Wednesday, 20 December 2006

Notepad Scribbles #20061220

Back on the injured list...again. After coming back from one injury, I get slapped with another. It's like hitting a string of red lights in succession - it makes me just want to use up my entire expletives vocabulary. So frustrating.

However, in some indirect way, it has been good. One of the few things which made it to my list was to not play video games as much and limit myself to only playing after the sun has set (thereby allowing me to better utilise the hours in the day). Although I get sad looks from my PS2 and can swear that it is beckoning to me in a little voice , I have abstained from it and not played for almost a week. I now know what Frodo and Gollum must have been going through. Ok, maybe not - but close...

This has definitely left me some time to do other things:
  • Enjoying the cinemas:
    • Casino Royale
      • Definitely an interesting Bond with the set up of his character and good action. Personally, I liked the omission of Q, as it introduces a slightly more human side to Bond's abilities, rather than relying on gadgets. Love the intro sequence with the suits of the card as well as the construction site chase (awesome hops and agility). Gripe of the movie has to be the gratuitous pouty moments for Daniel Craig. And body shots. Bloody show-off.
    • The Prestige
      • Twisty plot and out-of-chronological-order scenes make for some thinking in this movie. Definitely adhere to the recommended, "Don't drink and watch". Due to an already slow mind being dragged down by some alcohol, my mind was still digesting the contents of the movie. Gripe of the movie had to be Scarlett Johansson for lacking conviction.
    • As an aside, I am pleased with the restaurant review sites out there. It is good to see other people's opinions - especially the average customers, and not the expert reviewers. I have to admit I am a big fan of online research, especially since some sales people are absolutely clueless. I am a big fan of sales assistants who acutally know something and give a damn about serving their customers. Biggest gripe is the new sydney.citysearch site which is running so slow now. The search criteria for restaurants is terrible and inconsistent between pages. I think it is trying too hard to do too much.
  • Christmas shopping - No stock. Nothing good. People everywhere. Parking. Driving. Thank goodness I am all sorted there now!
  • BBQs and catchups- with the summer days (occasionally) here, it has been good to have BBQs and getting myself a bit of a tan after being pasty white on my return from Singapore. Unfortunately, some of them where marked with hint of sadness as some of my friends have their farewells. However, all was good and it was great to see people I had not seen in years. One of the most relaxing had to be travelling past Camden to a relatively large block of land. It was so quiet and serene out there, it was such a stark contrast to the hustle and close proximity living I am familiar with. Sure, convenience is not the best, with owning a car being mandatory for almost any practical means (unless one believes in subsistence living). Makes me want to have a holiday home some place out of Sydney. Some day I will have my dream escapism....
  • Getting motivated. If ever I needed inspiration, it would have to come from The Biggest Loser. Typically, I am not one to watch a lot of reality shows, but the transformation of some of these people is absolutely astounding. Watching the finale and seeing people lose more than 50% of their body weight is shocking. I was very happy for the winner who shed around 54% of his weight because he wanted to be there for his kids. That has to rate up there with regards to motivation.

Tuesday, 12 December 2006

Order in the house

The last few months have been rather interesting living. It is almost as though I have been living without rules - no need to wake up at a set time; random naps during the day; playing games all day long; staying out till late. Unfortunately, coupled with a person like me who lacks discipline and likes to take things to extreme, this has led to a lifestyle of sports, playing games till 4am in the morning, surfing the Net and resting in between (supplemented with my customary afternoon nap).

If everyone did what they wanted without any regard for others, the world would be utter chaos and shambles. However, whereever I look, there seems to be some form of order which exists . Many of us seek order and certainty - or feel lost without it. From the way that roads are built (ok, maybe except for the roadworks around the Lane Cove tunnel), the buildings that are around, to the way people interact at work Companies and projects are like large magnets which align all their staff, pointing them in a particular direction in order to meet the objectives. Furthermore, there is something much more physically appeasing in a clean and orderly room, than a messy one.

However, I realised that this lifestyle is entirely unstructured - and I am "winging it" with no real aim or end goal. I have no concrete objectives over this period of time which has been leading down a spiral of pure indulgence. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but perhaps deep down, I watch the world go by and sense that everything is progressing but I seem to have stood still. Yet as much as I would love to treasure this moment, I know that it cannot last forever. Cliched, but true - blame my poor vocabulary.

Maybe I am more left brained than others, but in a way, I think rules are a good thing as it keeps things orderly and injects certainty. It helps instill discipline in those without (e.g. me). Waking up at noon is great, but I just realised that I did nothing for the entire morning.

Having no objectives and no goals has been great and lots of fun, but having a loose framework of objectives is starting to make me feel rather edgy as it is not something I know I can do for long. Maybe I am not looking forward to retirement after all and that I feel I need to be active or doing something all the time. I guess I should just enjoy it while it lasts, eh?

In any case, in order to help me get over this, I will start to write a list of all the things I want to do, before I finish my six months of leave (ok - I have already used up 2 of those months). Hopefully, I can tick off each of those as little objectives I want to achieve. Now I just need to motivate myself to actually think about and write those objectives down!

Thursday, 7 December 2006

Being in The Game

I would not classify myself an avid reader of novels. I was never that person in school who would max out their limit at the library with novels. I didn't know the librarian by her name. During schooling years my reading was limited to required texts, crib notes on the required texts I was studying and exam papers. Fast forward to today and I have probably read no more than a handful of novels since receiving my HSC, or university degree for that matter.

A few days ago, my sister dumped a book down as I was playing a video game.
"This book is funny," she said casually, a little grin spreading across her face. I was slightly annoyed at being interrupted during my gaming time - the whole men and multi-tasking thing is true.
"It's about picking up," I heard her say.
Somehere in the deep recesses of my mind it registered what she was saying. Book. Picking up. Hmm...

So it was thus that I first had Neil Strauss's The Game in my hands.

**Warning - some spoilers ahead**

The author, an average frustrated chump (AFC), infiltrates the world of pick up artists (PUA) as an assignment. He is promptly thrust into an entirely different culture, propped up with their own jargon (a glossary is provided as well). One of the main selling points of the novel is that a majority of males fall into the AFC category. Being a self classified AFC (well, I definitely aint' a PUA), I could almost immediately relate to him as well as his feelings. Honestly now, who wouldn't want to be the guy who gets the girl? Who wouldn't want to be the hero at the bar/club/restaurant etc who can chat up the girls? There is almost instant hero status once this is achieved (at least among AFCs). Unfortunately, powering through video games at a crazy rate does not get anywhere near to earning such respect, so I guess my hours have been wasted! The fear of rejection is enough to make a some men man jump into a cage full of lions rather than receive an outright rejection. Therefore, given the opportunity, hordes of AFCs wanted to learn how to become a PUA.

The transformation of Neil is amusing - from the jealousy of his friend who could pull girls, to becoming a guru in the pick up game. The process in which this is learnt is rather startling though. Funnily enough the systematic breakdown of the techniques allowed me to think back to my much younger years, and realised that some of my friends were actually using those techniques! I was secretly wondering whether they had done it consciously after reading some book, or whether they did it subconsciously as a natural alpha male. I knew that I should have studied pyschlogy!

However, the dissection of human nature, mannerisms, hypnosis, NLP followed by the industrialisation of the material available made it a rather stoic process. It was like going through the motions and having a response to every resistance a girl could throw at them. However, I feel that this redraws the border of manipulative seduction and actually dehumanises the chasing process - expecially since I love the build up and the chase.

I am an advocate of the fact that everyone who reads the same text will take away something slightly different based on their past experiences. A main theme for me was the point of social validation. The PUAs were being validated through their success with the girls. In order to get to their targets, they needed to be socially validated by the target's friends as well as their own. I guess deep down, everyone does to some extent. A classic example is if someone gives another a compliment. Sure one may not necessarily be seeking it, but I know it feels good when someone gives me a compliment. Not many people like feeling like an outcast - even if one is not necessarily mainstream per se, they would tend to gravitate to those who most similar to themselves.

Another point to note was that the techniques being used were more or less attracting a certain type of person, and sometimes, they did get blown off. The question for the AFC would be why are they learning those techniques? Is it to get a particular girl? Or get a particular type of girl? I doubt that it would work on too many of the people I know.

Finally, the notion of being emotionally, physically and intellectually drawn in to form a relationship was highlighted. It almost went against the grain for many PUAs (or at least many of the AFCs which became PUAs). From a PUA perspective, too often were the emotional and intellectual elements neglected as they became lost in deploying different "techniques".

All in all, I reckon it was a great entertaining read - and maybe I learnt something from it all (and hopefully not just about picking up).

Tuesday, 5 December 2006

Power of M

It started off rather innocently, the leather seat holding me in place. The engine started off sweet enough, but soon turned into a ferocious growl as it ate up the road before us. The wind was playing havoc with my hair but I was almost too busy to notice as we were quickly running out of road. It didn't help that it was dark and the streets were lined with trees, with occasion glimpses of moonlight and dull street lights making their way down to illuminate the road. The chill of the night could be felt throughout the cabin. I felt the gears shift upward as the loud music from the superb speakers competed with the roar of the engine. Barely catching a glimpse of the sign indicating the recommended speed to take the corner, my mind could barely comprehend how fast we were travelling as the car nonchalantly accelerated towards the target. As if by mind control, the car obediently stuck to the road tame as tiger cub. I gave a sideward glance to the driver and watched as he was fully engrossed at the task at hand. I had expected to be thrown around like a ragdoll and had put my hand on the front of the seat, but this was a severe insult to the quality of the seat and soon the confidence of the seat had won me over. Exhilaration after just three tight corners. Other vehicles seemed to frustratingly plod along as there was never enough road to satisfy this one. Although sporty, it had the ability to soak up those chasms called potholes while barely skipping a beat. The build quality was nothing short of excellent and where a feature would sound superfluous on another vehicle, it just seemed so right to have it here. I love the feeling of being surrounded by luxury - mixed with some understated elegance. If anybody needed motivation, this could very well be one of the answers. I now understand what is M-power.