Random thoughts on a soak

So I decided that today’s a good day to have a soak in the jacuzzi, and headed downstairs after dinner; Kindle in hand, intending to see if I could actually read in mid-boil. The Bourne Ultimatum is just so good, and so different from what the movie was.

And came across the pool before the jacuzzi. HMMMMMMM.

And the pool looked like a good idea; I hadn’t swum in months.
One of those ideas that seem good at the start, and not-so-good later on. Not-so-good flashed across the mind in neon flashing yellow soon as I felt the water’s chilly embrace. FCUKKKKKKKKING COLD but shut up and take it like a man please. Started to swim and it didn’t seem that bad after a couple of laps, my core was even starting to feel warm. Feels really great getting into the stroke again, I should do this more often. Then the muscles started complaining very loudly, seeing as they hadn’t been used in that fashion since summer. So I stopped after ten laps, still kinda cold.

And hit those two green buttons, and hopped into the jacuzzi. It was HOT! Ice and fire treatment after the frosty swim. Jacuzzi sessions alone are really great; you can just ignore everything else and think about nothing in particular, just stare at nothing in particular and let your mind wander.

(Which reminds me, I really need to get a whiteboard in my bathroom next time; many random thoughts pop up during a hot shower that I so often forget right afterwards.)

And it felt good to just sit there, and soak up the peace and quiet.

And the fading warmth of the waters.

I think I really should do this more often.

Review: Tidy your carry via the Grid-It

I came across this nifty invention while browsing the ScotteVest website (really cool gear on that site too btw) and thought, this Grid-It is some seriously some cool piece of shit! Unfortunately it was out of stock so in my urgency to get it ASAP ended up buying it from Flight 001 Australia. Took 3-4 days to arrive in the mail, and here I am with a quick review – this is for you HJ.

Note: I ordered the Medium Grey version (had enough of black for everything), measurements are 30.5cm x 20.5cm x 1cm (according to the Flight 001 product page).

How it looks like with all my work stuff on:

Here’s a full list:

  • 2 Philips screwdrivers
  • 1 Cisco console rollover cable
  • 1 serial-to-USB adapter (allow laptop to use rollover cable)
  • 1 pair of small pliers
  • 1 Ethernet cable
  • 1 Apple power adapter for work iPhone
  • 1 flash drive (hidden near the Apple cable, see if you can notice it)
  • 1 pen
  • 1 paperclip

As you can see there’s plenty of straps left to stuff other bits and pieces, not to mention the big unused zip compartment on the reverse side. Figuring out how to best efficiently stick all your stuff into the Grid-It is oddly enough, kinda fun in itself.

Post Grid-It: I would say the medium Grid-It is good enough for a typical laptop bag. My bag is currently left with many empty pockets which feels a bit weird, but I guess that’s the whole point! Very convenient if you are looking to switch bags since you can empty most of your stuff by removing the Grid-It. Also prevents all that conventional digging around in the bag for that thing you know “must be inside.. SOMEWHERE“. Make life easier for yourself, use Grid-It.

Might post a more detailed review after a few weeks of use if anyone’s interested, but this is it for now.

Baby steps

So here’s the tl;dr version – the baby’s coming along in December!

Am I excited? Sort of. I like to think of it as controlled enthusiasm; should be wildly happy but as usual rein it in and don’t let it overwhelm everything else. There are a lot of things going on as usual, and this is just another piece of the jigsaw.

How did it feel when I first knew about the pregnancy? It took a strong dose of persuasion before V finally used the pregnancy test kit I bought – and I was right of course. But to answer the question – aside from a mild sense of satisfaction on a job well-done (as in getting the pregnancy thing going), not much else. This is just like step zero of parenthood; the stage one begins after bub comes into this world for real, and stage two after they get into their teens. Only when I see my kid mature into someone I can be proud of, then can I finally congratulate myself on a job well-done.

How is V doing so far? She’s been mostly fine, but gets pukey at night. Regular meals have been keeping that nausea more or less at bay but it’s still something she’s experiencing. On the upside (or downside depending on how you look at it), she is gaining weight really fast.

How old is the baby right now? As of today, I would say 14 weeks or so. The astute reader at this point would do some mental sums and brilliantly conclude that the baby was conceived before our wedding – well done Sherlock!

What changes have I seen in my daily life?

  • We found this awesome Cideko air keyboard thingy in JB Hi-Fi that she uses to watch YouTube via her laptop that’s connected to the bedroom TV, makes it easier for her to rest. Seriously cool shit, it’s sort of like a mini-keyboard and mouse all combined into a PS3 controller lookalike. Highly recommended if you have a TV plugged as an output for your computer.
  • Bought a bed frame from Bill that will make it easier for her to get on and off the bed (previously was using mattress on the floor).
  • Bought a chair from Woolies for the living room so that she can get up easily (previously only beanbags).
  • Ordered a Jiffy steamer for her to iron her clothes, much easier than sitting on the floor to use the iron.
  • Stan and I basically put trawled through the internet and printed several lists of foods she should be eating more of, and stuff she shouldn’t be eating. Our daily meals have seen some changes as a result.
  • She gets to rest more, Stan and I get to do the grunt work.

More changes to come I bet, so more updates in a later post.

Keinian ideals – Tips on getting yourself organised v2011

So I wrote about how I organised my stuff back in 2009; it’s interesting how things have changed in my system since then. With new technology comes new tools, how wonderful.

One thing I would like to reiterate in this post is GTD. So what is GTD? IMO it’s the foundation that all the other tools build on, the one thing that holds everything together.

GTD philosophy: If you haven’t read David Allen’s Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity then I would highly suggest that you do. I read his book back in 2008 and some of the stuff still sticks with me simply because they work.

One interesting development after adoption of the GTD is that I am no longer flustered when I forget something, so long as I know where I can access the information. Like I so wryly told Stan, my brain resembles an array of pointers rather than a storage medium these days. Not that it’s a bad thing, since I keep cool and go about finding the information that I stored as opposed to screaming like a madman when my brain fails in its task to store information correctly.

Another quirk of the Internet age is that like so many others, my ability to concentrate has diminished greatly. I get easily distracted by that other tab, that other blinking icon and soon I forget what I was supposed to be doing. It’s only salved by the GTD way of getting it off your list rather than procrastinating. If I can get it done now, I push myself to do it now. If not, it gets shelved to be checked again the next day. Only discipline to the system and an iron will to avoid procrastination can serve as a barrier against the urge to leave everything in a heap.

Springpad: With the arrival of the HTC Desire, it became a lot easier to sync stuff from the phone to the computer. Notes typed up on the go can be accessed on the computer easily, and vice versa. Springpad is a great application because of the way it integrates. The Android app allows pictures and text to be stored on the phone + updated across to the Springpad site, and the Chrome app syncs from the Springpad site down to the Springpad tab on my Chrome browser. Makes random thoughts I jot on the go an easy copy and paste job onto a blog post if I need to.

Emails to myself: This still works, especially when it’s marked as unread with a yellow exclamation mark beside it – that stands for a task undone. An orange arrow means to be followed up on, but I’m waiting on it for now, and a blue information icon stands for important information. I love GMail.

Google Docs: Mostly used at work for documentation; makes more sense to store it in the cloud rather than a hard drive that might develop bad sectors someday, not to mention improved accessibility with internet access freely available.

On the personal side, it’s used as a slate for project planning e.g. the wedding. I draw up lists of things to be done, what I need to follow up on, and a schedule of events for the day as well as a contact list.

Google Calendar: Used as reminders for birthdays, upcoming Celtics games and shared events e.g. sending invitations out to remind Stan and V that we are meeting someone up for dinner.

SpendTrack: Nearly forgot about this! So I took some time out last year and lost a ton of sleep putting together a PHP/MySQL web app that I call SpendTrack. It’s a simple system that allows manual entry of your daily expenses (category, amount, where, description, when) with reporting functions (what I spent this month/this week, household expenses for the family by everyone). This has tremendously improved the way we track our spending, because everyone is responsible for entering their own spends, and it gives us an idea of how much we are spending every month.

That’s all for now, be back with another update in 2012 on this and we’ll see how things have changed.

Sony PS3: Sleepless on inFAMOUS 2

So I got hold of inFAMOUS 2 at EB Games last Saturday and commenced the usual routine of gaming hard at the expense of losing sleep – a lot of it. Traded the game back today for a full refund, which is something you can do only if you return the game in good condition within a week. So, if you haven’t tried inFAMOUS before this one you should – it’s good training for this sequel. (Tip: PSN offers inFAMOUS as a free download on the PlayStation Store as compensation for the recent PSN outage.)

Basically you’re a superhero (or rather, anti-hero) with electrical superpowers and it’s up to you to save the city. Or to dominate the city, if you’re wanting to be an evil overlord instead of the knight in shining armour. Think GTA, superhero style. With plenty of plot woven into the game, it should keep you engrossed for the next couple of days at the very least.

Some comments on the game:

  • City map is similar to inFAMOUS with two city maps allowing a sandbox environment (so long as you do not trigger the main missions endlessly).
  • I miss being able to recharge while grinding along power cables (from inFAMOUS).
  • The Tesla missile mini-game is a bitch to play, it took me a really long while to get used to the inverted Y controls. Having to do this multiple times just made it more annoying.
  • Sucker Punch came up with an interesting way to make players collect special achievements by linking it to upgrades – no achievements, less power upgrades.
  • BUG: at the Stronghold mission where you have to blow up the militia headquarters with the help of Larouche’s men. Upon beginning the mission, I fired an Ionic Vortex straight into their front gate and a chopper came right up with guns blazing. Looked up at the chopper, fired a few blasts while backpedalling and the screen froze right there. WTF? Turned PS3 off and back on, reloaded the game did the same thing and it happened again. I wasn’t really in the mood to try the game hanging a third time so I tried to make it not hang instead. Curiously enough there was no problem when I moved forward to the intersection turned left and met the chopper over there instead.
  • Tip for fighting the bulky Iceman dude who fires an ice beam while perched on a block of ice: Knock him off his block with rockets, keep at him from a high building with grenades before he gets up and starts beaming you again.
  • Tip for fighting the Behemoth: throw cars at its exposed ribcage, use slow-mo to snipe the exposed pink joints and most importantly, KEEP RUNNING! The pink tentacles from its ribcage guarantees a high chance of death.
  • Tip for fighting almost everything else: run, throw sticky grenades and fire sticky rockets. Recharge, repeat.
  • Tip for fighting hand-to-hand with that tuning fork thing (aka the Amp): Hit on the first enemy twice, then turn the other direction and use your finishing on the second enemy trying take you from behind.
  • The Beast was surprisingly easy to kill.
  • The good ending was uh-what-that-was-it?
  • It’s unlikely that anyone will be unable to complete their grab on the 305 blast shards, since there are so many shards available when you can defuse shard bombs and run after innocent bystanders to kick their asses for shards. Don’t worry about the shard missions affecting your alignment since they make minimal impact. And with Shard Sense coming up near the endgame, it’s almost a guarantee.
  • It’s near impossible to complete the game within a day unless you’re not interested in unlocking achievements – took me four days (with sleep and work) to complete the good ending at 89% completion (I missed a dead drop and couldn’t be fcuked to find that dang pigeon.)

Wedding: It’s finally over!

It’s been two weeks or more since the wedding, and I have been slowly trying to recuperate on various fronts:

  • Lack of sleep – gaming is sort of contributing to this, but I’m stil trying to sleep more! (Best effort basis.)
  • General state of chaos in the house – remnants of wedding stuff, presents, unfolded clothes et cetera. I’m trying to do a bit every night but the cold nights really make me feel like just vegetating in my seat and doing meaningless things infront of the laptop; various activities which incidentally include blogging.

Wrote a really long piece on the Facebook album, so I’ll just paste it here:

Many things to be thankful for.

Very thankful that the weather was fantastic on those few hours after a week of rain and gloom, and that the schedule went ahead mostly fine without major disruptions.

Thankful also to everyone who helped out:
My main men Bill, Andrew, Andy and Stan. For the bucks events, the cars, the driving, the card design, the video gunk, the guitar lessons. Too many. Not enough.

The other buddies who helped out in their own way – people like Lester helping me to clean up afterwards, Clement for walking Cookie during the ceremony.

Thankful to all the friends who were kind enough to fly over from Singapore; people like Tianxiang who took time out from his hectic work schedule and his baby girl to capture these unforgettable moments, Yunlong who sacrificed exam paper marking time for me, Zhiming/Albin/Nick for being so spontaneous and agreeing to fly down since last year, Lishi/Honda/Xianqin for so graciously making the trip down, your presence meant a lot to me.

The colleagues and friends who came down, and especially Mr J.Horton who’s been a huge part of my life here. Friends like Jasmine, Hin, Benny, Anita, Cherie, David, Kenneth, Benson who’ve graced us with your presence.

Very thankful to everyone who took time out to attend our little ceremony, and also thankful to those who were unable to attend but still sent their little gifts. This includes Jason and I-Ling, Nanzhen and Meishan, Wilfred, Andrew and Chai Ling, Adri and Yanbin, Yiting and Nic among many others.

If any names were missed, a big SORRY in advance here. Let me know and I’ll add you in pronto!

I count myself blessed that so many people have made time out for this day of our joining, and I hope that all of you have enjoyed the event and for those who were not there, I hope you enjoy looking at the wonderful (albeit unprocessed) moments captured by my old schoolmate and dear friend Michael Chan (aka TX), check out the links below.

Portfolio: http://www.expressivelyjoho.com/category/photography-by-michael/
Blog: http://enchantingkairos.com/blog/

Disclaimer: blatant advertising because I love his pictures and I think every other couple should get him as their photographer, nothing else.

Here’s a few pictures to justify the wall of text in front.

Tons of other great candid shots featuring the friends who came, but I think I should respect their privacy and not post their mugs all over the internet : )

But this one’s different:

The one who has helped me a great deal throughout the months before the wedding. My brother and at the same time one of the people I can always count on for help. From the video planning to the card design to listening to all my rants about planning to being the resident chef in our daily routine, he’s always been there. It’s tough to imagine how I could’ve coped with everything if he wasn’t around.

From the bottom of my heart, thanks to Stan for always being around.

Once again, I’m really thankful that the day went well, and I’m really heaving a great sigh of relief that this eight-month mofo of a logistical headache is ALL OVER AT LAST. Good luck to all the others who have not had theirs, I’ll be rooting for you to pull through in one piece. I’m still trying to get used to the ring on my ring finger and the weird absence of the ring on my third finger is just.. weird. It was somewhat of a coincidence that I sprained my ring finger playing basketball a couple of weeks before the wedding, so the ring ended up being tighter than it has to be. Like really, really tight. So I don’t take it off even when I sleep heh. And I have to use a finger guard to cover the ring during basketball.

And the fact that V is the wife rather than the girlfriend probably will take a while before I roll it off my tongue smoothly.

But other than these little things, everything is mostly the same as it was. Yes, married life is not that different when you’ve been living with your other half in the same house for the past three years or so.