Journal #230 – Achieved something

Today is a decently good day.

Why?

The database clustering was fixed by an expert and luckily for us, the data files are still there.

So I went about bringing back the databases, and started deploying the server application across the various instances and configure the database connections.

After that, I went about deploying the client application, setting it up to connect to the server applications via the load balancer.

I start up the application and boom, it didn’t work. After some troubleshooting, it was caused by configuration issues. So I went back and forth as I tried to fix the application. Turns out there were also some problem with server configuration. Mostly typo mistakes like wrong IP address and wrong user Id. So went about fixing those. After several rounds, I finally got the application working.

That felt good. It’s what I call an achievement.

We left work early because the customer didn’t want us to stay after 5.30pm. It’s perfectly fine for me. At least I got a chance to go home early.

With that, once I got home, I went out with my mom for dinner and went about my nightly routine.

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Journal #229 – Did my best

This morning was no different from yesterday. I woke up feeling like shit, extremely sluggish. But I still did my best to have my breakfast and have a longer than usual shower. I just didn’t feel like moving any faster or with more energy.

Personally, I enjoy the feeling of lukewarm water running down while I just stand there. To me, it’s the best feeling in the world. The other was just lying in bed with a room temperature of about 25 degree celsius and reading a book.

Ok, I was digressing, going back to topic.

So I reached office and continue to feel like crap and that feeling was mostly gone after I finished my Americano. I guess it’s my body craving for caffeine.

After lunch, my colleague and I went to the customer site to do some deployment work. While my colleague was busy setting up NGINX, I got down to redoing the databases. However, it turned out there was something wrong with the setup and that the data files were corrupted due to improper clustering setup.

However as I have zero experience in setting up failover and clusters, I wasn’t sure what I should be doing and so I consulted my other colleague who was part of the infrastructure team. He too didn’t quite know how to setup the clustering and so we hacked our way through. I guessed we made it worse. The data volumes on both servers were gone. Only the C drives remained.

This demonstrate the importance of something that my previous company had. An internal lab where the employees go about trying stuff like setting up of servers, applications, development work, etc., before they even graduate to work on the customer system. It takes investment on the company part because they would need to get the necessary hardware and software to even allow its employees to try things out. Another thing that was equally important back then was lab journals where we document down what we do.

Now as I work in a bigger corporation where roles are more specialized and considering that the company has a specialized infrastructure team, I didn’t see the need to invest to learn more stuff related to setting up and configuration. Therefore, my focus was on developing the application, how to ensure ease of patching the application, setup the database, input seed data. Of course, I do know how to setup a single instance of Microsoft SQL, PostgreSQL or MySQL, setup my IDE, install programs, etc., but not anything deeper at the operating system level.

I suppose it’s my fault for not knowing more but at least I tried my best, learned some new stuff despite messing up. And I will be honest too; my anxiety level actually shot up high. But luckily got my colleagues there, my nerves were much easier to calm. At the end of the day, we still need someone expert at clustering to do clustering. Tomorrow we shall see how.

I will go back there again to put the database data file into the C Drive first so that we can proceed with the rest of the deployment and testing.

Other than that, I went home feeling pretty alright actually because I know I did my best given my ability. I’m pretty sure the past me will get so upset and anxious about me destroying the cluster.

Journal #228 – Pained

Pained.

It’s what I have been experiencing much of yesterday and today.

It’s not just physical pain.

It’s mental too.

Depression man, it just hit me again.

How I know?

I felt my energy completely drained. I have no desire to do anything physical. I’m tired the whole day despite sleeping as much as I could. I get so irritable that I decided to just not talk too much if not I will say something wrong. That was yesterday.

So I wrote a poem about it. I tried my best to write one. And I can’t remember when was the last time I wrote one.

And today?

It’s the same.

Pained.

I spent most of my time binge watching all the tv series that I missed over the week while enduring the pain in my neck and back, which by the way caused dizziness and general discomfort. Half of that binge watching session was spent on my bed instead of my chair.

Then it reached a point where I had enough. So I took a nap that lasted 2 hours.

I still didn’t feel so good.

Pained.

I went for a short run. 3km to be exact. Felt slightly better.

Although my physical pain has subsided, I still feel lack of energy, general lack fo desire to do anything except binge watching shows or play games or just lay in bed.

Well, I’m not a medical person so I can’t determine what’s wrong with me completely. But I do know one thing. I have always undergone periods of depressive episodes since I was around 15. And recently, I blame it on my neuroticism but personally, I don’t think it’s that simple. There could be something more fundamentally wrong. So I will pay a visit to the psychiatrist again.

Journal #227 – Just is

The sun rose dressing the world in yellow warmth,
yet it looked all grey and black;
With all my might, I rose and tumbled out of bed,
only to fall back to my bed’s embrace.
Taking action, I rose yet again to battle this demon,
barely winning; I still try.
I am hungry yet a gate sits between me and what I consume,
ensuring only minimal entry.
I moved as though a black hole is my companion,
ever so eager to suck me into its cold, empty stomach.
I play yet I feel empty, joyless.
I talked yet I feel meaningless and anger.
It just is.

Journal #226 – Came across as Self-absorbed, a work in progress

I just got a revelation today. It turns out I wasn’t self-aware enough at all. In a way. If I am, I would have work to ensure I didn’t come across as self-absorbed.

A friend of mine told me today that I was being a little to self-centered and putting myself as morally superior in my writing.

That came as a result of a Facebook post I made regarding millennial being not entitled. I presented a very weak argument and a contradiction.

I admit I posted that as a result of an emotional response to the title of an article I read. That was a mistake. I should have read the article properly, processed it more deeply and find a context before jumping the gun. It’s a tendency of mine and I will need to work on that.

So I deleted that post and moved on.

With that feedback, I actually went over my old journal entries and concluded that a vast majority of my entries are all showing that I’m totally self-absorbed.

Let’s see what are some of the traits of being a self-absorbed person.

A quick google and I picked this Lifehacks article, 15 signs of Self-absorbed People

And below are the 15 signs:

  1. They are always on the defensive
  2. They don’t see the big picture
  3. They are imposing
  4. They feel insecure sometimes
  5. They always think they are superior to others
  6. They consider friendships a tool for getting what they want
  7. They are extremely opinionated
  8. They do not have long lasting relationships
  9. They do not have a real sense of empathy
  10. They hide their insecurities behind a cloak of success
  11. They devalue others
  12. They can be arrogant
  13. They hide who they are
  14. They are extremely selfish
  15. They think they are great and the world out there is wrong

Other than number 6, and to a certain extent 7, I have all the remaining traits at various degree.

I suppose if someone didn’t point it out, I will continue to fault this and never really grow. But I suppose it shows that I am not as self-aware as I thought I am. That’s bad but I know I can do better than this and I will.

Of course, I am not a good judge of my own self when it comes to improvement. Instead I will let other people decide if I have improved in anyway. All I can do is be aware of everything I do and be open to feedback so that I can grow to be a better person than I was yesterday.

And I have to be patient because changes to your personality and thinking are progressive. I will also let the other journals remain as they are (the past me will probably delete all of them and restart) so that people and myself are able to see the changes I have gone through.

Because being human is both ugly and beautiful.

Journal #225 – Consuming too much

Alright, I admit it.

I have been consuming far too much these few days. I ran out of inspiration to write anything proper. My short story remains stuck.

At work today, I spent the whole day trying to figure out how to get ClickOnce to work and figuring out why it didn’t work. The application refused to start. It finally worked partially after I figured it out. You know, the task is actually rather simple and shouldn’t take the whole day but I got bored. I do get bored every easily when I have to deal with configuration-related stuff.

I know when you are a software engineer you do need to configure stuff: Configure your IDE, configure your machine. And when you are not configuring? You are installing stuff.

But I hate configurations. I hate installation. I prefer text. I prefer code.

So what do I do when I’m bored? I consume. I spent a lot of my time on Facebook, Twitter and Medium just consuming article, one after another.

After that?

The other day I mentioned I bought tickets to Justice League. The movie was today. So I met up with my friend after work for dinner and then watch the movie. It was a two hour plus movie. I didn’t feel particularly excited about the movie. Nor do I feel particularly bored by the movie. It’s just is.

Maybe I’m jaded somewhat.

Maybe I’m depressed.

It doesn’t matter.

Tomorrow?

Tomorrow I got some personal stuff to take care of. And I hope I could use the chance to rest up some more and get some inspiration for my short story.

Honestly, I’m just disappointed with myself…

Journal #224 – Quitting is easy, writing new content is hard

If you are not satisfied with your job you can quit.

If you don’t like what you are doing you can quit.

If you hate your colleagues you can quit.

If you don’t like school you can quit.

So you see quitting is easy. But quitting without properly studying every possible perspective or outcome is stupid. You may accidentally cut yourself out from potential opportunities.

Personally, there are many times that I felt like quitting my job on the spot because I want to get out of difficult situations. Most of the times, fear is at the root of everything.

But if I quit my job without properly put in place safety nets or think about other repercussions, I will put myself at certain kind of risks that upset my stability.

I got an alternative and that is my writing. But I am well aware that it’s not ready to sustain me in any way.

You see, so far I have only been writing my own journals, do some basic news curation, and post the occasional short stories.

And you know what I found?

Writing journal is easy. Doing news curation is easy. But writing short stories? It’s hard. It is practically new content that require you to create from nothingness. To even do it, you need to devote a substantial amount of your creative energy, lots of planning, some inspirations, and lastly, just write.

So if you are someone who fears failure like me, writing short stories can be rather crippling because you don’t know if what you write is good or not. Whether it is successful or not.

And even if you have written and publish a bunch of short stories online, it doesn’t mean you will get any money out of it.

Let’s not forget, there are millions of books out there with quite a sustantial percentage being short stories and not all of them actually make enough money for authors.

So you see, writing new content like stories is hard.

And you know what, today marks the day when I should publish a short story but I don’t know what to write.

But it doesn’t mean you don’t even try. If you don’t try, you won’t know it is hard. If you don’t try, you won’t know whether you will succeed or not. If you don’t try, it means you quit.

Lastly, for me, here is an blog entry why you should not quit your job in 2018 that will always remind me why I shouldn’t quit my job just yet.

Journal #223 – Temporary lull at work, dealing with some emotion destabilization

The progress at work so far has been good.

Early in the morning, I went for a course about Economic Value Added (EVA) conducted by the company’s Operations Director that last for an hour. After that, we went back to office and got down to work.

At around 11am, I went about finishing one more e-learning module for new employee. And at 12pm, I left for lunch.

Today I decided to have my lunch at Green Dot. After I got there, standing by the entrance waiting, the staff approached me and told me my table number was 1.

So I went in and ordered my food. After making payment and collecting my food, I made my way to the table only to find one old lady sitting there. I actually got a little irritated. Earlier before entering the cafe, I actually took note of her and her husband because they went in without waiting to be served by the waiter. Heh, if I choose to apply my environmental observation skills, I’m pretty aware of who is doing what. At first, I assumed they were intending to pack their food to go. And so when I see her sitting at my assigned desk, several thoughts went by but I kept quiet. Instead, I sat at the table beside it, table 2. Luckily, the cafe was pretty empty and so I could just take any empty seat. If it wasn’t that empty and I find myself without seat despite being assigned one by the staff, I probably would make a big fuss about it.

Anyway, it’s a common thing in Singapore. I’m not sure about other country. The older generation tends to have this “I have the right of way all the time” mindset. Anyway, I suspect also it’s due to the commonness of hawker centers and food courts in Singapore. The food served there are cheap and that these places operate on a first-come-first-serve basis. So these people will assume they could just walk into certain kind of cafe or restaurants without waiting to be served or at least “managed” by the staff. And if you do make a big fuss out of it, they will say you are being disrespectful, or something along the line, “there’s so many empty seats.”

For me, it’s not about empty seats or alternatives. It’s about the principle of allowing people who have patiently waited for their turn to be given the equal chance at consuming something. In case you are wondering, it’s actually related to my stability value. When something or someone decide to go against a certain norm, it upsets the stability of the system.

Just imagine.

What if the cafe is almost packed? The people who want to dine in are actually allowed in and are already assigned seats. They felt safe to go about buying their food and not worry about their seats. Then when they return, their seats is taken by someone who wasn’t assigned one and there are no more seats available. So what’s the person going to do? Eat while standing? Hold on to their food while waiting to be assigned another empty table?

If that happen to you, how would you feel? Your emotional state will be unstabilized. I know mine will definitely be in that state.

This is something actually covered under Game Theory. If I’m not wrong, it goes something along the line of, “as long as you don’t deprive another person of any chance of acquiring something that they want, you can cheat the system.”

Anyway, since I did get what I want at the end, I decided to let it go and focus on eating my lunch.

After lunch, I went to buy tickets for this Thursday for the movie Justice League. Once I’m done, I went to get some snack for the afternoon and went back to office.

So once back to office, I went about finishing my primary task of testing out the modules that I developed with formalized test cases. The test cases are all successful. I also went and finish another module in the e-learning course.

Other than that, I also spent the time on researching about changing my name legally in Singapore. I also went about to submit a deed poll request through the lawyer and scheduled an appointment by the end of the week to sign the document. I also went ahead to apply for a paid day off via my company staff portal. It’s now pending approval by the manager.

Well, the purpose for that day off is for me to sign the deed poll and pay a visit to the Immigration and Checkpoint Agency to change my identification documents. I do hope everything could be done in a relatively smooth and fast way so that I can take advantage of a slightly longer weekend.

Other than that, I was actually pretty chill throughout most of the day while my colleagues are working away trying to finish fixing up bugs in their respective modules and other infrastructure-related stuff.

One last thing, I also published my first article on Medium. It is part of my intention to expose myself further on more platforms. Only through exposing myself everywhere, I can being one step closer of being a full-time writer.

Journal #222 – Start of software testing week, slightly productive

Today mark the start of internal testing week for the application that my team have been working on for the past five months and a half. For me, I only have been working on it for the past two months and a half.

Although I mentioned it being a testing week, it doesn’t mean that we didn’t test the application as we build it. The initial testings that we do as we develop were more about ensuring whatever function or capability we build is working as intended but wasn’t that formal. Now, this testing period is more formal where we actually have a proper document to note down the test cases and the result of those tests. Subsequently, we will transfer that to a proper document for the company’s quality assurance department to keep. The current intention is to identify further bugs with the implemented features before we proceed to UAT that is coming pretty soon.

We also had a brief meeting where we agree to stop implementing new features and the code base is now locked down. The only changes to the code are for bug fixes.

So within a short span of time, I created 29 test cases for the module that I was working and tested all of them. All green checks for now. I will continue them tomorrow.

Other than the testing, I also went about to clear two e-quizzes for an e-learning module that all new employees must take. So three down, four more to go. Heh.

The other thing that I did was to prepare the timesheet, filling in the hours that I spend on projects. Well, since I’m hired to do one project only, my timesheet only got that project. Once I’m done, I submitted it.

I spent the remaining hours chatting with my colleagues and at 6pm, I left office. After leaving, I made my way to Guardian to get a bottle of probiotic. After that, I made my way home, had a shower, watched Star Trek Discovery, and have dinner. I spent the remaining time just watching other shows and simply chilling.

Ok, that’s all for today.

Journal #221 – Some decluttering, reading, and gaming

After I woke up today, I decided not to use the computer and instead focus on reading books. I spent most of my morning after breakfast reading the Jony Ive biography and managed to finish the whole book by earlier afternoon.

After I was done with reading, I went ahead to do some decluttering stuff by going through the big boxes that I have for storing other electronic boxes. I used this opportunity to go through old electronic accessories or gadgets like modems that I no longer use, old cables, old computer power supply units, etc. I also used the chance to go through old manuals, receipts that I have for these electronics. I separate them out and discard them in the recycling bin near my house. Through this process, I was able to free up some space within these big boxes and I stuffed the other smaller boxes that I had that were sitting on the outside. These smaller boxes belong to the Network Attached Storage and a drone that I got from my drone piloting course. I kept them for warranty purpose. Servicing centers tend to want the full package when you send your devices in.

Hmm… on second thought, the drone box could probably be discarded…another time.

After going through this process, it made me feel better because these are actions that fulfill the desires of my inner soul, which need the peace and cleanliness associated with having less (junk).

After that, I decided to buy The Frozen Wilds DLC for the PS4 game, Horizon Zero Dawn. But for me to do that, I need to reset my Playstation Network password. So I did that, added my PayPal account to my PSN account and buy the DLC.

That game was one of my favorite ones on the console due to its insanely good storyline. I have deep respect for the storywriter of this game.

So when I started out writing this journal, the DLC of about 7.7GB was downloading. Of course in the middle of writing, I went to get some snacks, etc. Reaching this point of writing, now that I turned around to look at my television, the download has finished. I finally can start playing.

Hurray.

You know, it felt kind of good to actually finish the main story of Everspace and then moving on to another game. This kind of closure is important because it allows you to move on. It’s part of the decluttering process too. Think about it. Finishing a game is like finishing a task from your todo list. When you finish the task, you remove it from the list, just like how you remove a physical item from your space. If you didn’t finish that game and proceed to get another and then repeat that a few times, you will find yourself overwhelm by “stuff”. I have a friend who did that. So now he actually have nearly twenty days that he didn’t get around to play because he is now paralyzed by choice. On another hand, it’s a waste of money. You buy something but never actually consume it. Overall, it’s kind of stressful for him too. So you see, it is not so different from having a big pile of clothes, or boxes, or whatever.

I’m pretty sure most minimalists can agree. Digital clutter is not different from physical clutter. It creates mental stress, especially if you are someone like me who spent a vast majority of his time in front of a screen.

So yeah, minimalism can also be applied to video games.

The last couple of hours, I played The Frozen Wilds DLC on my Playstation 4. So far, I am loving the new story and the new weapons. The new enemies are pretty challenging too. The aesthetic of the game has always been great. With this DLC, they expand further on the snow environment. I suppose it’s $26.90 well-spent. Now I really hope Guerrilla Games spent as much effort, or maybe even more, to create the next sequel or DLC. I like to see expansion of the story. To me, I don’t mind paying if the end product adds tremendous value in terms of storyline, aesthetic and gameplay. Quality is something I care a lot about.

One last thing before I move on to catching up on other TV shows that I have missed. My family joined me on a vegetarian diet too. We had mock meat with beans, stir fried vegetables, and seaweed soup. My younger sister however is not particularly happy with our recent diets. But I can’t blame her really. All of us have different taste when it comes to food and that she always preferred a diverse choice so that she can pick and choose. I personally have to agree that a pure vegetarian diet is at times boring. Mock meat can never replace the taste of actual meat. The nuances in terms of texture, taste, smell, etc. However, for me, ecological conservation is more important. So I guess we will have to wait for the day when lab-grown meat is a reality and only then I can switch to a mixed diet.