You, Robot.

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Oh dear robot,
You don’t need to always be on top.
Never committing to anything,
Never trusting, never choosing.

Oh dear robot,
You don’t need to always be at fault.
Guess you won’t be making many memories.
Suffer you won’t, rebel you can’t.

Oh dear robot!
Oh dear, robot.

While riding on a bus, homeward bound, I overheard a conversation. A couple who, judging by their strained, give-and-take intimacy, probably just got together, were chatting about issues that tended to polarise the public. I had my own opinions and was quickly absorbed by what each of them had to say.

By means of a strained ear and little-used peripheral vision, I observed the conversation. While their agreement with each other was polite and conversationally functional, the points they made were muddled at best and contradictory at worst. Disagreement and assertion of individual choice was non-existent. The discussion was as intellectually fruitless as it was relationally lubricating. Nonetheless, they seemed to be having a good time, not letting the content get in the way of context. How long could they keep this up? Are they, between them, tossing about a ticking time bomb? I wondered a little, and then decided that perhaps sometimes content really does not matter.

I don’t usually write poems but the words just came and went, and so I kept up. This was what became of them.

Pretty Words for Pretty Things

Motojirō Kajii exclaims in his story ‘Under the Cherry Trees’ (1928):
Dead bodies are buried under the sakura! You have to believe it. Otherwise, you couldn’t possibly explain the beauty of the sakura blossoms. I was restless, lately, because I couldn’t believe in this beauty. But I have now finally understood: dead bodies are buried under the cherry trees.

Now more than ever, I want to visit Japan and fit straight into the gawking tourist stereotype.

Your Right, but is it Right?

I hear this more often than I’d like: “I have the right to…”

Yes, you probably have the right to whatever it is you claim to have the right to do, but it does not mean you get to do it without any consequences.

Having a right to something does not mean it is the good thing to do. Do you have the right to listen to your music with your phone speakers turned up on public transport? Yes. Is it the good thing to do? Most commuters will be quick to say no. Are they entitled to express their disagreement? Sure, but few of us exercise that right, because the consequences may include verbal, or worse, physical violence.

More people need to understand the difference.

Or perhaps we just need to be kinder to one another.

“Do unto others 20% better than you would expect them to do unto you, to correct for subjective error.”
- Dr. Linus Pauling

Three Years

He watches as someone else’s daughter, barely old enough for primary school, jump happily while telling her mother “Mummy, mummy! Daddy’s back!” Mummy smiled, both at her daughter and at the prospect of Daddy perhaps staying put for a bit.

He had no such reception. Too tired for dinner but to early for bed, Lin missed his family – the one he left behind three years ago to search for a better life. Pity.

Revisit past 007s with Craig’s Bond

Daniel Craig: 'best bond' according to seven time James Bond Roger Moore

Daniel Craig: ‘best bond’ according to seven time James Bond Sir Roger Moore

Well here’s an idea that popped into my head while watching the opening credits of Skyfall.

I will revisit Ian Fleming‘s older James Bond novels with Daniel Craig’s brand of Bond. Edgier than Brosnan and a lot less English than Connery, Craig has added a certain something to the good’ol kiss-kiss-bang-bang formula that has become slightly aged and predictable.

We’ll see how that works out. On the outset, I can see the novels changing flavour just because the protagonist is played with so much more vulnerability and careless suave. Less Austen, more Hemingway.

Fancy a Font Flowchart?

Working on a project? Procrastinating and fiddling with font and typefaces? Don’t know what font to settle on?

Here’s a flowchart I came across on the web that will help you narrow down your choices. All credit goes to Inspiration Lab. It has recommendations for all kinds of flavours of text. Screen display, books, or logo design, this flowchart has got something for you.

The website itself has many interesting posts as well, especially if you are into design/communications.

While I would disagree with some of the recommendations, most of them are pretty safe for the specified purposes. Nothing truly novel, but all reliable, workhorse type fonts.

Font and Typeface Flowchart

The Amazing Olympians

Some rights reserved by Alexandre Moreau | Photography from Flickr.com

Usain Bolt, king of the sprint once again in London 2012. Some rights reserved by Alexandre Moreau | Photography from Flickr.com

So I guess that’s all the synchronised swimming, fencing and pole-vaulting I’ll be watching for the next four years or so. The Olympics are about the only time these sports, among others, get the kind of coverage they get in the past weeks. We learnt a few things we forgot from four years ago. New rules in some sports, the same old judging biases in others. Many of the “traditionally strong” teams have performed traditionally. Few big upsets this year.

Sure there are hard feelings in many events, to believe otherwise would be naive. And yet, can we blame the athletes? For many of them it is one of maybe two or three times they get to compete with the best across the globe. Of course there will be tantrums when a call is thought to be unfair.

That being said, the atheletism and sportsmanship displayed at the games never fail to enthrall. The sheer power on display at weightlifting events, the split-second finesse in fencing and the grace displayed from the diving board, those displays remind me of the kinds of limits people with steeled will can break.

Well, that’s that for now. Onwards to World Cup 2014 and the next Summer Olympics in 2016! The closing ceremony was one great sing-along too, if you haven’t seen it.

Curiosity Beams Hi-Res Photographs Back to Earth

It has had it’s fair share of media coverage, but I think this deserves attention. While the initial pictures that were sent back to Earth by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover were grainy and typical of previous rovers’ pictures, Curiosity has now beamed back some high resolution snapshots of the red planet’s landscape. It is barren, and yet strangely familiar. Definitely worth a look!

Here’s the link to The Verge’s Gallery