Greetings and Salutations!

Welcome to the longest-running* yet least-read** blog on the internet! Here you'll find me writing about all the things that I write about, which strikes me, just now, as somewhat recursive. In any case, enjoy :)

* not true ** probably true

Friday, July 29, 2005

Things to do on your last day at work

  • Amble in an hour late. Offer boss a muffin from BreadTalk.
  • Surf.
  • Wander the office chatting with soon-to-be ex coworkers, making sure they are, if not non-productive, at least less productive.
  • Give away all your magazines. They’re too heavy to cart home and you’ll never re-read them anyway.
  • Surf.
  • Grasp the tip of your tongue with thumb and forefinger and say ‘I was born on a pirate ship’ three times.
  • Go to lunch an hour early.
  • ‘Liberate’ office supplies. After all, you were forced to buy your own stapler, staples, paper clips, ruler, scissors and pencil sharpener when you started.
  • Surf.
  • Craft a cheerful, slightly cheeky ‘permanently out of office’ auto-reply email.
  • Erase all emails that haven’t already been forwarded to someone else for follow-up, including the ones you’ve been saving for months ‘just in case’ even though the company has only given you six (six!) megs of memory for your emails, and that after you complained bitterly about having only three (three!) megs.
  • Surf.
  • Slip out the door an hour early, avoiding heartfelt goodbyes, or worse, the lack of them.

  • That’s my plan, and I’m sticking with it.

    Thursday, July 28, 2005

    ants in my pants

    The last couple of days at one job, a new job about to start, quitting smoking, buying a house, about to move—lots of changes coming up. I feel restless, or as my grandmother used to say, antsy. My mind won’t settle on one thing for more than a few minutes.

    Being at work right now, now that I’m pretty much done, is like sitting in the doctor’s office. All the magazines have been read, the tv isn’t showing anything I’m interested in watching, and the only thing to do is listen to the clock tick. Too bad I can’t get away with sleeping. Or playing video games.

    Sure there are things I could do to kill time, but I don’t want to. My mind won’t sit still long enough. Physically, even, I can’t seem to just sit still. I want to be up, about. In short, I want to move on.

    Have cleared my desk of everything except:

    A box of tissue
    A calculator
    A day planner
    A pen
    2 bits of work that will take me maybe a half hour to finish

    My boss just passed by, looked at my cubicle, shook his head.

    Monday, July 25, 2005

    Farewell Drinks, Possibly Free*

    Been down for almost a week with what, back home, would be called ‘Montezuma’s Revenge’ (dysentery, more or less). Note to self: Don’t drink the water in Indonesia. Further note to self: Ice IS frozen water, you moron. Final note to self: did you really think you were going to get a decent iced mocha anyway? Jackass.

    So am now in my final week at work. To celebrate its end, will be grabbing drinks on Friday at Hideout. Those who care to can come and wish me well. Or call me a jackass. There may be free rounds involved.* Also, this will be the last time yours truly will smoke**

    *Terms & Conditions Apply

    Eligibility For MM’s Farewell Drunk Free Round Offer: (Any of the below conditions may qualify you to participate)

    1. You have a pirate name and use it on a regular basis
    2. Your blog, if you have one, does not heavily feature the color pink, or WriTTinG LyKe ThiS
    3. You can answer Texas history trivia, or convincingly fake it

    **More Terms & Conditions Apply

    1. While the goal is to be completely nicotine free within a year, step one is to stop smoking cigarettes
    2. All other forms of nicotine are, in step one, permissible. Pipes, cigars, dip, tobacco brownies, snuff, gum, patch, you name it

    Thursday, July 21, 2005

    some people are just crazy fookers

    I refer to her, when I refer to her in terms that do not have to be censored, as Hurricane Veronica*. She was the worst mistake I ever made.

    The relationship went bad pretty quickly, but not quickly enough, not before we moved in together. I had just started a new job, and was spending 14+ hour days at work getting a new store set up. She was supposedly working as a waitress in a Mexican restaurant. Hell, she could have been outfitting an expedition to scale Mt Everest and I wouldn’t have known. By the time I got home I was exhausted.

    She was not waiting tables. She was stripping. It wasn’t so much that she was stripping that made me break up with her as it was that she had lied. Oh, and that she was sleeping with my best friend. And complete strangers.

    So when I told her it was over – well, you remember Glenn Close in ‘Fatal Attraction’? Let’s just say Michael Douglas had it easy.

    She did lots of vicious things. Filed false police reports. Defaced and destroyed property. Made nuisance calls to my workplace and my friends and family. My personal favorite was when she put ground glass in all my clothes.

    But the worst thing she did was steal and burn everything I had ever written up to that point.

    Years worth of poetry, essays, short stories, starts on novels. All gone. That, more than anything else, absolutely gutted me.

    It took me a long time to recover. First I had to get mad, which took a lot longer than you would suppose. Then I had to decide to get even. Then I had to decide how best to get even. Then I wrote a book.

    So thanks, 'Veronica'. Without you, Thagoth would never have gotten written.

    So XiaXue, Wonkytong, feel gutted for a while. Sometimes when the ground gets razed, what finally grows back is more lush and verdant than ever grew there before.

    *name changed to protect yours truly

    Wednesday, July 20, 2005

    Stick figure tribute post

    Have been extremely ill the last 30+ hours. Chills, fever, aches, unpleasant fluids coming out both ends. Am not up to any deep thoughts.

    Anyway, what follows is a link-fest dealing with, you guessed it, stick figures. It barely scratches the surface. If you know of any good sites, feel free to post a link in the comments field.

    Now I gonna go back to bed...

    Tuesday, July 19, 2005

    So I got to work this morning and there were a couple of emails (thanks Lancerlord, Jaschocolate) informing me that ‘a threat too far..’ had been featured in Digital Life. Being sleep-deprived because of MachineBoy (5 am wakeup call this morning, lucky me!), my first reaction was ‘wuh?’ Then I go and check the paper and sure enough, there it was in all its crude splendor.

    SMSed [redacted] about it. She calls me back in like 2 seconds and says ‘We’re not gonna get sued, are we?’ No,  I don’t think so. NKF is probably not in the suing mood just now. ‘Ok. Uh, congratulations, then!’ Thanks.

    Just one thing, Robin Chan: I’m MercerMachine, not SomethingStickyThisWayComes. That’s the name of this here blog.

    Now I sit back and wait for my book deal/sponsorship offer/column to roll in.

    Monday, July 18, 2005

    The Big 'Yawn'

    So I went to the blogger’s convention. First thing as I came through the door (after buying my tshirt from Barffie, and being too shy to introduce myself), a reporter pounced on me. Asked me this and that. I mumbled some nonsense, I don’t really remember what, and apparently it never made it into the paper anyway, which is just as well.

    The Straits Times called it a yawn. I’m not sure what they expected. SPG to strip, drag expat at large out onto the stage area and molest him? Xiaxue to rip somebody a new asshole? Who knows.

    Bloggers are people who are, by and large, introverts. After the Acid Flask incident, there is also a culture of paranoia in the Singapore blogosphere—and believe me, everybody there was very, very aware that the media was present. Nobody wants to get made a bankrupt. Is it any wonder that the anonymous backchannel was more entertaining than the audience?

    In any case, I wasn’t aware that the convention was organized for the express purpose of amusing SPH reporters. I must have missed that memo.

    But nevermind; in reality Jeremy Au Yong and Shawn Woo did all Singaporean bloggers a favor by calling the 2005 a ‘yawn’. It sends a signal to the public and the government that there’s no funny business going on in the blogosphere. Boring is not dangerous or immoral or lawsuit-worthy. Boring is safe. Boring is something you would encourage your kid to do, considering how many exciting, unsafe, extreme things kids are interested in nowadays. And anyway, imagine, a teenager on a computer and he or she is not blowing anything up or indulging in some virtual gorefest. Just writing.

    So thanks, Jeremy and Shawn. Thanks for not blowing the whistle on all us subversive, free-thinking types. Thanks for the back-handed stamp of approval from the media. You’ve done the Singapore blogosphere a favor.

    Friday, July 15, 2005

    I guess people like stick figures...

    I should draw more often!

    a threat too far...

    Archie Ong, Piragasam Singaravelu, SPH, NKF, Truth, Fear, Davinder Singh, TT Durai, and a whole lotta kidney patients. That's a big cast for a four panel cartoon...

    Thursday, July 14, 2005

    O Captain My Captain

    Of all those who fought for justice and equality over the centuries, of all those who were martyred for their troubles, Abraham Lincoln is the one who is my personal hero. A homely man, a man not much loved by the people until after his death, he saw the United States through its bloodiest conflict. He issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the slaves - not because he had to, but because itwas the just thing to do. And at the end of the Civil War he was murdered for it, his assassin proclaiming him a tyrant.

    I love Gandhi, I love Martin Luther King. I love Nelson Mandela. but I revere Abraham Lincoln because he was not fighting against injustices done to his race, but rather by his race.

    "Slavery is founded in the selfishness of man's nature -- opposition to it in his love of justice."

    The word 'slavery' could easily be swapped for 'racism' or 'prejudice' to make it relevant to the isues we are confronted with today.

    I wish Honest Abe was with us today. In the face of global terrorism and suicide bombers deliberately targeting children and escalating racism and nationalism and religious fundamentalism, we could use such a man to guide America (and by extension, much of the world) through the dangerous waters we find ourselves in. Not just politically or militarily, but morally.

    Instead, we have George Bush.

    Wednesday, July 13, 2005

    Exploring racism, exercise one:

    Comments are of course welcome, but whether you comment or not, think about the questions and explore not only your answers but your reactions to your answers.

    Ok, let’s imagine a race of people. They look similar to us; five fingers and five toes and two eyes and one nose (rhyming not intended, but kinda cute in a sickly way). These imaginary people live 500 years on average, and their average IQ hovers around 300. Both males and females of this race are twice as strong as the strongest living human, and they need to sleep only an hour and a half or so each night. Their facility with language borders on Shakespearean, each and every one. They learn calculus at the age of nine. They learn the principles of art in nursery school, and most of them can create art, be it music or painting or sculpture, that puts the greatest of our artists to shame. They view men and women as absolute equals, and nothing is more precious to them than their offspring.

    Would you say that these hypothetical people are superior to homo sapiens?

    What if I told you these imaginary superbeings were, each and every one of them, criminally insane? Murder isn’t a crime to them; in fact, if you are able to kill someone through stealth or a stand-up fight, you are praised. Mass-murderers are like sports stars to them, and serial murderers are revered artists. What if I told you that the only way these individuals could earn the right to procreate is by raping their chosen mate, male or female as the case may be? What if I said that they saw it as their right and duty to enslave any species that couldn’t fight off their military advances?

    Would you consider them superior to us old homo saps?

    Sunday, July 10, 2005

    A rainy day in the life of a dog owner

    So yeah, it's raining. Like it tends to do, here. Personally I like rain. But you know who doesn't? My dog. As brave as the day is long, willing to take on anyone and anything threatening his family, Angus absolutely hates the rain. As soon as the first drop hits the windowpane, he's on me like white on rice on a paper plate in a snowstorm.

    It's kinda cute, but mostly just pathetic. I mean, take a look at those sorrowful eyes.


    (tragically deformed m&m photo courtesy the museum of food anomalies)

    So I fell asleep on the couch at 8:30 or so, just in time to miss Battlestar Galactica*. Woke up about five hours later with Cookie Monster wedged into the small of my back and a big hard plastic yellow star digging into my temple. My loving family had abandoned me to my fate and gone off to bed.

    Stumbled around the house aimlessly, blinking and scratching. What to do? Surf the net. And so I
    stumbled upon The Dumb Network. Specifically, the top 25 dumb laws. Here is a selection for your delectation:

    • It is legal for a male to have sex with an animal as long as it does not exceed 40 lbs. Location: United States, West Virginia (okay, first, wtf? second, why under 40 lbs? third, i know it's west virginia and all, but wtf? fourth, wait, you said LEGAL, didn't you. As in, like, legal, as in not illegal? *shudder* Fifth, why is it legal for males and not females?)
    • You can't drag a dead horse down Yonge Street on a Sunday. Location: Canada, Ontario, Toronto (so do your dead horse dragging on saturdays like god intended)
    • Persons classified as "ugly" may not walk down any street. Location: United States, California, San Francisco
    • Idiots may not vote. Location: United States, New Mexico (actually, this is not a dumb law, just an unenforceable one. Sadly.)
    • You may not have more than two dildos in a house. Location: United States, Arizona (one would hope that two would be enough. perhaps the law should have stated no more than two per occupant, though. must consider hygiene issues)
    • It is considered an offense to shower naked. Location: United States, Florida (and you thought Singapore was prim and proper, not letting you walk around your house naked.)

    In other news, do people who park like idiots piss you off? Well, I'm not saying you should order these bumper stickers and attach them to poorly parked cars. But it sure would be funny.

    Here's one of the funniest rants I've read in a long, long while. And christ i want to know where to buy this pacifier for MachineBoy!

    Finally, I have found my new calling. For those who were worried about what MercerMachine would do after his notice at work was over, fear not. I've decided to open a franchise!

    *actually, battlestar galactica is tonight. the tv gods are merciful!

    Friday, July 08, 2005

    London Underground Bombing

    Of waste and again of waste, and of the waste of wasting, o void, o desolation:

    ...of the vessel shattered and the vessel cast away, o oblivion.

    -Hayden Carruth

    Yeah, they struck a great blow against the oppressors, those heroes of the faith; secretaries and middle managers, shop keepers and telephone repairmen and pizza delivery guys all wiped out in an instant. God will surely favor them; for now the world is one step closer to... to what, exactly? Sorry, I forgot. To the endy of tyranny. Which tyranny again? The tyranny of the decadent West, right, I forgot. The tyranny that can only be ended by blowing up hairstylists and accounts receivables clerks, those architects of oppression.

    Body by body the world is being made into a place that God is sure to favor, right? And those who have wrought the great change in the blood and flesh of children and grandmothers and nannies and nurses and graphic designers and shoe salesmen, they are certain to sit at the right hand of God on Judgment Day, right?


    Monday, July 04, 2005

    The 4th of July: Why?

    So it's the 4th, and I am not watching fireworks or cooking meat or having a celebratory drink.

    For those not in the know, July 4th was the date that the Second Continental Congress ratified the final version of the Declaration of Independence, thus ensuring Great Britain would bring a shitstorm of blood and violence to American shores.

    Rather than go on about my own memories of July 4ths past, I thought I would set down the actual text of the Declaration. Boring? Maybe. But in 1776 it was positively riveting stuff. And the tremors of its creation can still be felt today, all across the world.

    The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies

    In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

    The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

    When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

    Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

    But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

    Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

    He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

    He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained, and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

    He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

    He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

    He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

    He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

    He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

    He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

    He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

    He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

    He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies, without the consent of our legislatures.
    He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

    He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

    For protecting them by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

    For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

    For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

    For depriving us in many cases of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

    For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

    For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

    For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

    For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

    He has abdicated Government here by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

    He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

    He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

    He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

    He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

    In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms. Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

    Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren.

    We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us.

    We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here.

    We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence.

    They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

    We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare.

    That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown,

    and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is and ought to be totally dissolved;

    and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce,

    and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.

    And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.


    My New Favorite Word

    (Lifted from a rough draft of a FAQ I was recently editing. No, I didn’t come up with the word myself. I’m just not that cool.)

    “Q: What happens to my unused loyalty points when my membership expires?

    A: Upon expiry of the membership, a member has one month from date
    of membership expiry to fully utilise the remaining points. After which, all the
    unused points will be automatically zerolised. (emphasis mine)”

    I cannot adequately express how much I love this new word. From now on, milk is not expired, it is zerolised. Ditto any vouchers/coupons/etc. In fact, let’s do away with boring words like ‘divorced’ or ‘terminated’ or ‘retrenched’.

    “How’s the wife, Frank?”
    “Oh, didn’t you hear? She zerolised me three months ago.”
    “Gee, that’s tough.”

    In fact, on my tombstone I don’t want boring born and died dates. Instead, I want “Utilized” and “Zerolised”.

    God, this word rocks.

    Sunday, July 03, 2005

    The Wee-hours edition of SomethingSticky

    Have been incredibly busy due to work, and when I get home must pay attention to fambly not laptop, so SomethingStickyhas been sorely neglected. Still have a couple of interviews to give, expat at large passed me a literary baton, jaschocolate passed me a movie baton, and there are literaly dozens of people/issues/situations I haven't had time to properly mock. Sigh.

    In other news, I've handed in my resignation. MrWang and Rana have cautioned me about blogging work-related issues, and I thank them for their concern and wise words, and will leave it at this: I feel as though a great weight has been lifted from my shoulders, whatever the future holds.

    I stopped by the hideout after work one night (don't remember which anymore. wednesay?) to listen to daryl dj for a bit. Tres cool. While there saw like five of the guys from eye for a guy 2. Tres weird. the one guy with the pony tail has since gotten a nice harcut, looks much better. Everyone else looked the same. the short funny guy (harold?) asked the dj before daryl, Jon, who did a particualr song. It was the Ramones. I thought everybody knew the Ramones. So anyway, yeah, that's my eye for a guy story.

    Today we went looking at houses, as our lease is coming up soonish. Went to joo chiat. I never knew there were so many hookers outside of geylang. But lots and lots of cool places to eat. It's like the EDB or URA or whomever said 'all KTV lounges must be within stumbling distance of decent food'.

    Actually, to show you how oblivious I was, [redacted] had to point out to me that the hookers were in fact hookers. I hadn't really thought about why there were numbers of women wearing skimpy, revealing evening clothes in the early afternoon. I was too busy lugging MachineBoy around on my shoulder, as it was just too hot to keep him in the pram. They certainly weren't giving me the eye, as man with baby walking down street would be a hard sell, no matter how good you might be. After I saw the fourth Hotel 81 in a 2km walk, though, any doubts I had were pretty much dispelled.

    Managed to take a look in the Today paper. Apparently my arch-nemesis Neil Humphreys has received some nasty emails from people calling him a pervert ang mo and telling him to leave his degenerate western moral values where they belong. The reason? A satirical article he wrote suggesting Singapore should build a nudist retreat to boost tourism. Never mind, Neil, they didn't get it when I called for your death, either. There's just no pleasing some people.

    Well, it's lidat, loh. Now go get some sleep.