Archive for December, 2010

Koh Phangan #4: Muay Thai

image

Last night we went down to Haad Rin for an awesome night of Muay Thai fighting. Having never seen it before live, it was insane to say the least!
In the one fight, it looked like the local champion actually broke the Koh Samui champion’s leg.
Once again, my luck was against me and halfway back after the fights, my scooter’s back tire got a puncture. After pushing it for about two kilometres, eventually one of the locals stopped and offered to take me back to the resort. It took some haggling, but he agreed to 600 Baht for the lift, but at that stage after pushing it so far already, I probably would have paid anything.
Of course, this morning we had to get the scooter back to where we hired them and paid 200 Baht for a new tube after having paid 500 to get it there. So at the end of the day, my puncture cost 1300 Baht (about R400).
After that, we took a awesome drive through the jungle to a remote village called Thong Nai Pan and found an awesome little stuck away arts shop to get some gifts. Needless to say as with the rest of the island, the views were amazing!
For now though, its time to relax and catch a nap in preparation for tonight.


Koh Phangan #3: Just Cruising

image

It’s been a busy two days of driving around on our scooters and checking out stuff around the island. Of course, going with the trend so far, something had to go wrong.
Today a swarm of some insects (that I wasn’t going to try identify since I was fleeing for my life) attacked me when I stopped on the side of the road to take some photos.
I ended up getting stung twice and to say it was painful is a major understatement. It wasn’t long before that subsided and I was fine though, after Alex managed to pull out the, almost centimetre long, stingers that is.
We did manage to cruise around almost the whole island, except the east side which we couldn’t fit in with everything else. We also managed to see Phaeng Waterfall and got to the viewpoint on top of the hill, before a big tour group started coming up, which was really cool, although the cloudy day spoiled it only a bit.
We also scouted the Haad Rin beach a bit before we pitch up for tomorrow’s New Years Full Moon Party.
On the plus side, we did manage to locate the location of the Half-moon Festival and find the lost room key which is always good…


Koh Phangan #2: Half Moon Festival

image

I had my first and last Bucket(s) last night at an epic party called the Half Moon Festival. It’s a huge party on the mountain in the jungle here on the island.
That said sometime in the night, I lost our room key and Alex got ripped by paying 600 Baht for a scooter ride back. To put it into perspective, I paid 100 Baht for my ride back. Why did we catch separate lifts? Well I passed out and he couldn’t find me.
So that is why I said my first and last bucket…
Regardless, it was an awesome party and I hope the New Year Full Moon Party is just as awesome. And since I decided to lose the key, we spent the night sleeping on the porch of our room until the reception opened in the morning, which really made me popular.
But besides that, today we got our scooters and as only I could do, after 5 minutes or so, I crashed it when I hit some gravel while turning. No it wasn’t damaged, but I got a few cuts and scratches on my hand and leg. It’s been cool since then though and we cruised around the island a bit before coming back for a swim and to just chill a bit. While out we came across a guy selling everything from petrol to cooldrink to mushrooms.
Anyway that’s all for now, I am gonna catch a quick power-nap before doing heading out tonight


Koh Phangan #1: The holiday officially starts!

image

It’s been two days of travel – four plane rides, one night in Bangkok, one very wet catamaran ride and a trip on the back of some converted bakkie that is the local taxi – but we are here in Koh Phangan and the place we are staying is to put it simply – AWESOME :)
After dropping everyone else that was in the taxi off, there were some doubts about the place. The one place we saw was called Charm Resort and it was anything but that.
I can’t guarantee that I’ll be doing anymore blogging for the next six days, so for now goodbye…


Thailand Baby #6: Koh Samui

image

I’m beginning to think that shaving my hair before flying here was a bad idea. Every time I have gone through a security check point, I have been called to one side and have been searched by hand. Damn profiling!
But regardless, we have arrived at Koh Samui and are waiting for the ferry to Koh Phangan. Sometime in this week we have to come back here, because there are some cool things to do like a canopy tour over the jungle and ATV tours.
But for now, the plan is to get to Koh Phangan and get rid of our bags so we can go get out and do the tourist thing.


Thailand Baby #5: At Long Last

Enjoy Authentic Thai Cuisine on Board - Ayutth...

Image by whl.travel via Flickr

After more than 24 hours of travel, we have arrived in Thailand, although we’re pretty tired and have to get up again at 5am to catch the next flight.

We have just had our first taste of Thai food and it was pretty awesome. The intention is to eat stuff I would never normally eat. Tonight it was “ginger fried chicken sweet”, or that’s the direct translation anyway. My taste buds are spinning outta control, but it was pretty awesome.

The one problem so far is trying to communicate, granted it’s probably better than some other countries but when I asked for a glass of Coke, I got a empty glass. Note to self: keep it simple, just ask for Coke :P

After minimal sleep on the plane, today is just a chill out before the actual fun begins…

Since all I had was 20 Baht (20 minutes access), this is going to be a really quick update. The other hoptels have free wireless, so should be able to post more then.

That’s all for now.


Thailand Baby! #4: JHB

image

So here we are, checked in, we are through customs and now sitting in the smoking lounge (you suck Alex). It’s really happening! In less than 24 hours we’ll be on the other side of customs in Thailand (hopefully).

Things seem to be going well so far. PE-Jhb flight went ahead of schedule, customs was a breeze, and the flight is on time.

The question is what do I do for the next two hours? I’m sure it’s gonna fly by…


Thailand Baby! #3: No Going Back

image

The day had arrived. We’ve got our boarding passes and are waiting for them to call our flight out over the loudspeaker.

A hour and a bit flight to Johannesburg. A four hour wait before a nine hour flight to Dubai, followed by a hour layover. Then it’s the last six hour flight to our destination – Thailand Baby!

Also while I’m at it, even though Port Elizabeth Airport is now international, it still sucks! And Primi Caffe is seriously bad, your coffee is shit and your service even worse


Thailand Baby! #2: One More Sleep…

image

Panic!
That sums up my night…

My impulsive and procrastinating nature really bite me in the ass at times. Sure it may be balanced out by my need for control and chaotic organisation, but my paranoia makes it really interesting.
I know what I’m gonna pack about a week before, but leave it to the last night before I decide to pack. Then while I pack, my impulsiveness kicks in and I start changing things. Then when I’m done, I keep thinking I’ve forgotten something…

I know I’m ready; all that remains is to set my alarms and pack the last few things in the morning (toiletries and chargers, etm).

Fuck I’m excited! Did I mention that? Well I really am, I hope I sleep okay… my mind is spinning out of control!

No promises, but I’ll try put updates here if I get a chance!


Thailand Baby! #1: One week left (almost)

MUC BCN

Image by Rakeman via Flickr

1 Week                        20 Hours

That is how long it is until I climb on the plane from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg. After a short stop in Dubai, I take the last step on my first visit to the “land of smiles” – Thailand.

I’d like to say I have all my shit sorted out and that I am prepared; I’ve read all the travel sites out there: Lonely Planet (incl Thorntree), Trip Advisor, and the multitudes of other sites that you would read if you were trying to prepare yourself. It worked pretty well for my UK trip and even for trips around my own country. It’s the geek in me, that need for trying to be prepared by mining the net for information. It’s that need for control, geeks need to be in control, it’s part of who we are.

That’s how Thailand is screwing me over. Everything I’ve read and everthing I’ve been told, leads me to a conclusion that control is not a word to be used when travelling Thailand and that I’m just gonna go with it and not even try. I’ve done all I can, now it’s just a matter of getting there and making the best of it.


World War 3? The Cyberwar for Control of the Internet

Original Post (8 December 2010, 17:15 UTC)

As of this post, a silent war involving thousands and thousands is happening, but it isn’t the war you were expecting. It’s the war around WikiLeaks and Julian Assange (See my previous post, “WikiWhat?“, for more details on that story). Who knew how just how exciting this would turn out to be? It’s a geek’s dream come true!! *excited*

At 16:22 UTCAnonOps tweeted the following:

As of 16:45 UTC, bother mastercard.com and anonops.net were down:

Paypal has been attacked in the last day or so, as was PostFinance, WikiLeak’s previous bank, but were not bought down, as in Mastercard‘s case and lawyers on both sides of the Assange case have been attacked.

This is the war for the internet baby and you might as well sit back and enjoy it. Massive botnets are attacking each other and the websites mentioned. I ,for one, am getting the popcorn ready :)

Read the article that isnpired this post here: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/12/avenging-wikileaks-anonymous-hackers-takes-mastercard-site/

Update 1 (9 December 2010 – 8:00 UTC)

Visa is the next company to feel the wrath of Operation Payback being run by AnonOps. This was at 7:40 UTC

However anonops.net is also experiencing issues of their own, their website is struggling and their Twitter account has been suspended.

Have a look at this YouTube video for MSNBC‘s report on Operation Payback & WikiLeaks:

These articles also shed some light on the matter in more detail:

This is getting more exciting, as there are rumours that twitter.com is next. Will miss it, but it’s so much fun :)

Update 2 (9 December 2010 – 15:00 UTC)

The latest buzz today with this was AnonOps releasing their Manifesto as below:

But the very lastest on the internet, is that at 16:00 UTC, Amazon will be targeted for the next DDoS attack and while it may not bring the giant down, it will cause some major bandwidth & financial issues.

Related Articles


WikiWhat?

Logo used by Wikileaks

Image via Wikipedia

Most of us wouldn’t have heard of WikiLeaks up until a few weeks ago, then all hell broke loose. As it stands today, wikileaks.org, the original website is down and founder Julian Assange, has been arrested and denied bail by the British authorities, after a European Arrest Warrant was issued by Sweden in an alleged sexual assault investigation. I have to admit, that up until the last week or so, I knew very little about WikiLeaks. I knew they existed, but besides knowing what they did, knew very little else. That was until 28 November 2010.

WikiLeaks started announcing from the 22 November 2010, via Twitter that they would be releasing cables from a collection of over 250,000 leaked United States embassy cables, in what is the largest set of secret and confidential documents to have ever been released into the public domain. Even just before the scheduled release of the the cables, there were DDoS attacks on their servers, which were alleged to have caused an additional 4-6 Gb/s of traffic to their site. The release went ahead as scheduled though with an initial 243 cables being released, along with simultaneous press coverage from El País (Spain), Le Monde (France), Der Spiegel (Germany), The Guardian (United Kingdom), and The New York Times (United States). The plan is to release the cables over an extended period, for their full effect to be felt. Since the start, they have been releasing a steady flow of cables, with a break recently, possibly as a result of their various issues.

Browsing the cables available is a bit of a nightmare but The Guardian has an really awesome interactive database of all the cables released so far, which splits them into several categories and sub-categories. The actual cables are available to read and some of them are pretty scary stuff,  with many international and domestic issues covered, ranging from nuclear weapons to the financial crisis and even specific characteristics of ministers and diplomats.

Since the first cables were released, PayPal, Mastercard and Visa have stopped payments to WikiLeaks and Swiss Bank Post Finance have closed their accounts. Yet each of them maintain it is nothing to do with politics, and have some bullshit story about it violates rules, blah, blah. On top of this several other companies have begun distancing themselves from WikiLeaks, including Amazon; even Twitter seems to have censored their trending topics.

Their founder and editor-in-chief, Julian Assange, has also had a really bad day at the office. It started with the news that Sweden were looking into issuing a warrant for his arrest. He later turned himself in to British authorities and was subsequently denied bail, and will be jailed until 14 December 2010 for his extradition hearing. According to The Guardian article:

The first complainant, a Miss A, said she was the victim of “unlawful coercion” on the night of 14 August in Stockholm. The court heard Assange was alleged to have “forcefully” held her arms and used his bodyweight to hold her down. The second charge alleged he “sexually molested” her by having sex without using a condom, when it was her “express wish” that one should be used.

A third charge claimed Assange “deliberately molested” Miss A on 18 August.

A fourth charge, relating to a Miss W, alleged that on 17 August, he “improperly exploited” the fact she was asleep to have sex with her without a condom

Am I the only one that thinks that sounds a bit dodgy? If it is in fact not just trumped up charges, which I think they are, I apologise, but seriously? The US are also waiting for this to finish, so that they can find some charge from the US Espionage Act or something that will stick, but will be difficult due to their First Amendment.

As a contrast, and while I understand that it is by no means the actual winner, as it stands, he is the current favourite in TIME’s 2010 Person of the Year poll with a average of 91 out of 100 rating. Reuters even wrote an article about him today which illustrates the mixed feelings about the man. WikiLeaks has turned out not to be just one man, as they have promised to continue releasing cables as time goes by. They have not left themselves vulnerable I might add either; a heavily encrypted 1.4GB file was released via torrent and has been downloaded by thousands of supporters and if they feel they are losing the battle and are unable to hold against the pressure, a key will be released which will open the flood gates.

The whole saga has turned into The People vs several world Goverments and their puppet Corporations. I won’t even try guess where this is going but things will never be the same after the dust settles. The amount of information out there is mind-boggling and my intention of this post is to simply show what I have found and to make some sense of it… which is appearing impossible I might add. Today alone there were at one stage nearly 3000 sources covering the stories relating to WikiLeaks or Julian Assange and as of 7 December 2010, at 20:12 GMT, Wikileaks was mirrored on 1005 sites.

Will it turn out to be nothing but a huge bubble? I definitely don’t know, but it’s one hell of ride to be on.

Interesting Links


The World Is F***ed #2: Ayobaaaaargh

Recently I find myself listening to 5fm, a national radio station, and as with any commercial station, they have lots of adverts. Generally I can handle the severe lack of creativity in advertising, but when they start taking me for an idiot, it pisses me off to no end.

Even though there are plenty of candidates, such as annoying old lady trying to tell me to use some ripoff premium rate cell service, when google would get me more useful info, or the one with the lame “gamer” guy reading off a whole bunch of geeky terms, which only tend to highlight how clueless they are, but those don’t make me want to commit murder.

That honour goes to MTN‘s Ayoba campaign and their advertising team deserve a special corner in hell for it. I can’t even remember how long it has been around, but it has always just pissed me off. Not that I hated the word itself, it was a perfectly valid slang word before MTN raped it, chained it up and made it their bitch!

It started getting to me during the World Cup, when they blasted it at us from every angle, at every opportunity. I thought that would be the end of it, but no, they decided to see how much they could milk it. Now they have the two cricket ads on radio, where they have this whole shpiel between Ayobaman and Randomcricketguy. Ayobaman is asking Randomcricketguy what you call it when something happens and then proceeds to call it Ayoba, see below for examples:

  1. Ayobaman asks what you call it when a batsmen hits a ball over the boundary without bouncing in the field. According to cricket rules, this is a “six”, but Ayobaman and MTN want us to call it “Ayoba”.
  2. Next up, Ayobaman asks us why cricketers say “howzat” and then goes on to suggest that we shout “ayoba” instead.
  3. There was one a while back asking what its called when a guy gets hit in the nutsack or something and this time it was “not ayoba”

If we carry on with MTN’s plans to substitute every single cricket term with ayoba or not ayoba, I would hate to see what would happen. I could carry on moaning about the shit campaign they are running, but that would just be cruelty to myself…


Brains! A Zombie History Lesson

Hawt Zombies :)

I have always been a fan of zombies, but only recently has my interest “risen from the dead” so to speak, and I actually even look for the cheesiest movies out there to satisfy my cravings. Zombies have now become an obsession of sorts for me.

BRAINS!!

Zombies are rooted deep in history, back as far as the 1700s, but the zombie as we know it probably originated in the early twentieth century. Writers such as HP Lovecraft dabbled in tales of the undead, but the turning point in the American version of the zombie culture was the 1932 film, White Zombie. There is a story about how, during  political unrest in Haiti (this was about 1915), a mob of  citizens showed their anger towards the government, which had murdered over 150 political prisoners. They did this by catching a certain general, tearing his limbs from his body and then displayed across the city as a warning. This escalated things which led to USA’s intervention. The possibility exists that these events led to some sort of rumours, all starting from the news that was reaching the US. Sound very zombie?

During the 30’s up until the Great Depression the Voodoo zombie dominated despite HP Lovecraft’s stories of the undead. In the 40’s horror had started to reach its saturation point in film and the comedy zombie tried to rear its ugly head. This is probably due to the war and the fact that woman and children were the target market and zombies didn’t go down too well. During the 50’s the alien zombie and atomic zombie popped up but very few of these films were really worth watching unless you are a huge fan (like me).

Then George Andrew Romero came along and wrote and directed his first movie called Night of the Living Dead, which he independently produced as well in 1968. This movie started the new direction in zombie that took hold in the 70’s ending in Romero’s follow up Dawn of the Dead in 1978. He portrayed zombies as undead, rotting corpses and the idea stuck. While you would recognise the zombies in White Zombie, there is no mistaking the difference between the two. It is well known fact that Romero’s zombie movies were a social commentary on life at the time of their release as well from the chaotic 60’s to the consumerism in the 70’sand so on. Strangely enough io9.com did research a while back which resulted in an article: War and Social Upheaval Cause Spikes in Zombie Movie Production. Of course, as is true with any study done, especially one on the interwebs, results can always show what we want them to. A lot of the zombie films of the late 60′s and 70′s were very cool and worth looking into.

In the 80’s the Italians took over the zombie genre while Hollywood went all slasher-crazy. A conversation with a friend of mine recently though, led to an argument over the idea that Jason Vorhees of Friday the 13th fame was in actual fact, a super-zombie… thoughts? Not to say the 80’s never had it share of brilliant movies, but nothing revolutionary. This went on into the 90’s before zombies decided to shift to video games. In 1996, Capcom released a game in Japan called Biohazard, which became Resident Evil in Europe and the US and Sega also release a shooter called House of the Dead. At around about the same time, a movie called Scream gave horror in general, a shot in the arm and saw renewed interest in the classic horrors including zombie films. As in the 80’s hundreds of movies were made, many good, but more that were plain crap.

In the new millennium, Hollywood seemed to take interest in some big budget zombie-based movies ending up in a new set of Romero films, a series of Resident Evil films based on the 90′s video game, 28 Days Later (which spawned a sequel and comic book) and more like 2006’s Fido and 2009’s Zombieland . The new millennium seemed to like the viral zombie more than any other.

EDIT: As pointed out to me in the comments I forgot to mention 2004′s Shaun of the Dead from Simon Pegg.

To really appreciate the world of zombies you have to watch the good (The Dead series, Fido, Zombieland) with the (not so bad) low budget masterpieces like Zombie StrippersZombies! Zombies! Zombies. They are awesome!!! No matter how cheap or how bad the acting is, I take satisfaction that never ever will Hollywood be able to take zombies and turn it into a romantic piece of crap (think Twilight *vomit*), so I take the bad acting and everything that sucks in it’s stride.

There is a recent gem I came across, the Japanese movie, Kyonyū doragon: Onsen zonbi vs storippaa, or if you prefer its English translation, Big Tits Zombie… I can’t joke about that, even translating the actual Japanese title gives you the title: Big Dragon Zombie Strippers. And let me tell you this one has it all, geisha zombies, schoolgirl zombies, samurai zombies and even a stripper who becomes a zombie with a fire breathing razor toothed snatch.

Zombies in printed media have stuck more or less to the idea of Romero’s undead zombie and the modern viral as opposed to the voodoo zombie. Max Brooks‘ awesome book, World War Z is a crowning achievement for the printed world of the zombie in my opinion, as it actually explores what happens to governments and the average person in a crisis such as the zombie apocalypse and as the full title suggests, is “an oral history of the zombie war”. This is followed closely by Stephen King’s The Cell and Max Brooks’ other novel, The Zombie Survival Guide. There are others, such as the mash up novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but have a look at The Buyer’s Guide to Zombie Books for the good ones.

The most notable printed form of zombie right now, has to be The Walking Dead monthly comic book series, published by Image Comics. It has resulted in a TV series produced by AMC and has secured the rights for a second season with 13 episodes. Reception for the TV series has been pretty good, but as of episode five, aired a few days before this post, has started deviating from the comic book series, which could be a good or bad thing. Time will tell how successful the series turns out to be, but I hope it isn’t screwed up by the writers and producers, because I have recently started reading the comic and it rocks.

While doing some research for this post, I also discovered that World War Z is being made into a movie, starring Brad Pitt.

BRAINS!!!!!

Related Articles


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 203 other followers