Archive for August, 2008

Atlas… Shrugged

Ayn Rand’s philosophy is often criticized by academics from what I’ve heard (which means I spent 10 minutes on wikipedia), but I am reading Atlas Shrugged now, and what many think is her magnum opus offers many logical answers to questions I have been asking myself (and people around me, though I can’t say they’ve been interested in answering) the past few years. Even if her Objectivism is not a sound philosophical system as many critics contend (of which I can’t offer any educated opinion), I feel that there’s many things to learn from her words, and each page I turn brings me closer to an affirmation and a general conclusion of certain issues in my life that needed resolving, even encompassing awkward areas like relationships, friendships and family.

I like reading her novels so much because most of all, they speak about the promise and the potential of Man (and of course woman lah)… Though all her fictional works are set in gloomy, depressing depictions of the US and a generally sad and depressing world I think the underlying message in her novels are always filled with positive vibes… ;) A much better self-help book than all those phony marketing pieces of crap filling up bookshelves in bookstores with big fancy glittery lettering but which are full of NONSENSE!

And I heard there’s a 2009 Atlas Shrugged movie in the works, with Angelina Jolie as Dagny Taggart… With movies as it is nowadays, I sure hope it beats the 1949 Fountainhead movie (which was rather crap to me)

Finally, I always wondered what’s with the weird nonsensical title “Atlas Shrugged”. Halfway into the book I finally understood. Not Atlas as in a book of maps, but Atlas as in the giant of Greek mythology.. sheesh. Clears things up quite a bit.


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Movin’ On…

So I’m officially not studying for the coming 13 months. It’s back to the books September 2009, but for now.. it’s a pretty great feeling to have something else to look forward to for a change. I enjoy studyin; I enjoy university, but a year out is definitely a welcome break after the past 4 years…

Anyway I’m currently in London, the 3rd time I’ve been here in the last 7 months. Without a home and without a job, I thought this was a good enough place as any to bum around while looking for something productive to do. I have mixed feelings about this city – I don’t deny its greatness, and there is that special something that makes London what it is, but all the same I don’t worship it. So…

All the work from the people who went to Belgium. I spent most of the two weeks in Glasgow in the university computer lab actually, which was kinda sad, but it was not too bad. The 3rd year class is huge, I only had like a couple of friends before I left for Belgium; the two weeks in the lab gave me a chance to get to know some of the other people who were finishing stuff for either their own resits or the same review that I had. Typically me (as was in Taylor’s), I also got to know the security guard pretty well =.= as i had to get him to open the doors every night when I was ready to leave (I’m locked in after 9pm). Sometimes when he was not doing his rounds he’ll come and join me in the computer lab surfing the net; I had the feeling that was his secret hobby. Hahah.

The review and the preceding view from abroad presentation was pretty fun. It’s always nice when the review is more a “let’s have a chat about your airport project” rather then those stern gloomy types. After a minute it really felt like I was merely talking about my work with an old friend whom I haven’t seen in some time. Or it might have been the tutor, whom I have had before and was really nice too in the previous reviews. Even during the last one when I was so damn lazy and did badly. Come to think of it, that may be precisely the reason… I’m the sort of lazy bum that needs constant prodding and pushing. How sad.

A week before Hansel left i went to find him for a drink and having the similar ehem.. dietary inclinations we soon ended up talking about nothing but Belgium’s most famous drink and Amsterdam. I also had my first ever taste of single-malt whisky and oh boy… that was definitely something special! That signified the end of the good ol’ alcohol-guzzling days of the past…. I’m a changed person now with better taste ;)

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I should do this


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“It’s a race against time” whether the global economy ends up in a recession, Gilles Moëc, an economist at Bank of America in London, said

“Everything depends on oil,” Mr. Moëc added.


yes even my chances of getting a job!! am feeling the effects of economic recession even though I haven’t even become a member of the workforce.

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It’s hard to believe that a butterfly flapping its wings somewhere can cause a tornado somewhere else, but that’s the butterfly effect for you and one should not ignore the obvious consequences. There’s no use crying over split milk, but it’s stupid to buy more milk and spill them too.

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In geography it means some flat piece of land that’s higher than land surrounding it. Gym-goers and bodybuilders all know it. What am i talking about? The word plateau of course. This post is inspired by the plateau I have been wandering about on the past couple months, and from another aspect, the entire past year.

I think the existence of this plateau crap is underrated and underestimated, especially in its mental aspect. Talk to many parents and they might tell you “doesn’t matter which university you go to, as long as you have the will to learn, you’ll learn it”. For certain subjects that might hold true to a certain extent, but it’s so easy to underestimate how vital, how terribly important to yourself that your university really is. And by that i mean the lecturers that teach you.

Life is a great big wild mountain range and university is your journey climbing them. No matter how good of a mountain climber you are, how fit and ready you are for a good ol’ climb, it doesn’t make shit difference if your guide doesn’t know the way up and you get stranded on the first few plateaus. The alternative? spend twice or thrice the time to find the way up yourself, an endeavor where you may or may not succeed. Sometimes it’s also not so much about how high you can go; but for survival – A good guide can mean the difference between life and death. If you invest in a good guide you might scale great heights all the sooner and spend the rest of your life living on such great heights.

Don’t fall down and die though.

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Two days before we left we went to visit Johannes’ house in Merendree, a village off the town of Landegem. As usual, it was something we talked about since April but only happened in the very last week. I told you about (both) our attitudes. Johannes and his mom prepared a dinner, which was of course a traditional Flemish meal. Vlaamse Stoverij (Flemish beef stew cooked in beer), Vlaamse Friten (Flemish Fries) and salad. And the requisite glass(es) of chardonnay.

Like many rural houses in East Flanders, the house is both old and huge.

Workshop + garden. Yup that’s not even the house yet.

Vegetable Garden with lots of stuff. Herbs, Apples, assorted cherries and berries and I don’t know what else.

Some lake STILL within their premises. There was also this tiny hut with a bed, a desk and bookshelves inside. Joh told me this was where the kids went to study when they had exams.

Pool while waiting for dinner to be ready. He received the table for his 18th birthday. What did I get for my 18th birthday? An admonition from my parents not to party so much. Or something like that. hahah

The End

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