Sunday, June 12, 2011

Massive Quest of Self-Improvement

I've finally decided to start up my blog again! The reason why I haven't been posting is because of my ridiculous time management skills (read: ridiculous). Hence, one of the reasons pushing for this quest of self-improvement.

As you all know (or not really) I have Asian parents. They are typically perfect people, and they give me the Family Lecture sometimes, not because I'm not perfect, but because I'm not efficient enough I think.

Yeah, comparing myself to a machine, I'm actually rather obsessed with the idea of efficiency. It feels so good when you get twice the work done in half the time. I feel like I should be in a science-fiction movie or something just for saying that.

Anyway. Back to ridiculous time management. Before this I was pushing all my lecture revision from uni to weekend. And god knows they pile the lectures on in university. So I don't actually have time to waste and do fun/stupid/random things on the weekends. Now I'm trying to work out a system where lectures are revised on weeknight and such. See, systems engineering :D

So I also aim to be a domestic goddess. I will learn how to wash clothes until they glitter like Edward Cullen. I will learn how to cook and bake fabulous fattening things. I will learn how to make people insanely jealous of my immaculate dwellings when they visit me. Because as of now, my skills in those departments are bacteria-sized.

So, um, cooking. Being Asian, I can make fried rice and stir-fried noodles. Probably with soya sauce as the seasoning.

This is my magical elixir.

I'm going to keep observing people cooking, and help more in the kitchen. I want to be able to go beyond using soya sauce. I want to cook stuff full of love and tastiness, the type of food that lives in your stomach and makes you feel great to be alive (with a working digestive system).

See, high Asian standards there XD

Also, I have found out that I have a semi-wandering mind. Goes everywhere, gets lost a bit, then stumbles back all beat up. No more, yessirree. I'm going to start doing stuff immediately. No thinking about other stuff. I go around everywhere with a rubberband on my wrist now so I that I snap it whenever I catch myself wandering. Crazy, but it works. The easiest way to stop procrastination is to actually realise you're wasting precious seconds of your 10000-day life, from my experience.

Also I read the 8-minute rule: most household chores eg taking out the garbage, storing leftovers etc takes only about 8 minutes. That's equivalent to sleeping in for 8 minutes, or standing around waiting for everyone to get ready, or a few TV commercials. I get lots of 8-minute gaps in my day, that's perfect for doing all the stuff I think I never really have time to do (get some domestic goddess house chores out of the way).

I am the boss of my own brain, bitch.

Anyway, I will probably post from time to time documenting my shenanigans. Here's a summary for those who were too lazy to read:

"Up my efficiency, and become good housewife material."

...Not that I plan to be a housewife in the future, but yeah, food skills ok?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I May Be On To Something Here

I have realised that keeping a blog is a rather narcissistic little thing, where you just write mostly about your thoughts to the whole wide world, as if someone cares to read them. But you do it anyway, mainly because you know your blog will not reach that wide an audience, and it feels good to rant.

Or at least, that is my opinion.

But the point of this post is not narcissism, it is because I think I have finally figured out some part of what people call the "Law of Attraction". Even though I am a sciency-person who has been taught to accept, question and discover based on evidence, I am rather interested in how this works. The theory behind it is whatever you think will materialise somehow in your life. I say, the best evidence is personal experience, so give it a go and see if it works for you.

Tricky...very tricky. The Law isn't as simple as that. If I could have whatever I wanted I wouldn't have to study anymore right now. XD Therefore my explanation is this: Life's a bit of a bitch and wants you to put in effort for what you want.

Also, you cannot just keep on wishing and wishing desperately for what you want. Like when I was a kid I used to whinge a lot for what I wanted; did I get it? 95% of the time, I didn't get anything. Nada. So just like how people cannot stand you whinging, Life also can't stand you being desperate for something and will purposely not give you what you want because you just reek of self-pity. Like I said it's a bit of a bitch.

So the deal that works for me is: I can't be desperate. I should know what I want out of life (I mean, everybody has to have some sort of direction). Then, I have to make sure that I have an idea of what I have to do to achieve that, i.e. Know My Shit. I'm pretty sure it's everyone's experience that when you know your stuff and do it well, you're confident and won't spend time worrying about how you'll mess up later. Like if you're prepared for an interview, all you have to worry about is your luck in getting selected. If you're not prepared then there's really no point worrying about the luck. In short, just do what you have to do and don't worry about the probability of your thoughts or wishes materialising.

Well I did put this into practice as often as I could throughout the past 1-2 years of my life, and even though results aren't phenomenal, they're not too bad. Sometimes I was surprised that stuff I asked for came true, especially intangible things like opportunities to do something. And quite amazingly they usually came faster after I'd thought of them for a while, but decided not to sweat it and let things be natural.

I'm not sure by what mechanism this law works; it could be that it increases your confidence by forcing you to accept and confront worry, it could be that you have a sense of purpose and this makes you more alert to opportunities, but whatever it is, it works, and that's the best part, really.

Now have a go at it, whoever is reading this. If you have done so, you can post a comment below or into the cbox on the left to tell me of your experiences. If you have not and think that I am spouting nonsense, well, one try can't hurt you can it?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"Getting Used To It"

Will today's post be preachy? Will it be funny? Will it be *le gasp* SERIOUS?

I don't know, but I like building suspense. XD

So anyway, today I went for driving class. Now the instructor was real interesting cos he was supposed to teach us all about the fan belt and engine and all that sort of stuff, but he didn't. Instead, he handed me the wheel and told me to drive. I was like "Oh my god I'm so nervous what if I crash this itty bitty car or ram into a post and totally bend it?! Wait the thought of me bending metal is actually cool. OMG OMG."

So it was a manual car which means clutch, brake and accelerator. I kept messing up the clutch, didn't know when to press it halfway or fully or how to step on the accelerator properly while on the clutch, and the instructor was ,"Up clutch! No not all the way! Not so down! Feel the pedal feel the pedal oh no you've released it all the way oh great now the engine has stopped start it again please."

And I kept turning the steering wheel too much, I blame those PS2 Underground racing games I used to play. I always twisted the car too much, but then at least I didn't have the prospect of death or injury to worry about. I mean the worst thing that could happen was that I would lose the race. @_@

All in all I went ten rounds around the track and it was loads better after that. I actually had fun! I kept imagining Spock driving though, I don't know why. And how he'd have that poker face of his on. I hope that expression didn't end up on my face, when I get nervous my facial muscles become stupid and freeze there.

Actually, I do think I looked somewhat like this, gah.

The instructor told me, "You see, don't be nervous, otherwise it's just giving yourself stupidity in advance befor you actually do anything. When people say things like that a little light bulb goes off in my brain and I have this moment of epiphany and confidence where I say "OH YES THAT MAKES LOGICAL SENSE."

So I thought about it, and yeah, many times we are scared of new things simply because we have had no prior exposure to it. It takes getting used to, and then we don't feel that it's scary anymore. If anything, it becomes routine, and we become better and better at it.

I think most technical skills are like that--you HAVE to repeat them to learn them well. I like doing things with my hands, so that involves driving and also drawing right now. Geesh, it takes me forever to realise this sort of epic truth to life. Had I known/realised this earlier, I wouldn't have sweated so much about my violin (which basically involves a lot of technical skill) and instead put more patience into repeating movements until I got it right. I didn't have so much patience though, so I actually griped a lot and nearly burnt the instrument on a few occassions.

"Son, I am disappoint." (which is what my dad would say if my family were Vulcans and if I was actually a guy.)

So anyway more thoughts on this drawing thing. If you also draw, do tell me, what gets you drawing? What makes you want to improve?

For me, it's this sort of thing where I usually measure myself against other people's standards (WHICH IS NOT A WISE THING TO DO SO DON'T DO IT) Unfortunately this results in me feeling that my art is "not good enough" so I usually don't draw much, which is counterproductive. =.=

But after a while I figured that measuring myself against other people usually ends up in me measuring against my previous standards because what this means is that I want to surpass my previous level of drawing. So in reality I am measuring against myself. And that is a better form of encouragement because it makes me do things like draw a human body everyday, with reference to muscles and figuring out where they go on skeletons and stuff.

I used to hate learning all the muscle systems and stuff, but now it makes more sense to me because I see how they give the human body its form. That small logical part of my brain appreciates it too. So basically I'm just repeating and repeating those forms everyday. It's a small step, but a step nonetheless. Like I said this is technical, so it has to be done many times. In other words, practice~

Enjoy your day. =)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Because I Needed to Talk to Someone and the Internet Was My Best Bet

Hermitty life. I swear, I'm a bit of a hermit. Ever since my holidays started I've been spamming myself with drawing. I don't go out much, maybe except to swim and take photos of random caterpillars eating my father's plants. O_o

My art life has become rather active lately. =) I'm almost filling up my sketchbook which I started drawing in 2008, and I've finally discovered the powerful tool that is...


I was rather stupid last time when I used to draw because I never used reference (I don't know why, was it some foolish pride?) so I hate all my drawings from that time, they look rather spsastic at times haha.

I'm sorry, this IS going to be a ramble about my relationship with art.

Then I realised there's no shame in using reference (heck, almost everyone uses it) and I became addicted to reference images. I visit for most of them... Deviantart has some pretty nice ones too.

I also recently purchased a book on drawing anatomy. It's wonderfully detailed and includes all muscle groups and the drawings are oh-so-pretty. I'm not sure if I want to go that much into detail just yet, I just want to make figures look convincing, y'know? And I'm staying true to this rule:

"The human body is NOT made up of straight lines!" (This is one rule I have broken quite a lot of times)

This guy breaks this rule all the time.
This is excruciating detail.

The guy writing the anatomy book, Peter M. Simpson, said that it's way better to draw figures from a skeleton than to use blocks and cylinders. That's cos with a skeleton you know where the muslces are attached to and so you can add appropriate bulk to your figures. It's not the same with cylinders because like I mentioned, the human body isn't made up of straight lines.

After I read that I thought, "Well there goes 5 years of drawing technique out the window." So basically I'm trying to make the transition to skeletons now, it's actually quite helpful though I can't for the life of me figure out where muscles go.

As I spend more time with my pencil and paper I realise that there is a lot about art which I can't do yet (Pretty backgrounds, foreshortening, beautiful colouring) and wow, it's overwhelming. I don't think I'll get that serious about art, but anyway I'll probably do it one step at a time. Well with the very small steps I'm taking I'll probably become decent in maybe in 15-20 years' time. XD

I've also met two entities which are the bane of my existence: hands, and couple sketches. Can't draw them to save my life. I end up laughing at myself. You know how Nelson laughs at Bart in the Simpsons? Yeah. I'm Nelson, then I'm Bart. : D
And drawings of couples? Immensely awkward for me to attempt. I end up giving them ridiculous expressions that look more comical than anything else. Just can't take them seriously. But since the best way to overcome your fears is to face them head-on, I'm spamming my sketchbook with a lot of hand dawings and the occasional couple bit (I still can't draw too many without laughing).

And the reason for wanting to draw couples? It's cos I'm a girl and I see stuff through a special mushy lens sometimes and cannot resist making cute little sketches of people being happy together in their own little world DAMNIT.

All in all, art is slowly becoming a more central part of my life, and I appreciate that very much. I don't know how far I want to go in terms of technical skill (like a professional illustrator, that's pretty far), but hopefully much further than now. Definitely

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Father-Daughter Bonding, Star Trek Style!

My father is quite an...odd man. Oh, I mean odd in a good way, the interesting kind of odd.

Today he realised that I had two science experiment planning papers to go next week, so he asked me and my sister in the car, "How would you get rid of birds in an area so that they won't poop on the cars parked under the trees? And don't kill them."

Well it was after dinner and my brain wasn't functioning, so I was practically just going "Uhmmmm..."

And this, my friends, is the problem.

Then my dad went into this impassioned speech about how this was just like an experiment.

"Point 1, you observe. When do the birds come? Do they nest? What do they do? What is the volume of excreta they pump out? What effect does this have on the urban people?"

"Point 2, you analyse. Look up some literature. Do the birds like only one type of tree? What do they eat? What drives them away?"

"Point 3, you do what you have to do. See, crows don't like ultrasonic sounds, so just build an ultrasonic device and play it during the evenings when they come. Easy, dude, easy."

I didn't know what to say, so I just nodded enthusiastically and said, "Yeah!" My dad picked a very strange point to illustrate a concept...

Then after that he went into another speech of why science is so important, and how it's based on Logic! and how Logic! underpins the mechanics of science and how you must always think Logically!

"Science is the mecahnics of this world, and art is its colour!" Ah, he was really on a roll now.

Well since he was in full Logic! mode I couldn't resist saying, "Quite Vulcan of you, eh, dad."

And he said, "Yes! I'm going all Mr. Spock on you now. You see, why did they put a Vulcan on the Enterprise? Human beings have all the science and technology and yet there are still problems. The Vulcan on the ship was laughing at them, damnit."

I remembered Spock and Bones used to insult each other all the time and I was like "OMG YES."

"And who created the Vulcan?"

"The producer of the show, Gene Rodenderry?"

"Yes, that's why Star Trek's interesting! It's like a human looking at human behaviour from a different perspective."


And because I was pretty much hyped from then on, I mentioned casually, "Oh, and doesn't Bones hate the transporter?"

"Yeah, he doesn't want to disintegrate and then reintegrate into something else."

That really brought out the geek/nerd in me. I remembered reading something about teleporting stuff. You had to take the properties of all the atoms, and then transfer it to an intermediate series of particles before transferring it to atoms at your desired location again. Something like that. Apparently scientists at Vienna have successfully transferred photons in this way under a river from one side to the other, pretty cool stuff.  <<--Here's the link to the Vienna article.

So the only thing I could do was think, "OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M DISCUSSING STAR TREK PHYSICS WITH DAD."

And then my dad recommended this horror sci-fi movie called "The Fly" about a guy who tries to teleport himself this way, but a fly got into the machine and their DNA mixed so the guy became a fly-mutant thing. I'm going to watch it, just for the sake of old sci-fi.

My father concluded with this sentence, "And that's why you should always remember Mr. Spock. It's Logic! It helps you get by." I swear my dad is a secret Spock fan, he just makes it look like I'm the only one in the family who likes that pointy-eared hobgoblin.

...But now that's not a secret any more. O_o

I think if my dad and I were in Star Trek he'd be some wiseass Romulan (they're like Vulcans, but only more emotional) and I'd be some weird little Vulcan kid who tags along and asks him stuff all the time.

Tonight was a major geeky-nerdy moment. Seriously. So to balance things out, I'm going to say "Grey's Anatomy was good! Aww Christina and Owen got married!"

You see, I'm making a reference to a popular TV show here, so I am maintaining what little street cred I have. =D

Have a pleasant journey in your part of the space-time continuum! (aka, your Life.)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Old People.

Today's post is going to be a little...sentimental? Yes, perhaps that's the word. well, my dad invited some of his friends and a real special guest over to our house for dinner today. That guest was his ex-headmaster, when he was at primary school. So yeah, he's quite old now, in his 80's.

He's a Christian brother so we call him Brother Harold. He's Australian but doesn't reside there. He came to Malaysia to meet up with his students, and so...that's how he wound up at our house.

For an old dude, he's sure cheery. I had this snippet of a conversation with him:

Me: Well, at least Australia isn't as cold as the UK.
Brother H: Ohh, but English people are nice. Walk into a shop and they say, "Hi, how may I help you, love?" Well, no one calls me 'love' in Australia!

He's very alert. Apparently he still insists on planting his own vegetables for consumption. And when he got a bit breathless, he asked my dad "Why is this happening to me? It's never happened before."

My dad said the polite equivalent of "Dude, you're 80-something..." and the Brother just laughed. I had a chance to talk to him and I found myself laughing so much because he kept cracking little jokes. At first I was apprehensive because I don't really have elderly people as friends (well it was more because I'm just nervous making conversation with unknown people) but it was real nice talking to him.

You could tell that he had led one of those full, satisfying lives, because he was so genial overall, and also because practically all his ex-students asked him over for dinner as well. =)

*Sigh* I don't know, I think old people are quite interesting, mainly because they have so much life experience. Perhaps it's because they know that they are nearing the end of life, but they seem to live more in the present instead of worrying about the past or future. They're generally more relaxed and have a better senese of humour I think. Brother Harold is just the kind of old person I want to be when I'm old. =P

Ohh a Famous Old Person I want to meet is   

Leonard Nimoy! The original Mr. Spock.

I'm not really sure of his personality and stuff, but from the snippets of actual things he's said and what he's said in interviews, I think that conversation with him would be really interesting. Fascinating, as Spock would put it.

Oh, he's had stomach surgery recently! And this is what he had to say:

I'm telling you, old people have a sense of humour.

And in case you don't know what LLAP is, it's "Live Long And Prosper". Lol it sounds kinda like what Chinese grandparents would say. Longevity and wealth...two things essential to Chinese well-wishing.

So go out and appreciate an old person today!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lucky Shirt? Lucky Shirt.

So today I had my Bio and Maths paper 3 exams. Double whammy, dudes. However, I came psychologically prepared because I had my lucky shirt on. *Ahem* here it is!
Heh. I know. Look it's cartoon Spock! Just the kind of shirt I'd consider lucky. Well, it is lucky, because I thought I'd never be able to find a Star Trek T-shirt in Malaysia. (There is a depressing lack of Trekkies here...)

But believe it or not, while my sister was stalking fashion trends on the Internet, she actually found some Malaysian girl wearing this shirt. Turns out Pull and Bear was selling them, so I hopped over to get one. Literally. I think I was skipping down the mall after I'd bought it.

Anyway, about being psychologically prepared. I think I've been pretty much eating and drinking my Bio and Maths papers for the past one week's preparation, and I was still nervous. But wearing this shirt just made me feel Like I could take on anything. I don't know, maybe it's just because Star Trek works as anti-depressants for me or something.

And I suppose when you have a serious-looking Spock plastered over your front in a quiet exam hall, you kind of concentrate and try to be logical as well. So I think I did alright, concentrating and answering all the questions. I felt...peaceful? Yeah, quite serene actually. (Was I meditating?!!)

My football-crazy friend came in a Manchester United jersey, and my eco-friendly friend came in a green shirt. So I guess a lucky shirt isn't lucky because it has magical powers, it's lucky because you like it and it calms you down. It kind of reassures you that you can even answer weird questions if you just tweak your brain to think sensibly.

Hmm I think this luckiness doesn't just apply to clothing, it applies to anything that lands you in a relaxed and peaceful state of mind. I'd been drawing when I took study breaks, and that really helped because I happen to like doing it. It's good to have a hobby, mmhmm.

For today, I'd suggest to readers to really find out what totally relaxes you and puts you in that meditating sort of mind. It should be something that you can keep coming back to, and something that you really enjoy doing. Perhaps it's these little things that keep human beings sane.

Farewell, internet! Gonna draw something fluffy now.