July 31, 2010

Problematic background?

Been getting a little feedback about the background not loading and the whole page is white. Well I'm not sure if it's a Blogger or Imageshack (that's where the background comes from) problem but it loads just fine on my computer, so you might wanna refresh it once or twice. Do leave a lil message over on the chatbox on the left if the problem persists and I'll see what I can do~

July 25, 2010

New look, new name

Yeup, about time to freshen up my blog from something dark and dreary.

And for those who may not have noticed, now I type with my posts in the middle like this,

when I used to start from the side like this.

Come to think of it, I think it's high time I change the name of my blog as well. Life in The Fast Lane doesnt seem to suit the mood of my blog these days (in fact it doesnt suit my blog AT ALL. How did I pick this name in the first place...)

"Life is A Highway" sounds nice but not at all original,

"It's A Deric Life" is a teeny bit original, a lil' bit catchy maybe?

Cant think of other nice blog titles now... I think I'll stick to the first one until I get something better. Suggestions anyone? =]

July 17, 2010

National Service

Maaf! 930114xxxxxx anda tidak terpilih untuk menyertai PLKN Siri 8/2011. Terima kasih.

Originally, I never wanted to go for national service, especially when the goal is to promote racial unity and patriotism *koff*, and also when the selection of trainees is completely random. It doesnt matter if you're a president of a society or the most active member in the club or a national level competition entrant or some juvenile Mat Rempit or a gangster or just an Average Joe/Jane, it all boils down to L-U-C-K. Very unfair, and I was very against it (still am actually). I mean at least can they BASE it on certain criteria like co-curricular activities and school discipline records? If one is co-curricular-ly active, has good discipline, not racist and loves their country *koff*, why should they be chosen? It defeats the purpose when the good eggs have to go while thousands of no-lifers still freely roam about up to their mischievous ways. But now that I'm not chosen, I guess I should just shut my mouth.

But now that I'm not chosen, and seeing responses from friends that want to go but werent chosen, or those that were chosen, didnt take the news too well but were told that it's actually a great experience, is kind of making me feel bummed that I wasnt chosen to go. Its a once in a life time thing.You meet new friends, and get new experiences. And maybe, juuuuuust maybe, I couldve been going to the same camp as her. Probability is small, but who knows? But then again, after a few (actually VERY few) NS deaths, food poisoning, all that marching, I'm not too sure. Gosh I hope she'll be okay. Erm er anyway as I was saying, I could use those 3 months to help out my uncle (or maybe dad) at his workshop, where I could get a very healthy jump start to my automotive endeavours, FINALLY PROPERLY learn Cantonese/Mandarin (yes, wor zhe banana liao~) and spend some quality bonding time with dad/uncle.

Maybe I'll trade that M16 for some grease, oil, a toolbox and spare parts after all....

July 11, 2010

F1 Boring?

The amazing sights and sounds of the Formula 1 2000-2005 generation as shown by Michael Schumacher in 2003 around Albert Park in Australia. The screaming V10s, the cameras actually shaking trying to keep pace as they fly around the race track. That was what made F1 so exciting back then. Especially the noise. Man that was really the essence of F1, I.M.H.O. I mean, have a sample of last year's race at Australia:

They're nothing but dull, boring drones. They dont sound anything like the F1 cars of before. I could sleep listening to today's F1 racers, but I never get fed up of watching videos of F1 cars with those V10 engines up to 2005, or maybe even some V12s back in the 1980s and 1990s. Even 5 years after being replaced by smaller V8s with lower rev limiters, they will always own today's F1 engines.

Then there are the looks. Good, sleek looking F1 racers (used to) look like these:

But now, they look like silly toy cars:

They have that funny, odd-looking fin at the back,

and the front wing is waaaay too wide, the rear wing waaaay too narrow and too tall. It's very very un-proportional, and not what I'd call attractive.

And then they had to do away with refueling during pit stops. Now all they can do is change tires. Which isnt really that exciting to watch. At least with refueling, they could plan strategies, short refuels or filing the tank to the brim, the fans at home will be wondering if their favourite team's strategy would pay off or not, will the splash-and-dash get the driver out just ahead of their rivals, the element of suspense just made things all the more exciting. Not to mention the occasional pit stop fires. Now all that is gone. *poof*

And is it me, or are the domination-styled F1 seasons now Dullsville as well? I mean Michael Schumacher and Scuderia Ferrari winning 5 world championships from 2000-2004 didnt sound so boring, but with Brawn GP last year and Red Bull this year making clean sweeps each race weekend, the phrase "Ugh, again?" seems to be rather common.

Lastly, there are the races itself. There's barely any overtaking these days, let alone wheel-to-wheel battles that go on for several laps between 2 or maybe even more drivers. Now for the most part, with that boring droning, they just follow each other around and around and around. And when they finally DO try to overtake, and if they pass or not, there wont be any action from them for the next several laps, if not at all. And then there's the sense of speed - or lack thereof. As you could see in the first video, the cameras were actually shaking and swinging about trying to keep up with Michael. It really did sound and look like they were racing at really high speeds. Try watching F1 on the TV today, you wont get any of that sensation. Okay, maybe with super sharp HDTVs, better cameras and more skilled cameramen, images are much sharper and clearer, but really, watching F1 just isnt that thrilling as it used to be.

Boring sounds, uninteresting looks, lack of competition, lack of race action and sensation. That sums up F1 today pretty much, doesnt it?

July 10, 2010

Being automotively inclined....

I've always had a problem with saying or hearing the phrase "I like cars"/"You like cars"/"Liking cars"/etc. Or maybe even just saying "cars". Sounds kiddish. Something only little children holding toy Hot Wheels cars would say. To hear a little kid say "I like cars" is fine by me, but at this age, leaving our teen years soon, I just cant agree with that. Not that it's wrong, it just doesnt suit me. Being automotively inclined sounds (even if it isnt a real phrase) much more matured, shows that one is properly passionate and at the very least, somewhat respectable depth of knowledge about the automotive field.

And you know, being automotively inclined is not one hobby that I can easily relate with friends. There are so many technical terms, mechanical functions, the physics, technologies and histories about automobiles, it's very difficult for the average Joe to pick up and instantly get acquainted to. And then there are so many branches in the automotive field; manufacturers, key personalities, motor sports, makes and models, and all the various types from sedans to saloons to sports cars. Even after starting off this hobby at around 6-7 years old, there is still heaps to learn as each year new knowledge about new automobiles is unveiled, not to mention as I said earlier, the automotive field covers a very, very big scope.

Its very hard you know, finding friends that have a true, undying interest in automobiles. People that actually study how parts work, models and specifications, and the like. From the top of my head I can only think of 5 such friends; Imran, Aidil, Martin, Lau and Yusuf. Only 5. Out of the 250+ friends I have. One lives in Kedah, one lives in KL, and another lives in Singapore. That is how small the ratio is, and how uninterested the majority of my friends are with automobiles. It makes things especially difficult from a social perspective. If I were to walk up to any of the other 245+ friends and start blabbering about automobiles, they'll just go "Huhh??? Whaaa???? I dont understand!!!", that's because they just dont have any interest like I do. All my other friends can share more, should I say, common hobbies like playing the piano or dancing or just recently coming up, photography. These people are so fortunate they have parents providing money to fund these (for me) rather pricey activities. And they can spend their free time working on their hobbies, improving and sharing with their soooo many other friends and then they get the oohs and aaahs (that they deserve of course).

What about me then? How can I share my interest with friends and actually use it as a way to socialise with them? The simple answer is I cant, because the rest of them just arent interested, neither do they actually admire or take notice!! As a result, I sometimes feel that this hobby-incompatibility makes me a sort of social dud.. I dont get friends admiring how great I play the guitar or how professional my photography skills are. All I get from them asking about my hobby is, (even if they do ask, which I cant remember in a while they have) "What car is this?". And at the very best, the reply I'll ever get is "oo, looks nice leh". That's all. Even if that's not the case, what activity on earth can I join that will make me feel at home with other automotive enthusiasts? And more so, how can I afford them??

Being automotively inclined is a very difficult hobby to share indeed. People can instantly admire a beautiful piece of music or art, but they'll need a thorough explanation on how an engine works. It's all technical and understanding the way things work. Which, in the automotive field, can get very complex. Unlike say somebody playing the piano, you just close your eyes and let your ears enjoy the melody, and praise how good he/she is. Anybody can do that. But not anybody can listen to a Ferrari engine and want to learn more about the Ferrari itself. The most they'll comment on are the looks and the sound. Full stop. It's also hard to find people who really really have that keen interest, to learn about revolutionary technologies, ground-breaking new models, the glorious history of some certain car models and/or their feats in motor sports, or even how different setups of different parts affects performance. Maybe what I know is only a teeny weeny little speck compared to how much there is to learn, but I think it's quite safe to say I know quite a lot more about the automotive sector than my other friends, except for the 5 automotive-inclined ones I mentioned. You dont meet these kinds of people (at least at this age) easily. They arent a dime a dozen like photographers and musicians. Some may say we're a unique batch of people, I think we're simply lacking in numbers. For the most part, people will just slap on a picture of a car they like, say that "they like cars" and elaborate by saying "ooh, this car is nice.... oh, I oso like that car.... eh this car oso is good leh". Way amateurish. I really hope one day to break free from this secluded social enclosure and get to really enjoy my passion with other people.

July 3, 2010

The end of a beginning

How many of you remember this moment in history?

Tun Mahathir Mohamad announcing his retirement from UMNO, Barisan Nasional and role as the 4th Prime Minister of Malaysia. As you can see, he's more than sad to announce his stepping down; and who could blame him? For one, he was Malaysia's longest serving Prime Minister from 16 July 1981 to 31 October 2003, and had contributed immensely to Malaysia's economic and technological growth; thus earning him the title of Bapa Pemodenan (Father of Modernization). His blood, sweat and tears for the country had paid dividends, and any leader who may have left such a mark on Malaysia's development would be just as sad to resign from all his positions.

And today, after a full 5 year membership with PBSM/BSMM ACS Sitiawan, it was my turn to step down from my year's service as president. The journey to the top was nothing short of fulfilling. I remember the very first time I attended PBSM's meeting in Form 1, I had no idea what on earth to wear. I came wearing a casual shirt, short pants and slippers, instead of, say, PJ shirt, track suit and school shoes. Genius, wasn't I? So from then, I met a bunch of friends, learnt all sorts of vital first aid techniques, learnt to work with new people during first aid services, and working with fellow board members in running the show. Of course, this is all normal. We all go through it. But you know, after 5 years of loyally attending meetings, 2 years on the board, 3 years of camping, and numerous first aid services, helping those in need, I came to love BSMM. Sure, overall quality has declined compared to several years ago, but nonetheless I took in everything that BSMM had to offer, even some rough times. And I learnt to appreciate how important, and how noble BSMM is. It was just within this past week it dawned on me that, to have been chosen to lead this important and noble uniform body, was such an honour and privilege. And that I've put in so much effort along with my AJKs to keep BSMM running, if not improving it. But that was what mattered the most - our effort.

I had much inspiration from the past board members, and even my own brother who was the vice president when he was in Form 5. So from them, I took the motivation to be as strict as I could possibly be; no joking around, always with a loud, authoritative voice, sending out the clear message that I was not going to be some push over. And yet, at the same time, carefully managing the society and making sure nothing went awry. Okay, maybe I'm not the best president to have stepped in and take charge, but what is assured is that I've done everything I could and carried out my duty to the best of my abilities, even bringing in new changes. Last year was the first time we had McDonald's food for any occasion. Our annual camp had a complete overhaul (even though it didnt quite receive the response we had hoped). I actually dared to change. Not just monotonously follow obligations and not trying something different. We had put in A LOT to make those changes work. And all that made me realise how much I actually cared for BSMM. I just cant help but feel that way, after joining for 5 years and ending on this note. 

BSMM meant a lot to me. Part of my life has been shaped around BSMM. That's how special it has been. I've truly appreciated every experience I've gained, even if there were some bad ones. But nothing can be perfect right? I might not be having a Mahathir Moment like in the video, but nonetheless bidding farewell to BSMM really saddens me. But the show must go on. This is only the beginning of many more things to come.