Musings, ruminations, thoughts and discussions on life & living, music, religion, politics, love, philosophy, and all other eccentricities of this sort.

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Superslide Trick in Ocarina of Time

A super duper speedrunning trick which you can pull off in The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time. The Tools–Assisted Speedrun (TAS) videos website provides this explanation of it:

Enemy + Interactive Object

Link must first find an enemy that will attack him. We will use the Peahats of Hyrule Field as an example. Surrounding these Peahats are bushes which Link can lift out of the ground. While holding Z and R, make Link roll into the bush while the Peahat is attacking him. Press A to grab the bush as the Peahat’s attack connects with Link just before he stands up. If done properly, Link will block the attack just as he is about to finish the roll (and while he’s still invincible) and that will retain the “picking up” action, and so the speed at which he is knocked back by the attack will remain constant as long as he has his shield raised.

Superslide off a Peahat

Fastest way to get to Gerudo Valley.

Dominant Left Side

This discussion I found on Iain Abernethy’s excellent martial arts forum brought up a seminar by ‘jujutsu man Harold Howard’ detailing that humans present the left side of their bodies as the dominant one due to the right side of the brain controlling aggressiveness.

The chap who posted this up has hyperlinked further information so I’ll check up on that. It certainly gives fresh meaning the Boxing’s ‘Orthodox’ stance!
I once attended a seminar where the instructor
went into a lot of detail about human dominance, aggression, and eye contact.
the ideas presented were based on the notion that the left brain is recognized
as passive, the right brain as controlling aggression. Since the left brain
(passive) controls the RIGHT side of body, the RIGHT side of the body is
'passive' to a degree, and vice verse for the right brain/LEFT side. So in a
nutshell, humans are wired to instinctually present the 'dominant' (left) side
of our bodies forward and make an effort to destroy the aggressive left side of
the defenders face to overcome him.
Since humans often make eye contact through one eye, strong left eye contact
can be perceived to be a threatening danger signal.
Funny thing is, I have experimented with this a little and found it to be true
in most cases where someone is giving you their best "tough guy" look
Fascinating stuff, thanks Mike!


Saturday, 28 April 2007

US & Israel vs Iran = FIGHT!

I saw this following poll on the excellent blog Palestinian Pundit, on whether people believe the U.S. and Israel will attack Iran in the current year (2007). The overwhelming majority (59%) have said yes, though thus far only 371 people have voted.

I voted yes, though I think it may even drag out into next year. But I believe an attack on Iran inevitable.
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Yes 59%220
No 28%105
Not sure 12%46
371 votes total free polls

Friday, 27 April 2007


Up yours, grand–dad!
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Thursday, 26 April 2007

Half–Hour Half–Life

Definitely one of the coolest, awe–inspiring and riveting videos on the web at the moment. Spider–Waffle completes the original Half–Life game in under ½–an–hour using a cunning variety of techniques, scripts, shortcuts and sequence breaking techniques.
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Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Calzaghe’s Boxing Career … Over.

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Calzaghe told career is over by doctor
Super-middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe was given the fright of his life by a
doctor following his easy third round victory over Peter Manfredo in Cardiff
earlier this month.

Boxing’s longest reigning world champion, 35, once
again hurt one of his fists during a WBO title defense and sought medical

But the first doctor Calzaghe consulted informed the unbeaten
Welshman that the damage to his scaphoid bone (in the base of the thumb) was so
severe that he would be forced into retirement.
The article goes on to state that he went for a second opinion (always a wise thing to do in cases such as these), and received news that his fractured scaphoid bone will heal in time for him to fight in September of this year.

It makes me wonder which Dr has the edge in accuracy there…

“Make Spacious His Grave…

…and illuminate it for him.”

extract from a supplication to Allah for the deceased (technically only recited when closing his/her eyes).

Uncle dead. All gone now. Mother’s last remaining brother. Only one in England — others used to live in Pakistan. Family feud. Not seen him or his family in more than 6+ years. Sudden call around midnight today. Sudden? Well, 5 missed calls on my mobile and 4 on the house phone. Uncle remained in hospital since Wednesday the 18th, ill with heart trouble. 70+ years of age. In & out. Seemed recovered on Saturday. Then… gone.

My mother didn’t even know he’d gone to hospital. They hadn’t told her. Mind you, he’d never even told her when his daughter got married. She had to hear it from other people in our local community. When my mother saw his face (he lay on his bed in the hospital after having passed on), she burst into tears again (had cried as I took her and my Dad there by car) and screamed at him (I translate this from Urdu):

“THIS is it? You couldn’t even bring yourself to speak to me for the rest of your life, and now you call me? For … this??”

Today his son Naveed made the funeral arrangements, helped by a friend of his in the know. Islamically we bury the deceased within 3 days, usually within a day. No point hanging around, I suppose. When Naveed’s mate came into the room at the hospital last night and told my aunt that he’d sort the preparations and get my uncled buried the next afternoon she started, suddenly coming out of her bubble. “That soon?” she asked. Poor thing. I don’t like her, but she suffered from cancer these past few years and my uncle took complete care of her — he devoted himself entirely to her to the point he didn’t even leave the house for weeks at a time.

Her daughter, my cousin Sarah, sat there with her trying to convince her that he would never return. “He’s gone, mum!” she kept saying. “He’s not coming back!” My aunt hadn’t cried ‘properly’, apparently, and Sarah wanted her to let it all out so the grieving and healing processes could begin.

Naveed had to remain strong and take care of matters such as the funeral arrangements, as well as comforting the overwhelmingly large proportion of female members of his family. But a couple of times he cried out in grief and then quickly wiped his eyes.

The worst such incident came when we had to bathe my uncle’s body this morning at the mosque, in preparation for his Islamic burial. My cousin, his 2 brothers–in–law, and I lifted the enshrouded body onto the table where we would wash him. When we uncovered him (except for the obligatory covering of men from navel to knee) my cousin Naveed took one look at his Dad’s face and burst into tears. He quickly suppressed his outburst though, and we took to washing him all over. I helped out as best as I could (I even had to clean his genitals), and we included the ritual ablutions, as though preparing him for prayer.

His body felt so heavy, and cold (undoubtedly from his night in the mortuary). His head had gone purple from the ears down — all that blood pooling due to gravity and no heartbeat to circulate it all. Little holes in the table through which the water drained left purple marks all over his back. Marks which did not go away. The solidity of his body when I touched, cleaning him, his arms stiff and crossed over his chest (in Islam we bury people with their arms straight by their side), and remaining that way as we tried in vain to straighten them, all created a weird sort of bond between us. I can’t even get my head around it, let alone attempt to describe it.

After we cleaned him, put him in his coffin for the open casket viewing, we left to ritually purify ourselves before prayer. In situations like these we always have what we called a ‘Janaaza’, a funeral prayer. We do this with the casket in front of us, but we remain standing during the prayer; we do not bow as we do ordinarily when praying to Allah.

They buried him in a cemetary in Almondbury. I even helped to shovel in soil onto him. He has gone for good now. Until the Day of Judgement, so they say…

What now?

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

“Seek To Write Your Way Out Of Everything”

In one Hadith recorded in Mustadrak-e-Haakim, an explicit and clear order
of writing is given. The words are "Tie down knowledge", the Sahaabi enquired,
"What is tying down knowledge?" The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam)
replied, "It's writing." (Mustadrak vol. 1 pg. 106)
From an authentic, recorded tradition of the Prophet. I love the phrase ‘tie down knowledge’ in its sense of anchoring knowledge. That really appeals to someone such as I, who can express himself more eloquently in a written format than face–to–face. Tying down knowledge.

Monday, 23 April 2007

Shahadah from a Jewish Perspective

The Muslim declaration of faith (Shahadah = testimony, and from the same root as ‘shaheed’ which you can roughly translate as ‘martyr’) runs thus: “There is no divinity but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah”. At one time I used to wonder about this — question why we took the name of the Prophet alongside that of God. Why, if we submitted to God, did we have to declare our allegiance to a man chosen by God to spread the word? It felt almost like ‘shirk’ to me (the association of partners with God).

Eventually I came to accept this as the best summation of our religion of Islam. We submitted wholly to Allah in the ‘latest format’ as preached by Muhammad . It suddenly made sense to me. We simply declared our worship of Allah and how it related to the final message delivered to the Seal of the Prophets.

But then I read this today, and some of the old thoughts (…and doubts) came flooding back:

Yiddishe Kopf

History's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 5,048

From this Jewish perspective, the elevation of prophets, and in Islam,
specifically of Muhammed, to a "superhuman" status (sinless, perfect, etc.)--the
elevation of his name to be said adjacent to Allah/G-d in the Muslim's
declaration of faith (i.e. "There is no god but G-d and Muhammed is His
prophet"), the examples of world-riots and deaths through perceived "insult" to
a man, even a revered man of G-d, is "associating partners with G-d",
is "worship", is blasphemous ("shirk"). Regardless of what is
claimed to the contrary, the actions of Muslims define their beliefs (which is
true of all human beings).

Always doubts. My entire life seems plagued with one consistency only: Doubt about everything. Does my entire life, my whole being, my religious feelings, my love for my family, my fiancée, my belief in myself… does all of it centre on an empty void of Doubt? Does everything = Doubt to me?

Boxing & Chess vs Islam = FIGHT!

So it turns out that edicts issued by scholars of my religion, Islam, condemn my twin interests, that of boxing and chess, as ‘haraam’ (forbidden). After long discussion on one particular forum, someone concluded that the Prophet himself condemned any ‘sport’ which involved hitting the face, but endorsed wrestling.

My comments asking for further clarification re: the rules of and reasons behind wrestling have received no response. Almost a week later. Hmmm… (“Things that make you go—”)

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kashf al–Haqq

Originally Posted by Peacenik View Post
True wrestling … does not involve harmful injury to the other party.

Then what does it involve? Getting sweaty and touching other men, lying on top of them? True wrestling involves strikes and submission holds — all of which cause injury to the other party, or at least intended injury in order to force the other party to tap out or end up so beaten they can’t tap out (eg striking them to a point that you can pin them).
It is not the eyes that are blind, but the hearts (22:46)
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Violence of the Lambs

I saw this hilarious trailer on YouTube for a purported horror film from New Zealand called Black Sheep. I can’t tell if this film actually exists, or if someone made a riotously fantastic spoof of horror films in advert forms, but I love it! Were–sheep yet! The mind boggles…
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Sunday, 22 April 2007

Tea, Glorious Tea

My email service conducts regular quizzes, which we can take part in or ignore. Today’s asked if we take any sugar in our cuppas and if so how many. I picked zero: I stopped taking sugar in my tea many years ago. 48% of 1598 who voted do likewise. That makes more than 767 people!

Today's Poll

How many sugars do you take in your tea?
more than 32%
I dont drink tea11%
I do not wish to answer this question2%
Total number responded so far is 1598
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Thursday, 19 April 2007

For All These Times…

I go to see lostprophets and Taking Back Sunday in concert tonight in Manchester. I can’t wait — I adore both of these bands, and get mocked by my Metalhead mates who despise them both. Awesome!

Friday, 13 April 2007



Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Five Factor Personality Test

Why do I insist in completing these things? I don’t even accept most of them as valid! This one, however, seems quite accurate (for me, at any rate)…

Your Five Factor Personality Profile


You have medium extroversion.
You're not the life of the party, but you do show up for the party.
Sometimes you are full of energy and open to new social experiences.
But you also need to hibernate and enjoy your "down time."


You have low conscientiousness.
Impulsive and off the wall, you don't take life too seriously.
Unfortunately, you sometimes end up regretting your snap decisions.
Overall, you tend to lack focus, and it's difficult for you to get important things done.


You have medium agreeableness.
You're generally a friendly and trusting person.
But you also have a healthy dose of cynicism.
You get along well with others, as long as they play fair.


You have high neuroticism.
It's easy for you to feel shaken, worried, or depressed.
You often worry, and your worries prevent you from living life fully.
You tend to be emotionally reactive and moody. Your either flying very high or feeling very low.

Openness to experience:

Your openness to new experiences is high.
In life, you tend to be an early adopter of all new things and ideas.
You'll try almost anything interesting, and you're constantly pushing your own limits.
A great connoisseir of art and beauty, you can find the positive side of almost anything.

Friday, 6 April 2007

“Peacemaker die … I don’t know why”

— Extreme.

So I took another test today. This one claims to gauge my soul’s type. Behold:

You Are a Peacemaker Soul

You strive to please others and compromise any way you can.
War or conflict bothers you, and you would do anything to keep the peace.
You are a good mediator and a true negotiator.
Sometimes you do too much, trying so hard to make people happy.

While you keep the peace, you tend to be secretly judgemental.
You lose respect for people who don’t like to both give and take.
On the flip side, you’ve got a great sense of humour and wit.
You’re always diplomatic and able to give good advice.

Souls you are most compatible with: Warrior Soul, Hunter Soul and Visionary Soul

“Interesting…” (as Christian Bale once said in Equilibrium prior to hurling Brian Conley through a bookcase.) I think these sorts of tests attract me, if well–composed, purely because of the process of thinking about my own self when completing them. Sifting through the sands of my soul in order to extract what I feel pertinent when faced with numerous answers to a question.

Compatible with Warrior and Hunter Souls, eh? Sweet as a moose!

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Arab Headdresses

So… the Arabic, made–for–desert headdress — known as a keffiyah or shemagh — has now turned into a fashion.

I see folks here in England, both men & women, wearing it as displayed above in a scarf style. Cool, but it really feels weird that people have simply taken something used as a barrier against sand & heat and subsumed it into a fashion culture.

I wonder how many of them have any understanding of Arabs whatsoever…

Been Dazed & Confused for so long it’s not true

Work = horrendous.

Feeling dazed & confused, but not over a woman.

Emails piling up with people making ridiculous demands.

No–one else handles delinquency so I have to do it. Today MKash sent me a spreadsheet with all the scum fund loans that needed chasing and guess what? 57 new ones I need to send off to our debt collecting company.

Boss bollocking me for arriving late today, then claiming I have done so consistently every Thursday for the past few months(!). Instantly felt like screaming: “You lying pissing BASTARD! I can see the nads in your mouth because every time you open your gob you spew up an enormous fountain of bollocks!” DIE! And then murder him. Well… you KILL the Boss at the end of the level, don’t you?

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

A Gift for Easter…

And so a Malaysian newspaper has reported that Iran has decided safely to release the 15 British military prisoners it held, accused of straying into Iranian territory, as a gift to Britain for Easter. Read the article here. Great news, I feel!

I never once considered that Iran’s government held any malevolent intent towards them. Their proclamations (no more trustworthy than those of the British and American Governments, I personally believe, cf: Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction) that they did not hold them in exchange for the release of Iranian prisoners, treatment of the prisoners healthwise (in comparison to those at Guantanamo Bay), and suchlike made me believe they would not hurt them.

I cannot comment on the ‘confessions’, except to state that they did seem too … convenient to me. I kept thinking they must have ‘forced’ those confessions out of them in some way.

At any rate, the British media itself engaged in some wild propaganda of its own (something it accused Iran of doing). Referring to arrested personnel as ‘kidnapped’ and ‘hostages’ speaks volumes, especially compared to the coverage and treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay by Poodle Blair’s ally in George Bush’s TWAT (The War Against Terror), namely America.

Monday, 2 April 2007

The Arts & Farces of the Workplace

We had new counters installed at work on Saturday. We had to close (we usually open Saturday mornings), and when I walked in to work today the single counter had extensions to it, and large glass counters replacing the previous unimpeded face–to–face contact we used to share with customers (whom we call ‘members’).

I took a picture of our new look counters and should upload that later when I install Bluetooth software onto my home computer. Alas my previous computer conked out, meaning I have many pictures & songs on there I can’t access; I never made a backup of them because my old computer didn’t have any CD– or DVD–writing capabilities. I realise I never took a picture of our old–style counter, so a pic of the new counter only looks impressive in context… Hmmm.

Other than that we have had numerous problems with our computing software, mainly due to us not taking the time out to iron out all difficulties prior to opening to the public. We should have closed until lunchtime, come in early and fitted all the computers, ensured they worked fine in conjunction with our server, and only then opened to the public — instead of all these farts & arses we’ve now had to endure.

Score: p00 out of 10.

Sunday, 1 April 2007

“Time for everything/Time to reflect on me”

— Aldo Kraas.

I don’t feel in control of my life enough to make this a reality. I don’t feel I can make time to reflect on myself, and things which take place in my life. When I find some respite in order to try and compose a few words regarding my feelings, or simply a description of events, too much time has elapsed and I can’t capture the moment.

Take this weekend. I had a big argument with my Helen, and it seemed to kick off about nothing (always a sure sign of deeply embedded issues & possible resentments), but I couldn’t take stock. As brilliant playwright Peter Handke once wrote: “Write your way out of everything”, but I couldn’t do it. So I had to bury my thoughts, which caused my feelings to take over and send me crazy. Collapsing to the ground, rushing around needing to get away (in the end I bolted and legged it for a tram and train outta there). Not good…

I think I stop keeping diaries for this reason. Too much time passes by, feelings grow stale and eventually it feels pointless to me to continue logging half–arsed attempts at a journal. Pah.

Currently reading: Colonialism/Postcolonialism by Ania Loomba. A well–written introduction to, and account of, colonialism and postcolonialism, their relevance in today’s world, and issues related to these (sexuality, racial divisions, capitalism, globalisation). I’ve only read a few pages, but it does read very clearly.

Alongside this, ‘lighter’ reading I suppose you could call it, I have picked up The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. I’ve never read it before. In fact, I don’t think I’ve even seen any filmic renditions of it — only the cartoon show Dogtanian & The Three Muskehounds as a child. All together now: “One for all and all for one, Muskehounds are always ready…”

I shall post thoughts on these books as I make further headway.

The Out Campaign: Scarlet Letter of Atheism