Monday, 28 February 2005

To a grinding halt

I always thought that if you take care of something, then chances are that it won't break down when you least expect it or really need it.

My computer has been rather temperamental as of late. I thought I treated it well. Fed it new data once in a while, fixed it when lightning fried the motherboard and nurtured when it was sick with a virus. But instead, it repays me by refusing to launch IE (hence the switch to Firefox, so don't blame me for lack of browser support) and shaking its head disdainfully at MSN.
"Why won't you connect? Why man, why?" I would ask, but the silence would be deafening. Some can be so ungrateful. I guess I need to get a better computer.

My ISP must have decided to increase their customer base - resulting in slow connectivity...oh hang on - that's only when I can connect. How can such a network not have enough lines? I thought I had been a loyal customer (my plan is so old, that they don't even offer it anymore). I guess it's time to upgrade to broadband....and hold a ritual where I burn my modem. My patience has been tested one time too many.

I drink the filtered water dispensed from the fridge often - I wait patiently while my cup fills up. But the tubing to the fridge burst and leaked everywhere. Did I drink too much water? What did I do? No quick filtered water now.

I trusted our family Corolla for close to 11 years now. In one week, it developed a burst water pipe, which was followed by a complication of a burst radiator. My friend reckons it was my PS2. I knew I should not have got the wheel for GT4. It's not my fault that I see racing lines on the road and try to get best laps in my Corolla, is it? Ok, so I probably did deserve it, but I was there for the car when it cracked 80,000km and 150,000km - I was there for those big milestones. I guess it just wasn't enough.
On a side note, it is really inconvenient not having a car. Getting lifts is definitely not a great way to go. *sigh* I guess that forces me into getting a car. Also, insurance is a killer for my "profile" when coupled with particular types of cars (read: "performance vehicles").

I consider myself to be rather patient, but when my laptop decides to take three minutes to navigate between applications, followed by a screen with nothing but a mouse pointer...what on earth do a click on? Restarting my laptop a number of times with deadlines is really annoying.

Work needs to be more compassionate. Looking at the people around me, some people look broken - they need a break!

Today, my MD decides that buttons on the remote are not meaningful, so my remote decides to stop working. Great!

I also hate it when people decide to steal things and break into places. Why do that? Our welfare system is adequate, though not providing a fantastic standard of living. *sigh* Surely there are other ways to earn a living...

Sometimes, even if one invests patience, time, energy to look after something, it does not necessarily equate to it working out or even guarantees that it will be there. There are other external factors at play which one is not necessarily aware of, which can change the outcome. It does help, but sometimes it is out of one's hands.

Oh well.
I guess it's just time to upgrade and look forward to getting some new stuff!

Sunday, 13 February 2005

What I remember....

During high school, I was rather fascinated by the idea of having a fantastic memory. Such a skill would be invaluable – think of the possibilities? I wouldn’t forget a formula, a Shakespearean quote or what my parents have told me. Everything could be recalled at will and with fantastic detail! Best of all, it means less study time, more play time!

This led me to read up about a man named Dr A.R. Luria, a psychologist who tested the memory of a man for thirty years. The case study, a man referred to as S., had practically perfect recall – even after thirty years! He could recall the contents of the tests, the time of day, what the professor was wearing - all with a huge amount of detail. He would use synesthesia to aid his memory, utilising all his senses to describe an event.

Sometimes, different sensory cues will trigger memories. Seeing particular icons, smelling the sweet grass at the park or the taste of certain foods – all can cause memories to come rushing back, whether voluntarily or not.

Upon further analysis, I noticed that, unlike S., my memory does not use all senses every time. In terms of the order of the senses I seem to file against a memory, it would be:

  1. Sight – A lot of my memory seems to have detailed images.
  2. Smells – To me, scents are important. I would go so far as to say that perfumes that people use can also determine the type of person that they are – but that’s another story. Sometimes perfumes, foods can bring up some random memories. Also, they can be bad scents too – like that time I was in Guangzhou and had to visit a public toilet. To this day, if I think about it, I still gag….**gag, cough, splutter** Yuck!
  3. Sound – For some reason I don’t appear to have that many sounds attached to my memories. I sometimes don’t remember what people tell me – which is a bad thing, I am often told…doh!
  4. Taste – to a lesser extent but only for foods. Except after eating very hot chilly – since my mouth goes numb and I can’t taste anything!
  5. Touch – for me, this is definitely an underused sense. Wait, I do have a strong memory of touch – I remember gliding my thumb over it and feeling the wave of joy as I realised that I just picked up a “two of bamboo” tile in Mahjong and won! Haha!

With all memories, I believe that I attach an emotion as well, so I also remember what I felt at the time.

I wondered why my memories do not contain utilise all senses and figured that it was because I had not learnt to develop all my senses equally. Some people would naturally have stronger senses than others, but it may also be a function of what one did in the past. For example, playing video games relied heavily on visual clues so this trained my visual senses more quickly. Only recently have I been developing my audio skills. The reason is work – my team members would come to me with their problems and I would have to listen to them. I remember when I first became a team lead, I did not listen well but luckily I had a whiteboard, so I would use it to help me visualise problems. I have a fair bit to go in this department and could do with more practise!

Tuesday, 1 February 2005


"How many basketball comps would that make it?"
"Well, if I join these two, then it would make it four."
"I think that's too many."

Having spent three years of my time on out-of-town assignments, I came back safe in the knowledge that I had upgraded my fitness levels - from terrible to horrendous.

I played pickup basketball and my friend asked me, "Are you ok? Your face looks black from lack of oxygen..."

At that point I knew I needed to do something to regain my fitness, so proceeded to ask around with regards to basketball competitions, pickup games, indoor/outdoor soccer - practically anything which allowed me to sweat it out.

My regime would consist of basketball training three times a week, two basketball comps during the week as well as an indoor soccer session.

The first couple of weeks were absolutely exhausting (especially with work slotted around all that too), but slowly my fitness was back and I could run for ages without getting tired.

If I threw two more competitions in there, I would have absolutely no time to do anything.

I guess I get carried away sometimes, and in my mind I am unwilling to compromise. With all those activities, it is not surprising that I have very little time to do anything else at all. Yet, I still lament that I have not finished enough video games, worked on my golf swing, seen friends enough or tackled the massive stack of paperwork sitting on my desk.

In the past, I would have questioned why I couldn't have everything.
"Why can't I play heaps of basketball and be good at it, as well as have a successful career as well as see all my friends?"
Now, I realise that my biggest constraints are: time and energy.

I'm also sure that there are some very talented folk out there who are good at practically everything without having to work on it. But for those who are like me and suffer from severe mediocracy: to be good at anything, time and energy are required.

Perhaps the same could be said for relationships. Without dedicating proper time and energy to it, it will never flourish. Sure, time and energy doesn't guarantee results but less time and energy could have even worse results than those already achieved (think what it would be like if no time or energy were spent on it!)

Both elements are important. Time without energy means that one does not put their heart into it. Having energy with no time results in intense spurts which are not effective nor long term focused.

Having recently played chaffeur for my sister, we stopped for coffee and chatted about what we had been doing and our thoughts on the future. The forty minutes went by quickly and I think we both had a good time talking and we both realised that we had not chatted like that in ages.

I am a big advocate of striving for balance in the activities I do, so I will definitely aim to dedicate more time and energy in different facets of my life.