Archived entries for personal

Incompletent

Lots of ideas

Daggy stock photograph courtesy of a bunch of expiring credits on iStockPhoto that needed spending

Jenny was off sick today, and with nothing better to do she decided to catch up on reading my blog posts. While we were talking about what she thought of the things I’d written, I took a quick inventory and counted no fewer than 72 draft posts – thoughts that I’ve jotted down here and there as they occur to me, but have yet to find time to mold into coherent forms suitable for publishing. Here they are in reverse chronological order:

The future of retail
Copywrong
A-theist
Poll: what should I study?
The human animal
The future of journalism
Partially formed
Truth vs. Justice
Fuck you, evolution!
Fear of taxes is taxing peoples’ intelligence
Am I a Mac or a PC
Idea: no claim bonus for health insurance
Hatred
Being rich
The hoo-ha over social media
Idea: open source shop
Personal Search Optimisation
Idea: retail
Idea: transforming forms
Idea: kilometre counter
Cheevos!
The Public Spirit
I’m not really here
Government by statistics
The loss of innocence
Review
Accountability on the Internet
Oh no! Won’t somebody save us!
The future is Web? I hope not!
Brand me
A friendly bunch, you lot
Internet predictions
The future is free
Ready to get your game on?
Leaders – the ultimate editors
Why communities?
Ideological veganism
You’re wrong.
Just in time
Social media and the environment
Adam and Eve’s nakedness
Simplicity
Technology and the erosion of society
Beyond reason
Anti-consumerism
One man can’t make a difference
People of the book
Sacrificial giving
Making the impossible possible
Random thoughts about God
The Internet of the future
The world is getting more complicated
Train your brain
Court of law
In search of a passion
Jesus
The morality of atheism
Privilege
Banging our heads against the wall
Superheroes or stuperheroes?
And then what?
Selfish or selfless?
How to write
When it’s too hard
Not knowing
Unfunny
Stupidification
I’m feeling social
Editing vs. writing
Story nouveau
Narrative structures
Integrity of character

What’s interesting about this list is that you can discern from it the various epochs that cyberseraphic has been through – and hence what I was thinking – a lot better than the final list of published posts. From the oldest drafts a few years ago when I was heavily into the mechanism of writing and thoughts about characters and plots occupied my brain, the period where I explored the duality of my Christian and atheist beliefs meant to me, a phase wondering about the implications and impact of technology on society, through to the most recent posts demonstrating a sliver of interest in socio-political matters – there are thousands of words buried behind those titles, many probably past their used-by date.

Any of them in particular pique your interest? I’ll consider giving priority to the ones that get the most response.

HC SVNT DRACONES

Not only has the Gregorian new year all but disappeared from sight in the rear view mirror, the recent Lunar new year is also fast fading away. As I look back (belatedly) on the previous year, I think it’s fair to say that 2011 was an annus horribilus for me and Jenny. If you noticed that we were flying under the radar a little more than usual, it was probably due to one of these reasons:

  • We suffered 2 miscarriages (without intending to trivialise the experience of others who have been through it, neither of ours were the “simple” kind that happens quietly behind closed doors, leaving everybody not in the loop oblivious to what happened. We required surgical intervention both times, meaning time off work.)
  • I was made redundant from a job that I’d been in for almost a decade, and spent 3 months unemployed, doing a lot of career-related soul searching
  • I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, an ongoing condition related to my psoriasis, which negatively affects my physical abilities

Then there’s Jenny’s mum having open heart surgery, and a host of lesser incidents including one where Jenny learnt a valuable lesson on the very real dangers of -literally- kicking my ass, and a computer hard drive failure that would have been catastrophic but for the fact that most of my data now lives in The Cloud.

We also had some “near misses” such as: the Queensland floods – our investment properties were unaffected, but the flood waters stopped just up the road from where they are located (yeah, such a first world problem, I know).

And it seemed the rest of the world too, was being oppressed. Fortunately, we were very glad to learn that friends and family in Japan and New Zealand were not directly impacted by the earthquakes that rocked those countries, but still saddened by the many lives lost in those tragedies. Then of course there’s the continuing turmoil on the global financial markets.

So bruised and battered, we came into this year with the greatest of hope and expectation that things could only get better. And wow, what a start to the year! We spent a week away with our closest friends in a rented beach house in Anna Bay – the weather was absolutely perfect. Then during the trip I learned that I’d won a Sony Tablet S from the Sony (X) club. And we’re still only in January.

We’ve got big plans in store for this year, including a move (hopefully into a place of our own – fingers crossed). Hope to share more (and more often) with you right here, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, here are a few photos from the Anna Bay holiday.

Paradise on Birubi beach house

"Paradise on Birubi" - the house where we stayed. 5 bedrooms, 2 stories and rooftop access. Asking price: $1.65m

Praven serving up his curry

We had a great feast every single night - this one was Praven's superb Lamb curry. Yum!

A praying mantis

An unexpected visitor

Crashing waves

Leanne, Jenny and Tina playing around in the waves

A rock formation

Who you lookin' at? *grumble grumble*

Sunset over the water

We saw some spectacular sunsets over the beach

Sunset with silhouetted figures

Another amazing sunset. (EDIT: oops, I think this one was sunrise!)

Caesar holding a Port Jackson Shark

I caught a fish! Well, a Port Jackson shark actually. Oh, and it was actually Juan that did all the hard work, setting up the rod, hooking it, etc. he just kindly let me reel it in. He'd caught one that was even bigger the night before. We threw them both back in, thinking that they were endangered, but turns out they're not. Wouldn't have been all that good eating anyway - we were hoping for Salmon. Juan did catch a decent sized Taylor the night before we left.

Monkey toys arranged in a pattern

I couldn't resist... there were so many kids, and so many toys!

Birubi Beach

I suppose I couldn't get away with not showing a beach shot from a beach holiday (there's lots, but didn't want to post potentially "unflattering" pics of my friends without their permission). In the foreground is Birubi Beach, walking distance from where we were staying. In the distance is Stockton Beach, where I had my bucks - ah, the memories...

 

En neu, oui?

ennuiDinner just now included Korean Mandu (dumplings), which got me to thinking: not that long ago – I remember my parents having to do this – in order to have dumplings you’d pretty much have to make them yourself. It wasn’t impossible to buy them, just that the decent quality (fresh) ones were expensive or difficult to get, especially for a family where both parents work full time jobs.

I then proceeded to think that earlier generations had a lot of chores to occupy them – heck, I think I’m still scarred by my parents making *me* vacuum, dust and other exploitive manual labour.

Nowadays, it’s becoming increasingly easy to have these basic needs taken care of: technology has given us good quality food, even frozen dumplings, which are available easily and cheaply. Even things like Roomba vacuum cleaners are beginning to take over mundane chores for us. (Yes these are still nascent and we are far from close to being able to celebrate the end of vacuum cleaners everywhere.)

The trend that I’m talking about is the freeing up of time. As technology takes away more and more of our menial tasks, we are being given more and more time. Some use it wisely – for example my boss has a successful candle-making business on the side on top of his heavy day-job commitments – but I wager that a larger majority out there do not.

I count myself among those that don’t know what to do with themselves. My previous time-wasters – video games, movies, and surfing the Internet – are starting to become boring, and I’m struck by a heavy sense of ennui. Gardening is now the only hobby that gives me any satisfaction, being the one thing that is productive, i.e. one that creates something tangible outside of my mind.

It might be a sweeping generalisation, but I have a vague notion that the youth of the Western world is greatly afflicted by this same sense of ennui, and is the driving force behind all the petty juvenile delinquencies that we’re constantly seeing around us: graffiti, drunken behaviour, social unrest, etc.

Do you feel the same?

—-

N.B. Pardon the depressing topic. This entry was brought to you by a sudden urge to write a “stream of consciousness” instead of my usual edited-to-within-an-inch-of-its-life posts. You may also have noticed that this is my first post in probably 6 weeks, partly as a result of my blogs being “attacked”, which I might write more about later. I’ve also got some slightly better stuff in the pipeline.

New years resolutions

Too many windowsI can’t put my finger on exactly when this began, but my hyperactive brain currently works in such a way that when I’m sitting in front of the computer and think of something that I need to do, I have to start it straight away regardless of whatever else I’m doing. Say I’m in the middle of answering e-mails and it occurs to me to check to see whether my Internet banking payment has gone through, I have to immediately open a browser and open the bank’s Web site. Then I remember that I have to ask a colleague about something, and I open a chat window, and so on, and so forth in this fashion until I have about 50 things open at once. (And then I complain that my computer is too slow or doesn’t have enough memory…)

My excuse is that if I don’t then I’m going to forget, but the unfortunate side effect is that these tasks in my head all cry out for attention, which makes me wonder sometimes whether this is what schizophrenia feels like. It has also all but killed my attention span, meaning every time I have to wait for a Web page to load, or a program to open, I switch over to the next window and start working on something else instead.

I’m sure this isn’t healthy.

For one thing, when I’m at home with no urgent chores or other pressing agenda I’ll almost always end up playing videogames because that’s the first thing that comes to mind to do. It might even be revealing that I tend to prefer genres that involve quests and achievements – i.e. role playing, real-time strategy, platform and adventure games. Do this! Go there! Fetch that! It’s an endless stream of tasks that make me feel… occupied.

Then I remember that it’s been several weeks since I last published a post on any of my blogs, and I realise something that is endemic to my behavioural situation: I rarely finish anything because I’m constantly being distracted by something else. I never find the time to sit down with an idea long enough to nurture it past conception, but then find myself being constantly frustrated that my labour bears no fruit. I’m not just talking about tasks, but also relationships as well – most of my relationships are conducted online – I only make time for people who are on Facebook. God forbid you should try and meet me for a coffee or something, ‘coz there could be 300 other people whose tweets, status posts or IMs I’m missing out on while you’re selfishly consuming my time.

So here’s the deal. I realise it’s kinda late for resolutions, but for the rest of this year I resolve to:

  • Make more time for people. I don’t mean being more personable, but actually taking the effort to connect with people, both the ones who have actually been actively trying to reach out to me, as well as those who I’ve lost contact with as a result of my aggressive negligence.
  • Go deeper. I’m gonna stop wondering why my half-assed ideas aren’t getting anywhere, and actually do something about it. One key change I need to make is to stop being my own biggest critic, and spend less time trying to be awesome. So what if things end up failing or resulting in a dead end?
  • Break free of limitations. Over the last few months we went through a bit of a lean period financially. Don’t get the wrong idea though; this was a “rich man’s problem” which deserves no pity, but I digress. Instead of focusing on what I stand to lose, I must make a conscious effort to take bigger risks – to think of it not as loss but sacrifice, even if it is nothing more than fuel for the great hamster wheel that life can be sometimes.

There may be more, but that’s a start.

Wong-Wong (nee Hong) in Hong Kong

We had a fantastic time on our recent trip. We did loads of shopping (I think I’ve got enough socks and undies to last the rest of my life) and I gained 2kgs from all the endless eating that we did. Of course I bought a bunch of Transformers, and you should know better than to expect that I’d post about it here instead of making a separate dedicated post :-)

Dunno whether it was just being away from home, and all the stress that is here, or the hardcore retail therapy and excellent food, or the safety of being “parented” by my awesome mum and dad while we were there, but Jenny’s blues also took a holiday.

We also went on a tour of Seoul, but joined a really crappy tour, so I’d say that I’ve experienced Korea only very barely. The other Honkies on the tour decided that they were more interested in shopping, so at every non-shopping destination we arrived at, they’d take the obligatory photo and get straight back on the bus, leaving us to always be the stragglers. The “Korean” tour guide was also an idiot, constantly taking pot-shots at Jenny being an ex-pat despite the fact that she herself was from Hong Kong and had only lived in Seoul for 6 years, making outrageous claims about how she was more Korean than my wife. Grr… I’ll stop there before I get even more angry. Suffice to say, she was full of bull, and spent more time talking about herself than the country.

We did manage to get some time away from the tour to visit Jenny’s relatives, and they cooked us up a super Korean feast! Beat the heck out of the crappy food we were getting from the stupid tourist restaurants that the tour took us to.

Back in Hong Kong, we did some more last minute shopping, and finally managed to get across to the Hong Kong side, having only explored Kowloon up to that point! 2 weeks definitely wasn’t enough, and like how I’d dearly love to revisit Japan, Jenny now wants to make Hong Kong her home away from home!

A few pics below. More over at Flickr.

My awesome parents, Anthony and Roseline Wong

Stinky tofu!

Climbing up the stairs to the Big Buddha



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