Sunday, October 30, 2005
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Surfing for a free ringtone the other day, I was assured free stuff all the way until the last page where I discovered that I would have to pay USD19.90 in 'membership fees' before I could get at my "free" ringtones. Nothing doing la. You can buy one you like for RM2 only. B****y Americans!
A few months ago, I found a pretty interesting website - poetry.com. After checking out the other submissions, I submitted one of my own. Surprisingly, I received a letter a few months later, saying that I was in the running to win a prize. I was quite flattered, I must say, but still a tad skeptical. There was some such nonsense about being published and attending the semi-final conference, bla di bla. Of course, where got money to go to US, right? So I just kept quiet la. I never even proofed the poem they were going to 'publish'.
Sometime later, while chatting with Anaz, found that SHE had submitted and got an offer too! We concluded that it must be some kind of scam. I went in again and found the one guy who represented Malaysia and found him to be extremely 'poyo'. No offense, but, really. And his submission was in a word, abysmal. I may not be a published writer, but hey, I'm in love with the written word. I know when I see something good...
Since I kept receiving offers from them, awash in cloying saccharine sweet words so typical of African and American scam mail, I decided to do some sleuthing and found tons of bad stuff about them. So peeps, take note of the article below, and avoid being scammed!
More search results here and here and here
Failure is impossible at poetry.com -- the website where every poem is a semifinalist.
-- by David Taub
The truth about us poets, who share our writing with others, and even if some tell you otherwise, is that ultimately we do enjoy positive feedback about our writing! If I had just a dollar for every individual who has 'secretly confided in me' that they were thrilled their poem had been accepted by publisher x,y,z, I could spend the rest of my life writing everything for free.
Overall, my experience is that very few publishers, who accept a submitted poem, respond with a lengthy letter overflowing with 'flattery'. It was few years ago when I first received a letter from someone excitedly telling me they had received such a letter, and they also went to the trouble of sending me a photocopy of the 'acceptance'.
Everyone has to start somewhere and I was naive about who was who in the poetry publishing market. In fact I was living in England at the time and had never heard of the 'publisher' in question. But there was something VERY suspicious about this acceptance letter. Having said that, I am very suspicious of any 'form letter' - namely a standard letter which has probably never been touched by a human hand. My suspicions were quickly confirmed when the same publisher's name cropped up several more times in quick succession, and I then managed to obtain copies from the various jubilant poets.
And let's face it, what novice wouldn't be thrilled to receive a letter starting "After carefully reading and discussing your poem, our Selection Committee has certified your poem as a semi-finalist….." And there's more: "In celebration of the unique talent that you have displayed, we also wish to publish your poem in what promises to be one of the most highly sought after collections we have ever promised …"
In fact a novice's head could easily swoon, and their chest burst with pride when told, "Before we go any further, (poets name inserted), let me make one thing clear … your poem was selected for publication, and as a contest semi-finalist, on the basis of your unique talent and artistic vision."
Several years down the line I am amassing a wonderful collection of these letters. Courtesy of some 'interesting characters' who came to my assistance in an interesting experiment. Their names include: Stephen AbutLOL, Wadda (ass) Iyam, and the most recent, Wergle Flomp.
These characters discovered that with the wonders of the Internet, the 'publishing company' whose 'Selection Committee carefully reads and discusses' all the submissions, now accepts submission at their website www.poetry.com
It was a curiosity on my part as to how 'awful' a poem has to be before a letter is issued along the lines of "Thanks for your submission but…. NO THANKS!"
Stephen AbutLOL's first attempt to fail the acceptance test with "Wots a pome", was abysmal. When I shared this experiment with my readers in the UK poetry magazine (Poetry Now), one reader commented that perhaps it was not awful enough because the first four lines had a vague 'rhythm and rhyme' to it!:
Wot's a pome if it don't rhyme
have to make it beat with time
Very serious stuff is pomes
you can write them in your homes.
Hmm back to the drawing board, and not to be thwarted, Stephen's second attempt was expected to draw a letter along the lines of "If you continue to submit drivel like this, we shall have to seek a restraining order." Unfortunately, he failed again and received great acclaim for "Nicky Nacky Noo"
Nicky Nacky Noo
Tum tum tum de tum
This is apoem I sings a lot
to make me very vary hapy.
I fink it will look good on a poster two.
and a cofey mug to shows my frineds
at work so they no i am an internashunal
poet who mite even winz a prise!
Then i wuld be vary famus
and hav lotz of muney
wich wuld be vary funny
coz some of them sayd I was
eliterite wich sucks
(I hopes I can say sucks, if not
please put a defferent word instead.)
and also I just sore the poem
has to be 20 lines long so
I am counting the lynes again.
This is line nienteen
and this in number twenty. Thanx. The End
-- Stephen Abutlol
Unfortunately the seeking of clarification as to whether or not he could use the word 'sucks' somehow was considered to be part of the poem too. And there they are on full display amongst the searchable database of all 1.4 million submissions which can be checked through at http://www.poetry.com/Publications/search.asp
This was proving to be a tough competition indeed! How to bring the 'Selection Committee' to a collective outburst of outrage rather than praise and admiration!
Next up to the plate steps Wadda ass Iyam (although the acceptance letter does not recognise or acknowledge Wadda's middle name).
Yew Gotta Larf.
Yew gotta larf at any moreon
who could write, "your poem was selected
for publication, and as a contest semi-finalist, on the basis of your unique talent
and artistic vision."
when we all know this is about as artistic
as vomitting on the neigbour's porch.
Burp... huey... excuse me while I be artistic on your cat.. so much for
the vision.. I never saw your cat.
Now let's get down to the real truth..
You hope I am fooled into parting with
my cash to see this in your anthology.
Wot if NO-ONE bought your books, mugs
plaques, keyrings? (have you thought of musical toilet-roll holders?)
I look forward to receiving your standard letter telling me how artistic this drivel is. If nothing else, I get a free envelope
which I can recycle.
This had to be the one that broke the poetic back, don't you think? Under his pen name 'Bert' was counting on one of the 'Selection Committee' being an avid cat lover, whereby Bert could be rightfully accused of encouraging animal abuse! Not a chance. Wadda now proudly stands toe to toe with Stephen, and "Yew Gotta larf" is also on proud display for the whole cyber world to admire!
It was with some disappointment today, Wergle Flomp received a letter from poetry.com for his poem:
flobble bobble blop
yim yam widdley woooo
yip yip yip
nish-nash nockle nockle
opfem magurby voey
Ahh! "Wurby tictoc?"
bim-burm nurgle shliptog
afttowicky wicky wicky
erm addmuksle slibberyjert !
Reqi stoobery bup dinhhk
yibberdy yobberdy hif twizzum moshlap
dwisty fujefti coppen smoppen dob
tigtog turjemy fydel
swiggy swiggy swug
-- Copyright Wergle Flomp January 2000
He was informed, "In celebration of the unique talent that you have displayed, we also wish to publish your poem in what promises to be one of the most highly sought after collections of poetry we have ever published... Promises of Love (ISBN 1-58235-065-5)".
However, on a slightly upbeat and encouraging note for Wergle, this acceptance was not accompanied with an additional 'bonus' that Stephen Abutlol had previously received. There was no note saying they had also selected the piece to be read by a 'professional reader', to be put on audio cassette. Neither Wergle or I can imagine why! What is difficult about reciting " Reqi stoobery bup dinhhk" ?
One can only assume that Romantic poetry is better read off the page!
At the time of writing this, Wergle's poem had not been posted on the website where Stephen's and Wadda's fine masterpieces can be displayed and enjoyed. But given time who knows?
I still remain very keen to see what a poetry.com 'rejection slip' looks like, however.
On a slightly different twist, having had several emails from poetry friends, I want to make it quite clear - NO I have not and never would submit their poetry to this 'publishing house'. This is in response to my being informed they had discovered some of their work had appeared on the site without their knowledge or permission, having searched and found their name!
For what little consolation it is, I even discovered a poem of mine had been 'acquired' and posted on their site.
At one point, I did have a phone number for poetry.com and I contacted them asking how this could have possibly happened. Unfortunately I was passed around between their 'customer service' staff without any explanation. Surprisingly, it was not possible for me to speak with any of the 'Selection committee'. In exasperation, I wrote to them, threatening that both I and my publisher would sue them for breach of copyright. Fortunately that did the trick.
If anyone else has more luck, than Stephen AbutLOL, Wadda (ass) Iyam and Wergle Flomp, in extracting a 'rejection slip' from this organisation, I would be delighted to see a copy!
I am of the understanding they also promote themselves under the names: National Library of Poetry and International Library of Poetry.
Copyright David Taub, January 2000
Originally written for Poetic Voices (Internet 'ezine'), and modified.
First published (Hard-copy) The Legend, West Florida, Literary Federation Inc., September 2000
Monday, October 24, 2005
Buka puasa on Saturday at Zura's with Chey, Azam, Zura (of course) & Anaz. Zura & Anaz pakat masak the main course. Azam & Chey bawak murtabak and desserts. I brought Choc Fudge Cake & kuih tako. Sayang CikJee, Inas & Yuz could not make it. Should have had more people over to help makan :-D Conversation was good, covering macam2 issues from business to politics to TV series. Heh heh. That was fun.
Us girls stayed over and chatted until very late. After sahur we all took a nap and... terlajak!! Aargh!! Me & Anaz had other commitments, so had to rush off. I went to Rumah Ilham to help clean up their library. Tu pun sampai lewat. We rearranged their books and cleaned up the place. They have lots and lots of cool books and mags! Jeles I!! Books are darn expensive, kan… Hopefully they’ll realise their good fortune and start utilizing the lib. Sayang all the books wasted.Balik awal to get some other stuff done. Tak sempat singgah jumpa Mama Gie pun kat OU. Malam had a buka puasa meeting lak. Adehs…
Tonight, joined them for tahlil, buka puasa & terawih. There was a slide show and duit raya presentation as well. No more IEP until next year. Insya-Allah, we’ll meet again then.
Have discovered quite a number of people who are celebrating Raya in KL. Yeay... Ada gang! Am looking forward to our Raya plans… and to think not so long ago I felt a wee bit lost deciding where to go… So this year it's KL -> BP -> SG. Hmm.. wonder if there'd be any changes next year... I hope so ;-)
Friday, October 21, 2005
A few favourites are:-
- this service stores your address book AND Outlook data online. It serves as a pretty useful backup address book especially for those who have no PDA and can’t access their computer while travelling. Also replenishes your address book, schedules, memos and other data after data loss in case of a crash or laptop being stolen. Synchronizes regularly.
2. Google Search
- My all time favourite, it looks up stuff I need to find in a jiffy, even inane things like how to wire your plug or remove candle wax from the glass top table. Indispensable to find required info for research purposes. Also to vet news and urban legends that you receive in the mail.
3. Google Desktop
- Ah… my new best friend. When you have gazillions of information scattered in hundreds of files and emails in your computer, this tool saves time spent digging in your folders for that one document or email containing crucial information that you desperately need. Also has a sidebar that has RSS feeds and scratch pad for quick updates. It minimizes very neatly too.
4. Instant Messaging & Internet Telephone
- Y!M, IM, Skype – excellent tool for communications. Chatting – you know how it works la. Yahoo and Skype offers free voice calls between members (I’m sure you already know that). Skype also offers paid calls to normal phones at very reasonable prices. All you need is a phone/ mic set and minimum 512 kB connection. Indispensable for keeping in touch with friends, family and business associates overseas without burning your bank account.
- Something we take for granted these days, but think about it. Not too long ago, we rely on snail mail to send documents all over the place. Now we send photos, documents, audio files, videos, etc almost instantly. Not only is it convenient, it’s crucial for efficiency.
I don’t know about you, but I thank the people who invented these things from the bottom of my heart. :-)
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Free-spirited and wise. You have a strong passionate spirit that touches and changes all who know you. The wisdom and common sense that you have is really what guides you through life. Even so, you also have a very playful side that loves adventure and excitement.
Which Disney Princess Are You?
:-) Thanks, Izreen! I like...
Went to Taichee’s for berbuka on Friday, which was nice. Thanks for inviting, sis :-) Had stuff to do for MNS, and was making calls at intervals, desperately trying to get myy volunteers sorted out for the Sunday event which I had decided to skip.
Spent the first half of Saturday running around paying bills and getting supplies. Then fell asleep in the afternoon. Cheez! What a waste of time! Did a bit of this and that at night, then played Bookworm until sahur time. So clever… (read in sarcastic tone). Have banned games from my computer until further notice. Sigh…
Took a few hours’ nap after Subuh, then had to go out to get even more stuff which I didn’t realise I needed the day before. Darn… It rained and rained the whole Sunday morning. Was informed that the event in KSNP turned out well despite the rain, thanks to the team of dedicated volunteers and the publicity effort the week before. Maybe I should have shown face, but really, had to get things done at home, could not spare the time in KSNP yet again...
I had baking to do and discovered that one SHOULD NOT double the batch for London Almonds unless there are extra hands. P came to help with some painting, which I will be eternally grateful for. He also took me out for berbuka, so I didn’t have to cook. Thank you, dearie; really, really appreciate that :-) Was so tired I would probably have messed it all up anyway. Went for a little gathering after Maghrib which was kind of fun.
Worked at home today since I had a meeting in the evening and not keen to waste time stuck in a jam. Can’t say I got huge amounts done, though. Met the Annual Dinner team in Plaza Damas for berbuka and discussion. Sign said parking RM2 per entry after 6 pm but I had to pay the machine RM8. Bloodsuckers! Wonder if I can demand a refund from the management company for misleading information… Had a good discussion with the girls; hope everything works out well for the dinner in January.
And now it’s already midnight, and I wonder if I’ll ever catch up with everything on my list. Hope I don’t get sick; been feeling a little more tired than usual lately. In any case, have a good, productive week ahead, peeps. Over and out :-)
Friday, October 14, 2005
A few months later, out of sheer carelessness, I broke them while packing for the holidays. Not being one to throw anything away, especially one so special, I glued them back together with UHU glue. And that’s the way they had been for the past ten years or so.
Recently, I had started hanging my necklaces around one of the wings. This morning, without any warning, the whole thing came tumbling off the dresser shelf. The swans broke. And suddenly I realised how badly patched and ugly they were. There was no way to properly clean them and a lot of dust had accumulated over the years. I hadn’t wound it up for the longest time…
First, I tore off the broken bits and then pried the swans completely off the glass top. I wound up the base, it still worked fine. I could probably find something else to replace the swans. Something nice. Something whole.
And suddenly I thought, maybe it’s a sign. A curse had been broken. I would no longer have mismatched relationships that went nowhere. Maybe I’d find a decent guy who would love me as much as I loved him… Maybe he would be my other half and we would be complete…
Could it be true? I don’t know. I’m not particularly superstitious or given to flights of fancy. But somehow, at that moment, I had wanted it to be true. Maybe. Just maybe, it will come true...
Thursday, October 13, 2005
I’d be working when I’d get this itch to play Bejeweled 2. So I block Yahoo! Games from my browser. Next, I’d be going on Tradewinds 2 for no apparent reason. So I uninstall that from the computer. Trust me, next, out of desperation I’d be clicking on Minesweeper, or FreeCell or Pinball. Disgusting habit. If those (thankfully) don’t catch my fancy, I’d go bloghopping or start writing… (see, I'm doing it right now)
And of course, there is always the all time favourite – daydreaming!! I have sooooo many things to mentally plan in my head – like what to write about topic A, B, C or D; how to rearrange the furniture, what colour to paint the grille, who I can bribe into helping with stuff, list goes on and on…
Aiyoo!! Like this ah, I’d better become a famous writer la. So at least lepaking somewhere people watching can be termed “doing research”. And I can write all the merapu meraban ideas I have all day long. Wow! Bestnyer… Except if my publisher starts bugging me for the new manuscript la…
Poof! Daydream over… Oi! Get back to work la… He he he…
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
360g tepung gandum
90g gula halus
120g tepung jagung
badam -> inti
125g cooking chocolate + 1 tbsp shortening
badam hancur (almond nibs) -> hiasan
Bakar badam dulu! Easiest - roast dalam microwave 2 minit sahaja. Unfortunately results vary according to microwave. But the timing lebih kurang cam tu la.
1. Ayak tepung bersama garam dan tepung jagung
2. Putar mentega dan gula sehingga sebati -> jgn lama sgt
3. Masukkan esen vanila
4. Masukkan tepung sedikit-sedikit dan uli hingga adunan sebati dan tidak lekat pada jari. Jangan keras sangat.
5. Balut inti badam dengan tepung. Bakar 18-20 minit pada suhu 190°C. Sejukkan.
6. Cairkan coklat (use double boil technique, pls). Celupkan biskut dan masukkan ke dalam cawan kertas. Hias dengan badam hancur.
Customer service hotline: My Handphone la.
Selamat mencuba!! :-D
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Friday, October 07, 2005
The car stopped, but the driver made no attempt to come out and make sure he was all right. The boy was upright and the Merc happily drove off. From across the street, I thought the boy looked dazed. He was pacing and agitated. Well, the lights were red for a long time… I felt sorry for him and offered him a ride. He had hurt himself and I didn’t want him to kill himself trying to get a cab; which I discovered was the reason he didn’t see the car coming in the first place. Dropped him off in PBD, where he said his parents would pick him up. He insisted on getting off at the traffic lights, which was green, and was so kan-cheong crossing to the side that I almost ran over him. Geez! Didn’t anyone tell him not to cross in front of a vehicle??
The drive was a little strange. The kid went to Int school and was surprised I spoke English well. Je parlais Francais aussi, mon ami (voice dripping with sarcasm). He was nervous and acted like I was going to kidnap him or something. Goodness, don’t you know any un-rich people? And why the heck didn’t the car driver offer any assistance? The kid could have had a concussion, for heaven’s sake! What if it happened to someone they loved? This is just one of the things that disturb me sometimes.
A friend once blacked out in a crowded LRT and no one actually took the trouble to ask if she was all right! It’s a sad state of affairs… Malaysians need to move forward in caring for each other, because sometimes I think only our common love for food is holding the country together. Racism is rife, and trust is an alien word. Government campaigns are more often than not ineffective.
So what can we do? How can Malaysia grow into a true nation? I’m no politician, but I do know this, I don’t want it to turn into a place where the selfish take over and hearts are hardened by fear and mistrust. I know that caring Malaysians still exist, so there still is hope. Let’s make caring our way of life, as it was, and always should be…
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Monday, October 03, 2005
Saturday morning went to check out the MDC Water Sports Festival. P was nowhere to be found when I arrived. The DJ/MC sounded exactly like P, even though he looked different from afar. Assumed he was pulling my leg and was deejaying instead of rowing. Since phone had suddenly gone bonkers, I couldn’t call him and decided to just lepak at the jetty. The races were pretty good, a lot of events and well orchestrated. Cheered for whichever team I fancied, chatted with some of the other spectators, basically just enjoying the time out. Went over to the MC station before I left only to find that the MC was some Indian fella. Eh…?? Stared long and hard; just in case he was wearing a disguise or something. In the end concluded that it was NOT him and went off. But the vocal similarity was really freaky!
Spent the rest of the weekend in Kuala Selangor for an MNS event. The turnout wasn’t so great, so it was a bit of a waste. But we had a good seafood dinner and it was good meeting up the other volunteers. Got home Sunday afternoon, took a nap, and then went on a shopping spree for birthday prezzies for the whole family… had put it off since Abah’s birthday in May!
Had to give Zaki’s housewarming a miss – pity, heard it was a blast!
Got to Abang’s by seven, ate, gave out the goodies and played with my 2 nieces before I went off at nine. Should spend more time with family la… Anis and Aina are so clever, and the little one’s already two… how time flies. Got home and had to sort out more stuff before I conked out.
And today, a new week stretches ahead… My task list has ballooned during the weekly update meeting and there’ll be more MNS meetings this week. Sigh. I really have to catch up with my work, I’m so far behind it’s scary.
There’s loads of housework to be done as well. Always tried to share the burden but somehow end up doing everything myself. Dirt, grime and messiness always drive me nuts and unfortunately someone is taking advantage of my impatience. Ignore it long enough and I’ll be cleaning it in the middle of the night after a long day at work and stuff. Not fair, and I hate it, but I need the house to be clean and I can’t kick out the other person for being oblivious to the basics of good housekeeping. Do I sound angry? Yes, I’m angry. I’m tired of taking care of things while the other person comes home and relaxes. I feel like the maid sometimes. I know I have more fun and good friends; I love my life, I love the house, but being the maid sucks!
So this week is catching up with work week. Hope to get everything straightened out during this puasa month. To all Muslims, Selamat Menyambut Ramadhan al-Mubarak. May Allah bless us all :-)