So, it's December of the year 2011. The Friday month of the year. Something like that.
By the eve, we'll soon say hello to 2012 and scream OMG what happened all of one year ago?

Welcome another birthday, another passage of life, another everything. And a heap of retrospective moments. Time keeps slipping, and there is nothing we can do about it.

Except live and remember and learn.

Can I just say, in this year, I've said goodbye officially to being a kid, because turning 21 means I'm a bloody adult now. It sucks that I have to grow up.

I just want to remember what it was like being a kid. I knew I've been through tough moments as a child, and it didn't necessarily go by like a breeze either. Growing up is an everyday activity, it doesn't stop at being an adult now does it.

Geez, it's always this time of the year where you look back in its entirety and feel even worse about what you've missed and wished you hadn't.

Why do I sound so sombre?

Because: time goes by quicker, relatively, the older you get. One year feels so short now than it did 10 years ago. It's a matter of relativity (and not Einstein's theory, 'cos I never understood it)
, and it feels like I'm right about that. Who wants to feel like they're reaching 'the end' quicker?

If there is one thing I'd like, is to feel like I've lived the years of long ago. I've said this before, and I wish it so much, but because time is not a vector, it is an intangible dimension, I wish I had lived in a different decade. Things seemed so much more hopeful then.
Every new piece of technology was a landmark. There weren't threats of global warming, economic meltdown and new things sprout up because they were really new.
Now, it just seemed like a little has been achieved. Technology is indeed fast moving, but I wonder if we really need all that. We can't irresponsibly trash the planet now, although ages ago, we did because somehow, it didn't show signs of a meltdown.

I'm so sorry for sounding bleak, but I guess I'm just clinging on to the past, because moving forward is never quite filled with security. Security is what keeps me grounded. Uncertainty is like a bed of nails; you could swing just a little more, and hope that it doesn't hurt.

Since everyday is a chance to learn, I know now more than ever, I should find out what really makes me happy. Carrying on this burden that pulls my spirits down is not going to help



I hope for the best for everyone I know, and everyone I will know. And everyone else too.
May 2012 be a good, good year for you, as we all hope each new one to be.
Bdim - E -AM -Fm in C major.

If I can remember this by heart, I'll try it out on a piano somewhere, because it is quite a nice chord progression I found out on my own by accident.



I finally got a "killing spree" on LoL, learnt how to use LaTeX professionally (well, to some extent), got on a skateboard (but haven't learnt how to move on it), got my hands on the piano in the eatery in uni, how to use Altium Designer on the computer, and have a phone interview.

I have to list my trivial accomplishments here to remember what I've trivially accomplished in the last few weeks.

But gosh, I have so much to study in the coming weeks.

It's sooooo ironic that I'm reading a prescribed textbook now for a course I used to do. Shame :(
Truth be told, I like oranges more than apples. I own a PC, not a Mac. But that doesn't stop me from appreciating the beauty that is Apple.

Along with the millions who mourn his death, I who have never known him personally, who never owned a single product that the company he started ever made, who only just watched his inspiring 2005 Stanford commencement address, will have to say, that Steve Jobs, a man with an extraordinary vision and is a legend himself, may he RIP.

Apple is one hell of a fruit so sweet.
To hear your own voice on a recorded playback can feel quite weird, and maybe a little bizarre, because you never thought you sounded like that. Because of how the bones in our ears are structured, the sound we hear of our voice is not quite the same as what everyone else hears it as.

But that doesn't stop us from listening to the way we speak. It doesn't matter the pitch or quality of our voices, what we say is pretty much the same as others and ourselves hear it.

With that said, I realised that I do say too many 'likes' in a sentence. It has become a 'filler' word, and a word that is substituted for words like "For example" and "for instance."
Have I become so poor at expressing myself in the conversational sense? Honestly, I feel that the word 'like' should only be used to mean the emotion for the fondness of something, and on occasion, to mean "for example". Otherwise, I feel like an utter bimbo who is verbally inarticulate.
It is true that the written word has the advantage of flowing out with some amount of forethought, longer than that of the spoken word.
So you don't, like, see me use words, like, 'like' too often here.

Thoughts on this sprung up because of this video:

Fancy
There was once upon a time when I used to watch this movie a few times a week; those years of yonder have long since gone, and I can only vaguely remember what the show was about. How it seemed so magical and adventurous then.

But as I recall it now, I guess deep down somewhere, the person who invented Peter Pan must have felt the same way some of us feel at a point in our lives: of never having to grow up.

Maybe I'm in a sort of reminiscent mood now, or maybe I feel like I've not lived up to anything yet, and that this sort of thoughts never really cropped up when I was a child, or still in school; but I guess, the magic of the future can fade when you grow older, and thus, becoming a little more realistic, and to a certain extent, cynical. You slowly, unwittingly, let the child in you ebb away, with the years we add to our lives.
Then find yourself wishing that you never grow up. To be like Peter Pan.

I've passed the 21 mark, and I do still feel like I have child-like tendencies, which make me feel naive and childish. But then if I took the time to think, isn't that what I'm after, if I long to 'never grow up'?
Do we scoff at people who seem to be feeble for their age? Immature? Or narrow-minded? Or what we deem as narrow-minded anyway.


Take me back to those years.... just for a moment.





Just before returning home for the winter break 2 months ago, I have had a string of physical afflictions over the 12-week semester that made everyday tasks a little bit more painful than usual.
After going through my phone's camera album, I thought of writing this up just for fun and for the sake of random posts every now and then. (Then again, I don't follow any particular theme, so heck, let's just see some pictures)

First of firsts, is this mouth ulcer.


It started off relatively small, say 0.5-1 mm across in diameter. From this photo, evidently it got bigger, and from last measured, it measured to >5mm. FML. It was so freaking painful. Unlike other parts of your mouth, say behind your gums, at the back top part, THIS particular spot makes eating agonizing because it is difficult to get food into your mouth without going it first past the lips.
I don't know how it got so big, but I would like to dish out some advice and that is to NEVER attempt the following:

RUB SALT ON IT.

Reason #1 - it's f****** painful
Reason #2 - it's probably ineffective
Reason #3 - I swore it got bigger post-salt treatment.

It took about 2 weeks before it completely healed, and in the process I had to get pharmacy medicine that hurt as much as the salt treatment, but it soothed the ulcer after 15 seconds of misery upon application.

Conclusion: Drink a lot of water, if ulcer occurs, do not rub salt, instead get proper pharmacy medicine. Or you could just wait it out to heal by itself.


Next up, is this mother of blisters:

Excuse the poor photo quality, but if you pay close attention, you can roughly make out a white patch from the edge of the sock to the end of the white patch near the arch of my left foot. From the comparison with my thumb, this mother of all blisters is bigger than the AUD0.50 coin. FML, as it made walking so insecure.
The location of this blister is at a part of my foot that is tantamount to Heathrow Airport in London.
Okay, pardon the exaggeration, but in all its 'strategic' locality, this blister managed to stay un-popped for the entire duration of its blister life. However, it did leave a faded mark on my foot, that will always remind me of how I once had the mother of all blisters on my foot.

Conclusion: Avoid wearing bad shoes. It will cost you some blister-ingly painful times.


Last but not the least (painful), is the cracked toenail


Well, it didn't actually crack on its own, but the portion of the missing nail was already dead underneath, so I had to cut it out in order for new nail to grow. It looks grotesque, especially when the leftover toenail is painted black. In any case, not having nail there didn't exactly mean painful times of walking, but it just looked gross when people look down at your feet and you're wearing open-toed shoes. My confidence went downhill :(
Ok, it didn't, but it just felt a weeeee bit drafty on little big toe.

Ok, end of distractions and complains. Back to work.
Writing up my resume can be quite demotivating. Especially when you have to squeeze your brain juices dry just to think of one effective line that ups your marketability.

Anyway, tomorrow's City2Surf and I am not quite feeling so pumped up for 14kms of running, but hoping to run in under 100 minutes!!!!
I didn't have to turn 18 to finally taste what some people have and want to do in secret; I believe I wasn't even a teenager yet when I had my first sip of beer. If you count shandy, then I think I was still in kindy when I had that first sip.

So in a way, I'm a sip-'veteran' when it comes to drinking alcohol.
But bingeing, now, I'm barely gonna even go there.
It. Is. Bad.
Almost as bad as smoking, with more short-term ills, but perhaps not as damaging long-term.

While some people's tolerance to alcohol is sky-high, there are those who can barely get past half a pint before they start becoming a different person. Sometimes it can be a comedic spectacle, but at other times, it's not so funny.

Now, for the former group of people, it takes a lot more than half a pint to get them excited; maybe a gallon before they start acting differently. But surely, everyone gets a little giddy and uninhibited with some alcohol.

I think my threshold is 2 pints.
**
My father prefers wine over beer. He likes to have a beer or some wine with me over TV with some tidbits when the opportunity presents itself.

I can't remember a time when my father ever drank himself to euphoria; he has much better self-control than that, I'd like to believe. Or maybe it's because he has to drive (responsibly) us all home too.

Last night, he and I had some white wine. I don't know whether it was the wine or whether it's because I'm leaving back for Oz in a few days or what, but what he said wasn't something I'd hear every so often.

Let's digress a little and come back to the point in a bit.

I don't know about you but my parents don't normally tell me stories at length about their childhood or how much times have changed that some things were definitely much better in the past. I'd hear bits and pieces about old(ancient) technology, about how toilets were rudimentary and detached from their homes, of New Villages, the resettlement and how 1Malaysia was evident then without having to have a slogan and logo plastered everywhere, about doing outdoor activities without having to worry about the dangers of kidnappers, murderers and thieves.
I'd get fragments of life back then from them, but they wouldn't talk about it like how they would when they lecture me about what I should and shouldn't do, among other things. Bummer.
So here's the dish. I didn't need their old stories to feel that maybe, just maybe, our 'Life Satisfaction' would be higher if we'd lived in the past. I'm sure a lot of people would disagree with me when I say that; exclamations such as "I can't do without my computer games", or "I can't live without the internet" or "What will I do without Facebook/Twitter?!??" are bound to be voiced.
But if they(our parents and forefathers) lived then, and if we never knew about these things then, then we can't miss them if we never knew about them in the first place, right? Besides, it's not the ice age I'm suggesting. Maybe 30-40 years ago. During our parents' teenage years.

But yes, once you're given a luxury, it slowly becomes a necessity and letting it go would cause mayhem.

So back to our wine-drinking yesterday, my father started telling me stories of his boyhood days of cycling miles from home to the nearest beach (about three hours away) with some of his friends and going camping. They weren't out of high school and were without any parental or adult guidance.
Now this is what I call "hitting the road."
They'd buy plenty of canned food, pitch a tent from canvas and sticks (not those with the flick of the arm and it transforms into a pretty tent), and if that wasn't enough for some days of heavy rain, they'd find shelter under the wooden sheds used by peddlers at the beach.
I presume this is one of those things that topped the list of "Things to Do during the holidays" for them. It sounded idyllic. So easy, so carefree.

In the middle of his story-telling, I wondered to myself and eventually voiced out "So what do you do when you're there? Do you play cards, play ball... how do you fill the time?"

It was then I realised that I've been living in the 20th-21st century long enough such that physical outdoor activity is perplexing when it is done all day. This is what I've become. And a whole lot of people around my age too, I believe.

After a pause, my father said that now, you can't just let your kids out on the road, much less a camping trip by themselves. The days when one can hitchhike from town to Port Dickson, times have certainly changed in the present.
That those camping days of old, were his 'some of the most wonderful times.'

I felt very happy but poignant all the same at those words.

There is no way for things to go back to the way they were. I know that I'm not that old nor am I dying of some terminal illness, and that I still have years ahead of me, but I can't help wondering how life would be like if I had lived in the 60's or 70's.
Now, we're driven by the rush to the top, of material things, where sharing comes with some hidden mistrust, where being simple sometimes is thought of as being feeble, where money is a coveted object, where status is measured by wealth of tangible things. Life isn't complex, but we have made it so by what we have become.

The booze isn't doing the talking now, in this afternoon. I'd like a little more stories to hear, to bring me back as though I had lived those years, maybe for a while, like an escape.
Here's to you. Cheers*

Wealth without work,
Pleasure without conscience,
Knowledge without character,
Commerce without morality,
Science without humanity,
Worship without sacrifice,
Politics without principles

-Mahatma Gandhi-
Would it be oxymoronic for someone studying electrical engineering to detest the ever-expanding market of consumer electronics, while some may be great innovation, most are somewhat redundant?
A printed circuit board. You find this in many, many electronic devices,
a device as simple as your coffee maker might have it.

I think it's after having to do the gritty work of studying the basics of it that made me realise how much harder it is to work from the ground up. I must thank the electronics forefathers for their groundbreaking work decades ago.

The Internet opened many doors;
the mobile phone provided us communication virtually anywhere (with good enough reception)
storage devices that allowed massive data storage in tiny little packages.

Yes, there are great pros to these. Yet, there are also cons.
But to that end, what happens when a system becomes obsolete, or relatively old and hence, we rationalize as obsolete, and not because it crashed/died and cannot be revived?
What happened to all those old floppy disks? Or CD-ROMS? Or our old cassette players? (I almost forgot how to spell that word since it's been ages since I touched one)
I know for the average user who is smacked with ads/bargains of the latest must-have gadgets to own, it becomes tempting, and if the marketing worked its magic, then walla, one customer to add to their repertoire. Another 99,999 to seduce.

The whole thing with electronics consumerism is... incredible. Under two years ago they launched the iPad. And recently, they launched the 2nd generation iPad2. Now, tell me, as an end user, the supposed 'upgrades' aren't spectacular.
It looks much the same, in factexactly the same as its predecessor. Functionality, well, not really that superbly better. Why, tell me, is it necessary for Apple to have launch a second generation one?

And make owners of the older ones to feel a little, well, outdated?

There's a problem with how the economy works. We aim for growth and greater GDP, but these numbers aren't a true reflection, at least, not a complete one of the state of our economic status, I believe.

It seems, living in excess seems like the ideal. When excess is looked upon as necessity.
How many clothes do we need?
How much food do we need to take, or how fussy can we be with our food?
How expensive are the things we have to have?

I know what it's like when we procure a new item, and quite possible fawn over it for a couple of days. Then, the new-ness of the item dies down, and then quite possibly, you start looking for new things to buy. It's consumerism that's the problem.


GRRRRRR when one is not enough, smack yourself and say hey, how many more do you really need?


Just trying out my webcam's photo-taking abilities. Just saying hi. This is me, I own this blog, and up here, yes, is a picture of me (I hope I don't live to regret exposing a picture of myself on blogger). It was a programming day where my butt would get a chair sore since it's been seated for hourssssss I thought I'd just play around and take weird photos of myself with my webcam, HEY HELLLO

I'll be back.
(it is probably too late to say this because, in any case, turning 21 means you're 'all grown up' but ANYWAY)

...and when I have my own home, the kitchen is my terrain. I will obtain all necessary (and perhaps fancy ones too) kitchen utensils, and I will get high quality cooking pans and pots, and I will cook.

I will cook and have dinner parties to serve my food.
I will have many Pyrex bowls, a strong mixer, high quality knives, a good conventional oven, and the list goes on.....

Oh boy am I hungry now or what.

As a student, I have taken several math courses throughout the years; earlier on, it seemed fun, challenging, and gratifyingly worth it. After that, it naturally progressed to become tougher, more theoretical, and a whole lot more proof-oriented.
This, added together with the fact that in my line of engineering (electrical) a lot of calculations involve integration, differentiation, cross-products and whatchamacallits are omnipresent, it is then needless to say, that I've lost the drive, and the opinion that maths is 'fun and interesting.'

However, I just want to mention a little bit about probability here. There will be no mention of any theoretical bullshit (not like I can remember any; I was crunching the numbers without bothering about the meaning of them 98% of the time), but essentially, probability theory is, simply put, the analysis of the past and present to give a prediction of the future. That's a fair definition, yeah?

(This is not a discussion of anything analytically mathematical whatsoever, but rather it is a contemplative discussion of how life revolves so much around probability, and the consequences as such)

When we talk about probability, we will slowly find ourselves talking about risk, as the two go hand-in-hand when discussing about either.
When assessing the probability of a certain event, it is necessary to gather numeric data based on past observations of such events, and then analyse this data using complex formulas that has already been established, and then we can quantitatively give a number to say whether such an event is probable, or not.
Now, we talk about the gathering of data, via observations a.k.a. sampling.

Just how much is a good enough number for our data? And to what degree of uncertainty is this data reliable for our prediction? Yes, the maths for such is incredible; but that is not to be discussed here, but only for mention.

In estimating we can only ever rely on the samples we gather; if we are going to collect data from every person in the population, it sounds like an impossible job. As sure as it is to give you a true reflection of the population, it is not feasible, at the very least.

Just like how you don't drink the entire wine from a bottle to decide if it is undrinkable, or test every component on the production line to assess how faulty they are, you just have to rely on the few that you gather.

Our lives revolve around such 'sampling', and a response to such sampling is well, a decision whether to accept or not accept.

There is an interesting "bottom line" to this: a few years of dating is a 'sampling' of marriage.
Trust, reliance, dependent, uncertainty. You can use these words interchangeably for any aspect of life, whether mathematical or not.
You can't predict the future, but you can base your decisions of the future on the past 'samples'. If life was foreseeable, it would be entirely ... predictable. Unexciting perhaps?

I guess, it's time to trust more. Trust on the samples, and hopefully whatever the decision, to accept or not accept, we are heading for... a ride. A 50/50 chance on good/great times.

Make that 60/40. Ah, whatever. Getting bogged down by the numbers is no cool!

What's the point of signing up for school if you're not going to go and learn stuff?
Bloody hell, use your brain sistah!<--self-reminder not to sleep in or skip lectures

So I have to grow up a bit. Actually, screw that, I have to grow up a lot. If I thought I'd mature enough after 21 years, I sure got lots of growing up to do from here on out.

In life, we have to be more than just one thing; take, for example, working as a graphic designer.
Sure, you make the best, well, graphic designs than your peers in school. You win awards for your excellent graphic designs; your tutors praise your graphic designs every week. Now, that's pretty commendable standards for a fresh graphic design graduate, eh?
But, caveat: Your designs may speak volumes, but a great personality is the deal-sealer.
Who wants a stuck-up, thinks-I-deserve-more-than-this graphic designer to work for them? It's such a put-off, big time.

Humbleness, I believe, is part of a great personality. When people say something's a humbling experience, it must be a good experience.

One must always remember to be kind and gracious, and grateful, and pleasant.

Attitude, is the final word, I think. And so does my dad. We can't look at the world as though it's spinning around us. That's just not how it works. If everyone did so, it would be soooo unproductive (and frustrating)!
We are individuals, yet no one shall be an island, because we work better together.

I'll just sign this off by saying that I apologise for being a pain to anyone who reads this. I am sorry, if I have caused slight or grievous hurt physically or emotionally to you, I will try and be better next time - to be kind, gracious, grateful, and pleasant.



Ok, it's three years later, and here I am writing about Switchfoot and the post-experience of attending another concert of theirs. I LOVES THEM

By golly, Jon is fantastic. Switchfoot, I <3 you.

They sang so many songs, I would say at least a quarter from the "Hello Hurricane" album, although the 'old school' ones were still the BEST! Closing number of "Dare You To Move" is juuuuuuuuuuust right.

Thank you God for this amazing Holy Thursday (which I spent at a Switchfoot concert. Hmmmm.... nevermind)
I've grown to realise that life favours us in different ways, while it may be unfair, we'll always possess some things others want, while others possess things we just can only dream of having from a distance.

Like age and youth for instance. Money, Good Looks, Smarts, Talent. These are some of the broad categories.

But hey, at least we all have chances at them. Do not fret, we'll be alright.
And everybody has at least a birthday.

So here's to Lim Li Vern's, Happy Birthday usagi-chan. =)
Today, if I made a(n imaginary) bet with God-knows-who in the university, I'd have to say this: Let me graduate with an engineering degree, and I promise I'll never apply for an engineer-related job. Not. Ever. Never.
Just don't keep me in this uni by failing me. All I want is that g.d. piece of paper that says graduate with a __(fill in blank)___.

Hopefully it says Bachelor of Engineering.


This is a shot of a famous shrine in Harajuku that we visited. There are tons of these shrines all over Japan.
This was taken some time in late January.

After this novel trip to Japan, I developed quite an affinity for the country. Is it the food, the people or just the atmosphere, I don't know. But I would definitely want to go there again in my lifetime.


Recent news regarding the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan has rocked many people around the world, and it also rocked mine. If it wasn't for the trip, I wouldn't have taken much interest in another natural disaster. However, with the threat of a nuclear disaster, this is quite believably a cause for much worry.
Perhaps I am ignorant about the threats of radiation, or if this is even a cause of concern, but believe me, the people of Japan are in need of much solidarity now.
Forget about the whole karma sh*t people are b*tching about Japan now. The past is in the past. If that's the case everyone deserves a little bit of natural disasters on their land. Calamities, unfortunately, happen.

Please pray for them, and pray that our Earth will not take the lives of so many people again.
I believe that there is a reason for this, and this perhaps is the call to faith.



a box of chocolates. Sometimes.


At times, it is like a bitter pill to swallow.


Here's to the good old times of yesteryears.

*there's more than these, but the excuse is a lack of time.

Bad times don't normally have pictures, so we'll just live for the present, and keep past memories as a safety net.

It was over two years ago since my brief stint in orthodontics where I wore those painful braces for a year.
My teeth, ever since, have been straight. Thank you dad (for the money spent on my teeth) and thank you Dr. (for straightening my teeth, and taking money from my dad for it).

Thankfully, it lasted only a year, which is considerably fast compared to others with more complicated dental layouts. I must thank someone for that.

Thank you, someone.

Anyhow, in subsequent years till today, the braces journey doesn't quite end. After removing them, I had to wear retainers almost 24/7 for about half a year. It still doesn't end there, either.
Ms. Dentist told me that retainers are for a lifetime (which sounded like a binding contract, almost like matrimony). But of course, it's not as detrimental if not obeyed.

Now, in 2011, I've 'separated' with my retainers.

Problem is, with the availability of space in my mouth, my wisdom teeth have taken this chance to display themselves permanently in my mouth.
You can imagine the great amount of grief and pain they have caused me the past two weeks. Almost comparable to the braces itself previously.

This is making me upset becuase it is taking out the fun in eating, because half of your mouth is in pain when you attempt to just...chew. Not to mention the fact that I have just a day left of authentic Malaysian food. I is not so happy. What's more, I don't want to fly back. Home is just.. home.

Anyway

Back to dental matters, I have a recurring nightmare of my teeth falling out, which causes me to lose all my self-esteem and confidence. Losing my front teeth has got to be one of my deeper fears.

Geez.

Here goes to more candy and better eating habits.



My back hurts, I'm tired from the swimming and book database-making, but I'm having heaps of fun just doing these normal things. It's good to be home.

Happy Chinese New Year! A week more to go of it!

Laziness is not an excuse. Laziness cannot get you anywhere.
...and how you tell the story.

Everyone's a little bit more interesting than when you first encountered them.
If everyone's got a story to tell, how un-interesting can one then be?
Perhaps the anticipation should not be built with too high an expectation; take it on a stride, and let the story ease its way out.


Taking this opportunity to wish everyone in the world (futile attempt, but hey...) a Happy New Year 2011!

So, what shall we have for the New Year?
Money, Maturity and Man.
LOL. Forget the last one, but the first two are a must-must.

Happy New Year y'all. Make it a good year, peace-