Birthdays: keinday 2018

I like the way my physio, Jay reacted, when she heard my birthday was coming.

“A fit 37!”

Granted it’s not entirely true –I feel like I have a long way to go, in comparison to some folks I know– but it still feels good nonetheless.

Despite a shaky left knee, ankles that could be stronger, an injured right wrist that’s taking a month to heal, and a stupid lower left back that gets sore consistently on meaningless daily tasks (washing the dishes, can you believe it?), I’m still looking ahead, trying to get stronger with each week that passes.

NZ asked me today, how does turning 37 feel?

Honestly, I feel like I’m in way better shape than I was at 30, which says a lot. I guess getting old does make you value your health and fitness a lot more, and with old age comes mental discipline. I think.

This year, it’s still about the self. I’ve spent a lot of effort (and money) on improving the body, especially on understanding where my flaws are, and how I should improve it. Last year was a lot of straight-up strength work at the gym, just pushing hard, recovering, pushing again. This year, I got pissed off after my neck/shoulder locked up again, so I decided it’s time to understand how I can make things better for the long term.

It’s been about a host of other terms: body imbalance, tight muscle knots, myofascial release, rehab exercises, activation/engagement, acupuncture/dry needling, et cetera. Doing rehab exercises consistently, especially on the lower body (feet, hips, groin, glutes, knees), just trying to get my body moving better. The sessions involved heaps of pain, but hey, it’s the price I have to pay to get better, so be it.

I’m thinking about signing up to train with this guy, but the location and fees aren’t quite ideal right now. I’m still trying to figure out how it’ll all fit in with Elly’s basketball, and work, and my weekends. I really like his thoughts on various exercises, and the amount of punishment I could be subjecting myself to. I’m kidding, I hate pain. But the challenge is something I’m really looking forward to. Pain = progress!

To be honest, I have no idea how the birthday is going to turn out, so we’ll see. Good thing it’s on a Saturday, I totally forgot to check which day it was. V got the kids to bake me a cake but I was on the “uhhh yeahhhhh nah” bandwagon weeks before that. Thanks guys, let’s just keep it normal. Appreciate the thought but don’t bake me a birthday cake and use me as a lab rat. Bake me one when you’ve actually had decent practice please.

It turned out to be a pretty normal Saturday. Slept in until Cookie went nuts downstairs, headed out for lunch to this cafe (Puteri) I had my eye on for quite a while now. Turned out to be a really good pick, the food was actually pretty decent and service was great. Will head back for more Teochew food next time.

We moved on to grocery shopping as usual, let the kids have a bit of a play at the indoor play area, and headed home. Did a quick haircut at home, had the sides trimmed, and we had dinner at home with Stan arriving via Uber (the trains were down). Nasty carb feast – garlic bread, nuggets, fish fingers, chips. I somehow managed to stay awake through the carb coma, amazing. The birthday cake wasn’t the one they baked yesterday thankfully, V got one from Laurent while we were shopping – good pick. Wasn’t too sweet, balanced taste and pretty light on the palate. Good chat with Stan before we turned in, and that’s mostly it for the day.

Work

Oh hey, work. Same old same old. I was told during my review, that it would be great to take on more projects, but it’s kinda hard to get time out for projects when you’re kinda being asked questions left and right, and you’re like, the only guy they can reach out to for help.

So, yeah. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. I’ll do what I can though.

Something that I’ve been consistently proud of through my years working here – I’ve always had good feedback from everyone I’ve helped, top to bottom. I won’t call myself the sharpest person on the team, but it’s always about getting their problems sorted quickly, with explanations if needed, and obviously a friendly attitude.

One thing that’s been gnawing away at me recently, has the lack of responsiveness on email conversations. Time zones aside, it’s really a pain in the bum to keep chasing for answers for weeks on end, and not get something. It’s nothing new, but it’s grown much worse this year. Oh well, I can only do what I can do so time’s up, I’m gone sorry guys.

The annual increment came, it was normal but not mind-blowing. More share vesting in the years ahead, which is nice. Overall, status quo.

We have more new folks at the office now, which is awesome. It’s great to see our office growing once more, and staffed with people who work hard and are good folks to hang out with too.

The Pick and Roll

I amaze myself sometimes, when I read the last birthday entry and think, holy shit that was last year? It feels like an eternity ago, which is basically every other month. Moments and experiences exaggerate themselves in this space for some reason.

I love that we’ve never had hosting issues ever since moving to Pressidium. Shout out to the lads, they’re awesome. Fantastic reliability and responsive support, can’t beat them.

We’ve had to move our email hosting to an Australian provider recently, and that was a bit of a stink bomb during the migration process. Whatever, fixed and moving on. Hopefully this is the last of it.

With regards to NBA coverage, it’s still a work in progress. Hayley’s been contributing whenever she can, and she’s been a star with the Instagram page. But Jayme/Warren/Winston were basically lost, and Ben once again, pulled through and delivered. He’s developed a fine voice on writing, and the features he’s produced recently have been top, one of them being an interview with The Starters’ Leigh Ellis. I’m always impressed by guys who really want to succeed in this industry, and put in the hard yards to get there. Ben without a doubt, is one of those guys. We’re getting him to the US on a freelancer visa so hopefully that takes him to his next destination somehow.

Another notable addition recently, has been Kane. He’s shown nothing but commitment to the cause ever since he came on board, and has done his best with every opportunity that has presented itself. It’s not easy travelling on your own expense to cover games, without any tangible expectations on reward. But he’s done it multiple times over, and shown himself to be more than capable of handling the scene. I like that he’s always very humble, receptive to feedback, and looking to improve all the time. If anything, it reminds me of how an NBA second-rounder can succeed through consistent hard work. It’s amazing how, within 3-4 months of coming on board, that he’s gone from being an online observer, to attending regular season NBA games, then playoffs games, and Summer League as well. It’s not just the attendance, it’s the fact that he’s been able to meet media folks, actually interview athletes like Thon Maker, Andrew Bogut, something that to a typical fan sounds like a distant dream, but is reality and very much a possibility when it comes to The Pick and Roll. I like to put it this way – we can only provide the opportunities, it’s up to the writer to determine what he does with them.

A shout out to Kyle as well. He hasn’t been as vocal in asking for opportunities, but has on multiple occasions helped out in times of need, something I really like about him. I feel bad about not being able to give more opportunities to him, so that will be a goal of mine in the year ahead.

Video: We partnered with Brotherhood Studios over the NBA season, and they really pulled through in terms of creating weekly highlights. I’d admit I was very niggly on setting expectations at the start, but the BHS boys have been nothing but professional throughout the entire partnership so S/O to them.

Graphics: Great addition, Luke Shelley has done some fantastic stuff in recent months. He’s definitely shored up a flaw of ours, which was being able to generate engaging graphics for social media.

Social: Instagram has seen steady growth, but we’re still nowhere the 10,000 mark (it’s 3.3k now). More videos perhaps? I still am very proud of the fact that the Instagram account is able to crosspost to Facebook and Twitter, which has saved time on Hayley’s side.

Facebook has taken a definite step backwards in terms of growth, thanks Facebook Ads. Might need to spend some time thinking and observing strategies from other pages and how they do it. We’re typically 0.1% week over week, and that stinks, compared to some other pages like Olgun’s Fox Basketball Australia, or even Basketball Australia itself. One thing I noticed, was that we’re not hitting current topics hard enough. FSA had a huge jump in growth during the Boomers brawl incident, and kudos for the extensive coverage. That was something we didn’t do as well; we had one article that came out within the hour of the incident, and no followups after.

YouTube has seen growth, but I’m still not convinced on the utility factor. It’s nice to be able to embed highlight videos on articles that go back to our channel, and Aussie fans really appreciate our niche, but that’s mostly it.

Corporate: There might be transition in our organisational structure in the months ahead, which came as something of a surprise, and definitely caught Damian and myself off guard. If it all works out, things could really, really change. Let’s see how the cards play out. Shout out to Damian for steering the ship during my months of inactivity leading up to the house move and after.

Site advertising: turns out I was right, I did manage to exceed the revenue we were getting with the unnamed digital agency by improving our ad placements, purely with AdSense. In-article placements are the bomb. In saying that, we haven’t had much campaigns recently, but this new one with Uber is looking good.

Spoiler alert: I bombed hard on producing content, so the stats didn’t pick up as much as I’d wanted to. There just wasn’t enough time for me to work on stuff like that.

Life

So, you know that crazy scramble I talked about in last year’s keinday post? It’s still a crazy scramble.

We began househunting and ended up buying a new place. It’s a really nice change from living in an apartment, I have to say. The space is awesome, and the kids love it. The place’s come with its own issues, and we’re just tackling it one at a time, but no regrets. I’m sure I’ll hate living in a house with stairs as I get older, but it’s not a big deal right now.

What the move actually involved, was a shit ton of paperwork, a shit ton of money, and a shit ton of logistics. We had a trip to Singapore lined up before the house thing happened, so I ended up having to make the move myself with Elly in tow, a couple of days before Christmas. There were a couple of movers who helped, plus Jason who was awesome but I was by and large flying solo when it came to cleaning the house, unpacking the boxes, and organising stuff. Over Christmas. Like seriously, who celebrates Christmas unpacking shit in the house?

To be honest, I think I did a fucking good job – probably even better than if V had been around. Saying this from experience, but having a habitual procrastinator as a spouse does not help in unpacking. To prove the point, the one box I’d left for her to unpack, took four months of dragging her heels. Four. Fookin’. Months. Just by way of comparison, I unpacked 17-18 boxes in a single day, plus multiple bags and shit.

The move also necessitated change of schools, a change in our commute routine, lots of adjustments for the kids too. I had to yank Elly out of her school, and Lenny’s gone into kinder which has been a really nice change. But they’ve adapted relatively fine, and made new friends. It’s really nice living in the new neighbourhood, the choice of dining options is just excellent.

Elly has continued to mature at a decent pace, she’s been a really good little helper around the house. She’s shy around new people, really sensitive to remarks and emotionally fragile, but she’s empathic, pretty good at listening and doing stuff, which really, really helps. I like that she’s taken our little rule to heart, which is basically: it’s ok to say no to trying new stuff out (food, sports etc), but only after you’ve tried it out and can confirm you don’t like it. Don’t shut the door on life’s experiences, always make yourself available. (Not drugs though. Drugs are bad.) She does good art at school as well, I might buy her paints and canvases and get her to do up more stuff.

Lenny has just gotten so much better after kinder started, I love it. Conversations are beginning to be a flow, but it’s still rather basic most times. Suffice it to say, we’re not gonna be debating philosophy anytime soon. Most times, it’s about basic stuff – days of the week, food, things at school, friends. We’re not at the stage where he’ll talk about emotions, perspectives etc. The new problem – he just doesn’t shut up and he’s really whingy. New catchphrase when he’s upset? “I don’t want nothing!” I have no idea where he learnt that from. But despite having gone through an official diagnosis for autism and being positive, I don’t think it’s really changing the situation much. He’s gotten better, and he’ll continue to get better. It just takes more time.

Holidays

I ended up making it to Boston after all, for the season opener. I was crushed when Gordo broke his leg at Cleveland, but the video that played on the jumbotron was so awesome. I love the Celtics. My trip involved a lot of basketball games with Hayley –who was such an awesome companion throughout– a visit to the Springfield Hall of Fame (awesome, worth visiting at least once), and zero media. I just wanted to R&R, not be a journo and crank stuff out.

It was good having those me time moments as well, when Hayley and I parted ways. Sometimes, you just want to be yourself, keep it random and just do whatever. Or even just do nothing. Funnily enough, I found that my solo hikes were often dictated by physical urges. Hungry? Eat. Need to take a leak? Time to seek the gents out, and this was really hard. One time, I had to have lunch at a restaurant. There were a lot of bus rides, plane rides, but it was all a great learning experience.

This year? I might be able to make it to Boston season opener again, thanks work. You’re awesome that way. I’m planning to take the California Zephyr train across the coast and see some sights, so hopefully that works out as planned. And hopefully – catch up with Roland, HQ too. It’s been too long.

I also had an enjoyable weekend in Shanghai, thanks to the wonderful colleagues for bringing me around. I’d never expected to play basketball and hit the KTV in China. Great bunch of folks, I’m sad that half of them have left the company at this point, but I’ll be sure to look them up when I get back there again.

And here comes the multiple trips to Singapore.

I went on a 24-hour banger for the FG’s wedding – that was great, glad I was there for the big day.

I also went down to Singapore with the fam late last year, prior to the move. That was good. Caught a Mayday concert (YES!), good food, caught up with good friends (most of my usual people), did basketball training, played basketball, got smashed at gym so hard, I was staggering around with DOMS for two weeks, loved it.

And, I somehow managed to make it to Singapore again last month. That was basically the sequel. Caught a Mayday concert again (YES!), good food, more catchups (or less, because I had less time), did basketball training, played more basketball, didn’t get smashed at the gym (no time). Instead, did rockclimbing with Meishan, HIIT with the FG and her hub, on top of all the basketball stuff. It’s embarrassing that I haven’t been able to swim on both trips, it’s something I really, really haven’t done in a long time now. Need to get back into it.

This is a historical one. I finally made it down to Malaysia to visit the relatives, after an extended absence of 25 (probably more) years. The cousin (Andy) was a stud, took real good care of me while I was over there. Took me around, fed me, and it was good seeing everyone after so long. It’s somehow funny, that people don’t change. The uncles and aunties that I haven’t met in so long, are still exactly the same people I remembered as a kid. It’s a reminder to myself, that I should always strive to be a better person with every passing day.

I nearly forgot to talk about the annual family trip to Geelong. It was fun, but Cookie came out second-best in a fight against a bigger dog, and we had to bring her to the vet for a checkup. Thankfully everything was fine, but it seems like she hasn’t learnt her lesson quite yet. We’ll have to be wiser about letting her off the leash moving forward.

Basketball

Huge progress on this end at last.

Moving to the new digs meant I was a lot closer, so I could join the guys for rec league basketball at last. So I’ve got a regular Monday night thing most weeks, which is good but not great. As you’d imagine, jumping right into a full-court game doesn’t do much for skill development. It helps to erode the skills, if nothing else. I’m still trying to figure my spots out, right now whenever I catch the ball, it’s always in the wrong spot, or I’m catching it and wasting time bringing it back up, and it becomes a case of hello defender! Good to see you again. I need to figure this out.

The sessions with the guys in Singapore weren’t too bad, enjoyed just playing. I loved my last game at Changkat, when the game went down to the wire and I was defending in isolation. Blocked the jumper, got it out and back to Lester, and he banked the shot in, got us the W. Love defending.

The training sessions I had with Nanzhen in Singapore helped heaps. During the last couple of sessions, he really helped me focus on attacking better, and getting into my one dribble, pullup jumper. I feel like I need more basketball training in my life. I’ve actually done a decent bit of research and figured out where I could be training at next, but it’s coming down to a money juggling act – I need to figure out if I can afford it consistently, plus the time it’ll take, and how I fit that into my routine. Gym, physio, basketball training – seriously.

Gym

I’m currently cycling between 68-69kg, kudos to me for eating. I haven’t been pushing too hard on the gym, it’s been a lot of stretches, foam rolling. These days, my sessions tend to be really short, with shorter rest periods.

A typical exercise looks like this, with 30 sec intervals.

  • Warmup set – 12 reps
  • Set 1, 2, 3 – 12 reps
  • Set 4 – 8 reps

I’d often sprint out of the office, get there decently panting. Then start off with foam rolling, get into some stretching and resistance band exercises, then do 3 exercises (free weights, cable or Smith), and sprint back to work. It’s not the most productive of sessions, but I try to do what I can, which isn’t saying much.

The injured right wrist hasn’t helped, it basically stopped me from all heavy upper body exercises, which sucked. This week it’s felt decent, I hope to be able to get back on track starting next week.

Physio-wise, I started with Jay at Kinematics in April, and it’s been a good three months. She’s certainly worked out a lot of the kinks, and I’ve enjoyed our chats about basketball. But it didn’t help that Kinematics raised their fees after they moved. $5 doesn’t sound like a dealbreaker until you realise it all adds up quickly, when you visit on a weekly basis. Jay has agreed that my body doesn’t require weekly visits so that’s been great progress. We’ve pushed the sessions back to monthly ones, so that will really ease my finances up.

I started with Natalie from Muscular Therapies recently, just to get an alternate perspective on where I’m at. I like the place, because of its approach to “cleaning” ie slow, deep massages to clean out the muscles. It’s been really effective, especially on my lower back. It still flares up, but I’m feeling a bit looser and not as tight across the back these days.

Personal

I don’t feel like my perspective has shifted too much. It’s been a lot of living one day at a time, trying to get things done. Sometimes, we’re so embroiled in the daily battle, that we forget about ourselves.

A great milestone happened this year though – I finally got my Australian citizenship, and also renounced the Singapore citizenship. It hasn’t changed much in the grand scheme of things, except that I had to fill out bloody immigration cards and use the manual counters at Changi Airport – or so I thought. Apparently, Australian passport holders can use the same fast-entry gantries that Singaporean passport holders do. It’s just not explicitly stated that way. I only realised it while using the gantries with my passport heading out of Singapore. The theory has yet to be tested on entering Singapore, so we’ll see.

Oh, and getting my CPF back. That’ll be really nice, when I decide to do a beard transplant. I had a consultation session done, and was almost ready to commit but decided to pull it back, until I actually have cash in the bank to get it done.

And oh, I started growing a beard this year. Facial hair is awesome. I suspect I won’t be saying the same thing when I actually have a beard and food keeps getting stuck on the hairs, but heck. Another problem for another day.

And did I mention vasectomy is awesome? Zero complications, and it’s so much easier not having to worry about having another kid when you’re doing the deed. Mental bliss.

Here’s a new wrinkle I’ve begun over the past year or so – investment. Began investing in Vanguard’s managed funds, and also bought a couple of stocks on a mate’s advice. Nothing crazy, but just the beginnings of a little portfolio.

Presents

The omnomnomnivore T-shirt I requested.

flash_deadpool

And Two Lego-esque figurines, Deadpool and The Flash. And an extra Celtics-themed something that’s on the way – looking forward to it! Thanks to Stan for the presents.

The traditional supply of Esprit T-shirts from the FG, plus a Stay Real tee! She never fails to freshen my wardrobe up.

Cards

There’ll always be one at least, and it’s on the way the FG says!

WhatsApp/text

ahlong: Blessed birthday and great tidings~ 🎂🍾🎁🎉

PR: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Kein!!!! 🎁🎉🎂🌈 wish you have a great celebration and wonderful year ahead!!!

Nick: haha 14th liao

LS: Happy birthday to my hamsem bff!!!

Sam: Hey Big fella, happy birthday hope you’ve been spoilt rotten today

DC: HB mate 🙂

Jason T: Happy birthday Kien

Julian: Happy birthday

Bill: Happy birthday Kein

SJ jie: Di~ Happy Birthday!!! Just in time to wish u like 5mins before the day ends on your side. Haha. May this year brings you lots of excitement and joy! 🙂

XQ: Happy birthday bro 😊

SC: Sorry , missed messaging ya yest. Happy belated burf my dear friend. 🍻

Vale: Happy belated birthday!! Hope you had an awesome one, and sorry for being late!

Facebook

Dad: 兒子生日快乐 事事隨心所愿

Mum: 生日快樂,健康如意,咪的猪好运连连!

Jim: Happy Birthday, KM!

Stan: Happy birthday btw. Hope this year will be smooth sailing as usual

ZM: Happy Birthday! Have a great day!

Chez: Happy Joyful Birthday!!! Wish you all the best things in life 🎂🎂🎁🎁

Benny: Happy birthday Lao Da !!!

Alvin: Happy Birthday to you!

Terry: Happy Birthday!

Wing: happy birthday superdad!!

Jack: Happy birthday, Kein!

Cheng: Blessed Birthday 😊🎂

Mat: Happy birthday 🎂 mate best wishes

XX: Happy birthday Kein!!! Have a great day with your love one yah 😉🎂🎉🎊🏀🎁

Beryl: Happy birthday Kein!😊

Nash: Happy birthday Batman

Kim: Happy birthday! 🎂🎉🎁🎊😄

Greg: Happy birthday Keino !!

Alan: Belated wishes pal!

Meishan: 生日快乐!!Cookie is sooo cute!

Jasmine: Happy birthday Kein!!!!!

Cherie: Mr Chua, happy birthday 🎂🎈🎉

Davina: Happy birthday Kein 🎁🎈🎉

Doris: Happy birthday 🍰

XY: Happy Birthday Kein!

Isabel: Happy birthday Kein!

Jane: Happy Birthday Kein!

Zhiwei: Happy bday bro!

Estee: Happy happy bday!!

Feli: Happy Birthday Kein 

Keith: Happy birthday Kein!!

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Guys, dermarolling works.

I’m convinced now.

Dermarolling regularly (weekly) has definitely improved gains on the cheek area, I can see vellus hairs turning dark.

Of course, it could also be the LCLT in the minoxidil, the change in diet, etc, but I’m thinking dermarolling right now.

If you have never dermarolled regularly, it might be a good time to do it.

At this point, I’m close to the 2-year mark (starting point was in mid-2016). Definitely heaps more hair than I had on day 1!

It’s all about that steady grind.

What seems to be working:

  • Liquid minoxidil (switched to foam for ~8 months, never noticed any difference)
  • Dermarolling
  • Moisturising with Nivea Soft

Unconfirmed:

  • LCLT in minoxidil
  • Peppermint oil (PEO)

Tree roots and pipe relining

Living in a house is like having a child – you’re constantly learning new things on the fly, as shit happens.

This house managed to quite literally, shit on us a couple of weeks ago.

The sewage pipe got choked, and water started coming up from beneath the floorboards.

Yeap, that was a WTF IS THIS moment.

Got the plumber in, he had to get the toilet out, use a high pressure hose to clear the blockage –which resulted in more water coming up from the floorboards, brilliant– and after some investigation with a pipe camera, showed me the tree roots that had made its way into the pipe.

Considering the nearest tree wasn’t very near to begin with, this was confusing. At this point, I’d just stopped caring about why, and just zoned in on the “how do I fix this shit?” part.

He said it would take a princely sum (think five digits) to rip the floorboards up, drill through the concrete, and fix the crack.

Yeap, more of that WTF IS THIS.

Kudos to him however, for bringing up an alternative solution ie pipe relining. Zero props for quoting another astronomical figure.

Here’s a video of what pipe relining is, because it’ll explain things much quicker.

TL;DW – less intrusive way to fix a cracked pipe.

After a few days’ worth of conversations with multiple plumbers, it looks like we have a firmer solution in place, and hopefully the pipe will be relined and fixed by the end of this month, at a much more reasonable cost.

There’s probably a better way to handle DNS migrations, VentraIP

If you’re looking to start a fresh site, with a new domain name, DNS migrations are probably the least of your concerns.

For a live site, DNS migrations can be tricky. You’d want the corresponding DNS entries to be replicated across to the new nameserver, before you actually switch nameservers on your registrar. Otherwise, cutting over to the new nameserver basically leaves you with downtime. You could potentially muck multiple services up (like website, email, CDN, FTP), just because they’re all pointing to the wrong servers.

Ideally, you’d want to either prepare for the migration yourself, and ensure all entries are on the new nameserver. Or ensure there’s a managed migration service that takes care of it for you.

A graceful DNS migration however, seems to be something VentraIP’s VIPControl system isn’t capable of allowing at this point.

How VentraIP’s DNS management works now

Under its Manage DNS section, there are two relevant sections: Customer Nameservers, and Free DNS Hosting. Both sound exactly like what they are: one offers a section for you to enter custom nameservers (instead of VentraIP’s), and the other allows you to use VentraIP’s free DNS hosting.

Here’s where it gets interesting. When Free DNS Hosting is clicked, a warning comes up saying this will break existing DNS setups. Should you proceed, your domain will be adjusted to use VentraIP’s nameservers immediately, with their default DNS settings. There’s no way you can adjust the entries, before it goes live.

How I set my DNS on fire

Definitely not absolving myself of blame here, I most definitely saw the warning, and went ahead anyway. But I was expecting a screen saying, “here’s where you enter your desired DNS entries” and a “are you ready to move to VentraIP’s nameservers?” button.

Instead, what I got was a list of live entries, with most obvious one being my domain’s A record, featuring 86400 TTL ie 24 hours.

I literally went FML the moment I saw that entry, because it meant hello downtime!

It’s a good thing we didn’t have any big storylines lined up for publishing today, otherwise it would have been a big disaster. As it was, I asked everyone to cease content promotion, hold off writing on WordPress until the DNS caught up.

Meanwhile, the domain turned into a parked domain advertisement page for VentraIP, proclaiming: “This domain name currently parked with VentraIP Australia.”

Spoke to technical support after that and I knew their hands were tied while TTL was waiting to expire. I also asked that a new feature request be put in, on allowing customers to self-enter custom DNS records before VentraIP nameservers were applied.

This means, any customers with custom (external, non-VentraIP) nameservers, would be able to line their DNS ducks in a row nicely, before they hit the big button and go “ok guys, everything looks good – I’m ready to cut over to my shiny new VentraIP nameserver!”

What I was told, was that it’s possible if I have a cPanel account (I only signed up for email hosting so I didn’t get that), but it’s “something in the works, but requires a major DNS update to our systems so it is still a far way off unfortunately.”

Not having TTL as 86400 on your default A record would’ve been really nice. For what it’s worth, it took less than 24 hours for the change to catch up, but our downtime was still measured in hours.

Looking forward to the day when VentraIP updates their system, for the sake of future customers. In the meantime, good luck to everyone else in charge of DNS migrations. It might be best to use an external nameserver you can manage yourself in the meantime.

It definitely wasn’t straightforward

I would’ve settled for VentraIP support proactively replicating my entries across as well. I asked about this in my very first email to VentraIP’s sales team, and was told it would be straightforward, since I was moving off a cPanel host.

The entire process was definitely trickier than promised, and not as fuss-free as I would’ve preferred it to be. There was also no help offered on moving the entries over.

I’m over the entire process at this point. But if you’re looking for a hands-free, fully managed migration of any sort, be warned. Especially if you’re not technically competent when it comes to hosting.

牙關

Love the emotions inside, especially the chorus.

放肆的盡情揮霍 那一年玩的多瘋 你和我 站上全世界的最快樂 的巔峰 等著雨停的午後 你希望此刻永久 而現在 永久就是永久的牢籠 讓我一直在等候 等待後面是等待 更沉默的等待 然後咬緊了牙關 等待更多的等待

如果你愛過我 你不會就這樣走 就這樣 丟下我 和那些天真承諾 如果我 再也不 不能再更多的承受 痛哭之後 卻又咬緊牙關  繼續漂流 繼續等待

你最愛那個歌手 最愛吃什麼火鍋 最愛把 小小的臉 輕輕的靠在 我胸口 這城市每個角落 回憶都霸佔街頭 我知道 你會想起雨停的時候 我知道你會回頭

Getting things done: a self-fulfilling cycle of energy

The hardest step, as always is the first one.

Once you start on it though, the drive and momentum to get things done grows with every passing task completed.

I’m not sure about everyone else, but personally, I feel burdened and drained when I know there are too many things to be done. Ticking them off my list, gives me a sense of accomplishment and energy to get onto the next one. Otherwise, I slump in a puddle of ineptitude and sloth.

KEEP PUSHING!

Post-2017 thoughts

Woohoo, 2018!

Missed the EOY post before 2017 ended, my Mac was still powered off and I didn’t feel like popping a lengthy post off my phone.

Well, at least we’re still in January ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

To be honest, 2017 started out looking pretty vanilla, with the promise of an NBA playoffs trip. Then that fizzled, but things started getting more and more complicated, but I’m glad to say we survived the year pretty well, which was seriously no mean feat.

Fitness

Consistency continues over here. I started training with Tyson late last year, wrapped it up in May, and continued to train on my own. Learnt about supersets, various exercises and how my body reacts to them. It was good having someone pushing me out of my comfort zone as well, training alone can get you into a plateau at times. I also learnt to push myself harder during workouts, especially at the mental level.

I managed to keep my gym sessions up, even through my China/US/Singapore trips, which was pretty awesome. No days off! Obviously, it helped that I had access to hotel gyms, some with really shit equipment. Whatever I guess, dumbbells are dumbbells, even if they look old and rusty. And if you have a bench and dumbbells, there’s no excuse not to put the work in, period.

Much thanks to Chin Boon for training me when I was back in Singapore as well, that was intense. I died so hard on leg day, my legs were destroyed for about a week after that session. Learnt a lot in just three sessions, and hearing him share his experiences helped heaps. It was educational, to say the least.

To be honest, the only times I didn’t keep to my 4x a week routine, were in the days leading up to the move, and when I was on my NBA trip. I was just too drained to do more than three sessions pre-move, and the US trip was basically me trying to sleep enough, stay healthy and not completely wreck my diet with sugary American fast food.

I experimented more with meal prep in 2017, tweaking and adding bits and pieces, but eventually got lazy and just went to the basics: chicken breasts and sweet potatoes, with everything else depending on availability and price.

Goal for 2018: gain more muscle, cut fats, get myself looking better than before! It feels like my metabolism has slowed another gear, which means additional discipline on the food end, if I’m to get results.

Right now, I’m trying to cut down to 68kg before bulking restarts. Oddly enough, it’s harder to cut than it was before – I must be consuming more calories than I think I am. (This is why estimation never works, ya gotta count your calories.)

2017 objective: keep this shit up. – COMPLETED!

2018 objective: keep this shit up, and get more swole.

Basketball

I feel like this deserves its own section, AT LAST.

Got to play ball in China on the work trip, and in Singapore, which was a really good session. Worked the pick and roll with Kenny to perfection, he was rolling hard and I got the ball to him right on point, soon as I got doubled.

I also went out to Shot Zone with Nanzhen twice during the trip, and really worked hard on my jump shot. It’s not perfect, but honestly, it’s in better shape than it ever was before. I finally managed to fix the hitch in my jump, and the shot’s more economical/efficient/smoother, with a shitload more consistency in the arc and trajectory. Played some casual ball recently, and realised I could comfortable loft three-point shots now, even shots beyond the arc. This was something I’d been unable to do with my jump shot previously, all my life. It sounds ridiculous, but those four hours of shooting in Shot Zone really turned things around.

Will definitely head back to this place again for more training.

2018 objectives: play more basketball in Melbourne, and go back to Shot Zone at least twice more.

Personal

This just popped into my head: impatience is both my greatest strength and my biggest flaw. It drives me to get things done quickly and to the best I can, but without the gift of restraint and patience, I try too hard, too quickly, sometimes with undesirable outcomes. It’s karmic/ironic that V possesses the exact opposite trait: patience/procrastination.

Big milestone: got my vasectomy done early 2017. It took a lot of thinking, and a lot of planning/research, but the actual process was surprisingly quick. I drove there, had it done, drove home myself, and took a couple of painkillers. It was mildly sore, not excruciatingly so, and results came back clear so we’re home free! It was something V and I agreed on, and honestly, me taking one for the team is much easier than her doing it. Kids are fun, but there’s that fine line of liking kids and you know, really loving kids. I think it’s when you have two kids who are of a manageable age, and you slam the brakes hard, before a third one appears and you have no choice but to dive into parenthood and just give up everything else. We’re just comfortable with where we are now.

I also went past the one year milestone for minox aka the beard growth project. It’s definitely gotten a little bit denser, but for someone who’s been going at this for a while, I expected more results. I have plenty of vellus on the sides of the face, a few that have gone terminal. The secret to success seems to be moisturiser, but I’m still on the fence about this. That’s why I’ve still got plans for a facial hair transplant, possibly at the end of the year.

Here’s another big milestone: I got my Australian citizenship in 2017. It’s a big decision, but I’m sticking to it. My kids are Australian, there’s no reason for me not to be. And this is the place where I’m going to be living out the rest of my life (very likely). Singapore’s the place I grew up in, but it’s no longer the place for me. And if y’all think dual citizenships aren’t an option, well there you go. And there’s other reasons (like Medishield Life) but we won’t delve too deep into it here.

2018 objectives: get a better beard, learn to be more patient, get Australian passport sorted.

Finances

Also started looking a bit harder into the finances. I’m not exactly gunning for FIRE yet, but more on making sure we get our money’s worth with what we’re spending. I got an American Express card (because fuck that next-to-pointless Citibank card we’ve had for years), and started clocking points in earnest. 2018 is gonna be the year when we fly business class to the US!

I also began investing in Vanguard, and popped a little bit into some shares that’s gotten respectable growth so far. Might be getting on another company this year, depending on finances. Better than having the cash sit in a bank account, interest isn’t worth much these days.

Also adulted harder, and got an accountant to do my taxes. All of the investing shit just made my tax returns too complicated, and I just concluded, it’d be much easier to get a professional to sort it all out, rather than waiting for V to put some time together and do my taxes for me. Big first effort, but I think the years ahead will get much easier.

2018 objectives: organise finances better, continue to build investment portfolio.

Friendships

Biggest highlight of the year, definitely attending the FG’s wedding. It was a crazy whirlwind trip, I was in and out of Singapore in less than 24 hours, but I was really happy to have been there for her big day.

Everything else was catching up with the mates over here (Sam, David, Bill, Andy especially), and reconnecting with everyone in Singapore. Loved that I got to play basketball with some of the Griffiths lads, and a wonderful supper at Maccas with plenty of comfortable chitchat. Next year’s session might be better, now that we have that WhatsApp group!

I did a count, and being able to catch up with 50+ people over the course of ten days is a pretty impressive number, even by my standards, considering most of the sessions were pretty small in size. Thank you all for making time out, and I’m especially glad I got to reconnect with Ramya, one of my best friends in primary school. All hail Facebook and tequila!

Congratulations to the friends who have welcomed new additions to their family this year too – new challenges ahead! I certainly don’t envy any of it, which is why I got the snip.

2017 objective: keep in touch with as many people as I can. This is going to be hard, harder than 2016 when it comes to Singapore. – COMPLETED!

2018 objective: keep trying, keep trying. I can’t help it if people don’t want to meet up, but for those that do, I have to do my best to make it work.

Family

Had our first family trip to Geelong this year! I’m hoping to make this an annual tradition in the years ahead, something for the kids to remember as they grow up.

Introduced the kids to Transformers! Lenny especially, has become a big Transformers fan, especially Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, and the Transformers Go! Shinobi/Samurai teams. Well done, me.

The kids have been really good this year. While I’d like to pat myself on the back (again) and say well done me, at least half of it is on them for listening to, and putting up with this grouchy dad of theirs, who nags about them and tries to keep them in line all the time. I won’t have the smartest kids in the world, but I’m hoping by the time I’m done with them, they will be at the very least, not-selfish bastards who can’t handle themselves and get into trouble.

Our 2017 commute/routine was pretty much a rush most days, many thanks to Chris and Veronica for helping to pick Elly up from school, it saved our bum more than once. The parent network is crucial to survival 🙂 We’ll see how 2018 rolls, hopefully it’ll be easier with the new schools.

There was a sustained period when we managed to explore plenty of new cafes and restaurants, which was really good. Much thanks to a certain Facebook group that shall remain unnamed, for their extensive legwork and recommendations/reviews.

The biggest event that’s happened as far as the family’s concerned: we got a new place! The house hunt was surprisingly quick, took us less than three months to spot and lock it in.

It meant a mad transition of changing schools, updating addresses, staying on top of the mountainous paperwork but we managed to make it work. The near heart attack was our broker telling us we were short on funds on settlement day, evidently our conveyancer assumed we knew about the exact funds that needed to be in the account. Like, srsly. ASSUMED. I’m just glad I managed to hustle down to the bank and fix it in time.

Much love to everyone who helped, from Andrew to Andy to Stan. It was most definitely an educational experience, being the first time I’d actually worked through most of the details needed. (The last time we bought a place, V basically handled it all.)

Anyway, moving on. Definitely a one-time thing, won’t be using that conveyancer the next time.

But the extra space has been really nice, much nicer than I’d expected. As usual, the DSL (dog shit luck) is in full gear. Definitely lucked out on this place.

2017 objective, as listed in my 2016 EOY post, was to help Elly get adjusted to her new school, and Lenny to talk. Guess she’s got to adjust to another new school this year, so that definitely didn’t quite work out. Lenny’s talking plenty of shit these days, but too much of it is on cars. We need to expand his vocabulary some. – NOT QUITE COMPLETED 😦

2018 objectives:

  • Get Lenny’s speech to the next level
  • Get Elly’s confidence up
  • Try more food places
  • Build home gym in garage (floor mats, mirrors, bench, dumbbells)

Entertainment

Caught Hanson this year with the brother! Thanks to V and Stan for arranging it, this was brilliant. My legs and back were so sore from standing for so long though.

Did I mention the NBA games yet?

  • Caught the Celtics’ home season opener in Boston, with an emotional Gordo video being shown on the jumbotron. Shitty loss, couldn’t be helped. Enjoyed the excellent TD Garden tour before that, our guide was awesome.
  • Caught the C’s against Philly on the road, on their home season opener. (We won.)
  • Watched a surprisingly spunky Nets team play against the Hawks, at Barclays. (Place is legit good.)
  • Caught a blowout win against the Knicks at TD Garden, with Gino time. Gino time is always a good time.
  • Bonus: Springfield MA, Basketball Hall of Fame. If you’re a basketball fan, you’ve absolutely gotta check it out. Obviously, it helps that Springfield is so close to Boston.

And here’s the topper: finally caught Mayday in Singapore once again! It’s the FG’s Christmas present/wish, so to speak, and we finally caught the band together in action once more, after 12 years. Bliss. And of course, having front row seats to the concert might have helped. We most definitely had the best seats in the house. Catching Mayday is always an emotional experience, much more so than watching them in Melbourne, because the atmosphere is just so different. Still hope to catch them in Taiwan some day, at 小巨蛋.

I started playing Nioh on the PS4 this year, on Boxing Day. It was right around that point when I decided, fuck I’ve had enough of unpacking and organising shit, it’s time to take a break. So I took a break from real life, and committed myself to being endlessly massacred in Nioh. I swear, I must have died at least a hundred times on that island boss with the wrecking balls. It’s all about honing your instincts and combat rhythm, with death being the merciless teacher that tells you, you fucked up on that dodge kid. Go to death, don’t pass Go, don’t collect $200 either. Go get better, then come back and get fucked up again.

Great game though, thanks to Stan for getting it.

I’ve fallen behind on The Walking Dead and The Flash, thanks to all the trips and the move, but now that my internet’s back, watch out. Did I mention that being in a townhouse instead of an apartment, actually improved the Wi-Fi reception by a gazillion times? Jared called it, the lack of interference and congestion does make the network so much better.

2017 objective: actually play the PS3/PS4 without objection from the wife on pixelated violence being bad for the kids. Like, really. I grew up on this kind of stuff, it didn’t turn me into a homicidal maniac. And again, TRY TO PLAY MORE BASKETBALL DAMMIT. – COMPLETED x2!

2018 objectives: take time out for console gaming, watch more NBA games live (hopefully), and I’m looking forward to two more concerts at minimum: Jacky Cheung and Mayday (again!)

Travel

I had a shitload of trips this year, so let’s see.

The April playoffs trip didn’t happen because V was swamped at work, so that idea got shelved.

Flew to China for work on a pretty poor airline, survived 11 hours and limped around after that. The colleagues were fantastic though, took really good care of me and surprisingly, managed to play some basketball. I most definitely did not expect that. I also most definitely did not like the China-centric payment systems, not cool WeChat/Alipay/UnionPay. My credit cards were crippled while I was there, was surviving on room service at the end of the trip because I was rationing my cash.

Flew to the US for work, but detoured and embarked on my epic NBA trip, mostly with Hayley as company – she was the best companion I could’ve hoped for. What better than a fellow C’s fan on a basketball holiday? It was her first trip to Boston, so it was a real eye opener for her, especially with media credentials and being able to head behind the scenes. The non-stop travel between cities was a real PITA, but it really streamlined my travel routine, I had my packing routine to a T by the time the trip was done.

Also enjoyed my time at the headquarters with the guys, it was great hanging out with them, especially with Jared, Crystal, Paul and Ravi. Much thanks to Jared for putting me up at his place over the weekend, and for taking me around and trying some real good food. I’m feeling hungry just thinking about them. Thoroughly enjoyed the team outing to the escape room too, always such an insightful experience seeing how everyone operates at a basic level, when we’re away from all the processes and rules at work. Everyone’s personality and instincts are out on full display. I hereby suggest that job interviews be done via escape rooms – now that’d be interesting. Much thanks to Andy for getting us over, and for organising the escape room. I’ve often said he’s the best boss I’ve had to to date, and it still stands true.

(It’s at this part that I should give props to V for manning the fort singlehandedly while I was overseas. She was working, picking the kids up and dropping them off at school, for the better part of a month, through my China and US trips. Most wives would give their husbands shit for waltzing off to NBA games, but she’s a champ like that. No one is perfect, and she certainly isn’t, but she’s a fantastic partner who’s never failed to support me in most of my impulsive, single-minded ideas. And that, is why life is good with her.)

And did I say, having a travel agent is crazy good? It’s the convenience you never knew you needed. I was totally over the crazy logistics of my US trip, S/O to Emma Whiting Travel for flawlessly putting my flights together. Considering the insane amount of flights I did this time, I was really happy to outsource the details and price hunting to someone else, and just go “here’s all the dates, here’s my preference for the flights, and I need to be here by this date, and so on.” Definitely using them again this year.

And then, we come to the Singapore trips. I flew in to Singapore during November for less than 24 hours, to attend the FG’s wedding. Flew out the same day (night), it was probably the shortest long-haul trip I’ve ever done. Even the check-in agent had her eyebrow raised at my itinerary – she had to check with the back office to make sure it was fine to issue my boarding pass.

In December, I was in Singapore for about two weeks. The trip was fantastic, with one minor snag. I’d planned the holiday without knowing we were going to buy a new place the same year. So, V had to pack the rest of our apartment while I was in Singapore, and then when I returned from Singapore, it was up to me to co-ordinate the remainder of our move, make sure settlement day went fine, get all our shit to the new place (with movers obviously, I’m not insane), and reorganise the new place. It could’ve been an absolute shitfest, but it somehow worked, almost flawlessly.

In the days leading up to the move, I was focused on only one thing: making the move work. I had to make sure everything was packed and ready to go, and we would settle the move in a day. Everything else in my life was secondary. Kudos to the brother and the daughter for pitching in to help, especially Elly – she was a champ about it, and didn’t give me any trouble. Anyway, all’s well that ends well.

2018 objectives: Watch a Boston Celtics playoffs game in April, first round is fine (this time). Make it to Colorado and Yellowstone Park. Watch more Broadway shows. Have more good food.

My bucket list continues to include an item known as “become a Celtics season ticket holder, and just spend my life watching games”.

Work

It was a “get through the year” kind of thing at work year. Nothing spectacular really happened, outside of the two work trips. No promotions, no added responsibilities, just another twelve months of getting people through their issues, making sure new folks have what they need, etc.

The interesting thing here, is that I’m not really bored by mundane tasks like these. It’s actually rewarding in its own way, to be able to help people out and get their issues fixed. I enjoy having the time to chat to everyone at the office, learning a bit about how their job is like. It helps that the folks at work are a bunch of really great people that I get along well with.

I also like having a deeper, proactive approach to issues, especially if there’s a root cause involved. If something broke, why did it break? Was there something else that triggered the problem to begin with?

Or if we run out of licenses on a certain software, I take a look into active accounts, and perform a license audit. Is there something that’s using up our licenses quicker, for some reason or other? Did our processes not clean up inactive accounts properly? I did a few of this in 2017, which likely helped our budget a bit. When it comes to IT, it all comes down to cost savings and budget.

If there’s a change to process or the actual technical environment we can do something about, to make sure the same problem doesn’t come back again, I try and push for change. There are always different speed bumps to navigate along the course of getting something done, but I do what I can.

I like to examine little things like these, because I know they make a difference, and it makes people’s lives easier.

The main challenge I’ve really faced this year, is finding the time (and energy) to self-study, especially for professional certification. There’s just so many other things that buzz at the edge of my consciousness, a list of tasks and “waiting for response” items, along with everything else that’s going on in daily life, I’ve found it extremely hard to just plough through the amount of learning required, to actually sit and pass an exam.

Granted, it all comes down to time management, but I guess my motor’s just not revving at a high enough level to say “I’ll make it work no matter what.” I’ll have to try harder this year!

PnR

The biggest disappointment this year, has definitely got to be Warren dropping out. I can handle guys leaving. But it always comes back to the same old dance: life gets in the way, I’ll try, the ghosting starts, I push, and it ends with sorry mate I’m out. Regardless, everyone’s got their own priorities and I’m happy his life is getting back on track. It’s just me being disappointed as usual, at not being able to get an honest, quick conversation around what the real decision actually was.

To be fair, I could’ve been part of the problem, in not being able to help more on a lot of his ideas. Be it creating a better user experience for his features, or helping to get better access to subjects, or making possible some of the bigger ideas, like an AITNBA-themed Game of Zones-style video. It likely got frustrating some times, when you’re trying to achieve something and you’ve got your hands tied because the site you write for, just doesn’t have the resources/infrastructure necessary to deliver. I can only honestly say, I did what I could, within my limits, which included investing towards a podcast series he was planning to launch. It’s a shame his meticulous planning and preparation in the months before that, will never result in a fully formed podcast show, with the interviews he had in mind.

Regardless, Warren has been a real asset throughout his time with the team, and his persistence and passion for finding stories and putting in the necessary networking/legwork to flesh them out, was invaluable. And for that, I’m thankful. People like Warren saw fit to invest their energy and time in creating stories on this little platform of ours, and I can only hope they learned and grew from the experiences and doors that the site helped open.

That aside, I honestly have done a lot less this year. My trips have basically killed almost all of my time and energy, plus the new place? Moving house? I knew I wasn’t going to have time to do squat. Big props to Damo for holding it together, owe him a slab of beer and so much more. My highest production period was during the NBA offseason, when I managed to write three articles (at minimum) every day, around free agency, the NBA draft, Summer League games for about a period of two weeks. That was an exhilarating phase, but I guess it got balanced out with my absence after that.

Thanks to Ben for continuing to be the engine that drives the NBA show, with his insightful, punchy pieces. Love that he’s so committed to making basketball journalism work, and is absolutely driven to succeed. He’s been on a massive trip in 2017, attended All-Star Weekend, plus Summer League, and will be doing it again this year (season games plus ASW).

The NBL guys have done well too, props to them, especially Matthew L.

Commercially, the decision to move our advertising to an agency didn’t quite work. There were constant communication problems, mostly around our ad performances, and payment. They eventually decided we weren’t worth the trouble, so I rejigged our ad placements on the website, running only AdSense. And believe it or not, our monthly revenue is far outperforming whatever the agency was getting us, so that was pretty good. Plus we didn’t have to pay anyone any commission, which was a 50% take. (In-article ads FTW.)

Notable milestones:

  • Pushed past 72,000 fans on Facebook.
  • Nearly at 3,000 followers on Instagram, which is almost 300% growth!
  • Maintained consistent ad revenue on website, even with lower traffic.
  • Off the top of my head, I was pretty damn sure we didn’t outperform 2016, and Google Analytics confirmed it. It was about 22% lower in terms of page views but heck, we didn’t have that crazy Olympic wave to ride, we were on a content rut, so it made sense.
  • Held our first event at TGIF South Yarra, featuring a couple of NBA games
  • Excellent partnership formed with Brotherhood Studios, with their excellent video work around the Aussies in NBA. Been a pleasure, and they’ve been really professional throughout.
  • Thanks again to Nahum for helping us with the social media graphics, can’t imagine life without his helping hand! The branding would be a mess, at the very least.
  • (Will add to it when I think of more, trying to remember what happened in 2017, at half past midnight isn’t the best way to do it.)

Much thanks to Mica from One Green Bean for working together on Nike Battleforce, it was an awesome event and I’m glad we helped out. Being at the event was definitely a great experience.


Am I ready to crush 2018 yet? Not quite. But I’m hoping for another quiet, productive year where everything steadily gets better once again.