Hot, Sweaty Men

on Tuesday, March 30, 2010

There are three posts in one.

Post No:1 Sensational Blogging

The Lone Grey Squirrel has succumbed to blatant sensationalism to attract more readers by pandering to the blogging demographics (overwhelmingly women) and has basically resorted to give them what they want.............HOT, SWEATY MEN.

It is a pity that cute, furry squirrels have not proved to be sufficient.

Anyway, all these pictures and the short video at the end were taken by the Lone Grey Squirrel for your viewing pleasure, ladies. The are all about a performance during an Earth Hour Event at a mall last Saturday night.

Post No: 2 Sensational Nature Documentaries

There were about 300 people gathered at this shopping mall open air atrium to observe Earth Hour. I am sure most of you know about Earth Hour but in case you don't , this event encourages people and cities around the world to switch off the lights for one hour. Switching off the lights for one hour barely makes a dent in our annual consumption of energy but the idea is to just raise awareness about the problem of climate change and our need to reduce our personal impact on the environment including our energy consumption. If those 300 people at the mall then just change their lifestyles to stop wasting energy and manage to reduce their energy consumption by even 10%, then that is what will make the difference that counts.

However, my thoughts drifted to the fact that the organisers had to organise a didgeridoo player, two clowns, one fire-eater, a whole troupe of hot sweaty men, a drum act, a band, two Malaysian celebrity singers and a choir from a children's home to get people to come for the event. They were all great but if we didn't have any of that, would the people have come just to sit in the darkness for one hour?

So regrettably, I note that people today need to be given eye and ear candy. It is not good enough just to support a good cause. The cause needs to also be entertaining.

I notice it is even true of once astute institutions like National Geographic or Discovery Channel. I grew up with nature and wildlife documentaries that introduced their viewers to the beauty of nature and animals while teaching a good respect for all things wild and promoting the common sense of keeping one's distance for the mutual benefit of wildlife and human viewer. Today, it is different. There seems to be a proliferation of documentaries that take great pride on how close the presenter can get to a snake or a crocodile without getting bitten.

In one recent documentary, the presenter takes a walk in a coastal forest at night and tells the viewers that the forest is a particularly dangerous place to be at night and that you would be foolish to come there at night.............and there he is walking there at night.

I did have a chance to talk to a film producer about this once and he said that the reality is that today, channels like Discovery, see their rivals as channels like HBO. In other words, documentaries are about entertainment first and education a distant second.

This is sad. We really have to draw the line somewhere and in my opinion, documentaries must first be about education.

Post No: 3 Sensational World
If you have made it down to this final post past all the sensational hot sweaty men, thank you. I have only one thing to say, "We do have a sensational world, let's keep it that way. Let us change our wasteful and selfish ways for Mother Earth."

Castaway's Choices

on Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hi guys and gals. I am just about ready to reveal my castaway's booty but first, I must thank you all for your interesting Desert Island Discs selections so far. As I said in the last post, you can chose 8 pieces of music (records or CDs), one book and one luxury item to take with you into exile on a desert island.

Mark and Jo have a strong preference for classical music to help them while their time on their tropical prison. Squirrelmama liked both classical as well as opera singing by the likes of Andre Bocelli. Geewits was the most eclectic and probably most similar to my own choices; but I also was introduced to a couple of musicians that I hadn't known, Leon Russel (Mark's choice) and Gato Barbeiri (Squirrelmama's choice).

Amongst the luxury items, the ladies opted for various skin care products and lip balm. Mark, always the rascal and pushing the limits of the rules, chose a yacht which is a very liberating luxury indeed.

Coming now to books, I liked all the choices. Moby Dick (Mark) and The Count of Monte Cristo (Geewits) seem like most appropriate choices given the circumstances but Jo's "Complete works of Somerset Maugham" hits close to home as some of his stories are based in and around Malaysia. Mago, on the other hand, wants to take eight books instead of eight pieces of music.

Okay, here goes. Drum roll please. Here's Lone Grey Squirrel's all alone on an island choices;

1. & 2. Classical music cause it is so uplifting and for watching the sunrise or sunset. One
would have to be the entire suite of the Planets by Holst and the other a compilation
of the
other great composers like Mozart, Beethoven etc.
3. Songs of Worship to praise God and to feed the spirit.
4. Billy Joel's Greatest Hits cause I love the Piano-man.
5. I need my jazz and I choose the uncomparable Ella Fitzgerald.
6. Showtunes and musicals. Either a compilation or the very first love, West Side Story.
7. When the stars come out and I need to party.....Black Eyed Peas.
8. I need the Celtic Touch. I choose The Chieftains.

Once I spent a lot of time alone at a forest research centre and it had one book. I remember that it kept me company for many nights with not one tale but with many; reading one a night like a modern story of Arabian Nights. So I choose this well tested and proven companion; the complete Short Stories of O Henry.

Why, it has to be a computer with internet excess so that I can continue to visit your blogs. What else could it be?

Castaway's Junk

on Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Our friend, Cedarflame, has been forced to be a refugee of sorts when her apartment was water damaged. She had to move her stuff into another apartment and live elsewhere while they repaired her damaged apartment. In the post, she discusses a little about all the stuff that she has collected over the years.

I got to wondering about the things that we collect, do they help define us? Are they physical representations of our inner selves? Yes, squirrels can be come pensive and philosophical sometimes when the winter drags too %@#$ long.

Anyway, this brought to mind a BBC radio program called "Desert Island Discs". This radio program is still on but was first broadcast in 1942 and is recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the longest running musical program in the history of radio. The premise behind Desert Island Discs was to interview a famous guest and to have them imagine that they were about to be castaway and exiled on a desert island. They were told that they could bring 8 pieces of music (originally gramaphone records), one book (other than the bible and the complete works of Shakesphere which were already provided on the island) and one luxury item.

Some episodes of this program are now available as podcasts.

So what might your answer be. Let's play Desert Island Discs. 8 musical pieces or songs, one book and one luxury item. Perhaps we could modernise this to 8 CDs, that would still be desert island discs.

I have to give this one a thought myself and will give my answers in the next post.

Small Minded

on Saturday, March 20, 2010

Although I have been working in the area of nature conservation for the last 15 years, I was originally trained as a biochemist and later did my doctorate in microbiology. In retrospect, my doctorate has not been very useful to me. It doesn't get me discounts at cinemas or restaurants, for example.

It also gets me no respect. When I tell people that I have a doctorate in microbiology, they usually respond by saying, "Oh, so you're not a REAL doctor then". Then, there is usually a short pause before they ask, "So what is a microbiologist anyway?"

I like to tell people that a microbiologist is someone who knows a lot about very little. Yes, I think that is a good definition. Anyway, as a service to young readers who may be trying to decide what to study at university or even for older readers seeking a career change, I have compiled the top ten reasons for doing microbiology. I hope this will help you.


1. Microbiologist practice safe sex - we always wear protection and use sterile technique.
2. We know how to give you fever.
3. Self-diagnosis saves time at at the doctor's office.
4. We are really good at streaking.
5. We are used to different and diverse cultures.
6. Wanted to study to be a doctor but also wanted to party.
7. We know how to make small things look BIG.
8. The laboratory equipment can be used to make beer.
9. Get mistaken as doctors when wearing cute lab coats.
10. If we are really lucky, they will name a dreadful disease after us.

Shooting Star

on Monday, March 15, 2010

You blazed across my darkness
like a shooting star in space
And lit up all my emptiness
And filled me with your grace

Then all at once my world was light
So brilliant and amazing
The world was filled with colours bright
And with every shade and feeling.

And suddenly life overwhelmed me
With the richness of its tapestry
And things that I might have once ignored
Now are the very things that I thirst for
Like being on a long sojourn
Finding treasures at every turn

But in the presence of a blazing light
A shadow will be surely cast
An ugliness on this side of white
That had been hidden in the past

Though I now look upon darkened skies
I remember what I had seen
I had glimpsed life beyond the lies
And cannot return to what has been.

So though O star long extinguished
It is you I thank and want to say
My heart once imprisoned and languished
More freely beats in joy each day.

Marching in March

on Tuesday, March 09, 2010

This post should probably have come out soon after the new year as the ceremony took place on the 1st of January (which is actually a little inconsiderate for those friends who had wanted to see in the new year by getting sloshed till the wee hours of the new year. Nevertheless, this couple chose to get married on the 01/01/10.

I procrastinated about posting on this until this month cause this is the month of March; the month of the mad March Hare and in the words of the Neil Sedaka song, "the month to march you down the aisle". In Malay, March is spelled "Mac". So on that flimsy excuse, I thought I would also showcase what fun my new Mac is by creating a short video. As a bonus to the curious, you get to hear the voice of yours truly narrating the video.

This video is of a Sikh or Punjabi wedding. Punjabis are actually an ethnic group originating from the Punjab area of India. Sikhs refer really to followers of the Sikhism or the Sikh religion. Most Sikhs are Punjabis. In Malaysia, the Punjabis have a reputation that they earned since the colonial period under the British, of being brave and trustworthy and had traditional careers in security and police.

A Fallen Light

on Friday, March 05, 2010

Taman Negara (LGS)

Oh Ancient Mother, who watches over our very heart beats,
See, O see your children's desperate plight
Our forest had grown dark, the light fails and retreats,
It seems like life itself had taken flight.
The land was bleeding earth into brown choked rivulets,

Oh Ancinet Guardian, protector of all living things
Hear, o hear your people's despairing cries,
The land ails and fails to provide as once it did,
The water, the air poisoned with lies
Our bellys are empty and our children beyond comforting.

Oh Ancient of Ancients, who dwells in all we know,
Feel, O feel your spirits dire impotence,
As spirits of steel and smoke surround and grow
And care not for keeping the natural balance
Our familiars, our guides are silent and cold.

Oh Ancient One, our hope as in the rising morn,
From amongst us you arose a special son,
Your child, my child and our hope and light reborn
Born to stand in the gap of dreams and reason
To lead our people back from past beyond

Oh Ancient One, joy again brightened our face,
Aha! Aha! Aha! The sweet melody rings,
No longer do we sell the future of our race
To fill bellys and for forgetfulness drinks
With heads held high facing newly bright days

O Mother of Mothers, who comforts and dries tears,
Know that our hearts, briefly warmed have grown cold.
For the light flickered and fell before his years,
He bore his people's hopes, the boy who was old,
O Mother of Mothers, comfort him and dry his tears.

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