Patch for the human OS

Recently, we went to the paediatrician to give Chloe her shots. I was pretty blown away by how much we have advanced as a human race since I last got my compulsory shots.

Nowadays, they have super 6-in-1’s or 9-in-1’s that is able to immunize baby from Hepatitis to Hong Kong Feet (okay, maybe not but but they should for our olfactory challenged friends).

Seeing all this advancements reminded me of the times when I upgrade the operating systems of the computers that I own.

Microsoft and Apple will always advertise (as you are installing their Operating Systems) that you are installing one of the most advance piece of software that money can buy. After spending 40-60 minutes waiting and seeing the status bar trudging along slowly from 0 to 100%, the machine will herald triumphantly that it is ready to boot using the new Operating System.

Upon first boot, one will then be confronted by windows popping up asking for you to download gigabytes of updates, service packs & patches because the most advance software that money can buy just got outdated from the time it left the store to your house.

Which is very similar to the human race today.

Babies are born to be as perfect as our last benefetial genetic mutation. However, between the time from that mutation to now, there are viruses that can cause a great deal of harm if the body is not “patched” to fight those viruses.

Looking at the schedule of shots that they have today, I would think that newborns will have a pretty traumatic & painful childhood. I’m just gald that babies don’t come with accessories like camera or scanners.

Patching the device drivers for those suckers is hell.

Another baby post…

Being a new parent is like being on perpetual standby: you are never going to prioritize anything above the welfare of your baby.

Take for example my favourite hobbies. Assuming if I can find time first to indulge in them, my enjoyment of watching a DVD is contingent upon Chloe not crying during the duration of the movie. When Chloe cries, it doesn’t matter if Liam Neeson is in the middle of saving his daughter while single-handedly taking down the human trafficking gang in Taken, the movie stops and Chloe gets full attention.

The same goes for books and magazines, which have reverted to be nothing more than loose reading materials akin to those in doctor’s waiting lounges. They are there for you to pass the time before you have to attend to something more important like your baby’s cries.

The attention required by a baby is just tremendous.

Being so helpless, they rely on able-bodied adults to do their biddings. The weapons at their disposable are their ear piercing cries and their disarmingly cute face. And both in combination, when used in varying proportions, always induce a fully-grown adult to revert to a drone bent on fulfilling baby’s desires.

After 2 years of servitude to baby’s wishes and demands, I am going to do something different: payback time. Yes, I’m going to secretly train Chloe on how to clean the floor, the house, the TV console, defragment my computer, queue my favourite TV program in my bittorrent software, perform systems maintenance upkeep, wash the car and make morning coffee. And in the name of parenthood, I am going to draw up a schedule where she is supposed to do these “chores” so that she could improve on her “hand-eye coordination”. Hehehe…maybe it’s time to have an army of kids 🙂

House Renovation

At the end of 2007 and in search of a new home, we looked around from Taman Tun Dr. Ismail to the myriads of new and confusingly named Damansaras but somehow Lake Fields always had a spot in our hearts due to its contemporary design and finishing. At that time, the realtor had 2 units from us to choose from: a Feng Shui friendly one (which had the entrance to the powder room sealed and hence not facing the main door) and another one which didn’t. In the end, Feng Shui played no part in our decision and we chose the one that was nearer to the guard house and the water tower. We figured then that the clear unblocked path from the main door to the powder room would work out well in cases of emergencies that couldn’t wait. 

Flash forward to roughly 7 months ago, which is the amount of time required to “complete” a purchase of the property (which warrants another rant), we appointed a contractor to perform some renovation work on the house for us. Perhaps “some” is relative as the work turned out to be quite major indeed. In addition to sealing the powder room entrance (after reassuring ourselves that the odds of the sort of emergencies that would actually occur in which such a configuration would serve to be beneficial is quite infinitesimal), we decided to include a show piece in the house.

One idea that immediately struck us was that our new place has a double volume living area. This would look very nice if the house that we got was a corner unit like below:-

But unfortunately, we got a non-corner unit so it unexcitingly looked like this:-

Which wasn’t too bad but we wanted to explore what we could do with all the space. That was when the thought of building a loft came to us. The more we thought about it, the more we fell in love with the concept of having a loft overlooking the living room. To build the loft, our contractor first built the structure of the platform with wood (as a mold for the concrete) and reinforced the stucture with intenal steel wireframes.

Next, they poured the first layer of concrete onto the structure. The holes in the walkway are for the downlights below. The white pipes contained electrical wirings.

Once the initial layer is set, another layer is added on top to even up the surface.

The whole concrete structure was allowed to dry. (I resisted the temptation to run into the area to jump up and down).

And penultimately, they’ve added the railings recently which made it safe(r) for me to climb over there to perform my jump tests. I did and the new loft was strong enough to withstand my jumps.

The whole process of building the loft took place over the span of 4 months. The final step will be to add in the wood railing and the timber floor which will take up another 4 to 6 weeks.

Hopefully, we will be able to move into the new place before June this year (fingers crossed so very tight!)

Shoot the Dog or the Messenger?

An office colleague of mine recently sent an e-mail soliciting signatures to stop Guillermo Vargas, a Costa Rican artist from repeating an installation that he did in 2007 of a starving dog. The event was scantly reported in the local press but it seems the installation involved tying a dog up in a corner of the art gallery and allowing it to starve to death by withholding food and water.

Starving Dog 1

 Starving Dog 2

On first reading of the e-mail, I was outraged. But I did a little digging.

Peta and other reports on the web indicated that the event could be a stunt and the dog was actually fed daily and released quietly at the end of the installation.

The the artist said that the “art” was performed to show the hypocrisy of people. We treat abandon animals no better and yet we get outraged when one of them is displayed on the stage for all to see. We see his act as an abuse of the animal but yet we are no better when it comes to the treatment of strays when we see them loitering near our houses. Neither do we shed any tears when they are carted off by the city councils and shot.

I brought this to my colleague and she was angry with the artist. She sees the artist as being inhumane, exploitative and inconsiderate. I don’t blame her and the multitudes who signed the protest petition as I believe that everyone can take out different messages from an “art”, especially those that are meant to provoke.

I do not know whether the artist truly planned it that way but it did raise my consciousness towards our hypocrisy towards issues bigger than just stray dogs. If the BBC has not highlighted the plight of the unknown war in Congo that has killed more people than World War II, will the world care about it? Or are we so fixated on the global war on terror not because it has killed more people but because it is more shocking and received more airtime coverage?

 Has art evolved to a point in our modern world that artists have to resort to shock art to get their messages across? Is this an example of the relativist nature of art?