Journal #147 – Impromptu Interview (Personal Values)

Today I will be interviewing a friend who I shall name B. This is an impromptu, un-themed interview. This is just me trying something new.

What we will be discussing today are his personal values.

Me: What do you think are your foundational values?

B: Being open minded. It is important in this complex and diverse world. If you are not open mind to new knowledge and people, you won’t be growing as a person.

Me: Then what about your core values?

B: Well, the first core value is Integrity. This is something that you should live by so that you are able to face your family, friends, and yourself. For example, you won’t want to take credit for your friend’s work if he works with you.

The second core value is being honest with self. This is about recognizing one’s strength and especially weaknesses. You can think of it as a form of self-discovery. That way you are able to work on what you are good at and figure out solutions to what you are bad at.

Me: Any more?

B: No idea. I’m quite exhausted.23

Here I conclude my journal for today.

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Journal #146 – Perpetually Happy, No Such Thing

There is no such thing as being perpetually happy.

Happy is an emotion state. It comes and go. Just like any other emotions.

Life will take it away from you.

Life will give it to you.

What you can do is try your best to achieve a certain level of internal mood stability and contentment.

How to do that? I don’t know about you or what’s your life like so I can’t give you any advice. As for me, I’m still figuring it out as I go about my life.

Now what I can tell you is what I have tried and what worked for me based on the many YouTube videos I have watched.

I know minimalism has put me one step closer to contentment. By intentionally focusing on what I need and removing things that I don’t need or use anymore, I was taking away mental clutter. It cleared my head.

Taking a step back and recognizing the fact that you are alive, surrounded by people who love you, and be grateful for that is also another thing that helped me to be happier than how I was two months ago or maybe even one year ago.

Learning to let go. It’s a work in progress. My neurotic mindset is always having me think of the worse that could happen to whatever event I will be going or to the thing that I do own. I let the feelings in, I acknowledged the feelings, and review what I can do about it. If I recognize that I can’t do anything about it, I let it go, and apply the 5 second rule. Then I switched focus on the next important thing in life.

Diet. Diet plays a bit part on your mood whether you acknowledge it or not. For me, my recent diet of salad and proteins for lunch with minimum carbohydrates has definitely helped improve my mood. I felt more alive and more courteous to strangers whom I interact with. And so I’m gonna keep doing that.

Here I conclude my journal for today.

10 Science News Roundup #2

How gut bacteria may affect anxiety – Tiny molecules in the brain may help gut bacteria hijack people’s emotions. Science News

Moderate consumption of fats, carbohydrates best for health, international study shows – Research with more than 135,000 people across five continents has shown that a diet which includes a moderate intake of fat and fruits and vegetables, and avoidance of high carbohydrates, is associated with lower risk of death. Science Daily

Electricity consumption in Europe will shift under climate change – Rising temperatures due to greenhouse gas emissions will fundamentally change electricity consumption patterns in Europe. Science Daily

Fire ants survive Houston flooding by creating terrifying rafts made of their bodies – Tropical Storm Harvey is no match for the determined ferocity of fire ants. Mashable

Human influence may prolong ocean cycle that gave birth to Harvey – Last weekend, Hurricane Harvey put an end to a lucky streak: It became the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since 2005. Science Mag

Endangered right whales are dying in record numbers off Canada, raising alarm – The highly endangered North Atlantic right whale is having its worst year in decades. Science Mag

Slow walking pace is good predictor of heart-related deaths – The data analysed was collected between 2006 and 2010 by the UK Biobank from nearly half a million middle-aged people across the UK. Science Daily

Mysterious Toxic Haze Swept Southern England, And No One Knows What It Was – This weekend saw a mysterious chemical cloud sweep the southern coast of England, causing over 150 people to be admitted to hospital with symptoms ranging from coughing, vomiting, irritated eyes and throat. IFLScience

Kenya Imposes World’s Toughest Laws Against Using Or Producing Single-Use Plastic Bags – Using an innocuous plastic bag in Kenya may well be something you come to regret. IFLScience

We Finally Know Why The Caspian Sea Is Evaporating Off The Face of The Planet – Like a puddle under hot sunshine, the world’s largest inland body of water is shrinking in the face of heat – in this case, a scorching climate the modern world has never before seen. Science Alert

Journal #145 – Taking Minimalism To Next Level

Earlier this year I started my journey on minimalism. Then it got more and more extreme where I am reviewing all the things that I have kept because of sentimentality and “just in case”. So I toss those sentimental and “just in case” stuff.

At the same time I decided to choose to go with a personal uniform so that I don’t need to spend so much time thinking what I want to wear for that day.

So I went to get three new olive-green colored flannels from Uniqlo.

For that three new flannels, I tossed out 12 items from my wardrobe, ranging from old shorts, t-shirts, polo shirt, and flannels.

IMG_9760

Now my wardrobe is full of unused clothes hangers but it’s ok. It just show how far I have come.

I still got more stuffs to get rid and I will spend the next month to do that.

Another thing that I will be doing is to uninstall social media apps from one of my iPhones.

I know you are probably wondering why I have two phones when I am on a minimalism journey. Well, one of them serves as a work phone and all notifications are turned off. I personally need physical objects to help me compartmentalize different aspect of my life and so the phone is one of that.

I have also decided that I don’t need the new MacBook Pro anymore or the new iPhone 8. Don’t get me wrong. I love Apple products but then I realize if something that I have now works just fine, especially electronics, there is no need to get new one. Besides, there is no 100% guarantee that the manufacturing of Apple product is 100% environmental friendly.

Here I conclude my journal for today.

Journal #144 – Oh Darn It

How can I be so forgetful?

How?

I had forgotten to pack my MacBook Pro adapter into my bag and left it at my client’s office. No wonder my bag felt lighter than usual…

Now it is 2037hrs Singapore time and I hope I got enough power to last me at least until 0000hrs. In between, I will be doing some writing and watching some TV show, specifically Game Of Thrones, and The Strain. I have a feeling that those two shows will consume at least half of the available power. This is my first, real life test of how to live without a power updater for your laptop. I have of course reduced the brightness of my Macbook all the way to a single bar.

Time now is 2233hrs and I just finished watching Game of Thrones. It’s the season finale and I got to say I’m impressed by that ending. Also had my dinner. Well, my MacBook now has about 60% battery left. Since it’s quite evident that watching video can drain quite a fair bit of battery, I’m gonna skip watching The Strain until tomorrow.

Now let me share a little bit of my day. It is one of the rare days where I actually had motivation to write a decent amount of code, especially after lunch. I was able to focus for almost 2hrs before I needed to use the loo. Turns out it was because of my lunch. I had salad from The Salad Corner for lunch. It was a mixture of mashed egg whites, olives, pickles (carrot and radish), chopped carrot, broccoli, salmon, and Thai grilled chicken with a generous drizzle of olive oil. I got to say it was one of the most satisfying meal ever. Definitely refreshing.

But then it’s not cheap. It cost me about SG$13.90. I am not sure why salads are more expensive than normal food that I can get from hawker centers or food court. If anyone can enlighten me on this, it would be greatly appreciated. But I also cannot deny the quality of the proteins.

It got me thinking if I should attempt to make a similar meal at home and bring it to work going forward. I mean it’s definitely healthier than me eating at hawker centers and cheaper than me eating at whatever restaurants that’s near my new workplace.

I do have a series of end goals and that money plays a big part. Don’t think I want to be spending huge amount on food going forward. The occasional splurge on restaurant food is fine so as not to cause me to suffer from massive cravings but in excess is bad. Like anything in life.

Last but not least, my friends and I have started planning ahead for a 14-days Europe trip that will take place in third quarter of 2018. The starting location is most likely Copenhagen and will be making our way south and finish the trip at either France or Italy? Maybe Switzerland? Nothing is concrete yet and we will see how it goes.

From my perspective, considering that we are Singaporeans and the government enjoys calling us back for military training, a lot of plans can sometimes end up screwed. Maybe my new job can also screw me over. Well, life enjoy punching people in the face and it’s how we respond that matters.

That’s all for tonight.

Here I conclude my journal for today.

Journal #143 – My thoughts, my plans, and what I did today

At first, I wasn’t sure how to start this journal. But like anything in life, you have to start somewhere. So that first sentence helped.

This morning, I decided to go ahead and play Prey on my PC. I played it for most of the late morning and early afternoon. At around 1530hrs, I felt extremely tired and so I decided to go get a nap.

Woke up at around 1830hrs and felt depressed for no apparent reason. Thinking hard on it, it simply just my anxiety kicking into high-gear.

I don’t want my current life style to end because of the amount of mobility I have.

I get to be myself.

Well, this past week alone, I have taken minimalism up a notch. I have been tossing out so much stuff until my wardrobe and cabinets are full of empty spaces. While tossing them out, I came to realize that these things have over time turned from being valuable to me at one point of my life to becoming junk.

As of now, I still have three laptops excluding my current MacBook Pro. One of them I believe is still useable and the other two are just plain obsolete. I will be stripping out the storage devices from the old laptops and tossing the rest out. Then I will destroy those storage devices in one shot.

I’m on this minimalism journey because I realize my life is full of stuff. With me battling neuroticism, anxiety, and general depressive mood left me without any more energy to take care of material stuff. I also don’t derive any more pleasure of these things. Not any more.

I also believe in geomancy or commonly known as Feng Shui. Having too much stuff in your environment is also described as bad. It causes a form of unconscious mental stress that prevent you from doing your best. So by getting rid of stuffs, means fewer pieces of containers or furniture that I need to in order to house stuffs. With fewer furnitures, my room will be less cluttered and so less stressful. Then I can focus on renovating my room later this year too.

Yesterday, I also had a phone call with an old friend of mine. It was mostly one sided conversation with me just ranting. So thank you my friend. But there was one notable topic that came up. It was about me not being empathic to other people’s feeling, etc.

I am not going to deny that I actually don’t feel empathic to another person. I primarily feel compassionate or sympathy but not empathy. There are two different thing, mind you. And in my case, compassion is typically applied to scenarios where people practically lost everything, suffering from terminal illness. I do feel sad in those scenario.

However, I don’t think it is productive at all to take on a standoffish tone with me when I said I want to try to learn how to empathize. I believe it’s a skill that can be learnt but if there is no teacher, I will have a bloody hard time figuring out. So my take is this. If you aren’t willing to guide me in this life lesson, then don’t. I will still learn my lessons along the way when I get “punched” in the face by life. Just that the latter is a harder lesson.

Anyway, lately I’m started trying to control my emotions and go with a more happier mood when I’m around my family members. I am well aware that everybody will die. And I don’t want to end up one day regretting that I didn’t treat my family members right. I know I didn’t do very well when it comes to treating my family members right in the past because I was stuck in my head trying to deal with my emotions and mood.

Side track a bit and let me put this out there. Writing this journal entry today felt especially hard. I’m very distracted for some reasons. It’s been three hours since I started the first sentence.

Anyway, it’s getting late now. I will just call it a night.

Here I conclude my journal for today.

Journal #142 – Snippets of Thoughts

All these snippets serves more as a reminder for me more than anything else.

Thought #1

When your default state of mind always see the world in an extremely realistic manner, and you lose faith in everyone and everything, depression sets in. That’s when escapism is your only way out. And if it’s not enough, you start making massive life changes that is extremely “not” you.

Thought #2

The more you try to exert control, the less control you have.

Thought #3

Smells. I can pick up some of the most disgusting smells, and they overwhelm me.

Thought #4

I’m battling my neuroticism and over-sensitivity everyday. I barely have any energy left to deal real life stress.

Thought #5

Talking and thinking about it don’t achieve anything. You have to do it.

Here I conclude my journal for today.

Journal #141 – Possible Brain Fog or Overstimulation

Earlier today, I wanted to write about how I lived with neuroticism and what are plans going forward. But half way through, I wasn’t able to continue on. My thoughts were simply not well-formed and the words couldn’t come out. So I decided to just write about this fact.

It turns out that today, my mind just wasn’t able to focus. It does feel like I got some kind of brain fog. I slipped into this state of mind where I knowingly was doing something repeatability for no particular reason. I could be reading the same article over and over again or googling about something over and over again. When it comes to actual work, I was just doing whatever to implement a particular feature without much enthusiasm.

Then at home, for some reason, I felt like everything is so irritable. I get somewhat angsty and I simply didn’t want to talk. And my parents, especially my dad, is like repeating the same thing over and over and over again. Just like a broken-down recorder. And you wonder where the neuroticism come from; it’s from him.

It totally destroyed whatever traces of thoughts that I have.

Now, thinking back, I wonder if it was because I have been forcing myself to get up early through alarm clock, and going to my client’s office to do work. And now I reached some kind of threshold? I mean this whole month of August was supposed to be my career break and not working my arse off.

Or maybe it’s because I am feeling some kind of unconscious stress regarding my upcoming full-time work. I admit, and as I mentioned before in my previous entry, I didn’t really want the job but am bounded by employment contract. My original plan was to use this last two weeks of August to look for a new job that I feel comfortable with.

Or maybe, my mood is just swinging back down to the depressed state for no apparent reason. I hope a good night sleep can cure it.

Here I conclude my journal for today.

10 Tech News Roundup #2

Here are 10 tech news that I found interesting this week.

‘iPhone 8’ Could Start at $999 for 64GB Capacity – Multiple rumors have suggested the upcoming “iPhone 8” could be the most expensive that Apple has ever released, with several analysts calling it a “premium” device costing upwards of $1,000. MacRumors

Facebook faces another moderation scandal over migrant torture videos – Facebook is faced with yet another content-related scandal, after The Times newspaper reported that people traffickers and slave traders are using its platform to broadcast videos of migrants being tortured to try to extort money from their families. Techcrunch

Intel kicks off eighth-gen Core with four cores and eight threads in 15W – Intel is kicking off its eighth generation of Core processors this morning. Techreport

Apple to build Iowa data centre, get US$207.8m in incentives – Apple Inc is building a US$1.375 billion data center project in Waukee near Des Moines, Apple and Iowa officials said on Thursday, with US$207.8 million in incentives approved by the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Channel Newsasia

AccuWeather deflects blame after selling users’ data, even if they opt out – AccuWeather doesn’t know how to issue a reassuring statement. The Verge

The Radeon RX Vega 64 Liquid, Vega 64 & Vega 56 Test: 32 Games Benchmarked – The initial performance of AMD’s new Radeon RX Vega 56 may have looked a little lackluster at launch if you were expecting it to exceed the strides made by Nvidia’s year-old GTX 10 series. Techspot

Apple to Debut Apple TV With 4K HDR Support at September Event – Apple will introduce a fifth-generation Apple TV with 4K video support at an event planned for September, reports Bloomberg. MacRumors

China Plans 2019 Exascale Machine To Grow Sea Power – The glory of having the world’s fastest supercomputer, as measured by the Linpack benchmark, has been China’s for four years running, first with the 33-petaflops Tianhe-2 and currently with the 93-petaflops TaihuLight. HPCWire

Google is offering a test for depression – Users in the United States who search for “depression” or “clinical depression” will now be offered a questionnaire to test their depression levels and help determine whether they should seek professional help, Google said in a blog post. CNN

Google Pixel 2 phone to launch on October 5 with Snapdragon 836, leaker claims – Google’s upcoming Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL phones might launch on Oct. 5. The date comes via often-accurate leaker Evan Blass, who also tweeted that the devices will run on Qualcomm’s yet-unannounced Snapdragon 836 chip. Mashable

Journal #140 – It’s one of those days

Yesterday I was feeling rather hype. I was optimistic. I was having more energy than usual. I was accepting of whatever that comes.

Went to bed.

Woke up.

Now I felt like today is the worse day ever.

I look at the calendar, I got upset. Upset that my “freelancing” days are almost over. I will start my full time job come Sept 4.

It is a job that when looked from a practical standpoint, is a necessity. I got bills to pay. Freedom funds to build. It is necessary for me to meet my value of helping the world through volunteer computing. Volunteering is pointless if I can’t even feed myself.

But it is also a job that goes against my personal value of being myself. It forces me back into a fixed working hour again of 8.30 to 6. It forces me to wear or dress up in a certain way because of corporate culture.

This is one of those situation of practicality and reality meeting personal values, and they don’t align. It creates a massive internal turmoil.

This is also one of those situation where you had made a decision based on emotions, unable to pull yourself back to look at the situation properly, and before you discovered your personal values.

This is painful. This is something that I can’t do anything about it unless I want to compensate my new employer one month worth of salary for not wanting the job anymore. And this action is also something I donn’t want to do. It violate one of my other values relating to integrity.

Lesson learnt. This is part of the life journey that I am on.

Next time.

Next time I have to try to stop myself from succumbing to emotional decision making, and stop listening to what everyone said.

Here I conclude my journal for today.