Sensory Stones - Part I

Once there was a man who simply would not die for good. He would roam around looking for answers and find himself killed, by accident or deliberately. Then he would simply wake up again on a slab in some morgue forgetting everything there is in this world, including himself. But most of all, he always wondered what made him immortal in the first place.

He did not know what previous incarnations have done and how closer they are to the truth. Sometimes he stumbled upon the kindness of his previous self, and sometimes he discovered the horrible deeds his cruel self had done. Nevertheless, he made it his personal quest to find the truth.

One day he came upon the Public Sensorium while exploring the city he always find himself awake in. The Sensorium held 'sensory stones' - magical stones which held specific feelings and experiences of those willing to share them for visitors of the Sensorium to experience. These stones appeared like normal rocks, apart from the familiar glow they emit, and they are set on waist-high pedestals.

The man approached on the stones. They title card on the pedestal read: 'mind-numbing tedium'. He placed his hand on the surface of the stone and closed his eyes.

The experience couldn't be more than a few minutes long, but hours seemed to pass... a long, boring lecture in the driest, dustiest hall in the University of Chalm. I looked about the vast hall, hoping to catch someone's eye to pull a face at - but the other students were either asleep or staring listlessly into space. I dropped my quill pen, picked it up, and dropped again... just for something to do. I considered stabbing myself in the eye with it, just to see if my sense hadn't been wholly numbed by the incredible boredom...

Perhaps there was some benefit in not remembering, an immortal's years must include long stretches of tedium.

The man touched the experience 'bitter loathing'.

Venomous tears of pain brimming in my narrow yellow eyes, I gathered the tattered remains of my small, scaled, red wings off the floor. I humbly backed out of Groba's studyy, gritting my needle-like teeth beneath sealed lips.

Sure, I was only a spinagon - least among devils - but that was no cause for Groba to tear my wings off because he didn't like the message I had brought him! What would my master do, now? He certainly couldn't say anything to Groba, and what use was a spinagon without its wings? I would probably get cast into the Pit of Flame for "incompetence"!

Vengeance out of the question, there was little to do but shake my clawed fist and hate, hate, hate Groba with all the loathing my hard little black devil's heart could muster...

Besides the many the immortal man had killed in his lives, there must have been others, the friends and lovers of those he killed, anyone who stood in his way, who had loathed him.

The experience 'pure glee'.

Dancing and leaping about in a rhythm with the wood elves' bouncing festival music, I and a dozen other dancers spun through the forest clearing like a whirling dervish, smiling and laughing like mad. As the cheering forest dwellers whooped, clapped and danced alongside me, fairies careened through the air above our heads, leaving sparkling trails of coloured light...

The man was in a rare good mood for some minutes after this experience.

The experience 'consuming impatience'.

I stood debating with Amnas the Horribly Slow, who is the keeper of the Lion Key, as to whether or not my quest was important enough for him to relinquish the key into my care. The whole experience was an exercise in sheer torment... each and every one of his words was followed by a significant pause; each and every point he made was reiterated time and again before he let me speak. I presented an argument... then waited, and waited, and waited while he made his counterpoint. To which I shot out a snappy counterpoint of my own... then must wait yet again for another of Amnas's drawling, meandering, seemingly endless counterpoint. It was everything I could do not to simply lop his head off and snatch the key from his corpse...

This reminded the man of his frustration at not being able to read the language in which the journal he found was written.

The experience 'horrible regret'.

I stood on the deck of my flagship, the Divine Hammer, as it floated over the continent of Agarheim, held aloft by the winds. The very landscape roiled and shuddered beneath the bombardment of my fleet, one thousand ships' cannons and bombards hurling their sorcerous fire down like vengeful beings. The shockwaves had begun to hit my ship only minutes ago - a constant vibration that sent shudders through the whole of the ancient craft and moved my very bones - accompanied by a constant, rumbling bass. As the land's mountains began to sink and the seas that surrounded it began to boil off  into the atmosphere, my first officer came to stand beside me.

"My Lord Admiral... permission to speak freely, sir."

I nodded my acquiescence, my stomach sinking as I guessed at his question.

"My lord... forgive me, but how? What gives us the right? A billion lives..."

I spoke without turning to him, unable to take my eyes off Rhumos, the nation's vast capital city, as it vapourised into a cloud of super-heated gasses twelve miles across and growing ever-wider. "If you only knew the full treachery of the Agarites, First Officer Felm, one which is beyond most any man's comprehension... then you would know. You would speak of our right to annihilate them? We've no right to let them live."

"But... sir? Traitors, all of them? Surely, among the hundreds of thousands. How many innocents--"

"Silence! Speak of it no more - our king has spoken, His will be done. The task set to us is a horrible one, not fit for contemplation or questioning. There is no room for pity, no room for remorse - only duty."

The two of us stood silently for a time, watching the last minutes of Agarheim. At long last I sighed... a low, stuttering exhalation that sounded as if something had broken inside me. Beneath the brazen plate that covered the ruined half of my face, my dead eye began to weep...

"Falm... my friend... I would have you understand. I know now, as I look down at what I have wrought here, that were I to think upon what I have done... what I have truly done... I would be struck mad. A deed such as this... the anguish would overwhelm, destroy me. So, First Officer Falm, it must be that there are no innocents in Agarheim... no mothers, no children, no people. Only traitors. Vile, cunning traitors, who deserve no less than the full brunt of our King's wrath. Do you understand this?"

"Y-yes, m'lord."

"Good. Now go... I wish to be alone, here."

"By your command, Lord Admiral." Falm bowed his head and returned below deck, leaving me to stand over the end of a civilisation.

The fact that this experience was here at all in this hall indicated the admiral must later have had second thoughts. The crime committed was horrible, awful, almost inconceivable, yet the man wondered whether he had done worse.

(image credit: Rachel-17 @ deviantART)  
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Short stories

I - The Aging

Once came a man  who had experienced the most beautiful thing in the world. It was his intention to place the experience within on the sensory stones - magical devices which held feelings and memories for an eternity, leaving them for others to partake of.

But he thought about it: wouldn't it being shared dilute the experience? So he held it to himself, precious thing that it was, and aged with the memory. But as he aged, the memory became tarnished and beaten, and he could no longer recall the glory of the experience.

II - The Execution

Once, a murderer roamed the streets, a black-hearted man by the name of Kossacs. He had been blessed by his fiend mother so that no one could strike him with an intent to harm or they themselves would die. He revelled in his blessing, using it to start fights and murder anyone who crossed his path.

During one of his murderous rages, he was captured by the Harmonium Order with nets and brought before the Guvners. The trial was short, final, yet Kossacs laughed at the proceedings, knowing that no one among them could harm him without dying horribly. At the final day of his trial, he was proclaimed guilty and sentenced to death.

Kossacs's sentence proclaimed by the Guvners was this: 'Confinement for thrice thirty days, during which time you shall give up your life, be declared dead, and your body removed when all signs of life cease.' Kossacs laughed and dared any of them to try and harm him, yet the court was silent.

The Harmonium lead Kossacs to their prison and locked him in a dark, empty cell. There was no cot, no lights, and the only door was a steel grate in the ceiling.

As they lowered him into the cell, the Harmonium told him, "In the corner of your cell will you find a chalice. It holds poison. Your death will be swift."

"Aren't you going to execute me?" Kossacs snarled at the guard.

"No one shall lay a hand on you with intent to harm," came the Harmonium's reply.

"Then I spit on your cowardice!" Kossacs laughed, feeling for the chalice in the darkness, then hurling it at the wall and shattering it. Its poison dripped from the walls and dried, until it was no more. "Come then - you will have to try and kill me now."

But there was no response from the grate in the ceiling. It was then that Kossacs noticed the cell had no cot. No lights. And no food and water. All that remained was the chattered chalice, the poison gone. And for the first time, Kossacs knew the icy touch of death's approach.

In thrice thirty days, the grate opened, and Kossacs's body, now cold, was taken from the cell. It had given up its life, and the execution had been carried out.

III - Three Wishes

An elderly man was sitting alone on a dark path. He wasn't certain of which direction to go, and he'd forgotten both where he was travelling to and who he was. He'd sat down for a moment to rest his weary legs, and suddenly looked up to see an elderly woman before him. She grinned toothlessly and with a cackle, spoke, "Now your third wish. What will it be?"

"Third wish?" The man was baffled. "How can it be a third wish if I haven't had a first and second wish?"

"You've had two wishes already," the hag said, "but your second wish was for me to return everything to the way it was before you had made your first wish. That's why you remember nothing; because everything is the way it was before you made any wishes." She cackled at the poor man. "So it is that you have one wish left."

"All right," said the man, "I don't believe this, but there's no harm in wishing. I wish to know who I am."

"Funny," said the old woman as she granted his wish and disappeared forever. "That was your first wish."

IV - The Parched Land

Once, a large village was struck by a terrible drought. A farmer journeyed to the Worshipping Stone, and again implored it as to the cause of the drought. He asked the Stone why it did nothing when the fields were parched and dying, why the animals and the people suffered while the Stone did not a thing.

"Have we not given enough offerings?" the farmer asked, begging almost upon his hands and needs. But the Stone did not respond; it merely sat, and cast its shadow.

(image credit: l2ebis @ deviantART)
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Malignant Monday #1

As part of my ambitious resolve to blog more consistently, I introduce you to a weekly series of stories of how Mondays generally hate me and are scheming behind my back to destroy me. What Monday doesn't know is that I hate it more than I hate doing my laundry. And that is the highest possible level of hatred in this world.


I know you didn't know so let me just tell you this first: I'm pregnant.

(long silence)


Yes, really.

Oh, wow... um, congratulations? Hope you'll get a plump, fat, healthy baby.

Oh, that's very nice of you, you naive idiot.

But actually, no, seriously, I'm really not pregnant. But I might as well be. You see, I'm a clucky man. I generally love kids, especially the not-throwing-the-tantrum kind and babies. Aww, babies.

I'm doing my paediatrics rotation at the moment. So far, I've done four week of it at a hospital and have been absolutely disappointed when my imaginations were shattered by the brutal reality that only a handful of kids are in the wards and newborn babies sleep like ALL THE TIME.

Translation: I couldn't show off my natural charm with kids which means I could make paediatric physical examination anything but a nightmare, and also I couldn't play with babies because otherwise I would be chased out by the nursery nurses flailing pins in their hands (not the rolling kind, but the prickly ones) for waking up a baby they've just put to sleep.

Four weeks I've endured that unbearable suffering of not seeing kids enough. But no fear, today I continue my paeds rotation at another bigger hospital. I shall see and play with kids all I want.

That was at least what I thought when I woke up this morning a la Disney Princess with bright optimism and sunshine. I hate you, Monday.

See, I start off with my paediatric emergency department (ED) roster this whole week. As I was walking off to the hospital, noticing bouncing squirrels and singing along with colourful birds, I imagined myself being so happy and all high in the ED tending to kids coming in one after another. The excitement of paediatric emergency was palpable.

Then the orientation told me only two students are allowed in the ED at any one point because otherwise "it would be too crowded" when there are seven of us in my roster group. Now I know exactly what Maleficent was feeling like when she wasn't invited by the royal king and queen to attend Aurora's birth celebration when other fat fairy godmothers get to come and eat the cake. (Oh, wait, the green one isn't that fat, but she's a cake gobbler just as well.)

God, I hate Monday. And Disney Princesses. Go Team Disney Villains!

We, seven of us, divided the shifts each of us could go to and I get to be lucky one - I didn't manage to get any shifts until 1 p.m. tomorrow. Just when I was already psyched up for ED for a long time.

In my angst, I went down to the staff cafeteria to get some free hot chocolate to cool down my inner fiery dragon. Little did I know Monday had been scheming with all the three vending machines to deny me of free hot choco. I could almost hear a voice saying, "IN YOUR FACE!".

Feeling guilty of not doing anything on my first day, I went to the library to study, which I did for a hour before deciding to walk back home and vent my frustration on food (read: lunch), wait around until about 4 p.m. when I have a lecture at the hospital. After lunch and practising on my acoustic guitar for a full hour, I felt really tired and quickly decided to take a quick nap.

Turns out Monday purposely woke me up at 5 p.m. to spite me.

And my hair's messed up.

P.S. As much as I am clucky, I'm both not that clucky or even ready to have my own babies. But I'll steal your baby anytime.
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Living in a Truer World

I'm already in the fourth year of studying medicine. It really felt like it wasn't too long ago I was a naive medical student, with simple goals and unadulterated optimism. Everything was so much simpler back then, or so it seemed to me. It was as if the world had less shades of grey - one could step on one tone of grey and manage not to touch other kinds of tone painted just beside.

The medicine I see now - more accurately the world that I see now through my eyes - is so much richer of greyness. Like a grey-scale photo of a sunset by a beach, there are all sorts of whiteness and blackness. In the far distance, the brilliant white sun is slowly gliding down its arc and the sky enveloping it has a beautiful gradient of grey, becoming darker as it is closer to you. Specks of the sun's reflection on the calm distant sea ceaselessly surface and sink out of sight, creating a wonderful spectacle that could be stared for hours until they all disappear together with the day's eye. The rocks closest to the observer has the darkest of black - their delicate bumps and lines absolutely hidden by the shadow of their own bodies - leaving only an odd collection of silhouette.

It is now nearly impossible to touch on a single shade of grey. Life is increasingly "colourful" but at the same time also increasingly complex.

You will see the world as closer to the truth, but it is not always pretty. Truth can be sweet, and it can be bitter. Hell, it can be anything. There aren't a lot of things existing in binary; you realise pairs of two are difficult to find. There is no such thing as "male" and "female" only, because there are people who sit in between, either biologically born as such or otherwise. Sexual orientation is never either "heterosexuality" or "homosexuality". The universe is never simply divided into "heaven" and "earth". Darkness and lightness are a spectrum, as are highs and lows, and hot and cold. Most anything are created as a continuum.

The natural law dictates that this world that we live in can never be as simple as a world of binary - either one or the other. The sooner we all realise binary rarely exist, the better. But this is difficult as many people cling tightly to the illusion of the 'either-or' world due to its simplicity. It makes things somehow easier to comprehend. However, illusion is but an illusion, and no amount of denial can change that fact.

I have shattered the illusion and I am happy to live in this difficult world.

Medicine is one of the many tools I came across in my life that would eventually be used to break the glass. It is a great instrument, but wielding it also changes you. Many who crossed to the other side into the truth shed layers of optimism. Breaking the glass makes shards of cynicism pierce deep into their flesh, and they burrow deeper as if trying to integrate themselves with the body.

I am still struggling to pick up the pieces off the floor and remove the sharp fragments from my flesh. It's hard but I will become the person I sought out to be when I first started medical training. I will get there.

(credits to Chibss @ deviantART)
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Come make your eyes explode!

I know what you're thinking. No, it's not just a random picture of candies (I surprised myself with my special secret ability to make sense of that ridiculous picture). But I also know what else you're thinking. Yes, it's ugly. But entertain me and look again. Can you see something else?

I doubt it. Not when you don't know what you're looking for.

This ugly picture here is called a stereogram. Those of you who might know what I'm talking about here can go back to the image immediately and look again. I'm serious, go back before I give you the big spoiler. If you're one of those clueless people, read on.

You know how you sometimes hear about two people looking at a seemingly boring pattern image and you have one guy going, "Oh yeah, I can see a dolphin in that picture!", and the other guy (always the annoyed one, with a Scottish accent) saying, "Are you on Special K again? No, I don't see a damn thing!".

Okay, so I made the Scottish accent up, but you have to agree with me that hear this scenario all the time. Those two people are most likely looking at a stereogram.

A stereogram, to put it simply, a two-dimensional image that is created to produce an optical illusion, giving you a sense of depth. A sense of depth is what makes us see in 3-D. A stereogram, like the one on top, has a sort of "hidden" 3-D shape that you can only see if you focus your vision in a certain way. I don't want to give you a lecture on stereogram, so Google if you wanna know more.

But I will tell you briefly how to look at it. You need to use your "soft gaze", which is exactly the gaze you have when you are deeply lost in thoughts.Remember how the things around you appear blurry and you slightly see double at the same time? This is because your focus is not to an object near you. Instead, your point of focus is far away, as if you are looking at a person far in a field.

If you can't voluntarily make that gaze, or simply can't remember how to, try fixing your gaze at a wall a bit further from you. Then hold that gaze and slowly turn your head to the monitor and look at the crazy candy picture. Keep on looking and slightly adjust your focus until you see a 3-D shape. If you can, pat yourself on the head. The first experience of that three dimensional perspective is always quite overwhelming.

If you can't, keep trying. If you still can't after trying, then it sucks to be you.

P.S. I remember my first stereogram many years ago. I was basically like a kid excited to get a remote control helicopter. Oh, wait, I never got any.

I hate you too

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Home II

I reached home. Mama was there to greet me first. Her face was filled with a thousand emotions that magically resonated within me as well. It wasn't simply "happy" or "relieved". The concoction of emotions splashed into a unique colour that is rarely ever seen.

She stood there as if waiting to be hugged. I embraced her and closed my eyes. I could feel the rest of the world didn't exist as I was locked. It was just... us.

Then there was my dad together with my brothers all rejoicing in the reunion. I hugged each one of them.

I gave one of my best hugs to my dearest younger sister. I can see how she have grown into a mature woman.

But one was missing. And I missed him dearly.

Then they told me he died. From their faces, I could tell it was a truth. My brother was really gone.

Slowly I kneeled and I cried.

I cried very hard. And it was very hard to control.

My sister sat beside me later that night. She said three years ago, I was supposed to die. I didn't wake up for a year and my dead brother made a selfless deal so that he could trade places with me. Ever since then he was slowly dying, but he never showed it to anyone.

The worst part was that I never realised any of this ever happened. I didn't even know I was out cold for a year. With this newfound knowledge, again I cried. My sister hugged me differently this time. It was as if she was trying to embrace my broken heart to prevent it from chipping away. I think I felt her tears on my shoulder.

Days later, I found myself staring out the window into the dark midnight sky. There were strands of stars dangling in the moonless dark blue canvas. It was indeed a beautiful sight but I failed to appreciate it. I might be looking at the stars, but my eyes truly staring into a lifeless void.

Then he came into my room. I looked to him and felt a gush of tears wanting to stream down my cheeks again. To see him again after all the years, after all the news, after all the tears, after all the guilt, was an overwhelming experience that I could not describe in existing terms. He approached me slowly and stroked my right cheek. He never said a word, but I could understand him. His gentle eyes and bittersweet smile said it all. He wanted me to know that it is alright. "Everything is going to be alright..."

At this point too much tears had streamed that I could not feel them anymore. I had never cried so much in my entire life.

Then I woke up - eyes opened first - but I was still lying on my bed. I wasn't sure if my eyes were wet, as I was too engrossed in the emotions I felt at that moment, and it didn't matter to me. Strangely (or not?), I knew it was just a dream within seconds of waking up.

Sometimes I have incredibly vivid dreams such as this, and I could retain the memories of the emotions that I felt within the dream. They all felt exactly like the real thing; the emotions were not blunted in any way at all. As horrible as the dream I had last night was, I was glad to live in that dream. The experience of such intense emotions I have never encountered before in my real life. I was given the opportunity to go through it before a real scenario hits me. Maybe this will prepare me. But then, maybe you can never prepare.

With that said, I felt a strong longing to be at home with my mum and dad, my brothers and my only sister. I really wished I was at home where I don't feel alone.

When a person misses his family, meeting them, seeing them with his own eyes, kissing them and hugging them are not the only things that matter - it goes so much further than that. In essence, it is their mere presence around him that his heart asks for.

In other words, when you are with your family, you don't even have to say anything. It is enough to just sit quietly beside any of them and look softly at the faces. They might be puzzled at your rare gaze, but keep on looking and just give a slight smile. They might then understand.

How I wish I could sit at my usual spot at home with my mum and sister right now. With the sound of scissors and sewing machine and baby and trivial chat filling my ears. Ridiculously noisy at times but I can always escape to the kitchen.

(credits to desertman @ deviantART)
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Home I

Where the doors are moaning all day long,
Where the stairs are leaning dusk till dawn,

Where the windows are breathing in the light,
Where the rooms are a collection of our lives,

This is a place where I don't feel alone,
This is a place that I call my home...
(Cinematic Orchestra - That Home)


I swear if this song was what I hear first thing when I woke up this morning, I'd cry.

Dreams can feel so real.

(credits to ariadnezenit @ deviantART)

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I met you earlier this year. It was the first time - I stood there looking at you, with a tingling sensation I could only describe as adoration. As I knew you more and you became comfortable with me, I took solace in your presence. You sheltered me from harm and provided me solitude when I needed one. I would stay with you until piles upon piles of sand flowed. Until the sun has shifted its arc.

Time has changed.

Scorching harm has come to me. Solitude no longer feels like one. Staring at you from a distance is a routine. Staying with you is a necessity. I would rather escape your presence and bask in another oasis.

Perhaps you cease to please me with the descent of a new season. Perhaps it is the companionship that I seek; one that you can never offer me. Perhaps life is simply not that simple that fingers can be pointed to a single face.


Oh, my chamber, no longer you are my haven.

(credits to TristanGreer @ deviantArt)
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Silent emotions

Imagine this and imagine it vividly in your mind as best as you can:

You sitting in your chair in front of your computer and books.
You stopping whatever you were doing and turning your head towards the large window to your side, while one arm supporting your chin as your gaze drifting softly at the scene beyond the window.
You watching the continuous stream of traffic on the road across your vision field, hearing the muffled sound of vehicles zooming pass as people move on with their lives and realising you with yours.
You noticing the distant sky scattered with clouds and the sun shying away behind the thick still clouds.
You barely knowing what is in your mind at the mundanity of the moment and being oblivious that you are caught in a tranquillising trance.
You holding in this position in the physical and mental sense for minutes and minutes that when you snap out of it you realise perhaps 10 minutes has gone pass.

This is how I lost presence in this world. This is the melancholy in me emerging spontaneously at random times. This is one of the moments in life that I feel most calm and become deadly quiet - almost everything seems so crystal to me as I observe a snapshot of the world outside my window moving with time while my body is held in time stasis.

Speaking of time, I realise it is a waste, but I simply cannot help it.While in this trance, a great concoction of feelings comes splashing in an overwhelming force and these feelings are often the most difficult things for me to describe. Is is sadness? Longing? Helplessness? Frustration? Or is this what melancholy really is?

Perhaps I will never know the answer. But the answer does not matter to me. The whole experience means so much more to me. I consider it one the pleasures of life, actually.

You might raise an eyebrow to that last sentence, but I consider experiences and savouring emotions as ways to live your life fully. I thinks I would miss out on a lot if I didn't get to experience as many different kinds of emotion. It's just a waste to live without tasting them. (Okay, I think I'm starting to not make any sense, so I'll stop talking about it. But if somehow I do make sense to any of you, maybe you have found a mate!)

Although my melancholy can be brought about deliberately (which isn't very common of me), it is oft most triggered. By music. (Not again)

Here's one:

Just click on it. Three minutes of audio data is hardly a permanent damage to your monthly internet quota.

Out in the garden where we planted the seeds
There is a tree as old as me
Branches were sewn by the color of green
Ground had arose and passed its knees

By the cracks of the skin I climbed to the top
I climbed the tree to see the world
When the gusts came around to blow me down
I held on as tightly as you held onto me
I held on as tightly as you held onto me...

Cause, I built a home
for you
for me

Until it disappeared
from me
from you

And now, it's time to leave and turn to dust...

Rarely you come across such powerful lyrics. Good songs are truly difficult to come by nowadays.

P.S. I may be misinterpreted by you as being "emotional" (the term as defined by people to describe certain difficult-to-handle people, as in "You're soooooo freakin' emotional!!!"). Those who truly know me would know better than to say I'm that kind of emotional.

P.P.S. Maybe I just simply miss home.

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Humans are humane? Chicks will disagree.

This is a baby chick.

In case you still didn't get it, this is also a baby chick.

Attack of the chicks. Please tell me that you get it already.

Oh, I knew very well what you are feeling right this moment. Go on, feast your eyes some more at these precious photos of cute, charming little chicks with their awesome cuteness that capture their pure innocence cutely.

I remember when I was about 12, my family had a small chicken cage-- no, scratch that - a relatively large chicken cage considering the population. It was the size of four moderately sized washing machine put close together, and it housed three adult chickens (one male, two females) with their little chicks. During the day, we let them out to roam free around the house. They especially liked to dance on the soft, green grass.

I watched the chicks grow up right from their hatching up to adulthood. Man, chickens do have a super swift biological development, and I sometimes wished they would stop growing at day 4. That is when they are cutest (see attached pictures).

Then today I watched something very, very disturbing. Too disturbing indeed that I had to share this with other people - yes, that means you. But this is not because I find it entertaining (read: NOT akin to spamming other people's inbox with stuff that is considered to be hilarious) but because I think the chicks would definitely want the world to know and take some sort of action.

Embedded below is a short documentary recorded at the world's largest egg-laying breed hatchery in Spencer, Iowa. I urge you to watch it immediately. I can guarantee that it is VERY disturbing to anyone, so don't say I didn't warn you. But you still have to, should, and must watch it. (I think I just contradicted myself)

If only Americans knew.

I don't know how exactly it is done here in Australia, but for the poor chicks' sake, I sure hope Aussies have a more gentle and humane story. A true chicken soup for the soul, if you will. (Was that a pun?)

What do we do? I'm not too sure myself. I don't think I will go vegan (as recommended at the end of the video) but at least I found something useful from Daily Finance website. Maybe we can do something after all. To quote:

Addendum: Many commenters have suggested that buying organic or free range eggs is the answer. While that is certainly preferable, it is not the answer; the chicks raised by Hy-Line and other hatcheries using instantaneous euthanasia can and do go to farmers who raise organic and free-range eggs. If you buy your eggs from a grocery store, they are almost certainly the fruit of this broken industry. I realize now that even the chickens I keep in my backyard for eggs (and treat extremely well, in a way incomparable to factory farms) were probably born in a hatchery only to see their brothers head toward the grinder. The answer is to buy chickens and eggs raised by very small, diversified farms. They're probably the ones at your local farmer's market, and they probably charge prices I've mentioned; as much as $5 per dozen for eggs and $6 per pound for meat. Talk to them, learn more about their practices and beliefs, and thank them.

P.S. If you were eating chicken while reading this entry, I apologise for the trauma I may have caused. If it makes you feel any better, the chicken in your hand was probably very well taken care of.

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"We bake our own iPhone"

When countless technologies are condensed into such a small device the size of roughly a short stack of business cards, it becomes extremely difficult not to bring said device everywhere you go. If you own such device, you might say, "I bring and use this incredible device everywhere simply because it makes me a productive person," and you continue to ramble on with reading online news, typing notes and ideas, and organising schedule. Perhaps more often than not you just want to look cool and be the subject of admiration among aspiring, trendy teenagers. But whatever, the reasons don't really matter.

What matters is that you do bring the magical device literally everywhere as if it is actually surgically attached to your body. That includes bringing the device to a dark storeroom to shine your way around, and to a kitchen to look for a French recipe (stupidly ambitious, considering you don't even know what tarragon is).

One day I carried my iPhone with me for a visit to the toilet in my own house, thinking I might as well be "a productive person" and read some news while I'm at it (or maybe I just wanted to look cool, not that anybody is there with me in the toilet to admire my coolness). After I was done and all and had flushed the toilet, I was punished. My iPhone slipped and "splash!" it went straight into the toilet bowl.

My iPhone must be so proud to be honoured as such.

It took me a full two seconds before I decide to fish it out from the (thankfully flushed) bowl. After patting it relatively dry with some tissue, my medical knowledge told me to sterilise it in some makeshift way that I can try in my house. I sanitised it with a liquid disinfectant (read: Dettol) and dried it again. My iPhone screen was dark and blank, as if the brief swim had taken its poor soul out of it - you could pretty much call it a diePhone now. To be honest, I'd probably be left soulless myself if I had that kind of a swim.

The whole process seemed to turn my iPhone off unintentionally. I didn't dare to turn it on immediately in fear of short-circuiting my iPhone in case the water had already went deep into the electronic circuitry. Operating under the assumption that the worst case scenario has happened, I thought of ways to dry it.

I placed it in front of my room heater switched on and left it there overnight. Then I used my hair-dryer a bit (I can't believe I just said that). There was still some water underneath the touchscreen, but I was somewhat confident that most of the moisture had evaporated from the circuitry, so I tried turning the iPhone on.

(A partially chomped off apple appeared on the screen)

My iPhone survived the horrible ordeal, but the water underneath the screen was a massive annoyance to me as I didn't need a less-than-sensitive touchscreen and I certainly didn't need an abstract artform to permanently shadow the screen. I needed a way to drain those moisture out.

After doing a bit of research in numerous forums (turned out I wasn't alone after all - I'm so happy), I found out some really rad and crazy methods of drying an iPhone (or any other electronic devices for that matter). I switched my iPhone off, took out my baking Pyrex, filled it with uncooked rice, and buried my iPhone in the middle of the rice. Supposedly, rice is just inherently thirsty, even going as far as sucking toilet water to quench that thirst. To speed up the drying process, I needed to raise the temperature. Since a microwave would just fry any electronic device and render it useless, I opted for conventional oven, as professionally recommended by some random people in forums. Setting the oven up on low temperature (about 100-120 degrees C; you don't want to melt your iPhone as I suspect it won't be very nice), I literally baked my iPhone for 9 hours.


I just LOVE the sound ovens make. This time around, however, it sounded even more pleasant than usual. I took the Pyrex out of the oven and digged for my iPhone. I turned it on to find that it worked perfectly fine and the touchscreen was devoid of water! It seemed that life has once again returned to the soulless device. Who knew a baked iPhone can make a man happier than a baked lasagne?

I know any normal person would now be traumatised enough to not bring such a device when visiting the toilet next time. Once is quite enough.

But since I'm not normal, I still keep bringing my iPhone to the toilet. What? I like to be "productive". Go away. (flushing toilet sound)

P.S. What do you think happened to the rice?

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