Journal #179 – Gaming Sunday 2 With Lessons to Learn

I actually thought about doing some work today but decided to play some games instead.

Cities: Skylines

The first game I decided to play was Cities: Skylines as I wanted to repair the tax deficits that my city is suffering from. But before playing, I went and get the Natural Disaster DLC for the game. I intentionally didn’t want to get it earlier on because I didn’t want to deal with the stress of seeing my city crash and burn caused by random disasters. I got it now because I want the full experience afforded by the game and to also develop certain kind of management skill or coping mechanism when facing extreme adversity.

With the Natural Disaster DLC, I think trees are very vulnerable to fire. So one of my building caught fire and it just spreads.

Oh dear, there goes my trees. I have painstakingly planted the trees almost everywhere in my city I felt was necessary. To see them all burnt… it upsets me. However, the DLC does include some new service buildings like the Fire Fighting Helicopter Depot. So the forest fires, if any, are put out by helicopters.

As I’m at what I think is late-game, my city had just finished maybe its sixth massive immigration. The baby boomers then started dying en-mass across my city.

By right, my city’s health-related services should be able to handle this mass dying but because I made a mistake of keeping the budget for the health service at 50% for the night cycle. That caused massive downstream problems. The dead bodies started pilling up and people start leaving the city en-mass too. At its worse point, my city was bleeding nearly 8000 citizen per week. Oh my goodness!

So as you can see from this statistic chart. The population change is so drastic. I went from around 290k population to 260k by the time my city started recovering. By now, I had already set the budget for health services back to 100%.

The damage is already done and I have to deal with massive amount of abandoned buildings. My industry zone suffered the worse. There just isn’t enough workers.

Look at my forestry zone.

Look at my farming zone.

When my city recovered, the population went up to 300k. Way more than before the mass exodus of people.

Of course, I’m still bleeding money. I had way too many services running concurrently. I went from 16 million in treasury to 13 million. I was bleeding 20k to 40k per week in game.

I will let this statistic chart do the talking.

As you can see, my city’s budget was several thousand more than my taxation. And notice the sharp spike in taxation? I raised the taxation for majority of the zones from 11% to 12%. But I honestly don’t know if it’s enough. The amount of micro-management is just strenuous for me but I think it helps in training me to prioritize one thing at any point in time.

This game also taught me the importance of having some kind of safety net. I have enough in my treasury to deal with the kind of losses I was dealing with. Of course, it pains me a lot (I actually felt very sad) to see all the hard earn money gone down the drain due to my own mismanagement of my own city. Same thing applies in life. You need to build up a series of safety nets that will allow you to live a relatively stress-free life.

Everspace

I got another game alongside the DLC for Cities: Skylines. Everspace caught my eye on Steam and I thought it looked like an interesting space game. I love the graphics. It’s just so beautiful.

Once I’m in game, playing for a couple of hours, I came to appreciate the game’s environment and gameplay.

The game is a roguelike, a sub-genre of games that relies on procedurally generated game world with permanent death. Every time you die in the game, you restart from the beginning. All your game progress are lost except for the upgrades you made to the aircraft. That is the only persistent thing.

In the past, I will not pick up such games because its arduous and boring. But now I think it maybe a good time to try something new, make myself uncomfortable. Playing such a game can, I hope, train me to be more careful and more intentional with what I wanted to do. One wrong move, you die and you have to start all over again. But then in real-life, you don’t always get to restart but failures and mistakes are everywhere. Lastly, I hope I can use this chance to learn how to cope with repeated failures and picking myself up again and again. Learning to live and deal with drudgery I think I can see it as a form of training my patience because I know I lack it. I always wanted results right away.

So now, who say video games are useless? If you are intentional with what you want to achieve, it can serve as a very good tool.

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Journal #157 – Gaming Sunday

I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t feel as depressed as I was yesterday when I woke up at around 1030hrs.

Upon waking up, I actually went searching for jobs with my phone while still in my bed. I manage to find one that I thought was interesting. It was a full-time writing position with a media company in Singapore. I actually shared the job description with some of my friends.

I am excited and wanted to apply. I also shared my discovery with my mom and subsequently, the whole family. I told them that I wanted to try something new and I got sick of working with computers already ( as in software development).

I went for a shower after dinner and I am suddenly reminded that I don’t have a decent resume. My resume was mostly geared towards looking for software development job and I don’t have any writing experience in a “professional” setting. I admit that my low self-esteem kept rearing its ugly head, sabotaging me, forcing me to rethink.

Applying the five-second rule. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

I will prepare a new resume geared towards career change.

As per my journal title, let me talk about video game; specifically, Cities: Skyline. I love this game a lot. Well, the base game with the various DLCs. I personally don’t do mods. In case you are wondering why, it has something to do with my personal value of authenticity. I apply it to video games too.

I actually spent almost the whole day playing this game. I was focused on trying to stabilize my city’s tax income. It had been fluctuating rather badly even though I fixed the “traffic” issues, and the industrial zones and commercial zones are getting raw material and goods respectively.

After some tweaking and redoing the roads, my city’s treasury managed to accumulate 15 million dollars as at 2000hrs and the population stood at around 290k, if I remember correctly. I hope to go beyond 300k with the base game.

I also decided to start designing my city better. Area by area, I started adding greenery. I was spam clicking my mouse as I randomly placed trees and bushes in empty areas of my city. My right index finger kind of is aching now.

The following screenshot was taken at 1819hrs today. See the whole bunch of trees between the buildings.

Compare it with a very old screenshot of the same area I took exactly two months ago (Yeah, it has been that long since I last played the game). Oops, the exact two months was unintentional.

Notice the drastic changes? Yeah, my city has been evolving.

And here is an overview of my city today, screenshot taken at around 1800hrs.

Compare it with the screenshot I took slightly more than a month ago.

Notice the insane road implementations everywhere? Haha. It was part of my idea of optimizing traffic by forcing one directional traffic with the highway road-type. You will also see additional mixed residential-commercial-office areas. And now I got a cargo rail network that span across my city, delivering raw material and processed goods to the various commercial and industrial zones.

One thing to note. My system (Core i7 6700, 16GB DDR4 Ram, GTX 1080) is lagging from time to time having to render my current city. I did check the ram usage. The game itself used about 4GB. I was actually expecting the game to use more. Maybe I will try and add more in-game objects to see what happens.

Oh, there is a new upcoming DLC/expansion pack call Green Cities for the game. I can’t wait for it to come out. I have seen the gameplay demo on YouTube, and I’m excited by the new assets and gameplay changes.

Check the video out below.

Here I conclude my journal for today.

Journal #156 – Tired Saturday

It’s one of those weekends that saw me waking up feeling extremely tired despite having what I believe to be a decent night sleep.

I went about with my morning routine and I found myself not wanting to do anything at all. Knowing that’s not how my day should go, I decided to power on my desktop and play some games. The game I chose to play was Sniper Elite 4.

I managed to finish the remaining two missions of the single player campaign by about noon. Or was it much later? I couldn’t remember.

But I do remember feeling extremely exhausted and depressed at around 1400hrs. I suspect it had to do with the fact that I’m extremely hungry. So I went to eat a banana and then decided to play Watch Dogs 2. Half way through, the game crashed because of the display driver. Ever since I got the game, the game always caused the display driver to crash. I had since given up on trying to fix it. It’s not my problem. And since this game is considered quite old, I don’t really care about it anymore.

The exhaustion reached a point where I decided to take a nap, or at least tried to. But couldn’t fall asleep. Then my mom went to get me lunch at around 1530hrs. I ate that and tried to go back to sleep again. Still can’t sleep but I did felt better.

At around 1700hrs, I decided to go for a run but it was a painful one. My knees were hurting and then I had to deal with the toxic fumes from the cars and the irresponsible, selfish smokers along my run path. I kept coughing and felt sick. Cut it short at 6km and went home. Had a shower, watched some YouTube video on my iPad Pro and went out for dinner with my family at Jurong Point.

Walked around for a bit and they got some stuff. Half way through, I got so bored and tired. I went and listen to The Minimalists podcast.

We made our way home at around 2200hrs and here I am. I’m just waiting for my friend to call me or when he’s free to pick up. Whichever comes first.

Journal #129 – Supposed to be a chilling Sunday

There isn’t much for me to update for today.

I spent most of my morning and early afternoon playing Assasin Creed and Watch Dogs 2. I was having a tension headache for most of the day caused by my extensive time in front of a screen.

Then I went for a run with my new running shoes. I wanted to run for 10km. So the moment I start, the running experience felt different from when I was wearing my Adidas shoes, which was meant to be light, airy, and for runners with normal feet. Although the shoes were heavy, it felt comfortable wearing it. Running in them felt like my feet were properly supported and my joints didn’t felt very painful. I was able to run faster in them.

Until…
At around 5.30km mark, my left feet hurt extremely bad at where the arch of my feet is. It felt like the tendons in my feet are being pulled apart. So I stopped running and walked instead. A brief googling revealed that it could be Plantar fasciitis. While walking, or when waiting at the traffic light, I shifted my feet around in my shoe until I hit the right angle where it stopped hurting when I walked. I cut the run short and since it was raining anyway, I decided to go home at 6.15km mark.

So at home, when I took out my shoes, I realized that my left shoe was more loose than my right. I suspect it could be because I didn’t tighten my shoe properly that lead to over-pronation during the run.

Anyway, until dinner, it was just me watching YouTube video and then I decided to rent a movie called Train to Busan on iTunes. I only watched the first quarter of the show before it’s dinner time.

The dinner was home-cooked pasta with tomato sauce, prawns, and hotdogs but the mood of the dinner was kind of ruined half way. It also ruined my mood to watch the movie.

Now, I don’t write this kind of thing here but then it’s the kind of situation that I have to deal with every other day at home. Have been dealing with that since I was little but then it doesn’t mean it isn’t stressful.

Come to think of it, the situation I faced every other day at home also serve as a great example of why personal development, especially on the EQ side, and self-awareness is so important. It doesn’t matter if the situation is with family, professional, or friends but if you lack those two, you pretty much ruined any relationship that you have. And these two topics are why I restarted my blog in the first place. I wanted to document my daily journey, what I have encountered, and my thoughts.

I’m not saying I don’t have any flaws since I’m a work in progress. I’m not an empath but I have more self-awareness now, which opened up new opportunities. I also know when I got a problem and it is affecting my relationship with my friends or co-workers.

So the situation at home revolves around my dad. I dare say he lacks the EQ. If he had, he won’t be so sensitive and snapped at family members at the slightest of comments about lifestyle or him. Then he will get somewhat physical, doesn’t matter if it’s against persons or objects. I don’t know if he is aware that his behavior pretty much ruin the atmosphere and mood at home, and raise cortisol levels across. Now even if he is aware, it does look like he doesn’t even to try to improve. From time to time, it feels like he’s treating the family as a punching bag. That’s also why my relationship with him is cool, not neutral, or warm.

Yes, this is me doing an audit of one of my family members. It’s part of how you can improve your life. If I take a step further, it means to excise the toxicity, which is hard to do when it comes to family.

Of course people can say that as family, we should work to improve each other. But then this is a traditional Chinese family, where the father is the head of the family and doesn’t like being challenged by underlings. If you challenge him, you get snapped at and suffer verbal abuse. I already had enough of that so in this case I think only his peers of roughly the same age can help. It’s just like how my friends helped me or mentored me.

Now I’m just making assumptions here, but I would think that it’s much easier for me to work with someone with Asperger’s or high-functioning autistism.

Anyway, that’s all for now.

Here I conclude my journal for today.

Daily Journal – Aug 8, 2017

This is my 124th journal.

I woke up earlier today without alarm clock at around 0900hrs. Watched some YouTube video from my favorite youtubers , had a quick morning shower, and then joined my mom to go eat chicken porridge at Jurong West hawker centre.

While eating, I was sweating like mad because I have been eating in air-conditioned environment often. My mom was saying that I have pampered myself too much already. Yeah, I agree. That’s what happen when you feel like a millionaire (not an actual millionaire).

After eating, I had a craving for fried carrot cake and so my mom went to get it. It took more than 15 minutes before it was ready. During that time, the sky started pouring down and my mom forgot to bring in the laundry before we went out. So that’s that.

When my mom finally came back, it was in a packed form. Apparently, the person preparing the food didn’t hear what my mom said about eating in. It didn’t matter as I decided to eat it at home. Then we went to the wet market to get some fishball and egg noodles.

After that we went home. At first we wanted to board bus number 99 but there were a lot of people. So happened that bus number 502 also came and we took that instead. Well, I was under the assumption that the bus will stop at our apartment block but upon checking the details of the bus route, I realized our mistake.

But it’s all good. We alighted at the a mini-shopping mall near our house and went to the supermarket instead. Got more stuff before we made our way home.

Along the way, and running from the rain, I came across two really cute and beautiful cats. I love cats so much, especially when they are all fluffy.

So I went to pet the one of the cats on the head before joining my mom and making our way home.

Upon reaching home, I ate the fried carrot cake and I found it pretty tasty but can’t beat the one that I ate at Ang Mo Kio hawker centre.

After that, brushed my teeth again and I drank some Earl Grey. Then I went to play Cities Skylines for the remaining of the day until dinner time at around 2030hrs. Along the way, my mom went out with my sister to see the doctor as my sister was feeling sick. Then my mom did tried to call me but because I was wearing earphones, playing games, I didn’t know my phone rang. So I missed it. Apparently, my mom wanted to ask me what I wanted to eat for lunch. End up she got me two big meat buns. Ate that for lunch and continue playing.

Here are some night shots of my city:

In the game, I made some rather drastic changes to the roads to ensure optimal traffic flow. I changed the roundabouts and used highways-type roads to force traffic to move in a certain way, taking advantage of the in-game road properties.

For the night, I went to watch a YouTube video by Gary Vaynerchuk. In a way, he’s an inspiration to me and serve as a constant reminder to me that I should continue to be myself and do the things that I enjoy in my own way.

Why the need for reminder? Well, I am someone who has the tendency to emulate or be someone else, is an introvert, and score very high on neuroticism of the five factor model. Since I tend to get overwhelm very easily, I have to learn and practice to do things at my own pace, which I tend to forget or when I feel like I should meet someone else’s expectations.

I have also been watching videos and reading up on High Sensitivity and Elaine Aron’s research. Somehow, I feel like I have some traits of a highly sensitive person. I get hangry, is ticklish, never quite like physical contact with another person, and prefer to work in a dark room or in a cubicle. But then I am rarely in tune with emotions of other people. So I don’t know whether I’m a HSP or is just a neurotic introvert.

Here I conclude my journal for today.

Daily Journal – Aug 5, 2017

This is my 121st journal.

I didn’t do much today except spending most of my waking hours playing Cities: Skylines. I managed to fix the traffic issues and got my city population growing again. Tax income has now stabilized and that the commercial zones can get their goods now. What I did was simple. Creating a cargo train network that spanned the whole city with support from cargo ships.

Later in the evening, I went for a 8km run. Wanted to do 10km but then I felt that I should let my joints recover as they still hurts when I run. I still hadn’t got around to get the new shoes yet as I have some budget constraint this month. I mean, I didn’t quite want to spend the money since I’m technically not employed full-time.

Had my dinner and off I went to watch Dark Matter (TV Series) and Killjoys (TV Series).

That’s all for now.

Here I conclude my journal for today.

Daily Journal – Aug 4, 2017

This is my 120th journal.

I woke up this morning at around 0730hrs feeling very groggy. Didn’t really want to get up for the day, I went back to sleep. I woke up again at around 0900hrs and I still don’t feel ready to get up, so back to sleep I went.

I finally couldn’t sleep anymore and was wide awake at around 1000hrs. Noticed that my mom wasn’t at home. I went and finished my morning routine. Then I took an omeprazole pill for my erosive gastritis before I ate my breakfast of instant oatmeal and two slices of bread with tuna spread half an hour later. Then I went and lazed on my bed and used my phone for a bit before I went for a quick shower at around 1110hrs.

My mom came back with my brunch at around 1115hrs and asked me if I wanted to eat. I told her that I would bring it to work instead. Got out of the shower and prepared the things I need for work, took my packed brunch, and out of the house I went. I also took 10 ml of magnesium triplicate as I was feeling my gut rumbling, which simply meant that the acid was attacking my stomach wall.

I reached the client’s office at around 1215hrs after getting StarBucks. Yeah, I know coffee is a bad choice of drink for people with gastritis but then I can’t do without black coffee.

I ate my food first and chatted with one of the staff there. Got my MacBook out and started browsing the net, reading news article and checking my twitter. Before I knew it, it was close to 1420hrs and I got started to do some work. Yeah, I wasn’t feeling the mood to do work. The manager came back from her gym session at around 1430hrs and I clarified with her on some stuff. Then I went to do more coding before I surf the net again and chit chat.

Continued to do some more work at around 1600hrs and lasted until 1730hrs before I decided to call it a day. I left the client office at around 1830hrs, used the washroom and off I went.

At 1840hrs, the station at Raffles Place was still surprisingly crowded but when I boarded the west bound train of the east-west line, was genuinely surprised to see a decently empty train.

On the journey back, I played Plague Inc. on my phone. Yes, I actually spent S$4.50 buying the game from the app store. Other than Cities: Skylines, Plague Inc. is one of simulation games that I do enjoy playing. Admittedly, I had a hard time with the bioweapon strain. I couldn’t infect enough people before the cure is completed and deployed. If anyone go any suggestion, let me know down in the comments below.

Upon reaching home, I showered and had home-cooked Lor Mee for dinner. While eating, I watched episode 8 of the Planet of the Apps.

I also tried to do some research as to why my Java application is encountering an issue where getting a SQL connection is so slow. I noticed it was the case ever since I upgraded my Mac OS to Sierra 10.12.6 with VirtualBox 5.1.22 with Windows 10 guest. It was still the same when I upgraded to Virtualbox 5.1.26 with Windows 10 guest patched with the Creators Update. If anyone got any idea why please also let me know down in the comments below. I’m very close to actually spending the money to get a Intel NUC just to host the MS SQL Server 2014.

For the rest of the night, I think I will try to do some more work on my client’s application. If I can, I will also prepare another entry for my blog focusing on technology news.

Now, here is a video about building a super compact gaming PC, which is something that I’m considering of doing to fulfill my desire to do minimalist high-end gaming.

Here I conclude my journal for today.

Daily Journal – Jul 30, 2017

This is my 115th journal.

Woke up at around 1030hrs as usual and went about my morning routine.

I actually spent most of today playing Cities: Skylines until the point where I don’t feel like playing it anymore. LOL. Bored or burnt out from playing the game? Anyway, I was having problems with the traffic and I wasn’t sure how to fix it.

Also went for a 5km run to counteract my lack of activity today. My legs are still hurting. Time to get a new pair of running shoes. After the run, I went to get a waffle with red bean paste.

Spent the night watching Dark Matter season 3 and Killjoy season 2 and then switch to watching some YouTube video.

Tomorrow I shall go to my client’s office to do some work.

Before I end the journal, you guys probably know that I’m on the path to minimalism and here is a video of an interview with Joshua Fields Millburn that I think would be good for those who like to join me on this minimalist journey.

Here I conclude my journal for today.

Daily Journal – Jul 29, 2017

This is my 114th journal.

0930hrs. I’m awake and went about my morning business.

Played a couple hours of Cities: Skylines.

Met my friend for lunch, accompanied him to check if his tailored shirts and pants are ready. Then we went to Sim Lim Square to do window shopping.

We also went to Bugis + because I got a craving for ice cream. Upon reaching there, the Gelare store was packed. So gave up. We made our way to the Challenger flagship store to look at drones.

Found myself liking the Mavic Pro drone. It looked pretty slick. But the cost is rather prohibitive. I shall wait until I start my new job before buying.

Then we made our way home.

I went Starbucks and got a venti-sized Ice Americano before walking home.

By now, my legs are hurting badly and I’m limping. I think I inured myself during the 10km run and I didn’t really do any stretching.

Upon reaching home, I decided to play cities skylines again. But this time I was attempting to recover from the mistakes I made with regards to the traffic. However, no matter what I do, my population keep dropping, my tax income keep dropping and majority of my commercial centers and factories couldn’t get material.

I gave up playing at around 2345hrs and got down to write this journal. After publishing the journal, I will call it a night.

Here I conclude my journal for today.

Daily Journal – Jul 26, 2017

This is my 111st journal.

Slept at 0200hrs and woke up around 1030hrs. Went through the morning routine, has breakfast and decided to play a few hours of Cities:Skylines.

Previously I mentioned something about my city was having severe traffic issue and that the commercial zones are not getting the goods from the factories. I managed to fix it by adding more six-lane road linking the commercial zones with the factories and converting two-directional roads into one one-directional. This force the traffic to move in certain direction, therefore optimising the routes.

My city was also suffering from massive deficits in terms of tax to expenses. So I raised the taxes for all zones to 11%. Now with the commercial zone mostly getting their goods and higher tax, my city treasury now is adding money instead of bleeding money. I will continue to tweak my city to improve things and maybe experiment with some stuff.

I have also grew my city in size by adding more residential, commercial, and office zones. You can see the screenshots showing the difference. Although they are taken from different perspective, if you looked close enough, you can see what’s different.

This is a before screenshot.


This is the after screenshot.


Later in the afternoon, I went for the appointment with the hospital for psychology review. It was to determine if I was indeed suffering from bipolar disorder. The conclusion was that I wasn’t suffering from bipolar. Good thing. Now I just need to work with my psychiatrist on the depression and monitor my mood swings until the next review in three months time.

Later in the evening, I met with my friend for a movie, War for the Planet of the Apes. Before that, we had dinner at Sushi Tei. I can’t say the same for my friend but for me, it has been quite a while since I last ate there. Upon walking in, I noticed that there were iPads for diners to make and confirm their orders. That itself is a good thing. It helps save time and definitely make everything more convenient rather than waiting for the staff to take order.

As for the movie itself, I will give a quick review and will try not spoil the movie for you. I found it quite watchable but not to the point where I would re-watch it. There was a decent amount of action scene, character building, and some emotional scene. The movie ended with a bang followed by a decently happy ending. I give the movie a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

After that, my friend and I made our way home.

Here I conclude my journal for today.