Daily Log #11

I went with ordering green tea instead of coffee from Starbucks today and it turned out to be a better option. My stomach stop being an asshole and I didn’t really feel any major rumbling until it was lunch.

For lunch, the intern and I actually planned to eat at Seasonal Salad Bar but when we got there, the shop was closed. It felt kind of disappointing because I wanted to eat the main course. So end up we went with eating at Ichiban Sushi but it was a bad call. The service is so slow that we only got our first order of salmon sashimi 10 minutes later. My own meal came more than thirty minutes later. By then, the intern was almost done with his meal.

After that, we actually went to get some fruits but everyday it’s like we are gambling. The reason being the fruits we got everyday have inconsistent quality. On some days, the fruits taste sweet while on some other days, all the fruits we got didn’t have any noticeable taste. Sometimes, it’s a mixture. For me, I got a slice of watermelon and pear. Both of them turned out to taste like they haven’t ripe fully and not sweet at all.

For work itself, software testing continued as usual today. It is during this testing that we found more bugs and issues to fix. I took a systemic approach to fixing the bugs, starting with the easiest to do to the hardest.

However, Visual Studio 2017 was being nasty to me today. I had to restart the development machine once to even get things churning along but barely. During debugging, it was so slow that stepping through each line of code took five seconds. It even crashed once. Even the application itself also wasn’t responsive to some of my interaction because of the high cpu usage by the development studio.

The other thing I came across was the limitation of using base64 representation of image files. My colleague and I went with converting images to base64 strings because it was the easiest way instead of working with multi-part content. What we needed was speed in development so that we can reach this testing stage early. Today we got to see the sheer size of the base64 content when working with image files bigger than 2MB and IIS was spewing out 404 errors while the client application was trying to send the data over. Thus we had to make a last minute decision of restricting the maximum size of an image to 1.5MB. Of course, we will need to look at this deeper and then come with a better solution. For now, we will leave it at that because the testing has to go on.

During that testing, I found myself feeling kind of frustrated and I couldn’t really narrow down the reasons why. It could be because I’m bored with my work, wanted to do something else instead of testing, or it could be because of my ongoing unhappiness with the whole thing. That feeling did go away as it got closer to the end of workday.

Once home, I spent most of the night watching Dragons: Race to the Edge season 2.

I’m having trouble to get my gears moving again to finish that novelette I started last month. It’s already a full month since I last wrote anything. I should just stop looking for excuses and just get on with it, forcing myself to write it to conclusion.


Daily Log #10

In the morning, I found myself overeating again because of a mistaken feeling of hunger when it was just my stomach being an asshole and decides to produce more than the usual amount of acid. I chomped down two egg mayo sandwich that I got just shortly before lunch, making myself full.

Now, I thought I reduced the odds of my stomach misbehaving… I suspect it must be that three shot latte that I consumed yesterday. Of course being a coffee addict, I consumed that again today.

A few things happened at work.

The first was my colleague, XX, got called away by the division manager. I didn’t know what happened until much later when she joined us for lunch. She mentioned that the division manager is actually spending time to find out how “happy” we are at the job. There was the comment that females seem to be happier at work than the guys. Then she mentioned the division manager actually asked her, how I’m doing. XX responded, “Don’t ask me. Ask him.”

Now come to think about it, so that time when the division manager wanted to talk to me, it was about this? Hmm… Alright… But so far, I admit I haven’t been very reactive to or active in the affairs of the company. I have in fact skipped quite a few company events and actively seek to avoid the higher management. I generally went with a low profile there, focusing on doing my work and leaving on time whenever I could. Or maybe that’s the sign of disengagement… Let’s see how it goes going forward.

The next thing happened was regarding integration testing in the afternoon. I encountered some problem discussing with the people from the subcontracting company because they spoke in full Mandarin. I couldn’t understand half of what they are saying due to the use of certain verbs and nouns that I typically hear in English. I had to get my colleague to translate for me. And end up, she did all the talking for me. 😅

The next was I went ahead to implement mouse cursor changes depending where the mouse landed on a piece of image with custom drawn selection boxes. However, I couldn’t test that properly because the connection to the image analytic engine was down. And I was feeling lazy, not wanting to write excessive amount of codes just to generate the selection boxes. So I just wait around instead until it was time to go home.

At home, I decided to watch the movie call Annihilation on Netflix. I thought it looked interesting. I didn’t have much exception from it until the movie progress further along. It became clear to me that the characters were a little cold and underdeveloped. It was only during the last thirty minutes or so that it got interesting. But it sure gave me some inspirations and that’s the important thing for me when I consume any content.

While I was writing this Daily Log, I got kind of bored…no, actually a mild case of writer’s block that I actually jumped to another empty text file to write an article titled “We are all slaves”. You can read it here

And ok, I’m pretty exhausted. So I will just stop here.

We are all slaves

We are all slaves.

We are all slaves.

We are all slaves.

Now repeat after me.

We are all slaves.

We are all slaves…

What do I mean by that?

You seek external validation in order to feel good about what you have done. It could be about a piece of work you created, a decision you made, or the words you said. You can get upset because of what someone else did or said that has nothing to do with you. You are a slave to external opinions.

You work hours after hours neglecting your health and your relationships, accumulating massive amount of debt, so that you can buy that house with more bedrooms and bathroom than you can count with your hands and feet combine, buy that car that can go from zero to 60 in under 1.2 seconds, or buy those branded goods to make yourself feel good. You are a slave to material possessions.

You have to do that. You can’t do this. You should do this and that is a bad idea. If you are this kind of person or think this way, you will be imprisoned. You should keep quiet. You are a slave to rules that are generally in place to ensure conformity and structure because anything else is scary.

You go to work everyday despite you hating your job to the core ever since you joined the company. You make yourself miserable and didn’t want to quit because you needed the money. You keep looking at your bank account and keep feeling that you don’t have enough. You are a slave to money.

So when will we stop being a slave?

We stop being a slave when we turn the attention inwards, develop the skill of self-awareness, and self-actualized. The moment we start being ourselves, ignore external opinions, decide what we want in life and take conscious actions to make those dreams and ideas come to life, we are free.

So be a maverick.

Or maybe not. Because you should ignore my views and don’t be a slave to it.

Daily Log #9

I got myself a Latte with three shots of expresso from Starbucks just so I can survive through the morning. After drinking a few sips of that latte, I waited until the caffeine kicks in. Once that happen, the headache went away and I was able to focus.

I spent my morning trying to figure out how to get the scrollbar for the tabs to appear using the Telerik library. I felt like I was an untrained monkey pounding away at the keyboard, having no idea what I was doing.

Then my team lead called for a meeting with the subcontractor, which was a company from China. While in the meeting, my team lead led the conversation sharing about the issues discovered during the testing of the application in the customer’s environment. XX was the second most involved in the meeting because she’s working on the server side of things which directly interface with the module that the subcontractor is responsible for. Another colleague and I were just sitting there listening. I also took the chance to record a voice memo on my phone so that I could review it later if I need to.

I went back pounding away at the keyboard after the meeting to try again until it was almost lunch. It’s just disappointing that I didn’t get anywhere.

After my lunch, I went to get some fruits for myself and actually asked if my team lead wants fruits too. Yet the best part is I forgot about it when I was at the store ordering my share of the fruits. My lack of sleep is really ruining my memory. Haha.

By late afternoon, I figured out what was happening with the codes and managed to solve the issue. It was caused by the incorrect serialization and deserialization of the application layout. There were missing XML attributes that control the tabs’ scroll viewer component. After I put in some codes to ensure the custom attributes is included in the serialization/deserialization process, the scrollbar for the tabs worked as intended even after the application quits and is relaunched. Yay me. At the same time, I also went about testing out the image upload and feature extraction functionality. It was working half the time and is pending the subcontractor to fix the problems found.

So my conclusion is despite my lack of sleep, I still manage to get some stuff done. I’m just so happy.

Today I also came to a conclusion that my parents are quite toxic when it comes to behaviors and what they say to us. It is not an easy conclusion to come to but once you have been exposed to sufficient “self-help” materials you start to see the patterns. There is three common things that I noticed from my family: threats, complains, and playing the victim card.

I’m also guilty of such behaviors as I am not perfect. I grew up in such a environment that it also affect how I treat the world. So what I can do is to be conscious of my emotions and actions so that I can arrest any attempts to engage in such things. I for one wants to live a better life and be better than who I was before. Threatening other people psychologically, complaining, and playing the victim card doesn’t get you anywhere. What one could be doing is to identify the problem and find a solution as I described in my article.

But of course in an asian family context, the young ones don’t really get to tell your elders stuff. It’s disrespectful and can create huge amount of tension at home which is something I want to avoid at all cost. Less stress equals better life. So instead the best one could do to maintain a certain harmony at home is to ignore those toxic behaviors and focus on surrounding yourself with the right people outside of home. If necessary minimize the interactions you have. Another thing that one could attempt is to inject the importance of taking actions for your own life and stop complaining whenever you are conversing with your parents. Well, that’s what I am trying to do anyway.

One last thing.

My client contacted me about another bug found in the application. I went about fixing it yesterday at night at home. Not ideal but since my client won’t be doing any deployment after March, it’s best to release any fix now. It turns out it was something that I accidentally introduced when I was refactoring and cleaning up the codes. The “else” portion of the code was missing which prevented certain actions from being taken in certain scenarios. But because I couldn’t remember what I removed, I had to go back to the older version of the code and study that.

Poem – Crushes

I see you hanging by the corner,
with your friends, laughing away.
Those pearly white teeth shine
brightly in the afternoon sun.

That cute face,
those pretty brown eyes,
sent shivers down my spine,
makes my heart jump.

Day by day I watched from afar,
feeling joy every time I see you,
hear you laugh and talk.
Yet I know it’s never meant to be.

Society won’t accept it,
parents won’t accept it,
I can’t accept it.
I’m not ready to go further.

With a heavy heart,
I let you go from my mind,
trying hard forgetting those
feelings I had with each passing day.

Daily Log #8

I came down with an allergy attack today and went to work sniffing. The attack got worse later in the day and by night time I was already sneezing non-stop. I had to self-medicate but it didn’t really work that well.

At work, I consider it to be a productive day. I was able to finish up additional tweaks to the search function that I was working on. Now all I need to do is to test the full set of functionalities as part of the integration testing.

Despite my allergy attack, I still feel pretty good about work. Somehow that disengagement feeling that I have has subsided a little.

Later in the evening, I met up with my friend for a movie, watching Tomb Raider again. We had dinner at Tim Ho Wan, a dim sun restaurant.

And you know what’s sad? I couldn’t sleep the whole night because my mom was agitated the whole night over some stuff and I suffered overstimulation. With that overstimulation, I started overthinking stuff. That’s the neurotic mind for you. Now, I don’t know how to clear this stimulation other than staying up late, tossing and turning in bed.

Thus, I’m up writing this Daily Log at 3.02am. Yes, I did plan to sleep early and write the log in the morning. But I guess plans change. Now I’m having a headache, sore jaw, dripping nose, and experiencing hunger.

I only managed to get some basic shut eye at around 4am onwards but it was pretty scattered. Like fifteen minutes here, twenty minutes there. And I also shifted the alarm clock forward by another 20 minutes. But at the end, I still feel like crap.

Maybe I will force myself to work today and see how it goes. Just don’t feel like wasting up to $70 seeing a doctor to get a medical certificate saying I’m not feeling well for work. And it’s not claimable from the company.

Daily Log #7

I think I have finally caught up with my sleep debt because I woke up early today. So I used the chance to make myself a bowl of cereal and eat some cake for breakfast. After that, I went about editing and publishing my Daily Log.

It was almost 9am I sat down at my desk. I started to do some work when my team lead call for a meeting at 10am to follow up on the stuff we have done. The sub-contractor would be coming in tomorrow to do the integration and our things should be ready for that. During the meeting, I admit I wasn’t actually very interested in what’s going on.

I actually tried to write a poem and doodle but none of them turned out to be any good.

After the meeting, we went for lunch. Today lunch for me was a tough chew. I ordered roasted pork with char siu rice but the meats were pretty tough and some of them actually got between my teeth. I hate that. I guess next time I won’t be ordering from that stall anymore.

Then we went back office and I went to implement a functionality that the user would want. It’s call multi-tab search result. It took some hacking with the help of google before I got it to work using Telerik for WPF. Getting something to work felt great even though I am kind of disengaged from my work.

My friend also told me that he liked my latest post about self awareness and said my writing has improved a lot. Thank you for that. I will keep working on my writing and improve further.

Just as I was about to leave office, my division manager decided to come in asking to talk to me. However, as I was rushing home it was rescheduled to tomorrow morning. Of course, there are a few things that went through my mind but none of them good. I just know that there is nothing else I could do and so I acknowledge those thoughts and move on.

Once I was home, I got back to watch Jessica Jones and found myself binge watching until episode 6 of season 2 when I decided to stop. I plan to sleep early so that I can wake up early to do some more writing.

I have been making it a habit to jot down ideas, statements or phrases as soon as they come to mind. It’s so that I will have potential content to write about and don’t get writer’s block going forward.

The other thing that I have been doing is interact with articles posted on medium by leaving behind comments. The main idea is to show up everywhere and get myself out of the comfort zone of writing in some dark corners of my house while living inside my own head. I know for sure that’s not how one improves their writing.

Daily Log #6

It’s hard to tell the difference between depression and low mood. All I know is I lack the motivation to do anything. So I spent the start of my afternoon napping. After an hour and a half, I went for a run.

Unlike the past where I could run up to 10 kilometers, now I could only run up 4 kilometers now without feeling completely floored and thirsty. My whole body started aching at around 2 kilometers mark.

On the topic of physical fitness, I realize many of my joints are no longer flexible and can’t bend without pain. There are knots all over. I think it’s time to change that situation. I suppose it’s because of this lack of physical fitness it’s making me suffer from lower levels of energy.

Or maybe it’s an age thing. After all, I’m not that young.

After the run, I took a shower and went for lunch at Ichiban Boshi. Then I went to get two boxes of green tea because it’s been a long time since I drank any on a daily basis. I suspect not drinking tea has contributed to me gaining weight and I’m not blind to the fact there are of course many factors in my life. Lack of activity is one of them.

When I got home, I started watching Jessica Jones season 2. I watched until episode 2 and decided to stop because I just didn’t think binge watching is a good idea now.

After dinner with my dad, I came back to start writing an article. As I wrote it, I find myself struggling with the content. I dug deeper and realized I wasn’t clear enough about my objective of writing the article. My thoughts were everywhere, thus making me present it in an incoherent manner. I spent nearly two hours on it, writing and editing it. Even now, I still don’t think it’s good enough. I’m feeling insecure about it yet it doesn’t change the fact that I need to publish it.

As soon as I was done with writing the article, I came across a trailer for a show call Perfect on Gizmodo and thought it looked really interesting.

It’s a good thing that I put the article away down for an hour. When I went back to it to edit some more, I saw more incoherent stuff and edit some more. At around 11.40pm, I decided to publish that article because I don’t see the point of holding it back anymore. If it suck, it suck. I will just learn from it.

Why self-awareness is the most important skill you need

Who doesn’t want to be a millionaire?

Who doesn’t want to be a famous CEO like Mark Zuckerberg or Tim Cook?

Who doesn’t want to be an entrepreneur because it’s the cool thing now?

However, most people won’t be and will never be. They will fail because they don’t have enough self-awareness. They pretend to be someone else and fake it until they make it. I know because I’ve done that before and gave myself depression when that thing I was doing didn’t pan out. I blame myself harshly for failing without understanding the real reason. I wasn’t self-aware enough until I am when I got out of depression and re-evaluate who I am.

When you are self-aware you will know your own strength and weaknesses. You will be able to take control of your life and start leveraging on your strength to get things done instead of pretending who you are not. You know your own emotional state and how you would react to certain kind of thing.

Once you have mastered that, you will be able to take back control of your life and start designing one that is best for you. No amount of external opinions or comments will be able to knock you off when you truly know who you are.

That’s how I am able to design a life that’s more suitable for me. My only competition is myself, nobody else.

I know I’m not an entrepreneur. I just don’t have that kind of drive and skills to be one. I’m also a highly-sensitive person who get frazzled easily when things get to much or too big. My nervous system can go into overdrive very easily. When that happens, I will crash and burn. Then I will stop showing up. Now, that’s obviously not how you can succeed as an entrepreneur.

My self-awareness also means I recognize my how far my risk aversion goes. It can be so crippling at times that it prevent you from doing things. And being an entrepreneur means you have to take risk, no matter how big or small.

The above reasons are why I know I’m better off being an employee of a company and draw a fixed monthly salary. That way I could build up a freedom fund while working in a standard 9 to 5 job. I use that money to also build up my skills by going for courses. This is how I minimize my risk when the time finally comes for me to step out of the corporate world to do my thing.

I know I have entrepreneurial tendencies. I for one hate working for someone except myself. I just don’t really like to be told what to do. I also like to go against certain rules and break them. Sometimes, I just think differently and don’t enjoy conforming. When you are in the corporate environment, you most likely have to conform.

Of course, one can suppress those tendencies. I tried that and it make me miserable as hell. I’m not a sheep and it goes against who I am. That’s why I stop doing that.

The other option is to hustle on the side and give you that sense of freedom and ownership. What one could do is to work as a freelancer or create stuff for people. When you do that, most of the time you only answer to yourself and you get the freedom you so desire.

I know I’m good with codes though not the best. I also didn’t want to frazzle out. That’s why I am also a freelance developer with only one main client. In case you are wondering, my day job also see me as a software developer. The difference is, being a freelance developer, I get to enjoy choosing the time when I work and how I work. I make use of this to hone my craft of talking to users and customers by myself. It’s all about building up the skills needed because I know I’m lacking that. And when I don’t work or don’t manage to get any work, I don’t get paid. That is on me.

I also enjoy writing more than my day job. It’s what I’m good at too. Not the best but good enough. That’s why I will go and learn how to write better by applying what I learnt from reading more and watching more. And I also promise myself I will write and publish something everyday. It could be a personal journal, an article like this one, a poem or a fiction. It’s also on me when I fail to do anything of the above.

But it doesn’t mean I shall punish myself too harshly. I got my own bad days too and I’m only human. I make mistakes.

So you see, self-awareness means you take ownership of things you did do and fail to do. You also take ownership of your life, know who you are, be proud of who you are. When you acknowledge all that, you will stop blaming other people and show compassion to yourself.

That’s why this skill is something you need to have. It ensures you become successful no matter what life throws at you.

Daily Log #5

I must have been completely worn out because I only woke up this morning at 9.15am instead of my usual 7 or 8. I don’t even remember if I ever did wake up in the middle of the night like I usually do.

After breakfast with my dad, I met up with my friend for a movie marathon starting from 12.30pm. For the movies, we went with Black Panther and Tomb Raider. I have to note that I was almost late. I lost track of time because I was watching some videos online and had to deal with my MacBook not being able to shut down properly. I took a quick shower and made my way to the bus stop. While walking there, the bus came and I had to run. I knew if I missed this bus, I will surely be super late because the next bus is like ten minutes away.

As I have watched Black Panther before, the second time watching the movie meant that instead of understanding the story, it was about engrossing myself into the design and in-movie universe. I wanted to use it to help me write better. There are some elements I thought I could use like their melee-based weaponry based on vibranium. They don’t really use guns. Then there’s the cultural aspect of Wankada.

After we are done with Black Panther, we stopped by a restaurant where I ordered a plate of Fish and Chips for lunch while my friend ordered just a bowl of truffle fries.

This new Tomb Raider movie is definitely better than the original ones starring Angelina Jolie because it focus more on Lara Croft’s development and the act of tomb raiding while solving puzzles that doesn’t rely on guns. The movie is a reimagination of the Tomb Raider 2013 game reboot but doesn’t have the supernatural element to it, which is fine for me.

After the movie, I joined my friend as he wanted to get some rechargeable batteries for his Xbox controller.

Once he’s done, we went our separate way home. I was feeling super tired by now and had to take a nap.

After dinner, I binge watched the remaining episodes of A.I.C.O. Incarnation. The show also gave me some inspiration about how I could write my stories better because of some of the plot devices. I really like the Artificial Organism idea of the show and how it could be used to save lives or ruin lives. I think it could be further expanded to serve other purpose.

And that marks the end of my daily log.