again..." you wonder.

Every once a while *something* jolts you awake. For a while. It could be a glance from the teacher. An extra loud intonation in her voice. Or sometimes it comes from yourself.

Each time that momentary jolt comes, you think, "Okay, okay...did I almost fall asleep? I'm so gonna stay awake for the rest of the class.".

Yeah, right.

Statistically speaking (yes, I am very experienced in this), the first two jolts are usually false alarms. The coast turns clear soon enough, and off you go again. There's more of a struggle this time around, at least. "Break time's coming soon, break time's coming soon..." Alas, most times you end up losing without even realising it.

Then Bada-Boom! It happens. *Something* will happen to snap you completely out of sleepy-ness. Again, it could come from yourself. Or an embarassing incident involving the person sitting next to you. Or worse, the teacher takes the trouble herself.

Once the wake-me-up moment occurs, you know. It feels so real, so definitive that whatever ideas of sleeping during breaktime become laughable. You feel ashamed, almost unbelieving that you were dumb enough to sleep in class.

The other day, I fell asleep in the Class of Life. God threw a chalk at me.

"Anyone mind lending me their notes to copy?"

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Oh Wiki You're So Fine...Hey Wiki!

Wah, 1 month never update blog already oh!
You abandon your blog already ah?

No apologies's not that I've been busy, but things haven't been very conducive for blogging lately. Between pesky issues like helping organise Gospel Camp, mulling over a job change (I can't believe I'm still at Ideasmith and being paid less than ALL my college peers), my sweeeet newly-purchased Masked Rider Black DVD set, falling in love and other pesky matters, I haven't had much chance to polish up thoughts.

(My my, a nosey bunch indeed, aren't we. Why don't you ask about Masked Rider Black instead.)

Neways, today's post concerns an item I picked up 2 weeks ago. Here ya go:

Webaroo, a provider of offline Web technology, is making available Wikipedia...Unplugged, a downloadable, searchable "Web pack" which contains the entire contents of the online encyclopedia's more than 1 million articles of collective knowledge. The pack, which is around 6GB in size, can be downloaded to a memory card for carrying on a smart phone, for example. The content automatically updates in the background when one connects a loaded device to the Internet.

"Uh huh?" you go. "Like...uh huh?"


When Wikipedia was first launched some years back, it was just a 'cool website with lots of info'. Then slowly, as people realised how impossibly accurate, up-to-date and extensive the info was...they bowed at its feet in awe. Forget the wise man on the mountain, Wikipedia was the definitive source of truth.

", I'm telling you the population density of Hungary is 282/square mile!"

"Wait...did the Spanish Inquisition start in 1478 or 1487?"

"Now there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY the President of Libya could be Omar al-Bashir."

Now thanks to Wikipedia, the truth ain't out there. It's staring you in the face. A mere click (and some typing) condemns you to the indignity of being a poser know-it-all or The Hallowed Glory Of Being Well-Read.

But now...a portable Wikipedia?! The utter horrors! The dangers it could pose in the wrong hands!

Picture this:

*At a dinner party*

Know-it-all: Hello! Enjoyed your dinner?
Know-not-all: Certainly did.
KIA: So...what do you do in your free time?
KNA: Well, a lot.
KIA: Great! I read a fair bit myself. Any good books recently?
KNA: Uhhh...sure. There's this one by, uhhh...John...
KIA: Grisham?
KNA: Yeah yeah...that's the guy.
KIA: The Innocent Man?
KNA: Innocent of what?
KIA: Haha! Quite the joker, aren't you. His latest book, I mean.
KNA: Ahahaha! Of course I knew that. Just pulling your leg.
KIA: So you read it?
KNA: Of course! (clutches stomach suddenly) Whoops, excuse me for a moment.

(Five minutes and a Portable Wikipedia later)

KNA: Hey, I'm back! Anyway, The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town is the first nonfiction written by John Grisham which was released by Doubleday Publishing on October 10, 2006. The book details the story of former minor league baseball aspirant Ronald 'Ron' Keith Williamson of Ada, Pontotoc County, Oklahoma, where he was raised in the strict Pentecostal household of his parents, Roy Williamson and Juanita (Caldwell) Williamson, along with his sisters, Annette (Williamson) Hudson, now from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Renée (Williamson) Simmons, now from Allen, Texas.

KIA: Whoa, whoa...easy there, man. It's a casual party.

KNA: Shaddap, moron!

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

The story begins with Ron Williamson, who has returned to his hometown after failed attempts at playing for various minor league baseball teams, including the Oakland A's and the Ft. Lauderdale Yankees. This failure leads to a bout of depression, which results in a drinking problem...

(At this point, a small crowd gathers and starts worshiping at the feet of Know-Not-All)

I'm afraid, people. Really, really afraid. Now everyone can be a genius on any subject in five minutes. Those poor grey-haired men in libraries and labs. Anything they spring on me, I only need to excuse myself for five minutes, and...voila! A lifetime of research put to shame.

Remember that chubby auntie selling plastic hairbands in the market? She prolly knows more fengtau songs and alternative indie bands than you.

Or that Indian man on his motorbike, selling fresh milk in a tin container? He's *this* close to being an expert on sequenced prokaryotic genomes.

Or how about your neighbour's fat kid who watches Naruto (on TV3!) all day long? He could fill you in on what makes the opposite sex tick. Scientifically.

And maybe on a strange, strange day in the future, we could find ourselves with Wikipedia implants. And when everyone knows everything about everything, geniuses rule with the fools!

Give me Friendster any day.