Sunday, 31 January 2010

#31: Such Great Heights.

The problem with always reaching for that ever-greater adrenaline rush, like any addiction - is that you build up a tolerance. What would've given you ridiculous buzz a few years ago might only spout a shruggy 'meh...' today.

And so, rollercoasters just don't generate that 'whoop whoop' in the stomach anymore. I guess it hasn't since Cousin Albert and I sat on the rollercoaster at Ocean Park discussing Buffy during the loops. It's a shame, coz I live for the whoop.

From bungee jumps comes the next logical step: skydiving. And as soon as they make spacediving a reality - you know I'm gonna be all over that. Even if it does happen when I'm 142yrs old.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

#30: Everybody Remembers Their First Time...

Took The Marshmallow to her first ever clubbing experience tonite. That nervousness of whether you're wearing the right clothes, the worry of if you think you'll get let in with your trainers, the shock of the sheer number of sweaty tipsy people in one place, the bemusement at the decor, the wonder of the podium dancers.

I had almost forgotten that going to a club is quite the rite of passage for those who have never been. Bloody hell, it's been over a deca.. only a few years since I was going through those very same worries with old Cousin Bich. And look at Bich now. Heh.

For her first time, The Marshmallow did really well. If we didn't have to get up early the next day, she'd be doing the full two-step shuffle by the end of the nite. Babysteps!

Friday, 29 January 2010

#29: It Is The World That Has Been Pulled Over Your Eyes

Went through the day mostly much on autopilot. Can hardly remember any of the human interactions I had, I think. I must have. Even more odd that it also felt like I had a pretty productive day.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

#28: But It's A Whole Extra Mouseclick Away! (><)

At the moment, the only way I'm keeping up with my lil numbering system is by looking at the date on the calendar. Getting kinda nervous - coz past the 31st, I'm gonna have to start remembering what number my last entry was. I might even have to click onto the main page of my blog to look it up.

Argh! The Hassle!

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

#27: Next Week: Rigidity!

To demonstrate the meaning of the work "Awkward" today, I told my students to close their eyes and imagine walking into their parents bedroom while they were having sex. What they're feeling now is only partially awkward, to get the feeling more distinctly - I told them to then imagine sitting at dinner later that same night and trying to look them in the eyes.

This process is known as "Guided Discovery", it's my favourite style. (^^)

I lost my watch yesterday. I worked out that it must have slipped off while I was riding my bike home. It was a birthday present from my mum from I turned 21. It was engraved. None of the shops I'd been to in the time in between had had any lost property handed in. I also learned that I find it really difficult to pronounce "watch" properly in Mandarin. Crap.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

#26: Split Personality

I can't chat online or write an email while watching a video at the same time, I have to pause the video everytime I want to type something. Though it's not so surprising that I'm a really awful multi-tasker. I am male after all - awesome focus in pursuit of a single goal, falls apart completely upon interruption by something cool and shiny. Like a new robot toaster from Japan.

There are only two things that I know of that I can do simultaneously while dividing my attention on something else. One is code. The other is gaming.

Does that mean I play like a girl?!

Monday, 25 January 2010

#25: There's Gotta An Analogy In There Somewhere

If you're at the front of the pack, you're driving too slow.

If you're stuck in the middle, you're not trying hard enough.

If you're stuck at the back, you're wondering if it was even worth battling your way to and out the front of the previous pack.

Then you remember those few sweet sweet miles of most blissful open road.

Of course it was worth it, init. (^^)

Sunday, 24 January 2010

#24: Ad Infinitum

I was born to make, tinker and poke. From my LEGO and BRIO sets when I was lil, to my engineering degree, to my hobby projects, it's my calling; It's what I do best.

There is however, a reason why I don't have a more tinkery, pokey main career. Yet.

I was also born obsessively single minded. It's great. Once I have my mind fixated on a project, it's all I will think about, whether I'd like to or not, conscious or not. That's it, I will eat, sleep, drink the project no matter what I'm actually supposed to be doing.

The logic goes like this:

If there's a problem in the project, you don't wanna stop until you've figured out a solution. Even if you're taking a break, you'll wanna be close by in case the answer comes to you in the middle of your bubble bath.

If you're making progress on the project, then you're on a roll! You don't wanna stop now!

Oh and I'm also absent minded. Any breakthroughs I come up with while on the toilet will have to be immediately implemented lest I forget it later...

Where do you think I'm typing this entry right now?

Saturday, 23 January 2010

#23: What A Difference The Right Teacher Makes

On a recommendation from a friend, and in order to make up the difference in my ongoing battle with waking up in time for a just-too-damn-early-10am-Chinese-group-classes, I hired a private tutor for the weekends.

In an hour, she was able to explain concepts that two different teachers and two semesters of Chinese group classes were not able to make clear in six months...

Feels good to catch your mistakes in approach early on in the game init... (^^)

Friday, 22 January 2010

#22: Harmonics

The problem with having a body that operates on a 30hr cycle is that every coupla months, you'll find yourself sleeping at 10am and waking at 2pm. While incredibly productive in terms of catching up on my reading list - it plays havoc on summarising the day in a few lines when 12am is just lunchtime to me...

Thursday, 21 January 2010

#21: Duck!

Today, I had to review the past simple and past continuous tenses in narrative form to a bunch 12yr olds who've already done this subject a billion times over. Right before the lesson started, I thought "Screw It" and did a paper airplane competition with them instead. Managed to wrangle some kinda educational context outta it by letting the winners decide the flow of narratives.

Ended up being one of our most productive lessons ever. Go figure.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

#20: The Sinister Enlightenment.

Riding home from work today I made a bit of a discovery - my left bumcheek actually sits a little further forward than my right bumcheek. I have an asymmetrical arse.

This revelation about my wonky bottom might go some ways to explaining why I can't ride a bike with no hands, why I'm right-footed, but left-handed, but right-eye dominant. I'll shoot right-handed, but I'd hold a guitar upside-down.

Actually, is my derrière debalanced because I'm left-handed, or am I left-handed because of my crooked bum?

This one is gonna stick with me, I can tell.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

#19: It's Just So.

You take two slices of bread, brown or white, both work fine, but will have very different results. You make both, opinion is gained through experience.

You spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on both pieces, not too thick, just enough to coat the entire surface. You make sure its real mayo, not that QP salad cream stuff they try to sell in Japan.

You take some ham, and lay it on top of one of the pieces of bread. You take a butter knife and hold it over the mustard jar (gotta be Coleman's English) pointing straight down. In one fluid and swift motion you move the knife straight down a third of a jar length and straight back up and out again. The perfect amount of mustard. You spread the mustard directly on the ham, again making sure the coats are even.

You take two to three slices of tomato, cut two to three millimetres thick, and lay them on the other slice of bread. You peel the ham off the other slice of bread and lay it on the tomato, mustard side up. This is important.

You take two leaves of washed lettuce, still damp, lay them on the mustard. You take some cheese, and lay it on top of the lettuce. Again, grated, sliced or processed work just as well as each other. You remember to try them all in future.

You take the final, lone slice of bread and lay it on top of all.

You place the whole shebang in a flat-surfaced panini toaster. You heat the piece just enough - the bread is lightly toasted, but still soft on the inside. The cheese is melted to fuse the bread to the lettuce, but not that it breaks surface tension and becomes runny.

You close your eyes. You take a bite.

Monday, 18 January 2010

#18: Lucky Lucky

I have a private student who tells me that though her work is stressful, she loves her job and she enjoys what she does. I asked her what she thought of her boss and she said that he was a smart and good boss. I told her she was one of the lucky ones who's only worry, was the actual work they were doing at their workplace.

There's a reason why my Starbucks job was my favourite workplace for a time and why I've been able to do this job for so long. After all - a job is just as much about the people you work with, as it is about the work and the money you're making.

Unless you're getting paid obscene amounts that is; then a whole different set of rules apply...

Sunday, 17 January 2010

#17: Just Call Me Jack.

I speak to my father in Cantonese, my mother in Hakka, my sister in English, my girlfriend in Mandarin (almost, kinda, a bit) and my computer in clicks and bytes.

Yet I am proficient in none. Dagnabbit.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

#16: Any Excuse Really.

I've noticed that when I ride around town with the flow, keeping speed with the rest of traffic, being the good responsible road user that I am - there seems to be a lot more close calls happening around me. More cars will pull out suddenly, taxi's will cut across lanes, I'll find myself rubbing handlebars with the bikes next door, jostling for position.

This doesn't happen when I ride at my usual pace - still good and responsible, just a bit quicker, a bit more alert, a bit more ahead of the pack, getting the lines around the buses, making use of the alleys and pavements around the lights. You're never in one place long enough for an accident to happen. All the times I've ever fallen off my bike happened at low speeds after all...

Moral of the story? Erm, the only one I have for now is:
Slow = Stressful and Dangerous. Quick = A Much Better Wakeup Buzz Than Coffee.

Ahh, such a great role model. =)

Friday, 15 January 2010

#15: ¡Ándale!

Been quite the week for decisions...

- I will leave Taiwan at the end of August/beginning of September.
- I'm switching the final leg of my travels from Korea to South America, a tossup between Peru or Argentina.

Now that they are written down. Now I have to do them.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

#14: Bliss

I have two kids classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The first class is basically a bitch. They're not all bad, but generally the worst ones love to perform that subtle form of psychological bullying that as a teacher, the most you can do is to stop it when you spot it - but tricky to do without disrupting the class too much/showing favouritism/taking too much dignity away from the victims. There's a ridiculous and surprising amount of politics that go on in that particular elementary-level classroom. Generally, I need every minute of the 2hr session just to be able to get the minimum of the set course done.

The second class, in contrast, takes all that frustration from the first class and just fly-kicks it out the window. They'll talkback to the teacher as well, but its all in cheek and playfulness and in the end - they always listen and find themselves having fun without the spite. By the time I get to the end of the 90minute session of this class - I'm surrounded by laughter and lit up smiles and I'm loving my job again.

The age range of the first class is around 9-12yrs old, the second class goes from 7-11yrs. The only real differences between them are their maturity and their levels of ability - the older class is several grades ahead of the younger class. Intellectually - both classes are just as smart as each other. If the second class had been exposed to English just a few years earlier - they would easily be a match for the first class.

But then again, maybe then they would have also lost that sense of innocence that allows them to have fun without the need to put down fellow students at every opportunity.

Though another opportunity to be able to put some serious foot to arse towards the future of our generation makes my job just that lil bit more fun. ^^

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

#13: Esoterics

I find it incredibly amusing that my netbook, a watered-down-budget-minded-highly-portable version of a standard laptop - actually has a higher res screen, double the RAM, triple the hard drive, triple the battery life, a whole extra cpu core, half the price, half the size and half the weight of my 5yr old desktop-replacement-built-like-a-brick-workhorse-powerhouse-laptop.

I also find the backs of TV's so much more enthralling than the fronts of them. I know I'm not alone in this, there are those who know exactly what I'm talking about. All them colour codes, propriety shapes, gold hints (if you're lucky), just waiting to be filled, connected, utilised. Yum.


Tuesday, 12 January 2010

#12: I've also been known to on occasion tap into "The Sight"

I'm not one to remember my dreams, they usually fade as quickly as it takes for me to realise that I'm late for whatever I've overslept for. However this one, stuck with me all day today:

Last night, I dreamed that Obama asked if he could come bungee jumping with me.

Monday, 11 January 2010

#11: We Be Vibin'

There are people in the world who will meet up and become instant friends, regardless of race, background, interests or culture. They can be complete opposites in terms of tastes, and yet have the connection that will enable them to get on like flaming houses.

There are people who should in theory be BFF-soulmated-bro's-for-life-connectitudedidisms, and yet struggle to keep a single conversation going.

Attitudes and common interests go a long way, but are never any guarantees... otherwise matchmaking sites and speed-dating might be even more lucrative than we give them credit for.

If they ever figure out the discombobulation that is the human connection, Chaos Theory will be a cinch.

...actually, I just wanted to use the word 'discombobulation'. =)

Sunday, 10 January 2010

#10: Boys Day Out.

Today the rains parted right on cue at 8am to give us a swish mountain bike ride with a buncha mates. The afternoon continued on to the go kart track to crack that eternal 28second barrier. Just. Half. A Second. More. Then, in the evening, a chilled out BBQ with the biggest bottle of sake you'll have ever seen.

All in all a great day out with the boys.

Some weekends just fall into place. And that, is always worth a toast. =)

Saturday, 9 January 2010

#9: Thrillseeker

When I was a wee lil'un I was the most timid kid in the world, everything frightened me. I'd cry at the slightest poke, overcompensate to embarrassment and I'd never, ever, wanna try anything new.

I can mark the exact point that kicked off the process where I would eventually go from runner, to chaser.

Thorpe Park, 1997.
My 12yr old Cousin Albert wanted to go on the Loggers Leap ride, my 16yr old self didn't. It was a bloody scary ride! You'd fall from great height! You'd get that scary 'whoosh' feeling in your tummy! You'd get wet!

Aunty Jackie then said to me, "If Albert can do it, why can't you?!"

And that was the mental snap. I never did have a good reason, I was just being scared coz people told me it was scary. So since then, this question spread to the rest of my mentality. Up to the point where I now wish I knew how to make other frightened people understand; how simple it actually was, to switch the perspective.

Oh wait, I just realised... I think I'm still overcompensating. Heh. =/

The trick is - to Overcompensate Positive. Waste nothing!

Friday, 8 January 2010

#8: This Will Be Brief.

Last week's roadtrip meant I left my laundry rotation a lil longer than usual this time - meant that I went down to my final pair of undies today. Now, normally laundry day falls on a Saturday or Sunday where I would happily... gleefully even... Go Commando... (Hanging out with friends will sometimes have multiple layers of meaning (^^)

However, when your list of students include one which has been nicknamed The Crotch Nuzzler, Going Commando is essentially not the best option within the given circumstances.

Therefore, I had to don my backup briefs for the first time in what must have been years. Always worth keeping a pair of briefs around in case of emergencies just as these, also useful for when you need to ride a horse at some point during the day.

Being normally a boxers guy, today I was once more reminded of what it feels to like have the hand of oppression cupping my very free liberties, very tightly.

Power to the people, my friends. Power to the people.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

#7: The Full Spectrum

Just like how it's impossible to fully grasp the true meaning of the word "relief" until you've experienced the end of a 20hr flight, that has had blocked toilets. And so - especially today - you never realise just how lucky we are to be freely breathing outta both nostrils, until you have had to go through a workday with a bipolar nose, one that can't decide whether it wants to be blocked or runny.



Wednesday, 6 January 2010

#6: Connectivity

Today I was able to talk one of my students down from crying fits because he'd got a particularly low mark in his final test. It reminded me a lot of how one time I was able to talk my lil brother down from a raging tantrum by doing much the same thing - I just sat in front of them and tried to show that I understood just what they were thinking and worried about.

Never thought having the mentality of a 9yr old would come in so useful so many times.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

#5: Rush Hitch Rush

I have to admit; I live a pretty good life - I'm almost completely self-sufficient, I always seem to be surrounded by wonderful friends wherever I happen to be, I have an incredible family, extended and all and I have near total freedom in the things that I want to do.

Yet at the same time, I have almost zero financial security, no sense of cultural identity and I'm working in a job that while enjoyable, definitely won't be the one that sustains me for the rest of my life.

Still wouldn't have it any other way though. (^^)v

When I think about my Dad's life when he was how old I am now - the man was already married for 3 years, had a son of 2 years and another brat on the way in 6 months. He was working in an accountancy firm in which he would eventually take over and call his own, he had his own car and his own house. He had what most would call; a Real Grown Up Life. When he was my age now.

Right now, I am in no way anywhere near that magical level of maturity.

However, I'm seeing that more and more of my peers are. I'm at that age where it seems like my friends are all rushing out getting married and popping out babies and mortgages. When I ask them why they want to get married [from what I think is] so young... The most common reply seems to be so that they won't be too old to play with their kids, so that they can get started on their savings, settling down, etc... so that they can have the chance to retire early and comfortably...

To me, that always seems like thinking about the destination without considering the journey.

Sure, you can always take a plane and fly from point A to point B, most people do, and their lives are certainly no less happier from doing so. But drive and take the scenic route, you get to see things you never expected to see, experience the unexpected, savour new flavours, really take in the views, tackle the mountain roads, sweep the coastal highways. You might take a little longer, you might be more tired, haggard and even missing a few limbs at the other end. But it'd be hard to deny that you didn't learn a lil bit about yourself getting there.

I'm in no rush to get through my life...
- My Grandad taught me that you're Never Ever Too Young to play with your kids.
- The economy has taught me that the safest place to put your savings is down the back of your sofa.
- The homes of every retired person I have ever visited tend to smell a little strange, and in some cases, have this intense atmosphere of latent/desperate boredom. Yum.
- The attitudes of every self-made millionaire I have ever known teaches me that whatever career I settle on, had better be something I truly love doing. And once that happens - I'll not want to retire anyway.

And that's the point - It is said that you shouldn't work in a job that makes you look forward to the weekend - I want to find that something that makes me never want to look forward to retiring. It might take me a while, I might never find it, but I'm damn sure going to make sure I have fun trying.

I might not be as perceptably as far in life as my Dad was when he was my age.

But you know what?

The person who has probably supported me the most in all my adventures, who has never pressured me into heading back to England anytime soon, who made me feel the most at ease about leaving everything behind back when I first started. Whether or not he knew he was doing it at all.

That person was my Dad.

[Dammit! These entries are supposed to brief lil' nuggets... WIP.]

Monday, 4 January 2010

#4: Mondays. Eeeee!

The aim of these posts is not to write about what's on my mind in general, thats what tweets and diaries are for. But more about what, if anything, I've come to conclusion of by the end of that particular day.

At the end of today? The Christmas / New Years madness is over. Holy crap I haven't even thought about what happens after that.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

#3: On The Subject of Three's...

...while this is my first NEW New Years Resolution - this would actually be my third resolution for this year. The first 2 are rollovers from previous years.

The second one, is to go (back) to the gym... again... this one is occasionally successful... occasionally.

The first one, is to stay alive. This one seems to be a bit more successful. Thank goodness for that.


In the case where I might be at the end of the day where I'm without -shock, horror- an internet connection... I'm just gonna write these lil entries onto whatever's available - my phone, a napkin, anything - and stick'em up with backdated entries next chance I get.

Kinda like I have with these first 3 entries. Coz I was in Hualien. Great roadtrip by the way. Goddamn I love driving on mountain roads. Hmm, this was a bit more than "at least one sentence".

Saturday, 2 January 2010

#2: Blittering...

So here's my New Years resolution for 2010: I'm gonna try and write at least one line every day, for as long as I can keep it up. It can be about anything I like, it's my blog after all, as long as I keep writing something at least once a day.

I figure since it takes me so much effort to write up actual entries (hell yea it does!) while at the same time I seem to be a able tweet nonsensicals pretty easily... this should be a good in-betweener.

Not quite tweeting, not quite blogging. This would be the second entry.

Friday, 1 January 2010

#1: The First One

First day of a new decade. Gonna try a cue from an old classic and try a new style of blogging. This would be the first entry.