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Archive for April, 2009

WordPress.org

I’ve been using wordpress for almost 3 years now, and I’m a little embarassed to admit I know next to nothing about how it works. Recently, I’ve signed up on wordpress.org, and after some procrastinating, I’m starting to learn the ropes behind this amazing publishing engine.

Funnily enough, learning html and dabbling in web design when I was 14 or so led me down an intrinsically design-related path.  Somehow between graduating from school and before starting my first semester in Taylor’s College I connected a bunch of lines and chose to study architecture without a second thought.

Anyway that’s neither here nor there. I just wanted to say that wordpress is very cool, and the people behind it are geniuses. And if I keep this impromptu learning thing up soon I’ll be dazzling y’all with my own themes! (take this with a pinch of salt)

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Bad & Good Sundays

I haven’t been updating much lately. Yes I am stating the obvious. I have several drafts that just needs to be edited, as explained here, but some were so long ago they are just irrelevant now. As the weeks roll by, I am finding a weird sort of balance between work, play, sports, housework, and “other stuff”. It’s hard because there is never time for all, so at any given time something is being neglected. Most of the time it’s housework……….. For example, right now I am choosing to blog instead of doing housework. Anyway, sometimes its this blog, so thats the reason explained.

I should add that the most affected thing was my reading though.  I am reading so little nowadays it hurts.

Today is a bad Sunday. What’s a good Sunday? While studying in Malaysia, a good Sunday is one spent sleeping away a hangover, a late brunch, and then wasting time at a mamak before and after dinner and perhaps a trip to the cinema. A good Sunday here is being able to finish all the bloody housework and cook dinner in time so that I can go and play badminton with a bunch of older people.

Coincidentally, the older people are about a zillion times friendlier than the youth here….. whatever happened to Enid Blyton’s vision of Britain eh

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You know what else helps procrastination and improves self-management? Stop thinking about what to do! For many years, especially the days in Taylor’s College where time was so tight, I always used every spare minute to plan what to do next. I suppose if you plan one or two things, it MIGHT just work, but if you were stupid like me and just piled agendas on agendas, it will never work. never ever. In fact, the more you plan, the less you’ll do.

I think that applies to many things in life, and it’s something I’m learning now. It is a fine point to know the right degree of vagueness a plan should retain. I used to get carried away and plan the tasks I have to do, down to the tiniest detail for the next 10 hours. By the time I sit down at my desk, I was so bogged in details, so tense at the enormous amount of work in front of me, that I’d just sit and stare at the screen for a further 10 minutes, and then do something else completely.

Not good!

Anyway, I was reminded of it as I was planning my spring and summer traveling itinerary. It works the same: traveling shouldn’t be rigid and structured, but free, unshackled by stupid schedules, and unfettered by time limits. (hidden rant: this is why I dislike tours) I think it has become a problem that sometimes, we are so concerned with getting the most out of our trip (chinaman tendency here….) that we forget the simple pleasures traveling brings to relaxing the brain, opening up the mind and rejuvenating the soul. Not planning a trip properly spells disaster, as something is bound to go wrong that will surely cost you dearly, but the key word is “properly”, and over-planning is definitely not doing it right.

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Since the start of this year my interest in photography have somehow waned for an inexplicable reason, and that has shown through by the absolute rubbish that I have produced in terms of photos for the most of this year. At the very least, there were no real improvements, and it seems that I might be actually getting worse. Clearing my computer of junk today, I had to go through most of my old photos to clear up as much space as possible, and looking at all of them struck something inside me,

and I am happy to say I have now a fully revived interest and a strong desire to work hard and improve on them again!

Anyway, spurred by the lovely day, the lovely flowers, and the sudden desire to stop taking crap photos, I went out and did some practice shots around my house. If anyone have any great ideas on how I can improve, better tell me fast, as – good weather permitting – I’d go out and try again tomorrow…

flowr1

2

flwr3

flower4

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Maybe it was the comfy beds of Jurys Inn, a notch up from my usual traveling-accomodation (cheaper places all fully booked).

Maybe it was the likable city of Belfast and the friendly people, or the pleasant and lilting Irish brogue, so reminiscent of, but different to, the Scottish equivalent.

Maybe it was the bottle of Bushmills 1608 that I pondered and fidgeted over and eventually bought at the Bushmills distillery.

Maybe it was the monkeying around in the Botanic Gardens, or the weirdness of Giant’s Causeway, or the windswept awe-inspiring sea cliffs that I managed to see along the coast, or the lovely glens of Antrim.

Maybe it was the unfounded fears about the current political situation in Belfast, or the informative half-day spent learning about the Troubles in Belfast, and looking at the raw and emotive murals along the Shankill and Falls roads.

Maybe it had nothing to do with Belfast at all and was just that I was feeling kinda boxed in (mentally) and the short break cheered me up.

Whatever it was, the short trip to Northern Ireland over the Easter weekend was immensely enjoyable. I must say I am sufficiently rejuvenated to face the mundane chores and tasks of the upcoming few weeks before I can slip away again to somewhere else…..

belfast2

Me and another Tee

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Vienna – Pyongyang

For the past couple days I was distracted by this fascinating blog chronicling the journey of an Austrian trains/railways enthusiast from Vienna to Pyongyang via Russia, by train naturally, and his subsequent adventures in DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, otherwise known as North Korea). It was a special trip because firstly, it’s one heck of a long time to be sitting in a train (13,000 km) and secondly, they attempted (and succeeded) to enter DPRK via Tumangan, which is apparently the point of entry from Russia and off-limits to tourists.

Well I may pretend to, but of course I didn’t know any of that before yesterday; I must say I know next to nothing about North Korea, except brief snippets of stories about wars and conflicts between the 2 Koreas, the occasional odd bit of information, and whatever latest tricks their “Dear Leader” is up to. Which makes the blog all the more fascinating and eye-opening. The guy may be mad about his beloved railways and trains, blogging in excruciating technical detail about the trains and railways (its not that boring actually,  quite a different perspective), but I was more attracted towards seeing the buildings and the vernacular architecture (of course), all the more interesting because of their isolation from the rest of the world.

And I wasn’t disappointed!

http://vienna-pyongyang.blogspot.com/2008/09/arirang-games-and-more.html

http://vienna-pyongyang.blogspot.com/2008/09/pyongyang-and-mt-myohyang.html

I didn’t want to post the pictures because they are obviously not mine to post, so I figured I’d just plug his post and let him get all the attention, which he deserves, for all it’s worth. It’s worth browsing around abit, as well as spending some time reading.

Have fun!

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Depending on your way of doing it and your personal preferences, traveling or going on trips causes a temporary break in the order and structure of your daily life. I suppose that’s the whole point of a holiday – to have some relief from the clockwork order of your lives, assuming you wish for that relief.

That is soooo gonna cause problems when you return from your trip, but were unable to restore the former order to your life! Or, when you have not established order in your life to a degree where you are able to resume the daily processes with a snap of fingers. I must say, since the return from Oslo about a month ago I’ve been struggling to maintain the kind of schedule I was running on just before I went on that trip. That can only mean 2 things – my schedule is overly ambitious, or I wasn’t as productive as I hoped (which is, well, the same thing).

I wonder about the role momentum played in all this. It could very well be that the schedule was overly ambitious because I was able to stack ever more things on my schedule because of the momentum I have already built up. Which will end up to be a good thing, cause then I can get a clearer view of things without the illusory, additive effect of momentum.

Anyway, all just random conjecturing on my efforts to dispel my worst habit ever – procrastination. Which leads me to another strange observation – getting rid of procrastination means focusing on current matters and getting them sorted as soon as they come in, which, assuming you have a relatively busy life, inevitably leads to ignoring the ancient, undone tasks leftover from when you were still procrastinating. Eventually you end up delaying on the old tasks (because you are resolving current tasks) until they become too ancient to matter and become completely irrelevant to your life.

I suppose that’s a good thing, isn’t it? I think I have just been enlightened, but on the wrong thing – The final goal of all procrastinators is probably to delay and delay and delay until everything becomes completely irrelevant, where then they can move on to delaying other stuff.

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