Daily Log #14

A whole bunch of emotions defined my morning.

I woke up feeling groggy. Ate my breakfast with an air of unhappiness. Edited my Daily Log with irritation. Went to work feeling sad. I did keep my promise of taking the stairs when I go down my apartment building but that didn’t really change the overall mood.

Once at work, I didn’t exactly sit down and got down to work. The especially humid weather today was making me sweat profusely. So I waited until I cooled down enough with the help of the air-conditioner above me while listening to music, alternating between my iPad and iPhone because of the poor wifi connection in office. I scoffed whenever the music stop playing before switching the device. During that cooling down process, I spent time reading an article on medium and took a look at my half-written novel. I saw and edited some grammar mistakes and extra words that shouldn’t be there.

When I did get to work, I was pounding the keyboard pretty hard because I was kind of frustrated and bored. Now my fingertips are kind of hurting. Well, I do know why. I felt like I have reached the pinnacle when it comes to my programming skills and wanted to do something else but I didn’t want to go there because I know I will need to spend more time on the new thing. That would mean taking time away from my writing which was something I refuse to accept. And yes, it’s a conundrum I am putting myself in. So it’s up to me to break it.

For lunch, I went with the intern because I didn’t want to eat in this hot weather and my shirt isn’t exactly very thin. Both of us end up eating western food at the food court because we wanted the protein. For me, I wanted to eat cheese fries. That lunch turned out to be a good call because I didn’t feel hungry until it was dinner time. I suspect another reason was I didn’t put too much caffeine into my body.

After lunch, I spent most of the early afternoon implementing a popup viewer for images. It was because of the feedbacks my team lead gave during the quick demo in the morning. So far, he liked what he’s seeing. By mid afternoon, I was already done with the primary task and the rest was spent on fixing some other minor stuffs. I decided to call it a day at about 4.30pm and started lazing around. I will continue to finish up the other task tomorrow and prepare some data for a potential deployment this Friday.

When I got to my apartment block, I took the stairs up as promised. After climbing eight flights of stairs, I was panting and sweating like crazy. But I like how I feel after. I was lucky not to encounter any residual secondhand smoke in the stairwell. I guess it’s because I came home early and whoever enjoy smoking there hasn’t come home. By the way, it is illegal to smoke in stairwells, void decks and any sheltered areas in Singapore. Just don’t let me catch that person because I will report it to the authorities with photo evidence.

Once home, I watched two more episodes of Dragons: Race to the Edge. I am seriously enjoying the show and intentionally force myself to watch it slowly. Toothless the dragon never ceases to make me smile and laugh with its behavior. It reminded me of cats. Just that I really hope there is a way for it to grow back its tail fin because I find it to be crippling for a dragon like that.

Talking about movie and shows, there’s another one that I feel like watching and that’s Ready Player One. Now I’m just waiting for it to release here.

One last thing, I logged back into Facebook in the evening to clear even more stuff. While I was doing that, I started to read what I have posted in the past and that made me feel like I was such an immature prick who is whining and complaining a lot. I am pretty judgmental also. So it’s kind of embarrassing to see what I post in the past. But I guess that’s part of growing up.

And if you are wondering why I have not delete my account outright. Well, one reason was I want to review through what I have posted in the past since 2010 to see if there’s anything I could reuse for my future writing. Another reason was some of my friends still uses Facebook messenger. So I go on there every few days to see if there are any new messages. Then once I’m done I will log out. As part of my cleaning up of my Facebook account, I have already unfollowed a lot of things and unlike most of the pages. Therefore, my news feed now is mostly empty. I have now switched to reading news from the official websites and if there are newspaper lying around, I will read those instead.

P.S. Not consuming coffee yesterday and climbing that stairs are definitely good calls . I felt more refreshed while editing this log despite not having a full seven hours. I guess I will see if I can wean myself off Starbucks.


Daily Log #13

The first thing I did upon waking up was get ready and went for a quick jog around my neighborhood. During the preparation, I did hit some snag with my Apple Watch. The AirPods refused to pair with it. So I had to relaunch the music app and turn the bluetooth on and off before they worked. So Apple’s idea of “work seamlessly” is not 100% guaranteed. I do have my fair share of irritation with my Apple devices over the years.

I didn’t go far this time. I only finished about 3KM and climbed eight flights of stairs. My timing for my run hasn’t improve at all and the reason was simple. I only run once a week. Whereas in the past, I would twice a week and climb stairs a lot. But these days, I have become more and more lazy.

Therefore, to raise my physical fitness, I will restart climbing the stairs from tomorrow onwards.

After the run and a quick shower, I read the book, NYXIA, until I reached the third page of the second chapter. By then I was feeling hungry and it was time for breakfast anyway.

Once I’m done with breakfast, I actually spent a lot of time watching Netflix, alternating between Dragons: Race to the Edge and Jessica Jones until it was time for lunch. After lunch, my shoulders and neck were aching badly. So I had to do some basic workout to ease the muscle tension. When those didn’t help, I took a cup of coffee with two painkillers that have muscle relaxants. Then I went and take a nap.

After the nap, I procrastinate some more by watching more Netflix and Youtube before deciding to force myself to write. I was able to put in about 835 new words for my novel but it was the result of going through some struggle to get words out, watching some more YouTube video, drinking a pot of green tea, and having dinner.

One last thing, I have somewhat given up on video gaming for the last one month or so and stopped using Facebook to free up more time. Yet I still find myself not writing more. The biggest problem right now is me spending time watching Netflix and YouTube videos instead of honing my writing craft, especially on weekend. It’s particularly so if I find myself totally exhausted and lacking inspiration or motivation. I don’t know if I should also sign out of YouTube and cancel my Netflix subscription just to force myself to write some more. Somehow I doubt that will work because I will end up searching for something else to read or consume.

Or… maybe I should make playing video game part of the process of writing. I just don’t know if it’s my general lack of energy, lack of inspiration, or plain unhealthy.

My only concern now is wasting too much time on consuming instead of creating.

If anyone has any advice, I will be glad to hear it.

Daily Log #12

After breakfast with my parents and watching a couple of Dragons: Race to the Edge episodes, I jumped back into writing the novelette. But it was a rather difficult process easing back into writing that story. I was procrastinating half of the time. Ended up, I didn’t do jack shit.

I do hate myself for that. I only have myself to blame.

At about 1.15pm, I got overwhelmed with tiredness and end up taking a nap until about 2.45pm. Then I went out to have lunch. The only issue was when I got home, my mom actually bought my lunch. Since I was too full, I ate it as dinner in evening while sipping green tea and watch two episodes of Jessica Jones.

Recently, I came to discover that one shouldn’t brew green tea in a stainless steel container or cup because of the chelation between the tea antioxidants and metal ions, resulting in useless and possibly toxic compounds. So I switched to using ceramic or glassware. However, that’s for home. I have yet done the same for my work place since generally I go with Starbucks instead of brewing my own.

I also went about clearing away some old receipts after a friend asked me how much I’m selling my old iPhone 7 Plus. Initially, I needed to find the original receipt of my iPhone purchase so I could take a picture, and get ready to transfer the Apple Care to him. Clearing the old receipts was because it’s part of the searching process and I felt like I should stop keeping them. Minimalism, remember? Those receipts don’t serve me any purpose anymore and don’t bring me joy. They were also taking up space in my cabinet.

Now, going through all those old receipts made me realize just how much money I have spent on Starbucks. I personally have grown to enjoy the taste of Starbucks coffee. Anywhere else, their coffee taste just isn’t acceptable to me. But I suspect it has to do with the source of their coffee beans and what the company stand for. After all, I do care about a company’s mission statement and values. If they align with mine, I’m all for supporting them.

Later in the night, I managed to get myself into a writing mood and put in at least three new paragraphs for my novel. It isn’t much but better than nothing. It took me about thirty minutes to get into flow with music in my ears.

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.