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Wednesday
Dec032008

A Trip to Malaysia

It’s quite unorthodox (whatever it means,) of me to post twice in a week.  Must be some kind of stupor (whatever that means.)

I just found out I’m flying tomorrow.  A place none other than Malaysia, home of the Intel chip manufacturing thingie!  Oh, and tea, I guess.  And heroin?Low Yat

From what I hear, there’s a plaza called Low Yat in Kuala Lumpur.  I’ve been told I shouldn’t go there if I wanted to come back to Kuwait.  I’m not sure what they meant by that.  Might it be that it’s 7 FLOORS OF EXTREME GEEKERING GADGETRINGER!?  (whatever that means?)

Oh, and prices are apparently so cheap to the point where I must get a spare credit card incase this one breaks from all the swiping.  My heart flutters at the thought!  The place has its own Wikipedia entry for crying out loud!

Oh and their currency?  It’s called the “Ringgit.”  Even their currency sounds like a rock star drummer!  Make this stop!

I’m overreacting.  *breathes in and out*

I GIVE YOU 500 RINGGITS FOR TEH GTX 280 SLI!  Here’s a ringgit for your troubles, oh and another ringgit to complete your band.  HOW MANY RINGGITS FOR THAT ASUS INSTANT BOOT CORE I7 COMPATIBLE MOTHERBOARD?!!  TELL MEEEEE YOU RINGGIT LOVIN … sorry, here’s another ringgit haha. 

That motherboard!  ‘RINGGIT UP ALREADY!!

I will possibly be ringgitless after this trip, but you only live once, right?

Angel on Right Shoulder:  Bojacob, a ringgit saved is a ringget earned.

Devil on Left Shoulder:  Although I hate him, he does have a point.  Save your ringgits, Bojacob.

ME:  !!!! INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR MEANINGFUL ANSWER !!!!

Wish me luck :)  So much for the tea farms.  And heroin.  Do they even grow heroin there?  Do I even care?

Nope!  Ringitt on baby!

 

Monday
Dec012008

The Strange Story of “Maple Story”

When Ramadan started, I needed distractions to make the day pass.  My stomach knotted and churned at the sight of food, so I had to find something.  Find something I did:  Maple Story.  Ignore the fact that it sounds like food.

It was by chance that I saw a YouTube video about this game, and somehow it seemed instantly fun!  It’s a cute 2D platformer MMORPG.  And, it was FREE!  How can this get better?!  I immediately downloaded the game and began my journey into Mapletown or whatever the hell the place was called.

mychar

It seemed like the game recommends I become a thief.  Fair enough.  I slashed and ripped through my enemy snails and slimes until I got stronger and stronger, and slowly, I began to experience the massive world of Mapleya or whatever the hell it’s called.  I admit it was quite big for a free game.  I stumbled into the Bazaar.

Maple0000 

After about spending 15 minutes looking for the damn exit, I went back to adventuring.  It was quite difficult to be honest, and it quickly turned into a grinding session much like WoW, except this one has 200 frikkin’ levels.  Ah well, gotta start somewhere, eh?  I returned to town to replenish my supply of ninja throwing stars, until…

aliensnotice

About 5 seconds later, I was so violated that my character died and the game crashed, but here’s a screen capture of the mayhem.

Maple0006

This was perhaps 0.003 seconds away from my character dying and crashing my PC along with it.  Sucks.

After recovering from the fatal blow, I nursed my anal injuries and went back to killing pigs for experience. 

image

I had to press CTRL a lot to fire my shurikens.  My hand was getting tired, so I devised a hack.

image

Yeah, that’s a nail to keep the CTRL button pressed.  Sadly, the game knows if you’ve held CTRL too long, so that went down the drain.

I pressed on for hours and finally asked the question.  What’s so great about this damn game?  As if my thoughts were heard by some unknown game deity, an answer presented itself on the top right.

loveboy

I had no idea what that was, nor had I any idea how to do it.  And wait a minute, these love heart themes are appearing way more than was acceptable.  In fact, some conversations now strike me as quite disturbing:

love1

It truly warmed my heart to see a couple of kids finding love :)  Their little hearts fluttering as they sit there, confused, yet happy of this wonderful, alien feeling.

love2

Heh, ok this is taking a while.  A little creativity and romance perhaps?

image

The innocent love statement went SO downhill that it fell off my screen.  Something seems a little off about this.  And why is “cutethemule” looking for a friggin’ hubby?  What’s going on here?  I walked away from this very confusing event, and saw another pair in front of me.

image

Notice I was staring like an idiot, confused about the whole affair.  There was more love here than a bad hentai movie!

bfsis

Let’s ignore the cute panda and pooch for a minute.  the L means “looking for.”  The guy is looking for a boyfriend for his sister.  My brain was beginning to melt from the possib-  err … from culture shock.

It seemed like relationships worked exactly like real life.  Example:

image

And 2 seconds later:

image

Perfect simulation.

As my travels continued, I met a lone samurai with an axe strapped on his back.  His name sounded vaguely familiar.  7mnny, a Kuwaiti samurai.  I had a pleasant chat with him, although I did notice he was decades younger than I am.

Maple0009

We parted ways after the conversation.  He walked away towards the sunset, his silhouette shrinking as he moved farther away towards the Windows logo, which somehow resembles my desktop … oh wait, the game crashed.

The game seemed rife with scammers.  Even I wasn’t spared, despite the fact I was completely broke anyway.

image

The goodness in their souls is overwhelming.  Almost as overwhelming as my sarcasm.  Ah well, time to move on!  I kept on seeing these pink texts and floating clouds with text.

image

Even I didn’t understand what that meant, but regardless, I could never figure out how this pink text was done.  It was broadcast to the whole server and everyone online would see it.

image

Here’s a pic of those cloud thingies on top right.

Maple0012

After much searching, asking, and investigating, it turns you have to buy an item to do that.  And by that, I mean buy it with REAL cash.  That pink message?  I think it’s about $1 a pop.

My mind began to reel.  Those guys are making money off of virtual items?  As I kept on gaining experience and power, I wondered if there was an item I could buy to make things go faster.  Sure enough:

image

Double experience for 4 hours.  $2!  I soooooo need this!  I got my card ready and rearin’ to go!  OMG, there’s even something that makes rare valuable items drop!  MUST BUY AND BE BETTER!

Wait, I can get a pet that collects treasures for me!  It’s only $10!  I’ll be richer and better!  BUYYY-

wait a minute…

Common sense kicked in.  What am I doing?  Why in the blue [bleep] am I even thinking of buying virtual items and experience points?  Freakin’ virtual pets?

I realized then, that I was almost caught in the cash draining traps of Nexon, the sly bastards who made the game.  I knew “free” was too good to be true.  If I was 10 years younger, I would be so hopelessly addicted, and broke.

I stepped back a bit and did some research on the game.  Sure enough, Fox has a story on it and how parents are suffering from their addicted, overspending kids.  There’s 4 million players in the game, making Nexon millions on virtual items.  It’s almost silly to believe, but I almost fell for it myself.

Remember a story about some Japanese girl getting 5 years in prison for killing someone’s virtual character?  This is the game they were talking about.  From the article:

The 43-year-old woman carried out the digital murder after the 33-year-old man suddenly “divorced” her in the game. She was quoted as saying, “I was suddenly divorced, without a word of warning. That made me so angry.” So angry, in fact, that she used login information she got from her former “husband” to access his account and then kill his character. The man notified police when he realized his avatar was dead, and the woman was arrested on “suspicion of illegally accessing a computer and manipulating electronic data.” She hasn’t been formally charged yet, but she could face up to five years in prison or a $5000 fine.

Fellas, let this be a lesson to you: never EVER give out your personal info to people you meet online. No, not even to your virtual spouses.

What a way to go to jail.  Your crime?  I killed a virtual character that’s about 2kb on my hard disk.  Still, I can’t belittle it, nor can I justify it.

Anyway, I got back in the game and decided to do some exploring before I trashed it.  The game does have a way of getting families together.

 

Maple0040

And solidifies friendships with never-seen-before star effects, for $2.70!

Maple0042

Also strengthens relationships with “Crush” rings.  $6.

image

Well I am glad they emphasized heterosexuality.  I wonder if that was a constant problem for the helpdesk?

Want to know why the game is addictive?

image

Yep, $2.7 and your character gets pink lips!  But wait…

image

Of course, a kiss mark on the cheek!  They go hand in hand!  Or hand in pocket for another $2.7

Constant reminders of “proving” your love.  Translation: buying virtual items for your spouse.

Maple0049

Heck, they even made a chapel to keep things serious.  I thought this was an action/adventure game?

Maple0001

And a whole virtual zone dedicated to lovebirds spending on each other.  In fact, one of the main factors for a healthy relationship is a healthy wad of Nexon cash (which you buy with real cash.)  This guy demonstrates his requirement for a girlfriend.

image

As I reached the end of my travels, I found a party with gifts and cakes falling like rain.  A pink message on the screen announcing someone’s departure from the game.  I remember it costs about $5 to do this party thing.

Maple0069

Good for you my friend, good for you.  I went ahead and took my leave as well.  I’m too old for this.  I much prefer wasting my cash on gadgets I don’t need. 

I just hope my 10 year old nephews don’t get wind of this.  Especially since Eid is just around the corner!  “Uncle Bojacob?  Can you get me a Crush Ring for me and my spouse?”  OH GOD NO!

—-

A few more screenies I took during the romp.

A jolt of Deja Vu.  ra7aal al 9agheer?

Maple0053

 

A very confused artist, mixing digital clocks with a genie lamp?

Maple0055

 

Disney?  You have another target to sue!

Maple0057

 

Faces!  $1 each.

Maple0082

 

 

Rings to change your text bubbles when you chat!  $4.5

Maple0076

 

 

That’s it.  Anyone tried the game out?  Am I going to get flamed for this?

Friday
Nov282008

The Unknown Need for Vacations

How do you know you’ve been working too hard?

  • You start seeing workmates more than your family
  • When a problem occurs, you often research solutions at home during dinner
  • You forget to feed your fish
  • You forget to feed yourself some fish
  • You dream about work, and subsequently come up with brilliant ideas
  • You buy RAM for your PC at work to be more efficient
  • Your fish dies
  • You feed the street cats your dead fish and see what happens (wait, why?)
  • Your life seems to revolve around work, leaving no room for anything else
  • You install Ubuntu on workmates’ laptops
  • You eat more turkey

I’ve got all the above symptoms, and thus decided to take a nice week off along with the Eid holiday.  When you detach yourself from work, you wonder what else is there to do?  The days seem far longer than previously imagined.

I know I’ve been neglecting my blog, my music, and anything that’s remotely close to creative.  However, I have no excuse this time :)  I really enjoyed writing, and loved reading comments.  Heck, I’m feeling elated just writing this post.

Thus, once I get myself listed on Safat again, I’ll hopefully be more active on the blog front.  I miss everyone.

Now I’ll go nag at the heroes of Kuwaitblogs.  If anyone else could help, that would be appreciated!  I’ll give you a sandwich.

Turkey, not fish.  I’m not that cruel.  I only do that to street cats and my nephews. 

Ok, that was insensitive of me.  I’ll rephrase:  I only do that to my nephews.

 

Tuesday
Nov042008

Ain't My Day. It's Written.

You know, life has its ways of telling you that if things are bad, it can make it worse with a snap of a finger.

I woke up at 7am, remembering I needed to go to the cemetery at 9.  I excused myself from work and decided to dress up correctly.  It's been a while since I wore the traditional Kuwaiti garments.  I hoped the maid knew how to iron a qetra.

I passed time by daydreaming.  I'm not even sure what I was daydreaming about, but I remember smiling the whole way.  It was 8:20, so I believed it was time to get ready.  I wore the qetra, and thought it looked a bit weird with all that starch.  I asked her to iron a new one.  What's a 5 minute delay?

Once that was over, I looked in the mirror and evaluated my appearance.  The amount of jokes I could have come up with were endless.  Something along the lines of "don't let the qetra get caught in the ceiling fan."  After 5 minutes of senseless joke making and unusual laughter, I decided that I better go.

I got in the car, and naturally, my head hit the top of the door, sending my egaal sprawling on the floor.  I picked up the infernal thing and took another 3 minutes adjusting my appearance, trying not to look too ridiculous.  Once that was over, I broke my Audi into a gallop and rode for the cemetery.

Traffic was beastly.  The 4th ring road was completely blocked up, so I thought I'd just take the 5th instead.  I had my trusty GPS with me incase I lost my way and headed to Antarctica by mistake, which happens daily anyway.  I managed to enter the 5th ring road, and drove onwards.  The slowpokes in the middle and right lanes began to aggravate me with their annoying braking, thus I decided to take the left lane, as it seemed to be moving quite well.  Not for long though.  Traffic came to a halt.  Cars weren't moving, such is my luck.  I sighed and stopped, hoping I won't be late. 

Something caught my eye in my rear-view mirror.  It was a car, going quite fast.  So fast that I think it has to hit the brakes, like now.  It didn't.

A sense of urgency shot up.  I had to do something to get out of the way, but I didn't have time.  I had to do something.  I hit the car horn, a feeble attempt that did nothing.  I saw the driver, just now realizing what was going on, and what's about to happen.  I saw her mouth open wide in pure terror, probably screaming, as did her car scream when she hit the breaks full on.  It was far, far too late.

Her car slammed into mine with the loudest of cracks.  My vision flashed white as I believe the back of my head hit the seat's headrest.  I was disoriented, unsure of what had happened, while my ears were still ringing from the sound of the impact.

I started regaining my wits and moved my car to the emergency lane.  I wondered how bad it was and if the lady was ok, so I looked into the rearview mirror to adjust my qetra.  However, there was no qetra, no egaal.  Just my white gahfeya sitting on my head.  The things flew off, so I took the damn gahfeya off and got out of the car.

The front of her Mercedes 1997 car was pretty much destroyed.  Her radiator blown and leaking water all over.  I guess this rated as a pretty bad accident, and my car was probably messed up as well.  Still, I hoped the lady was ok, who also seemed to have a boy with her as well.

As I passed my car, I took a look and it wasn't as bad as I thought at all.  At least, not as bad as her car was.  Here's a pic of it now.

carrear

Not bad.

I looked again at the lady, and I was surprised to actually find a police jeep there, with two cops jumping out.  I walked over to her.

Me:  Are you all-

Lady:  I.. I don't-  I'm sorry.  I'm so sorry!

Her voice quaked with fear.  She seemed on the verge of crying, and maybe she was, but her sunglasses covered up everything including her cheek.

Me:  It's fine, it's fine.  Relax.  Are you ok?   Hurt?

Lady:  I'm so sorry!  My son told me about-  I'm sorry!

It didn't look like a good time to talk at all.  Even if it was, the two cops being unusually hyper started pushing the car to get it to the emergency lane.

Policeman 1:  PUSH!!

Policeman 2:  COME PUSH!!  TELL HER TO TURN LEFT!!

Me:  Turn left, ok?

But the window was closed.  Jeez.

Policeman 1:  PUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUSH!!!!!!

Me:  All right, all right!

I got behind the car and pushed along with them.  The lady didn't understand what was going on.

Policeman 2:  LEEEEEEEEEEEEEEFT!

The cop was pointing frantically to the left.  She turned the wheel all the way and we pushed until the car hit the 9abba, the short wall dividing the two roads. 

Policeman 1:  WHAT ARE YOU DOIIIIIIIING!!

The lady looked mortified.  If this was a bad day for me, I think she's having one that's a lot worse.

Policeman 2:  Ok listen, we're not responsible for traffic, but we called the guys responsible and they'll come help you with this.

Me:  All right, so we just wait?

Policeman 2:  Just wait.

And so they left.  I've done this waiting game before, and it was never fun.  I wondered if she was doing better and looked over to her car.  She was on the phone, most likely talking to her husband to save her from all of this.

Whatever argument they might have had in the past, I think the hubby has a damn good chance of making things up now :)  He can thank me later.

The story goes on, but I wrote too much already.  I want to write the second part where Starsky and Hutch (two cops) try to help us.  It was pretty hilarious.

I made many choices this morning.  They are bold in the paragraphs above.  This chain of decisions led up to this fate.  Funny how if even one of the bolded statements above was removed from the equation, this never would have happened.  Qaddar allah wa ma shaa'a fa3al.  Today, it's just written that it ain't my day.

Ah well, law of averages states that I'm supposed to get into at least one accident per year.  I just got mine, I should be good now for another year!  Hoho!

Sunday
Oct122008

The Bastard Dentist from Hell

Me:  Look, I know it's been a year since I had half my root canal done, I'm human after all!  If there's no pain, I won't come!  Simple!

Dentist:  Hmph.

Me:  Sigh, so how screwed am I?

Dentist:  Big problem.

Me:  You know, that makes me feel so nice and fuzzy inside...

*silence*

Me:  It was a joke.  Look, never mind.  I just really really hate the injection.  Go easy all right?

He rubs my gums with some fruity stuff that tasted good, but also made my mouth and throat go numb when I swallowed it.  He then immediately took the needle and aimed for my mouth.

Me:  Whoa, wait!  Won't you wait until this takes effect?  Come on doc, haha, give it a little time!  This takes a bit for it to spread and numb the gums and stuff.  Even though my throat is kinda too numb now that it's getting hard to breathe.  Still, I feel it spreading its ... its ..numbificationer, or whatever.  Hey, wait stop!  Even Gandhi needed time from his dentist!  If he had one that is.  Hehe, that's a good one.  What?  It's a joke :)  Get it?

Dentist: ...

Me: Ok [bleep] it, gimme all you got.

He smiled his toothy smile, as if to show them off and say "nya nya, I don't have any root canaaals!"  He approached my mouth with the injection aimed and ready.

[Skip the gruesome scene]

Me:  *groan*

I reach for the cup of water with a fizzling pill inside, feeling very violated.  I could sue this guy for the sole reason of being a dentist.  I never even understood why there was a pill in that damn cup anyway?  It's not like it's hiding all the blood I'm drooling out.  My lips couldn't contain the water in my mouth, and so my new Armani Exchange shirt now looks like something out of a crime scene.  Looks pretty cool, actually!

Me:  Hey .. thok .. thok why iv there a fill im vuh..

Dentist:  Hm?

Me:  vuck it, neva minv

I decided to just keep my mouth shut.  What good it'll do to talk anyway?  Ain't like the guy had any sense of humor.  I looked into my pockets to check my mail from the iPhone and try to distract myself from the pounding gum.  Then I wondered, why don't I just listen to a podcast while he works?  I'm sure a little TWiT would do me good!

Me:  thok,  Can I liffen to thtuff while you wo .. wok .. wok....

Dentist:  ...

Me:  I affked you a quethsh .. queff ..

I couldn't even understand myself.  It was like I was injected with a cow tranquilizer, if such a thing exists.  Was he insinuating that I was a cow?!  wtf, well then, I say he's a donkey.  That thought alone brought me some measure of comfort.  Didn't last long however, the man flashed his knives and drills in such an evil way that I could swear I was in a horror movie with a 94% on rotten tomatoes.

I decided to just friggin put my headphones on and lay back, listening to good ol' Leo and dvorak.org/blog.  The doctor opened my mouth and started his ritual:  Preparing my mouth as a sacrificial offering for his evil dentist gods.

It was pretty damn painful, as root canals go, but this whole podcast listening was actually helpful.  As always, all good things come to an end.  In my case, a brutal end.

Leo:  So it's people who hate me?!

Dvorak:  Maybe it's all those pyjamas for all you know.

Leo wasn't happy that his interview was buried on Digg.  They were trying to figure out why. 

The doctor opened my mouth a bit wider.  There was that drill, a mirror, and a vacuum sucking thingie all in there at the same time.  I tried not to think about it.

Leo:  No no, I was wearing a smoking jacket and a smoking pipe.  I thought I was quite distinguished looking, actually.

Dvorak:  Maybe that's the reason it was banned.

Me:  hahaHA... GAARG!! 

I sat up, choking.

Me:  COUGH, COUGH, HAAAACK!!  Cough coughhhh.....

Dentist:  Relax!!!  What are you laughing about?!

Me:  coughhh, it .. cough.  He made ..*cough* .. a jhhhoke... joke.

Now that I remember, it wasn't all that funny either.

The dentist stared at me.  Was I an unusual case?  Hm.  Anyhow, I laid back down again.  I swallowed and tried to comprehend the irony of choking on my own tooth.

Dentist:  Stay still.  Please.

At least he said please.  He continued working on my mouth as I kept still.  Hmph, bossy dentists.  Who does he think he is anyway?  I'm the one in charge here.  I bet this evil minion is wearing boxers with love hearts printed on them.  Hah!

I smiled.  I wondered how silly he'd look if I put a Superman cape on him.  Haahaaahaaaha-

Dentist:  This might hurt a little.

Me:  Gurgle?

A sharp jolt shot through my jaw.  My head snapped back at the sudden pain.  A clear reminder that this heart-boxer-wearing-superman-cape-wrapping dentist was still boss around here. 

Ass.

I realize this post is turning out to be quite long, so I'll cut it short:  WHOLE THING HURT!  Why, oh why do I wait until cavities reach my nerve?  The amount of pain isn't worth it, at all!   I couldn't leave the room without some amount of payback.  I stood up after he was done, feeling dull throbs in my jaw.

Me:  vank u voctor.

I stuck my hand out to shake his hand.  I'll just squeeze his hand so hard and unleash all this pain upon him!

Dentist:  Hmph.

He shook my hand.  I grinned and started to squeeze, but suddenly felt searing pain shooting up my wrist, forcing my grip to loosen.  I forgot my wrist was in pain because of all the crazy, intense drumming I did on Rock Band.  I let his hand go, gritting my teeth and forcing a smile.  Maybe I should just slap the insufferable bastard.  Knowing my luck though, I'd probably break my hand as it hit his thick head blessed by some dentist god with three heads and three testicles.

I walked out of the room holding my jaw, glad it's all over.  As I walked out, I saw a guy from work, sitting.  Lord, no...

Wael:  Bojacob!

Me:  wawewrr!

Wael:  ?

Me:  waawweerr!!

Wael:  Um, salamat!  What are you doing here?

I really couldn't talk.  I just shrugged and looked at him with sad eyes and droopy right lips.  Was I drooling?  I couldn't tell.  I couldn't feel.

Wael:  Ma tshoof shar.  I'll see you tomorrow then?

At least he was understanding.  I smiled (I think,) and moved to walk out of the clinic.

Wael:  Bojacob?

Me:  wbhuhh?

He pointed at his lip.

Wael:  Um, there's something on your lip there.

I knew it.  I walked to a mirror and saw my fat lip, along with blood seeping from the side of my mouth.  I looked like I walked out of a boxing match, which was pretty cool!  I kept the look and hurried home so I could get some sympathy from mom.  I know she hides that incredible chocolate somewhere, and I'll be damned if I don't get any today!

Get your teeth done boys n girls :(  Root canals aren't fun, at all.  I've got 9 teeth to fix before they reach the point of no return.  I'm trying to find the courage and a good doctor.  Recommendations are welcome!  (private, public, expensive, I don't care.)

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