Archived entries for personal

Fuck you, evolution!

Last week I posted the list of drafts I’d accumulated all these years and asked you to pick which ones you’d like to see. A couple of you requested “Fuck you, evolution!” which hardly surprising given the provocative title, but going back and reading what I wrote, I remembered why I hadn’t posted it before – it was supposed to be an announcement (about what, precisely, should be clear soon if you haven’t already guessed).

Seeing as it’s been over 6 months since I first started writing this post (I ended up publishing this instead), and who-knows-how-long until it will finally need to be called upon again, I figure I might as well tweak it a bit and publish now, and think of something else clever when the time comes.


If it were left up to nature, I should have died a long time ago:

  • I developed an unknown and undiagnosable ailment at a very young age which causes me to cough incessantly. The doctors at the time said that my lung capacity was reduced because of it but I’ve managed to live a completely ordinary life in spite of it – albeit I’m not the fittest nor most athletic person you might know.
  • I developed myopia – more commonly known as short-sightedness – at a relatively early age. I spent several years sitting right at the front of the class, not because I was so eager to learn, but so that I could see the blackboard because I didn’t know any better. It wasn’t until my violin teacher, Mr. Russell, noticed that I seemed to be leaning in to the music stand probably more than an ordinary kid should, and mentioned it to my parents, that I finally got glasses. If I was living in the era of the natural jungle rather than the urban jungle, I would’ve been eaten by a wild animal a long time ago.
  • More recently, I discovered that I have psoriasis, and on top of that, psoriatic arthritis. My skin does weird things in weird places, and my joints are in constant and incurable pain. I use steroidal creams for the external stuff and take anti-inflammatory drugs for the latter – and will do for the rest of my life. Without them my body will destroy itself.

Yet I have survived long enough to procreate, and with the middle fingers of both hands pointed firmly upwards at the process of natural selection, Jenny and I will hopefully overcome the false starts of last year and conceive soon. Realistically speaking, it is entirely possible that our child will inherit some or all of the traits I described above thanks to genetics, plain and simple. But he or she will grow up in an era where modern medicine will likely render the symptoms irrelevant – even as I use the rudimentary versions of those techniques to make my life tolerably liveable today.

So regardless of the specifics of how we came to be, science has killed evolution dead in its tracks. Survive and adapt to that, muthafuckaaaaaaaaa…


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
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
Being rich
The hoo-ha over social media
Idea: open source shop
Personal Search Optimisation
Idea: retail
Idea: transforming forms
Idea: kilometre counter
The Public Spirit
I’m not really here
Government by statistics
The loss of innocence
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
Technology and the erosion of society
Beyond reason
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
The morality of atheism
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
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.


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.

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