Journal #292

There is this quote that I thought of while on traveling home on the bus. It was inspired by what I was reading at that time, The 4-Hour workweek.

“Don’t wait to accumulate millions to live like a millionaire. Live like a millionaire with now. All you need to do is to seize the chance now and design your life.” – Brandon

The rawer version of that quote is as follows:

“Don’t need millions to live like a millionaire. Feel like a millionaire with only thousands in your bank.” – Brandon

What happened

I woke up at around 8.40am with a pretty rough night sleep in a way as I found myself waking up several times. I got to see the sun rise up at discrete point in time.

After having breakfast at home, I went and watch some music videos on YouTube and iTunes because there is like only an hour before I need to go out. While watching those, I began writing out the first paragraph of next scene of my book.

At around 12.15pm, I went for a quick shower and brushed my teeth, got dressed, and headed out to the bus stop at around 12.30. It didn’t take too long for the bus to arrive.

I met up with my friend for a movie marathon at the nearby mall. My friend did an online booking of the tickets for the movies we were going to watch early in the morning. First, we watched The Commuter at around 1.15pm. The movie started out slow, progressively got faster in terms of action, lasting 105 minutes. Despite Liam Neeson’s age, I’m still amazed by his fight moves.

After The Commuter, we went for a quick tea break at Popeye where I ordered a 3-piece chicken tender, Cajun cheese fries, and a small cup of green tea. This got to be one of my most unhealthy meal for the day, probably even the whole week.

Once we were done with tea break, we made our way to Guardian where I got two boxes of Difflam anti-inflammation lozenges.

My body has always been particularly sensitive to fried, grilled, and/or extremely oily food. Upon exposure, my throat will start hurting immediately and after that my body will start to feel like it’s on fire. The lozenges helped to minimize the throat discomfort.

We made our way back to the cinema to watch 12 Strong at 3.50pm. The movie ended at around 6.07pm. We didn’t loiter for long and went home straight.

During the times when I journeyed to the mall and back home on the bus, I got down to read The 4-hour workweek. The big difference between this non-fiction book and other non-fiction books that I have read is writing style. The books that I read were written in a story telling form with almost zero use of listings, FAQs, and testimonials. Sometimes, the transition is so abrupt that I had to re-orientate myself. Despite all that, I like what the book is telling me.

How I feel

Throughout the whole day, I didn’t feel particularly talkative and found the constant background noises like talking annoying. For example, my parents were holding normal conversation but their voices are pretty high in volume. I found it quite irritating. Just like how I found vacuum cleaners annoying. So I stuffed my ears with my AirPods and blasted music.

What am I watching now

I have been spending hell lots of time watching videos and shows instead of creating stuff. It’s my fault really. I didn’t have the discipline, constantly being distracted.

Here are some videos that I have watched:

A science fiction short film called Seam.

A series of live performance involving Alan Walker and Tove Styrke for the songs Faded and Alone.

What am I thinking of now

The following was something that I wrote on my Facebook account and then decided against posting there. Instead I will post it here.

It’s that simple. I’m not a musician because I didn’t commit myself to it. I’m not an artist because I didn’t commit myself to it. I gave up half way through my art course.

I could easily score As in Home Economics or Design and Technology during my secondary school studies because I have a knack for those things.

I could paint the walls or plaster up holes without much difficulty. I can fix plumbing issues too. In all the above cases, I will most probably achieve mastery if I train.

It’s all about patience and commitment.

Right now, my focus is on training myself to be a better writer and look at everything from a design perspective. I’m also attempting to “disrupt” my current project team’s working style through introduction of design-driven development. I most probably will fail but it’s worth a try.


Journal #291

I will start off this journal with the following quote:

“Life is nothing but a series of choices.”

What happened

I woke up this morning and joined my parents for dinner outside. After we came back, I got down to playing The Evil Within 2 for most of the day.

By the time I felt hungry, it was almost 4 pm. I wanted to cook myself some instant noodle when my mom said she will go get lunch instead. I went back to my game until my mom came home with lunch for me and my sister.

I ate that and stopped playing my game. Instead, I went about to watch some short films on YouTube until about 5.50pm when I decided to go for a run.

After my run and had a shower, I went out with my family to have dinner at the Founder Bak Kut Teh. Because we went there pretty late, at around 9pm, most of the stuff have already been sold out.

We started eating after the food arrived and it turned out that most of the dishes aren’t particularly great. I suspected it could be because it was part of a franchise, the quality isn’t there.

After that, we went for a quick shopping at a nearby store that sell traditional Chinese medicine. I went to buy some medicine for clearing what Traditional Chinese Medicine call toxins and heat. The closest thing in western medicine is internal hidden inflammation.

We went home after that. Once home, I got down to watch a show on Netflix.

What am I watching now

I saw The Open House trailer on Netflix a few days ago and decided to watch it today. Thus far, it’s looking to be pretty good and scary.

How I feel

I’m feeling both lazy and content for most of the day.

Journal #290

Third week of the 2018 is almost gone. It’s also the end of my first workweek for the year.

What happened

I spent half of my day at work talking out my feelings with one of my colleague. It definitely helped to reduce or minimize the turmoil I was feeling.

I also spent sometime working on implementing some of the backend functions to support two use cases.

After I was done with that, I turned my attention to testing some other functions my colleague worked on because it involved the identity access module. When I did that, I found multiple potential bugs with the domain. So I went ahead and added checks and some logic to ensure correctness of code.

Later in the day, my colleague and I further discussed on how to improve a piece of function that could have future performance issue. So we decided to go with the use of batching insertion and update.

I left the office with my colleague to further trash out our understanding of some of the access control. It turned out that my colleague have not been clear about the actual use cases.

Once home, I went about catching up on some television shows.

How I feel

I felt pretty upset and irritated in the morning, left over from yesterday. Slowly, as the day went by and talking things out, I felt better.

Now I’m pretty much better to normal.

How to grow

Throughout the day, it became clear that I have to find a middle ground when dealing with people who are more practical and people, who are like me, more about achieving ideal solutions and implementations.

Journal #289

It is impossible to change the people or culture around you. The only thing you can do is to change yourself or remove yourself from the situation.

What happened

I went to work as usual today and spent most of my time discussing with my colleagues on the approach to build the next module.

After much discussion, it turns out that module’s main purpose is to be a gateway, serving as a middleman between the client application and a backend engine that will be provided by our sub-contractor.

So with that, I felt that there is really no point in doing micro-services or trying to structure the codes according to the definition of bounded-context.

Later in the day, my colleague and I had a discussion about the current application. We realized that there were a series of mis-implementation with some of the functions. There are also some use-case implementation difficulty, which stemmed from the use of micro-service architecture.

So we discussed further on solutions and implemented those solutions.

After that, I actually commented this is the end result of us doing coding first without discussing and identifying the use cases, alternative flows and potential issues.

Code first instead of design-first always lead to quality issue. 
Because seriously, unless I’m completely wrong, majority of people 
don’t have the discipline.

This is something that I'm acutely aware of. In part, I want quality output. Thus, I have this strong desire that we should all follow 
with discipline in the application of some kind of proven 
methodologies or processes, be it waterfall or agile or whatever. 
Those methodologies or processes are there because people have 
already experienced issues and came up with those as solutions.

Then in the name of rushing deliverables and keeping everything 
within budget, we take shortcuts. After that, we didn't even bother 
to go back and try to fix the issues. The company is also 
contradicting themselves because the it put us through a series of 
courses, preaching the importance of process. Yet the people don't 
bother to enforce or practice. Well, they practice it only when it 
affects their audit scorecard or bottomline. 

That alone is actually very disgusting. Personally.

At the same time, I kind of decided that maybe micro-service is completely wrong in this project. My colleagues did protest against the use of micro-service because it split things up unnecessary and introduced unneeded complexity. I guess they are right.

So with that, I suggested that tomorrow I will talk to the team leader to merge everything back into a monolithic application. That way, everyone can just rely on tighter database integration to achieve whatever function they want. I mean that’s what my colleagues want also because it’s the fastest for them.

In part, I'm very tempted by my feelings that maybe don't even bother with structuring the codes for the new module we will need to work 
on next anymore.


Personally, I strongly believe in either doing it right or don't do 
it at all. And in order to do it right, you need to experiment the 
crap out of something and that need time and resource. Something that companies don't have abundant of.

The management and the customer don't give a ratass about how ugly 
the codebase is because it doesn't pay the bills. They only care 
about the delivery of functions on time because that is the only 
metric that matter. 

So I'm asking myself why even put myself in this painful position of fighting against the status quo of how things are done there, which 
is just throw in whatever works and ship.

Halfway through my work day, at around 3pm, the sole of one of my Nike AirMax decided to separate from the shoe’s body.

So I tried to look for some kind of superglue but nobody have it. I decided to use a stapler to staple the sole against the body to hold it for a while.

After work, I went to the Nike Factory Store near my workplace and spent quite a while looking for a pair of shoes that I like. I finally found one, asked one of the staff to get a size UK 9. Tried that and felt it was a little too tight. So I got UK 9.5 instead.

After getting my shoes, I went home, dispose of my current one and shoved the new shoes into the shoes cabinet. Had a shower and dinner.

How I feel

There’s just so much turmoil going on within me that I am having trouble focusing and making decisions, even those based on feelings.

For example, all of my purchase decisions are based on how I feel about a certain product. Today, that decision pathway is so badly blocked that I have a hard time processing. Thus, I spent longer than usual buying a pair of shoes. Making the situation worse is decision making based on rationality isn’t my strength. Therefore, now I am not even sure if I made any right decision. So… I don’t even know if I got the right pair of shoes.

How I can grow

I will need to develop my rational decision making process to be stronger and not rely on my feelings so much. Because, today is a great example of what happens when the feeling-decision making process is in trouble. I can barely get anything done.

Journal #288

I will start off this journal with the following statement that I want to reinforce in my mind.

“Design can only be done properly if you know the problem, the existing limitations, and has pre-existing knowledge of how things were done before.”

What happened

Instead of going to customer’s office today, I went back office so that I can work on my backlog.

So the first thing I worked on was creating an API for my colleague to use for one of her use cases. It took me at least an hour to finish implementing, testing locally, and deploying to the development server for my colleague to integrate.

After lunch, my colleague and I had a deep discussion on the domain approach to design the next module. After the discussion, it became obvious that we didn’t have enough business knowledge to identify the bounded contexts. That discussion took us nearly two and a half hours.

During the discussion, we also went to find out if we can supply a list of values to the LINQ so that we only retrieve a subset of data. It was related to authorization and access control. Before we tried that, we already believed that it will use IN clause but we just have to see it for ourselves. We were proven right and so we had to move on to other solution.

The other solution, which we ended up discussing on length, was the use of RabbitMQ or we implement a mini-version of that. Somehow, we ended up relying on database integration because it’s the easiest and fastest solution to do without lots of boiler code or overhead.

The next thing I also worked on was to refactor the configuration retrieval code. That took me a short while and by about 5.30pm, I was already done and checked in the codes. I also had to clean up the application configuration file which had gotten pretty messy.

Once I’m home and after dinner, I actually went and watch Godzilla: Planet of the Monster on Netflix. It was the first part of a three-part trilogy and it is also the first animated film of the Godzilla franchise. Overall, I enjoyed the film and can’t wait for the second part.

How I feel

Throughout the work day, I had a whole bunch of feelings depending on what I was doing.

I did feel a slight discomfort during the discussion with my colleague because we have different stance to how to approach work or certain things. I rarely prioritize time or resource. I don’t take the balance approach. Instead, I always focus on achieving perfection. Now, I do know that to achieve perfection, one has to keep working on that something with focus and intensity until there is nothing to be done.

But I also recognize that feeling discomfort is an important thing. It means that you are growing in other ways. In this case, it means I have to learn to shift things closer to the middle.

The other times of the day, I feel irritated because one of my colleague always like to remove all the empty lines in the source code, cramping all the functions together. So I keep going around adding back those empty lines. How the hell can anyone read with functions all cramp together? I don’t know. It just irritates the hell out of me.

For this, call me obsessive-compulsive if you want I don’t really care. I just hate textual stuff cramped together.

What am I watching

I grew up listening to Aaron Carter’s music. And recently, he just released his new EP called Love after going on some kind of music hiatus for five years.

This following music video is for one of the songs from that EP. At least the music he makes is familiar.

Journal #287

I will start off my journal with the following quote about design. The quote speaks to me and reflects very well about how I feel about working on something, no matter how small or trivial it is:

“I want to make beautiful things, even if nobody cares, as opposed to ugly things. That’s my intent.” – Saul Bass

What happened

While having my breakfast, I went about reading several articles on Medium.

The first article talks about when writing code is a waste of time. That is extremely useful for me because I’m someone who likes to rewrite codes just because I don’t like what I created previously or I hate what someone created. So that article helps me better evaluate when is the best time to rewrite and when not to. But I’m still a highly emotive person so my feelings may just overwrite everything when it comes to the actual situation.

The second article talks about The Myth of the “Jack-of-All-Trades, Master of None”. Because of my recent shift to doing more creative stuff instead of pure engineering, that article is particularly insightful and helpful for me. It served to reinforce that I am on the right track and my innate interest in so many fields, even if it’s theory, is very useful and can aid in me doing design.

After breakfast, I had a shower and brushed my teeth. I switched up what I wear. Originally, I kept wearing the same set of olive green flannel shirt and black chino pants to work. Today, I went full black by wearing a black checkered flannel shirt instead.

In case you are wondering, I’m still living a minimalistic lifestyle because of two things: Focus and Essentials

Instead of going to office, I went to the customer’s office to do some deployment. Yesterday, I mentioned that I didn’t prepare the ClickOnce package properly. Today, it turns out I could just install the application as per usual and then change the configuration file locally. The application works as intended.

Throughout the day, it was all about troubleshooting issues found and getting the whole system functioning again.

However, I found most of my time spent just waiting around for either my colleague to finish their part or for the sub-contractor to finish fixing some stuff. In the meantime, I got a pretty big backlog of development work that I need to do. This “going to site” is just not an effective use of my time. And from what I know, we are simply rushing to meet some arbitrarily deadline set by management with insufficient manpower.

We also went to lunch separately so that our chairs and table don’t get taken away by other contractors from other companies who are working on other projects for the customer. After all, we are always in the datacenter and there are limited furnitures for us to use. It is also more effective in a way because we don’t need to wait for the customer to have someone around to help us unlock the physical server racks after we lock them up when we step away.

Work ended early at 5.30 and by then, I’m confident that the things that I need to do are done. Tomorrow I’m so staying in office to do my development. Someone else can go over instead.

Another thing that happened was my colleague commenting on another colleague about her approach to work. All I did was just nod and listen with the occasional smile. For me, I will let the end result of whatever work done to be the best example. My team lead shall be the best judge and let him decide. I will just focus on doing what I enjoy doing.

What am I watching

I went and watched Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars on iTunes after coming across it when I was looking for something to watch. It costed me $20 to buy on iTunes and there was no rent option. It wasn’t on Netflix either. Despite all that, I enjoyed watching the show.

How I feel

I had mixed feelings today.

I felt bored because of troubleshooting. I always preferred creation and then perfecting whatever creation that I have done.

I felt irritated by the fact that I am wasting time when I could be writing more codes and doing design.

Yet, I’m also tired from the long day at work. I’m happy too because I finally got around to write bits and pieces of my novel. Finally, there’s some achievement there.

State of my novel writing

As I have recently started working on my novel with whatever time I can find, I think I should mention a little about it.

I’m just not someone who plans his work out in advance. I write based on how I feel like doing at that time or whatever inspiration that struck. Thus far, even though the novel is a science fiction novel, I didn’t focus on creating the world and the technology. Instead, I focus on relationship; specifically, the relationship of two main characters and how it evolved. I didn’t have an exact chronological order. I just write in a way that’s most intuitive to me.

Journal #286

Today marks my first work day of 2018 after having spent two weeks undergoing reservist training in a military base.

What happened

I woke up at 6.50am instead of 6.30am of the last two weeks. I had to wake up earlier previously because of the need to catch a time-limited bus ride. What I mean by that is the bus runs on a fixed timing and only at certain times of the day.

I was a little slow in general today. So by the time I got out of the house, it was already 8.10. There was another reason for that. I was looking for the lightning to 3.5mm audio jack adapter but couldn’t find it. I only found it after I got to office and it was in my bag all along. It was in one of the compartments where I put my books.

At work, the first half of my morning didn’t see me doing much at all except to catch up on the emails, submission of timesheet, and reading up on the API documents. Then it was two and a half hour of meeting to clarify on the API endpoints with the sub-contractor.

As I didn’t have additional food with me during the meeting, I start to have gastric pain at around 12.00pm and had to bear with the pain until the meeting was over at 12.30pm.

After lunch, my colleagues and I went back to office. We got down looking through the JIRA issues and closing those that are already done. Then we went for another meeting on the tasks and todo list.

During the meeting, I inadvertently put myself into a situation where I will be a full-stack developer covering one of the specific use case. That happened because of my desire to control the design and implementation. Yeah, I’m a control freak. The meeting concluded at 5.30pm and we went back to our desks.

Once back at our desk, I went ahead to prepare the executables for deployment tomorrow in the customer’s environment.

On the way home however, I suddenly realized that I didn’t prepare the configuration file properly for the ClickOnce version of the application. Therefore, it will not work tomorrow unless I figure out a way to resign the application files. But luckily, I had prepared a version of the application that doesn’t need to be deploy and installed via ClickOnce. Just copy and paste the whole folder into the target machine and it will work.

Once home, I had fried chicken wings and rice for dinner and I spent the rest of the night watching shows.

Lifestyle changes

Ever since the beginning of this year, I switched back to an omnivorous diet.

How I feel

I feel great today for having to achieve something useful.

What am I watching now

I went to watch two more episodes of Saga of Tanya the Evil on Netflix and then continued to watch Terminator Genisys. I re-watched Terminator Genisys last night and stopped towards the end as I need to turn in for the night.

What I plan next

Re-reading this article by Aytekin Tank got me to decide to stop procrastinating and actually creating time just so that I can write my novel or any other short stories that I think of.

So that’s what I will do until I turn in for the night. I will continue from where I left off yesterday.

Journal #285

Today is just a chilling Sunday so I spent most of my day just doing relaxing stuff. And I’m here enjoying the cool weather brought on by a Northeast Monsoon surge for as long as it last.

What happened

Despite deciding to play The Evil Within 2 yesterday, I didn’t. My neck pain was causing me to suffer from nausea and dizziness. I took two muscle relaxant tablets and went to bed early.

Woke up this morning at around 8.30am feeling much better. Throughout my sleep, I found myself waking up from time to time and had whole bunch of weird dreams that I vaguely remember.

At around 9.20am, I went ahead and played The Evil Within 2. When I stopped the game, I was at Chapter 7 and the time was about 1.30pm.

I switched to playing Cities: Skylines because I felt the urge. I reloaded the previous save game and continued tweaking my city. I redid some of the roads and expanding my city further with more zoning and roads. I also removed some non-productive bus routes and tweaked some of the existing ones for more coverage. I also added a new metro station and moved most of the rail lines underground because I needed the space.

The following are two screenshots that I took of my city, which is getting pretty dense now.

However, my city’s treasury is still not doing very well because of insufficient tax especially during the day. So I will focus on that going forward.

At about 5pm, I decided to stop and go for a run. So I saved my game, backed up the files, and shutdown my machine.

I came back home after running for about 4.3 kilometers and walked another 1 kilometer.

After the run, had a shower and went ahead to watch two episodes Saga of Tanya the Evil on Netflix.

How I feel

I feel great because of the weather. I have always hated the heat and humidity.

I also feel a little lethargic…no…scratch that…more like procrastinating.

At the same time, I also feel a bit depressed because I have to go back to work tomorrow. But I guess I can’t complain more about that because I need the money for my further education.

What I plan next

I will probably spend the rest of the night watching some more shows on Netflix or iTunes. If I get bored enough, I may decide to do some more writing.

Journal #284

It is a cool Saturday and I can feel the chills. But I love it.

What happened

I spent nearly three quarter of my day outside today. First I went for a talk organised by the NTU on cryptocurrency, blockchain, and how they can be applied to financial services.

After the talk, I went to meet up with another friend for a quick tea break and catch up on stuff. Some of the things we talked about included stuff like the importance of entrepreneurship, taking risk, and how wanting to remain safe and stable is the biggest risk one can take.

At around 5, we made our way home. Since I didn’t bring any umbrella, I had to alight at Boon Lay station and take a bus from the bus interchange.

Once I reached home, I decided to take a quick nap. Then I joined my parents for dinner at a nearby hawker center.

What I plan next

I will spend some time tonight to play The Evil Within 2 again.

How I feel

I feel like crap because of headache induced by my neck pain. It also caused me to feel tired and sleepy. What I could do to alleviate the pain is by stretching the muscles of my shoulders and neck.

Journal #283

Reservist training is finally over and now I’m back to being a civilian. That means that I will be heading back to work next week and I don’t look forward to it. Instead I want to work on a pet project and write my book.

What happened

Today is the last day of my reservist training. I left my house at 7.40am and reached the base at 8.55am.

Since today was the last day, it was mostly just administrative stuff and nothing for us to do. So we just sit around and wait until it was time to leave.

At around 10am, we went for a quick tea break and then after that it was all about filling up documents and returning everything that was assigned to us.

At about 11.30am, we were released and made our way home. It was drizzling all the way so we had our umbrellas out. And I don’t recall having my arms aching so badly holding my umbrella. It was indeed a long walk from the base to the nearest bus stop.

I reached the mall near my house and had my lunch. After lunch, I went home, put down my stuff and went about spending the next few hours playing The Evil Within 2.

At around 7pm, I stopped playing the game and I am at chapter 8. Here are some screenshots from my session today.

How I feel

I feel good today. It was a chilling day which allow me to focus on playing video game.