Thursday, 30 December 2004

Virgo shopper perfectionist

In recent weeks with celebrations of Christmas presents, Kris Kringle, birthdays and all, I had been rather preoccupied with shopping. It was rather hard work too!

"What are you doing today?" someone would ask.
"Shopping for presents," I would reply mechanically.
"Again???" would come the incredulous response. "What happened to the gift you were going to get yesterday?"
"Yeah, somehow it wasn't quite right and so I did not buy it," I would respond meekly.

This went on for a while, but then someone asked me: "Are you a Virgo?"
Being a non-Virgo and having a curious nature, I naturally replied, "No. I am not a Virgo. Why do you ask?"
"Oh. You seem to be a perfectionist. That's a trait of a Virgo."

My curiosity had gotten the better of me.
"What makes you think I am a perfectionist? Can you give me an example of when I have shown I am a perfectionist?"
"'Cos it takes you so long to get your shopping done."

Hang on there! There’s nothing wrong with trying to find the right gift for people. I don’t want receivers of my gifts to think that I gave no thought to them. I want to give people something they can use! I would try to consider them individually. Also, the elation on the face of the receiver when they get a good present is great!

I started to form my protest and stopped myself. I pondered this point for a moment. It must be quite apparent for someone else to pick it up, so I thought I better get a second opinion.

I asked someone else, "Do you think I am a perfectionist?"

Am not - damn it! Next!

"Do you think I am a perfectionist?"
"Ah dude. I have known you for years. I know you are a perfectionist."

Aren't I just a simple person who is content with all around me. Perhaps more self reflection and opinions were necessary.

After exhausting a couple more friends who would put up with such a question, maybe I have to concede that I am a bit of a perfectionist (and that would be a very small "bit"). Sure, I admit, I can get rather picky – especially if it is something which is mine, but hey doesn’t everyone? I could be a dreamer and have a vivid imagination, but that doesn't mean that I don't put a "realistic" spin on things. There are some things I don't really worry too much about (e.g. traveling; wrapping presents – partly my fault for buying oddly shaped gifts; the nutritional value in the food I eat). At what point does one cease to be a perfectionist or become a perfectionist? Don't most people exhibit slight perfectionist qualities in the things they do (e.g. how they dress, taking pride in their work)?

At the moment, I have not thought too much this "perfectionist" trait (ok - perhaps I am still partly in denial). It is an interesting idea - I might explore my perfectionist *ahem* tendencies a little more! I may even see this crop up more than I cared to previously admit (or perhaps I will see none!).

On the bright side, I guess I can’t be picky in absolutely everything, otherwise I would have a hard time completing my daily tasks!

Wednesday, 29 December 2004

Down Memory Lane

Being a bit of a hoarder, I keep a lot of my old junk. Sometimes, these itmes bring back memories when I see them again (then again, I could just have a really bad memory). In any case, as I was cleaning up and looking back on some old items which I had not cleared, I found an old creative writing piece that I wrote quite a while ago, which I thought I would post (since it was rather short).

For Richer and For Poorer

Do you see the poor boy outside your room?
Or am I just a distant light within
your heart? Am I that light so faint and dim,
Flickering till I rest in my tomb?
In that white gown, you caught everyone's eye -
A single lily surrounded by green.
I'm the frosty wind which cannot be seen,
Reaching in vain with empty hands, I cry.
But fate may blow my candle light out; or,
Blow it over and ignite my dreams.
Though this cannot happen just yet, it seems.
I'll have to get rich because I am poor.
When I have money, just wait, you'll see -
One day I'll be back and ask, "Marry me?"

I can see the young man outside my room.
You are not just a distant light within
my heart. You are not a light which is dim,
Flickering faintly till you meet your doom.
Your deep eyes show a spirit so carefree -
A galloping stallion free to run
So happily in the rays of the sun.
But while running so fast, do you see me?
Though my father looks down on you, I say:
"Damn the fool, the tyrant. Do not despair!
Allow the dragon to put on his airs."
Wherever you are, in my heart you'll stay.
Till you have money, I'll wait for you.
For the day you return, I'll say, "I do."

While reading through the assignment, I found that these poems were inspired by the movie, "The Princess Bride". I really liked that movie and watched it a couple of times. It's a good comedy/love/action movie!

Even though I did not concentrate in English classes, I really enjoyed studying it. Unfortunately, beyond high school I never really studied or had the time to appreciate English literature on the same level (and I admit - I liked studying Keats). I love trying to capture the moment and the emotions - as well as really getting into the character and feeling the emotions as well. It really stretches the imagination! Maybe I should append my "To Do" list with exploring English literature and creative writing!

While on this "creative" note, I think it would be awesome to learn how to draw properly (cartoons and stills etc). I couldn't draw to save my life (yes, I have played Pictionary - the pressure doesn't help). Back in high school, drawings and posters would be all over books/folders. My friends would have the coolest drawings all over them. Their doodles would look realistic - my doodles haven't evolved since I first started holding crayons. I would love to draw manga - I think I have a book floating around on how to draw manga. Another addition to the "To Do" list!

Tuesday, 28 December 2004

Bye bye break...

Before the Christmas break started, was really looking forward to taking it easy and enjoying my time off. Now my Christmas break is almost over! Time flies so fast! I need another break! Thankfully, the New Year break is just around the corner!

Anyway, a quick recap on some activities over the way too short holidays (at least what I remember):
- Went to friend's place for drinks and was mixing some nice Lazy Blondes (that’s a drink available in Melbourne at La La Land). We played drinking games till around 4am before we decided to call it quits. I didn't feel too bad, since I didn’t lose much!
- My family was going to a family friend's place for Christmas lunch, and we left in a flurry and managed to get there and have a really good lunch, catching up with friends. I ate heaps and dessert was ice kachang! Very filling!
- I went to another friend’s place for Christmas dinner. I downed a few beers and proceeded to play drinking games. There were around 12 people, and I was well out of my league in terms of drinking games! Those guys are really quick! Damn, I must improve (and I guess the only way to improve is to practise with more drinking games!) Even though it was the first time I had met most of them, I found them really funny – they had some good calls! (BTW, I can honestly, say that I am really bad with names). I had a great time and to top it off, my Kris Kringle present was a portable CD player!
- Went to a birthday party with a beach theme, but it was really cold, everyone was freezing. It was good to see so many friends there. I caught up with a majority of them. Drinks were flowing (the Lazy Blondes made another appearance of course!), and thankfully, I kept my responsible hat on and only had a couple - I swear!
- Caught up with friends and watched "The Incredibles". It was really funny! I felt rather silly because when the robot first made its appearance, it startled me. I jumped - just a little. Ok, a lot - happy?
- On recommendation, I watched "Australia’s Brainiest Kid". Those guys are good – the final three’s "specialty" topics were: Space, Vikings and Beethoven. I was definitely put to shame by those guys!
- Started spring cleaning my room…and at the rate I am going, I am probably only going to finish next spring! Good thing is that I put together my bed and am now sleeping on a proper mattress! (My old mattress was so old, it was concave and I could feel the broken springs in my back when I slept. Being home for a couple of months and sleeping on it daily gave me good incentive to take some action).

On a sad note, I have yet to touch my PS2. **sniff**

quote: "fully sic driving position"

*My little sister and I were in the car and I pointed out a Nissan 200SX (S15) at the lights. Two guys were in there and the car was bouncing due to the occupants shuffling inside.

Me: "What on earth is going on over there?"
Sis: "He’s trying to get into a 'fully sic driving position'."


"You know, moving the seat back, leaning back and stuff - trying to look cool in that 'fully sic driving position'."

I turned to her and she was just sitting there grinning at me. I couldn't help but laugh, "Fully sic driving position".

Friday, 24 December 2004

The Long Journey

Having been traveling fairly regularly for the last couple of years, it is good to be back home.

One of the main differences being back is the commute. Every morning. Sure, in comparison to other people, my commute is pretty short, but it is long for the distance. I have found that it is a good 14km from door to door (thanks to an odometer on the car). My commute involves bus, train and some 15 mins worth of walking. When there are express buses and trains are running on time (ok, so that is rather wishful) then it can take me around 40 mins to get to work, which is not too bad. If there are no express buses (and usually, by the time I leave work, there are none) it can be a painful 1.5 hours. For 14km. Ok, perhaps I have been spoilt for the past couple of years, since I have been walking to work.

If I am not reading, listening to music or falling asleep and drooling all over the person next to me, then sometimes I just sit and observe the people on the bus, just to pass the time (any other ideas are welcome). I have seen some weird things - perhaps I am just "lucky", but some observations:

- A man in the morning attempting to read a tabloid. A lady was sitting next to him, and he proceeded to open up the paper with the paper and his hand practically in her face, while she was reading something! I can’t imagine if he was reading a broadsheet! I think that is a clear violation of personal space!
- A lady decided that cutting her nails on the train would be a great idea. Nice one, considering her nails were flying all over the place!
- Another lady was filing her nails and proceeded to accumulate a fair bit of dead cells on her lap...which she calmly brushed onto the floor.
- Random man who decided to liven the bus up by singing and walking up and down the bus. Perhaps he had mistaken the public bus from a tour bus. Who knows?
- Some guy deciding that he had too much beer for the night and couldn’t hold it in, so decided that the back of the bus was rather secluded and proceeded to produce a river down the aisle, much to the delight of the other people on the bus.

Except for the first one, I have not seen any of the others occur on a plane.

Also, it's sometimes interesting to see the asssortment of reading materials commuters have - whether it be newspapers (even newspapers have variety within them), magazines, novels, self help books, foreign texts, travel brochures, their laptop etc.

Hmm. I may need a hobby. Or a Gameboy Advance.

Sunday, 19 December 2004

This life of gaming

Well I finally updated the page with a couple of links and noticed that two of them were video games related, while a third was actually a comic about two guys who play video games.

Looking back, I realised that I have been into playing games for a long time now. Strange as it may seem, but I remember playing games when I was in primary school on the good ol’ Apple back at home. I used to play games like Load Runner, Frogger, Hard Hat Mack, chess.

Then in Yr6 for my birthday, my parents bought me my first console – a Nintendo Entertainment System (or NES) and the game "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (ok, I am really showing my age now). I played that for a number of years into high school, swapping games with friends (I played Zelda, Mike Tyson’s Boxing. Super Mario Bros etc). It was then that I also bought video games magazines (like Electronic Gaming Monthly, which was imported and full of the latest goss. Incidentally, I believe that the magazine’s online division is now the Gamespot link I had listed). Back then, video games were scarce - Oz only received a fraction of the games which were pumped out of Japan and America and games used to be released at least nine months after the rest of the world had them.

It was not until mid-high school that the new Super NES came onto the market and I bought the Japanese version (the Super Famicom) and really played a lot (especially since I had the liberty of having a TV in my room). A couple of my friends and I would play role-playing games (RPGs) which involved turn based combat (not as boring as I thought it would be – my first one was “Lufia and the Fortress of Doom”) and I was introduced to the Final Fantasy series (FFIV, FFV and FFVI). We would play the same games and ask each other how far they had gotten – and aim to better it the following day! Also, one of the classic games, Perfect Eleven first came out on this system and later evolved to the current day Winning Eleven (Pro Evolution Soccer).

Due to studies and other commitments, I never owned a Playstation (PS) and therefore missed out on a generation of games (**sniff**). But during my secondment to Hong Kong a couple of years back, I bought a PS2 and have been playing a number of games (favourite games include FFX, Metal Gear Sold 2, ICO, Tenchu, Grand Theft Auto, Winning Eleven and Grand Turismo).

I guess that’s an abridged version of my life with games!

I wouldn’t classify myself as a hard core gamer. But I have to say that when I start playing I do play for a number of hours (ok, sometimes I find games hard to put down). When I got sent to Melbourne for a project, my flatmate would also play games, but would finish work earlier. So he would play from 6pm to 10pm and I would play from 10:30pm to 2am! I am a night person, so that helps! Along with other friends we would also play drinking games with the PS2 or Nintendo Gamecube (Go Mario Kart!) and that would really test the reflexes after a couple of drinks!

From my perspective, playing games is mentally stimulating and improves reflexes as well as hand eye co-ordination. Games can be positive in promoting social behaviour (hey I play games with my friends too and it certainly is a conversation starter!) and I get a certain satisfaction when I finally finish a game (not that my closure rate this year has been high – I plan to work on that over the Christmas break!). There is just so little time and so many games out there! Ah…the ultimate gamer’s

Wednesday, 8 December 2004

Consumer Remorse

Today, one of my colleagues brought in his brand new mobile phone. Now as usual, there's a fuss made over the functions and features of the phone:

"Does it have Bluetooth?"
"How good is the camera?"
"Does it sync Outlook and calendar?"

As the others continued drooling, my thoughts drifted back to the concept of consumer remorse (which was introduced to me late one night during coffee, deep into a Wednesday night). Given the vast array of choices, consumers literally get inundated with all the different options available. Upon purchasing an item, the purchase is scrutinised by the owner. To their dismay the owner discovers that a new/better fandangled model has hit the market place and the purchaser ends up regretting their choice. Therefore, their utility (or satisfaction level) is actually negative as a result of their there goes the concept of retail therapy! That's a great reason not to buy anything. I think I am conscious of this fact and that has stopped me making a big purchase - like a car for example, because I know that a new model will soon supercede the older one (and let's face it - it's only a matter of time, really).

Interestingly enough, a couple of weeks back, upon travelling to the city and getting caught in traffic, I decided to float the consumer remorse theory past some colleagues (as a bit of a conversation starter to cure the morning boredom).

As soon as I mentioned it, everyone laughed in agreement and then someone exclaimed, "Oh that applies to relationships as well. Some people regret their decision, after they have already committed to someone else".
This startled me somewhat, as I did not expect nor intended it to turn into a relationship discussion. They relayed stories about their friends who regretted a particular relationship after entering into one.

"But isn't it about being happy?" I enquired.
"How can you be happy if you know that there is someone else out there?" came the response.
"Some people get into relationships hastily, just for the sake of not being alone, " someone added.
Do we cling onto our current model and wait for a new model to come along and make the one we have obsolete? Surely not!
"Yep. I know people who are like that - that's just weak," chimed another.

Armed with this knowledge, if I knew that I was:

- entering into a transaction which I knew I was going to regret later and/or
- that I am merely waiting for something better to come along
I will seriously question my utility derived from jumping in now.

Why not wait for something I really like and therefore I know I will be happy? At the end of the day all I want is something I'll be really happy with for a long time.

Tuesday, 7 December 2004

My Story

"This is my story."
- Tidus [Final Fantasy X]

Everyone has a story to tell and I believe that the impression we leave with people is different with the various people we meet in our lives: to my parents, I am (and still) the naughty kid; to my mates, I am just another friend; to my colleagues I am just another droid. So perhaps I should spare the introduction and start letting my story (at least this chapter, anyway) unfold.