Wrapping up the third month of full-time daddyhood.

So, third month of the SAHD era.

The one thing I have learnt so far, is to stay vigilant. Things might look like they settle into a pattern at times, but the routine constantly evolves with time. Sleeping patterns, feeding habits, nothing stays exactly the same. The trick is to know how things are, and to adapt.

Outside of this iron rule, it has been decidedly easier after the bathroom fiasco ended. I find that each day allows limited pockets of uninterrupted time — involving tasks that are best accomplished without a baby clinging to my legs — with which I need to get things done. Things like writing posts, making my lunch (and actually having it), taking a nap or having a shower. More often than not, it ends up being a choice between doing half of the options available.

A small bonus has been the purchase of the playpen coupled with the power of Mickey Mouse on TV. I know TV isn’t exactly the best form of entertainment for babies of this age, and it’s a weapon that I use sparingly once a day. With Mickey Mouse, I’m free to take a quick shower while she’s blissfully unaware of her imprisonment for a while. Time is of the essence over here, because that euphoria instantly evaporates the moment the episode ends.

I have to remind myself to be thankful for this change of environment, and to be able to watch my little girl gurgle happily and take those uneven, stumbling, yet valiant steps towards independence. She hasn’t quite gotten the hang of walking yet, although it’s not out of a lack of trying. She’ll get there.

In the meantime, she’s resigned to crawling around the house with every intention of examining anything and everything she can get her hands on. That of course, includes the preliminary ritual of making a mess first. Restacking my DVD collection has become an activity I have to perform three or four times a day.

These days are a reminder of how parenthood is never easy, especially full-time parenting. I count myself fortunate to be able to experience this, in a day and age when the idea of two working parents are the societal norm, and outsourced child care is a common solution.

Amazing how it’s only been three months, and it feels like six already.

Between writing, parenting, ball and rest, it’s been hard to get gaming time in. I need to get that into my list of things to do sometime soon, especially when Assassin’s Creed III is here – yum.

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Facebook: Interface affects engagement.

Facebook is the content creator/aggregator on the internet as far as social content goes. After all these years of being a hardcore user, it became obvious (on hindsight) that the constant interface redesign had a intrinsic relationship to how we would engage with the content.

Let us use an example here, and talk about the display of photos on the news feed.

It used to be that you could only like orcomment on the album itself on the news feed, if more than one photograph was uploaded on the same album. This “forced” me into uploading my photographs one at a time with spaced intervals, just so that I could get people to appreciate and comment on the photographs one at a time, rather than the wholesale skim and dismiss approach that comes with overdigestion. Too much information results in mental fatigue and the brain’s abrupt dismissal of the presented content.

Facebook has seemed to recognise this problem though, and has come up with a half measure. A Like button appears if you hover your mouse above the displayed photos on the feed, which of course makes it convenient for friends to Like your photograph. On the downside, not all uploaded photographs are displayed and there is no improvement for leaving a comment (outside of clicking on the photograph and going into Theater mode). Better, but not best.

A cool solution might be allowing a “Display more photos” option when a user uploads more than nine photos (current limit for displaying on news feed) at a time. Upon mouseover, a Comment option is clickable. That in turn pops a dialog box up with existing comments and a field for the new comment to be entered. In essence, the number of clicks is the same, but the appearance of a dialog box without going into another screen gives the illusion that the user is “multi-tasking” rather than “progressing” onto another task.

Random UX thoughts on a quiet Tuesday.

Seeing a bit of the flow, at last.

So we won the Sunday game.

The win was good, but equally good was the fact that everyone was moving more on offense. There were more cutters in the high post, more backdoor cuts, more guys popping to the wing for an open shot. This made it a lot easier to pass the ball really, and it’s honestly the first time I’ve felt like I have got multiple passing options while handling the ball. Of course, I was feeling quite relaxed and a lot calmer than usual in game, which helped open up my court vision somewhat.

There’s something very satisfying about making a good hard pass to the right spot to a teammate. Of course, it just gets better when the teammate does something useful with the ball (scoring, making another good pass, drawing a foul). It felt really good when James called for the ball, and I fired one over with him stepping right into the pocket. He set his feet and swished a three, just like that. The other guys had several good opportunities to finish their shots too, with some right under the basket but it was just bad luck they missed – I’ll have to pass the ball earlier next time.

There was also this little dish from Emre that I managed to finish with a floater in the paint, credit to Emre for seeing the cut.

Great team rebounding too, it was good to secure some defensive boards and get out on the run, earning some free throws along the way. We could have done better on closing out on them in the passing lanes, but I’m not complaining. Honestly, it could have been worse. We did good with our energy and that’s a start.

I’m also happy to see Gary taking it in to just rack those contact fouls under the basket up. He missed a lot of the FTs, but I’m not worried on that. So long as he stays aggressive and keeps at it, it’ll be easier to rack the team fouls up. The team fouls really helped us stay in control of the game in the second half, keeping us ahead with the clock winding down.

Looking forward to the games ahead.

Lasting the full stretch is never a walk in the park.

So a friend of mine participated in the Subaru Challenge over in Singapore yesterday. For those who are new to this, it’s basically a last man standing event, where all participants compete to have their hand on a designated spot on the Subaru WRX. Allocated breaks in between, nothing else but a real grind on the body and mind.

Honestly, the thought of even joining something like this turns me off – my body is not built for long periods of inactivity like this. Even using the standing desk for prolonged stretches tires me, not to mention standing beside a damn car with my palm in one spot for a seeming eternity without a pee break for hours. Like seriously? Suicidal is the word.

I’ll cut the crap short here, but total respect to anyone who even attempts something crazy like this. To my old friend Meng, you did well in trying – take pride in that.

The Boston Trip 2011 part IX – Tick Tocking fried chicken

8 Feb 2011, 0208hrs NY
Finally a day where I lasted past local time midnight & didn’t feel sleepy. A minor achievement of sorts? Today = clear shopping list day. Stan realised he lost his new Timberland beanie, moral of story? Check before moving off to new location. (SAF teaches useful stuff) (someimes.)
TickTock diner = great American food. Stan finally got his “frieeeed chicken!”, which really tasted great. No more KFC after you have this, I assure you.
Macy’s is like a super Myer, filled w/ a shitload of ladies stuff. I got really, really sleepy inside, & was really glad to be out.
Bought a pair of bball shoes @ Times Sq Footlocker, while Stan was looking at his beanie. (The beanie could only be found @ the Times Sq outlet, we visited 2 x Footlocker + others & it wasn’t to be found anywhere! So it probably is fate that dragged me to buy the AJ Cover 3. Great fit IMO, can’t wait to try it out on the court.
Bed, Bath & Beyond is a really swell place, I wish we have this in Melbourne. Loads of interesting homeware stuff, even the Shake Weight! Pity it’s 5lbs (~3kg?) can’t bring it back. Otherwise, @ $30 good buy IMO.
By another random twist of fate, stumbled across the Shake Shack. Pretty place w/ lights & all that snow, romantic even.
Stan proceeded to mop the living room after we came back, and we watched the Bobcats pound the Celts into defeat. Yet another back to back game lost.
Boston is COMING.

Just another post-snowstorm day in New York. Big chunks of ice all over the streets, and pavements are still slippery. And did I mention it’s cold?

Walking in the cold, looking left and right for things to clear off our shopping list and I was looking for a place to stop over and eat. And what did I see, but Tick Tock? Hadn’t really read any reviews before that but I told Stan, “I have a good feeling about this” and went straight in.

The place already looked awesome from the moment we got in, felt like one of those traditional American diners. Took a seat, and saw the menu cover.

“EAT HEAVY” – niceeeeee : ) I’m liking this place more and more.

A look at the inside of the cafe. Out of the cold, feeling alll warm and toasty inside and waiting to order. Looked at the menu for a bit, and finally decided on the turkey ham sandwich lunch set.

Stan on the other hand, was all ready to go for his “FRYYYYYYYYYED CHEEEEKEN!”

So the waitress asked, “what would you like as a drink?” “Dr Pepper please.” She simply nodded, and scribbled on her pad. And this, gentlemen is how life should be like – being able to order Dr Pepper straight up in a cafe.

One of the little things that I miss about being in US : )

Stan with his FRIED CHICKEN! Tons better than KFC, crispy juicy and bloody finger-licking good. Tick Tock’s fried chicken is something you really have to try, no sh!t.

It nearly killed him on the effort to finish them fries though, it was really a handful.

So we had to trek back to the Footlocker store at Times Square after our meal because Stan wanted to get a replacement beanie (aka the exact same one) for the one he lost in MSG.

So we got there, Stan grabbed his beanie and I ended up buying a pair of Air Jordans. Started yakking with the guy (name’s Blake) who was helping me with the shoes, turns out he’s a Ray Allen fan! Great guy : )

Here’s a picture with Blake and another dude at the store before we left. And Blake, I’m sorry I couldn’t get Ray’s autograph for you!

After a whole day trudging around the streets and taking several purchases off the list (including my $250 North Face jacket that was on sale – $250 sale?!), exploring the hugeass Bed Bath and Beyond that contains all sorts of interesting things for the home (pity there’s none of that in Melbourne), we got sidetracked while trying to get home and somehow ended up staring at this. Those strung up lights really made it look like a cool place to hang around, chill out (literally) and just relax; talk about a sight for sore eyes.

Behold, the Shake Shack! Yet another place that sells sliders, shakes fries and whatnot, my kind of chow. Good reviews on Yelp so I had it marked on my list and somehow walked into it by some twist of fate. Fate, schmate whatever eh? Time to eat.

And that’s was how the day went, ending with junk food at at a picturesque fast food outlet in the snow.

The Boston Trip 2011 part VIII – Knicks and the Garden in NY

6 Feb 2011, 0306hrs NY
Got woken up by Stan wanting to use my Skype to call CBA – CC fraud (prob due to his Taobao purchase).
Hopped on subway, brekkie @ Europa. Not too bad breakfast, decent portions. Free MetroCards $1.70 bal x2, used them after topup. Pickup fr machine
MSG good place w/ great atmosphere & fans. Place is so damn big, we walked up endless flights of escalators to get to our seats. Knicks team store full of merchandise > NBA store.
Good game by Knicks, 3s & Amar’e offense (midrange) & Landry Fields is crazy, super un-rookie like. Ate hotdog @ halftime.
Hopped down to Professor Thom’s after that. Pretty good sports bar but not enough Celtics fans. Pretty bartender! Chicken fingers were good, I had a Bud Lite. Marquis injured but C’s rallied & brought W.
Walked to this store (Tokyo Toys or something), bought Angry Birds plush & gift for Linda.
Supermarket w/ loads of organic stuff. Interesting colour coded queue system. Three queues A B & C, screen w/ counter pops up w/ colour (and alphabet), & you head over.
New Fei Ma for dinner, & Stan KO0ed after that, right after 7pm. Not as cold as previous days but still pretty cold right now.

Our first visit to Madison Square Garden, and our first NBA game at that; exciting doesn’t even begin to cut it.

Pretty good breakfast at this place opposite MSG called Europa cafe, good research by Stan.

Pretty good food, and very affordable (as is everything else over there). Pancakes for me, bacons/hash browns/eggs for Stan.

HELLO MSG! The best stadium ever, Bill calls it. I call it an awesome first stop : ) It may not be Celtics v Lakers, but the Sixers aren’t too shabby either.

It does look sort of ordinary though. Doesn’t it strike you as an ordinary office building? If you missed out the words MADISON SQUARE GARDEN that is.

Onwards!

Look at the flood of merchandise available! And this is just the ground floor, we’re not even past admission yet. The main store is inside the stadium and promises to bigger, and much better stocked. If all stadiums are like this, then this feels like a sign of good things to come : )

And it may be just the Sixers, but there were tons of folks streaming in for the game. Good to see everyone supporting the Knicks even on a season game. The atmosphere feels pretty good already heh heh.

yeahh Amar’e the monster! This was taken before Melo came to the Knicks so Amar’e was still the star of the show at that time.

Stan looks very happy here at the official merchandise store and his first purchase – a Knicks baseball cap! If you’re a Knicks fan, can’t miss this stop.

Incidentally, this was where he lost his beanie too. We ended up having to head back to Footlocker to buy an exact replacement later on in the trip.

After numerous flights of escalators we finally reached our seats. The cheaper your ticket, the higher it is, which naturally = more escalators. We went up nine levels I think -___-

Cheapest seats ($30 IIRC) but still a good view of the court! Much better than we expected anyway – we thought it was going to be a view of ants running up and down the court ;p The kids you see on the court are part of their dance group, can’t remember what they were called.

Sixers warming up!


So, there’s a huge jump here because we were too busy watching the game to take any pictures. To sum it up, Sixers played good but Knicks were just unstoppable behind Amar’e and his crazy unmissable midrange shots.

So Knicks win the game, everyone files out at the same time and we get stuck walking down the staircase at MSG. Like really stuck. It took us ten minutes to get down to the ground floor IIRC, Z.

And after that we hopped onto the subway and headed off to Professor Thom’s, an Irish sports pub that supports Boston (obviously!) Just in time to catch the Celtics slugging it out against the Magic on TV : )

Watching an NBA game in a pub on a lazy afternoon, just having a beer and munching on chicken sticks; man that’s life. Feels really good to be able to walk to the pub and just do that every game night.

We were actually feeling pretty good at first; it’s like hell yeah how cool is watching NBA in a pub! The cheer rapidly evaporated after we watched Marquis Daniels fall onto the ground and remain deathly still after smashing his face into Gilbert Arenas. No shit, you could literally hear the home crowd at the Garden slump into shocked silence. He was hauled off on a stretcher, and was diagnosed with a bruised spine IIRC.

(Most of the other patrons in the pub didn’t really know what happened, and I remember a chick asking who that fellow was. Seems like they were in early for the Super Bowl heh.)

And that, basically was the turning point of season 2010-2011. The final straw that broke the camel’s back, and the final push towards that plethora of trades that resulted in Perk being traded.


That was pretty much it for the rest of the day. We wandered around, bought some food, had dinner back at Linda’s pad and went into hibernation mode yet again. There’s just something about winter in NY that lulled us into a sleepy mood all the time. I hogged the netbook, Stan spent his time reading the NatGeo magazines Linda had.