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RANDTS will last a thousand years.

- Albert


Surprisingly nobody's posted about our favorite comedian on RANDTS so heres a clip from his DVD.


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I watched Oprah today. And there was this guy, Rabbi Shmutley (or something like that) who is the host af a reality show, "Shalom In The House", who specialises in bringing peace into homes of families hit by a crisis or crises.

And while he was dispensing his advice to this family, and to the viewers alike, something he said hit me. Hard.

"Your kids will have plenty of friends. But they will only have one father and one mother. So step up and be that parent!"

It seemed like he was encouraging parents to become authority figures and disciplinarians and stop at that. Now, if he did suggest that, I have to disagree.

I'd rather have parents whom I respect and whom I can be friends with, all at the same time. And I am extremely lucky to have that.

I can't imagine having parents who are disconnected from me, as a person. I can't imagine being scared to talk to my parents about just about anything.

You see, if my parents are like that, I wouldn't have these luxuries. I wouldn't have been given the freedom to choose what I want to do with my life or the freedom to choose my friends or the iPod that I want or anything else. In a nutshell, I might have to ask permission to even talk.

But then again, I can't say much about parenting as I don't have the experience...yet. But when I do, I want my kids to respect me and be my friends, all at the same time.

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Sorry for not posting for a while. After watching Comrade post about anime, it sort of struck me than I have to post something since someone else is posting anime (which is something that I promised to post about when I first entered RANDTS). So I'm gonna review about an anime called "Darker than Black"



Darker than Black is an anime television series produced by Tensai Okamura & the anime studio "Bones". It was released recently in Japan & so far there latest episode is episode 3.

The story is set in an alternate reality of the Japan that we know. In the city of Tokyo, things are not what they seem. People with strange powers start appearing. People are being murdered.
And the government is try to cover it up. It all started with the construction of the wall surrounding the city known only as Hell's Gate which causes the city to lose it's original sky.

In the first episode, we are introduced to a guy in blond hair who seems to be running from the cops.

As he finds a dead end, the cops rush in to arrest him. Just when the cops think they have the upper hand, the guy uses his special powers....

...and manages to escape. The police then realized he is a Contractor, people who posse special powers which they gained ever since the construction of the wall, Hell's Gates. The police did some researh & found out his identity. He is known as Rui, an agent that was connected with the French foreign affairs department. His ability is to control gravity. His Messier Code is known as GR544. He manage to fly to a building & decided to lay low for a while

* I haven't really gotten the facts right but it seems that all contractors have to sacrifice something in order to obtain their powers like losing their emotions or doing a certain task. Once they made their contract, when they use their powers, it seems that a star in the sky will appear & the stars represent the user. If the person dies, it becomes a shooting star. Taking Rui as an example, every time he uses his powers, he has to break a finger in order to seal the agreement.

*Rui about to break his fingers. This scene really looks painful.

*Rui glad that its all over...huh...huh..

Just when Rui was about to take a break, he head a voice saying "So that's the price you have to pay for you contract, huh?. It must be tough" Rui turns to look around & noticed that he was being watched by a Doll, a similar version of a Contractor only less human emotions. He tries to escaped but then another contractor shows up. Rui tries to use his powers agains him but he fails to hurt the contractor & gets pin down.

After Rui gets pin down, the contractors asks him where is the "stuff" but Rui refuses to tell. Then the contractor decides to give Rui some pain by hitting the guy at the same place where he just broke his finger. Finally he mentioned that the stuff was with a woman & said that if the contractor told him who was he working for, he might be able to get the stuff for you. (basically he was trying to buy himself out) Then the contractor gave him a punch in the face & demands that he tell him where is the women.

The contractor then ask the doll whose name is Yin how long will the police arrive. Since the police was about to arrive soon, the contractor whose name was Hei decided to kill Rui as he despised Contractors. Don't know why he hates contractors since he is a contractor himself.

*Yin, the Doll

Hei : I despise Contractors...{sound of breaking skull}

Once the police arrived, Rui was dead & the contractor was long gone. In the board room of the police station, they discussed about Rui, his background & the mysterious contractor known only as BK201 or the cursed Contractor. Then they found out the identity of the girl Rui mentioned. Her name was Shinoda Chiaki whose been missing for two weeks & they stole some important information regarding Hell's Gate. In their book, the existence of the Contractors & the truth behind Hell's Gate must not be told to anyone especially the society. Anyone who knows about it will have their memories erased. The task of finding the girl & this cursed Contractors is in the hands of a detective named Misaki Kirihara who is determined to solve the case.

*Shinoda Chiaki

*Inspector Misaki Kirihara who has a strong sense of justice

Meanwhile the cursed Contractor known as Hei is living a double life as a pleasant & innocent looking foreign exchange student from China by the name of Li Shunsheng. He decides to rent an apartment where the missing girl Shinoda Chiaki happens to be hiding. Both of them meet but all they could do was nod their head as a greeting. The reason the police haven't found the girl yet because she has disguised herself & worked at a night club serving beers to the customers.

*The exchange student from China, Li Shunsheng

*See the difference between the picture above & below? Women sure look different after they put on their make up. Wonder is that true?

Although her disguise was perfect, soon the police manage to find her. She then escapes the policemen & stumbles upon Li aka Hei who was watching the stars. Li noticed she was in trouble & thought of a good idea to keep them from searching...by pretending to be lovers & making out by a tree....

*Making out XD

Once the police left the area, Chiaki thanked Li & immediately left. Li just stared at her with cold eyes as she left. Somehow the police still manage to find her & she was on the run again. {Not again!} When she was hiding by a crate, someone came from behind & grabbed her. She wanted to scream but she realized it was Jean, who is a partner of Rui, the other Contractor who died earlier. Chiaki wanted to ask about Rui but Jean said that we have no time to discuss & asked where is the stuff. Chiaki said that she promised Rui to never tell anyone, not even Jean. So Jean suddenly grabbed her & smothered her with a chloroformed cloth. Fortunately Li was there & hit Jean with his telescope & ran with Chiaki. The ran until a bridge & stopped for awhile. Chiaki was gonna ask why did Li save her but before she could get a straight answer, Jean shows up. To her surprise, Jean was a Contractor! Jean makes an entrance & knocks Li off the flyover to get run over by the train. Then he continues what he did to Chiaki earlier & she lost consciousness....

*Chiaki surprised by appearing

*Chiaki about to pass out

*Li saves the girl & escapes together with Chiaki

*Jean makes a shocking but cool entrance

*Li gets thrown off the fly over by Jean

When Chiaki regained consciousness, she noticed she was in a room with three other guys. Jean explained to Chiaki that Rui was dead & he was a Contractor like him. Jean was about to force her to tell him where is the stuff when the lights when out. The security lock on the door short circuited & Chiaki manage to get out. They tried to go after her but they were distracted by a cat who attacked them for no reason. She manages to escape & happen to stumble Li again. Their eyes meet & they embraced.

* Three guys around a square table having a chat & probably a cup of tea?

*Light go out & security lock gets short circuit

*Bad guys get assaulted by a bad ass cat

*Chiaki feels relieved & embraces him

Overall the first episode was quite interesting. It has a very dark & mysterious atmosphere through out the anime. It left the viewers with lots of questions about what is the secret about Hell's Gate & what does it have to do with the Contractors & Dolls. The animation is also well done especially all the special powers that the characters execute. Can't wait to see the second episode. Hope that this series will be a great one to remember & worth being a collection. Till my next post, I wish everyone will have a great day & leave a comment if your not too busy. (^__^)

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Nowadays, I find that people have been very stressed up, including myself. Just recently, I have been stressed to the point of breaking down (in fact, I did). No, I'm not stressed about the environment, but rather the workload. I couldn't imagine why would our lecturers love to give so many assignments towards the end of the semester with similar deadlines. Worst of all, they cramped up all the tests to the same week as the assignment deadlines, so imagine having four tests in two days, maybe five?

[Stress] should never be the reason to bug you in whatever way possible.

But I'm really thankful that there are people who came to me and comforted me; one even offered to pray for me. At these moments, you will really treasure the people who care for you. It is at these moments that you will actually find out who your friends really are. Yet, I don't take these moments as an opportunity to test them.

People get stressed for different reasons. Some, like me, are stressed up because of the workload and the rushing deadlines; some are stressed due to relationship problems, family crises, peer pressure and so on. But come to think about it, are they really worth stressing you up? Not really, in fact, unless you allow them to do so and unless you don't know how to manage the stress. Having some stress is good for us mentally and emotionally, but seriously, it is actually not worth bugging you all the time. Knowing how to manage stress, for whatever reasons, may be the key towards looking at things in a more wider scope.

Stress can be our best friend, at the same time being our worst enemy. It can function to motivate us, yet greatly discourage us. Once again, it is down to how you handle stress. Whether the stress you are facing gives you a positive or negative outcome, it should never be left alone, and it should never be the reason to bug you in whatever way possible.

Different people have different methods of "de-stressing" themselves. It is good to get rid of stress once in a while, or more often, when you feel that this stress is taking a toll on you. Personally, I would recommend the following ways:

  1. Talk to your close friends. This could be the best method to get rid of stress. Talking to a close buddy of yours allows you to share your problems and seek help if necessary. Sometimes what you need at that moment is just a comforting word. If you feel like it, ask some friends and go for an outing at some local mamak stall!
  2. Exercising. Go for a jog, or a swim, to the gymnasium or even cycling! Exercising can really help you get rid of stress and allow you to keep things that you don't want to think about out of your head.
  3. Listen to music. Some people love to listen to songs like Daniel Powter's "Bad Day" because it seems to really turn your bad moments into good ones. Well, based on the mood of the song, that seems like it. Some people would listen to some happy and exciting songs to instil some happiness in them. But personally, when I'm stressed or unhappy about something, I would turn on my instrumental collection and select even some of the most doleful, heart-rending or angry-sounding pieces to listen. For me, these pieces help me indirectly express my current emotions and level of stress. For those whose ears are sharp, they can understand how I feel based on my music.
  4. Prayers. You may not be a very religious person, so if you don't do prayers, even some meditation will help. However, I would encourage that you try to pray besides just meditating. Not only will you find comfort, at the same time you build your relationship with the Almighty One. Sometimes, your best friend during hard times is the Unseen One (in fact, at all times).
  5. (This one suits girls most) Shopping. Yes! Nothing can be more satisfying than to do go shopping in your local shopping mall and spend some money to buy some things you like! But, be warned! Though you may really enjoy spending, you might end up having double the stress, especially financial stress! Budget your spending and you will be able to enjoy your shopping without worrying about your financial status, at the same time relieving your stress.

On a more personal level, I don't recommend you to play computer games like the "renowned" Counter Strike and Defence of the Ancients (DotA). Well, not that you can't play it to have fun, but some people just can't accept defeat, so instead of releasing stress, they get extra stress. If you have stress that will cause you to break down at any moment, playing computer games just won't help much.

This is just a rough guide to how you can handle stress. There are many other ways of course, depending on your own taste. The methods I listed above are just some that I practise myself or have observed other people doing so.

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Recently I have been really stressed out and going mad with all the things going around me. Things seem to be moving so fast that I'm starting to act very weirdly. Must be the influence of all the crazy things going around. *pauses to think*

So weird is my mood nowadays that I have began to develop new obsessions. Besides my crazy stint with jazz lately. Despite the busy weeks and killer deadlines I have to meet weekly, I was happy that I got to play drums for an annual event lately. *grins* and for the first time in my life, I tried my hand at jazz drumming... It was such a cooooool experience!!! *grinning to the point of insanity* Anyways, I'd better get to the point soon before you guys start yelling "Enough about the damn jazz already!" that is, if you are not interested in jazz.

Alright, about my weird obsession. Believe it or not, I have been going online daily to download something weird, and I have a pretty huge collection of it now. I guess this revelation would probably draw some form of persecution from certain parties who think they know me well. Honestly, I don't know since when I turned to this "obsession" or why. Perhaps it is because it provides me some form of... erm... satisfaction (in want of a better word). But I guess it's not wrong to have such interests, even older people still do. Well, do tell me what you think about my new obsession...

Well, actually I go online everyday just to download...




























Oldies
(yeah, those really old songs)... and I seem to really love listening to them that it seems freaky to me. Maybe I'm just going crazy or I'm just missing someone way too much *sobs*

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The truth is the Windows Media Player (WM Player) is a mediocre piece of junk software.

It can play DVDs, videos and music but really doesn't support most formats. Open source formats are rendered unreadable. Forget about playing any media found on Wikipedia. We video download junkies will also be disappointed by WM Player's rigidity as it cannot play most video formats without a third party plug-in. Even with a plug-in some video files won't play. As for DVDs it only gives fair quality.

Unfortunately even the popular Realplayer has the same problems. Quicktime for Windows is even worse, be ready for that software to wreck your day as it can play almost nothing.

With so much disappointment in store I wonder why those three media players are so popular. Are people just ignorant? Now we know about the major disadvantages of the big three Windows media software, what should we do? Enter the free and excellent GOM Player.


While browsing through Lifehacker I found this gem of a media player called GOM Player. Being able to play almost any media format thrown at it what more do you want. Enough of frustratingly searching for a way to play your files. No more downloading multiple codec packs for your needs. Without codec packs, computer resources will be conserved, giving you more opportunity to multi-task programmes.

GOM player even has a very sleek interface with tonnes of controls to tweak your media experience. Ever thought of buying a pro version of Realplayer for all the controls? Ignore that wish! Why choose Realplayer Pro when I can't play every format out there? Get GOM Player and never regret it.

Something else I noticed is that GOM Player has all the aesthetics and yet makes a small footprint on computer resources. Added to that choppy video performance caused by computer overuse resource will be compensated by GOM.

Previously I was using VLC Player to play "uncommon" media formats. It was decent as it played every format out there. But, being still in beta it had many minor usability issues. Furthermore it didn't have a sleek appearance. VLC player looked like a nerds invention where the person shows no creativity at all. Imagine the fastest car in the world that looked like a bishop's nose. GOM player repaired all of VLC Player's flaws while taking all its advantages.

Get GOM Player by clicking here. To find out more about GOM click here.


With GOM player now I found the holy grail of media players. An ultra-versatile player that looks simply gorgeous. What more will you need? Anyway I don't like to use media players to play my music so I use Winamp for my songs but that's a different subject.....

~multum in parvo~

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Random Rants

Although I've been having quite a hard time trying to have a conversation with people, there were a few who came over to me and actually asked me a few things which I responded. Eventually the conversation became so interesting that we kept talking about it. Surprisingly, I was the one being questioned and answering all of them without much hesitation.

I've turned a blind eye.

For some reason, here are the issues that were often brought up in my conversations, and more often than not, they keep asking me questions and I do all the answering:

  1. Relationships (Oh yes! The topic of the week! I've got so many people talking to me about it that I had to even write it out in my blog!)
  2. Life issues in university (Well, exams are coming soon now.)
  3. Why some people just can't do their part right (You know, authorities especially give quite a lot of trouble, due to bureaucracy.)

...just to name a few. I must thank them for they gave me the idea of what to write about in my blog.

So, what is the purpose of this entry, you ask? Well, actually, although I have found some ideas about what to write in my blog, I haven't found any to write here, and I don't intend to write about the ideas that I have here, lest I offend certain party. Let the offence not spread in public.

Lately, I have been very stressed because of the workload. Exams are arriving in about three weeks time, and I've got four tests altogether next week, with two assignments (among them one project bearing 40% of my total marks) to submit by next Friday, and I haven't started any of them yet. Great, isn't it?

This week also has reverted my life to my first semester life in Foundation last year. Not that I like going back to my old life last year because I intend to change this semester, but none of the changes were successful and appreciated so I decided to just give up and live my old life for now, believing it's for the best. Things around me have taken a quick turn, not really for the better though, but because I've taken immediate action, I'm being rewarded now.

I've always switched my eyes on to the minutest issues that are happening around me. Although it encourages me to assist people in whatever ways I can, sometimes I feel that my assistance just goes unnoticed. Therefore, I've now turned a blind eye to many of the issues happening around me. How do I feel now, then? Enlightened with very much less burden on my shoulders and couldn't care tuppence if the world is falling.

However, I'm still sensitive towards people, for example, if their expression suddenly changes, I'd be concerned. But due to my "turning a blind eye", I find myself with a "couldn't be bothered" type of look. This means I tend to feign indifferent.

I guess this is the real Henry, eh? Not really, for there is a life that I'm trying to attain, and just because I failed once in my mission doesn't mean I won't try again.

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can you say, miaww??



can you say, miaawww??? haha.

iv got nothing much to post. just that, iv been really busy lately. and i think im beginning to be partially deaf, thanks to the oh so LOUD noise from the electric guitar which was purposely volumed up (if there is such word) by the band who played in my school's very own, 'battle of the band' competition. wheeee...

LOL. i hope everyone's doing well. i know, i know, i havent been posting much here, but i'll try my best to do so. with tight schedule, it seems imposible to post about things other than stories of my vain self. hoho.

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Cyndie always tries to have something at hand to take the sting out of her son, Derek's doctor appointments. On March 8 after undergoing radiation treatment, they make the most of a dollar can of Silly String - and Cyndie then meticulously cleans up every bit of the stuff from the ground.Cyndie is a big fan of the Dollar Store.

~multum in parvo~


Previous posts in this series:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

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I Confess

I confess,
I have a weird obsession with music.
I crave for the sound waves that
vibrate my eardrums and breaks my heart, or just makes my heart pumps faster than normal when i see those hot singers..

and here are my


Top Five Favorite Male Artists in Music!

Villie Valo
Reason: Cause he is so sexy! Valo’s voice itself is enough to be a legend on its own, that deep deep sexy voice that croons and seduces your soul… His music is orgasmic!
Listen to: The Sacrament



Michael Jackson
Reason: My childhood-all-time-fav singer. I got influenced by my daddy. He's a big fan of Michael. His musics are legend, especially Thriller. I can play it on my player for a million times. Even my granny who don't understand english knows Beat It.
Listen to: Beat it, Billy Jean

Sir Elton John
Reason:You gotta agree with me, he's the only one who don't like to be called "Sir". Lolx.. Tho he's a gay(i love gays), i so love his Yellow Brick Road and Candle in the Wind when he sang that on Princess Diana's funeral. Oh-so-sad-funeral!
Listen to: Yellow Brick Road

Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones
Reason: This guy lives in a time warp! He's been in the business for 40 years, has done the whole sex, drugs and rock & roll thing a couple of times at least, has the on-stage energy of a twenty year old, and now even at 264 years old he is still rocking! This man's a fucking Legend!!! he's awesome! i love him!
Listen to: Old Habits Die Hard

and my all-time-favourite
rock legend of the world
is

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Why? Because i fucking loooovvveeee him!!! Steven Tyler is THE SEX!
i don't care if that's not a valid reason!!
end of story.
PERIOD.


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I wanna get married and have kids!

I have no idea what really got me of wanting to settle down, get :

  • Good looking
  • Economically stable($$$)
  • Smart
  • Caring, loving, sweet ROMANTIC, spontanious
husband, live in a fine house plus 2 beautiful daughthers and 2 hot sons. Perhaps Avril Lavigne's When You're Gone really made me think. NO idea how but yeah!

I mean, isn't it great to be a housewife? Waking up every morning by your hubby's side is always WAY better than waking up alone in my room. :P
After waking up, gently kiss your hubby to wake him up. If he still don't, spray your perfume near him.. Like how Secondhand Serenade's HalfAlive(i'm waking up to your perfume).
Then we'll get ourselves ready for work together, which i know i'll get ready faster than my man, i'll prepare breakfast and make the bed. Making bed is important for after marraige, coz comfortable and clean bed can set good mood for sex, which mean, good sex life. Then after my delicious and healthy breakfast, we'll kiss each other goodbye, and he'll drive his whatever car he wanna buy and i'll drive my Range Rover to my advertising company. Why drive different car? Coz i can rush home early to prepare dinner for him.. I would love to cook for every meal. After having a beautiful dinner together, we'll do something like movies, sports(futsal, tennis, badminton, swimming & etc) or take a walk on the beach and count the stars together by the beach. Living by a clean and gorgeous beach is very important to me.

I mean, if my life will end up like this, i am the LUCKIEST women on earth! Oh, did i missed out my kids?

We'll just take what i described as life before kids... Before we start to expand our family tree, we must be financially stable and i'll be the one who is planning how our family should spend our money and insurances, if i ever marry a guy like Ethan. If i don't, that guy who isn't Ethan can do the countings on his own, hopefully. After having my first born, it's a must for my hubby to send me to slimming program, i'm NOT gonna be a fat mummy! Haha.. Anyway, giving what my children what i didn't have when during my childhood life, is very important to me. I will probaly quit my job and be a full-time housewife to make sure my kids grow up in an educated way and i wanna be there for my kids. I wanna have time for my kids that my mummy didn't have most of the time. I just wanna be a good mummy that can bring up all of my kids well.

I've calculated, i can achive this lifestyle after 10 years, if i get the right man and financially stable to start a family. OK. This post is kinda crappy... Just let me dream a lil.

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Derek is tearful as Cyndie tries to reason with him at the UC Davis Cancer Center on Feb. 14, 2006. She and Dr. William Hall argue that Derek should have a series of radiation treatments to shrink tumors spreading throughout his body and alleviate his pain.. "Derek, you might not make it if you don't do this," Cyndie tells her son. Derek fires back: "I don't care! Take me home. I'm done, Mom. Are you listening to me? I'm done."

~multum in parvo~


Previous posts in this series:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

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Just in case you've ever wondered about it, here's an answer from mrBadak.com:

Donald Duck Ride
(0_o) ..w00t!!

Now the million dollar question: guess who's the pervert. *grins*

~verus rara avis~

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Hercules: World's Biggest Dog
From Sophinette.com, presenting the world's biggest dog. But is it a real picture, or was it doctored? Hercules is a real dog, and does hold the title of World's Biggest Dog - but is he really that big?

The debate rages on...

~verus rara avis~

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I originally put this up on my blog, but since I thought it'd be useful for a lot more people, I put it up here on RANDTS as well. =D

(this guide was written with the help from several sources: WikiHow, Art of Schmooze, Success Training Inc., AskMen.com, Scott H Young and The Winning Attitude)

Don't we all know the feeling of insecurity that some of us get when we're around people? And when you're finally face-to-face with one person, all by yourselves, you're hit with the ultimate dilemma - you have no idea what to say next!

The problem of not knowing what to say to someone you've just met is more than just an embarrassing silence - it can be a severe confidence-breaker for any person who knows it all too well. If you've had this problem for awhile, isn't it time you started taking steps to change things? Here are some handy tips I've compiled from the Internet (what a useful tool it is!), coupled with my own opinions and experiences, to help you out!

Don't Panic



There's always a first time for everything. Panicking isn't really of any use to you because it doesn't improve the situation, but can do a lot to mess it up. Some people are just so nervous that they'll screw up big time that they fuss over their hair, their clothes, their hands, their food, their drink, whether they're standing too far, too close, are they giving enough attention...

Quit worrying! Go over to them, say "Hi", give your best smile - make sure it's not the kind of smile that'll scare people off with your enthusiasm! - and shake hands firmly. Look them in the eyes and introduce yourself to them.

(For those of you too shy to do so, here's a tip: look at the bridge of their nose, the spot exactly between both their eyes. That way, people will still have the impression that you're looking at them. Just remember not to stare.)

Speak slowly and audibly enough for them to catch what you're saying. You don't want to give people the impression you work on a bullet train for a living.

If there are lulls in the conversation, don't fret! Use the pause to reflect back on your conversation so far. Was there anything interesting in the conversation that you've just had? Did you miss something the other party had said earlier? Then mention it and keep the conversation going.

Don't Get Too Personal


There's always a time and place to tell people about your most heart-wrenching breakup to date, and when you're with new faces, it's never that time. Ask yourself: is that really what people want to hear?

When you're around people whom you've known for quite some time, they listen to you speak about personal matters because they already know you to some extent. When you start to get into matters that concern you around new people, they're likely to be a little apprehensive considering the fact they barely know you yet, and already you're opening yourself up for them.

People don't really learn about you from what you say. The way you say things are much more important. How you speak and carry yourself in the presence of others tells them much more about you than an hour-long narrated autobiography would. Unless you've grown up around Madonna and Elvis Presley your whole life, people aren't really that interested in you - yet.

Of course, since conversation is about two parties interacting, you'd better make sure you're learning from others about them while you're busy teaching others about you. On that note, we move on into:

Let Others Do the Work and Take Credit for It


The art of great conversation is not about doing all the talking and hogging the limelight. The trick is that most great conversationalists get others to do the talking for them. Not 'talk' as in the ventriloquist's puppet; 'talk' as in they get others to speak while they listen!

Let's face it, the most interesting topic everyone loves is the one about 'me, myself, and I'. Everyone can't resist the temptation to talk about their own lives to the whole world! Why else are personal blogs so prolific on the Internet? ;)

To get people to respond more enthusiastically to your questions, try asking more open-ended questions. These kind of questions are basically impossible to answer with just one word (unless the other person wants to come across as being impossibly dumb), and start like:
  • What did you think about [blank]?

  • How did you [blank]?

  • What did you like best about [blank]?

  • Tell me about [blank]...

... just make sure you don't ask too many questions, or you'll risk sounding like an interrogator rather than a new friend.

When people answer these kind of questions, they tend to give long, detailed answers rather than simple ones. After that, you can pretty much set the direction of the conversation based on what they have just said. Through this method, you'll also be able to find out the other side's interests, and draw them in to the conversation even more.

Of course, looking for something to fill the [blank] parts would be pretty difficult, wouldn't it? And here's where it's important to:

Pay Attention: Be Observant


Sure, anyone can talk about the weather, but how many people would be interested in taking the conversation in a different direction from where you started? Not many, I can tell you that - not unless you combined the weather cliche with one of the questions I showed you above.

Sometimes, the easiest way to start a conversation is also the simplest. Just pay attention to your surroundings. Look for something that's out-of-the-ordinary and worth talking about. Focus on the person you're talking to; what is he/she wearing? Are there any interesting accessories that he/she's got on?

Ask about them - or better still, compliment it (sincerely, if you please - no one enjoys apple-polishing, even if they're the apple), then ask him/her about it: where it came from, for example. Then follow the steps I've shown you before and take the conversation your way.

The Art of Active Listening


Remember that being observant also means being attentive to the other party. Listening is a very powerful act that builds trust and self-esteem. These two things naturally increase as people talk to you more and more. Of course, since conversations are two-way, what you really need is the art of active listening.

Active listening means showing the other party that you've been paying attention. Listen to what they're saying, then pause momentarily (this is important) before responding to them. One effective response would be to paraphrase their words. Therefore, you'd start off with something like, "So what you're saying is ..." and you'd go on to repeat whatever they said in your own words.

(The pause is crucial because besides buying you time to formulate a reply, it also allows whatever the other party has said to sink in a little deeper so you understand them better. Plus, it shows people that you're taking them seriously and you're not just eager to get a word in for the sake of it. If you find you still don't know what to say, you could ask them to clarify what they've said, and take the conversation from there.)

Also, while they're busy talking, use occasional nods of the head, and say "Yes" or "I see" or "That's interesting". The idea is to show people that you're paying attention to them, and not thinking about something else. It's a ridiculously simple tool to get conversations going and to build new friendships.

Tell Great Stories


Some great conversationalists keep a database of funny and witty anecdotes in their head that they can relate in a conversation to lighten the mood and perk up their other party's attention. However, there's a key to just what you should say and what not to say in order not to wind up with a bored listener (or worse, more) when you're done.

  1. Make sure your story is interesting. Have at least a few interesting points to share in the course of your talking. Make sure it isn't long, unless you have more than one interesting point to tell. Space the interesting bits out to break the monotony and keep people hooked.

  2. Put the most interesting point at the end of the story. Your story should build up to the inevitable climax, not degrade gradually till it becomes a boring tale.

  3. Keep your story personal. Stories about yourself provide a unique insight into your characteristics and personality. Thus, you shouldn't talk about stories that happened to your friends or relatives, i.e. persons whom the people you're talking with wouldn't really know (the world isn't that small - yet). Most people don't really care about people they've never met before. Since you're there in front of them, introduce yourself to them - in a more interesting way.

  4. Make sure you know your stories well. Pausing to recall a part of your story detracts from the overall mood and doesn't reflect well on your part. Practice reciting these stories, and slowly accustom yourself to get the timing and emphasis right. Have several interesting anecdotes on call that you can use in conversations. One advice: don't grasp for stories. Grasping includes questions like "How was your day?" These questions should be kept as a last resort.

Be Confident!


The most important part about the whole thing? Confidence. Without the courage to go up to a person and put all that you've learned into action, everything goes to waste.

Some things to keep in mind to keep up your self-esteem and boost your confidence:

  1. Dress up a little. Comb your hair (or muss it up stylishly, whichever you fancy), put on some bling, a little cologne/perfume. You don't have to go overboard on style, just make sure you look good. People tend to react more favorably when they have a good first impression of you. The easiest way to gain that would be to present yourself properly.

  2. Wear something you're comfortable in. It doesn't matter whether it's a formal or informal event - make sure you wear something that suits you, that you like. Make sure it looks presentable, though!

  3. Body language is important. Stand straight, smile, and just be yourself. No point putting on airs and trying to be somebody you're not. Not only do people quickly see through this trick, they'll also get the impression that you're someone who isn't comfortable about himself.


The above three things help you to present a better image to the world at large. Also, when you look good (and know it), it helps you a little in being a little more daring, a little more confident. Coupled with the positive reaction from others around you, you'll naturally feel comfortable about yourself - and that helps in getting conversations going.

And When it Ends...


Of course, not everyone is bound to succeed all the time. Hell, I've had my fair share of awkward moments too. But remember, always keep in mind that failure's never a barrier to achieving more. It's only a sign you need more practice, and need to try more!

If you did get a conversation going - even if it was only for a short while - then kudos! You are that much closer to being a great conversationalist. Before you part with your companion, shake hands, smile, and say thank you before moving on. The least you can do is leave politely. Never think you can't do it. Most great conversationalists were not born; they were made.

Conversations with new people shouldn't have to be something arduous, like a chore. It should be something fun that we look forward to, like a challenge to be overcome. The important things to keep in mind are to keep your cool and refrain from talking too much about yourself. Get others interested in you by getting them to do the talking, then listen attentively to them. Share interesting anecdotes with your partners, and dress well to give them a good first impression.

Hope this guide helped you out, and good luck in all your endeavors!
Note from the blogger:

This is my first How-To guide. Comments and feedback from all of you would be really appreciated. Is there anything I could improve on? Do you have any requests or suggestions on other How-To guides you'd like to see? Please comment and help me improve my writing. Thank you! :)

Cheers,
Jared

~verus rara avis~

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Realizing that Derek may never have an opportunity to get his driver's license, something he's told her he is anticipating, Cyndie French defies the rules and lets him drive up and down their street in West Sacramento. On the same day, Feb. 9, 2006. Cyndie met for the first time with hospice workers, and learns there is little time left for Derek.

~multum in parvo~


Previous posts in this series:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

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Update: I screwed up big time in writing this post. It contains a lot of mistakes, has misleading phrases and is left hanging at the end. To atone for my mistakes I've added sentences and corrected my wrongs. Sentences in red are corrections and sentences in blue are additions.



This anime caught my attention while I was surfing forums searching for new animes to download. Claymore is a manga-turned-anime. The anime is produced by MADHOUSE Ltd. while the manga was created by Norihiro Yagi. Being very new, Claymore has only three aired episodes so far.

Claymore is set in a medieval land with scattered, apparently independent, towns and villages. People here coexist with man-eating monsters called Youmas. Youmas are much stronger than humans easily killing a man in one blow.

A youma


An organisation of superhuman warriors battle the youmas armed with immense claymore swords for an atrocious price. These warriors called Claymores by ordinary people harbour a dark secret. They are hanjinhanyou (half-human, half youma) and people are very wary of them. Some even call the claymores silver-eyed witches (all claymores are female) for their silver irises. But, the people in " claymore="" grudgingly="" realise="" that="" only="" the="" claymores="" can="" save="" them="" from="" being="" eaten="" alive="" by=""> "Claymore" grudgingly realise that only the claymores can save them from being eaten alive by youmas. The story begins in a village where we have a crowd gathering around disemboweled bodies; the victims of a youma attack. It's then heard that six people have already been eaten by a youma. The scene the switches to the headman's house where the villages were told that he had sought the services of a Claymore. Many disagreed but finally unwillingly agreed that without a Claymore killing the youma they may be destroyed.

The main male protagonist of the story, a boy named Raki is then introduced. He runs up to his brother asking about the outcome of the village meeting. Raki is told then about the Claymores. When the Claymore arrives he leaves his brother running towards the Claymore who we'll later know as Clare at the end of the episode, at the village entrance.

Clare and Raki meet for the first time.

As the show continues Raki talks to the Claymore who is surprised that he isn't afraid of her. After talking till dusk while wandering through the village Raki leaves the Claymore. He heads home finding his uncle murdered by a youma who was taking on his dead brother's form. This youma almost eats Raki before Clare saves him. She severs the youmas arms with her claymore sword and kills it by a clean slice from its head to groin.

The armless youma begs for mercy.


The youma is sliced cleanly in two.

She leaves the village afterwards leaving the shocked Raki. Raki was left shaking in terror after his traumatic experience.

In ensuing events Raki is thrown into desert by the villagers who fear he may turn into a youma. Before dying of thirst he's saved by Clare who places him in an inn and paying the innkeeper to take care of him. After a day Raki wakes up. He immediately looks for Clare upon eating up his meal. Someone tells Raki that a Claymore in the forest was looking for him. Thinking she's Clare he rushes of to the forest.

It turns out the Claymore is a youma in disguise and Raki is captured. When the real Clare shows up the youma takes Raki hostage. Clare is forced to throw her sword down the cliff in order to prevent Raki from being killed. The youma sensing weakness lunges at Clare and manages to plunge its arm all the way through Clare's abdomen.

Clare is viciously stabbed.


Clare however, manages to push both her body and the youma down the cliff where her sword lies. Here she grabs her sword, chops off one of the youmas arm and partially decapitates it.

Clare grabs her sword.


The youma gets partially decapitated.


After healing herself Clare decides to take Raki as her cook when she discovers that the villagers abandoned him. She had a traumatic experience of being abandoned in the past. As the anime episode ends, Clare introduces herself to Raki. In the next episode it's told that Claymores will eventually become a youma as the cost of using their powers. Clare is that episode is forced to kill her only friend, the Claymore Elena out of love (not lesbian love) before Elena turns into a youmas the tearful Raki watches. As the anime progresses it will tell of the journey of Clare and Raki as they go on killing youma. There's also an upcoming conspiracy.

Later

Clare heals herself.


What I like about this anime is its dark and gloomy setting. The whole show has this dark atmosphere that suits the dark world it's set in along with characters with dark pasts and secrets. The storyline is also pretty good where we learn quite a lot about the characters. This anime is one of the best in my honest opinion. It has already become my second favourite show after Heroes. The show also kinds off reminds you of survival-horror movies especially the vampire ones. Give this anime a try. I assure that you would not regret it. "Claymore" has 26 planned episodes at present time. Download it here through your browser (just click on the desired episode) or here via the BitTorrent protocol.



P.S:

Clare using her youma powers.

This is my first anime review ever. Give me your feedback about it especially you gungrave1988. This review may be really bad.*smile* Thank you so much Brian for sucking me into anime.*laugh*

~multum in parvo~

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