More Thanh Words

"My name is Thanh and I'm a Blogger". Now that I have admitted to that, I can say that I'm a stereotypical "geeky" Engineer who enjoys sci-fi books and movies and into all things technological. I also love music and have a passion for FOOD. I'm a social person and like to talk to people. I hate people who are fake or overly aggressive. If you're also into some serious discussion, with a pinch of sarcasm and a dash of real emotion, then please read on.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Self Perception

Recently, I've read a few blog where people have posted photos of themselves and looked at their imperfections. This has prompted me to do the same. I have posted photos of myself in lots of other posts on this blog, so I'm not too self conscious about how I look. However, taking a close up photo of yourself and analysing it carefully does make you see yourself in another light.

When we look in the mirror, that is a reflected image. I don't know if it's that or something else, but I always seem to think I look better in the mirror image. I always think that I look pretty bad in photos and it doesn't look like me. Generally my hair looks terrible, my skin looks even worse than what I think it looks and everything just looks bad. Sometimes I might see a photo that I like, but that may be 1 in 20 photos.

This brings me to the issue of our own self perfection, not just our looks, but all aspects of our lives. We generally tend to think that we are better than what we are. Thats just human ego at work. I think you can clearly see this from contestants on singing competition. Some people sound terrible, but are so deluded that they think they are actually good. This is a two part problem. With sound, we are hearing some of the sound direct from our ear canals when we sing, and that sounds entirely different from the sound that is projected outside that everyone hears. If you have ever taped yourself and listened back, I'm sure you'll be shocked at what you hear. Slowly you adjust to it, but since you hear your own voice each day mostly when you talk, you never really get used to what you really sound like on tape. In regards to those contestants, I'm sure some of them have taped themselves. Even if they are awful, they only want to hear what they perceive rather than reality.

It's good to believe in yourself and have a good positive perception on yourself, but when you totally overestimate yourself, then you're only setting yourself up for a fall. I think you need to take into account a bit of what others think of you, as they see you in a different light, a more unbiased light.

Back to my photos, if I were a slightly delusional person with an overly high regard for myself, I might think that I looked like this, with great skin, a smaller nose and nice shiny white teeth (ah the power of Photoshop).

But I think I'm quite a grounded person and know that in reality I look like this, with quite a bad outbreak of pimples recently, bad yellow teeth from my immunisation injection as baby in Vietnam (I forget what the injection that causes this yellow teeth, must ask Pharmacist friend again next time) and a large nose that I inherited from my dad. But that's all ok with me, I accept who I am and my self perception is one based on reality more than fantasy.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Philosophy 101 By Dr Thanh Ph(aic) D(octor)

I had commented on Trev's I Am Superb blog that I would write a post about philosophy soon. Well its probably been more than a month since I posted that comment but I feel I know a little bit more now and am ready to write my opinion.

If you had said the word philosophy to me six months ago, I would have said its all wishy washy words by people who spend all day overthinking things and over analysing every situation. Well, I have come to change my mind a bit about it all. Don't get me wrong, I am not, and will never be a philosopher, but I don't mind some philosophical thinking now and then.

What started me off on this whole philosophy quest (hmmm, quest is probably not the right word quest since I wasn't really searching for anything, just wanting to learn more, so maybe journey is more appropriate?) was my friend John constantly telling me about all these philosophical sayings and how we can learn from it. Then one day, I also found that my manager Ron is quite a deep thinker himself and has a vast knowledge of philosophy. We were talking about existentialism that particular day and it was a very interesting topic to me. So I decided to go away and do some research on Wikipedia, one of the most useful self learning tools out there. My initial search of existentialism led to more and more topics as I clicked on the links. So I decided that I wanted to know more and went to the library and borrowed some fundamental philosophy books to give myself a crash course in philosophy and famous philosophers.

In my opinion, as thats all it is since I really don't know much about philosophy, I now think that philosophy can be another useful tool in life. It won't be my guiding light but just another attachment in my Swiss Army Knife for life. What philosophy teaches you is to really think about different situations and question them. If you've ever asked yourself "Why am I here" or "What am I doing here, what is my purpose", then you're probably a good candidate for philosophy too. Philosophy may never give you all the answers, but it does make you think about them and make up your own mind. You can never know anything definitively, but as long as what you think satisfies you, well that's good enough in my opinion.

Philosophy is such an old practise and we tend to underestimate it's importance. I certainly did since I always believed myself to be a man of science and there was no room for science and philosophy to co-exist. But that is where I am wrong. In the past, the philosophers were also the scientists. Before humans could travel in space or see individual atoms, there were already great men who could truly "think outside the square" and theorise about the ways of the world. It was philosophers who thought that the Earth rotated around the Sun and that atoms made up all matter in the world. They had no way to prove these things but were clever enough to come to these conclusion through thinking.

The forefather of Philosophy is definitely Socrates. Socrates always tried to make people think a situation through by answering their question with a question. He is to have said "I know you won't believe me, but the highest form of Human Excellence is to question oneself and others". He contributed to many facets of society from ethics and morality to politics.

As the time passed, more and more philosophers came up with different ideas as to how people should live their life or how the world works. Eventually, it was Aristotle who set up the stage for what is to become later day science. He divided topics into clear groups such as physics and biology and said that the study of phenomena would lead to the essence of how things work. Centuries later, these thoughts would be used by other philosophers who would help to create science as we know it.

It was then probably Newton who made the greatest leap forward for science. He was a natural philosopher but at the same time also a physicists, astronomer, mathematician and alchemist. His development of fundamental laws of nature helped to give a strong foundation for all future work in the area of science. To this day, his laws of motion are still relevant for interactions on Earth.

So as you can see, philosophical thinking can help you to assess things in a more profound way and maybe see things in a slightly differnt light. It will take a great man to truly think outside what is already known, but thinking about small issues in your own life may give you answers that will satisfy you.

I will leave you with Rene Descartes most famous quote "I think, therefore I am". He theorised that the only thing you can ever truly be sure of is what you think. Your senses may decieve you, but your thoughts are your own and must be true. Hopefully, this post has left you thinking a little and you might delve a little deeper into philosophy as well.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A New Direction For This Blog?

I was going to write an academic analysis about human social interaction ( I might save that one for next time), but then I started to read XiaXue's blog which I had found out about from Half Empty Realm. XiaXue's blog is apparently one of the most popular in Singapore, and from the number of comments, it would seem this is the case. She even has paid advertising on her page. Cue jealous facial expression from Thanh.

From what I have gathered from her blog, I think for me to have a successful blog, I need to become a beautiful Asian woman, so the photo below is going to be the new "me" in future and you can call me Jolin hahaha.

I also need to start attending hip parties and hang around with famous people. How I will achieve that I do not know yet. Maybe I should start stalking some celebrities and see where they hang out. Then I need to start making up a fake identity and get into those parties. Once the ball starts rolling, it will be easy. Even if I know one famous person and get others to believe I am that famous person's friend, the other celebrities will start to want to know me as well. Then you become famous for being famous, a la Paris Hilton. Then my blog will become ultra popular since people will want to know more about me. This will mean that the act of them visiting my blog will make me more famous and the cycle continues.

I also need to start making superficial friends whose only redeeming qualities are that they are beautiful. I can then take photos of them with me and post it on my blog. All the men out in cyber space will visit my blog and stare at "me" (photo above) and my friends. I will also need to start talking about women's issues, which women will want to read about and men will feel like they are learning more about women and therefore increase their chances with the opposite sex. So that will be my plan for the blog and how I will achieve global domination and never have to work another day in my life.

It such a great idea and sounds so easy. I'll get right on to it tomorrow. I have to watch some TV tonight. :-)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Grass Is Always Greener On The Other Side

Isn't it strange how we humans always want what we don't have. It's always better on the other side of the fence, where the grass is constantly greener. The problem is, we only choose to see the manicured grass on the other side and neglect to think of the effort into putting smelly fertiliser on it and mowing it to keep it trimmed neatly.

I have been asking my manager to send me on a work trip for the last two months. My urge to work overseas started to intensify when I heard that other friends were going overseas to do training and some were working overseas from country to country. The monotony of staying in the office was getting to me. I just wanted to get away from it all and experience new things. Well that feeling has passed a little, but I still would like to go on a short work trip overseas.

Work mates who has been on overseas work trips say its not a holiday like I think. They all say there is a lot of pressure to get things done and you work extremely long hours, weekends even. I hear them and also believe them, but I guess you always have to experience something for yourself before you truly believe someone else's opinion. I just see a work trip as a nice way to see the world and learn some things along the way.

Recently I talked to my friend working overseas. She has been working overseas for most of this year, not entirely by choice. Initially she said it was all new and fun. But now the stress to get things done and long hours are really taking its toll on her. Then I said to her, "Why don't you work in Australia", to which she replied "Then I wouldn't get to see the World, would I". We always want the best of both worlds, but that can rarely ever happen. She enjoys some aspects of working overseas such as seeing so many new places, but with those pros are the cons. The cons are you miss out on seeing your friends and family, you work extremely long hours, you have lots of pressure to get things done, you live out of a suitcase, you eat whenever and whatever you can.

The work situation is true for all other aspects of life. We see the person driving the nice car and living in the big house and say they are so lucky. We don't see the huge mortgage they have. A work mate was saying how someone commented that he was so rich and lived in a big house, to which he said that he had a massive mortgage and needed to budget quite tightly to pay it off.

I'm constantly envious of people who have their own business and work according to their own terms. It seems like that is the way to go. But I'm sure that they have lots of problems with their businesses too. Maybe even if you are a rich millionaire, you still envy your neighbour, who knows. I wish I could just be Bill Gates for a day and see how he lives. Is there lots of pressure on him or can he just instantaneously fly a plane to Paris to eat some steak whenever he felt like it.

I always say that "When I get rich, I will live the easy life and do all the things I enjoy". There are two problems with that statement. Firstly, why do I have to be rich to do what I want to do. I think this notion of having money before you can do what you want is so ingrained in us by society that its hard to break. Also its probably a safety net we give ourselves. What if we did what we wanted to do and still found we weren't satisfied, what then. There would be nothing left to aim for in life and we would be very disappointed. The second problem is that, can you really do what you want even if you are rich. Do you still need to look after your business or work at your job. Do you want even more materially, which will force you to work even harder. Another question I always ask is why massive celebrities, such as Oprah or Steven Spielberg for example, don't just quit their jobs and live a life of luxury. Maybe they really enjoy their job, but then you also hear them complain about the long hours they work and all the paparazzi and how they don't have no privacy. If they quit and get out of the limelight, then no one will want to know about them. But that's not how it works. They want people to know about them, but yet don't want all their bad things written in the tabloids. I think that we always strive to get what we don't have and think others have that is better. It's an unattainable goal that we constantly reach for. Only the truly remarkable people can be happy with their life and I envy those people. I think their grass is extremely green and they think so too.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Bride And Prejudice Melbourne Style

I went to my friend Upneet's engagement party yesterday. Firstly congratulatons to Upneet and Dhawal on their engagement. The engagement was held at Nine Darling Street, a very nice reception place. I went with Anu (below) and Brian. Anu was decked out in her very nice blue sari.

I have never been to an Indian party before so didn't know what to expect. Firstly, I found that nearly all the women were wearing bright colourful saris. A lot of the men had their colourful head scarves on. Secondly, there was also a lot of people. I mean 250 people at a wedding would be a lot, let alone at an engagement party. But I guess Indians tend to have lots of relatives. Apparently the wedding will be in India later in the year and go for FIVE days, with elephants and performers involved. Wow, now that's a wedding I want to go to.

The future bride to be was also dressed in a very stunning sari with matching assessories. Here I am below with Upneet (centre) and Alka (left). Upneet did a very good job as hosts and came round and saw everyone and chatted.

There were speeches made about Upneet and Dhawal, with embarrassing anecdotes and also congratulatory messages. Upneet, you're secret eye lash batting technique to get what you want is now out there for the world to know, it might not be as effective in future now. *-)

Entrees were served quite late at 9pm. Even by Asian standards, this was late. Usually at Asian parties, dinner gets served at about 9pm. After entrees, there was dancing, dancing, and more dancing. Upneet and Dhawal did a nice sway type dance (below).

Then there was a dance routine put on by some of Upneet's friend. It was fantastic, just like something lifted out of a Bollywood movie. There was hand waving, feet stomping, shoulder shaking and lots of spinning. You can watch a bit of the dance in the following two videos.

After the performance, everyone else got on the dance floor and shook their booty like there was no tomorrow. Indians definitely love their dancing. I also got involved and had lots of fun. I got tips on how to dance Indian style. You have to do a lot of shoulder shrugging whilst simultaneously holding out one hand up and doing a "light bulbing screwing action" while holding the other hand down and "patting the dog". Also, when in doubt, just clap and stomp your feet. Easy!

Dinner finally got underway at about 11:30pm, unbelievably late since everyone just kept on dancing. By this stage I was actually quite hungry so I scoffed down the curries when they arrived. I polished down the food with quite a few glasses of red wine, leaving just enough room for dessert. After some more dancing at the end of the night, we called it a night and said goodbye to Upneet and Dhawal and wished them well. I went home having experienced a great cultural display and also having loads of fun along the way. I definitely need to get invited to more Indian parties.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Modern Day Hieroglyphics

In ancient times, the Egyptians very famously used hieroglyphics as a form of language. Pictures represented words or letters.

The other day, I was just trying to use my new oven to heat up my KFC. Rather than pull out the old portable electric oven, I thought I would use the new beautifully shiny gas oven in the house. Upon reaching the controls, I realised I had no idea how to turn the oven on. There were all these symbols which I had no clue what they meant. I turned knob after knob but nothing came on. I consider myself a fairly technological guy but this oven had my stumped.

I resorted to the instruction manual, a very thick one indeed. Finally I got it working after reading the manual. There's two things that bugged me about this oven incident. Firstly, why do manufacturers make things so complicated when they don't have to. Why can't an oven just have a switch to turn it on, a light switch, a temperature control, and a switch to use the fan or not. Secondly, how hard is it to print a few words rather than have these cryptic images. I mean I know the symbols mean the fan and the heating element, but how could I possibly know what the difference between a solid line or a dotted line, or two lines compared to one. Am I supposed to keep remembering this useless piece of information for the rest of my life if I am to keep using the oven. Why do I want to waste more brain power than necessary, especially as age isn't improving my memory at all.

The funniest incidents I've encountered with symbols has been to do with toilets. At one place, I was a little bit drunk and instead of having the usual man and woman sign, they put the man ♂ and woman ♀ symbol. For a while I kept trying to think, which symbol is the men's one. Finally I remembered the Roger David (a men's retail store) sign which had that symbol. Another time, the men and women's toilets were marked with these fancy images that were again hard to recognise. The men's picture looked like he was wearing a dress while the women's looked like she had a top hat. This again had me guessing. Then I saw someone walk out and I said to myself "I hope they got it right" and went in. Luckily I picked the right toilet. How hard is it to write "MEN" and "WOMEN" or put an "M" or "W" on the toilets and stop all this confusion.

There are many more examples of modern day hieroglyphics where sometimes you just say to yourself, "What the hell is that suppose to mean, why couldn't they just write a few words?" Everywhere you look, from your tv remotes, to your portable music players, to your computer monitor settings, there's just so many symbols that is sometimes so hard to decipher. Some of the worse are road signs. I mean its fair enough with road signs since you don't have long to read the sign, so text could be hard to read in time. Below are some confusing signs.

Ok so the signs are fake, but there are real ones that are equally hard to guess what they mean. Symbols have their uses but people need to restrain from using them everywhere just for the sake of it. Sometimes a little bit of text of a few letters make much more sense.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Furniture Auction

Last Sunday I went with my dad to a furniture auction to buy a corner lounge suite. We had already previously bought a lounge from the auction and it was a bargain. There was no reason to think why this one wasn't going to be a bargain either. The furniture at the auctions are either old season stock that shops want to get rid of, last pieces, slightly defective or display pieces in shops and houses.

I had told my friend Kin and Jo about the auction and they were also very excited after hearing about the bargains, hence they came on Sunday too to buy some stuff as well. Basially you stand around while they auction off EVERY item there. They go around the whole warehouse and you bid by raising a card with a number.

I ended up getting the corner leather 7 seater couch with 3 of the chairs reclining. It cost under $2400 after paying all the taxes and is a bargain, under half retail price. Kin and Jo bought even more things for their house. They bought a 7 piece dining table, a TV cabinet, rugs, plants, paintings. Jo's parents also bought a lounge and a 9 piece dining table. All up their purchases cost less than $3500, the price you would pay for just one lounge suite.

The funniest story from the auction was when Jo raised her number card and thought she had bought a beautiful wooden cabinet for $120. A similar piece, in fact it looked almost identical, had gone for $390 only minutes earlier. In the car ride home, my dad was saying that piece was such a bargain, and at the time the auctioneer said there were two others, which someone quickly snapped up. We were saying we should have gotten one too. Later when I rang Kin to see how it all went, he said that they had actually bid on a mountain bike, not the cabinet. This was hilarious. Obviously Kin cancelled the mountain bike order, but couldn't get the cabinet for that price. I was sure the auctioneer kept saying cabinet and also the two helpers were pointing at the cabinet and pulling the draws out and showing it off. Either it was a genuine miscommunication, or they auction placed stuffed up and weren't prepared to sell their cabinet at that price and make a huge loss. Anyway, besides that, Kin and Jo were very happy with all their purchases. I was also very pleased with my lounge and will be going back to the auction again to buy more cheap furniture.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

All Hacks Indoor Soccer Team - The Road To Glory

All Hacks,

I've been ultra slack in doing this unofficial newsletter due to being very busy and having no Internet for a while. So here is a massive wrap up of 5 games. These five games will be known as "The Road To Glory" since it culminates in a historical moment in All Hacks history.

The first game (game 13) was against D.J United. D.J were also top four contenders and we wanted to win to solidify our position in the top four, preferrably sealing third spot so that a draw in the semis would be enough to win. Try as we might, we fell one goal short. However, the game did mark the start of another short but spectacular career of the latest All Hacks member, Jeff. Jeff hails from the motherland (England not Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Hong Kong or any other Asian country). Jeff showed his skills immediately and scored one of the two All Hacks goals in the match.

The last game of the regular season (game 14) was against Golden Greeks. Having done all the mathematics and gone through all scenarios, it seemed unlikely that we would finish fifth even if we threw the match as suggested by some (Justin), so we decided to play our best and try and finish third. We threw everything at the Greeks, or more accurately, some replacement players. There was goals galore with the All Hacks piling on 9 goals. It might have been more but for Kheang's uncustomary penalty misses, all three of them. Such is the way of football, when you hit those shots, you're a hero, when you miss the next time, you're a zero. Such is life (reference Ned Kelly).

The first finals match, a quarter finals in a sense since a win still meant playing two more matches for the championship, saw us up against D.J United again. With the importance of the match, a large turnout came for the game. Masum made a final appearance in what turned out to be his swan song. We fell behind shortly after half time to look in quite a bad position at 1-3. However, the Aussie (or more accurately Indian/Asian) spirit shone through and we pulled off a Socceroos type comeback in the last five minutes. A penalty by Anisha followed by goals from Khar and Anisha helped seal the match and propel the All Hacks into the semi finals. Masum played a tight game as usual and gave his all. Thanks for all his efforts throughout the years and hopefully he recovers from his surgery to maybe one day play for the All Hacks again.

The semi finals was against Yemazel. Just as the match was going to start, the umpire told us that there would be no extra time. Hence since we finished below Yemazel in the regular season, a draw would see us lose. We raced to a 4-0 lead but things would start to turn sour soon. We gave away a few penalties through errors and Yemazel capitalised, despite Justin's best efforts at saving them. It got a bit close for comfort when the score got to 4-3, with Yemazel having all the momentum. A draw was enough for them so it was far from over. They launched attack after attack but were thwarted by some of Justin's best keeping for the whole season. He dived left and made saves, he just up and made saves, he came forward and made saves. His usual one goal fumble for the match did not eventuate. Yemazel's desperate play saw them committ their 5th foul in the half, awarding us a penalty. Our regular penalty converter, Kheang, was not in good form, so Anisha stepped up to the mark and slotted the goal through. All players on the side line breathed a sigh of relief at that point as we saw the match out by holding on to the ball.

The All Hacks were through to the final. With 40 minutes to waste till the grand final, players chose to do their own thing. Jeff was getting inspiration from his ipod, while Kheang rested his injuries. Others such as Ajay, Harinder and Justin relaxed by talking. But the truly relaxed players were Anisha, Maal, Ara and myself, who chose to play some "Psychic Poker" and "Bull Shit". Anisha won "Bull Shit" for the record.

The grand final match was against ladder leaders all season, C.C. However, the All Hacks got off to a flying start. The first goal from Maal was one of the best individual goals all season. He spun around 3 players along the length of the field and calmly slotted the goal past the keeper within the first minute of play. I was also pretty happy with my rebound header goal in the first half, propelling us to a 3-0 lead. C.C regained some composure and showed why they were ladder leaders when they piled on two quick goals late in the half to make the match a tight one again.

After half time, C.C levelled the match and memories of past All Hacks losses in finals were starting to resurface. But the new All Hacks team has been made much stronger throuhg all their experiences. C.C were pushing hard but once again, Justin was in the zone and stopped all their attacking shots. He had gone from "a buffoon to a Buffon" (reference Justin). The crucial point in the game was when Jeff took a risk and timed his run forward to perfection. With C.C passing the ball around in the back half, Jeff spent his last bit of energy and intercepted a pass, and in the same flowing stride, slammed the ball into the top corner of the net. Joyous cheers erupted from the All Hacks team on the side line. The C.C supporters had been getting very loud, abusive and generally taunting us. Now we screamed back in their faces. Anisha made certain of the win by scoring three brilliant goals. Finally it was all over, the All Hacks could officially claim that they were Premiers. No dodgy buy our own trophy for making the final four, making the finals and losing or winning the "B Finals". We can now claim that we WON the division fair and square.

Trophies were given out, with a few more on order for those who didn't get theirs yet. Unfortunately, some players who have helped the All Hacks throughout the season were missing, Khar, Masum and Adrian. But the two mottos of the All Hacks team must always be kept in place or there would be chaos. The mottos are:

1. "You play, you pay" (unless you're a ring-in from another team who happened to be at the stadium waiting for or having just played your own game.)

2. "You don't play, you don't get a trophy" (so no trophies to Khar, Masum or Adrian). =( Those are the rules strictly policed by Justin, it may be cruel, but it's always fair.

It feels good to finally win, so lap up the cheers from the adoring fans while we still can. See you all next season for hopefully more glory.


Saturday, August 12, 2006

Long Island Iced Tea

Yesterday night I went to my friend Justin A's birthday bash. Happy Birthday Justin! Harinder had kindly offered to drive myself, Adrian and Justin (a different Justin) to the party, which was held at L'otel in St Kilda. The car ride there was definitely a thrilling one. Harinder was driving along when he got overtaken by a little black P plate car on a one lane road. This got on his nerves him. He decided to pull a very slick maneouver in his blue Subaru WRX. When the little black car had stopped at a red light, Harinder went to the left lane. When the lights turned green, he floored the pedal and squeezed the Subaru between the parked cars on the left side of the street and the two cars on the right on the ONE LANE road. We whizzed by so many parked cars on the left for about 5 seconds, travelling at such close proximity that I was sure the wind generated was enough to strip the paint off some of the cars. Thankfully for Harinder (and maybe all us passengers too) we squeezed past without incident. That was definitely a very thrilling experience. I compare it to being on a roller coaster, its scary but you love the speed and the potential risk.

When we got to L'otel, fashionably late even though Justin A had said not to, guess what we found - an empty bar. No one else had even arrived, except the other birthday boy that Justin A was having his party with. Some other people were waiting outside but since we were cold, we decided to walk inside. Others then followed. The birthday boy Justin A wouldn't arrive for another half hour, so we made ourselves comfy on some bar stools and got some drinks. The drinks started off more lightly with just imported beers. As the night progressed, so did the alcohol concentration of the drinks. In between Vodka, Bacardi, Baileys, more imported beer, we ordered some Long Island Iced Tea.

Previously, my friend Kin and I had planned to make these Long Island Iced Tea. We went to the liquor store but found that the total cost of getting all the ingredients was going to be very expensive. So this time, when Harinder said he wanted to try some Long Island Iced Tea, I said I would as well. We then convinced Justin and Adrian to try it too. At $15 a pop, they weren't cheap, but hey, it's not like I go out drinking every night. For your information, a Long Island Iced Tea comprises of:

1 part vodka
1 part tequila
1 part rum
1 part gin
1 part triple sec
1 1/2 parts sweet and sour mix
1 splash Coca-Cola

The drink was extremely smooth considering it contains so many types of alcohol. It tasted a little like a weird but nice type of soft drink with a splash of alcohol in it. It was only after you drink it all that you really feel it. Justin literally was wobbling and I could feel it a little as well. It's a nice drink and I would recommend you try it.

It was a fun night that got off to a slow start with everyone being late, but once people loosened up, there was jokes, laughter and dancing to some nice funky music. I can't remember much of the trip home as I fell asleep in the car only to be awoken when we were nearly home. Thanks to Harinder for driving us all home safely.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Let There Be Television

It’s day 5 into my no Internet, no TV rehabilitation. I’ve finished moving house over the weekend, and things are starting to slowly return back to normal. During the first night after the move, my sleeping arrangement consisted of a sleeping bag, a pillow, a heater and my philosophy in science books.

The house was a mess with boxes and boxes of stuff everywhere. I was really annoyed when after everything was moved, the box which I had specifically packed last since it contained items that I would need immediately had “disappeared”. My phone charger was in that box and I was panicking that I wouldn’t be able to charge my phone. Luckily, Nokia chargers are interchangeable and I used another charger. After three days of searching around, I found my box of things in the LAUNDRY cupboard of all places.

Five days later and now I also have a bed and my computer setup. When I instinctively clicked on Internet explorer when I fired up my computer, I was shocked to find that the Internet was not available. Only then did I instantly realize I would have to wait another 5-8 days for a new connection. This means I have had to upload this post from work, breaking my own rule of never blogging at work. I guess I’m not technically blogging at work since I have written this post at home. All I’m doing is just uploading my work.

Yesterday night also saw another “miracle”. Having gotten really desperate and bored with no Internet or TV, I thought I have to do something about this. After all “Necessity is the mother of Invention”. I rang up my aunty and borrowed her interior TV antenna. I connected it up and voila, I had TV. The reception wasn’t perfect but it was still good enough for me to watch my Monday night Grey’s Anatomy. Now I just have to move the TV onto the cabinet so I don’t have to sit on the floor and watch it. Hahahaha.

Things still to do to get back to the good life
*get external TV antenna hooked up
*get more phone outlets around the house for Internet and phone
*buy a wireless modem or router (still deciding which option since my modem still works fine) and setup wireless network for Internet
*get Chinese cable satellite moved from old house
*hook up the 3 VCRs, DVD player and stereo system to the TV

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Internet Addiction

As I mentioned previously, I'm going to be moving house soon. As the phone line doesn't exist yet in the new house, this may mean that I might not have internet for a few days or maybe a few weeks. Who knows?

I'm already not looking forward to having no internet. I wouldn't say I'm addicted to the internet, but I do rely on it heavily to occupy a lot of my time. That isn't to say that I have nothing else to do or want to do. I choose to surf the net because it provides so much.

I love to write on my blog and to read people's blog. I usually spend between 30 minutes to an hour reading blogs each day. It's just something that I do now. I like to read what people (who I sort of know through their blogs) have done that day. Or what their opinions are on a particular topic.

I also like to read the news on the internet. Instead of purchasing lots and lots of newspapers, I can now pick and choose which articles to read among a variety of newspapers. I think the internet has increased my awareness about news items rather than the other way round.

I also use the internet to read about interesting things. I go on forums and find outs whats new in technology or food, two of my favourite topics. I also will look up a lot of varied topics that I talked about during the day, or a link from a site that leads to another link etc. Wikipedia has been a very good site to learn a lot of things. It's so up to date and full of very interesting topics that you can learn the basics of, or more in depth by following all the various links.

Finally there is email and instant messaging. I like to send emails, ask anyone I know. I like to keep in touch with people. Just because you're far away doesn't mean you can't keep in touch with people nowadays. I also use instant messaging to talk to friends. Rather than alienate me from society, instant messaging has actually helped me to keep in touch with a lot of friends who I may see a lot less of if it wasn't for instant messaging.

I guess my fall back plan for no internet is to either go to friend's houses and use theirs for a hour or two. The other option is to eat my lunch at my desk at work and use the internet there to do the basics such as check email and blog hahahaha. Or there is option 3, which is not use the internet (*gasp* I can hear all the fellow bloggers holding their breath in shock) at all. This would probably give me more time to watch many DVDs that I own but haven't got round to watching or to finally finish my philosophy books. I'll give the no internet thing a go for a few days. If my hands start itching from no keyboard to type on, I'll be going to some friends houses to "visit" them.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Intaxification and Relocation

Intaxification (n): the feeling of euphoria that settles over you just up to the moment you realize that the refund you're getting back was your own money to start with.

I've been really busy this past week and haven't gotten round to blogging as much. Firstly it was a fairly stressful week at work for me. Usually I'm very relaxed about work, but with an approaching deadline for some work, I must admit that I did feel a bit more tense. I don't know whether it was the large amounts of chocolates I ate or the stress, but I did break out with quite a few pimples. I suspect its the stress since eating chocolates doesn't normally give me pimples. I also suspect it was the stress that drove me to eat all that chocolate in the first place. I'm usually very disciplined and will only have a small piece, but I was eating it by the handful.

In the past week, I've also been working on the new blog "I Eat Therefore I Am" and trying to get that up and running. Its quite hard to organise things when all you co-contributors aren't even in the same state or country as you. This means that emails get sent out and there's at least a one day turnaround time. In this day and age, anything where you have to wait for more than half a day feels like an eternity. I'm one of those fairly impatient people and like everything instantaneous. I send out an email, I like to receive a quick reply. I send out an sms, once again I like an even quicker reply.

This week has also been a mess since I will be moving house this Saturday. This has meant that I have had to try and change over all addresses on everything. And you know how long you have to wait to get through to an operator with the utility companies. Then instead of everything being nice and easy, they ask you to go and get meter numbers, phone line locations, turn off the electricity power etc etc. Anyway, everything is nearly done and I'm looking forward to moving into the new house.

Finally to top it all off, I did my tax this week as well, so that I could get it out of the way and pack all my documentation away ready for the house move. Doing tax is stressful enough as it is, but to have a million other things going on just increases the stress. This year I did my tax over the internet for the first time. I must admit that it was actually quite easy and fast. I would recommend it to other people to try it out. According to the program, I will hopefully be looking at a tax refund of 4 digits. This made me very happy when I lodged the form. I was overcome with "Intaxification", until reality settled in and I realised I was getting my own money back. Oh well, it was money that I had forgotten about and it's still nice to get it back. :-)