Monday, April 28, 2008

Joey Balboa

I'm sure a lot of you have been inspired by the movie Rocky before. If you have not, maybe you should watch Rocky I, Rocky II, Rocky III, Rocky IV, Rocky V and Rocky Balboa (last sequel for now). Yes, 5 sequels after the first Rocky in 1976. It was the most successful movie for Sylvester Stallone, won a lot of awards and one of the best UnderDog Movie ever made. On the left is a picture of the famous scene of Rocky running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and it has become a cultural icon.

I myself have ran up these stairs before, just to have the pretend experience of Rocky ... and replaying my childhood dreams overcoming huge hurdles like Rocky Balboa.

Well, sometimes, in life, we often give up, but we have to continue, like Rocky says, "It ain't about how hard we can hit, but how hard we can get hit, and keep moving on". Sometimes, we lie down too long and by the time we know it, our next opportunity is gone. So we have to always stand up and continue, before the count down is over. Time is limited and we have to be committed.

Speaking of which, I too have set myself into a time commitment. One of it, is to exercise more and work harder on my research. So, on the exercise part, I decided to utilize my extra empty room and turn it into an exercise room.

Yesterday, I went to pick up my exercise equipment. Someone was selling off their weighlifting set, so I decided to get it for 45 bucks.

So before summer ends, I'll be exercising to better myself and have my muscles toned....just like Rocky. My target, by the end of summer--and the background rocky theme song starts playing, tgh perasan nie--I will be Joey Balboa.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

How I've Been Settling Down

It has been difficult trying to settle down. But I try my best to make this place my temporary home. In an attempt to survive for the next few years, I've been slowly buying cheap stuff when I can to occupy my new home. When I first arrived, I had to sleep on the floor. It was really cold, so I immediately got a comforter to keep me warm. It didn't work that well. But not like I had a better choice. I eventually had to resort to buying a brand new bed online, since my back was starting to take its toll.

Since I came in the middle of the year, finding an apartment was difficult. I didn't feel like staying in a sublet with someone, so I had to settle for a much bigger apartment, a 2 bedroom, though I only need one, there was no vacant one room or studio apartment. And I got the basement unit, which means, my window is as high as the surface outside. Which makes it a bit scary since people can see what's inside. So I got my shower curtains first to cover my windows. Thanks to Abg. Rashid, who helped donating some window curtains and Rice cooker for me to use later.

Like any immature adult, what I got first was a TV. I got a used TV for USD 150 by hunting through craiglist. The cable for the TV came a day after the TV arrived. The TV was nice, but, I still didn't have any furniture. And for weeks, I had to study on the floor, and eat on the floor. I also managed to get someone to deliver me the drawers to put the TV on. It was not in perfect condition, but the person was willing to get rid of it for USD 10. So I agreed, and after some clean-up, it didn't look that bad.

Finally, also from craiglist, I managed to get a dinner table. Eating on the floor really makes me feel depressed. So when I found in craiglist that someone wanted to sell their dinner table for USD 70, I wasted no time to get it. It was also in a bad condition, but after some manual fixing of tightening the screws, it was good as new. I also got some small corner tables from a second hand shop, for about USD 5 each.

While being here, whenever I can, I go and visit god's home in a Masjid near by. I must admit, sometimes I miss friday prayers at the Masjid, due to class,meetings with supervisor or just plain over exhausted, but I try my best to go when I can. And the people there are modern Muslims and I enjoy Kutbah, much more than the ones I can remember back home in Malaysia. The Kutbah here has a modern perspective to it, and encourages love and success in the present day lives. Back home, they talk a lot more about after life.

Being here for about 5 months now, I must say, I'm all settled. And the connections in the Masjid, with some of the Muslim brother's, has helped me settled down faster. I found out a Muslim family who was leaving the states and they were selling off their stuff. So I got some of their furniture, particularly, a 2 seat and 3 seat sofa, A TV stand, carpets and many more, and I got all that for USD 200, which was a pretty good deal.

With everything settled, I have no excuse but to concentrate on my research. This summer will be a new beginning. It will be a totally different challenge for me, as I try to finish up my prototype for my research, the view of the ahead journey looks like a very high ascending slope. I sure hope the view up there will be worth it, cause from down here, at the current moment, I'm sighing to myself with despair.....but still eager for the challenge. So family and friends, who care, come back to hear all about it from time to time.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Something lurking in the Dark

It was close to 3am, and the only thing playing on the tv was just an unpleasant ghost story screaming about something gruesome. I dare not look at it, not because I'm scared, but I just don't want an ugly bloody image running in my head before I go to sleep.

Its almost spring, and the air was slightly warm. As the temperature got warmer, there was no need for the heater to be up, and at 3 am in the morning, without the mechanical fan clanking and whining from the heater, it was awfully quiet. I tried to listen for any ominous threat. Not that I'm paranoid, but one cannot be too careful while being alone.

After turning off all the lights, I just realized how ridiculous it was to even be afraid or even let myself be slightly concern. So I just smiled to myself, and in my mind, a self monologue says,"hay silly, go to sleep, its late. You're not afraid, are you!!!! hahaha". And, convincing myself, I smiled, and replied my own monologue conversation, "Me, afraid, heck no....I'm Rizal, never been afraid, and never will". The monologue was not as assuring as I expected, but went to bed anyways. I tried to sleep, but the room was warm and it made me feel uncomfortable. So I went to the window, opened it to let the cool spring breeze in, I just can't sleep when it is terribly warm.

It was cooler now, and I feel much more comfortable. I was about to dose off, and slowly I can feel the world of concerns floating away. And just before I was off to lalaland, a sudden noise disturbed my sense of tranquility. I was awaken by some clanking noise right at the window. My eyes suddenly opened wide in the dark. I can't see anything, but I can surely hear something breathing, whizzing, and scratching at the window.

What could it be? My heart rate jumped, my senses heighten and my mind was imagining 1001 things per second, as images of unsightly things races through my mind. There was definitely something at the window, and I just remembered, that the damn window was opened. If there was really something evil there, it can surely get in, and I cannot risk that from happening. So I rushed to the window to close it , and like in the scary movie, as I pushed the curtains to the side, and I saw a pair of yellow eyes looking straight at me. "What the f***?" I jumped, and immediately I was taken a back from the window, as the curtains now block my view from what was a mysterious pair of yellow eyes staring at me behind the curtain window.

I must admit, the yellow eyes got me shaken, but I can still think logically. And my logic mind says I got to close the window, cause it was still opened, and I got to do that fast. So I immediately turn on the lights and went for my second attempt to close the window. I push the curtains to the sides, and now, there was nothing there. Damn....was I imagining it, or was there really something lurking in the dark.

I close the window while keep looking what evil things could possibly be outside. Nothing, not a sound, no floating yellow eyes, there was just a few branches that was hardly a threat. Again, my monologue says, "am I crazy....could I be imagining it". I close the lights again to go to sleep, but then, I can hear the whizzing, clanking and scratching noise again. I brave myself, but this time, I turned on the lights before pushing the curtain to the side, and this time....I was surprise.....

I was surprise to see this creature that lurks in the dark. I'm not sure what it was, but it didn't look harmful. Or at least, I didn't think it could harm me. I immediately ran to take my camera. I managed to take a picture of it before it ran away.

I'm not sure what it was. It looked like a rat, but it was far too big to be a rat. It was as big as a cat, or a small dog. It looked like a rabbit, but the ears were too small. It looked like a squirrel, but the tail was too short to be a squirrel. I'm not sure what it was, but it definitely looked curious, and was equally afraid of me, as I was afraid of him. After taking his pictures, he got afraid of the flashes, and ran away. I felt sorry for the creature, it was just probably hungry and just woke up from hibernation. I still wonder what this creature is called though....and what is it, what species....If anybody recognize this creature that was lurking in the Dark, please do tell me about it.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Human Element

I live alone in my small tiny apartment, and I must admit, my best friend is the TV, where I get to see the world in many ways, bending the space-time continuum to go back in time in the History channel, and warp ahead of time in the Science channel. I also get to see parallel universe of how our lives could be different if we were to do things differently. Other than that, I also get to learn all kinds of knowledge, from mathematics, home science, humanities, philosophy, musicology, physiology, biology, humorology, ... and etc-ology, just an abundant source of knowledge besides google-logy.

An interesting idea in an advertisement on the science channel is that humans are still trying to understand the world that we live in--in all aspects of life. To understand the world better, we try to classify things, and study the things around us. Hence, we create the periodic table with all kinds of elements that exist in this world. However, we are still trying to understand what makes us human. And the idea in the advertisement says that if we try to include ourself, the human element (Hu) in the periodic table, we can probably see how we tend to interact in the world that we live it, and the things that makes us special and what makes humanity.

If we try to put the human element, maybe we can understand a lot of things. Particularly, the human element would have two types, or maybe 4 according to some. Man, Woman, Man trap in a Woman's body, Woman trap in Man's body. Having that thought in mind, i received a funny email. The email tries to put humans in the periodic table. The human element (Hu) that they tried to classify was woman. I find it interesting, because its one of the first attempt to put humans on the periodic table.

This attempt of putting a human in the periodic table is ridiculous but yet could probably bring a lot of insights. Like any scientific endeavors, it will receive much criticism, and I'm sure a lot would criticize the validity or accurateness of such claims. But I think it is probably a brave start for such discovery and may help evolve to a lot more of interesting theories.

I'm sure a lot of man will agree with me that woman are impossible to understand. So maybe this attempt of classification of the human element will help us understand more about woman.

On the other hand, i know i will get a lot of hate comments here....But for the sake of science, and the advancement of humankind, I'm willing to take the risk....:)