Music: Joel Muston – In The Meantime

I came across Joel busking at Swanston Street last year, and put up his song Move With It in a separate post some time later.

It was probably pure coincidence that I happened to be walking up Bourke Street tonight, and came across Joel once again, playing his new songs. No photographs because I didn’t bring my camera along, but it’s great to see him back busking. And I bought his new CD (titled In The Meantime) as a show of support for his music.

http://media.imeem.com/m/hP42YRCqus/aus=false/

Unreliable Me – Joel Muston

Joel has finally got his own site up (joelmuston.com naturally), which has full downloads of all his songs as well. So share the music and spread the word! I’m looking forward to his future gigs in Melbourne : )

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Australia – The journey to a subclass 457 work visa

This is pretty good news actually; as of 20 May 2008, I have qualified for a subclass 457 work visa that will allow me to work in Australia. It’s not exactly better than a PR (Permanent Residency) visa, but I don’t qualify for that anyway so who cares? One step forward in the great plan, woot!

What a long wait it has been, and it sure was a great relief to have the visa label on my passport at long last. You don’t count your chickens until they hatch, and this bloody chicken certainly took its time about it.

Incase anyone’s curious about how one goes about getting the 457, here’s a brief summary:

#1 You find a company who is willing to sponsor your work visa.
This is the first hurdle, because the visa involves a great deal of paperwork and waiting. You would probably have to think hard about why the company couldn’t just get another bloke off the street in the first place. The shit starts right after this.

#2 Your company has to be an eligible sponsor.
This means that the company has to be screened and approved as a sponsor for the work visa, in terms of finance mainly. In short, they have got to have the moolah to pay your salary. (Which brings us to the next point..)

#3There is a minimum wage imposed on the visa.
Which is a good thing actually but cuts both ways. Sure, you’re definitely assured of a decent salary, but your employer has to be willing to fork the money out (when he could probably hire someone else at a cheaper rate).

#4 Your company has to nominate your job and get it approved.
This means providing details of your job, and probably reasons why they have to get you and no one else. After this is approved, we finally come to the final step.

#5 You have to submit the visa application.
It is usually faster to submit the nomination and the visa application simultaneously. The only downside to that is if your nomination application gets screwed, so does the visa application (and the application fees of course). The visa application involves submitting copies of the following documents (including, but not restricted to):

  • Birth certificate
  • Passport
  • Educational certificates and transcripts
  • Passport-sized photographs

And it took me almost four months to get this thing done. Thanks to Sylvester for his tips on doing the 457, ZM for helping to scan my birth certificate at short notice, and every single one of you guys who have been listening to me rant about the visa. And of course, thanks to my boss who made this all possible.

Keinian ideals – 3 questions to finding your life goals

In the typical life cycle of a modern person, we easily spend up to ten years or more immersed in education; from a broad spectrum of subjects, and eventually settling to a specialisation. All too often, we end up studying and eventually working in a field we might not even like.

The question then appears.

What am I doing here?

Little thought was usually given to career specialisations in our youth. For example, I might have thought programming was fascinating in my younger days, but how would I have known that life as a programmer was often hectic and involved long undesirable hours?

(Note: I majored in Java, but eventually gave up on it as a career choice.)

Reality, unfortunately is often far and away detached from the theory and basic foundations that we encounter in school. Hence, the disillusionment we face upon entering society, and it is usually a rude and abrupt reality check.

After we finish our studies and finally settle down to a job, another question often appears.

I have the rest of my life before me, but what now?

Most people end up being lost at that point, simply because the well-marked road to endless assignments and exams vanished. Absolute freedom is ours, but we fail to appreciate it for what it is. The loss of those academic milestones are keenly felt, but there is no inspiration to suitable replacements.

Truly, what does one do in this situation?

There is probably no fast and easy way out of this, and you need to think. Take time out, have pen and paper ready. Get yourself comfortable in a quiet spot and ask yourself the following questions:

  • #1 What do I like to do? Is there a job that allows me to indulge in my passions?
  • #2 Is having a high-powered career important to me? If not, what is it that matters most to me?
  • #3 What is my ideal lifestyle? How do I go about achieving it?

This should be a pretty logical action at this point, but remember to write your thoughts down. The main objective is to identify what you deem to be important, and how you should go about achieving it.

To use myself as an example once again:

I decided long ago that money wasn’t really all that fascinating, and working my arse off to get more money did not sound all that attractive. What use would money be, when you did not have the time to use it? Similarly, what good would time be, if you did not have good health?

Therefore, I ended up placing my priorities as:

  • Health
  • Time (for activities)
  • Money

Health: My health is reasonably good; I exercise regularly, do not smoke, and seldom indulge in junk food.

Time: Therefore, I focused my attentions to having time to do the things I liked. Things like photography, reading, writing, meeting up friends for dinner, or even idling at home.

Money: The above factors made me decide that any job that involved excessive overtime was out, regardless of the amount of remuneration. Excessive travel was a turn-off too, since it wasted time. These decisions naturally defined the type of job I would prefer.

That’s enough for now, so I will stop my article at this point (it’s not meant to be a writeup on my life decisions!) and leave a bit of breathing space for comments. Feel free to do so!

Music: 小松小柏 – 想妳の愛

I remember the day when I began listening to Mandarin pop, and of course my very first idol. Or rather, idols. I’m not sure if you remember the twin brothers 小松小柏 (aka Anthony and Valentino Bao), but they were the very first singers I started on.

And of course.. not forgetting Baby You Should Be Dancing, one of my favourites:

http://media.imeem.com/m/8oGxv-3cww/aus=false/
*Thanks to faithpig for uploading it on imeem; I could have done it myself but this saved me the effort of doing so.

I thought my search for their songs ended several years ago at Shaw Tower when I bought their compilation CD. It was only until last night that I remembered one absolute bloody favourite that was not in the CD, and that triggered a fruitless search.

http://tv.mofile.com/cn/xplayer.swf
Unfortunately, this is an incomplete version of the song : (

想妳の愛
作詞 : 包小柏
作曲 : 黎沸揮
編曲 : 黎沸揮

是我傷妳太深 還是我太愚蠢
該用什麼方式 結束傷害
一直為妳困擾 一心為妳祈禱
在我心裡妳是 多麼的重要
愛是慢慢累積 還是慢慢離去
到底是誰比較好 曾經擁抱過
曾經快樂過 怎麼沒想到
想妳の愛 想妳の愛
想妳の溫柔到心懷 除了妳還有誰能把妳取代
想妳の愛想妳の愛 想妳の濃情分不開
畢竟妳是我最愛的等待

And like I said, it was a quest that ultimately came up empty-handed.

I found songbozone.com, a fan forum dedicated to all their recent news/videos/whatever. Note: emphasis on recent.

A fanpage with their discography turned up in the search, which was of course interesting but not useful.

There was a blog by candyhui-hk, who bought the CD album (titled 覺得很快樂) with my desired song inside. Lyrics and pictures of the CD, but no music : (


覺得很快樂? Not at all : (

faithpig did two excellent blog posts (Music Capsule 松柏的魔力世界(一) and Music Capsule 松柏的魔力世界(二)) on the brothers’ music career, complete with imeem embeds of the songs. Unfortunately, my object of desire wasn’t in the list : (

YouTube and tudou had nothing for me either.

There was a blog by 小風 who seemed to have uploaded the right song in one of the posts.. but it was password protected : (

And yes, I will be bloody thankful if anyone manages to point me in the right direction of my 想你的愛; I am admitting defeat on this.

*proceeds to listen to the mofile URL on repeat until MP3 is found*

Update 29 Sep 2010: Found an yam 64kbps audio stream for 想妳的愛 by linyuxi828, woohoo at long last! The quest is over : )

John Grogan – Marley & Me: review

First and foremost, thanks to MS and NZ for the loan of this book who have always been most generous in sharing good reads. Suffice it to say that my literary horizons have widened considerably under their influence, since the books they read usually do not fall under my list of preferred reads on an ordinary day.

Marley & Me is a tale about the Grogans and the family pet, a Labrador retriever that grew into a seemingly uncontrollable bundle of energy; about how their lives became a rollercoaster ride with Marley, and the many eventful memories that the dog brought about.

I began reading it on my flight to Darwin, and continued all the way past the connecting flight to Melbourne. It wasn’t exactly a gripping tale that the likes of Matthew Reilly would produce, and definitely not as captivating as what Robert Jordan would have written. Nevertheless, it is still a good read simply because it paints an everyday picture of a man and his dog, and the words capture threads that most dog owners would empathise with (myself included).

So do take a look at the book, and remember to smile while you read.

Database: MySQL – Resetting the root password

(Yes, it just so happened that I had the opportunity to reset passwords for different stuff in the same week.)

Resetting the password is pretty easy for MySQL, so long as you have root access to the server. (I’m assuming Linux here.)

#1 Stop the service
We have to stop the running process before we do anything else, does that make sense?

/etc/init.d/mysql stop

This effectively stops the mysqld (daemon) from running.

#2 Start the service in safe mode
This allows us to start the service and login as root without a password.

mysqld_safe --skip-grant-tables &

#3 Login as root
Like what was previously mentioned, you don’t need a password!

mysql -u root

#4 Reset the root password with an UPDATE statement
Select the mysql database:

use mysql;

Update the password with an SQL UPDATE statement:

UPDATE user SET password=PASSWORD("newpassword") where User='root';

*Note: newpassword = the new password that you want to set. This command encrypts the plaintext password so that it cannot be read directly from the shadow file.

Reload the grant tables by flushing privileges:

flush privileges;

Exit the database:

quit

#5 Stop the service again, and restart it
We stop it:

/etc/init.d/mysql stop

And start it again:

/etc/init.d/mysql start

And we are all done! Remember to test if your new password works by logging in as root.

Matthew Reilly – Seven Ancient Wonders: review

This book was an unexpected travel companion during the recent Sydney trip (being purchased at the Avalon airport bookstore on a whim) and it turned out to be quite a refreshing read. Unlike the Shane Schofield (aka Scarecrow) series, a surprisingly minimal number of good guys die in the course of the book. This is quite unlike Reilly’s style, who has admitted to killing off characters unexpectedly so that the reader stays unhinged throughout the fast-paced action.

With regards to the story, it truly is a riveting masterpiece. The action does not match up to Ice Station of course, but the richness of the details and oh yes Sun-worship, the talk about how the Catholic Church might even be a transformed version is greatly intriguing, to say the least.

(I like conspiracy theories.)

The ending as always, is a little unexpected and even funny. Australia, as the unknowing country who holds power for the next 1,000 years? I like that : )

Jack West (the protagonist for this book) sits pretty well with me, and I’m looking forward to the paperback release of The Six Sacred Stones, the next Jack West novel.